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Nine molding planes to add to my H. E. Mitchell collection.
A 7/8" Rebate plane...
Five assorted bead planes made at assorted times, two of which I have, but not in as good of shape as these, and one with missing boxwood which I can use for its parts...
None are matching, other than having been made by my great grandfather's cousin. The were made at difference dates, given the different the maker's marks, but they are nice, clean looking planes.
Opening that package was like Christmas all over again.
We make the best fly swat! The best fly swats are usually the cheapest looking made from lightweight plastic moulded onto coat-hanger wire for a flexible aerodynamic swish. Have you ever made a plastic fly swat like the ones sold? No,why would you? Now a nice leather version with wood and hand stitching, now that’s […]
I my have to revise my blogging and posting schedule. So far when I go in the morning before work starts I've been able to log into my blog. This is when I do my final proof read of the blog before I post it. If I can't do that I'll have write and proof read at night. I can then post from my phone - or at least I think I can - in the morning as I usually do.
|sometimes you get a break|
|time to saw the splines|
|exactly what I didn't want to happen|
|no more hiccups with the rest of the splines|
|opposite end of the lid|
|lip banding glued in place|
|hard to see the filler strip I glued on this side|
|you can make it out on this long side|
|here's the pics Bob - Miles's saw herd|
A crosscut and rip panel saw and a carcass saw. I think I will keep this carcass saw and give Miles my LN carcass saw. That one is lighter and has a thinner plate and might be a better choice for him to learn on. I have a rip tenon saw being sharpened that I am keeping also so I'll have to get Miles a tenon saw.
|the plane herd|
|big till tray has only two marking gauges|
|smallest till tray|
|can't forget this|
|planed the hump and wings off|
|thumbnail plane for 1/2" stock|
|not sure I like that look for the bottom|
|found another choice|
Who was Paul Weitz?
answer - he commanded the first flight of the space shuttle Challenger - he passed away on monday
A little while back, wooden planemaker, Jeremiah Wilding contacted me to get some feedback on a plane he was developing. He had been fine tuning a “Yankee” style fore plane and wondered if I could give it a test run. This plane was a joy to use. Because of the precision of his workmanship and the lack of warpage (from a century of neglect) this plane adjusted easily and predictably—a luxury not every antique plane offers.
Wilding explained that the “Yankee” style planes lacked carved eyes and had rounded edge chamfers and flat end chamfers. It’s a simple and classy look that I quite like. The plane Jeremiah sent me was made of maple and was 15-3/4” long with a 2” single iron.
The thing about this plane I love over others that I’ve seen on the market is the small, off-center tote, much like many 18th-century examples. This is very similar to Jonathan Fisher’s tote and enables me to comfortably use a two-fingered grip as my pinky lays down the side of the plane. I’ve found this grip to be incredibly helpful when doing stock prep. The standard 19th-century shape (with its high center of gravity) and centered position honestly feels a bit awkward to me now. I’ve brought my Fisher plane copy and a standard 19th-century wooden plane around to woodworking shows and just about everyone that compared the two in use lit up and told me that they completely agreed: this tote (and grip) is much more comfortable. As I was testing Jeremiah’s plane, I felt much at home. For me, this is the biggest selling point of this plane. You’ve simply got to try this tote. It’s incredible.
Drop Wilding an email to order one of his incredible planes. If you don’t have a wooden fore plane, you don’t know what you’re missing.
Tapered Octagons Are Just Planing to a Line
The Welsh Stick chair is the first thing that comes to mind when I think of tapered octagonal legs. If you don’t have a lathe and look longingly at the round legs on furniture thinking you could never accomplish those then perhaps you should consider making an octagonal leg. But that can look a little clunky. So why not taper it and get this cool pencil post look.
“But that looks really complex and hard to do!”
Stop whining Luke Skywalker and pick up a plane because this process is nothing more than planing to a line. Its easy and the hardest part is actually laying out the octagons and transferring the lines down your blank. In other words, its not the least bit difficult.
