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Many aids and appliances for frame making and for making correct mitre joints have been given to the working public of late years, and the latest addition to their number has been Hodges Mitre Shoot, which is illustrated in Fig.2, and which is intended for planing up the joint after the wood has been cut to the proper shape by the means of the saw. The patent rights are held by Mr. E.R. Sibley, Whites Hill, near Gloucestershire, who, I am sure, will readily answer any question regarding the price at which the machine is sold, and respecting which I am utterly in the dark. I like to be in a position to mention the price of everything I am called on to notice, for to know the cost of an article is useful to buyer, seller, reader, and myself all round, and, in many cases, saves the putting of questions on this point and the answering of the same. The nature of the machine will be seen from the illustration. First, there is a rectangular frame or bed, with raised edges or guards, which is fixed firmly to the edge of the workbench, as shown by two screws. Attached to the frame is an adjustable bed, whose inclination forms an angle of 45° with the frame, and on this frame the moulding is placed after bring cut, in the mitre block, and secure by the vice, which grips it and retains it in position, the vice itself working in a small block attached to the adjustable bed. When the moulding is in position, the end may be planed up with the long plane shown in the illustration, and which is made of so great a length that it may be able to ride on guards formed by the raised edges of the frame and the top of the bed itself. As these guards are perfectly flat and square, it follows that the end of the moulding, when planed up, must be equally flat and square, The bed, as it
has been said, is adjustable, and should it deviate from the proper angle, it can be set correctly by loosening a screw at the back of the regulator, bringing it parallel with the sides of the machine, and then tightening the screw again. The regulator is at the bottom of the bed, and does not appear in the illustration. The points of utility claimed for the machine are, its capability of producing accurate work; causing no injury to mouldings; perfect adjustment by means of its rising and falling bed; the ease with which it can be worked; the possibility of reshooting the ends of a frame after two sides have been joined together; and its portability and the ease with which it is fixed. The machine takes moulding 4 in. and 3 in. deep.
Remember, a few posts ago when I said this is my last book I will ever purchase, well I wrong and foolish to think so. There is another that comes highly rated titled Woods in British Furniture Making 1400-1900 by Adam Bowett.
I discovered this book when I read the latest post at the Lost Art Press by Kara Gebhart Uhl about another book written by Richard Jones on Timber Technology. The title of the post is The Highlights and Lowlights of writing about trees and woods, here is the link if you want to read it. As a new writer I could very much relate to it, many times I felt like just giving up. As it turns out I’m not the only one battling with words, constant errors and mental blocks.
As I scrolled through the comments, I saw Christopher Schwarz recommended link on Adam’s book. After spending a little time on the net researching more about it my desire to read it grew exponentially and I believe it will be one of those books that will be referred to regularly throughout my lifetime.
The book isn’t cheap at US$180 and will be the most expensive book I will have purchased, but I think it will be worth it. I have found this book selling at US$128.34 at Potterton Books in the UK. I don’t believe they are shipping to Australia though as I cannot locate it in their shipping destinations. Nevertheless there are others out there who are willing to ship Australia.
I will leave with a review of this book by Christopher Pickvance who is a Professor of Urban Studies at the University of Kent, Canterbury.
Woods in British furniture-making 1400–1900, an illustrated historical dictionary
Adam Bowett Wetherby: Oblong Creative Ltd. in association with Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, 2012. 360 p. 620 ill. ISBN 9780955657672 £110.00 / $180.00 (hardcover)
The author is well known to furniture historians as the author of two major books on English furniture and many articles, and since 2010 as editor of the journal of the Regional Furniture Society. His extensive knowledge of furniture, and reputation for challenging established views based on documentary and scientific evidence, especially microscopy, give one high expectations of this new work.
The study of furniture has taken a social turn. Broad stylistic currents, their international spread and their reflection in catalogues of furniture designs are still relevant but today the focus is on the social relations of production and consumption, e.g. the makers (their training, employment situation, tools and materials, and social lives) and their clients (their life styles, how furniture was placed and used in the house, and the meaning given to it.) Bowett argues that furniture-making is a manufacturing process and that the availability of timber is one factor affecting what woods furniture is made of, along with price, suitability, appearance, preference and fashion.
