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I moved slowly, advancing through the rough landscape in search of my elusive quarry. I could sense that I was close. A turn here, another there, and… Aha, found it! I uncapped my red pen with a satisfying pop and drew a red circle around the end of a sentence. Three words, linked together inseparably but missing that penultimate punctuation: The Oxford Comma. Another copy editing crisis averted.
The world of drop caps and compound modifiers hasn’t exactly been my professional stomping grounds in the past, but I find the editing process to be among the most satisfying tasks in the life of M&T. We like to think of this as a team sport, with Megan, Joshua, Jim, and me tossing the ball “around the horn” as we work on refining a given article or project. Some of us have greater strengths in certain areas – Megan, for instance, has more experience in editing copy than the rest of us combined, while Jim can spot a compelling narrative a mile away. Joshua is able to maintain the big-picture vision of the magazine, cutting out the fat from a piece while leaving the vital parts stronger. I thoroughly enjoy circling incorrect punctuation with a red pen, and love precise details.
As Issue Four moves ever closer to completion, we are planning to share some thoughts and advice here on the blog for aspiring writers, bloggers, and photographers. Part of our mission at M&T is to form each issue to be thoughtful, compelling, and beautiful, and we’d like to share some of our methods with those folks who might be interested in documenting their own work. Even though we don’t take submissions from readers for articles, we see a great value in having many voices sharing in the conversation. There is a revival going on in the world of hand-tool woodworking, and having the ability to clearly articulate discoveries, explorations, and projects finished will benefit all of us.
So sharpen your pencils, pull out your notebook and camera, and start that blog to chronicle your journey. And don’t forget the Oxford Comma – it is literally worth its weight in gold.
A unique opportunity to buy Alan Peters No 7 plane. He used this plane all the time, even for small work and it comes with a letter of authenticity from his wife Laura.
A board with a straight, flat face with one square edge is widely considered a fundamental requirement for precision work such as joinery. Given this basic condition, all good things are possible (at least, in principle): accurate measurements, square shoulders, straight tenons. But a current dining table commission challenged how I think about this set of conditions and forced me to come up with an alternative that would facilitate solid […]
I had these DeArmond Hershey Bar pickups come into the shop for rewinding recently. These pose a couple of challenges – the covers are riveted to the pickup and the coil is wound around the magnet which is unsupported on top.
I am sure the proper rivets are commercially available but I wasn’t able to figure out where to get the proper ones. The world of rivets is more varied than one might expect. Considering how often I do this repair it was just easier to make them. I had some 3/16 nickel rod on hand it is not too difficult to machine them on the lathe.
To wind the coils I made a temporary support that was bolted onto the bobbin with cellophane tape in between. I was able to wax pot the coil to make it more solid before removing the support.
When I wrote “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest,” I didn’t think a single person would actually build the chest shown in the book. That’s why I greatly condensed my construction instructions, and I eliminated chapters for a traveling version and a Dutch chest.
Six years later, building these tool chests comprises a significant portion of my income. This is both surprising and heartening. Yes, wall-hung tool cabinets and racks are great – no argument. But there is something about a tool chest that appeals to certain woodworkers.
I have been working out of a tool chest since 1997 and – after using racks and cabinets – am deeply satisfied with my choice.
This week I have launched into building two full-size chests for special customers. Both chests will have a full suite of hardware from blacksmith Peter Ross. Plus lots of details I’ve been itching to try, and some new ideas from the customers that I’m quite excited about.
I’ll document their construction here – not so much to generate additional business (I have 14 commissions lined up for 2018), but to make up for the lightweight instructions in the book.
First up: Choosing lumber and gluing up the panels. Look for it soon.
