Hand Tool Headlines
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...
Buying tools for Christmas gifts makes gift-buying quick and simple, especially through eBay and online buying. This is the reality of woodworking. The price can be matched to any budget from a few pounds and on into the hundreds.
There is nothing wrong with putting one of these on your Christmas wish list, either now or for the future. To prevent price hikes, I suggest an option. Every time I do a blog on the Stanley smoothing planes, or any other for that matter, there is no doubt that prices go up for a period because more people take the advice, looks and finds one, and bids at the same time. Consider another option, which is to give a promissory note and extend the bidding period into January or later. Usually there are several pages of these planes and they vary in price from several pounds to well over a hundred. Many prices are too high. Avoid new planes. They have plastic handles that break soon after purchase And replacing them with wooden ones makes the price all the higher. New Stanley’s are not the same as old ones. They are miserable to use and are not the quality of older models. Some say pre-war models are best, but don’t dismiss post war ones. Mine, the ones I bought in the mid 1960′s, have been wonderful planes and still work perfectly after 50 years of continuous daily use. Not many modern planes have been through what my planes have and so I have no hesitation in saying this. These are readily available via eBay.co.uk and most likely will be forever as there were so many made they just cycle though. In the USA eBay Stanley’s go for much higher prices and there are often much fewer planes available. I cannot say that I have had the same success buying in the USA as the US prices are higher and the number of planes fewer. I also think that the US was far more advanced into accepting machine methods using power equipment than Britain was.
Look for the shiny black look on the handle and knob. This usually shows that the handles are plastic. Any and all new planes will have plastic handles except those that are both old stock but new and unused product. The yellow Stanley box is not a sign of none plastic handles. Don’t use that as confirmation. Look at the handles for yourself and ask questions of the seller as needed. Avoid broken handles. The price is not usually much less when repaired and rarely is a repair permanent unless the repairer knows his or her plane stuff and used the right glue, cramping pressure and so on. Rosewood is better glued with an epoxy and even then a good one. I use West Systems epoxy for such things. Beech handles do repair well with PVA so use these two adhesive types for the different woods. I think it’s true to say that all of the UK Stanley’s had beech handles and the USA Stanley’s had rosewood. I may be wrong on this but some of you may know more than me on this. I love the rosewood handles. They are often slimmer. More graceful and feel really nice in the hand.
Another thing to look for when buying is the height of the cutting iron in relation to the lateral adjustment lever. This image will help you see what I mean.
Here is a link I did some time back on a blog on buying planes via eBay. I think most if it is still good.
Now eBay is not the only way to buy. There are many secondhand dealers out there and though they charge a higher price, they also ensure that the plane is functional and clean.
Christmas is very near and sharpening looms high on the agenda for any hand tool enthusiast and real woodworking demands it. This would be a good time to state your needs and perhaps acquire your sharpening plate ready for the New Year and the woodworkingmasterclasses.com training. I have one of these EZE-Lap two sided plates for good measure and I do like them. I have a holder for mine that enables me to use it securely on the benchtop and to flip it over easily during uses. I find them very good for transporting when solid steel ones take too much weight off my luggage allowance and scream out at security barriers because of the mass off steel solids.
Using a home-made holder and a guide to sharpen a shorter spokeshave blade
This coming year I hope to spend more time teaching in mainland Europe and when I travel I always take one or two of these with me because, well, somehow I get through customs and security more easily with them. These plates work and work well and I like them where economy is an issue — economy of weight, cost, and space are often critical for me. In the US I have two duplicate sets of tools on a par with what I have here in the UK. In mainland Europe I have no such luxury. Oh, forget the poker dot things – more dots less diamonds for your money I think.
I am amazed at our friends following and supporting our efforts in mainland Europe. I think the small country of Belgium is the largest following per capita and this is quickly followed by the Netherlands next door. Not sure if it’s because my Great grandparents and grandparents are from that region or because I spent most of my holidays as a child there. Germany is massive too, but I love the fact that our efforts now so span the globe and that people love what we are doing to revitalise what has been so decimated by industry giants and some involved in media. Thankfully that seems to be over and we can get on with the real task of real woodworking.
If you follow my drift, that you can sharpen to any level and get good results with chisels, planes and spokeshaves, even at 250-grit, you will understand how a combo stone will get you over the hump of starting out with good stones for about £72 including shipping. Now I know that that’s a chunk of money enough to choke a donkey, but don’t get me wrong, this is not a second rate item in any way. They work, work well and will last you for several years of daily sharpening. In this image I am using 250-grit one side and 1200 the other. Might I suggest you go here with 400 and 1200 first. These will get finer the more you use them because of surface fracture. After a few months, go for a 150 and 250 combo.
Now remember this important fact. Once you have flattened the flat face of an iron or chisel, you most likely never (NEVER) need to touch it again. (This video for initial prep on chisels will help you I think.) (And this one for planes too.) It will stay flat and polished through general use. For some reason no one tells you that. There for you don’t really ned dead-flat stones. Unlike the bevel, flattening the back is not an iterate task. Because flattening generally happens at the outset of tool preparation work when you first acquire the tool, and this is best done with abrasive paper on a certified granite block or plate glass, the only area we really need to focus on is the bevel and this is only because its the smaller of the two adjacent surfaces that form the cutting edge. If you are like me ,and others in Britain and the USA, and you have access to inexpensive Stanleys, you can sharpen them to different levels and enjoy the luxury of sharpening to task. That is, different levels of sharpness.
I was glad to see that Chronos is now a major distributor for EZE-Lap plates here in the UK. Their new website is programmed to this end and they have a full range of choices, so now it’s easier than ever to get what you need and customise your buying.
The post Sharpening – Don’t Dismiss Two-sided Plates for Christmas Gifts appeared first on Paul Sellers.
Today the winds are ripping through North Wales from the Atlantic and the rain is lashing the trees relentlessly. I hear our cat outside by the cat door and Liz let’s him in. The castle walls will be dark, depressing grey when I arrive, but once I’m inside 3′ of solid stone all sound and sense of outdoors is gone. My shop is cheery to me. Lots of colours and smells others might never know in their lifetime. Coloured woods and tools, textured surfaces, the essence of pine, oak, walnut and elm all subtle in themselves become a single hybrid smell of its own. A bit like the mechanic’s shop that maintains the steam trains and exhibitions next door to me.
