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For Marc Spagnuolo: this is a nice video of a trestle table build.
For Matt Cremona: this is a nice video of designing with live edge slabs.
For Shannon Rogers: this is a nice video of a project with contrasting woods.
For Christopher Schwarz: this is a nice video of some chairs made with staked legs. (Wait for the end.)
For readers of Giant Cypress: this is a nice video of a woodworker who doesn’t know you can’t use Japanese tools on hardwoods. Also, he never sits on the floor.
(Thanks to Jeremiah Rodriguez for the link.)
Last summer my Dad gave me his old cash register he was storing in his basement for the past thirty years. I was glad to take it, but I had no need for it so, I decided to sell it on Craigslist.
My Dad told me the cash register was handed down from the family as it was used in his uncle’s store. My Grandfather opened up a hardware store back in the ’50’s in Detroit called Flaim Hardware and my Dad would work there as a kid. I originally thought that the register was used in that store, but apparently not. This register is much older than the 1950’s.
I sold it to a guy on Craigslist who restores old cash registers the same way I restore old tools. He asked if I wanted to see pictures of the register as it was being restored and I told him I would love to, so he emailed me them during the process.
He took the entire case apart and cleaned and oiled all the mechanisms so that they would work properly.
Once everything was cleaned and working, he polished the brass case back to original form.
Since he restored many registers before, he had the appropriate parts that were missing off the register. He added the brass bar just above the drawer and a new $.05 key. All the price keys were cleaned inside and shined up nicely.
The entire registered shined back to life and looked better than ever. I’m glad the register found its new home as it’s nice to know there are people out there that can take objects that are just sitting around in people’s homes collecting dust or rotting away and bring them back to life. Much the same way I do with old tools.
|after dinner friday night|
|marked these wrong|
|erased them when I did a 6 sided clean up|
|squared up the ends of the typewriter plywood|
|layout batting next|
|half lap this onto the leg assemblies|
|idea # 4,569|
|shoulders were a bit out of square|
|going with this|
|the back brace will hide 99% of the tear out here|
|gluing it up in steps|
This is where I stopped and got some lunch. After lunch I was 'waiting' for the glue to set up and started playing the nodding game.
|moldings for the desk|
|these will be glued to the plywood hiding the edges|
|flat piece for the back|
|needed some bullnose work|
|on a roll|
|tails laid out|
|getting rid of my training wheels|
|it is working|
|what I normally use|
|it usually slips this way|
|flushed the bottom so I can groove it|
|making a stopped groove|
|missed it on this one|
|only a small chunk missing|
|stopped groove ends|
|first marking gauge|
|2nd marking gauge|
|needed a third gauge|
|chiseled the stops at both ends first|
|made it about 3/8" long|
|it wasn't that difficult to do|
|first one done|
|the plywood fits|
|partial dry fit|
|bottom finally fitted|
|I'll fit this divider tomorrow|
Unless you live in Arizona or some other sensible state, today it spring ahead on the clocks. And the rumor on tuesday's snowfall is 20"
Who was the first ML ballplayer to win a batting title in 3 different decades?
answer - George Brett did it in 1976, 1980, and 1990
The latest issue of F&C is out now (no 256, April 2017). My article on the making of a curved sided dovetail box is featured if anyone would like to have a go at this technique.
It includes an exploded drawing with all dimensions as well as a full description and lots of pictures.
There is a very good article on the Williams and Cleal Furniture School in Devon showing some of the fine work they do there. I've visited the school and set up and the atmosphere seems to make it a great place to learn.
A two page article on preventing tear out with a hand plane is very interesting, exploring the benefits of a higher angle, tight mouth and a finely set cap iron, although not necessarily together.
An interesting article by Jim Hooker (appropriately) on the sharpening and use of various types of scrapers.
In this issue there are also articles, on hand engraving, Lie Nielsen honing guide, the Geffrye Museum, Robert Ingham, decorative mouldings, antique furniture and planning techniques.
If you know me, then you know I don’t do woodworking for a living. I’m actually a sales rep for one of the largest building manufacturers in the country. I sell patio block, mulch, and concrete mix to Lowe’s and Home Depot’s in the Cincinnati, Dayton area. Unfortunately, I got hurt at work.
