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Magnetic Two-stage Bit-tip Holder

360 WoodWorking - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 3:48am
Magnetic Two-stage Bit-tip Holder

Last week I was in the shop and a friend had to reach a skosh farther into a cabinet than he anticipated. The screw he was after was just beyond the reach of his drill/driver and its magnetic, bit-tip holder. I had a longer holder, but it was clear across the shop in the cabinet – that was at least 20 feet away. (Sad, huh?)

What I had within reach, however, was a second short, bit-tip holder.

Continue reading Magnetic Two-stage Bit-tip Holder at 360 WoodWorking.

Rehabbing a Japanese plow plane

Giant Cypress - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 3:28am

I had a project that required me to make a groove about 3/8″ wide. Luckily, I had this used Japanese plow plane that I found on eBay a while back.

Japanese plow planes, unlike western plow planes which typically have interchangeable blades, do one thing and one thing only: cut a groove the width of the blade it has. This one has a 9.1mm blade, and should do the trick.

Except for one thing. The plane needed some work. It was used after all.

Here are the cutting blade and nickers of the plane. In between the nickers is a wooden spacer that goes between the nickers. The blade and nickers certainly needed sharpening and some rehab. There was this coating on parts of the blades that looked like lacquer that had yellowed over time. I used lacquer thinner to get rid of it, then set about sharpening the blade and nickers.

Much better.

After reinstallation of the blades and nickers, I discovered another issue. The nickers sat too low relative to the blade.

What had happened was that the wood spacer that sits between the nickers and/or the body of the plane had shrunk over time, making the spacer too thin and the opening in which the nickers and spacer sit too wide. 

To fix this, I added some thickness to the nicker. I took a thick plane shaving off of a scrap piece of red oak, and glued it to the spacer. After the glue dried, I shaved down the excess part of the shaving until the spacer had its original shape back, but it was now a little thicker.

When I reinstalled the nickers, they stopped short of their previous position. I was then able to tap the nickers down to the depth that I wanted. It’s not real obvious in this photo, but the nickers do sit higher than they used to.

If you’re tuning up your own Japanese plow plane, at this point I’m sure you’re real interested in the thickness of the shaving that I made. The answer is, you want a shaving that’s thick enough. If your shaving winds up not being thick enough, you can always glue another shaving on. My shaving was a thin 1/32″ thick, but your mileage will vary.

In use, I set the cutting blade to take a shaving of the thickness that I want, and I position the nickers so that they are a little bit deeper. This allows the nickers to sever the fibers ahead of the blade, which is especially important if you’re making a groove that runs across the grain.

I tested my newly rehabbed plane on a piece of scrap poplar. Not bad!

My second commission – part 9

Je ne sai quoi Woodworking - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 12:56am

9/3/2017

This post disappeared from my site while it went into hiding. Here it is again for those of you who missed it.

Welcome back to JNSQ woodworking. Here is hoping that we will continue to share woodworking banter and ideas in 2017. This past weekend was my first back in the shop and it was a real joy. Much like 2016, my two main projects to focus on will be this so called “second commission” and the table for the shebeen.

7/11/2016

I will now report on the work done since our previous update in October of 2016. As usual just a quick reminder of what we are aiming for. A few shots of the model I built while developing the design.

IMG_6281IMG_6279IMG_6280

Something that I omitted to illustrate in the previous post is the techniques that were employed to ensure that the spindles end up with zero splay. The first method makes use of a device that we shall call the Tambotie gauge (as I used a small Tambotie off-cut to create this fantastic piece of equipment).

img_7628The Tamboti gauge consists of an appropriately sized off-cut clamped to a square.

While reaming the mortises for the spindles you might remember how I made use of a stick with an appropriately sized tenon to check the rake angle.

img_7615img_7617

The Tambotie gauge is used to check that there is zero splay by comparing the gap between the Tambotie off-cut and the spindle on both sides, as referenced off the side of the beam with the square. In this case the spindle is leaning ever so slightly towards the right.

img_7630img_7631img_7632

Second of the two strategies again involves a highly complex jig that takes hours to build and set up. I clamped a winding stick to the side of the beam to check wether the spindle (positioned in it’s mortise) runs parallel to it, i.e. zero splay.

img_7638img_7639

Once all eight mortises received this treatment it was time to test how the assembly would fit together. As you can see it came together nicely.

img_7640img_7642img_7643img_7644

It is probably important to report on the stuff-up I made while drilling the pilot holes for the mentioned mortises. You might remember that I drilled one of these holes in the wrong direction and suffered from a Panic Attack subsequently. The solution I came up with was to turn a dowel of the same wood that fitted the hole perfectly and glued it into place. The hole was then drilled in the correct direction and the picture below show the result. There was only a small strip of the plug visible after drilling the new hole.

img_7641

After reaming out the mortise there was no evidence left of the blunder on the surface that would be exposed to critical eyes once the tenon gets glued into position. In the pictures below you can however see the edge of the plug inside the hole. Eish, that was a close call. Woodwork has a way of keeping you grounded, isn’t it.

img_7691img_7692img_7679

As these tenons run all the way through the beams, I decided to also wedge them. Here I am widening the mortise on the exit side to accommodate the wedges. I recommend reading Peter Galbert’s seminal work “Chairmaker’s Notebook” on how to orientate these spindles and wedges.

img_7681img_7680

Next up I had to  camouflage the laminations with a few carefully placed beads before glueing up the leg.