The book consists of an Introductory essay, an introduction to botanical names and statistical sources, the main dictionary, Appendices showing timber trade routes, lists of the Latin names of the woods included and their geographical distribution, photos of 149 wood specimens, a bibliography and two detailed indexes. It is hardbound and printed on ivory matt-coated paper. Of the 500 woods covered about one third grow in the Americas.
The book is set out as a dictionary and each entry discusses the names used for a wood over the centuries (a major task in some cases), its habitat, geographical distribution, physical characteristics (colour, hardness, etc.), involvement in trade, and its uses in British furniture. The entries range in length from a brief paragraph to extended essays (29 pp on mahogany, 13 on walnut, 11 on cedar, 10 on deal and oak, and 9 on wainscot).
However, some of the entries go well beyond this. Many discuss the use of woods for furniture outside Britain, and for uses of woods beyond furniture, such as for tool handles, nutcrackers, woodcuts, drinking vessels, shipbuilding and dyeing. The use of lignum vitae for mortars is omitted. On the other hand, there are numerous entries where there is no known use in British furniture, or where the only recorded use is in cabinets made to show off the diversity of woods. The author’s policy is to start from a maximal range of woods and then ask what, if any, uses they have had rather than to start from those where there is clear evidence of use in British furniture. This expands the scope of the book and provides baseline information for future furniture wood analysis. It also increases the value of the book to readers interested in furniture in the US and elsewhere.
The book is more than a ‘dictionary’ in another sense too. A major theme in all entries concerns imports and exports. In this respect, Bowett presents what amounts to a separate book on the historical timber trade, drawing on available statistics and on his identification of wood names. Here the focus is on tariffs and subsidies, European wars and alliances, British colonial policy, etc. The author’s PhD research on the mahogany trade means we are in expert hands. He is able to debunk myths such as that the expansion of mahogany imports followed the wiping out of European walnut trees, and one gains insights into shipping economics, e.g. in the 18th century sugar was a more profitable cargo from the West Indies than mahogany, and imports of the latter depended on capacity not needed for the former.
The folio format of the book and the triple column layout of the text makes it very easy to use and footnotes are at the bottom of the page. The 620 photos are of exceptional quality and many of them are of unfamiliar items. My only reservation is that by placing softwoods in a separate short section the author places botanical precision above the reader’s convenience. Not all readers will realise that hard and soft do not have common-sense meanings (e.g. yew is a softwood, lime is a hardwood) and some woods are split between the two categories (e.g. types of cedar).
The intellectual base of the book consists of a) the Kew economic botany collection of wood samples where the author spent two years on a British Academy fellowship, b) historical sources such as customs records, landowners’ records and furniture inventories, c) an extensive literature from the 16th century onwards via the appropriately named Holtzapffel’s 1852 Descriptive Catalogue[II] to Hinckley’s 1960 Dictionary of the Historic Cabinet Woods[iii], d) microscopic analysis of woods used in British furniture and e) the author’s familiarity with a very extensive range of pieces from famous houses to private collections. A great virtue of the book is that Bowett makes one aware of the limitations of these sources. The Kew collection itself is a moving reference point as botanical classifications change and species are renamed. All historical sources reflect prevailing ‘practical’ rather than scientific usages which may be inaccurate: Bowett repeatedly criticises ‘trade’ names which are more to do with selling than describing. He points out that trade statistics under-record generally, lump many woods together as ‘unclassified’, and record ports of origin of ships rather than places of origin of cargoes (and that some ship owners avoided high tariffs by shipping via low-tariff ports). Lastly, there is the inability of microscopic analysis to always distinguish between certain woods (e.g. American white oak/European oak, poplar/willow and pear/apple/hawthorn). There are thus intrinsic limits to the accuracy of a book like this. But on all these questions Bowett guides the reader carefully through the quagmire of past and present confusion.
There are a few minor slips: conflicting dates are given for the round table at Winchester Castle (p 166) and the statement that boarded chests in England start around 1400 (p 166) ignores the Bury chest from Durham Cathedral and those shown in Geddes in her Medieval Decorative Ironwork in England.[iv] Bowett uses a mistake by Cescinsky about the source of satinwood imports to refer to him as the ‘source of many misconceptions about furniture and furniture woods’ (p. 217). Given Cescinsky’s strong contribution to the study of early oak, including in his Gentle Art of Faking Furniture,[v] this is an undeservedly sweeping comment. Lastly, some sources cited in footnotes do not appear in the bibliography, e.g. Cross and Laslett on p 34, Chinnery’s Oak Furniture on p.120.[vi]
However, generally this is a quite exceptional book in every aspect, from its intellectual conception to its superb production. The author proves an impeccable guide to the material he surveys. The breadth and depth of treatment means that the book will appeal to those interested in every aspect of furniture-making in Britain and elsewhere and in the world timber trade. This is a definitive work which will be used for decades to come.
