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I needed to cut stopped grooves on a round surface – and while I could have cut them on the stock while it was square, then proceed to turn it on the lathe, I didn’t want to worry about catching my turning gouge on a groove and causing tearing out (or worse). So, after considering (then rejecting) some kind of router jig, I figured out a way to use my […]
The post Cut Flat Dados on a Round Surface: Tricks of the Trade appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
As with the previous two issues, I was thrilled when Issue No. 3 of Mortise & Tenon Magazine recently arrived in my mailbox. In part, my delight was due to the intriguing photo of a handheld drawknife on the cover. But even more, it was from anticipating the 10 articles that lay within. Enhanced by a wealth of beautiful photography and drawings and delightfully laid out, the issue promised a feast for the eyes as well as for the mind. It did not disappoint.
This is what happened to me tonight. I sawed the lid off of the new 140 box and got crap for my efforts. I went into it with an over loaded boat of confidence. I had just sawn off a lid last week and I am pretty good following a line. So doing this one should be old hat. Well sports fans, I didn't make it out of the on deck circle. More news on this adventure with pics later on in this post.
|the original 140 box|
|made it tight|
|checking for twist|
|new 140 box|
|these two side miters look the best|
|the #3 miter|
|#4 I think is slightly open|
|let the hubris overflow|
|how did I manage to saw a slight curve?|
|crappy saw cut at the corner|
|another humpty doo|
|planed the high spots first|
|the lowest side on the lid|
|taking a different tack|
|I'll be gluing on new filler strips around the whole box|
|first strip glued and cooking|
What are you doing if you are abseiling?
answer - rappelling a cliff face
As Christopher Schwarz posted on his blog, Brendan Gaffney and I are in Maryland for a chair class with Larry Barrett (along with Chris, Narayan Nayar and Sean Thomas); Larry is teaching us to make chairs a la Jennie Alexander’s in “Make a Chair from a Tree” (with some minor variations). Today, we split out the back posts from red oak (and some punishing black oak…with which I ended up) […]
It’s been a long time since I wrote about any books I’ve been studying. Since my museum career ended, my book habit has slowed way down. For 2 reasons, no steady paycheck and fewer research-related works. But there are still books coming in now & then. Here’s three, no particular order, no particular relationship between them. Just good books.
I have lots of field guides to birds, and get on with them just fine. But for trees, I have always struggled. I picked this one up some time ago, but have just never got to writing about it. “Bark: A Field Guide to Trees of the Northeast” by Michael Wojtech. Published by University Press of New England, 2011. So it’s not new, just new to me last year sometime. It’s excellent. Just about the bark, some leaf shapes, range of where the tree is found, that sort of thing.
A page spread showing white oak (Quercus alba L.) Wojtech shows us 6 different views of white oak bark: young, mature, mature & old, diseased
His book helped me sort out the spoon-mad fascination with all birches. This one is paper birch; (Betula papyrifera) aka white birch or canoe birch. What I thought was white birch around here is really gray birch (Betula populifolia) also, confusingly, called white birch or wire birch. Neither of which are to be confused with yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis) – sometimes confusingly called, gray birch or silver birch! Then, there’s black birch (Betula lenta L.) sometimes called sweet birch, which makes sense due to the smell, but listed as well is the name cherry birch. That’s just stupid. It’s like calling something maple oak. Anyway, this is a good tree book. Says me.
This next one is a nostalgic book for me in many ways. I was lucky enough to get to know Victor Chinnery. He was a great friend, and my native guide to English oak furniture. I will always fondly remember the trips I made with Vic travelling around to churches and other collections in England so he could show me what I needed to know to put the New England furniture I knew so well into context. His wife Jan spent some years working to get his period terminology glossary finished after his death, and it was published a year or two ago. “Names for Things: A Description of Household Stuff, Furniture and Interiors, 1500-1700” by Victor Chinnery. Published by Oblong Press, 2016. If I still did museum work or regular research this book would never be on the shelf.
There’s an illustrated introduction that runs about 15 pages, a foreword by Jan, some notes on using the glossary. Some illustrations from Randle Holme’s Academy of Armory 1688. Then about 240 or more pages the glossary.