img_7683img_7684

I used my pre-1900 no. 66 Stanley beadingtool, which I restored quite some time ago. It takes elbow grease beading such incredibly hard wood, but it is very satisfying nonetheless.

img_7685img_7686img_7689img_7688img_7693img_7694img_7707

I think it accomplished what I intended as the beam now looks like a solid piece of timber.

img_7708

The tenons were then prepared to receive the wedges.

img_7727

Made some wedges …

img_7728img_7730img_7731

… and prepared for glue-up.

img_7732

I used a combination of mallet blows and clamps to coax the spindles into position.

img_7734img_7735

Once they were seated to my liking the wedges locked them down for ever (I hope).

img_7736img_7738

This is how the Windsor leg spent it’s December holidays, resting on the assembly table.

img_7739

16/1/2017

This past weekend I continued my assault on the so called Windsor leg. I clamped it to the trapezoid leg and used the latter to mark out the final shape of the former. This way they are exact copies of each other in terms of measurements.

IMG_7791IMG_7792

My daughter Aoife helped me to make the necessary cuts using my Miller’s Falls Langdon Mitre Box no. 75. It was quite a tricky operation given the awkward shape and size of the leg , but the Langdon made cutting the 9º angles straight forward.

IMG_7793IMG_7794

One day the student will become the master.

IMG_7796

The next big drama will be the third layer of wood that needs to be added to the trapezoid leg. I selected a good Witpeer (Apodytes dimidiata) board that ran pretty much through the centre of the tree and made a cut lengthwise along the pith. This gave me two quarter-sawn pieces. From these boards I then selected appropriate 800 mm chunks for re-sawing.  The idea with re-sawing is to created a book-matched pattern to the inside of this leg. This layer only needs to be about 8 mm thick to get the total thickness of the leg up to 44 mm, which fits perfectly into my  ratio of 22:44:66:88 mm (thickness) for the various parts of the table.

IMG_7811IMG_7812

You will notice the two strips of Kershout (Pterocelastrus tricuspidatus) on top of one of the piles of re-sawn and planed stock. We will use those to create a type of depth confusion for an observer viewing the table from the Windsor leg’s end. This will hopefully enhance the effect of an construction that defies gravity, but you (and unfortunately I) will have to wait until the next post to see how this works or possibly not?? Here’s hoping (that it works, that is)!

IMG_7813IMG_7814

plane parts........

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 12:30am
The chipbreakers and irons that I ordered came in today. When I checked the tracking number at lunchtime it said they were coming on thursday. My haul looked pretty good and I'm sure it'll clean up nicely. I have also made a U turn on the next project. I wanted to start that tonight but the plane parts came first.

what I ordered
I needed two #3 chipbreakers, a #4 chipbreaker, and a #8 chipbreaker. I have the irons for all of these and that gives me complete set ups to swap out. They don't look that bad and only seem to have superficial rust spots here and there.

mating irons waiting for the chipbreakers to be cleaned up
#4 iron
My last iron I got was so badly pitted that it is useless. There is just rust blooms and no evidence of pitting anywhere on this #4 iron. And it has a good deal of life left to it.

bevel on the other side
The bevel is not in good shape. I don't think there anything here that I won't be able to sharpen out.

second iron
The business end of the iron looks much better than the first one did. But the top end of it, on both sides, is very grungy looking. It doesn't appear to be rust but we'll see what the sandpaper does on it. This iron has lots of life left in it too. I doubt that I'll use up this much before I leave this earth.

two #4 irons
Both irons are stamped with numbers, one has 245 and other one 445. The tops have the Stanley logo on it and I've never seen another Stanley iron stamped like this before.  Things like this raise my curiosity level as to why?

40 minutes later

They are all sanded down removing all visible rust. The only one I didn't have to do was the #4 chipbreaker on the far right. This one looks like it has been blued. They are all going into the citrus bath, blued or not.

hot water and 1/4 cup of citrus acid

I microwaved two cups of water for 3 minutes and stirred in the citrus acid in. After the acid had dissolved, I added the plane parts.
they stopped
This was bubbling away and it stopped when I snapped the pic. It wasn't an alka seltzer fizzing, more like a few bubbles here and there.

I forgot one thing and that was the chipbreaker screws. I checked my stash and I only have one and I need two more. I'll have to order them from nh plane.

a for me at work project
This is going to be a prototype to iron out any potential kinks. I want a desk that I can stand at to work on at work. I ordered one over a year ago and still haven't gotten it. The offices next door got theirs 3 days after ordering them. I'm not waiting anymore. The big piece will be the desk and the smaller one will be hung underneath it. That will be used for the keyboard and the mouse. I need to make one more platform for the monitor. I want that one to be adjustable but I haven't thought of a way of doing it yet.

This is as far as I got on this tonight. Cleaning up the plane parts took a long time to do. I would like to get something done so I can take it in on saturday and road test it. I'm sure I'll have to adjust the measurements on some of this.

rearranged the parts
I added more water and citrus acid. I didn't like the parts laying on top of each other. I got what I can laying up against the walls. Only the #8 chipbreaker is laying on the #4 irons.  It has only been about 10 minutes and the shiny #3 chipbreakers have dulled already. I'm going to let this soak in the bath until tomorrow. I'm curious as how these parts will look after that length of time.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Who was the first woman to serve as the Grand Marshall of the Tournament of Roses Parade?
answer - Erma Bombeck

How Craftsmen were made

Journeyman's Journal - Wed, 03/08/2017 - 5:22pm

I’ve never seen original footage until now shot back in 1912 on any type of woodworking before and I definitely want to share this with you.

