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FEATURES IN FURNITURE: CARVINGS AND TURNINGS

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 11:25am
The-Woodworker-Vol-4-167

FIG. 1. EXAMPLES OF EARLY CARVING. (A) Early Gothic, XIV or XV century. (B) Incised Work. (C) Jacobean. (D) A Favourite Tudor Ornament. (E) Simple Tudor Edging. (F) Elizabethan Design in Low Relief.

This is an excerpt from “The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years: Volume IV” published by Lost Art Press.

From the earliest pre-historic ages man has tried to express himself in some form of decoration, first in flint and then in wood. To a large extent he is dated and the degree of his culture determined by what he has left to trace his existence.

Woodcarving has been a feature in every civilisation, and all through the centuries we find that days, weeks and often months might be spent on the knife decoration of some weapon, tool, paddle, or domestic utensil. It is interesting to note, however, that, when carving first became a recognised craft in Europe, it was devoted to church woodwork long before it reached the humble home. In our own country little carved furniture can be traced further back than the sixteenth century although many earlier church coffers, chests, and seats with carved decoration are to be found.

Just, too, as woodwork design was borrowed from models in stone, the carpenter in his carving followed the prevalent Gothic mode. Early Tudor carving is almost exclusively Gothic in character (Fig. 1, A and B). Occasionally we find crude representations of figures, or of horses, deer, or birds, and sometimes a medallion with a bas-relief head; but as a rule the carver, timid of freedom, restricted himself to geometrical patterns (Fig. 1, C, D, E). Of these there is a great variety, many showing marked ingenuity, but it was not till the Elizabethan period that we have something of the freedom indicated in the type of design shown at F. The “linenfold” panel had been common from an earlier period, but in Elizabethan times cupboards, buffets, four-post bedsteads were freely carved, the bulbous form of pillar and leg (Fig. 3, K) being a feature of the period.

Throughout the different periods it is instructive to note how well adapted the decorative carving was to the general design. In early Tudor days the carpenter trusted largely to simple incised work or gouge cuts, and little was attempted in the way of modelling. Even during Queen Elizabeth’s time carving was kept in low relief, and it was not till the somewhat heavier Dutch influence was felt in the Jacobean age that we find bolder scroll and leaf work.

Mouldings were freely carved, their differing contours offering scope for individual enterprise. As the tool kit developed work tended to become more delicate, till in time certain cabinet makers specialised in carving. The amazing work of Grinling Gibbons in the the seventeenth century may be regarded as exceptional. Influenced by Italian and French modes he was, in a sense, before his time, and no other English woodcarver has ever reached his fame. The brothers Adam introduced a new technique towards the end of the eighteenth century, and their delicate husk festoons and pendants in conjunction with graceful vases, paterae and fluting are more typically British than any other form of decoration bequeathed to us (see Fig. 2).

Fig-2

FIG. 2. TYPICAL FRIEZE OF THE ADAM PERIOD (LATE XVIII CENTURY) Note the use of severe fluting in contrast to the free husk ornament. Adam chimney pieces were almost invariably treated in this way.

Has the carver disappeared? Practically so—at least for the moment. During the nineteenth century he had to rely chiefly on the designer who, discarding earlier British motifs, showed a leaning towards the conventional and more elaborate Italian models. The introduction of manufactured pressed carvings shocked the purist; and later, when “strip detail” came to take the place of hand-carved mouldings, the craft became suspect. This, with the high cost of labour after the 1914 war, drove the woodcarver from the field—an irreparable loss till, perchance, the world again becomes rich.

Turning. There can be little doubt that, to the potter’s wheel, we owe the origin of wood turning. The earliest form of pole lathe, too, has lingered to the present day and may still be found in our woodlands. In the development of wood turning one point to observe is that it did not follow architectural features in stone so closely as, say, cornices, pediments, and mouldings. The craftsman soon discovered that, in wood, much more was possible than in stone. Thus, unless the design was definitely based on some architectural model, the woodworker struck out on a line of his own. This became more noticeable when domestic furniture came to be decorated. On ecclesiastical woodwork the line of the architectural column, tapering from plinth to capital, was followed; but, even from early Tudor days, we find that, in the case of turned legs, the taper was inverted. This is seen in examples such as A, B, E, G and H at Fig. 3. When, however, the turning took the form of a baluster (see D) the taper was usually reversed, or (as in K) the columnar part kept throughout at the same diameter. This freedom from the rigidity of classical Greek and Roman models has been a feature in turning down through the centuries.

Fig-3

FIG. 3. TURNED WORK DURING THE VARIOUS PERIODS. (A) Early Tudor. (B) Elizabethan (also Flemish). (C) Jacobean Twist Turning. (D) Jacobean. (E) William and Mary Period. (F) Chippendale Grouped-Pillar Leg. (G) Leg of the Adam Period. (H) Delicate Sheraton Leg. (J) Split Turning (Jacobean). (K) Elizabethan bulbous column.

In an article which is a mere sketch it is impossible to do more than indicate the features of different periods. Examples, however, are well worth close study whenever one has the opportunity. Very few people understand the problem involved in planning a graceful piece of turning. Everything depends of line and proportion. One thing to remember is that the diameter is the same from whatever angle the column is viewed. On paper, in elevation, a 2 in. square leg looks the same as a turned one of 2 in. diameter; but, when seen from an angle in the finished piece, the turned one appears to be only about two-thirds as heavy as the other. This the designer often overlooks, although he is more apt to make the square leg too heavy than the turned one too light.

