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My recent trek around Flyover Country included an intersection between my path to my home town in southern Minnesota (the tropical part) and LaCrosse, Wisconsin, home to Mark Harrell and his ambitious enterprise Bad Axe Tool Works. I’ve been collaborating with Mark for some time on the development of a frame saw/sash saw with the promise that he would put one in my hands.
As the owner of two c. 1800 four-foot frame saws I was delighted to share the particulars about them with anyone who wanted to know. Their details are spectacular, from the hand forged hardware to the forged plates in near-perfect condition. (by that I mean there are no kinks or missing teeth, there was plenty of surface rust and the teeth needed touching up)
Like other saw makers, Mark contacted me some time ago and I took the time to talk with him at length about the vintage saws I have, in addition to the diminutive version I made for myself. Mark was particularly interested in a model halfway between my vintage big ones and my new smaller one, and we worked out the details over many emails and phone calls, an interchange I welcome from any tool maker who wants my two cents worth. To this point my only fee is that I get one of the tools in question if they ever go into production. I think Bad Axe might have had this model at Handworks 2017, but I was so busy I could never get to their station once they got set up, so this was my chance.
Accompanied by The Oldwolf, Derek Olsen, we arrived late-morning. And the saw geek-dom commenced. Behind this modest door and awning is a buzzing hive of saw making.
Mrs. Barn and I got a quick tour of the facility, getting the opportunity to meet and greet each of the the sawmaking elves there.
I was especially impressed with the classroom they have set up there for saw making and sharpening workshops. Mark definitely has the leads for mondo saw sharpening vises and setters.
Then we got down to the real fun as Mark brought out several models of saws for me to play with. I already own two Bad Axe saws, including a custom made dovetail saw I commissioned and that has now become ensconced in their product line. Under Mark’s watchful eye the playing commenced, and it was glorious!
Our exploration of the topic continued almost non-stop and we were torn between talking about saws, and sawing.
Then came the “official” purpose of the visit, taking delivery of my own Bad Axe frame saw based on Roubo, my old saws, and my new one, with a bit of Bad Axe special sauce tossed in for good measure.
It performed perfectly right out of the box and will be integrated into my shop work as soon as it gets home.
More about the visit in the next post.
Episode #2 is live on YouTube. We had a couple of editors picks and a couple viewer submissions this week. I sincerely appreciate the great response to the first episode and the viewer feedback has been encouraging! I am happy to share Shawn Graham‘s video from his new series of daily tips and Huy’s sit-stand desk that integrates his finger joint jig. Check out our picks of the week over […]
The post PopWood Playback #1 | Top Woodworking Videos of the Week appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
I did 3 checks on each plane. #1 was checking the fence rods for wiggle. All had some with the Record 044 being the worse and the Lee Valley being the best closely followed by the Record 043. Check #2 was looking at the parallelism between the skates and the fences. Good point here as all planes passed this. The final check, #3, was did the fence stay parallel to the skate at a distance of a 1/2"?
|used a 1/2" set up bar|
|then I checked the heel of the fence|
|almost an 1/8" off from the toe|
|setting the heel to a 1/2" on the 044|
|it's wider at the heel|
I am aware of the fence slipping along with the depth shoe slipping too. Checking the screws between grooves is something I do out of habit with this plane. I haven't had any problems with the grooves as long as I keep an eye on the fence rod screws.
|Lee Valley plow|
|not perfect, but the closest one|
|it's looser at the heel|
The Lee Valley is #1. Easy to set up and use and the fence maintains parallel to skate the best. None of the planes were perfect with the parallelism but it was the closest one to it. I just got this one so I don't have a lot of time on the pond with it.
The Record 043 comes in second. It can be a bit finicky setting the iron but once it is set, it seems to hold without any further checking. All planes didn't have any problems with the iron slipping in use. I like this for plowing grooves on small stock. It shines doing that. The fence on this plane slips too but not as badly as the others.
