It’s not fine woodworking, but over a few weekends we replaced the flimsy crawlspace cover lattice that skirted our house.
I don’t enjoy house carpentry, so went for methods that got the job over as quickly as possible: using heavy-duty staples as fasteners and a circular saw to cut the pressure treated pine boards on my WorkMate.
The new covers are mitered frames filled in with a wire mesh. They were painted the same colour as the siding and screwed to the house so that they can be easily removed when we need to get under the house.
Filed under: Quick Projects Tagged: crawl space, miter, wooden frame
I am early in my woodworking “career”, and I recently purchased the 50 degree blade for my trusty Lee Valley low angle Jack plane. It seemed to function fairly well over the weekend as I was smoothing some cherry boards. What are the relative merits/disadvantages between this and a conventional smoothing plane (I have been looking at the Lie Nielsen 4 1/2 for a comparison)? Other than the length (which I suppose is the key factor), they are about the same weight and the same width of the iron.
First of all smoothing planes are part of a family of planes we commonly and very distinctly refer to as bench planes. These are bevel-down planes ranging in length from around 5″ to 24″. New planes now being made and sold as bevel-up planes are not bench planes and generally cannot be used in the same way or for the same task range as the bevel-up planes. They can of course be called by the same names, ‘smoothing‘ planes, ‘jack‘ planes and so on, but they are not the same in the hand, on the job or in what they are generally used for. They do have their place in the shop and on the bench, but they are different.
I am not sure if there is a need for a 50-degree bevel iron as such. This is one of those situations where I might consider an increase in bevel angle by adding a micro bevel on a regular iron, which is usually best at 30-degrees, to increase the angle of presentation to the wood. This is of course for the bevel-up planes we are taking about. It is not necessary to use a 50-degree iron on a regular basis nor to use a bevel-up plane, which is very limited in its function for normal bench plane use. The bevel up plane is not a bench plane as such but more a mitre plane revamped under a different name. Essentially it is the same plane.
I think it’s important to see that the bevel up plane is always described the makers as one, a low-angle plane, two, a bevel-up plane, three, having a 25-degree bevel. Configuring the numbers this way, they then present the plane as a different plane to a bevel-down plane, citing the difference mainly as the low blade angle and the lower bevel. Even so, a 25-degree bevel is weaker and more prone to fracture and the better bevel will in practice and in everyday work be 30-degrees. At the end of the day there is 5-degrees difference between the two conventional bevels. Add the 12-degree bed angle of the plane and you have either 42-degrees or 37-degrees. Not too much different but a little. I have tried both and cannot really discern the difference. Lowering the angle of presentation does affect the iron very directly however. The lower the angle the less leverage there is along the cutting edge as the plane is forced into and along the grain. The low angle plane will stay sharp longer because edge fracture is reduced. Much of the problem I see now is that, whereas the bevel-up plane will resolve the issue of planing tangentially to the axis of the grain as in mitres and end-grain planing, it copes very badly with the slightest rise in grain in opposing direction and it’s here that difficult grain triumphs. When that does happen, half the wood you are planing tears rather than cuts and usually these tears are two to three times deeper than the thickness of the shaving taken and repairing the damage is major. I think perhaps Veritas offered the 50-degree bevel to counter an introduced problem in offering the bevel up plane as a bench plane. What I am talking about is not at all a rare occurrence but a common one. Trees don’t grow straight grain much of the time. There are in general two accepted reasons for the increased bevel angle or bed angle that present the cutting edge at a steep angle. One is for use on burly, awkward-grained woods where often the material is almost standing 90-degrees to the axis of the board being planed. This is rare and usually we rely on scrapers for this type of wild grain and less so on planes. The other is certain hard woods as distinct from hardwoods work exceptionally well with a 50-degree bevel whether it’s the large face of the iron or the bevel that’s presented to the wood’s surface – that is, bevel up or bevel down. Rosewood, ebony, boxwood and many others would be considered hard, dense-grained hardwoods with minute and tight cells. These are the type of woods that work well with steeper bevels.
Yes, I realize the ’300th observations’ just keep coming from the UK, but here’s more, this time from the BBC. -CH The BBC has unveiled full details of Eighteenth-Century Britain: Majesty, Music and Mischief, a…
I listened to a man describe his advancing deafness in terms I had not heard described before. He said that in his case it was not so much that voices and sounds become quieter but that surrounding sounds becomes ever louder and that through the months and years those sounds make it impossible for him to tune in on the sound he wants to hear. In a sense, to him, it was a general and overall noise pollution whereby he was less and less able to focus.
