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Mulesaw

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Being old fashioned, the cool way.
Updated: 24 min 40 sec ago

Categories of projects

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 4:46pm
A comment on my recent post by Jeremy of JMAW Works gave me the idea for this post.

I have for a long time been following some general rules of how to categorize a project. These categories help me decide what to do and when.

This is the first time I have tried to write them down and put actual words on the categories, but I have more or less followed them for a long time.
They are all aimed at projects I do at home.

Instead of categories based on form or building method such as chairs, cupboards, chests, turnings, dovetails etc. my categories are primarily based on the weather and secondly the time of day.

Main categories are:
1) Nice dry weather .
2) Light rain or grey weather.
3) Rain.

Off course if a job can be handled in rainy weather, it can technically be handled in fine weather as well, but not necessarily the other way around.

Sub categories:
A) Day.
B) Afternoon.
C) Evening.

Day jobs are jobs that require natural light, and perhaps other shops to be open, and also the longest continuous stretch without disturbances.
Afternoon jobs are jobs that can be done when the boys are home from school, they might like to participate in the job, or I have to be able to leave the project at very short notice to help them or to drive them to soccer practice etc.
Evening jobs are jobs are for the time left after eating supper. During the weekdays our family normally eat supper at 5:30 in the afternoon, but it can be as early as 5 PM or as late as 6:30 too.
So a couple of hours in the shop is not unheard of until our youngest needs to be tucked in.

Whenever I have something that I would like to get done while at home, I place that project into one main category and into one or more of the sub categories.

This approach has helped me to work efficiently on multiple projects, and I like being efficient while I am at home.
Ever since I adopted the idea, I have been a lot better at not getting angry that I had to stop one project due to weather issues, because I would know exactly what other project I could switch over to.

My list of projects that I would like to get done while at home this time will get assigned to the following categories:

Bi-annular control of cars: 3)-A
This is a job that I don't plan on doing myself, and the mechanic can work on the cars inside. I just have to drive the cars to him and also later to the actual control.

Repair Volvo Valps: 2)-A
I have a machinery shed in which the Valps are parked. There is a concrete floor, so even with a bit of water I can lay on my back and work on them from beneath.
These jobs are best done without getting too distracted or disturbed.

Install panels and handrail in the small barn: 2)-A
I need to move in and out of the barn a bit with all the boards for the panels, so full rain is not nice for this job.

Make leather belts with Laura: 3)-C
This is a typical evening project. Something to be done in the shop and easy to go to and from during the process. It will most likely be a Friday or Saturday project.

Run the sawmill: 2)-AB
Dry weather is nice but not a complete requirement for running the sawmill. If it is too wet, it is simply unpleasant to go outside all the time with off-cuts and getting a new log etc. The boys like to help sawing with the sawmill, and I can stop anytime to drive and pick them up etc.

Empty the horses boxes and whitewash of  the stable: 3)-A
This is a large project,  inside save for emptying the wheelbarrow into the trailer.

In addition to these projects that were mentioned in my last post, there is also the ongoing list of perpetual projects, like:
Making and stacking firewood: 1)-AB
Cleaning and organizing the barn: 3)-ABC
Building stuff in the workshop: 3)-ABC
Garden/yard work: 1)-AB

Since the weather is generally bad From October to April, in those months it is especially important for me to have a few projects of each main category, so I won't risk wasting the single day of December without rain on doing indoor stuff.

Does anybody else categorize projects something like this?


Categories: Hand Tools

Thoughts about what to build when I get home.

Wed, 12/06/2017 - 8:25am
I  haven't been very productive this time on board, mostly because the weather has been miserable, so as soon as you get off the shift you had better try to get some sleep, because no one knows when the ship will be moving so much that sleeping is impossible, and holding on to something is the best solution for staying in the same spot.

But I am looking forward to signing off in a weeks time, and I have been thinking a bot about projects that I would like to complete the next home period:

Both our regular cars will have to go through the bi-annular inspection in the beginning of 2018, so I'd better make sure they are OK.

Both Volvo Valps are down at the moment. The black one needs a new set of points and a new capacitor, possibly a new fuel hose from the tank to the pump and a new muffler. The green one needs a new set of timing gears.
These cars are "essential" to my well being. I really like to drive them, and getting one of them back in business will get a high priority.

I would like to complete the interior of the small barn, and perhaps install a hand rail for the staircase as well. But apart from that I don't think I'll work much out there this time.

Our daughter would like to make some leather belts for her friends as Christmas presents, and I am looking forward to helping her with that project. The plan is to make one belt that will look like a saddle girth for the horse interested friend, and the other friend would apparently love to get a bright red semi wide belt. As luck would have it, I have some bright cherry red shiny leather that I haven't been able to use in any project, so making a belt of some of it would be great.

I need to work the sawmill a bit too, so we can get a new load of sawdust for the horses. I am also starting to run low on regular boards, so a day or two spent re-stocking the barn at home is also pretty high up on the list.
If I manage to produce a lot of sawdust, I would like to empty the boxes of the horses for the old sawdust that has been there during the last year, and at the same time give the stable a coat of whitewash. But for that project to work out, I'll need at least one Volvo Valp to be running. I need the 4WD to haul the laden trailer onto a wet field and unload the old sawdust.

It might sound like a lot, but my experience is that I can be fairly efficient when I am at home, given that I can devote the entire day to a project. So there should hopefully still be plenty of time to enjoy the holiday season with the family and take the dog for long walks and perhaps even ride the horses if the weather permits it.