The early craftsmen played for safety, and thus in Tudor, Elizabethan and early Jacobean days we find turnings of the “bulbous” type which bordered on the heavy side. A change emerged during the reigns of William and Mary and Queen Anne, till, later, Sheraton gave us examples which, in delicacy, have never been surpassed. Early Stuart work came largely under Flemish influence, but the typical Jacobean “twist” turning, continued through Queen Anne’s reign, gave us a form which has ever since been popular. The nineteenth century failed to produce any new pleasing model, the tendency being to accumulate members without any real meaning. Mass production rather cheapened the craft, furniture makers finding it easier to purchase a set of stock legs than to turn new ones from designs of their own. For this reason it is well to keep before us the old models in which every detail was considered in its relation to the whole piece.

Meghan Bates


Filed under: Charles H. Hayward at The Woodworker
Categories: Hand Tools

Board member David Heim talks about the American Association of Woodturners – 360w360 E.237

360 WoodWorking - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 4:10am
Board member David Heim talks about the American Association of Woodturners – 360w360 E.237

In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking, American Association of Woodturners (AAW) board member David Heim shares the benefits of membership to AAW, discusses an upcoming AAW event, which is held in Kansas City on June 23 – 25 in 2017, and explains what his responsibilities are as a member of the board.

Join 360 Woodworking every Thursday for a lively discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more).

Continue reading Board member David Heim talks about the American Association of Woodturners – 360w360 E.237 at 360 WoodWorking.

Ray Iles came......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 06/22/2017 - 1:09am
My international order came today from Ray Iles. I got it a lot faster than I was expecting it. I wonder if the Brit exit from EU will up the shipping times not to mention will there be any added hassles when it happens.  I got this in the mail and I ordered another thing.

I had posted a query on the Saw Mill Creek site about plow planes. I have the Record 405 (Stanley 45 equivalent) and it has 26 irons. I have only used 3 grooving irons so far. I like it and I don't like it. I am a single purpose use tool type guy and don't mind that. The 405 does a lot of things and is a multipurpose tool. It can be finicky and pain to set sometimes but it does work once those frustrations are dealt with.

I wanted to get some feed back on guys that have used a 405 or 45 and also used the Lee Valley small plane or other plow planes. And as an added bonus, also had used a wooden plow plane. I am letting the 405 go to greener pastures shortly. After reading through the comments, it became clear to me that small LV plow was a favorite. Didn't get any comments on wooden plow planes.

I had seen and fondled the Lie-Nielsen plow plane at the Second Hand Tool gathering in Amana a few years ago. It was a damn good looking plane. Lots of mass with a great presence in the hands. I haven't heard anything more about it since then. I'll probably be dead before it hits the street so I pulled the trigger on the Lee Valley small plow plane. I looked at the Lee Valley big plow plane coming soon but I like the simpler, uncluttered look of the smaller plow plane.

Ken Hatch left a comment saying I wouldn't regret the LV plane. He uses it and he also has experience with a Stanley 45 and 46. I respect his opinion and I pretty much had my mind made up after reading it. I would like to have the LN version but I'm not waiting. I should have the LV maybe by monday. After I get it I will offer my 405 for sale first on the blog and then elsewhere.

the PITA
The interior of the bookcase feels clammy. It is dry to the touch and there isn't any paint getting on my fingertips but it doesn't feel dry. The exterior feels dry, it is rough to the touch and not clammy feeling anywhere. I am going to let this set here for a few days and check what it is like then. Right now it is just pissing me off. I tried sanding it and it was like using an eraser. I was getting a gummy like residue instead of a fine powder.


the shelves are clammy feeling too
 The shelves can hang out with bookcase and dry out some more too. I decided to not chop sockets for the pins. The frame will keep the shelves in place and it's one less thing I have to do.

cleared customs ok
iron for a 5 1/2 and a Preston spokeshave
it's about 2 1/4" wide
almost as thin as the Stanley
The pic I shot of measuring the Stanley iron didn't come out. The Stanley measures a frog hair less than 5/64. That makes the Ray Iles iron a little than a 64th thicker than the Stanley. I'm liking this a lot because I don't buy the thicker irons reduce chatter crap at all.

ground at 25°
don't like this
I do not like hollow ground irons and that is what this is. I will sharpen it and let it stay this way and let subsequent sharpenings remove it.

old Preston iron on the left and new replacement Ray Iles iron on the right
The left one is giving me an illusion that it is bigger than the new Ray Iles but it isn't. They are pretty much the same with a couple of frog hair differences in the length of the slot.


the slot sides and top cutout line up (new on top of the old)

The slot on the Ray Iles is bit longer and the concave slot at the top lines up perfectly with the old iron underneath.

it's too wide for the Preston chamfering spokeshave
I knew this was too big but this is the actual proof is in the pudding.

new spokeshave iron on the left and Preston chamfer iron on the right

the two slot long sides line up
The older iron is about a 8th inch longer, top to bottom. The important thing is the top slots are exactly the same dimensions and line up perfectly.

replacement chamfer iron?
The tall slots aren't the same length but I don't think that would present any problems. The top slot is where the adjuster knob raises and lowers the iron that is the same. Maybe I can find someone to mill the Ray Iles spokeshave iron sides down to match the width of the older iron. If not I will try to do it with some cutoff wheels in my dremel.

just a few spots on the front to touch up

small detail brush
This worked perfectly getting the area around the lateral adjust.

done
The front of frog will be covered so I'm only putting one coat on it. Tomorrow if this feels ok to the touch, I'll sand the face on a flat surface to remove the black paint on it.