This is how it looks on a bright day
I drove Phil into town last night to deliver the sign he just finished for the Bluesky cafe. Though he has made and sold several pieces now, this was his very first commission. Today’s weather will be a true test for its stability on Bangor High street. Phil once worked at the Bluesky as cook and bottle washer. I think that that’s were he learned to keep calm under pressure and respond when needed to become the solution to any and every problem. We’ve worked together for a couple of years now and he is becoming a furniture maker in his own right. Some of you will remember John Winter from Argentina. Well, he will be joining us again for three months to help us progress new designs and to develop more intensive training starting mid-January. So we are all looking forward to his coming back. Don’t know if you remember but John entered a rocking chair in a furniture making competition a year or so ago and took second prize against professional furniture makers. These were longstanding professionals using all kinds of equipment and machines. John used only hand tools.
The spoons are all coming along and soon I will be boxing them up and sending them to the USA. It’s been fun making this batch and using woods I might not have used normally. I have been using the Hirsch #7 gouge I bought from Highland Woodworking for several months now and I must say it is the single most bestest gouge I ever used on spoons, chair seats, bowls and ladles. I love picking it up. It keeps its edge like no other, takes an edge like no other and, more importantly, keeps an edge like no other and feels just right in my hand. I would like to get some others made by them. I also used a Swiss gouge with a violin-makers handle we added when we made Josephs cello in 2005. This narrower more deeply swept gouge helps in the deeper hollows of dippers (ladles). It’s a number 8 sweep, 30mm wide. This gouge too has proven itself over the years, but doesn’t quite have the finish I found in the Hirsch. Anyway, today I will likely forget the world as I carve my remaining spoons and get ready to ship on Friday.
Well, off to work! It’s tough having to drive the one mile in heavy traffic through the grounds and woodlands to the Penrhyn Castle workshop. I have to drive 500 metres on the public roads before I get to the private road to the castle. Once I met another car coming the other way and had to stop. That’s a couple of years ago now and I got over it pretty quickly.
Michael Painter carves anything that draws his attention and carves in great detail the things that others might consider impossible to create with such fine detail. As people walked the aisle at the show, his presence their might have mattered very little had his work not attested to the fineness of his skill and dexterous hand with a gouge. Few artisans cross over this threshold of creativity and there’s good reason. Carving makes demands on a person. These demands create absolutes of perception that can and often do defy mapping out and logic to work within dimensions few people feel comfortable with. I’ve seen Michael at the show for several years and we’ve chatted about his ecclesiastical carvings and also those we might call whimsical. His creative sphere in which he spends great time is the sphere of risk in workmanship that brings life to carved wood and a depth in recreated form and it’s this that separates the man as an artist from woodworking.
When I made a cello with Joseph for Joseph my son, I remember crossing a line I had never crossed before. Joseph and I crossed the line at different points but I think that because he was younger, 16 years old, he was more aware of the transition of awareness than I was earlier.
I think most of us know that we can mechanically carve anything and when the work is done what we have carved looks, well, mechanically done. Carving out the cello can be like that too. Many people can mechanically make a cello or a violin, but few can give those instruments the vibrant tones needed to make it stand out in its colour, depth and vibrancy. There comes a point for every new maker when he and she realises they are not carving a mere shape in three-dimensional form but creating a very unique and distinctive voice. At least that’s the hope that lies in every violin maker. It’s one thing to replicate the same appearance, another to create voice when you can’t see it to copy it.
When Joseph’s cello was finished he fell deeply in love with it. I don’t think it was its appearance that drew him to love it so but the sound it made and it’s playability. At one time he had his cello and a violin he had made ready at the same time and we were sitting in a friends house when four musicians who played then for the Dallas Symphony laid down their instruments, one a Stradivarius violin and the other a Guanari cello, and started to play Joseph’s instruments. I remember the lump in my throat and the hairs on my head rising as we listened to them play for twenty minutes.
This was a dimension I had never entered before. It wasn’t mere spectating for we had carved the instruments they were playing from lumps of maple and spruce. We recorded the notes and the video, yes, but how I recall the symbiosis of music in my inmost being.
When I was a young man, an apprentice, I built a canoe. I thought it was one of the most beautiful things I had ever made. The bent and twisted form built over many weeks finally came together with ribs and runners 12 feet long and all the pieces twisted so that when I looked along the length from one end all the rails converged to give shapes I had never considered before.
Eventually the time came to launch the canoe and I sat inside it on the banks of the canal near my home. January was cold but the ice was thin and broke easily as I paddled. Seeing the reeds and geese and ducks from this perspective, I entered another dimension of woodworking I had never seen before. It wasn’t a boat, I know that, but I was 18 years old and still had a childlike appreciation that still knew no cynicism nor sarcasm.
All of these things I carved and shaped with my hands unite with many thousands of other pieces I have made these past fifty years. They began with building my first boat when I was 13 when my mother encouraged me to carve it. That boat was 18″ long. I struggled. My tools were dull. They were my dads. I complained and my mother who was a fine seamstress all her life said, “It’s a poor man that blames his tools.” I knew then for the first time exactly what that saying meant. I sharpened my chisels on the concrete floor of the porch and got on with the carving. I realise now that those who watched over me and were training me were carving something from a lump of raw material. They were giving me shape and form and sensitivity and care. They were giving me voice and depth, creating in me the heart of craftsmanship using words like quality and workmanship. Their words ring in me today as I finish another of my projects. Little did I know then that one day, in my mid sixties, I would be a craftsman who carves and shapes life into the beauty of wood.
Christmas means gift giving and struggling to find that different gift, yet find something meaningful at the same time can sometimes thwart us. There is always time at Christmas for joy, and preparations are key to a restful holiday. Today I worked to perfect some things that will be gifts and also to complete all of my orders for Christmas. The stars I made will make Christmas cards and gift tags for friends and family. I also hung one on the Christmas tree at Penrhyn Castle as the Castle comes into the Christmas season and all of the things the staff here do to enrich the lives of visitors old and young and all in between.
Phil has been making a street sign for the pedestrian walkway on High Street in Bangor and finished off the sign this afternoon. Our cafe of course is our favourite cafe; Bluesky Cafe. Delivery tomorrow hopefully and we plan on delivering firewood scraps for their wood burning stove. Bluesky is all go at this time of year but those of you who are in or near Bangor over the next month should stop in for breakfast or lunch. Chrissy and the staff are wonderful and helpful. We will be holding our Christmas party there this year.