And who knows, perhaps some last minute projects will suddenly find their way onto the list.




Categories: Hand Tools

Another Danish blog on traditional woodworking

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 6:19pm
One of the kind people who has commented on my blog is Mikkel from Denmark.
We have a couple of times touched upon the subject that there wasn't any woodworking blogs written in Danish.
As a result I started the bloksav blog (which is the Danish name of a mulesaw).

And behold!
Mikkel has resurrected his old blog called Haandkraft. He writes in a very informative language about the projects that he makes. He uses hand tools (though he admits having a chain saw)

I really hope that it will be possible to get just a tiny bit more people engaged in some sort of woodworking, now that it is possible to read about in Danish.
However International the woodworking community may be, there may still be someone out there who find it easier to read a blog in their native language.


Categories: Hand Tools

Drawbore pins completed

Mon, 11/27/2017 - 7:36pm
I made the remaining handles the same ways as the first handle, and It went according to the plan.
The tangs or shafts of the drawbore pins were a bit over sized compared to the hole that I had drilled in the handles. Just a little bit, but when I first tried to mount the handle I got afraid that they might split, after all bubinga isn't a soft wood.
So I mounted the drawbore pins in the lathe and turned down the shafts to the exact diameter of the holes that I had drilled.

I still had to use a large hammer to mount the handles, but none of the handles split, and everything was really tight once seated.

For a finish I decided to use some old floor varnish that we have on board.
I simply dipped the end of a handle into the can and smeared the varnish over the rest of the surface. Once the entire handle was covered in varnish, I rubbed the handle a couple of times with an abrasive pad, and then I wiped off the excess varnish.
The idea is that it should provide a bit of protection against grime without being a super shiny and slippery surface.

Conclusion of the project:

Making a set of eccentric drawbore pins is relatively easy if you have access to a metal working lathe, or know someone who does.
The actual turning process is very simple and the material is inexpensive.

I am not sure if it was necessary to harden the drawbore pins, but I figure that it can't hurt to do it. But if you don't have the equipment for it, I am convinced that a set of homemade drawbore pins will still work perfectly.

Making tapered octagonal handles is easy, and you don't have to despair if they are not exactly square or if the taper is not identical on all sides, They are comfortable to use and a huge advantage is that they roll very poorly, so if you work on a ship there is a possibility that they might actually stay where you put them on the bench. I guess that the non rolling function also applies to shop ashore, so if you haven't got a tool tray - it could be a pattern worth considering.
Joshua Klein made an entry about the subject a couple of years back.
He was inspired by Zach Dillingers blogpost which provides a very thorough step by step guide to making those handles for a chisel.
A really fine thing about this pattern in my point of view is that it is possible to make it without a lathe.

All there is left for me now,  is to see if having some drawbore pins will make my work easier when using that joint. But I kind of expect that I will be the case.

Completed and finished drawbore pins.

Handles while drying.
Categories: Hand Tools

Podgers or framing pins, a blog about timber framing and a place for handmade tools.

Sat, 11/25/2017 - 4:10am
First of all, thank you to Sylvain for providing me with a link to a blog where you could see a drawbore pin for timber framing in use (a podger).

Second, I am sorry for the long headline, but I couldn't really sum up all this information in a shorter sentence.

Now back to some meaningful writing:

The link that Sylvain kindly found for me is for a blog of a company called Castle Ring Oak Frame. In one of their posts they had pictures where you could see the large drawbore pins that they call podgers. I instantly got exited and wanted to get some of those so I can start a new timber frame project at home.
Before going all wild in searching for those podgers, I thought that I'd take some time and browse through the blog.
I often find that when a company has got a blog it is mostly advertising in a poorly written form. This blog was completely different though. It is written in a cheerful way and to me it feels a lot more like someone who are so proud of their job that they would like to say: I might not be a self-made millionaire or a sports star, but I make timber frames that can last for hundreds of years - and I am having a great time doing it.
Oh - and they are using Roman numerals to mark the joints :-)

I doubt that I will be using their services to erect a timber frame, because I would like to do that myself, but I am pretty sure that I will read their blog and continue to be inspired by someone making timber frames for a living.

The name podger was new to me, and given that all the podgers used by the timber framing company looked the same, I thought that maybe they were available from new somewhere.
A quick search on Google, and I landed on another dangerous site.
Not the kind of site that will get you in trouble with the police mind you, but one of those sites that could potentially be the source of birthday and Christmas presents for years to come.

There I discovered the podgers (or framing pins) I was looking for, offset prickers, froes axes etc. all handmade.
The offset prickers I can make myself on the lathe, but I think that I will order a couple of podgers for Christmas.

For sake of good order, I am not affiliated with any of the companies, they don't know me and I don't know them, so I don't get any discounts or free stuff etc from them for this blog post.
But I like a well written blog as much as the next person, and I would think that there might be a person or two reading this blog that are willing to admit that they don't mind looking at a homepage with nice tools on it.


Categories: Hand Tools

Octagonal handles for the drawbore pins

Wed, 11/22/2017 - 5:57pm
Tonight I pulled myself together and started on making some handles for the drawbore pins.
The weather is incredibly bad at the moment, with forecasts of a hurricane (named Ylva) coming sometime tomorrow on the Norwegian west coast. Wind speeds are predicted to be around 50 m/s (112 mph).
At the moment we are a bit south of the places that are expected to be hit the worst, but guess who is scheduled for sailing north this morning?..

We have already strong winds and high waves, but making a handle isn't the project that requires the biggest amount of accuracy.

