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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator
An aggregate of many different woodworking blog feeds from across the 'net all in one place! These are my favorite blogs that I read everyday...
They say that planing end grain is one of the harder things to do with a plane.
(Thanks to Stuart Tierney for the link.)
This 10 minute film was made to celebrate the craft skills awards, it includes film from the finalists workshops with their insights into why they do what they do and what it means to work in craft. The awards judges (I was one) also add their thoughts, I think all together it gives a good overview of what it means to work in craft. I love the comment from Cowley's "There are more astronauts walking about that parchment makers."
Hi, do you mind if I put a link to your saw sharpening manual on my site? I sharpened some saws in the past and I think you made a really good instruction manual on how to do it. (^-^)b
Thanks for the kind comment! I really appreciate it.
Link away. Please post more on the saws you’ve sharpened.
Now you can read about all things Don by visiting donsbarn.com – the web site of Don Williams. For those of you who aren’t frequent visitors here, Don is the mastermind behind the A.J. Roubo translations and the author of the forthcoming book on H.O. Studley.
He’s a former conservator for the Smithsonian and expert on all things waxy and shellac-y.
His new site will feature lots of the public-domain articles he wrote while at the Smithsonian, plus a blog on the things that go on at his extremely huge barn and a store for buying some of the things he makes – like the polissoirs from Roubo.
So bookmark the site, add it to your reader and enjoy the articles that are already there. Don says more are forthcoming.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Books in the Works, To Make as Perfectly as Possible, Roubo Translation, Virtuoso: The Toolbox of Henry O. Studley
Over at Lost Art Press, Chris Schwarz has been talking about “vernacular furniture,” or “furniture of necessity,” which is furniture that, while hand-made, is cheap and simple to construct using a small tool kit.
For example, when my oldest daughter acquired a box turtle (thanks to her father’s inadvertent destruction of its native kudzu habitat), it fell to me to build it an outdoor terrarium.
It had to be built and installed quickly, as the turtle was getting restless in its temporary home: a laundry basket. No time for dovetails, drawbored mortises-and-tenons, or floating panels.
I screwed together some 2X10s and made a frame lid out of 2X4s. The fanciest part was the lap joints I used on the lid. I painted the whole thing to match the house, installed hinges and a handle, and set it in place. The hardest part was getting the chicken wire in place. I came away with quite a few scratches on my hands and arms, but it should be raccoon-proof now.
Now that it’s done, my daughter is happy, and as far as I can tell, so is the turtle. And that’s what the “furniture of necessity” is really all about–keeping the women happy.
Filed under: Furniture, Home Improvement, Musings
|They Have Everything You Need!|
My advice is to travel while you are young. Too many wait until they retire and then are physically limited in the scope of travel available to them. I first went to Europe when I was 18 and travelled for three months on a bicycle, visiting 7 countries. It was the most important decision I have ever made, and I still reflect on the events of that summer, as if they were yesterday. Later, when I was in my early 40's I lived in Paris for a few years while I was a student at ecole Boulle, living most of that time in the 11th arrondissement. The city of Paris is divided into districts, called "arrondissement" which are numbered and start in the center, rotating like a spiral out to the limits of the city.
The 11th district is the historic furniture making district in Paris. It is a district which is not often visited by tourists, as it is mainly full of furniture stores, workshops and the different speciality supply shops which furnish the materials to the trade. It generally starts from the Bastille and goes to Nation, where ecole Boulle is located. I walked those streets literally thousands of times, and it became my "neighborhood."
Years ago there was a series on TV called "Barging Through France" with the host, Richard Goodwin. I just found a copy of an episode on YouTube where he explores the 11th. A highlight of this video is a visit with my dear friend, Patrick George, who supplies the most exotic materials in France for woodworkers. This is a special video, where George, in his distinctive beard, speaks English, although with a heavy accent. I think you will immediately appreciate his personality and passion for the trade which he pursues, and with the understanding that he is the 5th generation of his family to keep the business open.
Enjoy:Paris 11th Arrondissement
Mr. Goodwin ends this segment with a prophetic wish, "Let's hope the developers don't move in too soon and rip out the heart of Paris." In fact, each time I return to this district, I find fewer and fewer actual ateliers and more and more condos and upscale gift shops. Paris is changing, and modern lifestyles have little interest in ancient trades.