I believe this is a school on chair making and upholstery, most probably an apprenticeship program of some sort.  They employ a bandsaw and spindle molder but the rest is done by hand, I particularly was struck by a clever clamping device they used to hold the leg.  This clamp will be in production in my shop very soon.  There is nothing in this video that doesn’t constitute hand work.  The training these young lads got are truly superior and I can imagine the joy and sense of fulfillment they had from producing chairs of such high calibre.  Now doesn’t this video put cnc “craftsman” to shame, it most certainly does!

If you want to bring back quality then stop buying their crap.

Enough rambling, break out the popcorn, sit back and enjoy.


Categories: Hand Tools

Kitchen remodel takeaways

Oregon Woodworker - Wed, 03/08/2017 - 3:39pm
Things are starting to wind down with the remodel; at this point we're adding trim and waiting on counters and backsplashes.  This is a good time to share takeaways that may be of use to you if you are planning a kitchen remodel.
  1. Open floor plans are the thing these days and for good reason.  Taking out the wall between the kitchen and the dining room to create one large space made a dramatic and welcome change to our house.  In fact, it is even better than we had hoped it would be;
  2. Trying to complete a major kitchen remodel in a month is unrealistic.  If you aren't removing walls, changing electricity and/or plumbing or getting custom counters, you might be able to get it done in a month.   In our case, the lead time for counters and backsplashes alone was three weeks after the cabinets were installed;
  3. The european cabinet design is outstanding and the way to go, in my opinion, unless you really prefer face frames.  It's versatile and much faster to build or assemble;
  4. Ikea cabinets are a good choice, although I recommend the semi-custom option in which you make the doors and drawer fronts yourself.  If you choose to use Ikea doors and drawers like I did, be aware that the doors on a diagonal or next to filler pieces did not fit to my satisfaction.  The only hesitation I have is that the boxes are melamine, although they are very sturdy and well-constructed.  The hardware is excellent;
  5. If you want to build your own cabinets instead and like the european style, I recommend the deluxe jig from Lee Valley and the hardware specifically designed for european cabinets that is widely available;
  6. Don't even think about remodeling a kitchen without a laser level;
  7. You can save a large sum of money by doing a kitchen remodel yourself, even if you have to hire a plumber and electrician, but it is a major time commitment.  When all is said and done, I estimate it will have taken me 200 hours.
Would I do it again?  Yes, but hopefully after I recover from doing this one.
Categories: Hand Tools

A Walk in the Woods in February

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 03/08/2017 - 10:58am

I love the smell of ponderosa pine in the morning…. Smells like…vanilla.

–Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore, Apocalypse Now (director’s cut)

We’re going to travel a little further afield today, but first, a correction: Last time, I posted a photo that I claimed was of a tuliptree, but as A Riving Home pointed out in the comments, the photo was actually of a mockernut hickory (Carya tomentosa). What happened was that I had taken photos of both, but at the last minute decided to save the hickory for a later post, and then managed to mix up the photos. Here’s the real tuliptree:

tuliptree2

(The description in the previous post still applies.)

In February, the forest begins to show signs of renewed life. The earliest migrant bird, the Eastern Phoebe (Sayornis phoebe), has arrived, and the resident species are singing their hearts out. There’s some color seeping into the grayness of the landscape, and on a warm, rainy night, you might hear a chorus of spring peepers (Pseudacris crucifer). By the end of the month, some of the trees have begun blooming. The most noticeable of these are red maple (Acer rubrum), with its deep red flowers, and silver maple (A. saccharinum) with dull orange flowers. The pinkish flowers of American (Ulmus americana) and slippery (U. rubra) elms quickly give way to pale green flying saucer-shaped seeds.

Some shrubs begin leafing out in February as well, but these are nearly all non-native plants, such as Amur honeysuckle (Lonicera maackii) and autumn olive (Elaeagnus umbellata). The native plants know that there’s still a good chance for a hard frost, so they wait.

We begin in an area of bottomland near the Hocking River here in Athens County, where there are a couple of species that dominate. First, one of the easiest of all trees to identify:

sycamore

The patchy, ghostly white and gray bark of the American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis) always stands out against the gray backdrop of the winter forest. Close up, the lower portions of the trunk are covered in numerous small, brown scales:

sycamore2

The other dominant bottomland tree in this area is the often huge eastern cottonwood (Populus deltoides):

cottonwood

Its bark is deeply and coarsely furrowed, with the ridges being more or less flat-topped.

Both of these trees can be found further up slope, but it’s always a sign of abundant ground water when they are. In particular, you can find these trees along ravines and exposed layers of porous shale, where the soil is always wet. These layers of shale correspond with coal seams, in this area the Middle Kittanning or “No. 6” coal.

One of the most important trees to a woodworker is black cherry (Prunus serotina):

cherry

Further north and at higher elevations, black cherry can be the dominant species in a forest, but around here it’s mainly found as scattered individual trees, usually but not always near water. The bark is dark, brownish-black, and broken up into oval scales that curl up around the edges. Another feature of cherry trees is that they are almost never straight. This is because as the tree grows, the main stem has a pair of terminal buds, rather than just one, and one of the buds “wins,” depending on the lighting conditions. Thus, each year, the tree heads off in a slightly different direction.

We’re going to move up slope now, to some forested land that my wife and I own just over the county line, in Meigs County. A close relative of the eastern cottonwood is bigtooth aspen (P. grandidentata):

btAspen

The bark is a medium gray, sometimes with a gold sheen, and interrupted by a combination of horizontal ridges and vertical splits. Further north, quaking aspen (P. tremuloides) replaces bigtooth aspen; its bark is similar but whiter.