— Christopher Schwarz
I was going to post the final part on the Miles's toolbox but that will come tomorrow. I planned on doing it today but I got in a groove with the tool cabinet and went with the flow. I did think of it a couple of times. But I did one more thing on the tool cabinet and that led to another and the toolbox update was forgotten.
|I had to do something with this|
|I think it is a big improvement|
|flushing the tray|
|cleaned up the second drawer|
|flushing the two corners|
|making sure there is no twist on the bottom|
|just cleaned up the top|
|getting ready to install the drawer slips|
|using yellow glue on these|
|went 1 for 1|
|marking for the cabinet side drawer slide|
|drawer slide spacer|
|I didn't like this|
|added an 1/8" and reinstalled the guides|
|1/4" clearance and I have on my happy face|
|plenty of clearance on the slide out tray|
|had a mind fart|
|drilling for the screws|
|glued the tray onto the top|
|old kitchen door pieces|
|I was right|
|the ends are long grain|
|old hinge and handle screw holes|
|didn't get lucky here|
|using a piece of pine on the other end|
|they'll be ready to finish out tomorrow|
Did you know that President Thomas Jefferson invented the first hide-away bed?
I trawled the Net for inspiration, and ended up finding this bed.
The original looks as it is made out of beech, which is a traditional furniture wood over her, but as usual I wanted to make it out of larch. Because it is what I have.
I have never seen one of those beds in real life, but based on that the overall dimensions are 80" x 32" that were described, I thought that I could come up with something that looked similar, and besides the most important thing for me was to test out the frame saw system.
The two main dowels are 1 7/8" thick. I made them by octagonalizing some long pieces and then planed them round. They aren't 100% perfect round, but they are fairly close.
The legs were drilled with a 1 7/8" hole and ripped apart. After that the legs were mounted in the lathe and turned down to give a sleek appearance. Instead of rounding the top, I chose to saw a diamond shape.
Finally I marked out and drilled the stopped holes for the short dowels.
The two short dowels are 5/4" in diameter and I made those on the lathe. I made them overly long, to be able to trim the length afterwards.
I found my old roll of canvas, and borrowed Mettes sewing machine.
It is a regular household sewing machine, so I was a bit curious if it would be able to sew in this thick fabric, but it worked admirably.
Assembling the bed was pretty straight forward, though I had to shorten the two short dowels even more than I anticipated. Right now they could still be shortened with perhaps 1/4", but I choose to wait to see, if perhaps the canvas will stretch a bit over time. They are not perfectly plumb, but splay a bit (I guess 1/2"). But I think it is preferable to the legs pointing inwards.
Thoughts on the build:
Planing a long round dowel takes a bit of practice. I could feel that the second dowel was easier than the first one, but that is hardly a surprise.
My drill press is not very good when it comes to handling large Forstner drills. It lacks power, and it flexes a bit, causing the hole to not be 90 degrees.
It isn't a deal breaker, but I think that I could probably have made a hole just as accurate by hand.
Once assembled, the bed will flex a bit when you sit on it - kind of like a Roorkhee chair.
If the rope is twisted tightly, the bed is surprisingly comfortable. I tested the bed myself, and I it held up just perfectly.
The original bed might have the legs a bit closer to one another, which would stiffen up the whole thing, so I might do that if I make another one at some point.
Mette likes the bed so much that it has been placed in the living room, which is a sure way to determine that the project has been a success.
Just saying hello.
I had back surgery two weeks ago and recovery is going well. I now have two non-adjustable truss rods and some other hardware supporting my lower back.
I’m taking it easy, catching up on reading, watching some series and movies I would normally not have time for, gently exercising and occasionally feeling bored. I’m also reading a lot about lutherie and doing thought experiments about new designs, methods of work, and possibly some new instruments to make.
It will probably be two months or so before I can begin to do some work in the shop. Before surgery I did some of the rough work to prepare for the time I’ll be back at the bench again. In the photograph above is cherry, walnut, and curly ash resawn for some future dulcimers.
Full recovery will take up to a year but if all goes as planned I’ll able to work longer hours making dulcimers than I have for about 5 years. I look forward to that time! I love my job!