So not a picture book, not a page-turner. But a resource and reference book that for material culture folks should be on their list of must-have books.
The next one is a picture book. Especially for me, as I don’t read Swedish. Last year, I traveled some in Sweden, and Jogge Sundqvist showed me so many great things my head exploded. When I got home, I wanted to know more about Swedish furniture history. So I asked him what one book would be the best to have. This is it. Published in 1938.
It’s something like Popular Furniture Culture in Swedish areas/districts…filled with great drawings, diagrams of the house’s floor plans and elevations, and photo after photo of furniture, grouped according to form. Here’s a type of bench I saw here and there in museums. The top/back flips over so you can sit facing this way, then flip it & face the other way.
I saw numerous trestle tables that knocked out any of the English or New England ones I know. Here’s a half-page of sketches for trestle table shapes. These are all from one area, Darlana.
These large cupboards in form look reminiscent of Dutch or English examples. The one on the right has no blank space of any size. Painted, carved, moldings, turnings. Frame & panel. All feels perfectly familiar.
These chairs are 16th & 17th century. Combination of joined and turned.
More trestle tables.
There’s several tipped-in color plates, like this cupboard dated 1670.
Besides which, it’s a very nicely-produced book. I’d say look in international used book sites for it. I googled it just now, and found an auction that had ended and it was only 45 euros or so. I think I paid $100 for it, something like that…well worth it. here, I found it for you –
My last book review-type post was just over a year ago, fresh back from Sweden. But it includes Victor Chinnery’s Oak Furniture book’s new edition:
One of the exercises that raised the most eyebrows was the practice of pad polishing a shellac varnish over the beeswax grain filler. The molten beeswax was flowed onto the mahogany surface and allowed to cool, then scraped off with plexiglass scrapers that were polished to a crisp square edge. Historically this task would have been accomplished with metal blades embedded in wooden handles, but the plexi works perfectly and is easier to obtain.
The first step in pad polishing was to make a pad, using cotton wadding as the core, wrapped with flexible bandaging, all combined into a golfball-sized sphere. This core remains the heart of the pad for many years, only the outer linen or muslin sheath is replaced as needed.
With the pads finished and the cores charged with <1 lb. shellac varnish, the padding began in earnest s the building up stage was underway. I think some of the participants touched the face of the pad with a small bit of mineral oil on their finger tip to lubricate the process and make it easier to rub.
Before too long the shine of a padded surface began appearing all over the place.
As I recall everyone took a break once the varnish deposit was pretty substantial, yielding a shiny surface that was too soft to work further. After a couple hours’ wait allowing the solvent to flash off and the varnish to firm up, they were back at it.
By the end of the day there was all kinds of shiny filling the shop. For the Hay Shop crew this was a familiar process, but I believe for the crews from the gunsmith, wheelwright, and joiners shops this might have been new territory.
This past Sunday afternoon I began day 2 of the Washington Campaign Desk project. The main objective was to get the legs sawn to finish length and width along with the cleats to attach it to the desk top, the secondary objective was to get the desk top planed flat. If everything was working at optimal level I even considered getting the rabbets cut for the breadboard ends. Happily, I at least got the first two items on the list checked off.
To start, on Friday night I got the desktop sawn to final size (minus the breadboards) 40 inches. I then ripped one of the boards I had prepped last week into 4 strips, 2 ¾ inches wide and 6 ft long. Those boards were to be used for the breadboard ends and the 4 legs. So on Sunday afternoon I first chose the nicest board and cut that to the rough lengths needed for the breadboard ends. I then got to work on the legs.
The legs turned into a bit of a challenge. Cutting the angles was not really much of an issue as I simply used the cardboard template I made, but working around some of the knot holes and defects was a bit more difficult, or at the least time consuming. I basically hemmed and hawed for 15 minutes trying to lay out the cuts in such a way as to utilize the best parts of the boards, and then I got to sawing with the table saw.