I wanted to use a bit of my bubinga, and There was a part left on one of the large pieces that was just the right size for my purpose.
My initial idea was to saw of this end and then rip it to make the handles, but I decided that it was probably going to be a lot easier to rip the part first, and then saw it off. I had decided on a length of 11 cm which is something like 4 and 3/8".

Once I had four small pieces all approximately the same size, I squared one of them up a bit using a plane. two of the sides plane nicely and two sides don't. It is really some strange grain, and I had a bit of tear out. It isn't a plane tote, so I can live with a less than perfect surface, because it is not a tool that will be handled over a long period of time, so the chances of getting blisters by it are close to non existing.

I eyeballed a pleasing taper and planed it without too much trouble. The fat end of the handle is something like 1 1/8" and the thin end is approximately 13/16"

With a square tapered shape, I drew some lines with a pencil on each corner to define the octagonal shape. It is not an equal sided octagonal, but It doesn't have to be.

I planed down the corners and once I was happy with the result, I flattened the end with a file, so the piece stood up straight.
I marked out the center in the thin end and drilled a hole the size of the tang of the drawbore pin.

The edges of the fat end were then chamfered using a chisel, and finally the handle was sanded. When I used my fingers as backing for the sand paper, I was able to smooth down the small pieces of tear out that were left on the sides.

I only made one handle today, but since I didn't find any major obstacles in my course of action, I think that I can make the remaining 3 tomorrow if the weather permits it.

The drawbore pin has not been hardened yet, so I didn't mount the handle.

Octagonal handle next to drawbore pin.

Ripping.

Removing the corners.

Octagonal handle. 

Chamfered end.


Categories: Hand Tools

A new woodworking blog in Danish

Tue, 11/21/2017 - 8:26am
I have once in a while tried to search for Danish woodworking blogs, but the few ones that I have found all seem to have gone dead very quickly.

Woodworking doesn't seem to be big as a hobby in Denmark, but who knows, perhaps there are someone out there who would like to read about it in Danish instead of English.

So for once I did something highly unusual for my part. Instead of just bitching about it and getting annoyed, I actually took action myself!

I have started a Danish woodworking blog.

The name is bloksav, which is the meaning of mulesaw.

The address is bloksav.blogspot.dk

Quite often it will be duplicate posts from this blog, but I have actually posted about making a cutting board on the Danish blog that is not featured here.

I can see from my stat's that I do have some readers from Denmark, so maybe someone will read the new blog.

So far I am up to an impressive 33 visitors, so it is heading the right way.


Categories: Hand Tools

Axe handles and children

Sun, 11/19/2017 - 7:37am
I was looking at some old posts on my blog, and ended up looking a one where Olav had made a new handle for a hatchet. 

One of the comments was from Suzanne Deslauriers. She suggested to read the poem called "Axe handles" by Gary Snyder. 
(I haven't got the permission to print the poem, and I don't want to mess up with any copyrights to it, so I have simply linked to the poem instead. And that site states that it has got a permission.)

It is a delight to get such comments to the blog, because the poem is really well written and spot on for me. I guess that a lot of people into woodworking feels it the same way. If Suzanne hadn't commented on the post, I would never have known about its existence. So thanks a lot for bringing it to my attention.

I once made an axe handle too - together with Gustav when he was a lot younger, and I remember it being a good experience. But that was before I knew about the poem. And I also think it was before I wrote a blog, at least I haven't got any pictures of it. But the axe still hangs in its place in the shop - ready to be used. I will have to ask Gustav if he remembers making it, but I am pretty sure that he does.

I have let my children use an axe since they were very small. At first they used one together with me, so we helped each other to hold it correctly and stand in the correct position, legs lightly spread to give a good stability and to avoid hitting the shins if the axe should slip. Later when they turned a bit older they would split small scraps of wood on their own while in the shop with me, and proudly carry the tiny pieces into the house and present them as kindling to Mette.

Even today, if we go the the summerhouse, one of the first things they help find are a couple of axes, so they can trim some of the wild saplings and split firewood. I am totally confident in that they use the tool with the necessary respect, and I have never had the reason to remind them about how to use it safely. So I guess that all the education and practice has paid off.

I think that an axe has a strong appeal to a child, because it is a real tool, and a smaller model is not just designed to be a toy, but it is really a smaller version that is fully capable of doing the same type of work as a large axe can do.

Categories: Hand Tools

Making a set of eccentric drawbore pins.

Sat, 11/18/2017 - 6:44am
I like to drawbore. But I haven't got any drawbore pins. This hasn't stopped me in any way, but once in a while I have thought that it might not be a bad idea to have some, so that I could test fit the joint before gluing and inserting the pegs.

I read a bit up on the various ideas behind it on the Internet, and it seems as there are a two models normally employed, both tapered along the length of the protruding part of the steel:
One version has a cylindrical shape of the tapered part  all the way.
The other version has got a not completely rounded shape of the tapered part. (popular called eccentric)

I guess that the eccentric model can either be of an elliptic shape, or it could just be a circular shape with part of the perimeter moved inwards.

I am going to try to make a set of drawbore pins based on the last idea. I can't really see any advantages of a pure elliptical shape over the flattened circular shape, but there is a lot more work involved in making a tapered elliptic piece of steel compared to the flattened model.

After a bit of testing to try our some ideas I had regarding how to do it, I ended up with this way of getting the wanted result:

First a piece of steel is mounted as usual in the 3 jaw chuck, and the far end is supported by the live center.
I adjust the compound rest to a 1 degree taper, meaning that the including taper will be 2 degrees.
I then take some passes only using the compound rest, to make a tapered section. I stop when the thin end is approximately half the diameter of the steel rod.
I then have to move the main apron to continue the taper. That is because the travel distance of the compound rest is only 2.75".  Once I have completed the taper to its final length, I stop.

