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Meanwhile, back in Ohio…
I was walking in the woods one day, as I am wont to do, when I came across this fruit on the ground:
I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve never seen a butternut tree around here, but this looks suspiciously like a butternut (Juglans cinerea). I looked up at the trees over the spot where I found the nut, but there were definitely no butternuts (or black walnuts, either), although there were several hickories.
A typical hickory fruit is more spherical, such as this shagbark hickory (Carya ovata):
Mockernut (C. tomentosa) fruit are similar, but they’re distinguishable when you open them up:
The mockernut, on the left, has a large kernel surrounded by thin flesh, while the shagbark on the right has a small kernel and very thick flesh.
I opened up the mystery nut, and on the inside it looks very much like a mockernut, albeit aberrantly shaped:
It’s definitely not a butternut, as the shell of a butternut is deeply grooved, much like this black walnut (J. nigra):
Here’s another hickory; I believe that it is a bitternut (C. cordiformis), but I can’t get near enough to the tree to pick one off and look at it closely:
There’s another kind of hickory around here that I didn’t mention back in the June installment, because I hadn’t come across an example. But now I have:
The shellbark hickory (C. laciniosa) has bark that’s peely like shagbark, but in smaller pieces. I probably would have passed right by this tree had I not noticed the fruit. The fruit of the shellbark is round and huge, almost the size of a tennis ball. Unfortunately, this one was standing in a swamp, and I was not willing to search for a fallen nut in the fetid water. (I will only go so far for you, dear reader.)
Other trees setting fruit in August are black cherries (Prunus serotina):
And yellow buckeye (Aesculus flava):
The fruit of Ohio buckeye (A. glabra) is more spherical, and sparsely covered with short spines.
Late summer is mushroom season in the Appalachian forests. There are mushrooms at other times of year, too, but the peak is in July and August. One of the most sought after is the golden chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius):
This is one of the few wild mushrooms that I’m willing to pick and eat. There are a few inedible and even poisonous species that are vaguely similar, but a telltale identifying characteristic of the chanterelle is the presence of small ridges, in place of true gills, on the underside of the cap:
This is a destroying angel (Amanita virosa):
You can probably guess from the name that it’s one you shouldn’t eat. It and its close relatives are the species most often responsible for mushroom-related fatalities. Its toxicity is especially insidious because by the time you experience any symptoms, your liver and kidneys are pretty much gone.
The destroying angel is pure white, but other Amanita mushrooms are not. Like the other members of its genus, there is a distinct “veil” on the stem, and the base of the mushroom appears to emerge from an egg:
Here’s another veiled mushroom:
I wasn’t able to figure this one out; maybe Amanita or Lepiota. I don’t think I’ll eat it.
This one is a bolete; I believe that it is Gyroporus castaneus, the chestnut bolete, but I’m not 100% sure:
I didn’t get a good photo of the underside, but in place of gills, boletes are covered with tiny, close-packed pores.
Many Russula mushrooms, such as this short-stemmed russula (R. brevipes), won’t kill you but are not particularly good to eat:
Interestingly, they can become infected by a parasitic fungus, Hypomyces lactifluorum, which causes them to turn bright red, whereupon they’re known as lobster mushrooms. Apparently, in this form they are much better tasting (I’ve never tried), with a seafood-like taste (appropriately enough). I’ve seen lobster mushrooms in these woods before, but couldn’t find any this year.
The stalked scarlet cup (Sarcoscypha occidentalis) is tiny, but is so brightly colored that it’s easy to pick out, growing on fallen twigs on the forest floor:
Not all mushrooms look like mushrooms. The jellied false coral (Tremellodendron pallidum) is closely associated with oak trees:
We can’t have a false coral mushroom without also having a true coral mushroom, so here’s a crested coral (Clavulina cristata):
I found these mushrooms growing on some hardwood mulch in my front yard:
It took quite a bit of research, but I think I’ve correctly identified them as Hohenbuehelia mastrucata, the wooly oyster mushroom.