The table saw work went quickly; after a few test cuts to set the angle of the legs, I had them sawn to length along with the cleats in a matter of minutes. But there was a minor drawback; in choosing the best aspects of the boards, I was forced to shorten the overall height of the desk from 29 inches to just over 28 inches, which I can certainly live with, in particular if that is the worst thing that happens during this project.
After the legs were sawn to length, I ripped them to just over their final width: 2 ¼ inches, as I will use a hand plane to finish them.. I then did a few test layouts using the template and so far everything looks good. Once that was all finished I turned to the desk top, where I discovered a minor issue.
When I glued up the two boards to make the desktop I wanted to remove any of the sapwood that I could, and I thought that I had. But at the seem there is a very fine line of sapwood that I honestly hadn’t noticed. Initially I thought it was just a bit of glue that had seeped through when the boards were clamped, unfortunately I was wrong. But, I am not going to worry about it. These boards are old and have a lot of “character”, so going in I knew that I was not going to end up with a French Polish level of refinement. But I did get the top planed to where I wanted it, using the jack plane and smooth plane. On that note, in cases like this I use the jack plane very much like a smooth plane to take fine shavings. The Walnut planed nicely, and I can live with the results.
Before I called it a day I gave the underside a quick plane as well. As I had mentioned in the prior post, the glue up went smoothly, so the panel was nearly flat to begin with, and really only needed some touch up work. While I had the desktop flipped over I added some epoxy to a knot that had developed a small crack, just in case. Lastly, I got to cleaning up the garage. It wasn’t too late, so I probably could have made an attempt at the breadboard ends, but I didn’t want to push the matter; I’m in no rush.
Next weekend, my goal is to complete the breadboard ends, and quite possibly assemble the base. If I manage to get the breadboard ends finished I will give the entire top a quick once over with a plane and possibly start sanding. Once I do that I can get to work on the base assembly. Initially I was a little worried about the base, but I figured out a very simple method to attach the legs accurately that should allow me to get to the fun part: the desk top cubby.
The November 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine features a reproduction of a sideboard made in 1903 by the English furniture manufacturing company Harris Lebus. I built this sideboard based on drawings I’d made in 2007 from measurements of an original owned by some acquaintances. Having had a chance to visit that same original sideboard recently, I thought readers would be interested in gaining further insights and seeing details of […]
Had a bit of scare when it came time to upload my pics today. I almost had an involuntary bowel movement when I saw the pic count was 349. I knew I had taken a few but this made me do a double take to make sure what I thought I saw was what was there. I must of pushed the wrong button somewhere, somehow and didn't realize it. I had to delete almost 300 pictures. And I had to go through all 349 deleting all the ones I didn't want. That ate up the better part of an hour.
|quiet time work, ie before the wife wakes up|
|drew a sharpie line|
|these teeth are the lowest|
|added working on toolbox to the list|
|using my new saw donkeys with the spacers|
|topside of the dolly - no sagging at all|
|look see at that bottom - I forgot to post these pics when I made it|
|dust and dirt|
|bought a 1x12 to make a new bench hook|
|got a 12' tape for Miles toolbox|
|old bench hook - almost sawed completely through it - and I used both sides|
|last side I used|
|wiped down with a damp rag - I'll work on other things while this dries|
|filed the teeth|
|this is what I started with|
|jointing the tooth line|
|got my first filing done after jointing|
|not perfect but better|
|new teeth filed|
|second filing run done|
|I'm going to road test it as is|
|rough looking but this is pine and it sawed very easy|
|not sure I did any good on improving this|
|I improved the end of the toe|
|the middle of the saw where the big dip was|
|making a new shooting board|
|can I do this?|
|the old shooting board|
|sawing out a base for the 140 blockplane|
|cutout for the fence|
|had to removed a bit more for the flanges|
|now it lays flat on the base|
|getting a size for the box|
|using a mistake|
|continuous grain flow layout|
|long side layout|
|end layout, repeat both one more time|
|squared the ends|
|plowing for the dado|
|did not like being plowed|
|chiseled most of it first and then used the router plane|
|rough miters sawn on the miter box|
|two coats of shellac on the toolbox|
|shooting board out of the clamps|
|too much to plane off|
|dry fit of the bottom is good|
|miters look better than the last box I made this way|
|sawing out the lid|
|lid dry fit is good|
I'll have two boxes come tomorrow. The box I glued up this morning at oh dark thirty (used for something else) and this one. I'll have plenty to keep me amused for a couple of more days.