The Record 405 is in third place. It is a multi-purpose plane and I bought it mostly to make grooves. This was my first 'plow plane' and it served me well. I stumbled and learned a lot using this plane. It hasn't gotten a lot of use since my acquisitions of other plow planes.
The Record 044 is dead last. I realized today that Paul Sellers uses a Record 044 in his woodworking videos. I doubt that he has the problems I am having. I tend to be brain dead about these things and my stubborn streak had already kicked in. It will be a while before I give up trying to figure out how to get this plane to perform as advertised. If I can't, I'll buy a Lee Valley for my grandson and pass this one on.
|new bottom stock|
|lots of wiggle room on this bottom|
|fitting the top before I glue the bottom on|
|planing the rabbets|
|ubiquitous blurry pic|
|shallow rabbet on the bottom of the lid for that thin web|
|fitting the lid|
|I think I got the side to side|
|it is tight to the top of the groove on both sides|
|wee bit past half way|
|fitted - slides in and out easily|
|wooden astragal plane fit in the rabbet|
|laid out and chopped my thumb catch|
|big gap here|
|the pencil line is the thickness of the filler|
|bottom glued on and cooking|
Did you know that the most binge watched TV show is the Game of Thrones?
A recent trip to the Midwest for a variety of family gatherings provided a chance to drop in on Derek Olsen of Oldwolf Workshop fame. Derek’s is a fairly recent entrance into my orbit, but our friendship is fast and strong. He was first among the multitude of friends who volunteered to help with the 2015 HO Studley exhibit, and his account in The Bank of Don is brimming.
The stop for fellowship was a delightful one as you might expect.
Derek proudly showed his impressive library of furniture history books, his shrine to Studley, and his still-in-development shop in the garage next to where he and Mrs. Oldwolf moved in recent years.
After our time there, we headed down the road (actually only a few blocks) to some time of saw geek-dom at Bad Axe.
But that’s for the next post.
I’m currently editing a new book in the “I Can Do That!” series of products. Authored by the ICDT video series host Chad Stanton, the new book includes 20 great projects including coffee tables, nightstands, bookcases and even a rocking chair – all built in the ICDT tradition with an affordable kit of tools and materials you can easily find at your local home center. The book will be available […]
|the 78 box|
|the Record 044 box|
|It's as tight as I can get it|
|rod pushed away - see the gap|
|rod pushed the opposite way - gap on the opposite side now|
|size of the rods are the same|
|hole is about .01 larger|
|movement in the far one and a lot less in the near one|
|making sure the fence is parallel to the skate|
|no more wiggle in either arm|
|first groove started|
|almost a 1/4"|
|a 32nd less in the middle|
|same at the end|
|groove run #2|
|the fence is still parallel to the skate|
|swapped out the rods|
|changing my hand position|
|new way of holding and applying pressure|
|appears to be working better|
|tight on the L|
|tight in the middle -ish area|
|tight at the right and keeping the throat clear|
Two grooves don't mean I solved this but it is a start. Only repeated making of good grooves will tell me that.
|flushed the pins/tails and plugged my holes|
|lid rough sawn to length and width|
|I knew I should have left the shop|
Did you know that a full moon is ten times brighter than a half moon?
I have a new phenomenon in my life. It's called the gym. I've never really "worked out" in my entire life and always relied on being just a naturally strong farm boy, but it's part of the suggested post-op program and I'm actually enjoying it. Earlier this week as I was changing into my workout clothes and putting in my headphones (Rage Against The Machine radio) I experienced a connection with the preparation and what I was about to do.
I started to think about the other times in my life I have the same feeling. Most notably I've spent decades culturing the state of mind that accompanies wrapping my body in armor and strapping a sword to my hip. Whether or not there's any combat demonstration, just putting on the armor brings out a side of my personality that is more forceful, decisive and authoritative. I link it to wearing the armor through years combat competition and demonstrations where hesitation can equal loss and possibly injury to yourself or your opposition.