The next step is to remove the old hole for the live center, so I can make a new one.
The new hole is made eccentric by adding a distance piece under one of the jaws in the chuck. In this case the distance  piece is an old washer.
I leave the washer in place and make sure to orient the steel bar in the same way, and again use the chuck and the live center.
The eccentric mounting of the live center and the washer between the steel bar and the jaw now causes the entire piece to be wobbling in the lathe. Or more correctly it is eccentric mounted with a throw equal to the thickness of the washer.

I bring the turning tool into contact with the piece and repeat the process of making a small taper. I removed 0.6 mm (3/128") while making this second taper.

The result is a nice and shallow taper and if the piece is rotated there is a slight difference of the aforementioned 3/128".
As far as I have understood the idea of this is that you insert the flattened part into the drawbored holes, and then you twist the tool to tighten up the joint.

I am going to try to  harden the drawbore pins before making some octagonal handles for them.

So far I have made two sets, 4 - 8 mm (5/32" - 5/16") and 5 - 10 mm(25/128" - 25/64")

Eccentric drawbore pins

Turning the taper

Getting ready for making the pin eccentric.
Note the washer between the left jaw and the workpiece.

This should show that there is a flattened ace on the pin.


Categories: Hand Tools

Getting off the couch (chimney cupboard)

Wed, 11/15/2017 - 7:56am
One of my long time couch builds has been a chimney cupboard as built by Bob Roziaeski for Popular Woodworking Magazine some years ago.
I think that it is fair to say that the greatest obstacle for me when it comes to such a build, is to glue up some boards to the correct width for me to use. I don't know why I have such a hard time pulling myself together to glue up some wide panels, but it is just the way it is.

Anyway, this Saturday evening, I started the project, determined to finish the cupboard before going back to sea. The idea was to put the cupboard into the saddle room, to help organize some of the smaller stuff used for the horses, so it wouldn't be a deal breaker if the surfaces weren't super smooth which can be hard to obtain with larch sometimes.

Saturday and Sunday was spent gluing up stock and dressing it to the correct thickness by means of the jointer/planer.
I wanted to prove to myself that I was able to make a speedy build without too much fussing over details. I decided that I could use my router instead of a dado plane, since I haven't got one of those, and I think that a router is a bit faster.
The rabbet along the back edge of the sides were made with a moving filister plane.

I pretty much followed the descriptions from the magazine, but instead of making a groove for the floating panels for the doors, I made a rabbet with the router and squared up the corners using a chisel. Then I sawed some thin strips to hold the panels in place.
An advantage with this approach compared to a groove is that it is very easy to assemble the door frame at first, and then fitting the panel to the hole. The downside is that it doesn't look quite as nice. But the ease and speed of this construction method trumped.
The raised panels were also made on the table saw instead of using the moving filister plane. That worked really well and was very fast.

For the hinges I used some that I had purchased from Lidl. they are very coarse compared to the hinges that I regularly use, but they fitted the project quite nicely.

Two small porcelain knobs and a couple of toggles to keep the doors closed made up the rest of the build.

While visiting Brian Eve in Garmisch a couple of years ago, I bought some "old fashioned milk paint" from a local dealer in the town.
I have never seen it for sale in Denmark, and I have been hoarding the paint ever since - waiting for just the right project.
I decided that this cupboard would look just fine in Lexington green, so I mixed the small bag of powder and started painting.
The paint was very interesting to use, it dries quickly and covers really well. I like the chalky texture and colour of the finished surface too, so I am tempted to try to make some experiments with milk paint at some point.

Once the paint had dried, the toggles and knobs were mounted back in place again, and Asger helped installing the cupboard in the saddle room, and he also helped organize the various small pieces of equipment so the shelves were soon filled.

Mette really likes the cupboard and she thinks that it is almost too nice to keep in the saddle room. So with a bit of luck I might be "allowed" to make another one at some point.

Chimney cupboard, Lexington green

Mounting the panels with strips, "horns" not trimmed yet.

Completed cupboard.

After first coat of paint.


Chimney cupboard with open doors.

Categories: Hand Tools

A small barn for the summer house 16, staircase installed.

Thu, 11/09/2017 - 9:15am
After preparing all the individual steps of the staircase, I hand planed them front and back plus the upside before mounting them in the stringers.
I had to keep reminding myself that it is for a barn, so I shouldn't go all wild in trying to achieve some show surface on the underside.
Mounting the steps was straight forward. But as I discovered, doing this on top of the workbench wasn't a smart idea.
I had to apply a couple of clamps to keep everything together so I could lift it down to the ground where I would be able to hammer in some nails.
A little bit of forward thinking would have been nice here.. (but that is not my strongest card).

I hammered in one nail per step, and then turned the assembly over so I could square it up before pounding in the nails from the other side.
When I had bashed in all the nails on that side I again flipped it over and hammered in the last set of nails on the first side. My idea was that if I had put in both nails in the first side straight away, it might have been more difficult to square it up.

The individual steps were sawed flush to the side that will be facing the wall, and sawed at an angle to the side facing the room. This is something I have seen on most old stairs, and I like the subtle elegance of this ornamentation.

The completed staircase was loaded into my trailer and I drove it to the summerhouse.
While maneuvering the assembly out of the shop I became aware that it wasn't very easy to move around single handed. But I managed in the end.