Where is the London Bridge located?
answer - Lake Havasu City, Arizona (since 1968)
I'm not sure why, but I was completely gobsmacked by the outpour of support and well wishes. I can't thank everyone enough for every thought.
Surgery was successful. I was a bit of an asshole in the PACU (Post-Op Anesthesia Recovery Unit) but not for long. I had fantastic care at every turn.
I've had relatively little pain and haven't taken more than Tylenol since the day after surgery. I'm healing fast and shaking my head at several more weeks of weight restrictions, but I promised to behave and I try hard to keep those. Now I'm down to relearning life from a nutrition standpoint and working to stay away from dehydration. It's a whole new experience.
At my heaviest I topped the scales somewhere around 340 pounds, with pre-op work with a dietician and a prescribed (but torturous) diet I rolled into the OR at #305. This morning I stepped on a scale for the first time in a long time un-prodded, and didn't cross the #300 mark. I haven't seen that number in a decade. The weight falls off fast from the surgery but the trick is to learn and keep the new, appropriate behaviors and habits during the time you are absolutely forced too behave. The surgery can be defeated, human anatomy in amazingly adaptable.
I've been home since Thursday, tonight is the first I've felt like writing, and I meant to go back to the norm and talk about woodworking but felt compelled to express my gratitude instead. Don't worry I'm to curmudgeonly to sustain conversations about much more than the craft for long. Back to words about woodworking starting tomorrow.
But while it lasts, one more time, Thank You.
End checks are a common problem when drying wood. Sometimes they aren’t too destructive and don’t travel too far, but other times they make the end of the lumber completely unusable or make a nice wide board into two not-so-wide boards. These cracks form on the ends of lumber because the ends are drying out faster and shrinking more than the middle. This happens because water can easily and quickly escape out the end, which is the same way it came in, but water trapped in the middle must travel out sideways to escape, which is a much trickier maneuver.
The secret to keeping lumber from checking on the ends is simple and logical – force the ends to dry out at the same speed as the rest of the board, meaning slow down the drying on the ends. Unfortunately, there is no single, 100% effective, way to do this.
The default method for beginners is to paint the ends with latex paint. Latex paint will not stop end checking because it it just too permeable. It will make you feel good, like you are doing something useful, but that’s about it.
Beyond latex paint is wax and unlike latex paint, wax is waterproof. If applied in a thick cohesive film, wax forms a perfect barrier to keep water from moving out of the end of a board. The biggest problem with wax is application. It is just hard to get hot wax on to the end of a lot of lumber in a timely fashion.
The application issue has been addressed by the kids at UC Coatings, who make a product called Anchorseal. Anchorseal is a wax and water emulsion made exclusively for coating the ends of logs and lumber to help prevent end checking. Anchorseal works just as stated, but it isn’t perfect.
First, Anchorseal isn’t cheap. A five gallon bucket goes for about $95. It costs enough that I thoroughly consider whether the wood deserves it. I usually save it for only the best lumber and the species most prone to checking, like white oak. Second, it still takes time to apply, and it is pretty messy. I know several guys that won’t use it in their operations because it gets on the floor and makes everything so slippery that it can be difficult to stand up. Third, using Anchorseal doesn’t guarantee that your wood won’t split. While it will greatly reduce the overall number of end checks, it isn’t uncommon to still get one or two big checks in wide boards. Many pieces of lumber have flaws in them and will split during the drying process no matter how much you try to stop them. Fourth, it must be applied to freshly sawn lumber before the end checks have started to develop for maximum effectiveness.