There are certainly other ways and other tools that can be used to do this same task. I find a drawknife to be super fast when hogging off the wood, and a spokeshave is a lot of fun to use to refine the facets. But using a hand plane offers a lot more control if you have never attempted a leg like this before.
New Lessons From The Hand Tool School Vault
In this tutorial I mentioned a more detailed look at creating the initial square taper as well as a video on the Joiner’s Saddles that I used while shaping the octagon. There is also a good tip on using the saw plate reflection to your advantage while sawing. Make sure to check out:
This is an excerpt from “Campaign Furniture” by Christopher Schwarz.
Brass-bound campaign chests that can be split into two parts are likely the most iconic pieces of the style – like the Morris chair of the Arts & Crafts movement. The archetypal British-made chest is mahogany with four rows of drawers, brass corner guards and flush brass pulls. Most chests would fit nicely into a box that is 40″ H x 40″ W x 22″ D.
However, there are lots of variants of campaign chests and details about their construction that you should consider as a maker when you plan to build your own. The following details apply to British-made chests. Campaign chests made in China or India are outside the scope of this book.
As far as dating the chests, a good rule of thumb is that earlier chests had fewer brass corner guards and used pulls that are “skeletonized.” That is, the early pulls look more like the classic swan’s neck type. In addition to the skeletonized pulls, there are also some early pulls that have pointed ends and other shapes. Early chests are also more likely to have moulding than a later chest, though the ornament is usually is more subdued than that on a high-style chest for domestic use.
Because early chests were more likely made as one-off pieces (and not in a manufactory), you are apt to see more variation in their design and construction. So you can encounter (or use) almost any joinery variant of the dovetail family.
Later chests in the mid-19th century became more standardized. More brass was added. The pulls became rectangular and fairly uniform among the manufacturers. From a builder’s perspective, these later chests are well built and are worth studying and reproducing.
Here are some other construction details of the chests, both early and late.
Backs of Campaign Chests
The backs of campaign chests can run the full gamut of techniques. I’ve seen frame-and-panel backs all the way down to backs that were simply nailed into a rabbet in the rear of the carcase.
A frame-and-panel back is by far the lightest in weight (because of the thin panels) and adds the most rigidity to the carcase, which is a frameless cabinet that benefits from the rigidity. You’ll also see backs that were paneled (usually via tongue-and-groove) and simple full panels that are inset into a rabbet or a groove. These options are preferred to a simple nailed- or screwed-on back.
When it comes to the joinery, most of these chests were dovetailed at the corners. Except for the very top board of the cases (which were joined with full-blind dovetails), the remaining tops and bottoms were typically joined to the ends with half-blind (also called lap) dovetails.
On all the examples I’ve examined so far, the tail boards have been on the tops and bottoms, and the pin boards are on the ends of the carcases. This violates the typical practice of putting the tails on the end boards, which makes the joints stronger for lifting.
My guess is that this is for simplicity’s sake. With the tails on the tops and bottoms, these joints are laid out and executed exactly like cutting the joints for a drawer. If you put the tails on the end boards, removing the waste in the blind tails would be a little more difficult. But most of all, it would be a less-common way of cutting the joint.
The tops of campaign chests were typically joined to the ends with rabbeted full-blind dovetails. Details of this joint are covered in the chapter on building campaign chests. After pulling the drawers out of a number of these chests and poking around with a flashlight, I’ve found that for this joint, it was typical to put the tails on the end boards and the pins on the top. (You can easily discern this in a glued-up joint by paying attention to the overcuts from the dovetail saw and if they are angled or vertical.)
Sometimes the corners of the carcases will be joined with through-dovetails, though I haven’t seen many of these in the wild or in auction catalogs. There are also a few chests where all the joints are half-blind dovetails and you can see the tails on the top.