I have so enjoyed this commission because I’m using wood that might otherwise be burned or chucked. On the other hand I get to think about each recipient as I make them. These spoons will be tagged with details of the where, why and how’s that they came from. Life is about texture and I want to add texture to the lives of others as I make the spoons. Some I shaped as a dipper and others shallow. Everyone must be different in some large or small way so that there is variety and arguments over who got what kind of spoon. I couldn’t help but notice that this piece of a Giant Redwood I retrieved from the firewood lot by the castle looks like a topo’ map in full 3D. It sparkles in the hard aspect of the growth rings and because generally the wood is very soft, I have keep my gouge in top-notch condition and even then I have some rotating to do to get the cut straight from the edge without sanding.
Yes my benchtop is questionable for order but it’s how I work in phases. I need all of the tools where they are to hand, so every so often I pick up and put up and get going again on the next one. Anyway, I am having fun as I go.
Today I designed a new dovetail template I think everyone will like. I designed it six months ago actually but haven’t had the time to make it. It’s fairly radical I think. Different and highly functional. I also looked over the stars ready for the blog and decided to make the same one we recently filmed. The method remains the same regardless of how many points you choose. The angles that intersect the centre are the parts that change depending on the number of points.
The size of the star is generally governed by the thickness of the wood you use. For a mid sized star I suggest you use wood around 16mm (5/8″). In my last blog post I suggested 10mm but perhaps the extra size will be easier for starters. This is large enough to handle and a good size for practicing the techniques. Either way, both sizes will work and all the cuts remain the same. You will need two pieces of wood if you want contrasting colours. If not, one piece of wood will work just fine. I suggest the width if the wood as around 30mm and 25cm (10″). This will make many stars but the extra length is for holding in the cutting along the segments in the vise.
For a four-point star you will mitre the segments to 45-degrees. An easy formula to establish the angles is to divide 360 by twice the number of points. For a five point star the angle is 36-degrees, six points is 30-degrees and so it goes. For our Texas friends, two angles are needed; 36- and 72-degrees. The 72-degrees is the long angle. On the five-pointed lone star all of the points are the same length and so all of the angles are the same too.
Chisel into the knifewall with a chisel to create a step down.
Now do the same in the opposite colour.
It is easy to think that these facets must all be exactly the same but don’t worry at this stage if there is variance between the pieces. We can correct that later.
Joint the meeting edges of the stars. Don’t use the machine for this;-)
Upturn your freshly sharpened plane in the vise making sure that the sole is just below the cheeks of the vise tops. Clamping on the cheeks will break the cheeks.
Place the two opposing facets of the star together and stand them up on the plane sole so that they are perpendicular to the sole. Carefully push the facets across to cutting edge using the less dominant hand to pinch them together and the dominant hand to push the facets forward slowly and CAREFULLY.
While you are waiting you can make a thicknessing jig to plane the facets of the stars.
Any scrap pine will do. Here I am using a section of 2×4.
Place a long star facet on the edge of the 2×4 and mark the shape onto the wood.
This recess now gives you something to hold your facets in. It will hold both the long and the short facets even though the short facets don’t actually fit. Use either the square end or and the pointed end.
Plane first one side smooth and then turn it over and plane down to the surface if the holder. Don’t plane off too much. Just a shaving of the holder and no more. Use the router as needed to re establish the depth if you think it’s needed.
If the angles are close or perfect, glue the first three together and tape as you go. It. Is good to tape both sides and stretch the tape across the joint line of each added facet. Insert the last one and make sure the joint lines of the last one are good. If not, plane or chisel to fit and glue in place.
We have a free video on making stars on woodworkingmasterclasses.com soon. If you sign in for a free subscription here, you will automatically have access to see it and all of the other free videos offered through the film media. I will let you know when we can slot it in here too.
The post Unique Christmas Gifts and Decoration – Making Faceted Stars appeared first on Paul Sellers.
This week I must finish off the order for 35 wooden spoons for the USA. I decided to make them from scraps; fire wood or recycled wood from a safe resource. Elm is a wood I and all woodworkers of old loved to work with. Some old doors were discarded from the castle and I couldn’t stand to see them thrown out. They are made from elm. It is not so available as it once was, but it’s such a beautiful wood. At one time it was predominantly used for chair seats and kitchenware but those days are long gone.
Another commitment I have is to show you how to make stars for hanging in a mobile, decorating a door wreath, hanging at the top of your tree or to create a stunning centrepiece for the table at Christmas dinner. We will be posting a video on woodworkingmasterclasses very shortly for this and I know you will enjoy it. In the meantime we will be wrapping things up in readiness for starting the new year filming and classes. It’s been a wonderful year for me. I look back on it with affection when I see all the faces I met, work with and enjoyed.
Star sizes are governed by the thickness of the stock you use. In this case I am using material I have milled to two sticks of wood measuring 10mm thick. This can be varied and the method of making remains the same. Cutting the wood about 30mm wide and 25cm long means you have enough length to hold it in the vise and make more stars later if you want to. I used a variety of woods but my favourites are mahogany and figured maple. Ebony and maple give striking contrast but there are many others you could use too. I think pine makes lovely stars.
More on this shortly.
Indeed you can. Someone wrote and asked this question. You can carve spoons and a whole lot more using mesquite. I have made hundreds of items and furniture pieces using this unbelievable wood but it’s not easy. For spoons there is no problem at all though.
Mesquite is one of those treasure woods that’s much maligned by ranchers or loved by them. You can of course do much more than carve spoons from it but spoons are fine too. I once designed a pie point table 6′ in diameter and with added leaves that made it 9′ in diameter for a lady named Karen T in Houston. We took two trees from her ranch, slabbed the boards, dried them and made a beautiful table from wrought iron and mesquite.The design was something you just don’t do with solid wood, but it worked.
For the inlaid eagles we used figured maple, Osage orange and Texas Walnut. The panel is very beautiful highly figured mesquite in a frame of cross banding and ebony and oak sandwiched between.
The wood we call mesquite is not so easy to harvest and convert because of its idiosyncrasies, but whatever you make from it will always be stunning. In the US there are 67 million acres with 64 million in Texas alone. Carving spoons can be done in green mesquite and used immediately. You can turn it to any thickness on the lathe including solid and not hollowed shapes and it will not usually degrade through checking at all. I love mesquite. If I had to name my favourite wood,
I would most likely say it’s mesquite. I have used it on and off, mostly on, since 1987. There is no other wood like it. Ken Rogers who once worked for the Texas Forestry Service in their R&D wrote the book Magnificent Mesquite because of its provision for life through history; I would most likely write one from my perspective as a furniture maker.