During your presentation for the NYCWWC, I forgot to ask, Is there such a thing as a japanese style scrub plane? Thanx M. Stone
Japanese planes can be set up to do most any task a western bench plane can do. Although most woodworkers think of Japanese planes taking ridiculously fine, wide, gossamer shavings, that mainly reflects the setup of the plane: very fine mouth, with a very sharp blade with very little camber that is set to take as fine a shaving as possible.
A Japanese plane can easily be set up to take a much thicker shaving, and this is done by altering the same parameters that you would in a western plane: open up the mouth, put more of a camber on the plane, and advance the blade to take a thicker shaving. Japanese planes put to this use also tended to be narrower, with 50-60mm wide blades.
One of my Japanese planes is set up this way, although in use it’s probably more like a jack plane than a scrub plane. If I wanted a Japanese scrub plane, I’d look for a plane with a narrower blade, and put more camber on the blade than this one.
Of course, I never really need to use a scrub plane. But that’s another topic of discussion.
I was glad to see these USA domestic made clamps offered in the Veritas catalog so I ordered a couple to see if they were the same quality as the ones I knew from many years back. They are! As with any tool or piece of equipment, with quality you can almost always see it before you touch it. As many of you know, I really like the lighter weight aluminium brings to clamps and if joints are well fitted, rarely do you need anything heavier in joinery in general. Between the US school and the UK we have about 150 such clamps in varying lengths, but the ones we use are much thinner aluminium; actually about 1/16″ thick instead of the 1/8″ of these new ones. We stuff the imported clamps with a stiffener of wood and this radically improves the rigidity, but a real flaw with the US Harbor Freight imports (less so on the UK models) is that the heads do occasionally break. Frustratingly, they always of course snap mid-glue up.
The Universal Clamp Corporation models I have used would not break or even flex hardly, even with unnatural pressure applied to them. The do cost about double, but the convenience of longevity and good local and domestic economy is important. I also like to look back on my equipment and value it, whatever it is, for its many, many years of service.These clamps are that sort of equipment. I think you must buy what you can afford. I would like to gradually shift to replace the clamps for the higher quality even though the clamps imported are guaranteed for life. For the furniture maker and joiner, these clamps make much sense. Two things struck me about the Universal clamps as you will see from the images. The import knockoffs have a much smaller locking mechanism that translates into damage in the registration dents if you apply too much pressure. Of course if you know this the you will not be too excessive and they work fine. The second point is the distance between the indents. The thicker alluminium allows for closer registration points for the lock to register.
One thing that we furniture makers would make much sense of would be a snap on extension. The old Record cramps were available with extensions and simple pine passed through that locked another 2 or 3 feet on there for longer reaches. We relied on these for large frame joinery like window frames and doors and such.
One of the reason many campaign chests survived wars and colonial life is they were at times packed into other plain chests. These iron-bound and plain shells were painted and simple affairs – and are a fairly rare sight today.
Despite their simplicity and plain construction, they were critical to the mobile household – the cases were stacked and used as a wardrobe for the officer and his family. Note the removable shelf in the illustration above from the Army & Navy Co-operative Society 1885 catalog.
I hope to inspect some of these cases and maybe build a set for my book. They might make a good introductory project – and I really dislike the veneered English Victorian wardrobe we now use for our sheets.
A double victory.
The other interesting thing about these Army & Navy Co-operative Society catalogs is how the lumber world has turned a bit upside down in the last 125 years.
You can buy almost all the wooden furniture in three species: the cheapest is always teak. Getting the item in mahogany is an upcharge. And you have to pay a further upcharge if you want the piece in oak.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Books in the Works, Campaign Furniture
…but they did get nailed.
Prohibition Agents Inspecting Bootlegger’s Truck, Oct. 23, 1926
What appeared to be an innocent truckload of lumber turned out to be a bootlegger’s vehicle loaded with prime scotch when the Los Angeles Federal Prohibition Agents smelled the odor of a broken bottle. Investigation disclosed a cleverly conceals trapdoor of board ends leading to the interior, from which 70 cases of liquor were taken. The device is said to be the most ingenious ever caught here.