Because these chests have to be strong, the interiors are usually mortise-and-tenon web frames with dust panels – again, first-class joinery. I’ve seen a few chests where the interior dividers are solid slab panels. These are simpler to build, but the slabs add weight.
The web frames are usually attached to the end boards with dados or, in some cases, sliding dovetails. You can tell which joint the maker used by removing the brass corner guards covering them.
As far as attaching the top case to the bottom case, it is typically done with two to four dowels that stick up on one of the cases and slide into matching holes in the other case. There are other methods of registering the top case on the bottom, including brass hardware that is incorporated into the corner guards, but I haven’t seen enough of these to know which other methods are typical and which are not.
— Meghan Bates
Filed under: Campaign Furniture
In this excerpt from our book, “From Truths to Tools,” we show how the carpenter/geometers of antiquity used the simplest of tools – those mentioned with almost annoying alliteration in the title – to solve for an unknown distance.
Note that the solution does not necessarily require a number as it physically reveals the length of rope or timber needed to reach the span point. Here’s the excerpt:
Filed under: From Truths to Tools, Uncategorized
In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking, we spend time with the owner of The Northwest Woodworking Studio and author, Gary Rogowski. Gary shares some of the fascinating stories from his new book, “Handmade, Creative Focus in the Age of Distraction” (Linden Publishing, Inc.). Plus, you’ll hear what he feels is the most vital woodworking machine, especially for a West-Coast woodworker. And he shares his thoughts about the importance to all of hand work.
Join 360 Woodworking every Thursday for a lively discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more).
I've been gathering tools and I have a good head start so far. I have all the handplanes I am going to give him except for a plow, bullnose, and a rabbet plane. Getting what I have now was easy and most of it I already had. I was looking in the toolbox the other day deciding on what to get next and I wasn't sure. So I printed out Paul Seller's essential tool list.
I looked over the list and I crossed out a lot of what was on there as I already had it. After reading what was left and comparing it to what I had, I don't have much further to go. I was surprised that I had added tools that I consider essential that Paul didn't.
Handsaws were the first item. I put a crosscut and rip panel saw in Miles's toolbox and Paul excludes them. Along with the panel saws, I am going to give him a tenon, carcass, and dovetail saw. Paul's list has the tenon and dovetail saw. And one saw I hadn't considered from Paul's list was the coping saw. A coping saw isn't one that I use frequently and I tend to avoid it's use if I can. I'm not sure about that one although I do think it is an important saw to have.
Block planes were another absent tool. I use block planes all the time and I added the Stanley #9 and #60 1/2 to his kit. I use my block planes a lot and at times more than I use my bench planes. But that is me and how I work wood. I learned my woodworking with block planes from the git go. Paul has said that block planes weren't used during his apprenticeship training. I can see why they weren't on his hit parade of tools.
There were a few other tools I like and think should be in Miles's toolbox that aren't on Paul's list. Since I am going to be hopefully teaching him how to hand tool woodwork he should have the tools that I use now. So instead of using Paul's list verbatim, it'll be a guide list for me. I'll be fleshing out his toolbox with my essential tool list.
One other point I want to make with Miles's toolbox. These tools will be his to use and care for. He will responsible for them. I think it will teach him something beyond just woodworking. I think the principles of caring for and maintaining tools is much better if it is something that you own and isn't a borrowed tool.
I saw a Lufkin folding ruler with a caliper on the Hyperkitten site yesterday that I bought for Miles. I have one of these rulers (not a Lufkin) and it is the first ruler I bought when I was 21. I still have it and I still use it.
If and when I get done with Miles's tool kit I'll post a list of the tools. But first I'll compare it to Paul Seller's list.
What will get if someone pelfs you?
answer - money
At the core of clock making is the clock movement which does the job of moving the hands and showing time accurately. In earlier times, the movement would be a complex mechanical contraption whereas today it is a small electronic device called Quartz movement. This is why most clock dials have Quartz printed on them.