I am generally reluctant to endorse a particular magazine but this time I think I’ll go out on a limb a bit. It’s only a few years ago since Nick Gibbs took a stand at the North of England Woodworking Show in Harrogate for the first time with British Woodworking. The booth and the magazine back then, I think 2007, made the bold and as yet unproven boast that the brand-new, hot-of-the-press magazine was, “the UK’s leading woodworking magazine.” I queried this with a comment to Nick and he responded confidently that he felt it was. Since that weekend of hard graft into the unknown, Nick and his magazine never looked back. With this week’s release of the December/January issue of British Woodworking and the closing weeks of this year I sense 2014 to be a year of new change. As I thumbed the pages of this copy of British Woodworking I felt a lift in my spirit. I saw hands and faces and body stances and real people. You may recall my previous blog on another magazine where all of these elements were completely missing, so it struck me that something here really had shifted. Articles were aplenty and catered to all skill levels and every contributor knew their stuff. Some were well known and others unknown. All in all this was a good curl-up read for me and I will read it over a few times before Christmas.
Nick announced in this months issue and on a flyer that the magazine is now going monthly and at the end of January the first edition of the monthly magazine will go out. The UK subscription rate will be £38.50; that’s only 3.20 per issue. I think that if all of the issues are as interesting as this one is then the magazine is well worth subscribing to. Here’s the thing. I have seen the magazine grow, change, improve and progress. It embraces variety that makes a difference and so I felt it offers a more organic vibrancy lacking elsewhere.
I liked the healthy balance he has established between advertisement and content. I hope he can keep this. I also liked the increased white space and would like to see more yet. These are progressive improvements that I see give magazines their potency. Time allowing, I may comment on the articles. They all looked really interesting to me.
I picked up a Crown tenon saw last week and had a chat with the sales staff because Crown have been distributing tools made in and around Sheffield for a long time. I actually bought a set of their chisels from Woodcraft a decade or more ago and I was impressed by the quality of them for the price. The chisels were made in Sheffield and had brass ferrules and The traditional Rosewood handles I liked.
As for the saw, I was surprised how well I liked the saw even though the handle lacked the higher-end features I described in saws like the Wenzloff saw. Now, I have to say that although the saw handle was large, I had no problems with it in my hand and in using the saw and you could in fact refine the saw handle simply or radically as I did here on an instructional blog some time back.
Making a new handle on the other hand means you can create a real heirloom tool altogether. The saw has a very good plate, perfectly sized teeth and a folded brass back. That being so, you might consider creating your own 18th century saw handle using tiger striped maple, some pretty cherry, exotic rosewood or some other wood. The end result would be a beautiful tenon saw and a hand made handle perfected to your hand.
The saw does have more a utilitarian look and the nuts through the handle end don’t help the overall appearance. This is more likely a maker issue and not Crown, but, you know, this is a good saw and, technically, as far as the utilitarian look goes, that’s OK. Aesthetically they just fall a little short. You could however pick up some split nuts and reestablish the quality you want.
In the USA I did a quick search for the 12″ Crown tenon saw with 16 TPI and Highland Woodworking carries it and so here you have a reliable source for a supplier. Not sure where to go in the UK as the sales on internet seem to give the best results of all. The saw seems to sell for around $65-70 in the USA and £50 in the UK.
Laying the saw on top of my 18th century models I found that there was enough meat in the handle to transform the saw into a classic. I will blog on a remake of the handle in curly maple sometime down the road here, but you can read the previous blog and change the one on the saw in a couple of hours or less. There are other blogs too. Just put saw handles in the search box and they will pop up.
I removed the existing nuts and polished them out and then I removed the lacquer coating from the plate because of increased thickness and friction it made. I used a solvent for this and it came of in a heartbeat with 0000 steel wool. That radically improved the feel of the saw both with my fingertips and in the cut. The plate needed no more work, but I did alter the front rake of the teeth as is my wont. I found the teeth sharp and was glad of that. I have yet to find a tenon saw that doesn’t snag in the opening cuts and at the toe-end of the saw as you progress deeper. Go to my YT sharpening saw video for more on how to perfect your saw teeth.
More on this saw shortly.
How many times do we want to give up when adversity hits and yet we know that if we persevere there will be something worth gaining on the other side. When life get’s to you; work, finances, health issues, you know what I mean, get in the workshop, pull out some wood, a few hand tools, and something you feel you want to make will emerge and there’s a good possibility you will resolve any problem dogging your steps.
Double Vision, an Illusion of Twice as Much. Earlier this year, or should I say the last day of last year, I was standing outside a Pet’s-R-Us-type store looking at a rabbit hutch wondering why the hutch had two identical signs side by side saying the same thing. I looked up to walk away when instead of seeing one car on the road in front of me I saw two. No matter what I did I could see two of everything. The condition worsened over 24 hours and soon I was sitting in the hospital asking the doctor questions as to what and why?
Two days following this event I sat on a British Airways plane headed for New York. The hospital gave me a ‘patch’ that attached with water to the inside of my glass lens and somehow corrected 90% of my vision. Having 20/20 vision as normal the marginal difference worked out fine. That’s at first anyway. The doctor told me I could drive with the patch on. Now driving on the wrong side of the road sitting in the wrong side of the car adds some additional complications, but pressing on and pressing in is what this is all about. I was in fact as used to driving in the US as I was in the UK so I add here that there was no danger.
At the first woodworking show in Baltimore I discovered that the patch didn’t work on certain middle-ground aspects of my vision so when I was at the bench I was seeing two lines on my dovetails instead of one. When I looked up at people on the front row of my audience (about a yard away) there were twice as many people as in the following rows. They looked like identical twins sat in pairs and wearing matching clothes. With 300 people sitting there it would have been difficult to say I can’t do this. Half of them had been there the year before and had brought friends to see how I worked. I couldn’t let them down now. I decided the only way forward was to close one eye and go for it. That sounds easier than it is because as soon as you close one eye you cannot gauge depth and distance. At first it was difficult, but as I persevered, the other senses kicked in. I found substitutional experience filled in the gaps and I continued to the end. Subsequent joints over the next twelve weeks of the tour and hourly demo’s on the hour throughout each day I found my health problem continued but I was able to compensate very readily. As my confidence levels increased I began sharing my problem with the audiences. Toward the end of the tour of shows I walked around with double vision and gradually, right at the end of the show tour, my vision was thankfully totally restored. Here is what helped me the most:
On Nov. 18, 1995, Itzhak Perlman, the violinist, came on stage to give a concert at Avery Fischer Hall in Lincoln Center in New York City.