Photo and caption exhumed by Jeff Burks.
Filed under: Historical Images
From Woodcraft’s blog:
Take a walk through the Pagoda, where you will find many of the Japan Woodworker products.
Interesting that Woodcraft would carve out retail space for this display. The variety of Japanese saws that are on display seems to be more than what a typical Woodcraft would carry. If they have Japanese planes back there, I’ll be really impressed.
My blog is not noted for its variety. I keep saying the same things over & over again. Drawboring. Green wood. Carved oak. Hand tools. My kids. Today’s bird. (Great Horned owlet, thanks for showing it to me, Marie. Look at the feet on this creature!)
And Drew Langsner.
If you have read this blog, you know how I feel about Drew and the work he and his wife Louise have put into Country Workshops over the past (maybe 34, 35) years. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2012/11/13/how-did-i-get-started-country-workshops-the-langsners-is-how/ Today I got a new copy of an old book by Drew called, of all things, Green Woodworking. The original 2 versions of this book have been out of print for some time, but now Drew has brought this one back in an Author’s Reprint Edition.
The book first came out in 1987, by which time I was a “repeat offender” at Country Workshops; i.e. I took classes there regularly. I remember a couple of years making 2 trips down there per year. (900 miles each way). I devoured the book when it was new. I still keep the hardcover edition in the shop, and still refer to it from time to time.
Spoons, they’re here. I learned to make them from this book and its predecessor, Country Woodcraft, before meeting Jogge & Wille Sundqvist at CW. You can make a spoon right from the book, I just re-read the chapter a week ago. Drew outlined the book by devoting each chapter to a technique, Hewing, Riving, Shaving and so on. Each chapter then has a project that highlights that particular technique. At one time or another, I have made most everything in this book. Just the other day, I was talking with my wife about making the firewood carriers again. I used to make lots of them. The seeds of my joinery work are in there too – Drew profiled several woodworkers in one section, including Alexander. Mention is made of the beginnings of JA’s study of 17th-century joinery.
If you don’t have this book, now’s your chance to get it direct from the horse’s mouth. Drew sells them from Country Workshops, $35 plus $7.50 shipping & handling. www.countryworkshops.org
Of course, I am biased – I’ve known Drew since I stumbled down there in 1980 as the greenest 22-yr old you can imagine. So read what Chris Schwarz said in his post “10 books that changed the way I think” – Drew got 2 of the 10…
“Green Woodworking” by Drew Langsner. This book is like visiting a foreign country, a delightful foreign country. Even if you have been woodworking for decades, this book offers surprises and insights on every page. It will make you more intimate with your material.
“The Chairmaker’s Workshop” by Drew Langsner. While John Brown’s book made me want to build chairs, Langsner’s gave me the information I needed to actually do it. Though I build chairs differently now, I could not have gotten started without this book.
We finished up work today on a special H.O. Studley T-shirt design for the Handworks event on May 24-25, and we ordered enough to sell them here on the web site.
The shirts will be heather gray, 100-percent cotton and from American Apparel – just like all our shirts. On the front is a stylized image of H.O. Studley’s signature from the metal plate on his impressive tool chest. On the back is the name of the forthcoming book “Virtuoso: The Toolbox of Henry O. Studley” plus our logo. We’ve substituted Studley’s register calipers in the place of our corporate compass.
The shirts will be $20 each and will be available in sizes between medium and 2XL.
As with all products in our store, these shirts are made entirely in the United States.
Look for them on May 20.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Products We Sell, Virtuoso: The Toolbox of Henry O. Studley
Easing through the day in readiness for tomorrow a few great things happened. Yesterday a company called Legacy Logistics in Philadelphia received my call to see of they could get my hand tools from their storage to the woodworking school so I could use them tomorrow for a class. They said immediately that they could do it. At 9.45 am this morning they said that they were almost there and wanted to make sure we were able to receive the pallet. These were the tools that I traveled with over the three months of the Woodworking Shows. It felt really good to know that FedEx was also in the driver’s seat as they pulled up to the front porch.