For Mike Hamilton: I'm an idiot because I removed your comment when I thought I was publishing it. My apologies for that mind fart.  If I remember you asked if I was going to bake the frog? This is oil based black enamel paint and I won't be baking it. On the flip side of the coin, can you bake this to make it more durable? Now I have a bug in my ear to silence.

Who was Gary Knox Bennett?
answer - he invented the roach clip (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFaot87a7CM)

The Tools of the Ship-builder and the Mast-maker

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 9:30pm

A Virginia pilot boat near the busy entrance to the Chesapeake Bay, 1755. From The Naval Chronicle, Vol. XXXIII.

In 1808 Thomas Jefferson wanted a comfortable chair to rest his aging body. He ordered three Campeachy chairs from New Orleans. The chairs were sent by the most efficient and speedy means of the day: by ship. Unfortunately, the ship was lost at sea. Years later another order was placed, the ship arrived in Richmond, Virginia and Jefferson had his Campeachy chairs (or as we know them Campeche chairs).

From ‘The Book of Trades or Circle of the Useful Arts’ 1837, Glasgow.

From the earliest days of the American colonies carpenters, sawyers, shipwrights and other craftsmen were recruited from Britain and other parts of Europe to build everything for the new settlements. Ships of all sizes were needed to move goods and passengers along the coastline, along rivers and bays. Major coastal and river cities, smaller settlements and plantations all had shipyards to build and repair all manner of boats.

Shipbuilding tools from a 1943 reprint of ‘Skeps Byggeriji eller Adelig Ofnings Tionde Tom’ by Ake Classon Ralamb, 1691. Translation of the Swedish nomenclature by J. Aasland, Jr, Hampton, Virginia.

All the shipbuilding tools should be familiar to the modern shipwright or any woodworker. It is thought that when Ake Ralamb started out publishing his scientific encyclopedia he was not saying these tools are new, rather these are the tools that have been traditionally used for shipbuilding.

Masts were generally made at a separate site from the shipyard and required another set of tools. The complexity of the construction depended on whether or not the mast was made using a single stick.

Mast-making tools in ‘The Elements of Rigging and Seamanship’ by David Steel, 1794. From the Historic Naval Ships Association.

Here is an excerpt on making a single stick mast from ‘Masting, Mast-making and Rigging of Ships- Ninth Edition’ by Robert Kipping, 1864:

If you find that hard to follow, Charles Desmond’s ‘Wooden Ship-Building’ from 1919 has a simplified description of making a spar by essentially the same method:

“The spar is first worked to shape by hewing in the manner shown [1.]

1. Making a spar.

…and when this has been done, and the stick is fair, the sparmaker dubs off the square corners and makes portion of the stick that has to be rounded eight sided. Next he makes it sixteen sided, by again taking off the corners, and after this has been done the stick is rounded and made perfectly smooth [2.]

2. The rounded spar.

Of course as a spar has a rounded taper from butt to point of greatest diameter, and from this point to top, it is necessary that sparmaker “lay on” longitudinal taper lines very accurately and work them.”

If the tree procured for a mast was examined and found not sound, or as the supply of massive mast trees was exhausted, another method was used to make masts. As Robert Kipping phrased it in his treatise, “They [the masts] are therefore composed of several pieces united into one body…seems to fulfill the old adage of “a bundle of sticks that could not be broken when so united.”

The Library of Congress has a short article on the history of the old (and very long) Mast House at the Norfolk Navy Yard. The description of composite mast fabrication using coaks (scarf joints) begins on page 5 and you can find it here.

When our waterfronts were crowded with sailing ships and the wooden masts and yards swayed as though blown by the wind the oft-used “a forest of masts” was a fitting description. Although there aren’t as many wooden ships on the water they are still made, and with tools and methods that haven’t changed much in the last few centuries.

From Rudyard Kipling’s ‘A Truthful Song’

Suzanne Ellison


Filed under: Historical Images
Categories: Hand Tools

Picture This CIX

Pegs and 'Tails - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 6:31pm
I spotted this chest of drawers for sale which was described thusly: […] chest of drawers, circa 1720. […] later inlaid with same period inlay which has been let in to create this stunning piece. Fig. 1. Decorated oak chest … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Roman Workbenches. Why?

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 4:25pm

2-IMG_1228

When I got to inspect the two Roman workbenches at the Saalburg fort outside Frankfurt, Germany, my hands shook so much that I had to take a break. Close contact with ancient woodworking technology unsettles me.

Why do I become a blubbering idiot trying to kiss Kim Shoulders for the first time on the 8th-grade dance floor while they play Little River Band’s “Cool Change?”

It doesn’t have to do with a reverence for pure history. Most historical sites I visit are aesthetically interesting at best. I don’t have an emotional tether to paintings of the Christ child or the architecture around Him. Instead, I get unnerved when I find clues that help me as a furniture maker who is trying to push into the future.

Obvious example: Tail-vise technology. The more I studied workbenches, the more I realized that I didn’t need a tail vise. After shedding the tail vise, my workbenches became simpler and my operations followed suit. When I encounter tail vises at schools and other shops I step aside like they have the bad herpes.