American beech (Fagus grandifolia) is characterized by smooth, nearly featureless gray bark:

beech

There are several species of hickory in the forests, most of them difficult to tell apart. The aforementioned mockernut hickory is fairly common:

mockernutHickory

The bark has the sort of criss-crossing X ridge structure that many of trees in the forest have, but in the hickories, these ridges tend to look as if they are strands braided together. This is more apparent in a young tree:

youngHickory

One species of hickory that is not hard to identify is shagbark hickory (C. ovata). Although the braided pattern is obscured, you can still kind of see it if you squint; it tends to be more obvious near the base of the trunk:

shagbark

Pines are tricky. A big part of that is that people plant a lot of pine trees, and the species that they plant are very often not native to the area, so you never know what you’re looking at. Around here, only one native species of pine, Virginia pine (Pinus virginiana), is common:

virginiaPine

It’s characterized by relatively short (about 2″/5 cm) paired needles that are flattened and somewhat crescent-shaped in cross section, and usually twisted.

The other pines that occur in the area all have much longer needles: eastern white pine (P. strobus), pitch pine (P. rigida) and shortleaf pine (P. echinata). It generally takes a combination of characters (number of needles in a bundle, shape and size of the cone, etc.) to distinguish these species.

Ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa), a species of the western half of the United States, really does smell like vanilla, although you have to get your nose right up to the bark to notice it. You won’t find any ponderosa pines growing around here, but you might nevertheless find it at your local home center; the clear pine boards are often cut from that species.

Not everything in the forest is a tree, of course. There is a ground-hugging plant that looks strangely like a conifer of some kind:

clubMoss

And one of its common names is indeed “groundcedar.” In fact, though, it’s not a conifer at all, but rather a member of an ancient lineage of plants, Lycopodiophyta, and not closely related to any of the more typical plants. This one is the fan clubmoss (Lycopodium digitatum).

Sedges (Carex sp.) are a rather overwhelming group of grass-like plants; there are about 2000 species worldwide, and 140 just in Ohio. One of the most common is eastern woodland sedge (C. blanda):

sedge

There are many species of ferns in the forest, but these two are the only ones that are likely to remain green in winter:

ferns

The marginal woodfern (Dryopteris marginalis), on the left, may die back to the ground in very cold winters, but the Christmas fern (Polystichum acrostichoides), on the right, stays green regardless.

The marginal woodfern can be identified by the fact that the sori (the spore-bearing structures on the undersides of the fronds) are located along the margins of the pinnules:

marginalWoodfern

It’s still a bit early for wildflowers, although I did find the leaves of this eastern waterleaf (Hydrophyllum virginianum) poking through the leaf litter:

waterleaf

The only blooming flower that I found (actually, I think my wife found it) was this non-native purple deadnettle (Lamium purpureum):

deadnettle

There should be many more wildflowers next month.

–Steve Schafer


Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Hi, I'm the owner of a lovely 180mm ryoba. When cross cutting, even though the near side of the cut follows my guide line perfectly, the cut on the far side wanders. Is this a technique issue or a saw tuning issue? Thanks in advance.

Giant Cypress - Wed, 03/08/2017 - 10:28am

It’s most likely a technique issue, unless you got your saw used, or you remember banging it up.

It’s easy to tweak the saw to one side or the other when cutting one handed. You might want to try clamping down the board you’re cutting, start the cut just enough to get it started, and make the rest of the cut with both hands on the saw, positioning yourself so that the center of your body is in line with the cut.

One thing to consider: how big is the cut you’re making with this saw? 180mm is pretty small. For dovetails in 3/4″ material, I’m using at least a 210mm saw. I could see using a 180mm ryoba for small-scale joinery, but if you’re using it for crosscutting, using a bigger saw will help.

The Best Job I’ve Ever Had

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 03/08/2017 - 6:21am

pwm0417_500_1Megan Fitzpatrick at Popular Woodworking Magazine is looking for a managing editor to fill the spot recently vacated by Rodney Wilson, who did a heck of a job before moving up in the world.

I joined Popular Woodworking in 1996 as the managing editor, and it is the most challenging and rewarding job I’ve ever had. You have to be hyper-organized because the managing editor has to make sure the trains run on time. That the authors get paid. That the manuscripts arrive on time. And that corrections get made.

On the flipside, you have access to a dream shop of workbenches, hand tools and power equipment, including a 12” jointer and 20” planer. Whenever your head is too full of adverbial nouns, you can walk to the shop and clear your brain by cutting dovetails for an hour.

Megan is a demanding boss, but that’s the best and only kind in modern publishing. Magazines with lesser editors have all closed their doors.

Best of all, the job is open-ended. After I mastered my paperwork and manuscript duties (that took about a year) I was encouraged to become a better woodworker, write articles, begin blogging, travel to visit authors and work on tool reviews. All that led to being able start my own publishing company with John.

If you love woodworking and want to live and breathe it, this is the job.

Take look at the job description here. Yes, you have to live in Cincinnati.