[i] Adam Bowett, English Furniture 1660 – 1714 From Charles II To Queen Anne 1 (Woodchurch: Antique Collectors Club, 1999) and Early Georgian Furniture 1715-1740
[ii] Charles Holtzapffel, Descriptive catalogue of the woods commonly employed in this country for the mechanical and ornamental arts (London: Holtzapffel & Co, 1852)
[iii] F Lewis Hinckley, Dictionary of the Historic Cabinet Woods (New York: Crown, 1960)
[iv] Jane Geddes, Medieval Decorative Ironwork in England (London: Society of Antiquaries, 1999).
[v] Herbert Cescinsky, The Gentle Art of Faking Furniture (London: Chapman and Hall, 1931)
[vi] Victor Chinnery, Oak Furniture (Woodchurch: Antique Collectors Club, 1979)
It’s 2018 in the Asia Pacific, whilst the new year hasn’t yet arrived to the rest of the world.
I went to bed early and slept in till 8. I put the kettle on and opened up one of my favourite books Roubo on Marquetry. I’ve given up smoking some 3 months ago, the withdrawals are still there some days worse than others. I’ve gained 10kg (22pounds) in the process and because of this my woodworking is a lot harder. My focus will be to lose weight and gain extra muscle. My other focus will be life planning.
- What are my goals and passions and what I hope to achieve with them.
- What’s steps do I need to take to turn a dream into a reality.
- Most important of all, will these goals better the lives of others including my own.
This year will be a year of productivity and enlightenment without extravagance. God willing it will be a good year.
Happy New Year to you all, I hope 2018 brings you better health and brings much prosperity in your lives. I also hope 2018 is the beginning of the end of corporate monopolisation and that small to medium size businesses flourish.
I’m not sure when Stanley begun the production of these burnishers, but they are an ingenious invention. The burnisher itself is no different to any other burnisher with one exception and that’s the point on the end that has a 30° bevel.
When you’re burnishing, you may end up rolling the burr and the rolled bottom rides on the timber and doesn’t cut. Have you noticed that sometimes you have to lean your scraper much further than other times to get it to bite into the wood? Well, that’s what happens when you roll the burr beyond the 30° angle. Stanley came up with the idea of grinding a 30° bevelled point on the end of the burnisher. To use it after the bevel is rolled, you place the pointed end on the end of the burr with the bevel resting against it and lightly pull back along the scraper a couple of times. This pushes the burr slightly upright or back creating a consistent 30° bevel. As long as you have done all the other necessary steps correctly prior, your scraper will produce shavings and not dust.
Vintage versions can still be found and range from $90-40 or you can buy one from Phil Lowe He makes his own.
For me it’s a little pricey and I think I will be making one myself. In the end it may well cost just as much as Phil’s. For the time being, I came up with a little work around. I angled my burnisher to approximately 30° and made a couple light passes and it worked.
I must admit, successfully sharpening scrapers have always been a challenge for me. I’ll sharpen one side spot on and then screw up the other side and never know why it happens. This method won’t resolve your sharpening flaws, but will improve it. You still must go through the whole sharpening process correctly to achieve good results.
A scraper is a wonderful tool, but often neglected due to the difficulties many people face sharpening it correctly.
The year is drawing to a close once more, and it’s time to reflect how I spent my time. I sit back and ponder on how rocky and trying this year has been for me. Besides battling life’s daily challenges, I’ve accomplished in starting up a hand tool woodworking magazine. This was for me a most difficult and rocky journey. So many hurdles to jump and brick walls to smash. I did what some said couldn’t be done. Someone higher up in the food chain of corporate slavery said with a smug look on his face as he eyed me up and down. “Who are you to start-up a magazine?” My reply was simple and truthful without an ounce of arrogance in it. “I am me.” So I did it and it proved to be very successful. The feedback I got was it’s informative, educational, inspirational and unbiased which is what a magazine should be. I am not a journalist and therefore cannot write like one, but I’m still able to get the message across and thousands of readers are gaining the benefits in terms of knowledge and mental stimuli, which is what I hoped for. I have many great ideas and projects I would like to make and publish in future issues, but as always I’m struggling with finance and even when I do charge $5.00 for an issue it still won’t be enough to leave my job.