Second example: Staked furniture. Once I understood how the technology worked, the time it took me to build a chair, stool or table was slashed in half (or maybe more).

I honestly and truly think that we are a retrograde society when it comes to woodworking. For much of our time on this earth, almost everything was made from wood plus small bits of iron or steel. Today, most of us can send a text across the planet, but we can’t cleave a piece of wet wood to create an unimaginably strong chair leg.

And that’s what I was trying to explain to my German students at Dictum GmBH last week as we worked together and then drank beer under the Bavarian horse chestnut trees. I don’t want to return to the past. I want to capture what they knew so I can make my march into the future much easier.

— Christopher Schwarz


Filed under: Roman Workbenches, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

The “Cut the Cord” Workshop

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 2:03pm

 

This past weekend, I taught a 2-day workshop at Lie-Nielsen we called “Cut the Cord: Build a Table with Hand Tools”. My goal for the weekend was to instill a pre-industrial mindset and approach into the minds of the 15 students in attendance. The project was a taper-legged table from rough cut white pine (a simplified version of the table in our upcoming "Tables" video in our Apprenticeship series ). They needed to work fast - no time for fussy nitpicking. To set the tone, we looked at some examples of pre-industrial work and then watched a brief early 20th-century film of Swedish woodworkers. They were all blown away at the workmanlike pace these guys kept. Then I sent them to their benches with a stack of lumber.

 

The students worked their butts off. Most of them had never done woodworking like this before. At the end of day one, there was a mountain of shavings that I’m told surpassed any other workshop they’ve had. I was impressed.

 

The heart of this class was learning efficient stock prep with hand tools, working with reference faces, and drawbore mortise-and-tenon joinery. It was fun to see students relieved to find that usually the most efficient way to do each step is also the simplest. I joked about how my approach was “very scientific” and “calculated” as I undercut most everything and ripped wood off with the foreplane.

 

At the end of the second day, many of the students were drawboring their joints. If we had a few more hours, we would have had several standing tables. It seems everyone went home happy and exhausted. They told me they learned so much and were so glad they came. Mission accomplished.

 

I loved this class and am working to refine it to make it even better so that students can get even more out of it. There has been some talk about possibly doing it again next year. No promises but it would be fun.

 

Thanks to Tom and Deneb at Lie-Nielsen for having me. I am honored to be able to teach at such an incredible hub of knowledge and skill. If you can make it out to any of their workshops, I highly recommend it.

- Joshua

 

Categories: Hand Tools

Essential Reading: ‘The Art & Craft of Cabinet-Making’

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 4:06am

denning_opener_IMG_8351

We don’t know much about David Denning except that he wrote four books about woodworking in the late 19th century, was traditionally trained and had strong opinions about the craft. After reading his 1891 classic “The Art & Craft of Cabinet-Making” many times, I imagine he was a Frank Klausz-like character: He knew his stuff and was happy to let the world know his opinions.

Here’s his opinion on antique furniture: “I assert that it is almost impossible to obtain a really genuine unspoiled piece of oak furniture which has (not) had the misfortune to pass through the hands of a dealer or restorer.” Their work is, generally, “not honest.”

Denning disliked iron planes, calling them “toy-like” and “not used by the practical artisan.”

And unlike many other writers, Denning embraced the use of machines in conjunction with hand tools. On the jack plane he said there is “little occasion for it” when machinery is available. And so the planing can begin with “the trying or even the smoothing plane.”

In other words, Denning sat on the precipice between hand tools and machinery in the late 19th century. Unlike other writers, Denning refused to endorse machines as the end-all, and he swerved wildly away from the Luddite path. Denning was, in many ways, like the modern woodworker who has both options available and can make the most of them.

Because of this particular viewpoint, I consider “The Art & Craft of Cabinet-Making” a classic. The book is a thorough explanation of quality furniture making during the Victorian era. Denning covers tools, workshop appliances, joints, assemblies, veneering and installing hardware in excellent detail. He also covers all the major furniture forms of the time and explains how to make them well (and how others make them poorly).

“The Art & Craft of Cabinet-Making” is available on the antique market or in “print on demand” format, a paperback version where the pages are glued together, not sewn.

I am pleased to say that Popular Woodworking Magazine has done a limited press run of the book and it’s a quality job. It’s printed in the U.S. The binding is both sewn and glued. The hardcovers are cloth-wrapped. The price is only $36, which includes domestic shipping.

You can order a copy here. Do not tarry as there is no guarantee they will do a second press run.

— Christopher Schwarz


Filed under: Personal Favorites, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Teaching Dovetailing Skill

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 4:00am
Back in the 1980's, when I took my first class in how to cut a dovetail, we used the following tools: saw, mallet, chisels, pencil, marking gauge, sliding bevel, square, and some clamps. We didn't use a dovetail gauge but set the sliding bevel to the appropriate ratio. We laid out the entire joint with a knife and pencil. I was taught to chop the waste out with a chisel - sawing the waste out wasn't common at that time. The lessons were slow and careful. The hardest part was sawing straight.

More modern instruction might add a fretsaw to the list of tools for removing the waste.