You can tell from my four points above that I don’t use Anchorseal very often. But, there are places that I will use it, and one is on high-quality, especially thick, flat-sawn white oak. Again, it may not stop all end checking, but it is a great tool to help prevent much of it. On many other species, like poplar, maple, and even walnut, I feel like I usually get by with minimal losses not using Anchorseal. It should be noted that my customers are usually shopping for small quantities of lumber, so they can decide on a board by board basis if an end check is problematic for them. For operations sending out large amounts of lumber to customers that are not picking through each board, using Anchorseal makes the most sense to help produce the greatest amount of useable lumber out of each bunk. At the very least, sealing the ends of the lumber lets your customer know that you did try to prevent end checking.
My greatest gains fighting off end checking have occurred in my sticker selection and placement. While many strides have been made in the industry to produce fluted sticks that reduce sticker stain, very few people have given much thought to using stacking sticks to help reduce end checking.
Awhile back, while at a friend’s sawmill, he casually mentioned how he noticed that lumber will split on the ends, back to the first stick. He was mad that his guys where producing lumber piles that weren’t so neatly stacked, but I focused on the end checking. After that, I paid more attention to my own stacking and changed how I stacked lumber.
The main difference was that I started using the sticks on the ends of the lumber to reduce end checking. I focused on getting the sticks out to the end of the lumber, and I also made sure the end sticks were solid sticks, which help hold in moisture, even on sticker stain prone woods like maple. Since the ends dry out quickly, they don’t sticker stain, and even if they did the loss on the end of the lumber would be minimal. Beyond using solid sticks, I also use wider sticks on the ends, up to 3″ wide. The extra width helps hold in even more moisture and still doesn’t risk staining the ends.
In my opinion, focusing on placing wide, solid sticks at the ends of the boards is as effective as end sealing, especially in relation to cost and time savings. Again, this isn’t a perfect method, but you would be amazed at how well it works to reduce end checking. And, if you have some especially prized lumber, you can rest easy knowing that you can always add AnchorSeal to the mix to double your chances of check-free lumber.
I had grandiose plans for today and making the box wasn't one of them. I did that because the other things weren't happening. I wanted to finish up filing the small rip saw and do some tool sharpening to do but there is always tomorrow. This is what I like about being an amateur woodworker. I have no deadlines to meet nor money to make. I can do what I please and go whichever way the wind blows me.
|my Pepin haul|
|can you see the box here?|
|whitish spot in the middle is the cup|
|can't ignore the twist either|
|going for a continuous grain flow around the box|
|planed them square and to the same length|
|lid separation point|
|moved the lid separation point|
|marked the depth of the rabbet on all four ends|
|1/2" paring chisel will work|
|things went south on me here|
|done with the 140|
|the mail came|
|nice looking combo square|
|still square after all these years|
|6" Disston needs helps|
|got something for me too|
|something is wrong but I didn't see it here|
|ignorance can be blissful at times|
|didn't get it all|
|I now have a canted saw|
|nice bennie because of the 140|
|Tails done and pins are marked|
|gap free interior|
|don't like this|
|a little more clean up|
I also made a change in the box design. I nixed making this the same way I did my last one. Couldn't think of way of making the big dado in the sides. Instead I'll glue a 1/2" bottom to it and leave the top open. Or maybe I'll think of a lid design that doesn't need hinges.
What is the state tree of Delaware?
answer - the American Holly
My turning ability is bound by my lathe – it has a maximum diameter capacity of 16”. That means all my accessory tools, such as my hollowing system and 50cc 20” chainsaw, were acquired because they are designed around those size limitations. The largest bowls I make with these constraints are in the 14-15” range. For years I used fallen trees with a 20” diameter as raw material. By the […]
The post Focus on Turning Design by Working From Larger Logs appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
After researching adjustable carving benches, I settled on making one à la this one made by Logs to Lumber Company. I added some maple to my old beech workbench top to make it deeper and added a suede-lined Veritas twin-screw vise to the side. Pop-up Veritas® Prairie Dogs™ are on their way for the screw vise. I’m sure more modifications will be necessary in the future, but for now, no more back pain.
As far as this desk is concerned, I am trying to make it as close as I can to the original piece using only a photograph. I know there are woodworkers that specialize in reproductions who are experts at working from photos. Unfortunately I am not one of those experts, so this project has required a good bit of guess work.