These movements are widely available in India. However, I would advise woodworkers here to avoid buying them from amazon.in as the prices being charged there are ridiculous - anything between Rs 150 and 700 or more for a 70 rupee movement!
|A TYPICAL CLOCK MOVEMENT - NOTICE THE SHAFT STICKING OUT OF IT. THE HANDS ARE MOUNTED ON THIS AFTER IT IS SECURED TO A DIAL|
Some of the better Quartz clock movement makers include Seiko (Japan), Takane (USA) and Hermle (Germany). A number of Chinese companies also make clock movements, many of which are of excellent quality and give accurate time. The better movements are however more robust and reliable.
The Takane movements, for example, come with a 10-year warranty and is rated to last 10 years. The better movements are difficult to procure in India while the Chinese ones are easily available for seventy rupees or so a piece from Chinese e-commerce sites such as aliexpress.com.
The better and far more expensive clocks are made with mechanical clock movements which require winding. Clock connoisseurs prefer these types of clocks as opposed to those run by Quartz movements. Very few companies make mechanical movements these days and those that do charge a lot. Its far simpler to use Quartz movements, especially for hobbyists.
The Quartz movement is enclosed in a small plastic box that must be familiar to most people these days as virtually all our clocks have a similar mechanism. A shaft sticks out of the movement and this is where the hour, minute and seconds hands are attached. A standard AA battery is required to power the movement.
|CLOCK MAKING CAN BE AN ART FORM; IN THE PAST CLOCK MAKERS PRODUCED MASTERPIECES EMBELLISHED WITH ALL KINDS OF ORNAMENTS, FIGURINES, FINIALS AND SO ON|
While choosing a clock movement ensure the length of the shaft is appropriate for the material you plan to use as a dial and its backing. If the shaft is not long enough, it will not stick out as required. Most shafts are pretty short - about an eighth of an inch - and will not pass through quarter inch plywood. The first few movements I bought had these short shafts and I had to rout a recess in the plywood to mount the movement.
Some movements come with shafts that are as long as three quarters of an inch. This might not be appropriate for a thin dial mounted on 6mm or quarter inch plywood as it would stick out too much and look strange when the clock hands are mounted. In other words, the shaft length should match the thickness of the dial material.
The movement is put in place by pushing the shaft through a hole in the dial and securing it with a small nut that is supplied with the movement. The clock hands are attached after the nut.
PRINTED CLOCK DIAL WITH A VARIETY OF WOODEN CLOCK HANDS
|MAKING CASINGS FOR VARIOUS CLOCKS: I USED SCRAPS OF OAK, PINE AND ASH|
Attractive clock dials can also be printed with an inkjet or laser printer. There are plenty of free designs available on the Internet and for slightly more creative people designing great looking clock dials could be a project in itself. The other alternative is to purchase clock dials printed on metal and plastic. I bought some printed on brass sheets to give my clocks a traditional look.
|CLOCK DIAL TEMPLATES SUCH AS THIS ONE CAN BE FREELY DOWNLOADED FROM THE INTERNET AND PRINTED|
Traditionally clock makers have fabricated elaborate casings to mount the dial and clock mechanism. All kinds of ornaments and embellishments were used to decorate them. Some are masterpieces sold by auctioneers such as Christies for lakhs of rupees.
I have made some simple designs for clock casings and am trying out different ones. I find clock making quite absorbing and satisfying. Apart from designs, it allows me to experiment with different finishes and colours. The process is only limited by one's imagination.
A CLOCK I HAD MADE LAST YEAR USING A DIAL PRINTED ON MY INKJET PRINTER
|MY LATEST CLOCK - I USED A BRASS DIAL AND A BRASS ORNAMENT|
26 October 2017
I have a student here this week, we’re studying period carving while making an oak box. Scattered all over this blog (10 years’ worth, over 1,000 posts) are photos of period work. Carving, turning, moldings, mess-ups, etc. But I never knew when I started what a potential resource this could be. And now I’m too busy to organize it. But if you want to see some oak carvings…they’re in here! I’ll stick a few here, some of what Nathan & I are using for reference this week.