I have two problems with this approach. In the late 18th century thin, fragile, fretsaw blades were hand made, usually by the craftsman. They were not tools you would use for the rough work of chopping waste. The combination square hadn't been invented but wooden squares were common. Pencils not so much. Tools were expensive, and while an apprentice would use the master's tools in the beginning, as you can see in the Joiner and Cabinetmaker, written in 1839, the idea of using lots of specialist tools wasn't common.

I also cannot imagine that the step-by-step instruction that we have today were used. Apprentices learned by paying attention, and mimicking their betters.

In a typical blind dovetail drawer, the pins would have been very narrow and the tails wide. While some folks have written that this was a style and done for aesthetic reasons, I disagree. If you make your tails wide enough, and with tiny pins, it's really easy to waste away the bulk of the waste with a few extra cuts of the dovetail saw. (Note: in the picture above the pencil lines are just there to make sure I cut the tails in the right direction. The lines aren't guide lines for the saw - or straight). Chopping with a narrow chisel to the line then finishes up the job. Regarding the drawer fronts, with the sockets for the tails you can't use a fretsaw for much anyway; a wide chisel makes quick work of the waste. Chopping a space for a tail in a blind mortise is about the same amount of work no matter what the size of the tail.



Dovetailing drawers was considered junior work.

A question: By trying to emulate the sparse 18th century toolkit of an apprentice or journeyman, and cutting out some of the extra tools and steps, would it be easier to teach a novice how to do this basic joint?

The answer would seem to hinge on the ability to consistently saw straight coupled with accurate layout. Everything else is pretty easy. But perhaps all activities needing hand eye coordination are similar? Golf, Basketball, Ping-Pong: All of these sports are about practice, not specific instructions for throwing a ball in each individual case. Once you master the basic hand motions, instruction can make you more efficient, and planning can make you more effective.

Back to the workshop.

If I asked you to fill up a glass with water and walk across the room with it, it wouldn't be a big deal. Humans as a group tend to try to stay level and straight. The same thing is true with woodworking. As a test, I asked some people in our store - both people who aren't woodworkers and those who are - to try to cut straight. We didn't mark out anything. The cut needed to be square on the top and sides. In the photo above, the marked cuts are by one person who had never done this before. The first cut was with a gent's saw. It's off a little. The next cuts were with our dovetail saw and they were spot on. Finally, the last cut was made with the gent's saw, but with a little instruction on how to hold the saw. It's dead on too. (The other cuts in the wood were made by different people in the past weeks mostly to test saws and don't have anything to do with this experiment.)

I'm wondering if the difficulty beginners have in cutting dovetails is that we think too much. The adult education tradition for woodworking comes out of school instruction, often teaching a roomful of students who are mandated to be there. This is very different from teaching a small group of adults who WANT to be there.

I am working hard on offering a class in basic joinery that relies on amplifying skills that we all already have - like carrying a glass of water without spilling.

So far the class tool kit consists of a saw, a square, a marking knife, a marking gauge, and a chisel or two. I honestly believe that our dovetail saw makes it easier for someone to saw straight, but I also don't want to require everyone who takes our class to buy one of our saws if they don't want to. But a gent's saw - which is the next easiest thing - is affordable. I'm still working on the schedule, pondering whether it should be just a class in cutting a dovetail or a series of classes over several Saturdays (or weekday evenings) in which we grind, sharpen, learn to saw, and then make a dovetailed box.


By the way our last two all-dayclasses, Modern Furniture Construction - Making a Kitchen Cabinet and a Building a Zig-Zag Chair went great and we are doing a second section on Modern Furniture Construction - Making a Kitchen Cabinet on July 8th. There a couple of seats still open click here for details.

On July 15th, I am repeating my popular free class Sharpening 101. You are all invited.

a minor set back......

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 06/21/2017 - 12:41am
The humidity is keeping up with the Jones but the heat isn't too bad. Summer starts tomorrow with the solstice happening at 1224 (AM) EDT. With the humidity we have had already and the weather being out of whack world wide, I think we are in for a toasty summer. My cats are a good indication of what is going on because they become more and more sedentary and sleep more with increasing heat and humidity. They eat less but they don't neglect keeping up the deposits in the litter box.

one coat
 The yoke slips over the groove in the adjuster knob freely. I feel that if I put on another coat that it could be too much. I'm not sure how long this paint will last once the plane is back together and in use.

one more here
There is a smudge by my finger and another on the bottom seat. One more coat on here will take care of them and be ok for the rest. Tomorrow I'll strip the painters tape off the front and touch up the spots there.

layout for the new shelf pin pockets
These aren't really needed because the frame will be in front of the shelf keeping it from coming forward. That is what the purpose of these pin sockets are for. Sounds a bit redundant.


the length isn't critical, the width is
I just thought of not having to do this as I was completing the layout. I put this aside after I did the layout and I'll think on whether or not to chop new shelf pin sockets.

tale of two drill bits
I have to clean out the holes I drilled and then painted over. The bit on the left is great for drilling a clean hole with a flat bottom. The one on the right will be used for cleaning the paint out of the holes.

not too too bad   this is the worse one
The holes look relatively clean considering how many coats of paint I put on the interior.

hand drill excels at this
You could use a powered hand drill (and I have) but the hand drill allows for a slower start and less chance of having the drill dancing all over the interior. You place the drill over the hole and turn the bit in reverse. This cleans up the top of the hole and registers the bit dead center on the hole. Once the hole top rim is established again, run the drill forward and all the paint comes out.