— Christopher Schwarz


Filed under: Personal Favorites, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Magnificent neighbourhood Silver Maple

Sauer and Steiner - Wed, 03/08/2017 - 5:29am


 In 2012, a massive Silver Maple tree needed to come down in our neighbourhood. The sawyer who milled it for me described it as a ‘once in a lifetime log’. It is full of curl, quilt and some birds eye thrown in for good measure. I had it sawn through and through into 9 slabs. They were stacked and stickered for 5 years under cover in an open sided drying barn and were moved into a drying kiln a few years ago. I am going to keep a couple of these, but have come to realize I have a serious wood sickness, and cannot possibly use all of these in my lifetime... so I am looking to sell a few of them. We are also in the midst of a car restoration project and a few of these would help fund it. 

These are located in Southern Ontario - near K-W, and given their size, pick-up only please. 

(slab 1)

Slab 1
Thickness - 9/4
narrowest point - 28”
Widest point - ?
height - 7’ (note that 7’ is below the large insect created opening)
$750.00 Cdn












 (slab 2)

Slab 2 (on the left, slab 1 on the right)
Thickness - 9/4
narrowest point - 26”
Widest point - ?
height - 7’ (note that 7’ is below the large insect created opening)
$650.00 Cdn




 

 (slab 3)

Slab 3
Thickness - 11/4
narrowest point - 33”
Widest point - 47"
height - 11’ (132”)
$1,500.00 Cdn
 








 (slab 4)

Slab 4
Thickness - 12/4
narrowest point - 31”
Widest point - 45"
height - 136"
$1,700.00 Cdn










 (slab 5)

Slab 5
Thickness - 12/4
narrowest point - 35”
Widest point - 46"
height - 136"
$1,700.00 Cdn 




 
(slab 6)

Slab 6
Thickness - 12/4
narrowest point - 28”
Widest point - 43"
height - 133"
$1650.00 Cdn








(slab 7)

Slab 7 (this one has the pith present and is quarter sawn)
Thickness - 11/4
narrowest point - 37”
Widest point - 47"
height - 139”
$1600.00 Cdn





 (slab 8)

Slab 8
Thickness - 11/4
narrowest point - 37”
Widest point - 47”
height - 138”
$1,700.00 Cdn

 












(slab 9)



Slab 9
Thickness - 11/4
narrowest point - 37”
Widest point - 46"
height - 135”
$1,700.00 Cdn
 







I am not committed to keeping any particular slabs, so all are essentially available. Send me an email if you are interested, konrad@sauerandsteiner.com
Categories: Hand Tools

Where’s My $%#$@ ‘Roubo on Furniture’ Book?

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 03/08/2017 - 4:20am

LAP_logo2_940When you order a book from us, you are supposed to receive an email when the book has been received by the shipping company. When the shipper scans the book – beep – that sends the message to our store’s software. And our software sends a message to you with tracking information.

Sometimes, USPS isn’t very good about scanning packages in a timely manner. Sometimes they don’t get scanned. And so you don’t get an email. But you will get your book.

We have complained (a lot) to USPS. They are overworked so I doubt this will change.

So apologies for the delayed emails or emails that didn’t come.

— Christopher Schwarz


Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Mitre Planes and the Finest of Mouths: Why? What Evidence? What to Look for When Shopping for Mitre and Shoulder Planes

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 03/08/2017 - 4:00am

One of the crappy things about using old planes is that a tremendous percentage are worn out. A steel mitre plane (or "infill" to use the modern phrase) unless made by a modern maker will probably be at least 150 years old. Norris, Spiers, and a few other makers continued making mitre planes up until the mid twentieth century but those are rare beasts. The average mitre plane you come across will be pre 1850.

Rotten wood can be replaced, but the most important feature of a mitre or a shoulder plane is a fine mouth. And not just a kind of fine mouth, the finest of mouths, especially if you are using the plane on end grain. The planes in the picture have mouths (with the irons withdrawn) ranging from a fat 1/64" to a fat 1/32". That's very fine.

Let's talk about fine mouths for a second. First of all it is pretty well understood that a super fine mouth on a smoothing plane breaks the shaving and reduces tearout. All well and good. But what about mitre, shoulder, and block planes? All of them are bevel up and used primarily for planing endgrain. Certainly there is no need for a fine mouth if the shaving is endgrain and will disintegrate on its own.

So why do unaltered historical examples of mitre and should planes have such extremely fine mouths?

There are two dimensions that concern us: the open space from the front of the blade to the lip of the throat - the effective mouth. And the absolute mouth opening when the blade is removed. As you can see from the photographs the mouths of these planes - a late 18th century mitre plane and a C. 1920's Norris shoulder plane are ridiculously fine and I would say this is typical of any infill in good condition that I know of. You do get planes that are worn out, planes where someone has widened the mouth, but for any infill plane in basic decent condition a very fine mouth is to be expected.


As we've stated before, planing endgrain doesn't require a plane with a fine mouth, but there are two very important reasons for having a fine mouth, especially when planing with a bevel-up plane.

Blade support:
Extending the iron sole of a plane as far as possible under a bevel up blade gives the blade more support and makes it less likely to chatter. Steel-soled planes can do this easily, but cast planes can't - unless they have a steel sole (like the shoulder plane in the picture). With a bevel down iron, there is a lot of support in the blade to prevent the very tip from bending and chattering. On a bevel up plane, on the other hand, the iron wants to bend and chatter around the edge of the sole. The more support the sole gives the iron, the more strength the iron has at the cutting edge -- and the better the plane will work. Cast mitre planes, by the very nature of a casting, cannot get as close to total support as a steel-soled dovetailed plane, where the steel sole can taper to a knife edge.

