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Journeyman's Journal

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This is a journal of the art of woodworking by hand
Updated: 46 min 23 sec ago

How Craftsmen were made

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 5:22pm

I’ve never seen original footage until now shot back in 1912 on any type of woodworking before and I definitely want to share this with you.

I believe this is a school on chair making and upholstery, most probably an apprenticeship program of some sort.  They employ a bandsaw and spindle molder but the rest is done by hand, I particularly was struck by a clever clamping device they used to hold the leg.  This clamp will be in production in my shop very soon.  There is nothing in this video that doesn’t constitute hand work.  The training these young lads got are truly superior and I can imagine the joy and sense of fulfillment they had from producing chairs of such high calibre.  Now doesn’t this video put cnc “craftsman” to shame, it most certainly does!

If you want to bring back quality then stop buying their crap.

Enough rambling, break out the popcorn, sit back and enjoy.

Categories: Hand Tools

Assembly of a Veritas tongue and plane

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 4:56am

This is a short video on how to convert the Veritas plow plane using their accessories into a tongue and groove plane. Having said that my preference would go to the LN version for it’s ease of use and accuracy right out of the box however, you have the benefit of various blade widths with the Veritas version. Unless you know you will always work with either 3/4 or 1/2″ then I would recommend LN no 48 or 49 over Veritas for the above reason.

Categories: Hand Tools

Planter Box Build Part 8

Thu, 03/02/2017 - 2:09pm

There’s one more episode left to edit, I know I’ve been slack lately but not without reason.  I’ve been very productive in the shop with tool making, I’ve designed a small router plane to help with the build of the moulding planes.  While I’m still waiting for steel to arrive I’ve been catching up on a lot of passed work I’ve missed.

I like making video and sharing my work with you don’t get me wrong but it does consume a lot of time and that’s something I don’t have the luxury of.  So I need to work out and plan better so I can continue sharing my builds with you.

I have received a lot of positive comments about the blog and I thank you for it and yes I do intend to continue blogging so as long you to continue to have me but, I only have a day and half off work.  So trying to figure out how to use that little time productively and sharing it with you is a real challenge.

Categories: Hand Tools

Moulding plane Part B update

Thu, 02/09/2017 - 5:46am

Finally after a long wait the irons have arrived and today I could do some work on the plane.  It’s progressing very slowly due to work, today and tomorrow I have off, but next week I won’t be so lucky.

I have learned a great deal during the build and I will share my findings with you.  I have studied my existing antique plane and have set the mouth opening exactly to match the antique plane, a big mistake though.20170209_224743

The iron in the antique is 5/32 thick and the LN version is 1/8 that’s 1/32 difference.  You may not think that is much of a difference but compare the two pictures with the irons installed and you’ll see that it is a big difference.



Clearly you can see that the mouth opening is too much again, luckily for me I was smart enough to use prototypes and not the real deal.  So tomorrow I will be making another one with a smaller opening but I wonder how will I get the waste out.  I don’t have a 1/16 chisel.  So it’s just getting harder and harder till I figure out a way to get that waste out and level that wall.  That part has to flat so the shavings don’t clog.


The mouth opening on this HNT 1/2″ shoulder plane is the same as the antique, this plane has a 37 degree bevel and a 60 degree bed.  It’s steep to tackle Aussie wood which is usually reversing grain.  Having a steeper bevel and bed means the plane is harder to push and the edge will blunt quicker but will help in eliminating tearout.

I also made the wedge the fit and the 15degree spread planing board I made should’ve been less but it turned out that I didn’t need it after all as I planed the wedge to fit prior to shaping it.

Prototypes aren’t meant to look pretty but they’re there to serve a purpose and that purpose is to work out the quirks and to do build experimentations.  I won’t know if I made a success until I take my first shaving and I won’t be preparing the blade for the prototype this I will save for the actual plane.


The sides are perfectly flush with the iron and I will rehearse the round on this plane while I build the second prototype with a smaller mouth.  My recommendation to you if you are going to make yourselves moulding planes is to get your irons first.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s from LN or you cut them up yourselves, what does matter is the thickness. Once you know how thick your iron is you can then make mouth according to that thickness.

I’ve waited 2 years to start this build, I didn’t know if I was going to buy them new or get the antique version or just build them.  I can definitely see why new ones cost so much, they are time consuming to make, the irons aren’t cheap at all and the wood is also expensive especially when your laminating as you’re using more wood.  The antiques also aren’t cheap, but they aren’t that great either.  Some will work fine while others are way past their due by date but none of them are identical in build unless they are all from the same maker.  I have noticed on some of mine that the mouths are open quite a bit and others are very tight.  I’m guessing that mass production had a lot to do with it and just careless.  People still buy them by the truck loads and don’t notice these things until they learn more about them.