At the small barn, I mounted the assembly by means of a bit of ingenuity, a cargo securing strap and a couple of clamps.

As per Mettes suggestion, I have wrapped up the barn project for this time, since I'll be heading back to work in a weeks time.


The installed staircase.

Mounting the steps in a stringer.

This would have been smarter to do at the floor.

Flipping over the assembly.

The only decorative elements of the staircase.


Progress on the attic.

Categories: Hand Tools

A small barn for the summer house 15, work on the staircase and a small setback.

Tue, 11/07/2017 - 10:57pm
There isn't much to be said about the work progress at the small barn, installing all those boards takes a longer time than I anticipated while sitting on the ship. I had the unrealistic idea that I could install them all in a matter of a couple of days. That has not been the case. I'll admit that I haven't worked exceptionally long hours out there.
Instead I have taken my time in the morning, driven out there slowly. Taken Bertha for a long walk along the shore before making a pot of tea. And then I have started on the actual work. I have generally tried to stop around 2-3 P.M. to be home in the afternoon with the children.
Today I hope to be able to install some of the last boards, and then I'll see if I can complete the staircase.

The small setback occurred Sunday afternoon. I was supposed to drive to Viborg to pick up Asger from a goalkeeper camp, and I decided to take the green Volvo Valp. I had to bring some large boxes for my older brother, and Mette wanted to use the regular Volvo to pull the horse trailer so she could ride in the forest with a friend.
I have changed the ignition coil, the points and the capacitor on the green Valp, and it ran like a sewing machine. All the way till I reached the middle of Sallingsundbroen (the main bridge leading to our island). At that point the engine suddenly died completely.
After testing the starter button, I found that the engine could turn, but it turned much faster than normally. I then tried to look into the rocker arm cover by removing the oil filler cap - and nothing moved at all in there.
These old Volvo engines haven't got a timing chain or a timing belt. Instead they operate with timing gears. The middle gear is made out of some sort of fiber and does not last forever...
After checking with an old mechanic who's a friend of mine, he said that nothing is damaged inside the engine when this occurs. So I just have to order a new set of timing gears and replace them. I think that might be a job for the next time I am home.

Following the advice of Nathan Simon, I used a framing square for the lay out.

View from the bridge (to the North).

View to the East.

Categories: Hand Tools

A small barn for the summer house 14, starting on the staircase.

Wed, 11/01/2017 - 12:27pm
In the evenings I have tried to start out on the staircase for the  small barn. The work is not very efficient, since both Gustav and Asger have started some projects in the shop too. I try to help them out, and once they are tucked into bed, I'll have something like an hour where I can use the shop by myself.
I have milled the steps, and they are pretty close to the thickness of the floor boards (1.75"). The two longitudinal parts of the staircase (I have no idea what the correct English word is?) Are a bit thinner. I would have liked them to be the same size, but the two boards that I had of the correct width were fairly twisted, so it took some thickness to get them flat and level. I suppose that I could have milled some new boards, but they would not have been as dry as those, and they finally ended up something like 1 3/8" which I think will be strong enough.

I have been looking as Das Zimmermannsbuch  for some inspiration, and they suggest that for the more modern approach you should attache the steps by means of sliding dovetails.
An older and simpler method is to just use a groove and either make a tenon on half of the steps or secure the steps by means of nails. I think that I'll go with the groove and nails model. Because the barn is supposed to be kept a bit simple.

Right now I have had to devise some special workholding, in order to be able to joint the edges of the longitudinal parts.
10' is a bit too long for my workbench, but perhaps that could justify building another and larger one?

There will be very 8" in height difference between each step, and the angle of the stairs will be 58 degrees. So it will be a fairly steep staircase, but this is to avoid that it will take up too much space in the relatively small room of the barn.

Asger sanding a cutting board. Gustav's apple crates are in the background-

My co-driver Bertha sniffing the fresh autumn air.


Workholding of the long parts of the staircase.


Categories: Hand Tools

A small barn for the summer house 13, internal boards.

Mon, 10/30/2017 - 2:12pm
I have been making some progress on the internal boards for the small barn.
Those were the boards that I had to shift inside as I was called to work a week earlier than anticipated.
So the first task was to shift all of them out again. I decided that I could work around the table that was inside, but I still needed to move the chairs and a bit of other stuff outside before starting the actual work.

The boards are the same type as those that were put on the sub roof. It is not a typical type of boards to use for internal paneling/boards, but it is of a much better quality than the regular type used. In Denmark the usual boards to be used would be something called "rustic boards". They are made out of the surplus Christmas trees that grew to fast so they were too large to sell. The distance between the growth rings is typical 3/8" or thereabouts, so the wood is of an exceptionally poor quality. The shape is like a tongue and groove board with the tongue something like 1/2" too long. So once the boards are mounted, there is a trench between each board. They are available in various widths and either nature, or artificially whitened, smooth or rough sawn.
But that aside - I chose the other type because I think they look better in a classic barn, and they were actually cheaper per square meter (or square foot if you like).

I mount the boards using regular nails. I know that a pneumatic nail gun is faster, but I actually like to hammer in nails, so I go for the slow and old fashioned way.

Once all the boards are mounted, I plan on putting some strips of wood in the corners and around the window sills, to cover the gaps.


Internal boards mounted.

The "famous" stack..



Categories: Hand Tools

Sawbench for dowel plates

Sat, 10/28/2017 - 1:31pm
I had a plan for what I would like to build this time at home, but somehow a non-scheduled project has found it way into the workshop.