I spent the weekend at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, teaching 13 students to carve oak patterns…but I forgot my camera. One design I hoped to include, but ran out of time for, is this “nulling” or arcading pattern. It’s very common, there’s lots of variations on it. This is my recent version, in walnut instead of oak. This example is only about 3 1/2″ between the bottom and top margin.
Here’s how I carved a section of it today, after unpacking. This pattern has no free-hand aspect of it, very different from my usual work. All the elements are struck first with an awl, square and marking gauge. Spacing is marked off with a ruler and compass/dividers. Once I know the spacing (that’s some trial & error, based on the size of your stock, and the tools available) – I strike the chisel work to define the spaces between the arches.
Then I use my #7, 3/4″ wide gouge to strike the tops of the arches and the peaked leaf that falls behind them. 3 strikes of the gouge outline the tops of the arches. There’s a marking gauge line at the top & bottom of these, so they all line up properly.
This leaf tip that fits behind them starts about 1/2 way up one side of the arch, and hits a centerline struck through the chiseled portion.
Once the outlines are struck, I use the chisel with its bevel down to chop these sections. Sometimes I have to go back & forth between the vertical strikes and the beveled ones to get the chip out.
Then comes some background removal. I use the #7 to chop behind its original strikes.
Then a #5, about 1/2″ wide to smooth off this background. It leans down from the top margin to the arches/leaves.
Then I hollow the leaves with the #7. Makes them look like they fall behind the arches a bit.
Now to hollow the arches. I start with a narrow, deeply-curved gouge. (old, no before they were numbered. It’s between a #8 & #9.) Two strikes define the bottom of the hollow. Previously I struck inner margins for this hollow.
I chop right behind this to remove a chip. This will help protect the bottom solid bit when I finish hollowing.
Now a larger gouge hollows out the whole thing. This takes a few cuts. I don’t go to the full depth in one go. In the end, I want this tool to hollow all the way to the outlines I struck.
Here is the pattern after the shaping. But it looks pretty blank…
Gotta fill all the blank spaces. Start with a small #7 to chop details in the leaves.
A straight chisel to highlight the peaked bits.
A large gouge just strikes an incised line around the top of the arches. A punch fills in other spaces.
This really narrow gouge chops little patterns inside the hollows.
I always like to see what they look like after applying some linseed oil –
I’ve heard it called “nulling” but my copy of Cyril Harris’ Illustrated Dictionary of Historic Architecture is out in the shop. That’s where I would check the name. Maybe I’ll remember tomorrow.
At January’s meeting, we discussed and looked at examples of inlay material that included mother of pearl, abalone, brass, reconstituted stone, and some of the equipment choices available. Because we managed only a little time working on the prepared inlay purchased from DePaule Supply, we will spend our time at this month’s meeting (February) completing it and learning how to cut our own inlays out of mother of pearl. Please join us; the fun’s just beginning.
Here are some photos from January’s meeting:
You can now place a pre-production order for our chore coat via this link. The coat is $185, which includes domestic shipping.
Before you order a coat, please follow these simple instructions for determining the best size for you. We have enough material for about 300 coats and will place our order with the manufacturer based on the orders we receive. Stitching is supposed to begin in March, and we will ship out the coats as soon as they arrive in our warehouse.
Offering these chore coats is a significant gamble. The profit margins are low because we wanted this coat to be as affordable as possible. And we strove to make our coat a classic – nicely tailored and as well made as our books.
We understand book manufacturing, which is dang tricky. But we’re still learning a lot about clothing manufacturing, which seems even trickier.
So we might completely fail here. But at least John and I will get some nice coats, and we’ll have lots of gorgeous cotton fabric we can use as animal bedding.
— Christopher Schwarz
On Tuesday February 20th I will be presenting my wares at the historic North Bennet Street School from around 11:30-2:30.
Here are some new videos. The first is about a small Cherry box with drawers that I recently repaired after it took a fall and cracked open the miter joints of the top frame.
This one is about Drawer Resisters that I introduced several years ago.