At The Woodworking Shows show in Dallas in 1995 I was mocked by reps from Bosch and Makita because I was demoing using hand tools. I was the only one in those days and this day it was a quiet Sunday close out and their sales were non existent. Losing interest in their booth they were looking for entertainment I supposed and took a walk. One big noise from Bosch made a loud laugh and shouted, “Now let’s see what have we here?” As he launched himself towards my booth. A small group gathered as I demonstrated hand cutting dovetails in under two minutes and soon the mockery slowed down as I could see that their uniformed shirts made them feel less and less comfortable. The dovetails were perfect, thankfully, as I passed them around and when the Bosch guys took hold of them they seemed, well, speechless. Deprived of their money-making toys, the reps stayed with the new interesting English guy and watched me cut some pretty healthy dadoes with a knife, a chisel and a mallet. The bottom of the dado looked good but a little uneven from my chiselling. “Should have used a Bosch” the big voice said, laughing. Well, sometimes things happen that just somehow flow together and I pulled out my Record hand router already set and waiting for action. It was one of those moments I could not have engineered and as I pulled the router across the bottom of the dado the wood peeled away like an onion peel. The crowd was bigger now and the reps stood alongside them gob smacked as for some reason the inner surface was a smooth a surface as any I had ever prepared. “Gentlemen!” I said, “Let me introduce you to the first ever cordless router.” The ice broke and humour filled the aisles.
Just as noise pollution often starts with sounds we barely notice, so too the birth of industrialism and the resultant invasion became pandemic in our culture. The results of it lead to deafness for some and, well, blindness for others. Just as noise pollution drowned out the man’s limited hearing to the point of deafness in a head filled with noise, and street lights conceal the bright and sparkling stars in cities all over the world, woodworking machines can disguise the art of working wood and the blind and deaf seem to laugh at those who see and hear with clarity of sound and vision? They did all enter into my de-industrial process without knowing that, for just for a few moments at least, I was able to turn out the lights.
I’m getting more & more spoons lately. The first batch for March is just now posted – here http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-for-sale-march-2014-pt-1/ or the banner at the top of the blog’s front page.
If you’d like one, leave a comment & we’ll get it sorted. Payment through paypal is easiest; but you can send a check if you’d like. Just let me know. Woods this time are birch and cherry, and one each of apple & lilac. Flax oil finish. If for any reason a spoon is not as you envisioned, you can return it to me for a refund. No questions.
Thanks for all the encouragement,
Well, I’ll get to do some woodworking at least – I’m going down to the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) on the 20th of March, to get set up for the Furniture Seminar on the 21/22 of March. The subject is turned work, so I’ll be taking a shot at the lathe from Old Salem. It’s a nice lineup, 2 days’ worth. Includes my friend Brian Weldy from Colonial Williamsburg/North Bennet Street and once from my shop too!
Look at the raking light that Brian and the other guys in the Anthony Hay shop get - http://anthonyhaycabinetmaker.wordpress.com/
We know, the German products frequently offer inusual features but often effective.
This is the case for a wooden jointer of my collection. It shows a somewhat particular wedge.
It is retained in position by a steel pin and has on its upper face a metal plate of which the position can be varied along its height. The plate is kept by a little screw and a washer, inserted into the wood by two nails, also used as guides.
Two little wings avoid to the screw of touching the steel pin.
A first function has been evident: avoid that the rounded pin can damage the wedge wood and decrease its grip. But why the plate is adjustable? Playing a little bit with it I understood that in this way the wedge can be adapted to blades of different thickness and/or cap iron of different shape, providing always the optimal grip.
A relevant advantage in case of blade and/or chipbreaker substitution.
On my post from the other day I made the comment “…and if I do have a legacy of some kind to pass on, I want it to be the furniture I’ve made and not the tools I bought.” Before I go on I will say that generally I don’t dwell on my posts or comments for all that long a time; if I did I would be writing a lot less than I already do. My philosophy on writing is to convey my thoughts as naturally as I am thinking them. I spend very little time editing my posts though I do sometimes have to format them to WordPress, which usually takes just a few minutes. So when I did make that comment I didn’t necessarily think too much about it after the fact.