I designed the HANDWORK t-shirts, they are 100% cotton, very comfortable to wear and is of good quality, but the black is expensive. Not much I can do about that. Even though I got no interest in them and that being due to not having a fan based following, the response I got from people in the streets was astonishing. People eyeing the words “handwork” looking at the wooden jointer with curiosity and a sense of pleasure in their stare. This was an eye opener, and I did not expect it nor was I doing any marketing research. It proves that people are are sick to death of this plastic, mass producing society and are yearning for a release from it. They want to return to the simpler way of living, but have no clue how physically demanding that life is.
I also bought my last book I will ever buy again. I’ve realised I have a lot of books and I can’t fit anymore in my bookshelf and my drawer, besides I really don’t need anymore. I’ve read through most of them and will reread them all again because reading a book once is never enough to gain a true understanding. You will be surprised how much information you miss and it’s a good refresher.
Materialistically I haven’t done so well, but in terms of knowledge and skill I have gained more in these last 12 months than I have in 25 years. I’ve chosen this craft for myself as long as God permits me to continue down this path. I will continue to pass this knowledge onto others as long as they’re willing to listen. I always wanted to keep the magazine free, but I just don’t have the income, resources to cover it all. I don’t lust after wealth, I just need it like you do to survive. If heaven dropped a mountain of gold in my lap, I would spend my days researching and doing, but most of all helping others in need.
Merry Christmas to you all, be safe these holidays and have a very happy and prosperous new year. God Bless and take care. Peace.
My friend William’s 50th was coming up, and he was also celebrating his graduation. Huh, graduate at 50? Yup. He has several degrees and among them masters. Now he can add a law degree to that list.
So, as we all do I “Binged” the net for inspiration. I looked for boxes and a judges hammer and Gavel. I wish I had of taken photos of the hammer, next time when I go around I’ll take it and post it on Instagram. Anyway, I stumbled upon none other than the wood whisperer’s jewellery box. He took this design from someone else while he was still learning the craft. I thought this is great and settled on that. I didn’t make too many changes as I was pretty happy with it.
I have plenty of scrap lying around as I’ve recently become a hoarder of wood due to increasing costs. I used Silky Oak for the lid and base and American Black Walnut for the sides. This Walnut hasn’t been Kiln dried properly and is the biggest SOB to work with. But since I have it and paid through my backside for it, I might as well use it despite all the difficulties of working with it.
The box measures 9 1/2″ x 3 1/2″. The lid’s thickness ranges from 3/4” to 1″ and this is dependant on whether you want a curved lid or flat. The sides of the box are mortised and the inside of the base routed or in this case chopped out.
Mark used machinery to make his box while I, as always, will only use hand tools. I had to make only one slight adjustment to make up for any hand inaccuracies. Mark would use a table saw to cut a large dado where the item would rest and he would then clean up the bottom with a straight bit router. This meant that the floor of the dado would be flush with the tenon. So, what I did after sawing the sides and chopping out the bulk of the waste was to stop short about 1/16 above the tenon to create a small shoulder with my router plane. As long as the shoulders are crisp and square this would eliminate any unsightly gaps that would have been sticking out like a saw thumb had I followed Mark’s machine methods.
Mark used barrel hinges I had none and used in its stead brass 1/8″ rods I have plenty of and inserted them both in either side.
I finished the box off with Antique Oil, I’ve become very fond of this oil recently. All in all I enjoyed the project thoroughly and am currently making more. One for my mum, my little one, then my niece, my brother in law, friends and so forth.
So in the few past days I’ve taken an interest in box making. You don’t need a lot of materials on hand to work with, which means it’s not cost prohibitive. You work with various exotic pieces learning and understanding the temperament of each species. You also don’t need a lot of tools nor shop space to make boxes. You most definitely don’t need machinery to make them either. However, besides all those materialistic things, for me the biggest draw I have towards them is the challenge. You may look at a box and say wow that looks beautiful and simple to make, but looks are deceiving. The challenge is, there is high levels of accuracy involved, one mistake and that’s basically it, it’s over, you’ve ruined your box. The pieces are small, so some clamping can be challenging. Your tools must be super sharp as it should be with any project, but in this case you need to keep them super sharp, so there is no mishaps when working with your joinery.