I’ve avoided writing about grasses, mostly because there just aren’t that many that grow in the woods. They’re also usually pretty hard to tell apart. But one common grass that grows deep in the shade and is easy to identify is eastern bottlebrush grass (Elymus hystrix):
I found this flower growing in my yard:
It’s an orchid, spring lady’s tresses (Spiranthes vernalis). Despite the name, it often blooms in late summer. While researching it online, I discovered that there was no record for this species for Athens County in the USDA PLANTS database, so I submitted photos and other documentation, and now there is.
I took the above photo ten years ago, and I haven’t seen it blooming since. I don’t know if the plant is still around or not. It’s very inconspicuous when it’s not blooming.
After a couple of slow wildflower months, activity begins to pick up again in August. Because it’s still pretty dark in the woods, most woodland-associated wildflowers are found either in open spaces within the woods, or along the margins.
There are many, many species of goldenrod (Solidago), and they can be very tricky to tell apart. One of the earliest to bloom is the aptly-named early goldenrod (S. juncea):
It’s hard to tell from the photo, but this one is easy to identify by its narrow leaves without toothed margins, along with small offshoot leaves that grow out from the bases of the main leaves.
The widespread goldenrod that we see along roadsides and in open fields is tall goldenrod (S. altissima). It’s sometimes called Canada goldenrod, but that name is also used for S. canadensis. You’re probably aware that there are many plants that have been imported from elsewhere into North America, and that have turned out to be extremely invasive. It works both ways, as Canada goldenrod has wreaked havoc in Europe and Asia, even leading to the extinction of several species in China.
The common evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) grows in grassy openings in the woods:
The Carolina horsenettle (Solanum carolinense) is a member of the nightshade family, and shares the same five-petaled “beaked” flowers that all nightshades have:
Look closely, and you can see the thorns covering its stems and the undersides of its leaves. All parts of the plant are poisonous, but the tomato-like fruits are the only part that might kill you.
I’ve mostly let nature take over the yard, and as a result, tall ironweed (Vernonia altissima) has started showing up:
At first, the deer would munch off the leaves before the plants got very far along, but now there are enough of the plants that I get lots of flowers. And it really is tall; this particular plant reaches well above my head.
It’s a stretch to call butterfly milkweed (Aclepias tuberosa) a woodland wildflower, but it’s one of my favorites, so you get a photo anyway:
– Steve Schafer
Filed under: Uncategorized
I spend most of my time in the house, where my shop is, hunched over the bench, worried about bumps or awkward curves in my carving, thinking this new batch of varnish really isn't the right color. Sometimes I'm practicing tunes, wondering if I'll ever learn how to play the fiddle.
It's nice to quit for the day, step outside, and see something that just is what it is. Knocks me down a gear or two, and that's a good thing.
About two years ago, my wife was planning a family get together at our home. She asked me if I had anything to use as a table for extra seating. I mentioned we could get two sawhorses, a sheet of plywood and throw a table cloth on it. I am from rural North Carolina so this is a more than adequate type of table. Of course if you have any faith in Mr. Schwarz’s research, it has been an acceptable form of table for may other folks as well for centuries.
My wife would have none of it; a couple days later she came in with a blow-molded plastic table with metal legs from one of the big box stores. It was an abomination. The folding legs worked OK, it was not terribly heavy, but it was just wrong. It looked like very-near future landfill material. It made it through the family gathering but did get me to thinking about something that would serve the same purpose but made of wood.
After after some thought, I came up with a trestle table that is assembled with wedges. The base is held together with four wedged tusk tenons and the top is attached to the base with four tapered dowels that work like removable drawbores. It can be assemble or broken down in a minute or so, with no tools other than a mallet or hammer and can be stored in a closet.
The base is made of yellow pine construction lumber with oak feet. The top is of white pine with breadboard ends. It’s strong, stable, not too heavy and can be set up quickly when needed. Or, it can be left assembled and used daily as this one is.
I filmed a video on making this table, “Building the Collapsible Trestle Table” that is available at Wood and Shop’s store (here) as a digital download or DVD, preview (here). The video was filmed and edited by Joshua Farnsworth (considering the substandard talent he had to work with on these projects, he works miracles with video) who I also filmed two previous projects, “Building the Portable Moravian Workbench” and “Building the Shaker Candle Stand”.
— Will Myers
Filed under: Uncategorized
This is an excerpt from “The Wordworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years: Volume I” published by Lost Art Press.