Controlling the cut:

If you are planing endgrain, especially if you are holding the plane in one hand and wood in the other, and you hold the plane perfectly against the wood when you start your stroke, you can determine the exact thickness of your cut by setting your plane iron. But if you are even slightly off and the plane is tilted on the wood, your shaving thickness will increase depending on the size of the plane mouth. The second drawing shows an exaggerated example of this. The practical effect of this is that you try to take a fine shaving and your plane jams, skids off the end, and takes an uneven chunk off the edge. Worse, you can damage that nice low angle cutting edge on your iron. A very fine mouth mitigates this and makes the plane easier to use, even if you aren't perfectly sitting on the wood. There is simply less space for the wood to jam into.

Left to right: Christopher Gabriel - late 18th century, Norris 20E shoulder plane in nearly unused condition, I Smith - Mid 19th Century
These points are small and minor. I understand that. But I get frustrated when someone compares the performance of a worn out 200 year old plane to an new modern plane, possibly of a lesser design. If you are in the market for a mitre plane, or a shoulder plane, make sure the overall mouth is minuscule. Also make sure that the iron and wedge match the plane. It's not at all uncommon for an old infill to have a replaced blade and/or wedge. Just normal use can cause this. Mitre planes had tapered irons and the original iron and wedge would have been fitted together so that you get continuous contact on the bridge. When properly fitted, the iron will set properly, hold its setting, and be easily adjusted. An ill fitting wedge just won't work right. If a parallel iron had been used to replace what was supposed to be a tapered iron, you will never get proper action without adjusting the wedge. Depending on circumstances, you will probably have a replacement iron with the original wedge. If you do and they don't fit, just put the original wedge in a safe place for when you resell the plane, and make a new wedge. Most shoulder planes used parallel irons so any replacement should fit it properly. Check before buying.

Many bevel up planes have cosmetic issues that don't matter, including damaged wooden parts (easily replaced) and misaligned wedges (easily adjusted). But - unlike a bevel down plane - bevel up planes with wide mouths can't be fixed with a thicker iron. You might like the feel of the plane but it won't get the action you would have gotten two centuries ago. Flattening a sole of a bevel up plane can easily, accidentally, widen the mouth. The steel sole behind the blade forms a knife edge and can be damaged. Unlike cast planes which can easily warp over time, steel planes stay pretty flat. A few pits and dings aren't worth worrying about. I would stone down any raised dings, but otherwise leave the sole alone. Before you try to flatten anything see how the plane works.



Back with a vengeance

Je ne sai quoi Woodworking - Wed, 03/08/2017 - 2:23am

7/3/2017

You might already know that Je Ne Sais Quoi Woodworking almost disappeared into thin air, but alas it was revived albeit still in rehab. One day in mid January my site just vanished and it took days of work by the IT guy who set it up for me and my wife to work out what happened. I really do not want to go into the details of the traumatic event, suffice to say that it was an unsavoury experience.

I would also like to apologise to those who were looking for JNSQW and not being able to find it. A special thanks goes out to my two special blogger friends in Jonathan White (The Bench Blog) and Bob Demers (The Valley Woodworker) who tried to keep my spirits up. They both gave me lots of advice on how to solve the problem and prevent it in future. Thanks gentlemen.

What I have learnt though is that I do not know enough about the technical aspects of websites, wordpress, backups etc etc. I have now made it a mission to first get a better understanding of these vital bits and pieces. At present I am working through a series of videos on how to use wordpress in the best possible way and trying to work out how to optimize my photos before uploading it.

Another thing I realised is how much the blogging has become part of my life and therefore how much I missed it when the site went into hiding. I want to try and hang onto that thought to ensure that I appreciate being able to do it more and hopefully try to improve the quality of my posts and site. One of the tricks I have discovered so far is how to make time-lapse videos and post it on the site. Here is one to wet your appetite.

At least you can now look forward to quite a bit of material that heaped up in the meantime, which I now have to publish to get back on schedule. The two tables I am working on have both evolved significantly since my disappearance. It is wonderful to be back and I look forward to engaging with all of you on woodwork topics yet again.

Viva Je Ne Sais Quoi Woodworking!!!

Lie Neilsen side rabbet planes.......

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 03/08/2017 - 12:42am
You can't go wrong when there is a lot of shiny brass to gaze upon. My side rabbets came in last night too late to make into the blog so I got to play with them tonight. LN gave me a deal on them since I already had the irons. They sold me the planes sans irons and 3 days later I had them. I briefly looked them over last night after dinner and they looked damn good close up.

how I left them last night
I broke the both of them down to parade rest. The fit and finish is top notch where it counts. This gave me a chance to look at all the individual parts, see how the come apart and how they fit going back together.

blade clamps
Most of the clamp is still rough from casting but the part that sits on top of the iron has been cleaned up and flattened a bit.. I don't know how these stack up against the size of the Stanley 98&99, but I do know the LN irons are much bigger - in the thickness, length, and width.

depth stop
The stop has two raised bumps on the back. The vee shaped bump on the right slides in a groove on the main body. The other raised bump keeps the depth stop parallel to the main body. I would have thought that at least the vee shaped one would have been finished rather then being left rough from the casting.

vertical slot
 The vee shaped bump on the depth stop rides in this groove. This keeps the depth stop vertical and the bottom of it parallel to the bottom of the skate. This groove isn't that deep nor wide. Again I expected the mating bump on the depth stop to be finished at the level of the groove.

LN flattening of the backs
This is one area that Lee Valley excels at. Their backs are dead nuts flat and so shiny you can shave out of them. If I remember right, LN only does the backs up to 400 grit. I shined these two up on 1200 and then the 8K japanese stones.

respectable shine
This is after 10 strokes on the 1200 diamond stone. After this I went to the 8K and tried them out.