I have the same experience when I go to work at the hospital. In the OR I wear scrubs. The act of putting those on signals the upcoming expectations of the surgeons I work for. Furthermore when I don the sterile surgical gown and gloves this becomes an armor of it's own as I enter into what is kind of a different world with new rules of sterile conscience, boundaries, and mental compartmentalization come into play.
There are routines we all use to align our mind to the events about to take place before us, but also wearing a different costume can course correct a practiced state of mind. It's true that people will often behave differently a suit and tie than a ratty Metallica T-shirt. It seems superficial, but we are all superficial creatures at heart.
All this comes back to the thoughts I had as I headed into the weight room and started my new stretching routine. I don't have a costume for working in the shop. I don't really have a specific routine that signals "game on" to my mind and attitude. When my shop was a twenty minute drive from my bed I had that journey as prep time and I was very productive but the last few years of having my shop less than twenty yards from my bed has broken down the routine and the mindset. I'm more easily distracted and I have a large number of other things I can do (sometimes should do) easily at my fingertips.
To that end I'm going to try and make a change. I ordered a new shop apron, not a fancy custom one, a cheap POS that was probably sewn in a sweatshop. I've never liked wearing a shop apron much in the past, especially when they had pockets, I hated pockets in an apron. But many of my other clothing choices are evolving these days as I more from "if it actually fits it'll have to be good enough" to "do I want to wear this." My experience with a shop apron may evolve too. Maybe I'll love pockets now, maybe I'll like wearing the apron. This one will be easy enough to modify if I want and not feel bad about the bucks I've spent.
Once I get, if I get, acquainted with what I like or don't, I'll know what to shop for in a better made version.
What do you do to get yourself in the right state of mind for the shop? I'm curious to hear other strategies.
Ratione et Passionis
I just posted a new presentation by Ron Herman for members at 360Woodworking.com. Way back in 2017 (sure seems like a long time ago, huh?) Ron did a video on braces and drills. The new release, Bits & Bit Stock dovetails into the 2017 presentation.
While his short video is packed with great hand-tool information, as is always the case, what I found particularly interesting about this video is how in-depth Ron gets as he differentiates between Jennings and Irwin bracing bit patterns – one is faster when excavating a hole, but that increased excavation comes at a price.
I recently went in search of an 1/8″ slot-cutting router bit that I needed that day. Home Depot was close and I left with my bit. But rather than buy a single bit, I ended up buying a $50 kit with 15 router bits. I didn’t need all of the bits – already having many of them – but it was the only way to get the bit I needed […]
|right side end is thicker|
|Houston, we have a gap|
|I can see a difference the outside walls - one is tapered and one is parallel|
|first thought was the skate or the fence isn't straight|
|a 16th off on this end|
|back rod is square|
|front rod is off square|
When I checked the front rod again, I noticed that it was wobbling in the hole. I checked the screw securing it and it was a bit loose. I have had fence securing screws loosen on my other plow planes making similar looking grooves. I was a wee bit discouraged after this so I set the plow aside for now. I'll revisit this on the weekend and I'll check out my loose screw theory.
I fixed the grooves in the box on the tablesaw because I am not making a new side nor a new box. My groove is a lot wider than I wanted it but that is what it is. The top web is thinner than what I would do but in order to even out the grooves, that is what I ended up with.