The back iron of the plane is of the utmost importance. It will often happen that, because it has not been given proper attention, the plane will not work properly, or possibly not work at all.
The function of the back iron is to control the condition of the shaving that the plane makes. Not that one minds what happens to the shavings, but that, in being removed, they have their effect on the surface of the wood. The power of the arms expended in making shavings is shared between cleaving off the part of the wood from the solid mass and in destroying its stiffness as it passes up into the mouth of the plane. A shaving would not pass comfortably up into the mouth of the plane if it were not fractured on its outside at fairly regular intervals, and it is the function of the back iron to do the fracturing.
The breaking off of the shaving not only facilitates the removal of the shaving from the plane, but it does something that is even more important; it destroys the strength of the grain of the shaving, so that the natural tendency for the part that is removed to split off cleanly is checked.
To explain this by analogy, if a slice of a length of deal were chopped with an axe, the fact of the axe acting as a wedge would largely cleave off the piece as at A, Fig. 1. If the part already separated were snapped across by the introduction of a sort of back iron, the liability to split would be greatly lessened, as at B, Fig. 1. If we apply this illustration to the cutting iron and back iron of a plane, we shall see that the work of the back iron is to reduce the tendency to split.
This fracturing takes up a larger percentage of the energy expended than will at first be appreciated. As a consequence, the back iron is set close to the cutting edge only when the mixed nature of the grain renders it specially liable to tear out. Thus, quite a lot depends upon so arranging the back iron that it will give the results required with the most economical expenditure of time and labour. Time spent in planing can be very wasteful.
In planing off stout shavings of deal, the back iron is set well back, say, a full 1∕16 in. If the back iron were 1∕4 in. up, the curl in the shaving would not be sufficient and the grain might split out; probably a bare 1∕8 in. will be the utmost at any time that it will pay to keep the back iron up. One-sixteenth in. will, in practice, be satisfactory for an average run of work, especially so far as the jack plane is concerned. This distance will, however, be too much for material that is inclined to tear out, especially as the finishing stages are approaching. In fact, for a piece of curly grained mahogany, the back iron should be about 1∕64 in. only from the cutting edge.
A further important point regarding the back iron will be that there must be no flaws in it, for in the course of time the impact of the shavings against it is liable to cause this defect. With planes that are finely set, a certain slight jaggedness will at length appear along the edge of the back iron. This should be corrected with a fine file.
The back iron must also fit close down to its cutting iron when it is screwed in place; if there is the slightest space anywhere shavings will clog so that the plane will work both slowly and badly. Another point to remember is that the back iron should be a trifle round, so that the distance back from the cutting edge is parallel (for the edges of all cutting irons must also be slightly round).
— Meghan Bates
Filed under: Charles H. Hayward at The Woodworker
I’ve recently completed a handful of campaign pieces and have some extras I can sell. All three pieces were built as part of articles I wrote for Popular Woodworking Magazine, and so I am selling them at a discount. I don’t want these sitting around.
As always, all pieces are made and finished entirely by me. No subcontractors. Even the leatherwork. All prices include shipping in the United States. International customers are welcome, but shipping will be quite expensive.
All pieces are first-come. If you want one, send me a message through my personal site. Ask all the questions you like. But the first person to say “I want it,” gets it. I take PayPal, checks and mutant chickens as payment.
Walnut Campaign Stool, SOLD
This is about as nice a campaign stool as I’ve made. The legs are turned from air-dried Tennessee walnut. The black leather is English-made bridle leather. The tri-bolt is from Lee Valley. This stool includes a black leather carrying strap, which cinches the legs when the stool is folded up. Approximately 17” high. Shellac finish.
Maple Campaign Stool, PENDING
This campaign stool was made in the flavor of my pieces from “The Anarchist’s Design Book.” It features hard maple legs that are tapered octagons. The black leather is English-made bridle leather. The tri-bolt is raw steel made from off-the-rack components. Approximately 17” high. Shellac finish.
Curly Oak Bookstand, PENDING
This clever campaign bookstand fold flat and telescopes open. It features solid brass hand-filed hinges and locks. The leather is brown latigo from Pennsylvania. This is based on an original 19th century piece from Mascart & Cie in England. The piece folds from about 14” wide to more than 20”. Height (unfolded) is 14”. Finish is shellac.