A funny thing happened, though, on Saturday morning while I was flattening my workbench top; the comment I made actually popped back into my head. At first, I wasn’t necessarily sure what got me to thinking about it, but then it had occurred to me that I had watched part of the movie ‘National Treasure’ the night before and I had thought, for whatever reason, that Thomas Jefferson would much rather have the Declaration of Independence be his legacy rather than the pen he wrote it with, as interesting a collectable as the pen may be. I’m not sure why that thought occurred to me, but it did nonetheless.
I had once asked the question on this blog: If some sort of disaster was approaching and you as a woodworker could save only one thing, would it be your tools, or the furniture you’ve made? Nearly everybody that answered was of the mind that their tools were much more important to them than their furniture, and if they had to choose between the two the tools would win hands down. The reasoning there being that you can always make more furniture, but the tools are much harder to replace. I agreed with that logic nearly whole heartedly, but when it comes to my woodworking “legacy” I find that I’m of a completely different mind. But the question does beg to be asked: When I shuffle off this mortal coil, do I want my legacy to be a tool set or the furniture I’ve made?
I can only speak for myself, but I truly hope that when I die my legacy is the furniture I’ve made and not just a tool set, otherwise I look at that as a failure on my part. To me, while buying and learning to use a tool set is an important part of becoming a woodworker, it will be the furniture that I made that people will hopefully remember. But here again, I am wondering how others feel about this. Would you as woodworkers rather have your tool set, or the furniture you’ve made be the heirlooms of your time spent woodworking?
The first words of “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” are “disobey me,” a paradoxical expression that underlies much of my favorite absurdist Russian literature. You can take the expression at face value, or you can think about it for a minute and consider that perhaps Gregor Samsa has not really turned into a cockroach.
When I finished writing “Campaign Furniture,” I wanted to begin the book with Alfred Korzybski’s dictum, “The map is not the territory.” But I decided to just play it straight and not include any discussion of semantics. The book itself is a straightforward discussion of the furniture and how to build it. I don’t think this book will get me in trouble like my last one did. So I didn’t include the Korzybski quote.
That doesn’t stop me, however, from talking about my unspoken motives for the book here on the blog. While the book (the map) is about campaign furniture, the uncharted territory it describes is far different.
After 15 years at Popular Woodworking, I concluded that our craft is strapped into a stylistic straightjacket (Shaker and Arts & Crafts) that does more harm than good. Now before you get your panties in a bundle, let me be clear about a couple things: There’s nothing wrong with either of those styles. I love them both. I also love Oreos, but an exclusive diet of them is a bad idea. Also, I was part of the problem. I wrote, approved and encouraged the publication of hundreds of pieces dealing with Shaker and Arts & Crafts.
So I also want to be part of the solution. “Campaign Furniture” is part of that. “Furniture of Necessity,” my next book, is the next step in that direction.
I want readers to explore other styles, even if it isn’t campaign style or vernacular furniture. There is a world of furniture styles out there that are begging to be built. And it’s furniture that beginners can handle. Danish modern, Bauhaus, Japanese Tansu, Chinese furniture (a fricking world of Chinese furniture) are just a few of the styles out there that don’t require an 18th-century apprenticeship to build and are beautiful.
And I’m willing to take a personal hit to my income to try to open your eyes.
If I were smart, I’d write a book on birdhouses, which usually sell twice as many units as any traditional woodworking book. Or I’d do another book on workbenches, Shaker furniture or Arts & Crafts.
Writing a book on an obscure furniture style is economic stupidity. If people don’t like the style, they won’t buy the book, no matter how good it is. Books on a furniture style (even Shaker) will always sell worse than books on skills, tools or workshops. Books on an obscure furniture style usually go from the printer right to the bargain bin. (Ever seen the fascinating book on Mormon furniture? That’s exactly my point.)
Today I received my copy of “Campaign Furniture,” and it doesn’t completely disappoint me. The printing job is nice. I like the end sheets. The binding looks good – not too much glue and the stitching is solid. So I’m drinking a Stone “Old Guardian” right now to celebrate the release of what could be a monumentally unsuccessful book.
I also take a sip to hope – that some of you are willing to step outside the narrow confines of our craft and start to explore the immense uncharted territory ahead of us.