If you have ever been to a Perlman concert, you know that getting on stage is no small achievement for him. He was stricken with polio as a child, and so he has braces on both legs and walks with the aid of two crutches. To see him walk across the stage one step at a time, painfully and slowly, is an awesome sight. He walks painfully, yet majestically, until he reaches his chair. Then he sits down, slowly, puts his crutches on the floor, undoes the clasps on his legs, tucks one foot back and extends the other foot forward. Then he bends down and picks up the violin, puts it under his chin, nods to the conductor and proceeds to play.
By now, the audience is used to this ritual. They sit quietly while he makes his way across the stage to his chair. They remain reverently silent while he undoes the clasps on his legs. They wait until he is ready to play.
But this time, something went wrong. Just as he finished the first few bars, one of the strings on his violin broke. You could hear it snap — it went off like gunfire across the room. There was no mistaking what that sound meant. There was no mistaking what he had to do.
People who were there that night thought to themselves: “We figured that he would have to get up, put on the clasps again, pick up the crutches and limp his way off stage — to either find another violin or else find another string for this one.”
But he didn’t. Instead, he waited a moment, closed his eyes and then signaled the conductor to begin again. The orchestra began, and he played from where he had left off. And he played with such passion and such power and such purity as they had never heard before.
Of course, anyone knows that it is impossible to play a symphonic work with just three strings. I know that, and you know that, but that night, Itzhak Perlman refused to know that. You could see him modulating, changing, recomposing the piece in his head . At one point, it sounded like he was de-tuning the strings to get new sounds from them that they had never made before.
When he finished, there was an awesome silence in the room. And then people rose and cheered. There was an extraordinary outburst of applause from every corner of the auditorium. We were all on our feet, screaming and cheering, doing everything we could to show how much we appreciated what he had done.
He smiled, wiped the sweat from his brow, raised his bow to quiet us, and then he said — not boastfully, but in a quiet, pensive, reverent tone — “You know, sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.”
What a powerful line that is. It has stayed in my mind ever since I heard it.
And who knows? Perhaps that is the definition of life — not just for artists but for all of us. Here is a man who has prepared all his life to make music on a violin of four strings, who, all of a sudden, in the middle of a concert, finds himself with only three strings; so he makes music with three strings, and the music he made that night with just three strings was more beautiful, more sacred, more memorable, than any that he had ever made before, when he had four strings.
So, perhaps our task in this shaky, fast-changing, bewildering world in which we live is to make music, at first with all that we have, and then, when that is no longer possible, to make music with what we have left.
Jack Riemer, King Features of Syndicate
This is one of those inspirational stories that builds hope to inspire and encourage us in adversity. My circumstance was very different, but pressing through produces different results and I was glad I was able to complete the tour with The Woodworking Shows and meet so many thousands of people in each of the states we visited. Because of my eye and 12″ of snow, I took a dive head first onto a concrete step in Indianapolis. My nose and knee were smashed as my glasses pressed into my face in the fall and my knee hit the concrete step that tripped me. My wife had joined me half way through my tour for a week and she covered the cuts to my nose and face with make up to make me look less like a boxer and increase my composure. I still remember the shows and the people I was with with affection. Persevere!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!!!
Making the cutting iron.
I bought a piece of O1 flat-stock 3.5mm (1/8”) X 38mm (1 1/2”) X 460mm (18”). these sizes correspond to imperial conversion. 4mm x 40mm x 460mm may be a near alternative in metric availability. This is a common high carbon steel used for tool making and you can use it to make many different tool types including knives, chisels and cutters draw knives or travishers.
It’s an inexpensive way of replacing blades for planes and spokeshaves or for making inshaves and such. Adding some heat for bending and shaping and a few bends on the horn of an anvil will give you curved blades as needed. The steel is not hardened on arrival. You will grind and shape first and then harden and temper the steel after all of the shaping and grinding work is done. Also, let no one convince you differently, O1 steel is perfectly acceptable for making tools from. there is little benefit to using harder alloys. This is not necessary for any hand plane or chisel.
To make my iron I used my wooden bow saw with a metal cutting blade to cut the steel; a hacksaw is just fine for this too. I find that hacksaw blades are lesser quality than they once were. They dull quickly, even on mild steel, so I make my blades from bandsaw hacksaw blades that have harder teeth and last a hundred times longer than conventional hacksaw blades. They also have great teeth. I buy blades when I am in the US where they sell handheld hacksaws with blades that yield several short blades. The length of my blade is 90mm (3 1/2″).
I ground one iron on a grinding wheel, but then I filed a second one which took the machine out of the process. There was only about ten minutes difference between the two and so if you prefer not to use the grinding wheel, it’s not a big deal.
I centered a punch in the width of the iron and 70mm (2 3/4”) from the cutting edge end. This gave me a centre-spot indent to sit the point of my compass in. The radius for the cutting edge is therefor 70mm. As a scribe point, I used a common woodscrew in the compass to describe the arc across the end of the blade. To help visibility, I blackened the cut-area with a black felt tip.
First I shaped the profile by filing to the profile line I scored. You could also use the grinding wheel for this if you prefer an indeed if you have one, but the risks are higher and it is not much faster than hand filing.
I then angled my blade in the vice and filed in the bevel. Again, you could use the grinding wheel. Present the blade at an angle to the face of the wheel and rotate to the profile into the wheel at an angle of about 30-degrees. I watch the edge as I file or grind until the square edge disappears and I have a ground edge up the the very end. If I use the electric grinder, I plunge the iron periodically as the steel heats to prevent burning my fingers. Overheating at this stage will not affect the steel except plunging too soon can harden the steel, which is not what we are trying to do at this stage. Hardening is a process and we will show this as the next stage.
Placing the iron into the throat of the plane and semi-tightening the wedge will help you to refine the profile if you need to. Remove the iron and regrind in increments until it matches close to the curved profile of the sole.
To harden the iron I used charcoal in a charcoal barbecue pit, but you could use a coal fire or a blow torch of some kind. A little extra air from a hair dryer increases the temperature quickly (No, not the heat from the dryer, the forced air) and soon the steel reaches the cherry red I need to quench it. Not all steels are created equal and depending on the steel you are using, it may take a hardness straight away or not. I have never had a problem but it can happen. I heat until the steel reaches cherry red and then plunge into used engine oil. To test for hardness, try a file on the steel. If it glides of it is now fully hardened. Now I temper the steel in the oven by leaving it in there at 300-degrees for an hour. Remove it and cool in warmish water and the steel should be hard but sharpenable.
Our New Video Series is Up!