Part of my job is to get my stores ready for spring by making patio hardscape displays on the shelves of the garden department. While in one of my Home Depot’s, I removed the old display and had to put a shelf in its place. In order to get the beam locked in place, I had to hammer it down so that the little nibs would lock in the hole properly. I got the right side of the beam hammered in place, when I was working on the left side. Being right-handed, I was using my left hand to hold the beam against the rack pushing it forward while swinging a mallet with my right arm. Just as luck would have it, hammering across my body, I barely nicked my pinky finger with the end of the hammer. Had I not been swinging so hard, it would have just caused a blood blister, but because I was wailing at the beam with such force, the blow blew the tip of my pinky open. As soon as I felt it, I knew it wasn’t good, but I didn’t know how bad the cut was until I went to the bathroom to clean it up. Once there, I realized I had to go get stitches as I could I open up the top of my pinky finger.
I traveled to a nearby hospital where they put five stitches in my finger. I also found out through x-rays that I broke my bone as well. I have to wear a splint for the next month. I always thought that if I ever cut one of my fingers open, it would be from a band saw blade, chisel, or a knife. I never thought it would be from the brute force of a 3lb drilling hammer.
The stitches came out last week and I should be fine in about a month. I’ll need to keep the splint on my finger as the bone heals, but it’s not a big deal. The protrusion of the splint from the top of my finger keeps me from hitting my pinky on objects. I take off the bandage everyday and clean the wound. You can see how much my finger has swelled from the blow. I feel stupid for hitting my finger, but it was more of an accident than anything.
Tonight we’re playing a variant of the Hammerschlager game made popular by Mike Siemsen at Woodworking in America. We’re playing at Rhinegeist brewing. Schlaging starts at 8 p.m. and ends at 10:30 p.m. The prize: The last of our “With Hammer in Hand” letterpress posters.
Hammerschlager is a game of skill played with a stump, a cross-peen hammer and nails. Two opponents take turns attempting to sink a nail using the peen side of hammer. The first one to sink the head flush or below the surface of the stump wins.
Here are the local rules for the game tonight.
- If you break or abuse any of the equipment (especially the hammers), you’re done – disqualified.
- You may face a particular opponent only once. Period. In other words, you cannot play against a person more than once. Once only you shall face a particular opponent. Don’t cheat.
- You start the stroke with the peen of the hammer resting on the stump.
- If the nail is knocked crooked, your opponent may straighten the nail to vertical before taking his or her turn.
- The loser of the round marks the winner’s forearm with a slash using a marker (provided). The person with the most marks at 10:30 p.m. wins the poster.
- The winner of the round is allowed to face the next opponent immediately. The loser has to return to the back of the line and find another opponent.
- All disagreements are settled by the judge (me). Decisions are final. It’s just a stupid game. Don’t make me hate you.
- This is not a drinking game. You may drink while you play if you like, but drinking is not required, requested, suggested or smiled upon. It’s just a dumb game.
See you tonight.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Uncategorized
For me the great honor at Working Wood in the 18th Century was being asked to serve as the after dinner speaker. Kaare had asked me to work with the topic “sometimes the old ways are the best ways” to which I gladly complied. Of course I provided my own peculiar spin on the topic, but everyone seemed to laugh in all the right places so I guess it went well.
Of course the highlight of the evening was the scrumptious chocolate cheesecake awaiting me at my place on completion of the chat.
I got a lot of very positive feedback on the talk, and was even asked to summarize part of it as an article in next year’s American Period Furniture. That section of greatest interest was a list of ten “assignments” I gave to the audience to stretch their handworking boundaries. For some in the audience, perhaps even most, this was simple encouragement and validation, for others it was a legitimate challenge.
I will blog about each of those assignments individually over the next fortnight or so, but here is the list:
- Restore an old tool to wondrous functionality
- Make a new tool and incorporate it into your bench work
- Learn to sharpen. Really. Everything
- Incorporate one (then all) of these traditional tools into your work — spokeshave, drawknife, scratch stock, toothing plane, froe
- Saw and prepare veneers by hand
- Learn to prepare, modify, and manipulate and use hot hide glue. Then use it.