set the bit on what is there
Don't go nutso trying to center the bit because you can't see the outer rim of the hole. Running the bit in reverse cleans the rim and bit drops into the hole, centered.

turned in reverse a couple of turns
going forward
Most of the paint comes out now and you have a nice clean hole again.

two cleaned holes on the left and holes to be cleaned on the right
doing the back wall holes
I had to remove the side handle and I still had room between the wall and the drill. Going in reverse wasn't a problem but going forward was. The drill wanted to twist to the right and bang into the back wall. It was awkward holding the top of drill with basically my fingertips and stopping that from happening.

almost had a blow out
This surprised me because I used a depth stop to drill all the holes 5/16" deep in 3/4" thick stock. As soon as I saw wood with the drill I stopped. Guess I didn't stop quick enough on this hole.

tweezers
The drill didn't pull out everything. What was left behind I was able to get with the tweezers.

no blowouts or partial ones on the second side
the minor setback
The plan was to scrape the interior, sand it, vacuum it, and apply the first of two cots of water based poly. I got the scraping and vacuuming done. I'll have to paint parts of the interior again because the scraper pulled a blob of paint off. Along with the surprise from the scraper, I left smudges and dirty finger marks all over the interior. I'll have to get some gloves so I don't dirty this up again.

the last time painting (maybe)
I did the sides and got paint in most of the freshly cleaned holes so I'll be doing the hand drill dance steps again. I also painted the top and bottom to cover my smudges but I didn't paint the back. We'll see what shakes out tomorrow with this.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Maine is the most heavily forested US state. Who is in tenth place?
answer - North Carolina


The Blacksmith Shop of Mt Vernon

MVFlaim Furnituremaker - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 6:52pm

Spending some time in Washington DC last week, my wife and I went to Mt. Vernon to visit George Washington’s estate. After we bought our tickets to the view of the house, we had some time to kill, so we walked around the grounds to see what else was around.

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On the right side of the estate near the near the back, was the blacksmith shop. It appeared to be about 15′ x 20′ in size.

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We arrived in front and saw one of the blacksmiths making a large hinge. You can see how soaked his shirt is as it was nearly 90 degrees that day. He must lose twenty pounds during the summer working in there.

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Here’s a shot of the bench with a scrap iron on the ground waiting for use.

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Here are some of the items the blacksmiths make at the estate. What’s really cool is they make axe heads and other tools.

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On the side of the shop sat a bin full of coal which stank to high heaven. The smell of burning coal is not a pleasant thing.

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I looked around the other buildings for a carpentry or cabinet shop, but found nothing. I find it odd that Washington didn’t have one on his estate somewhere. The only thing I saw was display case inside the museum with this panel raising plane.

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HP-14 Scraper Plane Details from Bridge City Tool Works…

Bridge City Tools - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 4:25pm

Drivel Starved Nation!

I received lots of great questions regarding our Hp-14 Scraper Plane and will attempt to answer them here in this Totally Awesome and Worthless Blog!

Before I answer them, here are a couple of pics of the final design. The pre-order window will open this week and we will make this in two versions, the HP-14 Scraper Plane, and the HP-14 SS Scraper Plane. The later features stainless steel sides as opposed to champagne anodized aluminum and we will only make the SS version once…

HP14 Aluminum with Logo Final 700

HP14 SS Side Profile on Gray 700

HP14 SS 700

This is a really cool tool and we are excited to get going on it!

Now for the questions…

Q. What is the HP-12?

A. It is a tool that will be announced later this year. It’s been sitting “in the can” for almost 2 years now. I have been busy on some other things that has kept us from releasing it.

Q. What is the HP-13?
A. I don’t know… 13 is an unlucky number so it may never exist.

Q. Is the iron crowned?
A. No, and you don’t want it crowned, a scraper plane is designed to make a s linear scrape in wild wood, or in cases where you know you are going to sand the surface after scraping. (You should be able to start with 220 grit after using the HP-14)

Q. Is there a way to “bow” the blade like a cabinet scraper?
A. No, see answer above.

Q. What is the width of the iron?
A. Approximately 51mm.

Q. What is the steel of the iron and hardness of the iron?
A. A2 tool steel hardened to 48-50 Rc.

Q. What is the factory grind of the iron and how thick is it?
A. 45 degrees and it is approximately 2.4mm thick.

Q. Will the HP-14 come with a burnisher?
A. No. (we use the shank of a screw driver)

Q. Will the HP-14 come with depth skids?
A. No. There is no use for skids on this type of plane.

Q. How do you know when the iron gets dull?
A. Oh, you will know. You go from consistent shavings to dust. Dust is not good.

Q. Does the iron get how like a cabinet scraper.
A. Yes, but your hands are far removed from the edge so it is not a concern.

Q. How thick is the sole?
A. Approximately 8mm

Q. Do I need to worry about the sides coming off because of those little black screws?
A. No. The sides are actually press fitted to the sole via metal dowel pins. The screws are insurance and add an industrial aesthetic that I like.

That’s the Q and A so far.

To set up the tool, set it on a flat surface. Pitch the frog at approximately a 60 degree angle and lock in place. Next, you insert the iron (after rolling a hook and with the bevel facing the rear tote) and allow it to seat against the flat surface. We recommend pressing down on the iron firmly while tightening the cap screw. This typically creates a minute protrusion of the hook. Make a test cut.