I wanted to update you on our new and latest training videos that teach you to make workbench stool and bar stools. This is a series I know you will enjoy and having a bench stool instead of a bar stool means comfort you can work well from. The video is long-needed in the world of working wood because we have all strained at stool seats that are too small and stools that are too tall. If the ideal bench height is between 36″-44″ (depending on your personal height), most bar stools may well be too hight. If you like super-low benches for some reason, then they will be as much as 9″ too high. This video will help you to size and make the perfect stool for your height and for your bench. I do hope that you enjoy it.
Christmas is almost here too, so here is just a sneak preview on some of our Christmas offerings on woodworkingmasterclasses.com. in a few days time too. Whether the star at the top of a tree, a mobile by the fireside or some more ornaments on the spruce branches. You could also add your own light-catching glitter and bows or you could attach them to cards as keepsakes for some special people you love or care for. These are fairly simple to make and you can make a dozen in an afternoon with about five hand tools and no machines.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY TO EVERYONE IN THE USA AND THOSE SERVING OVERSEAS OR AWAY FROM HOME!!!!!! We think of you, pray for you and thank you for all that you do. I will always be grateful to everyone who welcomed me and my family to their homes on this special day and who made Thanksgiving so wonderful throughout the 20 years we lived there.
I Coined the Phrase ‘My Creative Workspace’ for a reason. I felt that because of machine industry giants and the machine-only culture invading our lives over several decades, we lost the significance of an inner eco-climate environmentally dedicated to hand work and hand tool methods. We indeed lost a culture. This advocacy almost destroyed those elements I considered critical to the wellbeing of craft and the art of handwork. Today I see light at the end of the tunnel. It’s amazing to me today to see so many embracing much of what almost became a lost art. No, it is not merely some notion of nostalgic preference. My work in my blogs will show that. I am interested in progress as long as it considers the well being of people in their workspace whether that be at home or where they earn their living from. Culture has indeed shifted and it’s culture that defines who we are, what we say, how we dress and what and how we make. The future is critically important to all of us and to the near generations born to replace us as crafting artisans and not machine parts pushing buttons. Therefore, no, I am not looking at many professionals working in woodworking as the standard to attain to to, emulate or indeed use as role models. I am looking at you; gifted and caring amateurs who pursue their passion to master skill and become creative woodworkers in your own right. Today I think we have a sustainable alternative to what was developing and we should continue our research to develop growth and pass it on.
The picture above shows the results of a month-long workshop and what happens when you share your creative workspace with others for a season.
Through the years I have developed many workspaces from scratch, constrained in almost every case by four walls but mostly by the sphere of my own limited form. For hand and machine woodworkers using hand tools they anchor is always the workbench and I have blogged extensively on this here. Using the workbench ad relying on it for multi-tasks soon becomes automatic. In almost all cases the bench gets shifted incrementally to a position in the shop where it relates to everything around it yet never denies its supremacy to all in its centrality. The inch-by-inch shunt and shove sets the position to several key elements, predominantly the tools you work with and the support materials that we use in the making of our projects; glue, sandpaper, nails and screws, pens, pencils, paper and patterns. Depending on the space we have. These elements are best positioned near to but not crowding the place we work in. Many are surprised to find that in my home shop my creative workspace is a mere 8’ x 12’ space with a ceiling only 7’ from the concrete floor. My wood is stored between the ceiling joists and my machines are on home made dollies that move easily in and out of play as needed. In so confined a space I use these very minimally because of the dust they create. If I could I would separate these machines from the space I work in, but I still perform most of my home work to hand power even though the machines sit there inactive.
In the Penrhyn Castle workshop where I do most of my daily woodworking I am restricted by my personal sphere of limitation. I have created elements that work for me and improved them as I developed them. Shelves, tables, tables on wheels and cupboards all house my work, my equipment and of course my tools. In New York I have the same elements and wherever I have lived I have had something so similar to what I have now, most would scarcely see any difference.
Many have criticised me for having a drawer on the work-side of my bench. Claiming the inconvenience of clamped stock in the vise sufficient reason for not having it there but somewhere else. But for me, the occasional irritation is like swatting a mosquito in relation to the created universe around me. The nuisance factor is so minimal I put up with it and get on with it.
Some criticise my aprons on the bench being so wide you can’;t clamp stuff to it. Of course you can and you can do this very simply, quickly and effectively. When you do. the work is rock solid. Some criticise my not having dog holes in the apron and legs. If I found need for them I would do it. frankly, I never saw dogs used in aprons and legs until more recent years and no one I ever worked with anywhere ever used them. So I find little need for such things. My vise will hold everything. I don’t mind a little slippage that needs vise adjustment some times throughout the day. Usually that’s my fault for not tightening sufficiently at the get-go and not any flaw with the vises I use. I like the freedom a bench unfettered gives me in my work. I do like some other workbenches too, but I have found what I like and what works best for me. I hope others will discover the simplicity of the bench.
When it comes to bench dogs I do understand that people like pulling out useful dogs and holdfasts. The best holdfast in the world was developed by Joel at Tools for Working Wood. Its a pristine piece of equipment and had I one here in the UK I would find a spot for not simply because it is so nice to use but its simplicity as a single piece tool has a beauty all of its own. If you live in the USA or Canada, get one. You won’t regret it. I used to own a Record holdfast with the screw-down mechanism but I didn’t like it too well at all. Someone gave it to me and I kept it around. As anyone knows who knows me, I rely solely on a clamp secured in the bench vise for my working. The blogs I have written show different situations for all around woodworking using this type of mechanism. Now here is a thing. If someone were to develop a clamp-in-the-vise system with simple apps they could really have something.
I think this thing is important for us all. I will be adding more soon.
Refining and fitting next.
Please don’t think that this plane is difficult and complicated to make. It’s not. Curve-soled, round-soled, straight-soled and hollow-soled planes all come via the same patterns for making and so too low-angled planes, high-angled planes and even toothing planes. I think that you could make about ten different planes using these methods and the cost would be under £50 max. I am not saying these will replace the metal-cast bench planes, and of course they could, but that they will give anyone the low-use specialist planes we use from time to time. Making the planes for a special task is quick, effective and simple. You can of course make the plane to the width of an existing plane iron and borrow the iron for a task. This works with any of the planes that don’t need the curved sole. Spokeshave irons can work for this. If you are making a special-task plane for a one-shot shaved area, screwing through a non-fitted wedge into the main body will work just fine.
Because you cut the channels to the wedge and the blade, there should be little fitting to the actual grooves you formed in the sides of the plane body. But these can of course be tweaked with a a sharp chisel if or as needed.