I glued, squared the box, and set the box by the furnace to cook. It had just started to make steam so I at least lucked into that.
|#4 parts plane|
|most #4 irons are about 8 inches long|
|badly pitted but mostly away from the edge|
|tote is cracked almost 360|
|still connected on this side|
|first time for everything|
|japanning looks to be close to 100%|
Did you know it takes 17 muscles to smile (this muscle count depends upon your source, it goes from a low of 6 to a high of 62. 17 was about the average but no one knows the exact number)
I’m supposed to be putting together 3 lectures and planning 2 demonstrations. And finishing an article. And more. So I’m susceptible to distraction tonight. While looking for slides, I ran across these old notes I took about 15 years ago. Many years ago, I bought a few volumes of the Records of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters. An extravagant purchase, but with some great details about their goings-on. Here’s a snippet, I wrote a “translation” in parentheses for the many folks who might not be so nimble at deciphering the original:
Bower Marsh, editor, Records of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters, vol 4, Warden’s account book, 1546-1571
payd to Rychard burdn for iij plankes for the bowlyng ale xviijd (paid to Richard Burden for 3 planks for the bowling alley, 18 pence)
payd for iiij lode of funders yearthe & the caryag for the bowlyng ale vs vjd (paid for 4 loads of founders earth and the carriage for the bowling alley, 5 shillings, 6 pence)
payd to ij laborars for a day & di for caryeng owte of the funders yerthe in to the strett Redy for ye cartes & for caryeng yt in to or well yard xviijd
(paid to 2 laborers for a day & a half for carrying out of the fuller’s earth into the street ready for the carts & for carrying it in to our well yard – 17 pence)
payd for iiij lod of sope ahysses & the caryag iijs xd (paid for 4 loads of soap ashes and the carriage 3 shillings 10 pence)
payd for v busschelles of howse ahysses for the bowlyng ale xd (paid for 5 bushels of house ashes for the bowling alley 10 pence)
payd to ij men for the makyng of the bowlyng aly xxjs xjd (paid to 2 men for the making of the bowling alley 21 shillings 11 pence)
Randle Holme’s description of bowling, from 1688 is:
Bowling is a Game, or recreation which if moderately used very healthfull for the body, and would be much more commendable then it is, were it not for those swarms of Rooks, which so pester Bowling greens, where in three things are thrown away by such persons, besides the Bowls, viz: Tyme, Money, and Curses, and the last ten for one.
Seuerall places for Bowling.
First, Bowling greens, are open wide places made smooth and euen, these are generally palled or walled about.
Secondly, Bares, are open wide places on Mores or commons.
Thirdly, Bowling-alleys, are close places, set apart in made more for privett persons, than publick uses.
Fourthly, Table Bowling, this is, Tables of a good length in Halls or dineing roomes, on which for exercise and diuertisement gentlemen and their assosiates bowle with little round balls or bullets.
Here’s Jan Steen’s skittle players, not technically bowling. But what we in the US think of as bowling these days.
Randle Holme again, describing the types of bowls:
Several sorts of Bowles.
Where note in Bowling the chusing of the Bowls is the greatest cunning, for
Flat Bowles, are best for close Narrow alleys.
Round Byassed Bowles for open grounds of advantage.
Bowles as round as a ball for green swarths that are plain and Levell.
Chees-cake bowles, which are round and flat like cheeses.
Jack Bowles, little bowles cast forth to bowl att, of some termed a Block.
Studded Bowles, such as are sett full of pewter nayles, and are used to run at streight Markes.
Marvels, or round Ivory balls, used by gentlemen to play on long tables, or smooth board Romes.
I saw these bowlers during my trip to England a few years back. I think this was near Royal Leamington Spa
Here is a 17th-century bowling ball, found during Boston’s famous Big Dig:
Read about it here: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/mhc/mhcarchexhibitsonline/crossstreetbacklot.htm
Review by J. Norman Reid
As a regular book reviewer, I have the good fortune to read a steady supply of the best books on woodworking. I can say in all honesty that none of the books I review are bad books. Every one of them has something of value to offer woodworkers. Still, every now and then there arrives in my mailbox a book of such excellence that it stands head and shoulders above the rest. Mary May’s Carving the Acanthus Leaf is such a book.
The post Book Review: Carving the Acanthus Leaf by Mary May appeared first on Woodworking Blog.