You can complain about my prices (too high/too low), using this link.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Campaign Furniture, Uncategorized
This past Friday it seemed, immersed in a unique silence of sorts that slowly descended on the workshop, men and women gathered around my workbench. My tools were sharp and ready to task and I watched the gathering shuffle onto their stools to find comfortable positions. To describe this sense of remarkable quiet would be […]
Before I went to the shop I balanced my check book and tried to think of what I wanted to get accomplished today. When I got to the workbench I still had not made up my mind on what to do. So I puttered and doodled and wandered aimlessly around the shop. I got a few little things done but still no focus of what is the next project.
|finished the libella first|
|inside corner is still 90 - glued it up and set it aside|
|working on Miles's #6|
|prepping the plane body for paint|
|taping off the sides and bottom|
|strops ready to be glued|
|could have used this|
|I'm using hide glue|
|my current strops|
|3 strops cooking away until tomorrow|
|painted the frog|
|looks better doesn't it?|
|good even coat from toe to heel|
|original plastic bag and rust paper|
|this partial sticker isn't going to survive this clean up|
|sandpaper did diddly|
|mineral spirits bath time|
|time to try something new|
|drilling out the wood that is left|
|the two wedges|
|traced the outline|
|my plumb bob string options|
Did anyone forget to turn the clocks back for the idiotic DST shift?
He died at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in Feb 1909. Who was he?
answer - the great Apache leader, Geronimo
We just received word from our printer that “Carving the Acanthus Leaf” by Mary May shipped to our warehouse yesterday, two weeks ahead of schedule.
That means our warehouse will receive the books next week and we should be able to start shipping out pre-publication orders at the end of next week or so. As a result, the special pre-publication offer will end on Nov. 13. So if you want a free pdf of the book in addition to the hardcover copy, order before then. After Nov. 13, the pdf will cost extra.
Double Book-release Party
We are holding a special book-release party for “Carving the Acanthus” and “From Truths to Tools” on Dec. 9 at the Lost Art Press storefront in Covington, Ky. Mary May and George Walker will be there to sign books, give presentations on their work and answer your questions. We’ll post details on this free and fun event in the next couple weeks. So save the date.
Next up for Lost Art Press
We have two books that are now being designed: Richard Jones’s opus on wood technology (still wrestling with the title on that one) and Joshua Klein’s book on Jonathan Fisher, “With Hands Employed Aright.” We hope to have both of these books sent to the printer by the end of the year.
A little farther down the pipeline: Jögge Sundqvist’s “Sloyd in Wood” and my greatly expanded edition of “Roman Workbenches.” Both are almost ready for the designer. It looks like 2018 is going to be busy.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Carve the Acanthus with Mary May, From Truths to Tools, Uncategorized
|new sash lift came in|
|crap on the right|
|much better looking now|
|for Miles toolbox|
|out of the box|
|can't get a fresher or newer iron than this|
|back side of the iron|
|converts to a chisel plane - the only spot on the plane with rust|
|is that a shim?|
|outside edge is square|
|what wood is it?|
|15" on the left, 12" on the right|
|maker of the 12" square|
|inside brass plates|
|not square on the in or out side edges|
|checking the outside edge - the bottom|
|the top runs out|
|the inside bottom - this looks promising here|
|runs in at the top|
|6mm iron holder|
|a little more than half the iron is in the holder|
|I'm going to glue it here|
|labeled it before I glued it in the box|
|carefully laid out my half laps this time|
|wee bit of crap at the bottom|
|cleaned both of them with two swipes of the tenon plane|
|my leg spread|
|nutso glue up with hide glue|
What US college has the oldest medical school?
answer - Univ of Pennsylvania
Guys, I’m really sorry, but wordpress didn’t publish the link. I set it to auto schedule publish, but I learned now that it needs to be manually linked under the category.
Just in case it disappears here is the download link
Glancing light is a great tool for violin making. With it, you can see how many (many, many) bumps one has on a surface, and it can even direct you towards how to remove them. As I stepped outside the other evening, near sunset, I noticed these autumn leaves on our carport floor. Note the shadows cast by these not-quite-flat leaves.