The wedge is more critical than you might think and of course it’s purpose is to allow plane iron adjustment to the sole of the pane and also lock the plane iron to depth of thickness. The complexities occur when you arrange the cuts on the wedge to remove material in such a way as to hold the blade all the way along the side edges of the plane iron, down and near to either side of the throat opening. The wedge should in no way obstruct even the smallest aspect or area of a shaving and is made so as to ‘direct’ shavings into and up through the throat so that it exits freely in the upper cavity of the plane body.
Now that I have made that sound truly complicated and even impossible, lets tackle the task and do it as simply as possible.
As we are making the curve-soled plane we have two radii to consider. The long axis along the length of the plane, and the short axis across the sole width. The radius for the long arc is 175mm (7″) and the shorter radius will be 75″ (3″). You can of course change both of these as you can change the overall width of the plane body itself if you wish. I would not go too wide, 50mm (2”) maybe. After 50mm we tend to shift to a travisher because a bent blade give added strength to the cutting edge through its curve and this means no chatter or skudding.
Best to start on the long curve as this may affect the wedge position and length in the throat. You can of course use a compass to describe the arc, but I think it easier and quicker to guesstimate the curve and use a bent steel rule to eyeball the shape you want. I used a thin scraper plate because I can flex with one hand and mark with the other. For the technophiles the compass gives guaranteed results and they may prefer this.
With the shape marked, remove the waste with a 1” chisel and then use a rasp to refine the curve.
The across-the-sole-curve simply follows the arc and I use a flat-bottomed spokeshave followed by a rasp for this.
After the shape is fully formed I found a thin plate card scraper works really well for removing any hard edges. Simply flex the scraper to conform to the shape and pull or push until fully fared.
Next comes the wedge
The wedge has a channel down its centre that allows the free passage of the shaving to exit the plane. The channel is of little consequence in terms of functionality but using it helps unite the wedges to each side and at the same time allows the main body of the wedges to dampen vibration.
Insert the blade and wedge to see how the wedge fits through or into the mouth. Sometimes this protrudes and sometimes not. If it protrudes, mark the length and trim off. This is a start point and will be altered and refined more shortly.
I made the plane taller because you have a longer wedge and a longer iron, but I decided to cut my plane down to a lower profile and so took 10mm off the top.
Inside the chamber from the top side, mark the sides of the channel onto the wedge on both sides. the wedge and start to lay out as per the markings shown on this image.
There is no exacting detail to this so the details given here are the PS outline.
I then cut the longer angles that form the built-in wedges and it’s these that really hold the cutting iron whilst continuing to direct the savings up through the chamber and away from the cutting edge.
I scalloped the top corners of the plane to make the chamber neater. This is a comfort and appearance issue. The plane performs as well with or without this detail. Work from both ends of the scallop with a chisel, bevel down.
…make sure that the angle starts above the sidewall of the plane by marking a start point.
The post Making a Curve-soled Plane – Refinements and Fitting appeared first on Paul Sellers.
As Phil and I drove the coast road from North Wales to England and Harrogate yesterday the sun was bright all the way. We didn’t really know what we could expect since the new show owners took over the show and so there was a heightened sense of awareness that something new was about to happen.
One thing that was evident was the aisles were very full, but there was still room to manoeuvre to see the wares everyone brought to market. Funnily enough it wasn’t the big-box companies that were full but the littler box companies and that was so very refreshing because these people are the very ackbone of what Britain has always been about. Britain’s economy
Visiting with different people who stopped us in the aisles was very helpful and getting direct feedback on our Woodworking Masterclasses and YouTube videos made us want to go back and make more. Everyone made us very aware that we were at last addressing the issues surrounding craft conservation, woodworking training and much more. You may well recognise these two from their contribution to the woodworkingmasterclasses.com forums. They have both been to my classes at the New Legacy School of Woodworking in Penrhyn Castle and have been very supportive of our work though the years. We all enjoyed catching up on news as we ate lunch together .
Entrepreneurs are around everywhere and most often they are very much behind-the-scenes people that get the work done but are indeed seldom seen. I dig for them and I loved the entrepreneurial spirit with some people I found there. Jane is co-owner of of all things a rocking horse company and has herself pioneered a Yorkshire enterprise producing top notch rocking horses and kits for woodworkers to build their own too. They ship everything worldwide from their workshops so if you want to build that heirloom piece contact them and they will give you everything from step-by-step how-to’s to the fully painted and harnessed Black Beauty.
Picking up some tools and some wood for a modest amount, and that included some Lignum Vitae and some more ebony for the upcoming star making videos as our Christmas star making offering in a couple of weeks, I was soon satisfied. Lignum is hard to come by but it’s the hardest known wood in the world. I wanted some for plane soles and other hard-wear areas for tools. I also picked up some lime for carving when we do the chip carving videos next year.
Tony’s booth at Antique Tools is always fascinating and I discovered some very nice looking riffler rasps there. I am about to test them out so I will let you know how they are. The price was certainly right for a hand stitched riffler. I think that Phil was most impressed by the secondhand tools but we picked up other stuff from the general tool and equipment suppliers.
Information in an information age can be hard to come by and so talking to reps and business owners proved truly invaluable and guess what! It was refreshing for me not to feel one ounce of pressure to buy. I spent much time with Record Power looking at some of their machines and equipment and I was impressed with the progress they have made over the past few years and what was really helpful was the knowledge of the industry Health and Safety they were up to speed on.
Of course anything without a plug on it and that didn’t need charging except three times a day grabbed most attention from me and from Phil. I can see a router or a water-bath sharpening rig just about anywhere, but watching a travisher and spokeshave in the hands of an expert is always fascinating. I wish that there had been some more real woodworking demonstrations going on and dare I say it less woodturning, but there is no doubt watching Reg Sherwin and Stewart Mortimer at the lathe is always fascinating and 20 minute well spent.
Not too sure what people see in routers run by computers but I must say that they are better now than ever before. Parts are a bit like watching paint dry but Phil gave it a shot before I moved him on to better realms. But, that said, this is just another industry diversification and that’s an interesting move we’ve seen over the years.
This lady, Margaret Garrard, didn’t just talk about her turnings as some were wont to do, she talked and turned through to a beautiful ornament and people were glued to her dextrous skill the whole time through; and that included me. I was impressed.
There was definitely a greater presence of younger people at the show which I was glad about. They were looking at and handling the different hand tools and that was great. A Design and Technology teacher stopped me and thanked us for the work we were doing in trying to steer educationalists toward developing hand skills again. he lamented the sad loss he had seen through the years and I encouraged him that we were making a difference and that I had a whole series of articles coming together for woodworking with young people that would help in the future.