I managed a few moments in Nick’s workshop through the day and it was then that I noticed an old timberframed building that will make a new structure at the Maplewood Center. The old hand hewn beams were lay right next to new sections that Nick had prepped for a garage building to be built nearby. I thought it was neat to see the old against the new and see the same joints being used.
In the workshop I really liked the fact that there is a domestic US engineer tool maker making hand made woodworking tools for woodworkers and that they make inshaves and draw knives and some of the finest timber framing chisels I have seen. We should support these guys at Barr Specialty Tools in their endeavor so here is a link I think is worth holding onto.
These guys are really wrestling through their mortises with Barr’s chisels. They sharpen really well to a keen edge and have great edge retention so they are tough to boot. The class was really going well throughout the day and I was glad to see their progress. Soon they will be undertaking projects of their own and I know one granddad there that plans on building a timberframed play house for his grandkids.
The post Getting Ready for Tomorrow’s Two -day Discovering Woodworking Class appeared first on Paul Sellers.
The split wasn't clean, so I had to start over. Of course, this was the last corner and I wasn't about to switch to pins first in the middle of a project, so my tool chest will now be 22" wide. Actually, I think it will be better anyway, as it will fit on a 2' wide shelf unit I have. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
With just a couple exceptions on the first corner, the dovetails did come out tight, though not without an inordinate expenditure of time. Conveniently, Shannon Rogers of The Renaissance Woodworker just did a nice podcast about fixing gaps in dovetails.
The only way I can get them real tight is to leave the pins very slightly proud and trim them to fit, which takes time. As my sawing improves I cut closer and closer to the line, which makes things go faster. I'm also very slow in chiseling out the waste so I don't disturb the knife wall. I'm encouraged that speed is my challenge, which isn't a high priority anyway. For the most part, it is just a matter of practice.
The old chest had dados on the sides of the drawers and runners fastened with brads to the sides of the chest.
Seasonal wood movement loosened the brads so that the runners sagged or came off. Someone had made replacements for several of them and put staples in others to hold them. Not a good arrangement.
I want to do my drawers this way, but there obviously has to be a better method for attaching the runners. Screws in slots might well be OK, but I'm opting for belt and suspenders. Unless one of you has a better idea, I'm going to create 1/16" stopped dados for the runners, glue one end and let the side move on screws in slots in the middle and on the other end of the runner. Stopped dados take time, but I don't think ones this shallow will be too bad. Six drawers, twelve dados. Stay tuned.
When the only tool you have to flatten a board is a 6” electric jointer, all your boards look 6” wide.
One of the greatest gifts of handwork is the ability to flatten boards of almost any width. Many times when I demonstrate flattening stock by hand I get asked the following question: Isn’t it grueling work?
To which I reply: When you are working with 18”-wide stock, nothing is too grueling.
Today I led a bunch of woodworkers (there were 15 or 20 of us at one point) to Midwest Woodworking in Norwood, Ohio, so they could experience this epiphany themselves. We bought tons of old mahogany that was 18” and wider for less than $7 a board foot. We bought 30-year-old sugar pine – dead flat and about 12” wide – for about the same price. Many of these boards will become campaign chests at my class next week at Marc Adams School of Woodworking.
And then we went around the corner to Gordo’s Pub for a burger and a beer – my definition of a perfect day.
You can have your own perfect day wherever you live. Getting wide stock is a matter of looking, asking and refusing to settle for low-quality raw materials.
Do you have a phone? Call Wall Lumber, Hearne Hardwood, Horizon Wood Products or Irion Lumber and tell them what you want. They can truck it to you. And if you are willing to buy 100 board feet or so, you will get a surprisingly fair price.
Wide boards are always worth the money. To me, good lumber is more exciting than a fancy shop or an expensive plane.
What did I buy at Midwest? About 20 board feet of old teak from Malaysia for my next project: A full-size fold-up officers’ desk, circa 1830.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. Thanks to Andy Brownell of Brownell Furniture for helping me arrange this special visit to Midwest. Andy also supplied us all with free Gorilla Glue (PVA and poly) and T-shirts.
Filed under: Books in the Works, Campaign Furniture
Gary Roberts over at Toolemera has done it again and reproduced a fine tome from the nineteenth century. The book has many full color plates, hand colored engravings and Mr. Roberts has reproduced the entire book in color, so the pages appear as they would in an original edition.