I decided to try my hand at making a Hardanger fiddle. With some online research over the years, a plan from the Guild of American Luthiers, and a photocopy of the English translation of Sverre Sandvik's "Vi byggjer hardingfele", I decided to plunge in. Since I expect I'll have enough problems with the basic mechanics, I decided to simplify some of the decorative details, such as the scroll. Instead of the traditional dragon, I wanted something like a canoe prow. To get things uniform, I followed the Lancet arc, here described in "By Hand & Eye" by Geo. R. Walker and Jim Toplin.
It's a decent book, with practical methods for creating shapes in spaces. My one quibble with the book is that the authors imply, maybe even state, they are not measuring when using a divider or a compass. While it's true they are not reading a number off a ruler or tape measure, and then not using written math to divide or multiply, a divider is a elegant and exacting way to lay out work. It is measuring, with extreme accuracy and precision -- assuming your divider or compass stays tight.
Their book is worth having.
In the top right hand corner you will see a tab called “HANDWORK Magazine” Don’t click on it just over your mouse over it and a drop down menu will appear. Choose whichever issue you wish to download.
Mike and I have resisted for a while now (too many commitments already) but finally feel able to commit to periodic podcasting. You can listen to the first episode above and look for future installments here on the blog or at our SoundCloud page. Feel free to offer your feedback below. We’d love to hear your thoughts.
In this episode, we talk about the shipping out of our new Issue (#3) as well as the new book in our store: Zachary Dillinger’s With Saw, Plane & Chisel as well as two new stickers (one of which is soon to be revealed).
We then discuss the progress on our new timber frame workshop.
There is also an excerpt of our recent Ask M&T YouTube video “What is a Fore Plane?”
…says the Italian renaissance astronomer Galileo Galilei to a young student as he demonstrates a pair of proportional dividers. So how do these ingenious scaling devices work? The answer is embedded in the geometry of the sectioning of a circle. Here’s an excerpt from “From Truths to Tools” (shipping now) that presents an intuitive understanding:
Filed under: Uncategorized
Yup! Here it is. It seemed a long time coming but drawings, cutting list and episode one just went out and I hope you enjoy this as much as I did and that you will indeed let me know your progress. So here you can make your own and follow exact instructions as you watch […]
I stumbled across some Japanese knives, did a bit of an ‘ip dip’ and chucked one in the basket. It turned a boring order of glue and screws into bloody Christmas. Blimey Charley, the knife was perfect.
|round 2 of the stripper|
|pile of shavings for round #2 cleanup|
|the shavings will clean up the stripper|
|forgot the before pic|
|plumbline stick is done almost|
|the new libella|
Mistake #2 was not taking sufficient care to layout the top angled half lap properly. I didn't layout the angle on each piece from the same spot and that is why they came out mismatched. That mismatch on the angle caused other problems with getting the legs even and the brace parallel with the bottom of them.
|making a full scale pattern|
Here I set the brace on the legs until the length of it matched the length of the two legs. Once this is glued up I can then lay a square on the brace and have it align on the apex with the legs. That mark should be where the plumb bob will hang too. I sawed the 3 parts for the libella and stickered them until tomorrow.
|this is why Frank|
|4 of the 5 pieces to make up the iron holder|
|by saw, chisel, and sandpaper|
|using the rapid fuse glue again|
|all 5 of the parts|
|2 frog hairs of room on either side of the holder|
|backer for the holder|
What are you if someone says you are gracile?
answer - you have a slender build
The city council candidate was screaming at me through her phone as I sat hunched over my desk in the newspaper’s newsroom. “How about I pull down my pants and you come and watch me go to the bathroom?” she screamed. “You’d like that wouldn’t you?” This impolite invitation was issued after I inquired about a long string of tax troubles the candidate had suffered during the last few years. […]
A side rebate (rabbet) plane widens dado’s (housing) or trench (Europe) and grooves, wow so many names for one joint. Sometime a dado is a little too tight to accept a shelf or a groove for a drawer bottom needs to be a little wider for a perfect fit, this is where these planes excel.
There are several versions and makers of these planes, I believe Stanley only produced two of the No.79 and the 98 and 99 which Lie Nielsen now produces.
Then there was Edward Preston, whom Veritas based their design on and not to forget record. When Preston left the tool making scene, Record took over the production of the Preston planes.