There is not a depth adjustor on scraper planes, so if you are not getting shavings, either the hook is incorrect or the iron is not protruding from the bottom of the sole. If the latter is the case, repeat the set-up process mentioned above but shim the bottom of the plane off the bench surface with two pieces of thin paper.

When properly set-up, you should get shavings (as opposed to dust) 99.99 per cent of the time REGARDLESS of grain direction. Scraper planes are a must-have tool for serious makers and we think the HP-14 Scraper Plane will exceed your expectations and those of your heirs for generations to come.

The rear tote is a tour-de-force of tool making craftsmanship. Investment cast stainless steel, the tote is polished to a mirror finish and the interior cavities are powder coated jet-black. Lastly, the sides are grained and the tote is fastened to the sole via two stainless steel cap screws.

We think the HP-14 is a real head turner that will make wood grain shake in fear! Pre-order email will arrive sometime later this week.

-John

The post HP-14 Scraper Plane Details from Bridge City Tool Works… appeared first on John's Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

The Galbert Caliper and my Pigheadedness

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 1:46pm

I don’t care for gizmos, jigs and silly accessories. So even though I spend a fair amount of time on the lathe, I resisted purchasing the Galbert Caliper for many years. In its place, I used go/no-go gauges, box wrenches and traditional turning calipers (which are the worst). But while at Handworks this year, I broke down and gave Peter $60 for a Galbert Caliper. Today I put it to […]

The post The Galbert Caliper and my Pigheadedness appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Ripplin’ 3

The Barn on White Run - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 6:29am

With the “proof of concept” established for the first ripple molding cutter it was time to launch into Model #2.  I had my own ideas about its configuration and welcomed similar thoughts from all the others.

 

Our first step was to install the 8-foot thread screw which was the driver for the moving cutter-head to go up and down the rails.  While Travis and John were working on the rails/frame Sharon was drilling and tapping the lignum vitae “bolt” that was attached to the underside of the cutterhead carriage.

In short order we had as assembly with a set of tracks for the cutterhead to ride on, and a platform for the cutterhead centered in the frame.  The error in this concept became readily apparent once we started to lay out the bed for the workpiece and the cutter head itself.  There simply was not enough room for everything to fit there.

Back to the drawing board, which we flogged constantly throughout the week.

In short order we determined that an off-center location for the drive screw was going to work just fine and once again we were off and running.

While this was ongoing Sharon got the bug to make a new cutting iron to match one of the samples she found most fetching.

Meanwhile I was attending to a problem that became apparent when we were trying to get things working — the legs needed to be splayed in both directions, so I spent some time re-cutting the shoulders of the legs.

With that we were looking forward with excitement to making the new machine run like a champ.

Shaw’s (re)Patent

Je ne sai quoi Woodworking - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 5:50am

25/5/2017

One day in May while sitting in my shop at the end of a long day sipping usquebaugh I found myself staring at this so-called Shaw’s Patent no. 5 Jack plane of mine. It is the Jack plane that I use for heavy stock removal, which means it ends up on the receiving end of some significant elbow grease. As a result, the plane tends to reciprocate the well intended elbow grease with fervent vesication of that part of my hand that flirts with the ribbed edge of the main casting.  It got me thinking that the plane could possibly be modified to amend this particular quirk.

You can read a post on how I restored it when I initially got my discombobulated mitts on it.

As you can see here, the slight design glitch with this Sargent plane is twofold. There is a lot of wasted space between the top of the tote and the lateral adjuster. Also the bottom end of the tote slopes downwards, which has the effect that the side of one’s hand tends to end up on the rib of the main casting. Thus a combinations of these two inadequacies coerce the hand of the user into a position much lower than what is needed.

As you can see in the example below, the bottom part of the tote on this Lie-Nielsen low angle Jack plane does not slope down, but runs parallel to the sole of the plane. This design element stops the hand from sliding down too far. I thought that the Shaw’s Patent could benefit from a tote that employs the same strategy. Together with that I could utilize the dead space between the top of the tote and the lateral adjuster by lengthening the tote, which would also aid the user’s hand to ride higher.

I found a piece of Kaapse Swarthout, that would not suffice for any other purpose. This is by far my favourite indigenous species for producing totes.

It was quite a mission to fashion a tote that would fit the plane and at the same time tick the desired design tweaks. I used a combination of the original tote, the Lie-Nielsen tote, and documents on Stanley totes to accomplish the task.

The final product looks like this. You can see how the top of the tote is now much closer to the lateral lever and the bottom of it has a parallel section to hold the user’s hand up. Another neat little trick I discovered is to cut a leather washer to sit between the sole of the tote and the main casting. It makes a huge difference to the feel of the plane when using it. The difference is hard to explain, but try it and you will know what I mean.

The changes to the tote also necessitated a tweak to the length of the tote bolt. Unfortunately it is a change in the more challenging direction i.e. making it longer.

While I was at it I also changed the knob. I prefer a flat section at the top of the knob for my thumb when gripping the front end of the plane with the rest of my fingers on the sole acting as a fence.

The final adjustment I made was to file down the part of the rib in question by about 1 mm and rounded it. After all that the Shaw’s (re)Patent works like a dream. If you prefer woodworking rather than tool tweaking, I suggest that it might be better to buy a Lie-Nielsen plane from the start.