“Campaign Furniture,” for better or worse, has a map inside.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Campaign Furniture
This coming weekend we start another nine-day workshop where we make dovetailed boxes, a bookshelf unit and an oak table. It’s my standard Foundational Course developed for those who take hand work seriously and want to master the exact same skills and techniques as those used by the masters of old. The course has changed very little since my first one back in the late 1980′s. Hard to imagine we are here, 4,500 students later, still teaching the same foundation I developed 25 years ago and one I followed back in the mid 1960′s when I apprenticed. I suppose it’s not really that strange when you think abut it. In hundreds if not thousands of years, wood is still worked the same way. That’s if you still use hand tools of course. The ancient Egyptians used hand planes cast from bronze and of course chisels and saws span the same number of millennia. That being so, the joints and methods of working the tools and the wood have changed only minimally. Whatever is being used to make what we use today mirrors that of ancient peoples around the world. It makes sense then that the techniques I teach are many centuries old. Few things have changed and so teaching the traditions is a given. There are no new methods of working wood that haven’t been with us as long as man has been fashioning wheels and boats, ox yokes, hand planes and all that which we need to make life as easy and as comfortable as possible.
This Week’s Workshop at Penrhyn
On Saturday the course starts around my bench and I work firstly to dismantle the many misconceptions people have about woodworking, their own abilities, the tools and of course how we view the many different spheres of working wood today. For some it is of course a brand new beginning. They may never have worked with wood, never used hand tools and may know nothing at all about the craft. In an hour, maybe two, we will have demystified several lives and opening doors they didn’t even know existed.
The De-Industrial R-evolution – We Begin with Sharpening and Chisels
My first objective is to tech-down the technical industrialism of internet influences that so confuse life today. In about ten to fifteen minutes we will have flattened and sharpened a chisel from Aldi (or somewhere else) to create a pristine edge paralleling the very best chiselling tool any modern maker makes bar none. That means that from that lesson on they will be capably developing their own chisel edges for the rest of their lives without needing a Tormek or any other sharpening machine.
Dismantling and reassembling a #4 smoothing plane regardless of the maker suddenly makes sense when you must make the plane shave off a thousandth or two dead parallel to the surface. It makes sense to dismantle the plane and reset it straight from the start. Again, sharpness is the key and so we cover this first and then we work on how to set up bench planes.
With proper guidance visual stimuli around the workbench knocks the socks of anything else I can offer and my students quickly seek that their success means that they must master the hand plane as early as possible in their training. Smoothing planes and teaching people how to use them has never grown old for me. In a matter of one hour, everyone will clearly understand exactly what they can expect from their smoothing plane. An hour after that they will be planing their wood four-square.
Joint Making and the Art of Joinery Becomes Simple and Clear
That’s always been my goal and how better to make it all the clearer than making three joints as you make three great training projects. before we tackle the joints using in the projects, we spend time making certain every attendee can see just how joints are made, what they do and how best to make them. The box, the wallshelf and the table incorporate the three most commonly used of all joints. At the end of nine days they will have completed three projects, but, the three projects are the byproduct and not the objective. The mastery of skill, the development of knowledge result in the finished examples of their understanding and skill. That’s my goal in deindustrialising these new-genre woodworkers. I’m looking forward to the weekend and we still have a couple of places left if you can make it.
See the dreadful mess next to and behind Chuck Bender? By April 3, we need to find a place to stash it – because the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event is rolling into town on April 4th and 5th, and the common area we share with our company’s photo and video studio is where the event will take place (plus we’ll have our shop open; I suspect we’ll need to clean […]
Tomas has posted about holdfast in Sweden where he present old original holdfasts from the southern part of Sweden, Skåne or Blekinge. There are two different patterns of holdfast and the one that seems to be the oldest are on the picture above. The blacksmith Mattias Helje in Lima in Sweden have tried to analyze how it could have been made. There are at least three different ways to forge a holdfast. One is to forge it from a single piece of iron with a dimension thick enough to forge the stem and then stretch out the arm. This is the method used by Øystein Myhre that forged the Norwegian patterns of holdfast. The same method is also demonstrated in a video of Peter Ross and Roy Underhill. One other method is to use a similar dimension of iron and forge it from two pieces, one for the stem and one for the arm and forge weld the two pieces together like the one below from Nordmøre in Norway.