I think making boxes is a teacher and a test of skill. Without a doubt you will learn to hone them to much higher levels. Imagine taking those newly honed skills on every project irrespective of what the project size is. Imagine this new high level of accuracy and insane cleanliness you have developed in your work becomes second nature and all this gained just from making boxes. I think I will explore this some more. This may be the training I have been looking for.
I came home from work and was welcomed by a nice surprise. The t shirts have arrived and they turned out pretty good. The ink didn’t run and they feel comfortable to wear.
I know with any printed shirts you cannot put an iron over the label or they will simply melt off.
All in all I’m pretty happy with them. Except for the price of the black shirt. I don’t know why they charge extra for the black.
If anyone would like one, the price for the white is AU$29.90 plus shipping.
The black AU$49.90 plus shipping.
If I get 30 orders then I can order in bulk from another printing company and price it the same as the white.
I haven’t set the blog up for e commerce so you will need to shoot me an email with your colour choice, name and full address and I’ll send you an invoice via PayPal. Once it’s been paid I’ll place an order with the printing company and have it shipped out to you as soon as it arrives.
A small tin of Prooftint Stain sprung a leak and coloured a portion of my shelf, awe how considerate. The little bugger over the years slowly ate its way through the bottom of the can. Not really sure how though as it’s not possible, but the evidence is in the pudding.
As I was cleaning and cursing away, you know the usual shop talk with yourself, I noticed this beautiful brass or bronze like patina on another tin the stain leaked on.
Once more poor photographic skills have let me down, I wish you could see what I see. It reminds of the old infill planes Bill Carter still makes by hand. BTW, it was Elm that leaked. I did try another stain on another can to see if I could replicate it but no go. I guess a particular metal type matter, but I’m unsure about this. What type of metal is the can made of? Probably tin, but I’m not a metallurgist to say for sure. Either way it works and looks great. You could probably do this to screws to give it an antique look. Just so you know that methylated spirits will wash 90% of it off. But I think a little bit of lacquer will protect it for many years.
I received an email this morning randomly from Lord knows who. The Woodworking forum advertised doesn’t appear in the search list. The business address advertised also is non existent, so I’m just taking it as spam. However, it’s not useless information and I thought I’d share it with you. I’ve also provided a link to a website I discovered this morning who sells exotic species in the US. I thought Australia was the only country with high priced timber, I guess the US has decided to follow our poor example.
Pine, oak, and maple are perfectly serviceable woods for most woodworking projects, but sometimes you want to create something a little special. Even the most basic design can be transformed into high-end pieces with the right kind of wood.
Most exotic woods are harder and denser than basic pine or maple and they contain more natural oils, which allows you to create beautiful glassy finishes on most exotics. Exotic woods are generally heavier than basic woods and can be much pricier, but they make great choices for smaller pieces and accent or inlay work. One thing to keep in mind while working with exotic woods is that the dust from sanding many of them can be hazardous to your health. It can cause rashes to your skin or problems when inhaled, so wear protective clothing and eyewear when working with it.
Brazil Nut Wood
Made from the tree that produces the food of the same name, Brazil nut wood is very dense. Best used for projects such as furniture making, boxes and musical instruments, its beautiful reddish tint is lightly striped with golden orange. The wood is moderately smooth-grained and can take a very high polish, making it a great wood for showpieces.
This exotic hardwood has a deep curl that penetrates through the wood. The reddish-orange color combined with the curl creates a board that looks like it has enclosed flames. Popular in Southeast Asia for floors and cabinets, it’s also a beautiful choice for smaller projects such as pool cues, duck calls or knife handles.
This west African species is a wonderful wood to work with, being slightly less dense than American walnut. The warm brown background has prominent black stripes throughout, making it a striking choice for larger pieces. Use this wood for guitar bodies, fancy boxes or turned pieces.
Also known as Pacific Koa, Monkeypod wood is an excellent choice for furniture and turned pieces. Warm gold and dark chocolate brown swirl together with black stripes to create a beautiful design. Pacific Koa is light in weight, relatively hard and very strong. It finishes absolutely beautifully, making it the exotic choice for many who love woodturning projects.
Pernambuco is also known as Brazil wood. This rare, exotic hardwood is burnt reddish brown in color. The name is significant because the burnt red and vivid orange colors of the wood resemble the colors of Brazilian soil. This is a very stiff wood that works well in box making, but its primary use is for instrument bows. You can create a glass-like finish on this wood, making for some absolutely striking projects.