I blogged recently about visiting my friend, Mister Stewart, and his ensemble of the Henry Studley tool cabinet and workbench. One of the purposes of the visit was to get a better picture of the molding profile on the cabinet, but Mister Stewart did one better than that. During his fabrication of the new workbench base he replicate exactly the moldings from the tool cabinet and gave me one of the scraps from that enterprise. I finally got a chance to take a picture, and here it is.
If you would like a better resolution picture of the cross-section, drop me a line here.
Using a Dial Indicator and Calipers to Achieve Tight Fitting Finger Joints Greene & Greene (G&G) finger joints are distinctive in their size and spacing. The joints are unlike any other finger joint I’ve seen, which is probably why I’ve been so adamant about learning how to produce them. One of the methods I found for cutting G&G finger joints involved making templates for various finger sizes and a handheld […]
The post Greene & Greene Finger Joints on a Shop Made Dado Sled appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
The temperature has been varying between really cold and OMG cold since the New Year, and unfortunately our indoor work temperature has reflected this. Our steel roll-up garage-style showroom door and super-high ceilings are major escape routes for heated air and our three gas powered reflecting heaters barely make a dent.
Are we part of a "proud" historic tradition? Amazingly, in days of yore cabinet shops in Europe and US, even in dank and chilly parts, were not heated.
Let's think about this for a bit. Iron stoves date from the mid 18th century, commonly available central heating from the end of the 19th. Light was essential for craft work, but glass windows were not common in Britain and the US prior to the middle of the 19th century. In the spring, summer and fall, craftsmen worked in front of open windows - a source of light and air. Rain was kept away by roof eaves. In the winter and in truly inclement weather, translucent oiled cloth over the windows gave some protection from the elements. Shutters secured the premises at night and when there was no work.
While fine sawdust from sandpaper wasn't much of an issue before the 20th century, sawdust from sawing and plane shavings did present a constant danger for a fire. And with all that dry wood around, any small fire could easily become a deadly conflagration. Thomas Chippendale's shop, for example. burned in a fire in 1755; although he rebuilt his shop, his personal fortune never recovered from the disaster. And so unlike those lucky blacksmiths who had forges and bakers who had ovens, woodworkers had to exercise extreme caution around fire. Even smoking was generally banned anywhere near the shop. Open fires of any sort were forbidden in shops -- and with that, no ready source of heat was available in shops.
Even in the 18th century, there must have been some small fires to keep the glue hot. The Joiner and Cabinetmaker (1839) describes the apprentice's job of preparing and maintaining the glue pot and makes note of the "serious accidents [that] have sometimes arisen" with improper care, such as when a "hot cinder sticking to the bottom has set the shavings and the shop on fire."
With the advent of iron stoves, it was possible to have some heat in a workshop. But the lack of insulation in the shop, and the probability of working next to the outdoor light meant that on a good day your back might have some heat on it but your front and hands would be freezing.
Fortunately, in the winter the workdays bowed to the reality of shorter daylight and were shorter too.
The funny part of all of this is that at the end of my workday I ride on a (mostly) heated subway and a centrally heated home. Up until pretty recently your frozen cabinetmaker went home to a house probably heated only by a fireplace in the kitchen and parlor. If he was lucky and well-to-do, maybe his bedroom had a small fireplace, but by and large, your workplace might have been freezing and your home was pretty cold too.
And don't get me started about the plumbing.
If you have visited the web site of the Society of American Period Furniture Makers (sapfm.org) recently, you have undoubtedly see this image:
From the SAPFM site:
Reproduction of a Seymour Tambour Desk with inlayed (sp?) Tambour.
The original, by John Seymour, was made circa 1793-1796 in Boston, MA.
It is now in the collection at the Winterthur Museum, Delaware.
Plans by Robert Millard were used.