Mr. Stokes has done an excellent job at assembling material from his peers and predecessors, which I won’t call plagiarism as it was common practice. Some of the engravings have the long f for the s, indicating an earlier time.
The book is however full of very useful information about lay out, perspective, drawing, design and construction of furniture, with an emphasis on finishing, which I found fascinating. This is a great hardbound edition of an historical work that is a pleasure to hold in ones hand and read about the past and the ways of old. Add this one to your bibliotheque.
Timber Framing Workshops for Everyone
The significance of timber framed structures throughout Europe and the USA cannot be denied when it comes to man’s quest for surviving seasons of harshness with store-housing crops and overwintering livestock and much more. Throughout the USA, hundreds of thousands of these structures survive as examples of workmanship and a way of life we may never see at such significant levels again, yet here at the Maplewood Center for Common Crafts the traditions of timber framing continues. As old structures deteriorate, are dismantled for tax reduction and so on, workshops at a New York venue counter cultural shifts in a strategy that ensures the skills it took to build them don’t die out.
This week the Maplewood Center held a three-day timber framing course I felt privileged to watch and photograph and I could sense first hand the preservation and conservation of what I can only describe as the art and craft of timber framing. The students followed traditional patterns of timber framing as they watched professional timber framer Nick Richards take them step by step to build a working timber framed trestle from 6×6 framing timbers. The joints are of course draw-bore mortise and tenon joints full width and 2” thick. Using the same traditional tools and methods goes beyond just making good joints. Nick explains the reasoning behind the joints, recalls their historical value to worklife of past eras, the importance of using well-defined methods of construction, their relationship to full-sized buildings and how these students can indeed take the skills and apply them to their future work in structures they build.
Seeing the camaraderie is important to me. Woodworking on this scale is somewhat different to my own sphere of furniture making yet many principles and skills are readily transferable and certainly cross from one sphere of working wood to another. Drawer bore methods, layout procedures, and joint making procedures are but methods for making. Beyond that we have chisel and saw sharpening, patterns of workmanship, tool techniques and much more. Nick discusses sourcing woods and which woods work best for framing structures. The Q & A time is of course incredibly valuable for equipping students with the right knowledge and information when they return to their home region. The interaction between students and teachers develops a dynamic of its own as they progress to new levels of confidence using hands-on methods and tools some may never have used before. I felt visceral levels excitement that sparked new levels enthusiasm throughout the timber-framed workshop we were receiving instruction in too. Nick was the framer who built the timber framed buildings used as workshops here at the Maplewood Center and this includes the massive woodworking workshop that hosts the New Legacy School of Woodworking next door.
All in all there is a lot going on at the Maplewood Center. Nick will be holding another three-day Introduction to Timber Framing September 20-22, 2013. I suggest that you sign up early as class size is generally limited to six students per workshop.
Watch out for an upcoming blog about the Maplewood Center. They have other courses scheduled to help you be creative in traditional crafts.
I noticed that this is my 501 st posting on Chairnotes! My best days always include working out something or learning something and posting about it. I am trying to steer my activities to encourage these behaviors. Thanks for sticking around.
I'm a bit of an insomniac. But I'm not one of those toss and turn, stress about how much sleep I'm losing insomniacs. I get up, get dressed and enjoy an hour or two of peace and quiet with no phone ringing and no meaningful work. I indulge in lots of rambling thoughts in these wee hours.
Recently, I've been spending nights listening to lectures and stories by Richard Feynman. He was one of the great minds in physics of the twentieth century, and his ramblings fit perfectly with my mood. Then, over breakfast, I retell his stories. If you haven't heard Feynman speak, he sounds like my Uncle Jay from New York, but stick with it, because like Jay, his brilliance comes along unexpectedly.
This one blew my mind.
Here is one of my favorite talks, and it's about trees, so I figure it fits.
I've bought a new drawknife the other day, shocking, I know.
It's a Barton #7. Barton is one of the only makers that used a geometry that distinctly lends itself to use bevel up. I have always liked the large gap between the blade and the handles, it makes seat carving a snap.