Some time ago I began my hunt for a decent no.79 and I found one on eBay. I can’t remember what I paid for it, but they’re stupidly expensive now. The one I found was in near perfect condition. Here are the eBay pictures I downloaded at the time.
Whoever bought it must have thrown it in the toolbox and forgotten about it. It’s rare to see these planes in such good condition. Well, I was lucky. There is another version of the no.79 you should avoid. They have slotted round screws instead of the thumb screws like I have.
I suspected at the time that the slots in the screws would wear out through repeated use, so I asked my friend Tony as he has one and he hates it for that reason alone. Tony’s tool chest was featured in Jim Tolpin’s book “The Toolbox Book.” page 28. He fits over 400 tools in his chest and it weighs in at a whopping 400lb (181.43kg). That’s an entire workshop of tools he can carry to any job site and only taking up a small corner in the back of his pickup.
Let me see anyone do this with modern machinery.
Anyhow, the purpose of this blog was not to go into any detail about different versions of the side rebate planes, but to discuss a manfacturer’s flaw in the fence and the quick solution I came to fixing it.
So even though it’s basically new for a vintage plane, it still had a manufacturing fault. The fence wasn’t 90° to the surface of the plane. This rectification was on my to do list for many months, but I didn’t give it much thought on how to fix it since I don’t have a square metal block, I’ve left as is till this morning. My day typically begins at 4 am when I’m not working my other job, this is the best part of the day as your mind is fresh with new ideas and it’s peaceful as the world is still asleep. It’s very serene.
I started off with a pair of pliers trying to bend it into shape and all I managed to do was create small teeth marks ruining what was once a pristine surface.
If Stanley did their job right in the first place, I wouldn’t have had to do this.
So, I kept bending it like a moron not realising that I was also creating a hump in the middle. Now I was frantic and I looked around in desperation for anything that was square that could handle a beating and there she was. My lathe.
I threw a square up against the outside face and no go, so I tried the inside and alas she’s square.
I placed the fence against the metal bar on the lathe and with the hard part of a rubber mallet I struck several light blows across the surface.
Yes, it worked! The fence is square, but the hump is still there. To fix that I used a normal metal hammer and got rid of the hump.
Had I given this proper thought beforehand, I wouldn’t have left teeth marks on a pristine surface. Lucky for me these marks are not sharp where it would mar the work. Surprisingly though they are smooth as a baby’s butt.
Is this a must have tool?
It’s a toughie to answer, yes and no. Yes, when you need one and I have used it more often than not, but it’s not an everyday “usage tool.” I think it’s one of those tools you tend to forget you have until the day pops up when nothing else will work as the tool you forgot you had.
With a bruised right rib and something seriously wrong with my elbow today, I thought about titling this blog entry: “Burn Horse Garage, You Sputum of Satan – Ptttttth, I Hate You – Love Chris.” Instead I decided to focus on the ridiculous aspect of this project: What I will do to create my workshop.
During the last 12 months I have failed to install the new screen door for the front of our house. It’s an easy job – probably only half a day. But apparently I’d rather spend weeks mired in rebuilding concrete block walls, heaving old mattresses to their doom and ripping out 40 square yards of disgusting detritus all for a 25’ x 30’ bunker to hold a few machines and a wood pile.
For the last three years I have neglected to make and install 5’ of moulding on the stairway of our home. It’s an insanely easy bit of work. I could do it with moulding planes or a router in an hour or two. Lucy would be so happy. But no, I’d rather rip out weird tile and ceiling boards for four days straight. (Asbestos? I hope not.) All for a dark cave that is as inspiring as a Communist debriefing room.
Our house’s lamppost and doorbell haven’t worked since the Clinton Administration. The risers of our stairs need a quick coat of paint. My office walls need to be painted after a plaster repair five years ago.
I’m a horrible person. And apparently I am also a sociopath because I don’t care. Today we spent hours restoring the jambs of the Horse Garage – resetting them to their original place in 1906. We filled all the nail holes with an all-weather putty. We sanded. Scraped. Primed and painted.
Honestly, this blog entry could be entered into evidence in a divorce proceeding.
And that’s fine. I deserve it.
As long as I get to keep the shop.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Lost Art Press Storefront, Uncategorized