For instance, I want the desk top to have a height of around 29 inches, and that is because my computer desk at home is 29 inches tall (most desks seem to fall in the 27-31 inch height range) and for me that is a comfortable working height. The length of the top will likely finish off at around 44 inches, which was my original guestimate from the photo using the book and pen as a guide. Why likely? Because I still have to do some trimming, and that trimming may change the finished size, depending. The width of the desktop (front to back) should finish off at around 23 inches, partly because of the stock I am using, and going by the original photo, I believe it is close to the actual width of the desk shown.
The legs are a bit trickier. Most woodworkers will make a “story stick”, which work well for projects like tables and traditional desks with bases, but for this project the ‘X’ pattern of the legs make the story stick a less viable option, because I want to have the ability to see that ‘X’ in full size. So the simple solution was to draw out a side view of the desk on a sheet of corrugated paper. The drawing not only gives me an easy lay-out guide, it also provided the angles needed for the legs. And after looking at the drawing, I came to the conclusion that screwing the legs to the face of the desktop cleats is a better solution than using a mortise and tenon joint, as it will be stronger and allow for the panel to expand and contract.
Maybe most importantly, this drawing helped to eliminate a lot of measuring, and the full sized drawing allowed me to proportion the top drawer compartment to dimensions I found pleasing, and once the desktop base is completed I will use the drawing as a template to saw the curves for the drawer unit.
It’s always nice to find that the simple, low tech solution is usually the easiest and fastest. Some woodworkers prefer to use drafting programs such as Sketch-up to do layout work, but that has never appealed to me, though I do believe that Sketch up is a valuable tool. But as far as this project is concerned, I found it enjoyable to use a basic pencil, T-square, and yard stick to design the desk, and at that, I think GW would have approved.
On Columbus day weekend I taught a live-edge furniture class at Snow Farm, a reputable New England based craft school located in the picturesque Berkshire mountains of Western Massachusetts. My six students faced a challenging task, to design and build furniture that presents a strong live-edge character, and to do so just in two and a half days of work. The weather was mostly nice and the food was […]
The post Live Edge Class at Snow Farm, Massachusetts – Part 1 appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
I came up with 6 different ways to make the rabbet like I did with the LN 140 yesterday. I didn't do the 140 again, so I now have 7 total ways to make the rabbet for dovetails. I could have had 8 but I forgot to make one with the plow plane. If I remember I'll try and make one with it this weekend.
|the first batter|
|made a knife wall|
|removed waste going against the grain|
|within a frog hair of the gauge line|
|making it flat|
|go straight in to the shoulder|
|came out pretty good|
|second step was setting the iron|
|run the plane in the knife line|
|looks a lot worse than it is|
|setting the iron is second|
|no planing in the knife wall first|
|no blowout this time|
|planed away from the knife wall until I had a shoulder established|
|got a bit of blowout on the exit side|
|setting the iron on the knife line|
|deeper than the others|
|the LN router rabbet|
|either of these could be swapped|
|I like the long length of the 073 vs the bullnose|
|the next to last ones|
Andy Griffith graduated from UNC in 1949 with a degree in what?
answer - music
Last night my kids unearthed a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer book for a bedtime story. I desperately tried to steer them back toward our wide selection of Halloween books that I’ve arranged prominently on their bookshelf. But alas, while they’re excited for Halloween, the inevitable holiday season looms large on the horizon like the Death Star in Rogue One. Apparently I need to get my holiday planning underway. And so, […]
Making the box for it tonight is all I did. I gave up trying to find cardboard boxes a long time ago. Besides cardboard could be easily punctured and maybe in the wrong spot. I can only remembering sending out one saw in a cardboard box many, many lunar eclipses ago. It was a nightmare cutting and making new flaps because I had to cut down a larger box. Making a specific box out of wood is a no brainer to me.
|french fit in foam insulation|
|saw packed up|
|almost ready to go|
Tomorrow I am going to try the 140 trick employing some of my other planes. I got a comment about making it with the Lee Valley skew rabbet plane which I don't doubt would work. I'll remove all doubt tomorrow on that and try a few other tools.
Which US President was taught to read and write by his wife?
answer - Andrew Johnson our 17th president