99 making wispy shavings
98 making not so wispy shavings
I did not touch the bevels at all but tried them right out of the box. The 99 was sharp and 98 needed a touch up. I did the both of them on the 8K stone first.

10 strokes on the 8K
followed by 20 strokes on the strop
what a difference
I'm getting nice thin, see through shavings from end to end. I had to fiddle with getting the right amount of iron projection which took about 4-5 tries. Once I got that sorted out, the plane sailed through the grain with no hesitation or grabbing.

the depth was a bit tricky
I didn't do so good on this at first. I first dropped the plane in the groove and than set the depth stop. Turns out that there is a better way to do this.

left hand dado
I chewed up the bottom of this dado pretty good with both planes. In spite of being this deep, the planes still shaved the walls. I saw this after I went back to the stones to hone the bevels.

did the same on the right dado

Instead of dropping the plane down into the groove, I looked at this time and held it once the tip of the iron was a frog hair above the bottom. Then I set the depth stop to that. I noticed a difference in the planing. It was smoother and with no dragging.

box is too big for them
I'll keep them in original cardboard box for now
These pieces of wood are left over from the spice rack drawers and I can use them to make a box for the side rabbet planes.

sawing off my test moldings
Two of the boards are too thin so I'm going to plane two more boards to thickness. This will be the first one.

I'll save these
I don't know what I can use these on but I'll put them in the scrap box for now.

one down and one to go
This is what is so exciting to me about hand tool woodworking. I don't think there is a safe way to get this same board to thickness using power tools, safely anyways.  With hand planes there are no restrictions on size.

too thin for the box
 I might be able to get the lid out of these but they are too thin for the box sides.

one board is wonky
it's twisted
Both sides are twisted. Or one side is twisted and the other has a hump. Either way if I correct those hiccups, the board will be too thin to use.

I can get another board out of this
The knot isn't in the way because the board above it is too long.

more than long enough for the front piece.
a tale of two mechanical pencils
The blue one is crap. Initially it works well but as the lead gets shorter it goes south. It is prone to breaking the lead if dropped.  It goes south in big hurry if that happens. New lead is supposed to advance but so far it hasn't happened for me. The lead also has an annoying habit of being pushed back into the pencil as I try to mark with it. In spite of this, I still like mechanical pencils over wooden ones.

I switched over to the papermate pencil and I have been pleasantly surprised by it. It is a thinner lead pencil and it seems to be more robust than the crappy Bic. I haven't had any problems with the lead breaking at all. I can advance or retract the lead by turning the bottom of it. So far a much better pencil for not much more money than the Bic.

sawn to rough length
Nothing beats a #4 for paint removal. Cleaning the plane afterwards sucks, but it works great.

had to remove some twist from this one first
scrubbed it close to the gauge lines
Smoothed it down to lines with the 4 1/2.

sawed the knot off first
I didn't want to plane this knot so I sawed it off before I planed it to thickness.

done
I'll sticker these until tomorrow. I kind of have an idea for the box I want but I'm sure it'll evolve as I make it.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What was the first sport in which women were invited to compete in at the Olympics?
answer - tennis at the 1900 games in Paris

Morris? Morris Who? (Take 2)

The Furniture Record - Tue, 03/07/2017 - 10:07pm

From Wikipedia:

A Morris chair is an early type of reclining chair. The design was adapted by William Morris’s firm, Morris & Company, from a prototype owned by Ephraim Colman in rural Sussex, England. It was first marketed around 1866.

Morris chairs feature a seat with a reclining back and moderately high armrests, which give the chair an old-style appearance. The characteristic feature of a Morris chair is a hinged back, set between two un-upholstered arms.

Morris chair is a fairly flexible term. If you add the word Style, it becomes positively elastic.

Below are two from a recent auction. The first is considered a traditional Morris chair:

Morris Style Reclining Arm Chair

DSC_5577

This lot has sold for $160.

Description:  Circa 1900, mahogany and pine, transitional mission style frame, later paisley upholstered cushions.

For some reason the auctioneer listed this under Furniture – English and Continental.

It has a robust back adjust mechanism:

DSC_5578

Cut by hand of machine?

 

The other is more of the “Mission” or the “Craftsman” Morris chair. This one is listed under Furniture – American:

Morris Style Reclining Arm Chair

DSC_5579

This lot has sold for $80.

Description:  Circa 1900, later blue upholstery, oak frame, adjustable back with iron support bar, raised on shaped feet.

This back adjustment seems a bit less robust:

DSC_5580

Reminds me of a café curtain rod.

 

The content of this blog feels a bit light. I am obligated to add a few more chairs from the same auction. Third up is this chair just ready for you and your designer to make your own:

Queen Anne Wing Back Chair Frame

DSC_5549

This lot has sold for $310.

Description:   18th century frame, oak and other hardwoods, with later front cabriole legs.

One way to get rid of all the vermin in your horsehair stuffing.

DSC_5556

This is not a new frame…

DSC_5557

They haven’t quite found the right look yet,

DSC_5559

but as long as there is wood left, they’ll keep trying.

DSC_5558

This patch/support is actually a wood insert. It would be hard to nail into metal.

 

And one last chair to round things out. Or, in this case, a pair of chairs:

Pair of Transitional Carved Arm Chairs

DSC_5660

This lot has sold for $400.

Description:  Early 20th century, mahogany, floral needlepoint over upholstery, bowed arms terminating in eagle head, legs with acanthus carved knee and ball and claw foot.