- Execute a decorative painted surface
- Make from scratch, from stock you prepare yourself, one of the following — parquetry, floral marquetry, Boulle-work, a Federal paterae
- Prepare a surface without the benefit of sandpaper, then apply a finish not using a spray gun, polyurinate, or cellulose nitrate
- Make a piece of furniture entirely without power tools, beginning with a piece of firewood or similar
|it's lumber core|
|long ones are toast|
I put the doors aside and used a couple pieces of 1x4 poplar to get the legs. I am doing most of this work on the tablesaw to whack this out as quickly as I can. At this point I was bit delusional thinking I could get this done to take it to work tomorrow.
|outside cuts done|
|sawing the shoulder|
|last of the shoulder cuts, cheeks next|
|it's the law|
|one frame dry fitted|
|typewriter and mouse desk|
Keeping the legs at 90° to bottom I don't think I'll have problems coming up with something. Attaching the legs to the bottom will take some thinking. This plywood is 3 frog hairs below a 1/2" and that isn't a lot of meat to screw into.
I won't be taking this to work tomorrow so I'll have time to figure something out. Now it's time to get ready to go out for fish 'n chips.
Who was Ray Tomlinson?
answer - he is regarded as the inventor of email
My favorit moses eadon:
I like the way he brings the blades to shine without that thick glossy look.
(that is the hard, labour intensive way.)
BTW you can buy his saws via ebay!
The two better local auction houses each had an 18th century Bible box in the same week’s auctions. As best I can recollect, neither has had a Bible box before. Both of them having one in the same week is really unusual.
The first one up is this:
Eighteenth Century English Bible Box Desk
Description: Mid 18th Century; 10.75 inches height, 23.5 inches width, 16 inches depth; made of old English oak, has fully carved front panel of interlocking scrolls, interior has two upper fitted drawers, has original hand forged butterfly hinges, and locking clasp, constructed with hand forged rose head nails, overall condition is outstanding and original.
This one could be used as a writing desk. The lid is plain and it has a pencil ledge.
And the other auction house had:
English Relief Carved Bible Box
Description: Mid-18th century, oak, top and hinged lid with chip carved edge, wrought iron hinges, the lid is relief carved and dated 1740, open interior with three upper horizontal divisions, front with relief carved stylized dragons.
This one has a carved lid:
Not useful as a writing desk unless you just plan on writing Post-Its.
The first one has two drawers in the gallery:
Oddly, the drawers are not dovetailed:
The second box has a divided gallery:
The first one has a single board back with some interesting bead details:
The second has a single board back without decoration:
Front edge has decoration on the first:
Plain edges on the second:
One of them followed me home.
Actually, I had to go back and get it.
In my hands this morning…
I am not displeased.
Back in 1998 a 179 year old oak was felled on the Tatton Estate in Cheshire and leading craftsmen were asked to design work using very part of the tree. By 2001 the completed work was gathered in and an excellent book was published, see above. Prince Charles wrote the forward to the book. It can be bought second hand on Amazon, enter 'One Tree Merrell'.
One of the standout pieces was the Dory Shelves (below) designed by Petter Southall which harks back to his training as a boat builder in Norway. This one off piece has come back to the market and is for sale at his lovely showroom in West Bay Dorset for £4,950. In comparison to the work he currently sells this is a relative bargain and I'm sure will represent an excellent future investment as well as a lovely piece to own.
Another stand out piece is the Romanian Chest which was Alan Peters last significant piece before his sad decline and passing. I was lucky enough to see this when I visited Alan's wife Laura and it was subsequently bought by the Craft Study Centre in Farnham where it was briefly displayed before being locked away in one of their warehouses, shame.
Matthew Burt made this lovely fluted hall table.
Branch oysters were used to make this top, one for the catwalk only!
Robert Ingham made this bench cleverly combining angles curves and straight lines.
I've heard another one tree project is being planed and I very much forward to seeing the results.
It All Comes Down to Working to Your Lines
This week I have a question about some through mortises so I figured I would just chop one. But to add an wrinkle, this mortise needs to be a bit wider than any of the mortise chisels I have and even a different size any type of chisel I have in my arsenal. So this mortise requires a bit more finesse to get it right.