Actually it is a project that I have considered for some time: A new sawbench.
I made a sawbench something like 8 years ago, and it is one of the most used pieces of equipment I have in the shop. A thing that I have thought would be useful was if I could use a sawbench for my dowel plates. That way I didn't have to mess around on the top of the workbench, to make sure that a hole for one of the dogs was straight below the hole in the dowel plate.
Also the stretchers for the legs would be a perfect little test subject for my new chain mortiser. And with Asger and Gustav in the shop, I didn't have any room for building the staircase which meant that it was perfectly OK in my mind to start another project.

The first bench I made was made exactly to the measurements outlined in Woodworking Magazine.
This time I decided that it might not cause the world economy to collapse, if I decided to make a few alterations to the design.
So I made the top thicker, wider and a little bit longer than on the original. I stayed with the same height, and also the same angle of splay on the legs.
This time I used larch for legs and stretchers, and a piece of Sitka spruce for the top that I milled long time ago.

The tenons of the stretchers are drawbored and wedged. The top is secured with dowels that I tried to drawbore as well. I did that so that the dowels will hold the top to close to the notch in the top of the legs.
Below the top there are a couple of reinforcements glued and screwed to the legs.

I used a chisel and a router plane to make a recess for the dowel plates. I chose not to make it the same depth as the plates, because it is easier to remove the plates when there is a bit protruding through the top like it is now.
A small piece of elm was cut and planed to fit into the recess while not in use for the dowel plates.


Asger working on a gambrel roofed church.

Hot glue gun, strips of wood and some imagination is all it takes.

Glue up.

Making a recess.

Elm insert.

Blum dowel plate.

Categories: Hand Tools

Haffner KKF 15 chain mortiser

Wed, 10/25/2017 - 6:57am
Ever since I borrowed Olav's portable chain mortiser, I have been eager to get one myself. I discovered during the initial phases of the small barn build, that I really enjoy timber framing.
There aren't many used portable chain mortisers offered for sale in Denmark, and the idea of forking out $2400 for a new Festool or $4000 for  a new Mafell is out of the question. Even I have to be realistic once in a while.

I have regularly checked the various classified home pages in Denmark, and one day while looking, I spotted something on a stationary mortiser that made me take a closer look.
In addition to the lever type handle, this chain mortiser also had two smaller handles. Now those would only make sense if the machine could be used as a portable unit.
I enlarged the pictures and could see that part of it looked like aluminium castings and not cast iron. I also managed to decipher the designation of the machine which is cast into the front cover: KKF 15

A quick search and I found a page from an old catalogue that listed the features of the machine. To me the most interesting thing was that it could be used as either a wall mounted or a portable machine.

Whenever I find a machine that I would like, chances are that it is situated far from where I live, but this machine was being sold just 20 miles from our place. So I arranged with the boys that we would drive down and get it, Gustav had to be picked up at the train station after a trip to Copenhagen with his class, so first I picked him up, and then went for the machine

Originally I had intended to do a bit of haggling just as a principle, and my argument for a lower price would be that there was only one chain , and it even needed sharpening. It turned out that the chain mounted on the mortiser was in excellent condition, and besides there were two brand new chains to go along with it as well. Knowing that a new chain can easily reach 200$ on its own it seemed pointless to haggle, so I paid the guy the  $200 he was asking for the machine and he helped me load it in the back of the car.

Once home, I checked the machine, and it was in much better condition than I could have hoped for. I tested it on some pieces of scrap, and it is a joy to use.
The only problem is that even though it can be used as a portable chain mortiser, it is designed to work like that in another way than the one that I borrowed from Olav.

Olavs chain mortiser is a 100% portable machine. It is designed to work with the chain running along the grain, and it has got a clamping fixture that is perfect. Once the machine is clamped, you can slide the sword lengthwise, and make a nice long mortise that is only the thickness of the chain wide.

My machine is heavier and works across the grain when used as a hand held mortiser. That means that the width of my mortises are limited by the width of the sword and chain combined. The good thing is that You don't have to clamp the machine to the work piece. The action of the chain will ensure that it packs the fence close to the work piece all the time.
Now if I only made one size of tenons that would be OK, but I would like to be able to use the machine on different sizes of timber, so I have to figure out a way to make a clamping fixture so my machine can also work like Olavs.
A good thing about the current set up is that it is perfect for making mortises in e.g. work bench tops. Because it only requires one flat face to register to in order to make a mortise. So I don't have to invent a longer clamping fixture to span across the width of a work bench top just to make the mortises for the legs.

I guess I should make a workbench just to use the new machine..

Haffner KKF chain mortiser mounted on a stand.

Chain mechanism.

Plunged into an imaginary piece of wood.




Categories: Hand Tools

A small barn for the summer house 12, progress and plans.

Sun, 10/15/2017 - 7:57pm
I am getting ready to go home now, and one of the things that I always think about during the last days on board is what projects I would like to be able to work on when I get home.

By checking my blog I discovered that I hadn't made entries about the small barn that I am building at our summerhouse since late March.
That doesn't mean that I haven't been working on it., but rather that I have been too lazy to blog about it while at home.

In the early part of summer I started painting the barn, but the weather wasn't very cooperative, so basically I only got as far as to do the south gable and the underside of the roof on that gable plus a bit on the west side as well.

I also made a door and installed it. I never got around to install boards around the door though, but I can do that later since they are mainly decorative.

Last time while at home I sawed some more floor boards and sent them through the planer a couple of times, so they were the same thickness as the floor boards on the ground floor. (1.75"). Those boards were all installed on top of the beams to form an attic.
I used the same method as last time, with a handheld router making a groove in both boards, and then assembling them with a loose spline.