This one is about adjusting the Parallel Guide Strip and fences on the Vogt Shooting Board.
The first of my two WW18thC presentations was “Roubo Rediscovered – Merging 1760s Paris with the 21st Century” in which I recounted the nuggets gleaned from The Roubo Translation Project and how I have incorporated them into my current work practices. Not too surprisingly this is a topic on which I could speak and demonstrate literally for days, but I packed as much as I could in 90 minutes.
I began as almost always within this framework by giving my benches-and-holdfast sermon,
followed by demonstrations of Roubo’s veneer sawing bench with some audience participation,
the coopering cradle, a vital clamping component in the world of serpentine and bombe’ furniture,
panel clamping jigs,
mobile bench-top press, this one made by Oldwolf (can you say Moxon vise?),
and finally ripple molding cutter my friend and collaborator JohnH.
Each of these items will be addressed individually in coming blog posts. The overal; topic of Roubo’s Workshop is a huge one and I am outlining an extensive video series to explore it in depth (more about that later this week).
My thanks to JohnR for pictures of this presentation. I would have taken them myself but I was busy at the time.
A little out of sequence with my blog but we put together a video saying goodbye to all the friends we made at the Sylva Wood Centre in Long Wittenham. It was of course with many mixed feelings that we packed our bags but Izzy and Ellie put together a wonderful spread for lunch on […]
This update will be another lump job like the previous one. It is mostly ancillary tools and do-dads that make the road less bumpy.
|sharpening stuff is a bit on the lean side|
Having sharp tools is very important and I want to impress this on Miles. He'll be young enough that it will probably become second nature with him.
|hand power required|
The 1/2" breast drill (in the box) will be rehabbed and given to Miles. I had bought him a set of auger bits but I returned them. Out of eight bits, 7 of them had no threads on the lead screw. Useless, so back they went. I want to see the next set before I buy another. Undecided on getting him a small eggbeater drill. I saw one on the hyperkitten site and I didn't get it like an idiot.
|basic shaping and finishing set|
|flattened and shined the sole, the retaining bar, and the thumbscrews|
|I will have to strip and paint this now|
|Miles's Olsen coping saw|
|this is what won't stay put|
|the second drawer|
|last joint going together off the saw|
|dry square ok|
|snug fit between the slides.|
|cleaned the bench|
|a plug for Autosol|
|it's not twisted|
- I rely on my bench to be flat. I can check it for twist but I don't have anything 8 foot long to check it for flat with. I used a lot of critical eyeballing along with copious scratching of the bald spot to check it for flat.
|second dovetail job today|
|2nd one went together off the saw too|
|it's going where the second drawer is cooking away|
|it will be a tray for the top of the tool cabinet|
|this drawer is going away|
Did you know that the wheel on the game show 'Wheel of Fortune' is 8 and 1/2 feet in diameter?
Here's a small but very sturdy little bench I made a while ago being sold by a friend of mine. It measures 42" wide x 24" deep x 37" high and would make an ideal bench for a small workshop or as a second bench. The base was made from 4" square pine (I don't remember painting it that colour!) and the top is 2 1/2" solid beech. The two bench stops can be used in the multiple holes and making it ideal for hand planning. The low stretcher and relatively high top means you can work sitting down with your knees under, great for chopping out dovetails.
The wooden leg vice has a massive 2 1/2" diameter wooden screw (also made by me) which is a pleasure to use. You can see the E Bay listing here.
I’ve gotten back working on my version of George Washington’s partner’s desk. (I posted about scratch-stocks used on the legs and other inexpensive shop-made tools I’ve used.) Today, take a look at the setup and process to make George’s faux drawers, which are found on the ends of the original desk. In my version the back sections are also faux – if it were a true partner’s desk it would have functioning drawers on both sides.
This weekend we loaded up our belongings and moved onto the Science Park where our new and permanent home now is. It took over a year to complete the outside but the inside will take just a few more weeks. It was a mixed week of sad and happy emotions because we’ve made friends and […]