Wednesday 8th March 2017 Making templates Templates can be made from a variety of materials, plastic, wood, man-made boards like plywood and MDF, cardboard and more. Usually templates are relatively small, a taper for part of a leg, arches for table aprons, spoon and spatula shapes, you name it. Whereas I always do like to …
|0330 this morning|
|the other side|
|what I saw tonight|
|ready to finish cleaning|
|#8 chipbreaker is the first batter|
|best I could do|
|this side was completely rusted at one time|
|final clean up|
|this was badly rusted at one point|
|smooth as a baby's butt|
|#4 iron before shot|
|other side before shot|
|the after shot|
|the 2nd after blurry shot|
|this bevel edge is chewed up a bit|
|the other #4 iron|
|will it work on the screw?|
|it is making shavings|
|someone before me did this|
|it fits now|
|computer desk stock|
We are supposed to get a snow storm tomorrow. 1-3 inches falling from about midnight until dawn. Then a break and 2-4 more inches ending around noontime. Sounds like lots of fun.
What player restriction is in effect in both polo and jai alai?
answer - no left handed players allowed
I only have a few photos for this post – I was too busy to shoot much…
I just got back from teaching two classes at North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota. http://www.northhouse.org/index.htm Being thrown into an immersion experience like that at North House reminds me of my beginnings at Country Workshops in the 1980s.
One focus at North House is community, and it is quite palpable. The legendary pizza night, centered around the large wood-fired oven, and finely honed through years of practice is a memorable experience. The classes I was there to teach were part of “Wood Week” which as you can imagine means all the classes offered that week (8 in all) were woodworking. Other disciplines at North House include fiber arts, blacksmithing, food, boatbuilding and more.
All the students in my first class were named Tom. I think. Made it easier…
With three classes at the first session, and five the next, there was no shortage of inspiration, nor of comrades. The evenings were spent in large and small groups exploring spoon and bowl carving, looking at and trying out new tools, techniques, benches and materials. It seems that almost everyone (except me) also plays a musical instrument, so the spoon carving circles were on the periphery of the old-timey music circles. There was much overlap. The best nights ran much later than I could handle.
All the while, Lake Superior was right there, outside the shop windows, and lapping at the courtyard between the buildings. It’s a pretty big lake, I hear. Looked it.
I’m liking these large-group gatherings. Last year I went to three of them, Greenwood Fest in Plymouth, Massachusetts, Spoonfest in Edale, UK and Täljfest at Sätergläntan in Sweden. This one had a smaller crowd, but that lent it an intimacy that was nice. I still missed stuff – I got no photographs of the other classes, and few of my own.
Tom Dengler kept distracting me with his woodenware:
one of the oak carvings the students did…
I caught up with some old friends, and made some new. Like the other events, this one is run by many hands, including a group of young interns. Nice to see these young people exploring some type of creative outlet involving natural materials. There were a smattering of young people in the classes too, but no group gets higher marks than Spoonfest for adding youth and women to the woodworking community.
These creatures were more common than squirrels.
I had a day off early on, and took a long walk in a state park about half-an-hour away. If this tree were closer to the school, someone would have nabbed it by now…
North House is celebrating their twentieth year – get on their mailing list so you can be a part of their 2nd-double-decade.
Some of the many people there, apologies for not including everyone – there was a lot happening:
Jarrod Dahl, https://www.instagram.com/jarrod__dahl/
Roger Abrahamson, https://www.instagram.com/rogerabrahamson/
Fred Livesay, https://www.instagram.com/hand2mouthcrafts/
Phil Odden & Else Bigton http://www.norskwoodworks.com/
Dawson Moore https://www.instagram.com/michigansloyd/
Tom & Kitty Latane https://www.facebook.com/thomas.latane
Tom Dengler https://www.instagram.com/twodengler/
This is an excerpt from “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker” by Anon, Christopher Schwarz and and Joel Moskowitz.
For those of you who chisel out your waste when dovetailing, this section is not for you. Move along. There’s nothing to see here.
OK, now that we’re alone: Have you ever been confused about which frame saw you should use to remove the waste between your pins and tails? I have. For years I used a coping saw and was blissfully happy.