Australian Murray Red River Gum
Truly an extraordinary wood for extraordinary projects. This hard, dense wood ranges in color from creamy white to a brilliant, deep red. It glues and works well, but its figural inclusions are what makes it really special. Black swirls and random shapes show up throughout the pieces and occasionally even a checkerboard design will occur. This wood has a silky smooth grain, giving you the opportunity to craft some very special pieces.
This wood grows on the east coast of Brazil. The color is light gold fading into a red, with dark streaks that resemble a tiger’s stripes. Tigerwood is naturally oily and dense, which means it can take an incredible polish. This wood is great for smaller pieces and fancier applications such as pepper mills, knife handles. inlay work or bowls.
A gorgeous wood that’s ideal for stringed instruments as well as smaller pieces. Movingui is so sought-after than most great pieces are cut into veneer, but occasionally you’ll find some sawed into lumber. It has a medium to fine grain and is a soft golden yellow with a darker golden grain that can look like stripes, mottling and even bees’ wings.
The problem with many exotic woods is that they’re rated as vulnerable or endangered. Legitimate dealers collect their wood from naturally dead trees. The sale of exotic woods creates strong feelings on both sides of the issue. Whether you feel uncomfortable dealing in exotic and rare woods or you love the unique features they bring to your projects, you should always support dealers who follow import laws and practice sustainable customs.
Having the ability to read grain on wood is one of the many most fundamental critical tasks a woodworker should have competency in. Some timbers are easy to read while others are not. Let’s look at this African Tulip I’m working with to have a better understanding on the subject.
If we look at the board, you’ll see the grain is a cathedral or one could even describe it as a ripple in a pond. It appears to our eyes the grain is pointing from left to right, so if planed from left to right, you’d be planing against the grain or is it. If we inspect, you’ll notice the grain is layered from right to left so, our planing direction is right to left.
I know it looks deceptive. Another way of reading the grain if it’s difficult to read on the surface is by feel.
Running your finger along the edge of a board in both directions will most of the time give you a clear sign of where the grain is running. Press lightly when you do it and be careful of splinters.
Most grains can be read, but some just can’t and when you run into the one that can’t, set your plane to take a light shaving. If you feel it snag then stop, even with a plane set to take a little more than a 32nd you can still feel your planing with or against the grain. If it’s tearing on both sides of the board, then hone a higher bevel angle.
The more you work with various species the more you’ll learn what to look out for.
Take care and enjoy your craft
I’m going to make a few t-shirts for the shop. My wife has thrown out most of shop shirts and I bought some new ones, but none of them are tax deductible and as the magazine’s name is a registered business why not make a few shirts and a mug with its name on it. It’ll be great to show the world that there are some of us who won’t allow themselves to be replaced by robotics. The world is so eager to move in that direction and of course the sheep will always be lured by the wolves. But anyhow here are two colours I’m going to order, not to forget the mug, we can’t have work without tea.
I’m not sure what they will cost me as I haven’t yet placed the order, but if you wish to order one shoot me an email and if you agree with whatever the price is plus shipping and I’ll place an order for you. All proceeds would go towards buying lumber for upcoming project articles.
This is hilarious, please watch it till the end, but it’s also true. This isn’t a Lie Nielsen promotion just try to see the bigger picture.
I’ve been quiet for a while, enjoying the serenity of the craft. It’s difficult taking photos and then trying to figure out how to put them into words that will be easy to understand. I know this will fall into place only after several years of continuous writing.
You can’t rush knowledge to gain experience and I was reminded today when I returned to the moulding plane build. I took out the no.4’s I wrote about in Issue III.
I didn’t notice it earlier and I guess that’s the curse of distraction that the body of the round was thicker than a 1/4″. It being thicker, it planed a hollow that was all wonky looking, out of shape. To fix it all I did was plane down the chamfer on the blindside. Without a chamfer the plane could not reach into the corner of a moulding.
Now it’s planed to the correct thickness, both planes now mate perfectly together.