I have been to Winterthur and have this picture to prove it:
Their picture is better:
There is also this desk at Bayou Bend in Houston, TX:
Bayou Bend offered the following explanation:
The tambour desk was a new and innovative form that reflects the increasingly important place of women in American society in the early 19th century, as well as the growing international influence on American furniture design. Rather than relying on English design sources, the desk appears to be related to a small group of furniture influenced by contemporary French models, in this instance the bonheur du jour, or small writing table, of the Louis XVI period (1774–1793). The desk enjoyed great popularity in Boston and in the cabinet making centers north of the city. Exhibited in the Federal Parlor at Bayou Bend, this example bears the script initials “TS” and is similar to a desk with a paper label bearing the names of John and Thomas Seymour. Although these relationships strengthen the attribution to the Seymours’ shop, they are not sufficient to attribute the desk to a specific maker. Thomas Seymour’s own advertisements specify that the furniture was made not by but “under the direction of Thomas Seymour.” Whether this elegant desk represents the work of an individual or a group, the accomplished results epitomize the cabinetmakers’ sensitive interpretations of the Neoclassical style in America, through the drawer pulls of English enamel, light-colored inlay, and delicate inlaid swags on the sliding tambour front.
Then, at a local auction, I saw this:
Federal Style Inlaid Tambour Writing Desk.
Description: Circa 1900, bench made, white pine secondary, two-part form, upper case with unusual inlaid tambour doors featuring bell flowers and columns, opening to a divided and drawered interior with line inlays, hinged writing surface with felt lining, over two graduated cock beaded drawers with line and corner fan inlays, square tapered legs with repeating column and bellflower inlay.
Size: 46.25 x 34.5 x 18.5 in.
Condition: Missing one interior pull; tambour doors with separation at ends; later felt lining.
Different than the Seymour’s but in 1900, they might not have had plans by Robert Millard to work from.
One does have to wonder who made the reproduction in 1900? It was a time of colonial revival. But Federal revival?
|almost down to the last step|
|the edge I'm concerned about|
|this gets painted first|
|tricky areas done|
|sawed and chopped the pins and tails|
|this long side is slightly high|
|before I flush it|
|there is much joy and rejoicing in Mudville|
|how it will be stowed|
|it was a continuous shavings until I picked it out of the plane|
|dropped the plane and bent the fence rod|
|a wee bit of twist|
Did you know the number of teeth in the baby set is only 20? The second adult set has 32.
I posted a video on our YouTube channel this morning with Kelly Mehler on table saw kickback. In talking with David Lyell about the video I realized that a lot had happened since that video was made (seven+ years ago?). At that time Kelly was using a European sliding table saw to point out some anti-kickback features that weren’t common on our table saw in the U.S. Yes, we had guards […]
Here’s a list of the Barn workshops I’ve pencilled in for this year. I will blog in greater detail shortly.
Historic Finishing April 26-28, $375
Making A Petite Dovetail Saw June 8-10, $400
Boullework Marquetry July 13-15, $375
Knotwork Banding Inlay August 10-12, $375
Build A Classic Workbench September 3-7, $950
My biggest problem with my blog is I can't type as fast as I think up the dribble. I tend to leave words out as my biggest omission. I did correct 2 mistakes with the blog on my phone but I stopped after that. I'll have to add proofing/editing to my morning routine before I leave for work.
|I love the way Jane packs her tools for shipping|
|bought a new jack plane|
|chipbreaker is looking good too|
|interior of the plane|
|it's got a corrugated sole|
|$8 for round nose 8" dividers|
|it's a Starretts to boot|
|it has a speed nut|
|my current #5 in front|
|road test yielded nice shavings|
|found my hard drive magnets|
|double sided taped them to this scrap|
|I think is going to work well|
|great tip from Gerry|
|flushing the plywood bottom|
|sawing the proud off|
|bit proud on the bottom|
|put three screws in each half lap from the top|
|painted parts drying by the furnace|
|plane body has been done for a few days|
Did you know that astronaut John Young (he died today) was the only NASA astronaut to have flown in the Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle programs?