This one from a private collection; lots of gloppy finish on it, making it hard to see exact details. But one of my favorites over the years. My notes said that Bob Trent & I examined this back in 1998.carved box, William Savell, 1590s-1669
Related to the above is this one, another I’ve copied many times over. Carved by the eldest son of William Savell above, John Savell, 1642-1687 or so.Jn Savell box, side carving
This lunette, (this one’s on the top rail of a chest) is also by John Savell. To carve these, you need to practice your V-tool work. Lots of concentric arcs.carved lunette, attr John Savell
One of my boxes, “made up” in the sense that it’s not copied from a period piece. But the box front is a direct copy of a drawer front by the Savells. As is the construction – pegged & glued rabbets instead of the typical nailed rabbets for joining the box parts.PF box
Here’s one of the chests with two drawers. This one was from an auction website. I’ve lost track of where it went. Although I’ve made chests with two drawers, I never made one in this style…maybe 2018.
The elder William Savell came to Braintree, Massachusetts by the late 1630s. He was first in Cambridge, working on the “college” that became Harvard. In his will dated 1669, he leaves to his wife a “chest with drawers” – with, not of, and drawers plural. There are at least three we’ve seen with 2 drawers. Most have just one. Only a couple were chests – no drawers.
I discovered this one in research done for a 1996 article about these objects. All I had to go by was this 1930s photograph and the owner’s name & hometown. Lots of dead ends, but I found it in the long run.
The article from 1996, but if you track down the volume itself, you get all the pictures
Earlier looks at this work from the blog:
A few weeks ago I ran across an old tool chest at an antique store and it managed to follow me home. It is not particularly unique in its construction; I was mostly taken by the old red paint job on the inside.
When I got home with my find, I took the tills out and had a close look at the inside to see what kind of tool marks there were. Also, looking for the almost-always nonexistent signature or possible date. It is not signed anywhere other than red paint fingerprints on the undersides of the tills.
One thing I did notice when I was looking it over in the store is that the lid had an extra hinge on the outside of the chest. I assumed it was a repair, that maybe the center hinge on the inside had pulled loose at some point and it would have been easier to add another hinge on the outside.
On closer inspection the outside hinge was the same size and type as the inside three. It looked to be original. The outside hinge also has two carefully made spacers so the barrel of the outside hinge and the inside hinges align. After thinking about it and wondering why the maker did not just space the four hinges on the inside I happened to open the lid up while standing behind the chest. Ah ha! The outside hinge is the stop for the lid.
Most box hinges the leaves of the hinge will close completely on one another in one direction and won’t in the other direction. When I realized how it worked I felt like a total dumb-ass (a regular occurrence) for not figuring it out sooner.
– Will Myers
Filed under: Uncategorized
We took a break from our chairmaking class this morning to visit Jennie Alexander in Baltimore, Md., and hear a bit about her progress on the third edition of “Make a Chair From a Tree.”
During Jennie’s presentation she showed us a curious mallet made from a local oak branch. It was turned like a froe club with the pith running through the dead center. This kind of mallet is, according to the normal rules of wood movement, not a good idea. Because wood moves more along the annular rings than across them, the mallet should split.
But this mallet was dry and perfect. No splits.
Jennie explained that she did this by turning the mallet while it was green, then she coated both ends of the mallet with a heavy coat of tallow. This, she said, forced the moisture to leave the mallet through the face grain of the mallet. (Usually the moisture prefers to leave through the end grain.) This, she said, is what prevented it from cracking.
This sort of conundrum has always fascinated me. And it’s a topic that I and a few other woodworkers will be covering in an upcoming podcast. (Yes, we’re starting a podcast, but it won’t be about the things we’re building in our shops, or tool reviews, or listener mail. Details to come.)