Then I took an advanced dovetail class with maestro Rob Cosman and he made a strong case that a fret saw was superior because you could remove the waste in one fell swoop (instead of two). So, like any good monkey, I bought a fret saw and did it that way for many years.
But fret saws aren’t perfect. Almost all of them require tuning. You need to file some serrations in the pads that clamp the blade, otherwise it’s all stroke, stroke, sproing. Oh, and the blades tend to break. Or kink.
And fret saws are slow. I use 11.5 teeth per inch (tpi) scrollsaw blades, and it takes about 30 strokes to get through the waste between my typical tails in hardwood.
If you want to see a good video on how to tune up a fretsaw, check out Rob Cosman’s site. He shows you how to hot-rod the handle and bend the blade for the best performance.
About Coping Saws
What I like about coping saws is that they cut faster. I use an 18 tpi blade from Tools for Working Wood. (I think they’re made by Olson.) The blades cut wicked fast thanks to their deeper gullets and longer length. It takes me 12 to 14 strokes to remove the waste between my typical tails.
The other thing I like about the coping saw is that its throat is deeper (5″ vs. 2-3/4″ on my fret saw), which allows me to handle wider drawers without turning the blade. Also, the blades of a coping saw are far more robust and almost never come loose. I’m partial to the German-made Olson coping saw. It’s about $12 and beats the pants off the stuff at the home centers.
The major downside to the coping saw is that you have to remove the waste in two passes instead of one. Because the coping saw’s blade is thick, it sometimes won’t drop down into the bottom of the kerf left by your dovetail saw. So you get around this by making two swooping passes to clear the waste.
One last thing: Some of you might be wondering why I didn’t discuss wooden bowsaws, another fantastic frame saw. At the time I was writing this book, my bowsaw was busted. First, one of the arms cracked after someone (no names) over-tensioned it. I fixed that. Then the twine busted and I didn’t have any on hand.
Since building the Chest of Drawers, I got my bowsaw back on its feet (bowsaws do not have feet, by the way) and it is giving my coping saw a run for its money. The fret saw still hangs dusty and lonely on the wall.
— Meghan Bates
Filed under: The Joiner & Cabinet Maker
I don’t think I’ve ever used that many exclamation marks… ever.
If you are coming to the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool event at Braxton Brewing on Friday or Saturday, look for Don Williams. He’ll be selling his excellent beeswax and mind-blowing polissoirs.
What’s a polissoir? Oh my. Go here and look around. It’s a simple pre-industrial finishing tool that will change your mind about wax finishes.
The polissoirs are handmade in Virginia by one of Don’s neighbors to Don’s specifications and are things of beauty. The blocks of pure beeswax are purified on Don’s farm by him and his wife. The wax is, pardon the expression, the bee’s buzz.
And if you want to learn (a lot) about traditional finishing techniques, just ask Don about his shellac collection….
The show starts both days at 10 a.m. Free admission. Great beer, coffee and conversations about woodworking and tools. What more could you want? A foot massage? Don’t ask me.
Full details on the event are here.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Finishing, Personal Favorites, Uncategorized
Although I have attended the Colonial Williamsburg Working Wood in the 18th Century conference many times, this year was my first as a speaker. I was asked to present the topic “Wax Finishes” which I did. Alas, my time slot was only 45 minutes, which in retrospect pretty much everyone agreed was too short by some logarithmic value. Still I did my best to rip through the basics at breakneck speed.
As with virtually every finishing talk I give I began by covering my “Six Rules for Perfect Finishing.”
I then blew through the topics of surface prep with a scraper and then a polissoir. Truly this step has revolutionized my understanding and practice for finishing.
Then came the application of block beeswax as a grain filler and final finish, worked into the surface via vigorous rubbing with the polissoir, followed by scraping to remove any excess, and finally by buffing with a flannel.
I showed, all too quickly, the incorporation of both resin flour and powdered colorants to the beeswax grain fillers to impart either hardness or coloration.
Finally I approached the problem of voluptuous and carved surfaces, employing the boxwood burnishing stick and the polissoir, with impressive results given the few seconds I had in hand.
I got excellent and encouraging feedback, and the CW folks must have liked what they saw because I have been invited to return in the fall for three days of in-house hands-on training for the cabinetmakers, gunsmiths, and housewrights on the topic of historic finishing.