Hide-Away Furniture

360 WoodWorking - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 5:45am
Hide-Away Furniture

Two years ago this month, I posted a blog about transforming furniture; pieces that open and expand to become more functional and look way more ominous. This table, while not a true transformer, fits more into the Hide-away furniture category.

As I walked through a local antique mall – generally that means junk shop, but there are occasional nuggets to be discovered – I ran across a chunky table. Yes, there are hinges at the middle of its top.

Continue reading Hide-Away Furniture at 360 WoodWorking.

Variations on a theme

Giant Cypress - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 3:48am

Here are two planes that are designed to do the same thing: cut a 3/4″ groove into a piece of wood. Both of them are designed to cut across the grain, as they have nickers for scoring the wood. But the implementation of the nickers is quite different between the two planes.

This a closeup of the bottom plane. You can see the nicker on the left, which will score the wood ahead of the cutting blade and the chipbreaker. There’s a matching nicker on the opposite side. This arrangement of a pair of nickers ahead of the cutting blade is pretty common in Japanese planes that are used to cut across the grain.

This is a closeup of the top plane. Here it might look like the cutting blade is on the bottom and a chipbreaker that is advanced too far is on the top, but something else is happening here. What looks like the chipbreaker are actually nickers.

This is the complete assembly of the cutting blade, a pair of nickers that rest directly on the cutting blade, and a chipbreaker that fits between the nickers.

Close up of the business end. Here you can see more clearly how the nickers protrude past the main cutting blade.

Here are the separate parts. From the top, the chipbreaker, the nickers, and the cutting blade.

Clearly, the manufacturer of this plane went to a lot of trouble. Not only are the nickers more trouble to manufacture than a pair of separate nickers, but the nickers are held together with a pin so that they can pivot like a pair of scissors.

I have no idea why anyone would go to the trouble of making a plane with nickers in this fashion. In the years that I’ve been looking at Japanese planes, I have never seen one with this sort of nicker/blade set up. But it is cool. Maybe it just goes to show that there’s always someone in woodworking that’s looking to come up with a different way of doing things, and that just like in western woodworking, there isn’t a single way of doing Japanese woodworking.

the last day........

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 12:54am
I feel like a condemned man awaiting his last meal. Tonight is the last time I'll see my grandson until maybe xmas. Him and his mother are flying back to North Carolina tomorrow so I'll have to get by with the pics she emails me. By the time I get home tomorrow there will be nothing but an empty crib and high chair to remind me of him.

I had to go back to the shop tonight and reshoot my pics.  It seems you can shoot as many pics as you want without a sim card. The camera doesn't give a warning that there isn't one installed. There was only shot I couldn't get again so it wasn't too bad.

done
This is the pic I couldn't get again - the one before I painted them. There was no joy when I looked at the shelves tonight. I could still see some streaks of the gray primer through the white. The bottom was worse than the top. I put on the final coat of white on the top and bottom. The front  ledger strip is getting painted a different color so I could rest the shelves on that while they dried.

I am not painting these anymore. This is the last coat I am putting on the shelves. Period. And I am thinking of going to back to oil based paint because it hides better and covers better than latex does. This final statement doesn't apply to the exterior of the bookcase. However, I'm betting the ranch that it will take the same 3 coats to cover.


painted the frog
If I do anymore of these rehabs, I'll be brushing the black paint on. I like using the brush over spraying.

yoke painted too
My fingers didn't get too much paint on them doing this. I had to hold it while I painted one half of it. I tried to brush it hanging on the wire and got nowhere with that.

one coat?
Both ends of the yoke have wear points to consider. The forked end fits in a groove on the adjuster knob and too much paint build up may cause binding. The other end with the tab lowers and raises the iron/chipbreaker. I will check the forked part on the adjuster knob tomorrow and gauge how paint build up I have to deal with.

still working
This is a cheapo brush as you can tell by the stamped ferrule. However, the brush part is working very well on the plane parts. I'm surprised that is has lasted this long and it still has a lot of life left in it.

from Wally World $4.95
With tax the ten brushes came to about 53 cents each. There are a few small thin brushes in there that I'll use it to paint some of the tight areas on the frog face around the lateral adjust lever.

Time to go spend a little time with Myles before he goes to bed for the night.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What auto maker made the first armored tanks used by US troops in battle during WWI (september 1918)?
answer - French auto maker Renault no american made tanks were used in WWI

Wood Auction This Friday

David Barron Furniture - Tue, 06/20/2017 - 12:10am

There is an a large workshop clearance auction this Friday 23rd June at Ewbanks Auction House in Guildford. Above is a large board of Cuban Mahogany. You ca view the full catalogue here.
https://www.ewbankauctions.co.uk/index.php?option=com_bidders&auction_id=375


Lots of veneer in thick as well as thin, ideal for restoration.


Some lovely true Lignum Vitae.


 A very nice board of Indian rosewood and below a very rare log of Brazilian kingwood, beautiful stuff! I have resisted the temptation to attend, I have enough wood to last a lifetime, or more!


Categories: Hand Tools

Plane Correction Update

Journeyman's Journal - Mon, 06/19/2017 - 4:04pm

I posted previously a plan for 1 1/8″  hollow and round plan, I realised I made a mistake on the arc and have corrected it.  I was 1° off, my apologies for that, so those who downloaded it scrap it and download this version.

15 hollow A3 Imperial

15 round A3 Imperial


Categories: Hand Tools

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