I ran into the Ashley Iles range of tools at the show. The bevel-edged chisels looked really nice and I may get a set to try them out more fully at the bench. In terms of metal fineness at the edge of the bevel they had it. The handles felt nice to and I always like to see real brass ferrules. Very nice product. Now when I got to the Narex booth I was disappointed in the massive size of their new handle shape. They are great for their rasps, but not for chisels. Even my hands found them too large. I like their other model handles the best. I was glad to get my hands on them but they need to get back to the design table on that one.
Lunch at the shows can rarely be described as a delight and paying through the nose is to rub salt in the wounds of hunger, but at this venue you get the best of the best for about £8 including freshly brewed coffee and porcelain mugs and plates and proper non-throwaway silverware. The Yorkshire Cafe had it down. Hot and tasty food and as close as you could ever get to home made desserts as you can get. I had their Steak & Ale pie and steak fries with peas washed down with hot coffee and the whole thing was delicious. I wish that all show venue cafeterias could reach this standard and the staff paralleled the quality of the food. In all the twelve shows I demoed at this year this was the best ever.
The post More on the North of England Woodworking Show show appeared first on Paul Sellers.
It’s the last day of the North of England Woodworking Show show tomorrow. I suggest you don’t miss what this show has to offer. Yes, some of the commercial vendors are the same as ever, but stop and talk to some of the behind the scenes people and you get to real people making their living and doing their best. When I say talk to the behind the scenes people I mean the ones sitting in the background, on chairs they made, at ding by their rocking horses. Ask for a demo from the demoing staffers in the booths and ask questions, lots of questions. I found that everyone was friendly and really open to passing on really good information. Like for instance, back in the USA and Canada, I am very familiar with the investment companies have made in their technical advances in the diverse range of products ranging from tools to wood finishes and sharpening alternatives to abrasives. I have always worked with them in their own countries and united with them here in the UK. I see them as valuable resources we know work and will work for you over the next few months.
Take time to go to the secondhand tool specialist too. I found hard to find tools there, especially gouges, hundreds of them, but I also found hand stitched riflers there too. There is tons to see, do and learn from.
I am sending this out at the late hour to make certain all of you get the opportunity to go. I will post pictures later or tomorrow with a follow up blog and pictures.
I so enjoyed this newest freebie. Many of you asked me for this and we finally pulled it together. These are very effective and they look nice, alternative, different.
They take longer to watch than they do to make but I started making these about ten years ago and since then I rarely buy handles. The principles of making them can be adapted to many other types too.
The post Another Free Video – Making the Paul Sellers’ Tool Chest Handles appeared first on Paul Sellers.
Today is the first day of the North of England Woodworking Show in Harrogate, North Yorkshire. The venue is is easy access but the show is sometimes packed at the entry so be prepared for a bit of an outdoor queuing on arrival.
I recommend visiting this compact show because there is lots to see and people to talk to. I have enjoyed the show each year because of its compactness. You can see a lot in a small space and in general the show is well laid out. Some of my favourite people will be there and usually these are not so much people selling slick equipment and machines or tools but more hard to find stuff like secondhand tools or exotic woods from responsible sources. There are some good tool suppliers there that are knowledgeable about their product line and the show generally guarantees tighter pricing for competitiveness. The bigger names like Axminster set right alongside the little guys and that’s good too. So you can touch and feel planes and chisels you might not ordinarily access on a daily basis and as far as shows go, this is the very best show of its kind in the North of England and compares equal to any show in the whole of Britain.
I will be there for Saturday only this year, but a good day spent in search there will track down anything I need to source and of course I am looking forward to meeting some of you there. I plan on lunch at the cafeteria at 1pm so stop by and say hello. Tony Murland will be there with hundreds of old tools for the secondhand tool aficionados and of course there will be the usual tool sales guys if you want to spend your money on a more extravagant piece of equipment.
Demonstrations are dotted throughout the show and throughout the day. Please take the time to watch some of these and enjoy some quiet conversations with the craftsmen and women.
Support the show if you can. Support the people who have booths there and especially the little guys selling their hand made tools and wood. They put a lot of work and time into getting to market and their future work can depend on our buying their products.
Look forward to seeing you there.
The post The North of England Woodworking Show Starts Today! appeared first on Paul Sellers.
Making the plane here can be made in one of two ways. In my last blog on these planes I said you can separate the parts from a single block of wood as I did, or you can use three pieces. Whichever you choose, the composition of the plane is gluing up four components the inner parts of which are cut with angles that allow for the blade and wedge to be locked within side grooves. It’s a simple plane to make, but accurate cuts and fits are important to the functionality of the plane. Sharp tools such as chisels, knife, plane and saw are critical. Beyond that, it’s up to you.
A versatile pattern for plane making. I think that the neat thing about this model for construction can be used for a wide range of useful planes in an equally wide range of sizes, radii, bedding angles (the angle at which the plane iron is supported and presented to the wood) and types. That means you can make low angle planes, compass planes, and curve-soled planes of different types. Expand that into tongue and groove planes and regular bench planes and you have a very inexpensive way of creating specialist planes and a vehicle for developing fine woodworking skills.
The bandsaw method for separating the parts is a very practical. With a sharp and well adjusted bandsaw the two side sections can be slabbed off the main central body and then glued back to the centre pieces after the side grooves are completed without planing the meeting surfaces. I separated my pieces using the bandsaw
Without a bandsaw. If you don’t own or have access to a bandsaw, I would suggest you use three separate pieces cut and planed to the sizes given in the previous post. That way you have parallel sections of wood ready to cut and glue together. This wood must be dry and flat so that the surfaces mate properly and all surfaces glue across their totality.
Regardless of which method you use to size your wood, the process once you have the sides and centre piece cut to size remains the same.
To make the plane for flat or curved work begins with the same steps. You may want to make two planes at the same time so that you can have a flat-soled and a curve-soled plane.
2: Plane the surface of the bed alone dead flat. Make certain that the surface is square to the sides. This effects the squareness of the blade to the main axis of the plane and though the plane is radiused, it makes it easy to align everything if you start square.
4: Plane the surface of the cut smooth and square.
5: I used the same wood for my wedge. I do this so that neither wood is harder than the other so that both woods absorb pressure equally. Cut your wedge according to the drawing and plane all surfaces square and smooth.
13: Repeat to the opposite side piece.
15: Assembling all of the components together as a dry run allows you to adjust the throat opening. I suggest a 1/16” gap is a good size to aim for. Make registration lines across the the side pieces and the centre piece. You will use these registration marks in the final glue up.
17: Slide the second centre piece in between and then clamp the whole in the vise or use clamps.
Refining and fitting next.