Skill is the final frontier we are trying to reach, but without knowledge you’ll never put it into practice to gain the experience and experience comes only through repetition followed by skill. This is not an overnight process, it takes years to gain true knowledge, experience and skill. So if you’re frustrated with joints not being gap free or sawing not perfectly plumb, don’t be. It’s normal and part of the learning process. Remember, you first crawled before you walked and then finally ran. Give it time and allow nature to run its course. Don’t give up and don’t be like that stingy guy Christopher Schwarz wrote about on his blog.
Take care. Peace
The year was 1890 and the first ever dovetailing machine was patented by the Britannia Company, Colchester for £2 2s. It’s a dovetailing jig as we would understand it which is used on a foot powered table saw.
It was an unfortunate year, the beginning of the end of yet one more skill, but in the interest of gaining historical woodworking knowledge we shall read more about it and how it’s used.
A pine board 24”x 18”x 3/8” is clamped at each end on the table saw. A spline fitting the groove in the table saw ensures accurate movement, with a slot exactly in the centre of the two frames when in their places, for the saw to work through as shown in Fig.1.
Fix on the gauge, (Fig.3) which is a piece of wood with slots at intervals, according to the size of dovetails required- upon platform, (Fig.2), of frames, as shown. These gauges are generally fixed upon the lower ledge, but for some work the upper ledge may be more convenient. These gauges can be easily made by an amateur, or are supplied with the dovetailer.
The appliance in Fig.2 is to be fixed upon the board as shown, so that the saw may run clear when the movable frame is at either end of the segment.Put in the screw through the frame Fig. 2 and screw down so as to allow the frame to move backwards and forward. The frame is to be fixed as shown 2 ¾” from square line of saw. To cut the mortises, place the wood upon the inclined plane, having adjusted the table so that the saw will cut the correct depth. Bring the front edge of the wood up to the end of the gauge, holding the marker in the left hand so that it falls into the various slots s the wood passes up the incline. The positions of the operator, the movable table, the frames, gauges, inclined plane, wood, marker and saw are all very clearly indicated in Fig.1
When one row has been made, turn the wood round and take the marker in the right hand and follow each cut up the incline until the cuts are completed. To cut the tenons or pins, adjust the saw table so that the saw cuts the required depth. Fix the gauge on the lower ledge of platform, the inner end of gauge forming the distance for the first cut.
Of course, it will be understood that the cuts only are made by the saw. The clearances of the mortises and the wood intervening between the pins must be affected in the usual manner with a chisel. The merit of the entire appliance lies in the presentation of the edges of the wood to the saw in such a manner and in such a position that the saw kerfs, first in one direction and then in the other, are made with such sure and certain regularity of distance and direction, and perfect parallelism, that an operator who is comparatively an unskilled hand can be enabled to perform work which, if done by the hand, must be the outcome of long practice combined with the utmost care in execution.
England has been at the forefront of invention of engineering marvels since their creation of the Industrial revolution in 1830. I’m in midst of writing an article on the industrial revolution and its effect it had and still has on human lives. All I’m going to add is that this machine or appliance eliminates the need for a skilled dovetailer. I’m sure it would only take two minutes to train anybody to operate it and produce flawless dovetails.
For the sake of skill and of course profits, we have traded something more valuable in fact something priceless; skill.
Something to ponder, we marvel at how skilled they were, but how many of these skills were actual hand work or machine work. I think it’s safe to bet that our craftsmen in the 18th century were machine free and therefore truly skilled at their jobs. It would be grossly unfair if I said the opposite about craftsmen in the 19th century, but how many of those dovetails we see in antique furniture of that period were made by hand or by the patented dovetailing machine.
I wish I had of taken a photo of the auger bit prior to the fix, but I didn’t think of writing about it till it was too late.
Just because it’s an antique or vintage doesn’t mean it’s flawless. This set of Irwin auger bits is pretty good, but far from flawless. I bought this set years ago and haven’t used them much in all this time.
Anyway, I remembered that I had a bit 3/8″ that wasn’t straight and of course it’s always the one that is used more than others or at least second to the 1/4″. The shaft was bent and pretty much I might add. Maybe someone dropped it, either way it needs fixing.
On the metal part of my lathe which is now serving as an anvil until my luck runs out, I tapped it straight with a rubber mallet they use in panel beating. (This mallet is pretty good and will not leave a mark on wood not matter how hard you hammer it.) I would hammer a couple of times and check the bit by eye. Once it looks straight, I would finish it by hammering whilst turning the bit 360°.
This is the result.
I chucked it in the brace and held the bit and brace vertical while slowly turning the bit. No wobble, good news, it’s not a bin job. It’s fixed.