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Uncategorized
|out of the clamps|
|layout for the splines|
|this worked well|
|sawing my splines out|
|practiced sawing right hand splines too|
|checking the fit in a test kerf|
|doing the splines in the lid first|
|making the splines fit|
|one miter done on the box|
|interior is clean|
|glued and cooking|
|original 140 box|
|stickered until tomorrow|
What is samhainophobia?
answer - a fear of Halloween
Of course, after one day, I'm already seeing a few scraper marks in the backs that I wish I had seen before. Will see how they behave in the next day or two. May just leave well-enough alone, as they say.
There aren't many used portable chain mortisers offered for sale in Denmark, and the idea of forking out $2400 for a new Festool or $4000 for a new Mafell is out of the question. Even I have to be realistic once in a while.
I have regularly checked the various classified home pages in Denmark, and one day while looking, I spotted something on a stationary mortiser that made me take a closer look.
In addition to the lever type handle, this chain mortiser also had two smaller handles. Now those would only make sense if the machine could be used as a portable unit.
I enlarged the pictures and could see that part of it looked like aluminium castings and not cast iron. I also managed to decipher the designation of the machine which is cast into the front cover: KKF 15
A quick search and I found a page from an old catalogue that listed the features of the machine. To me the most interesting thing was that it could be used as either a wall mounted or a portable machine.
Whenever I find a machine that I would like, chances are that it is situated far from where I live, but this machine was being sold just 20 miles from our place. So I arranged with the boys that we would drive down and get it, Gustav had to be picked up at the train station after a trip to Copenhagen with his class, so first I picked him up, and then went for the machine
Originally I had intended to do a bit of haggling just as a principle, and my argument for a lower price would be that there was only one chain , and it even needed sharpening. It turned out that the chain mounted on the mortiser was in excellent condition, and besides there were two brand new chains to go along with it as well. Knowing that a new chain can easily reach 200$ on its own it seemed pointless to haggle, so I paid the guy the $200 he was asking for the machine and he helped me load it in the back of the car.
Once home, I checked the machine, and it was in much better condition than I could have hoped for. I tested it on some pieces of scrap, and it is a joy to use.
The only problem is that even though it can be used as a portable chain mortiser, it is designed to work like that in another way than the one that I borrowed from Olav.
Olavs chain mortiser is a 100% portable machine. It is designed to work with the chain running along the grain, and it has got a clamping fixture that is perfect. Once the machine is clamped, you can slide the sword lengthwise, and make a nice long mortise that is only the thickness of the chain wide.
My machine is heavier and works across the grain when used as a hand held mortiser. That means that the width of my mortises are limited by the width of the sword and chain combined. The good thing is that You don't have to clamp the machine to the work piece. The action of the chain will ensure that it packs the fence close to the work piece all the time.
Now if I only made one size of tenons that would be OK, but I would like to be able to use the machine on different sizes of timber, so I have to figure out a way to make a clamping fixture so my machine can also work like Olavs.
A good thing about the current set up is that it is perfect for making mortises in e.g. work bench tops. Because it only requires one flat face to register to in order to make a mortise. So I don't have to invent a longer clamping fixture to span across the width of a work bench top just to make the mortises for the legs.
I guess I should make a workbench just to use the new machine..
When using my revolving finishing jig I apply finish as the turntable rotates. My projects move by finish spewing from my spray gun. That results in finish build-up.
It’s not noticed at the time, but finish build-up begins to layer on the turntable with each project. After 25 years of finishing an estimated 30 to 50 pieces per year (at least in my earlier days of woodworking), it’s necessary to replace the turntable.
If you’re like me you will realise that often changes you might resist or even reject at first turn out for the better in the long run, in ways you may never have thought even possible. We so want a predictable plan, perhaps even a path that’s risk free, even if the outcome can end […]