One of a pair, the other looks just like it.

What really amused me about these chairs are the carved arms:

DSC_5661

The auctioneer claims they are eagles.

DSC_5662

Who am I to argue?


The Beard is Not Enough

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Tue, 03/07/2017 - 3:19pm

fro_IMG_7455

So this week I sat down with my image consultant and he had some harsh words for me: “You need a ‘thing’ to set you apart from other woodworking bloggers, podcasters and television personalities.”

I asked: “A thing?”

“Yeah. Charles Brock has that patchwork hat. Roy Underhill has his hat and suspenders. Scott Phillips has his similar hat and suspenders. Norm Abram – tool belt. David Mark has tattoos. Tommy Mac has his muscle shirts., and….”

I say: “I have a beard.”

“Sorry,” he said. “Unless your beard is equal to or greater than Peter Follansbee’s, then it’s just hardscrabble. Plus, he has cornered the market on the tie-dye T-shirt and shorts thing. So don’t even bring those up”

“Ugh,” I said. “What do you recommend?”

“You could wear a cape,” he suggested. “Maybe array tools on the interior?”

I countered. “What if it gets caught in the jointer or the table saw? That could be dangerous.” I paused. “Look, I don’t like to have my face appear on the blog or on video, what about a mask? Like a luchador?”

mask_IMG_7459

The consultant had a good point: “In this day and age, dressing like a Mexican wrestler will get you excoriated by the liberals or deported by the conservatives.”

We locked eyes.

“Fancy wristwatches?”

“Mario Rodriguez.”

“Unusual fingernails?”

“David Charlesworth”

“A vicious temper?”

“I’m not touching that.”

“Large mammaries?”

“Look, I already said I’m not touching those.”

“Copious body hair?”

“Hmmm. How much body hair do you have?” the consultant asked. “Do you have to shave your back?”

“No. I pluck three hairs from my right shoulder,” I said. “Two from my left.”

“A huge afro?”

“Bob Ross.”

“Bob Ross is dead!”

“But Bob Ross’s afro is so awesome it has been retired.”

And that’s where my time was up with the image consultant. His recommendation: Mount a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to perform a statically significant survey of what my gimmick should be.

Maybe a huge rodeo belt with a pterodactyl holding a carving gouge….

— Christopher Schwarz


Filed under: Satire, Uncategorized, Yellow Pine Journalism
Categories: Hand Tools

Another Day, Another Stool

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Tue, 03/07/2017 - 2:42pm

stool2_IMG_7441

I try not to make this blog about personal stuff, but ever since boyhood I’ve tended to fixate on things. It might be an object. It might be a task. But I won’t sleep (literally – ask Lucy) until I scratch that itch.

Today it was this three-legged stool. I woke at 3 a.m. (typical) and began working on the next phase of this design until my wife woke at 5:50 a.m., showered and turned on her hairdryer. Something about her hairdryer puts me back to sleep – it’s why I am still conscious now.

After six hours in the shop – three of it just staring at the stool’s component – this is where I am. I still need to add the chamfers to the seat and clean off all the sawblade marks, but I’m pretty happy with the direction this is headed.

stool2_IMG_7452

The mass of the legs, stretchers and seat are more balanced. I’ve added curves to make the seat less jarring. And the stretchers are now tapered octagons, like the legs.

I might sleep tonight.

— Christopher Schwarz


Filed under: The Anarchist's Design Book, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

The Bench

Northwest Woodworking - Tue, 03/07/2017 - 12:06pm

I was discussing our work with high school students at the bench. Winoregon.org is our non-profit to help fund these efforts. In my chat with a representative from one of the largest construction firms in the City, I mentioned that we help our students bridge the gap between their academic life and the real world. We do this by building furniture at the bench.

He asked me what The Bench was? An organization, another non-profit? I said no. The bench is both a reality and a concept. It is the place where the work gets built in my shop. It is the center of the universe in every furniture maker’s shop. Here it gets done right, here it gets fitted properly. Nothing leaves my bench without my approval.

Yet it is an idea too. It is a sense that working at a furniture maker’s bench yields benefits that cannot be touched or felt except by the maker. Where the brain and my logic work together with my grip and touch to create objects that will have some value in people’s lives.

He probably thought, what a whack job this guy is. No matter, it’s the truth for me. The bench is a firm place as real and rock solid as it comes. The bench is also the place where I go to make some sense for myself in this world. It is the place where I can make a difference.

Join us for some bench time this Spring: The Hand Tool Shop or Cool Projects: Shaker Bench.

 

Hammertime     1-John at his bench

 

 

 

 


Categories: Hand Tools

Router Inlay Class March 26th

Alaska Creative Woodworkers Association - Tue, 03/07/2017 - 9:28am
Join us in a one-day class where you learn how to perform basic inlay techniques using a router and exacto knives.  There will be four designs to choose from including a leaf, an apple, and a few surprises.  Depending on your skill level and time management you will complete one or maybe all four designs.  Plan on bringing a piece of wood (optional) that you can use on a future project, such as box lid, table top, or a case […]

Another Week’s Work Unfolds

Paul Sellers - Tue, 03/07/2017 - 9:01am

Friday 3rd March 2017 So, then, my week came together and I made the final drawings for the next three upcoming projects for woodworkingmasterclasses.com. They are all very different projects with two shorter video series and then the box, which is about 5-part series. One is the one on making the straightedge I mentioned recently and then I …

Read the full post Another Week’s Work Unfolds on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

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