After completing the floor, the last two windows were installed in the gables.  Then I insulated the entire structure with 6" of rockwool. I know that a lot of people dislike insulating, but I actually enjoy it. It is very quiet, and there are quick results to be seen.
I think that the mineral wool of today is less dusty compared to what it used to be, so it doesn't bother me to do that job.
A funny thing to notice is how the sound changes when the walls are only bare insulation. It becomes very "dead".

I had purchased 882 board feet of 1" thick T&G boards that was going to be installed inside the barn, they were delivered to the site and I was just getting ready to start installing them - when the crewing coordinator of the company called me on the phone and asked if I had seen my email.
I hadn't at that time, and told her that I had checked in the morning, and there was nothing from her.

She paused and said: No, I mean the one that I sent you an hour ago. I again told her that I hadn't checked, but since she was calling she might as well tell me what it was about.
Oh, you are signing on tomorrow, and it was just the flight details, letter of guarantee etc.
???
NO WAY, am I going on board tomorrow! You sent me an email like three weeks ago, and in that email you stated that I should expect to sign on around the 19th of September (this was on Monday the 11th).
Let me see she said, and I could hear her tapping her keyboard and finding the old email. Dead silence for a couple of seconds. Oh yes, I can see that. But that was a mistake. So you are still going out tomorrow!
I tried to explain that I was not impressed with the level of planning, She started explaining that the agent in Guinea had been advised about my coming, and a helicopter trip had been arranged too etc. I then managed to ask in a polite way if I at least had an afternoon flight from Denmark. But nope - My plane was scheduled to leave from Aalborg at 06:00, t
So I had 15 hours left.
I told her that if that was the case, I didn't have any time left for chit chatting, and hung up.

I took a quick look around and started shifting all the boards into the barn so they would be protected from the weather. Cleared up the place and drove home with the surplus of insulation. Emptied the trailer for insulation and stacked it in the large barn at home. Emptied the car for tools, cleared up the mess at home (which I usually do quietly and calmly the last couple of days before leaving).
Ate some supper and packed my bags with the small toolchest and arranged for a taxi to pick me up in the middle of the night. I was still not impressed, but things such as these are the downside of being a seaman.

BUT now I am soon on my way home, and I hope to be able to install all those boards so the interior of the barn will be completed.
I have considered painting the interior white, I guess it will never be easier than when the structure is empty, plus I think that it will look good.

Another project that I have been looking forward to in a long time is to make a staircase for getting up to the attic of the barn.
I guess that a lot of people have a hard time understanding that you can look forward to such a project, but I hope that those reading this post will understand that feeling.
My plan is to make a fairly simple staircase. It will also be rather steep because I don't want it to take up too much room inside. A staircase to me represents one of those projects that are just in the borderland between carpentry and joinery. Large dimensions of stock and still the joints have to be laid out and executed with a lot of care. Yup, that is definitely going to be a rewarding project.

Depending on if the weather will be nice, which it probably won't, I could also continue with some painting outside, and perhaps mount the framing boards around the door and the window in the gables. I could also do the electrical wiring so the inside will be completed, but let's see how it all goes.


Painted end of the barn, working on a floor board.



Categories: Hand Tools

Making an infill plane from scratch 15, project completed.

Thu, 10/12/2017 - 2:57pm
Yesterday I managed to complete the Norris style adjuster and mount it. I never got around to write a blog post about it, since it was getting a bit late.

Today I realized that I couldn't really put it off any longer. There wasn't much work left to do on the plane save for sharpening the blade and make sure that it was seated well on the bed (frog). Flattening the sole and sanding everything once again.

I silver soldered the threaded part to the adjuster base, so it is not possible to do any lateral adjustment with this adjuster, only depth adjustment.
A recess was made in the front of the rear tote, by first drilling a series of holes and later chiseling the waste out. I painted the back of the base with a whiteboard marker, and I could see where it had rubbed off, that there was a high spot. The same method was later used to check and adjust the seating of the blade.
The rod with the adjustment screw could have been a bit longer, but I guess that you don't adjust such a plane all the time, and I prefer that the adjustment screw is not protruding too much form the plane.

It took a bit of fiddling to find the best initial position for the retaining ring and the threaded rod, so everything worked fine at maximum and minimum depth adjustment.

Eventually I had to file a bit more from the underside of the lever cap, to be able to slide it under the fulcrum pivotal rod (it has probably got some other name).
This caused the lever cap screw to be just in the shortest range. So I think that I will make a new screw with a 1/8" longer threaded portion.

Today I sharpened the blade and after doing that I inserted it in the plane and tightened the lever cap screw. With the blade in place and the screw tightened, I then started to flatten the sole of the plane.
The idea of doing this while the blade is in the plane and in tension is, that it could potentially distort the sole of the plane a bit, and therefore it is best to flatten while everything is as close to working conditions as possible.
I also took the time to mark the bed with MMXVII for sake of good order.

Our lapping plate is new, but still I am not convinced that it is 100% flat and true. But I guess it is good enough for a home made infill plane. And besides it is what I have.

After some more sanding I treated the wood with some olive oil. I guess that it will slowly be absorbed by the wood, and then when I get home I can give it some paste was or some linseed oil as I have originally planned.

I tested the plane to see if it would work, and it actually did. I was able to plane a small piece of Bubinga both ways. It wasn't the most dramatic grain run out, but it did its job perfect with the grain and against it.