Issue III has finally been released as you all know and there has been a lot of downloads, but zero feedbacks.
Hope this post helps someone.
Guys, I’m really sorry, but wordpress didn’t publish the link. I set it to auto schedule publish, but I learned now that it needs to be manually linked under the category.
Just in case it disappears here is the download link
In the top right hand corner you will see a tab called “HANDWORK Magazine” Don’t click on it just over your mouse over it and a drop down menu will appear. Choose whichever issue you wish to download.
A side rebate (rabbet) plane widens dado’s (housing) or trench (Europe) and grooves, wow so many names for one joint. Sometime a dado is a little too tight to accept a shelf or a groove for a drawer bottom needs to be a little wider for a perfect fit, this is where these planes excel.
There are several versions and makers of these planes, I believe Stanley only produced two of the No.79 and the 98 and 99 which Lie Nielsen now produces.
Then there was Edward Preston, whom Veritas based their design on and not to forget record. When Preston left the tool making scene, Record took over the production of the Preston planes.
Some time ago I began my hunt for a decent no.79 and I found one on eBay. I can’t remember what I paid for it, but they’re stupidly expensive now. The one I found was in near perfect condition. Here are the eBay pictures I downloaded at the time.
Whoever bought it must have thrown it in the toolbox and forgotten about it. It’s rare to see these planes in such good condition. Well, I was lucky. There is another version of the no.79 you should avoid. They have slotted round screws instead of the thumb screws like I have.
I suspected at the time that the slots in the screws would wear out through repeated use, so I asked my friend Tony as he has one and he hates it for that reason alone. Tony’s tool chest was featured in Jim Tolpin’s book “The Toolbox Book.” page 28. He fits over 400 tools in his chest and it weighs in at a whopping 400lb (181.43kg). That’s an entire workshop of tools he can carry to any job site and only taking up a small corner in the back of his pickup.
Let me see anyone do this with modern machinery.
Anyhow, the purpose of this blog was not to go into any detail about different versions of the side rebate planes, but to discuss a manfacturer’s flaw in the fence and the quick solution I came to fixing it.
So even though it’s basically new for a vintage plane, it still had a manufacturing fault. The fence wasn’t 90° to the surface of the plane. This rectification was on my to do list for many months, but I didn’t give it much thought on how to fix it since I don’t have a square metal block, I’ve left as is till this morning. My day typically begins at 4 am when I’m not working my other job, this is the best part of the day as your mind is fresh with new ideas and it’s peaceful as the world is still asleep. It’s very serene.
I started off with a pair of pliers trying to bend it into shape and all I managed to do was create small teeth marks ruining what was once a pristine surface.
If Stanley did their job right in the first place, I wouldn’t have had to do this.
So, I kept bending it like a moron not realising that I was also creating a hump in the middle. Now I was frantic and I looked around in desperation for anything that was square that could handle a beating and there she was. My lathe.
I threw a square up against the outside face and no go, so I tried the inside and alas she’s square.
I placed the fence against the metal bar on the lathe and with the hard part of a rubber mallet I struck several light blows across the surface.
Yes, it worked! The fence is square, but the hump is still there. To fix that I used a normal metal hammer and got rid of the hump.
Had I given this proper thought beforehand, I wouldn’t have left teeth marks on a pristine surface. Lucky for me these marks are not sharp where it would mar the work. Surprisingly though they are smooth as a baby’s butt.
Is this a must have tool?
It’s a toughie to answer, yes and no. Yes, when you need one and I have used it more often than not, but it’s not an everyday “usage tool.” I think it’s one of those tools you tend to forget you have until the day pops up when nothing else will work as the tool you forgot you had.
I had some free time on my hands, yeah, I know, shock, horror I got free time. I returned to an unfinished project I started a few months ago building a wooden rabbet plane. I was boring a 1″ hole near the escapement when CRACK the bit split the timber in two.
Rather than chuck the plane away, I glued it back together again with fish glue. Those cam clamps provide just enough pressure without risking crushing the fibres. I say that because I reattached it as is without doing disturbing the break. Fortunately for me the break was clean with no missing parts.
I left the plane oversized in length, width and thickness. When I inserted the iron and wedged it, I noticed the plane bowed ever so slightly. Maybe when I put the cover on the rabbeted grip, the bow may not return. I guess I’ll have to wait and see.