There is also a third way to forge a holdfast. You could start with a dimension that is more like the thickness of the arm and then make the stem by forge welding a piece on to it.
This are different patterns and different ways to make holdfasts in Sweden and Norway. Tomas and I has also done some research of what the holdfast are, or was, called in our languages. I have seen the post about this matter on the Lost Art Press blog, How do you say “holdfast”? The Norwegian names I have posted there are these:
Kjellingfot – if translated to English – goat kid foot
Benkehake – bench hook
Hallhake – hold hook
Hake – hook
Hallfast – holdfast
Ronghake – crocked hook.
Bukkefot – rams foot, this word is from Øystein Myhre that uses the holdfast in his work as a Norwegian blacksmith.
In Swedish there are the names “bänkhållare” (bench holder) and “knekt” (could translate to bracket or something?) in the book “Träslöjd”, Hallén & Nordendal (1923).
In inventories in workshops in Stockholm in the early 1700`s there is several mentions of “stämhake”. That could be the same as holdfast. It could translate to “stem hook”.
Tomas has also learnt the word “fans tumme”, that means “devils thumb”. That is a parallell to the Norwegian joiners “killingfot” (goat kid foot) and blacksmiths “bukkefot” (rams foot). Both refer to a goat foot and the goat and the devil are considered as related in folklore. The devil is usually equipped with rams horn.
Arkivert under:English, Killingfot / hallfast / ronghake, Tilbehør høvelbenk, Tomas og Roald snikrar høvelbenk i Mariestad, Tomas snikrar høvelbenk, modell Vasaskipet
Over the past week, several woodworkers have come together in our Highland Woodworking classroom to build a continuous arm windsor chair with master chairmaker, Peter Galbert. We have been keeping track of their progress each day, which you can see below!
CLICK HERE to see Day 1
CLICK HERE to see Days 2-4
DAY 5: The stretchers for the legs are aligned and glued to the center stretcher. The stretcher assembly is then aligned and glued to just two legs, and then to the final two legs. The entire leg assembly is removed from the seat one last time to make a saw kerf in the tenon of the top of each leg. The legs will be inserted back into the seat and the wedges glued in to pin the legs to the seat bottom.
The legs are glued and driven home into their final resting place on the seat bottom and the wedges are hammered into the saw kerf in the leg’s tenon, which spreads the tenon slightly to securely lock it in place:
Here you can see the tenons protruding from the seat top. They will be sawn flush and then faired smooth to blend with the seat top:
The post Build a Continuous Arm Windsor Chair with Peter Galbert – Day 5 appeared first on Woodworking Blog.
A foolproof [if that concept is possible] method of testing the freshness of liquid hide glue, that works every time.
Simply put a bead of liquid hide glue on a piece of porous paper and place the paper in a warm oven [150 to 200 degrees [F]] for 15 to 20 minutes, then remove and allow to cool.
When you bend the paper the bead of glue will break if the glue is fresh. If the liquid hide glue is not fresh it will bend without breaking.
The samples are from left to right liquid Fish Glue, fresh Franklin/Titebond liquid hide glue and finally Franklin/Titebond Liquid Hide Glue that is over 5 years old [two years spent outdoors year round] and the results show the cracking in the two fresh samples and wrinkles and flexibility in the old sample.
An excellent test, the two fresh glues also passed the legging, cottoning, or stringing test, the old glue did not.
Alex Knappenberger of the “KillerSoundz” YouTube channel built an air cleaner for his woodshop. The most expensive thing in the project was the 8″ 800cfm blower.
Over the years people have asked for alternatives to an expensive pre-manufactured air cleaner, and typically I recommend something as simple as a box fan with a furnace filter and then setting it near where the work is happening.
Alex’s design is taking that idea a few steps further and making something a little more permanent and a lot more powerful! Checkout his two part series on the build.
Since I started at Popular Woodworking Magazine (PWM), I’ve gotten e-mails on a weekly basis asking about the status of my school and/or if I will be teaching anywhere in the near future. Well, to answer those questions in reverse order, I am scheduled to teach two classes (so far this year) at Ron Herman’s place in Columbus, Ohio, and my school is on hiatus. Having only completed the physical move in mid-November, most everything […]
That’s my objective, and that’s my happiness — to find this relationship with the tree.