Conclusion of the project:
This project required a lot of metal work and comparatively little woodwork. There was much more filing and sanding compared to my usual projects.
There were a few difficulties that arose during the course of the build, such as less than ideally positioned holes etc.
The Norris style adjuster is a cool feature, but I tend to think that hammer adjustment would have been better. It could easily just be my adjuster that isn't the best - but now it sits there. If it ever acts up or seizes to work, then I can always remove it and either fill out the gap left behind, or just leave it as it is.
I personally think that the plane came out all right. There are a few places that still has got some minor scratches, but it was meant to be a tool, not a sanding contest.
My favourite part of the plane is the front tote where it blends in with the sole. And the lever cap with the massive number C954 cast into the front.
If I had been at home I doubt that I would have persevered during such a project, but out here it is more a matter of doing something to keep myself busy in my spare time.
I am not sure that it works any better than a regular Stanley, but it looks better in my opinion, and besides, I think it is the only infill plane in the world that was made on board a ship.




Infill smoother, steel and Bubinga.

Finished with olive oil.

Lever cap from aluminium bronze C954



Test shaving in Bubinga.

Parts for the Norris adjuster.

Completed Norris adjuster.

Making a recess for the adjuster.

2017





Categories: Hand Tools

Making an infill plane from scratch 14, depth adjuster.

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 2:53pm
My original plan was to make a Norris style adjuster for the depth adjustment of the blade. But after completing the rear tote, I discovered that on account of me making the handle as small and delicate as possible, I had also made it difficult to fit a regular Norris adjuster to the plane.

I have toyed with a couple of alternatives:
1) No depth adjustment mechanism, just the tried and trusted plane adjusting hammer.
2) Inventing a new type of depth adjuster.

Ref 1) This would enable me to just move forward and have the plane done in a relatively short time, but I would also risk becoming the laughing stock of the woodworking blogosphere, since I have earlier in this series mentioned that I was going to make a depth adjuster.
A positive thing would be that there is very little risk of messing up the plane.

Ref 2) I have sketched a couple of ideas, and even went as far as to begin work on the most promising of those models.
The best design sported a worm gear giving an accuracy of roughly 1/1000" for one full revolution of the adjustment screw.


Today I had to make up my mind about which route I wanted to take.
I looked critically at the screw holding the chip breaker, since that one was fairly large,and in turn that was causing the problem of an even larger retaining ring to move the blade assembly back and forth.
Very unlike my usual behavior, I decided that it might still be easier to turn a new screw for the chip breaker, and then go ahead with a regular Norris adjuster, instead of risking to mess up the entire plane in an attempt to make a supe fine adjustment mechanism.
So that ended up being the outcome.

My Norris style adjuster will not be used for lateral adjustment, since the rear tote is fairly thin on the top. So I will need a hammer to adjust it laterally anyway. But the depth adjustment will hopefully work.

The new design depth adjuster would have the depth adjustment screw going out the left side of the rear tote. This finger screw would activate a worm gear with a ratio of 30:1.
The worm gear would then drive a threaded rod with a retaining ring on it (just like a regular Norris adjuster). The threaded rod was meant to have a pitch of 1mm/revolution (M6) A bit finer than 1/4" UNC. (Maybe it is equivalent to UNF?)
So the math of the adjuster looks like this:
1 revolution of the finger screw = 1/30 round of the worm gear = 1/30 of 1 mm = 0,03 mm (1.2 thou)

Maybe I should try to make an adjuster like that one day, just for the fun of it.

Blade and Norris style pieces mounted.
Worm gear experiments above the blade.


Categories: Hand Tools

Making an infill plane from scratch 13, cap iron.

Sat, 10/07/2017 - 2:42pm
Yesterday I spent a couple of hours just filing the front of the mouth so that it would allow the blade to protrude. I also started chamfering all the edges of the sides. These seemingly small tasks actually take quite a long time.

Today I decided to start on the cap iron.
I have had an eye on an old butterfly valve for some time now, because it would give some great material for this part of the project.
The valve is a 12" valve that used to be mounted on the ballast system of the ship. It was replaced during the dry docking, because the rubber seating had developed a crack that caused the valve to no longer hold tight.
Not so many years ago it was custom to change the rubber insert in those valves, and it can still be done on some types yet. But this valve is of a type where the rubber is glued to the body, so it can't be repaired. It can however be used for a custom cap iron.

The disc is made out of aluminium bronze, which is sea water resistant. It is also a different colour than the steel that I have used in the build, so it should give a bit of visual interest once it is complete.

I used an angle grinder to cut out a piece I deemed suitable. I deliberately included a cast stamp saying C954. I have no idea what it means, but I thought it looked good.
After getting the piece free from the valve disc, it was again back to a lot of filing.
I have managed to position the holes for the cap iron in a way that it would look bad if it was mounted with screws in the side. So instead I am going to install a rod in those holes, and slide the cap iron below this rod, and capture it in a semicircular depression.

After drilling a hole for the cap screw and making a thread in the hole, I again used the angle grinder to remove some more material. I did this after the drilling and tapping, because it is so much easier to clamp a squarish piece in the vice compared to an odd shape.

In the beginning I considered leaving the entire surface as it came from the valve i.e. as a coarse casting, but in the end I decided that it would look like I had skipped a step or two, and I started filing the surface to get it nice and smooth.


The current state of the project, still some way to go.

Butterfly valve, empty can is for giving an idea of the size.

No one will notice that there's a piece missing.

Started to file the surface.


Drilled and tapped, but not finished yet.

Categories: Hand Tools

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