Anyway I’m not really fussed on how long it’s going to take me, I have work which pays the bills which is more important to me.  I’m also trying to save up for a metalworking lathe and mill which isn’t cheap either especially that I have to import it from the US as Australia doesn’t sell any quality lathes.  I’m really excited about adding metal work to my skillset as I want to build mechanical movements and other hand tools.

Well it’s beddy bye time for me, till I update you next goodnight all.


Categories: Hand Tools

Moulding Plane Part A update

Thu, 02/02/2017 - 7:20am

Here’s a quick update to keep you in the loop.  I haven’t progressed at all due to the delay of the irons, it turns out that LN never had any to begin with yet it was listed on their site. So questions have been asked why was it advertised in the first place but no one has an answer, so I’ve ordered the 1 1/8 instead.  They should of arrived today but hoping tomorrow they will.

As the width of this plane has been thicknessed to exactly 1 1/4 I will need to remove 1/8 to accept the new iron from the escapement side.  Then I can proceed to making a wedge.

I went ahead and built this wedge planing holder, the strips has about a 15 degree spread.  20170203_003154

As you can see where I stuffed up on the mouth, it’s a bit too big but if it does cause ay problems in the future I can always build another one.


But like I said before it will be a very rare occasion that I will actually use a plane this size and what’s the bet I now jinxed myself and end up using it more often than not.

Today I bought some pine, not structural but furniture grade.  If I bought structural then I would have to wait for them dry which would take a couple of months.  These will be prototypes, if I stuff up on them I will learn from those mistakes like I did with the mouth opening.  And if I do stuff up which I’m confident this time around I won’t, it won’t hurt as much on the pocket as Beech does.  I should of done this before but I was confident even though I haven’t done one for a 1 year.  So today I planed them all down and laminated them.  They will take 24 hrs to dry  and the last glue up was around 6pm, so I’ll hold off till Saturday.  I actually will do one just to see how this glue will work in a 12 hour period.  I know Patrick Edwards did say it’s best to wait 24hrs but it should be fine after 12hrs and it is summer here, winter I would definitely wait it out the full 24hrs.


I was surprised though how little glue I actually needed to make 4 blanks, the pot was 3/4 full and a 1/4 was still left over which I threw in the freezer after I spent a great deal of time trying to convince my wife that its natural stuff.  It would of been ok if I did leave it on the bench, it would take atleast 3 weeks before it went off but it’s still best to keep it fresh and chuck it in the fridge.


Don’t ask me what the LH stands for, who knows what went through my head when I typed it.

This last photo is the beech blanks all glued up ready to go.  The only downside to using this hide glue is the colour contrast you see here.  Some parts of the plane you don’t see the glue line and other parts you do.  I think a white PVA that dries clear would mask that glue line nicely, but comes time when I rub some finish on it this colour contrast may disappear.


Here is the iron blank I’ll be working with next.


It’s O1 tool steel that’s tapered to accept the wedge.

The numbering system are based on the radius and blade width, each planemaker can vary using this system.  The antique round I have has a 7/16″ radius and width blade but the maker stamped a number 8 which doesn’t correspond to other moulding planes that size.

So I will be using the Clarke & Williams version which I believe was common in the 18th century.  So the number 8 would actually be a number 7.  I think this will be more period appropriate.

It’s a pity that these irons were delayed as I would of been finished by now, but then again what’s the rush.  It’s not like I can afford to buy these irons all at once.

Categories: Hand Tools

Planter box build part 7

Sun, 01/29/2017 - 10:06am

Categories: Hand Tools

Moulding Planes the final frontier

Fri, 01/27/2017 - 7:09pm

What is it about these planes that has me so fixated on them, is it the unlimited infinite number of profiles that one can make.  Is it the glistening surface effect it leaves behind that can be burnished to an even higher sheen from the shavings it produces. All I know on that moment when I hold one in my hands I’m transported back in time, to a time in the 18th century when man new his craft, when his skill was at it’s best living and working from sun up to sundown in a most a pristine environment.  Mountainous ranges, luscious green grass, listening to the hoof claps of horses as they strolled past your workshop window.  Long gone are those days when man was truly happy and probably didn’t even know it.

Yes I’m having a moment here because I’m trying to understand clearly why I do what I do. Why I choose to work wood the way I do, I need to cleanse my mind of impure thoughts of resorting to machinery due to frustration of personal skill limitations.  It’s a challenge, a challenge to one’s mind, ones body and soul.  It takes patience, perseverance and a lifetime of dedication all the while passing it on to the next guy what you have learned and acquired through the sweat of your brow to prepare the journey, for the next generation of woodworkers.

I need to elevate my skills to such a level to where I too one day can stand in line shoulder to shoulder with my crafting ancestors and hope to earn the title of craftsman.  No, this is not an easy task and the journey is long and arduous.  Yes it is indeed arduous.

These moulding planes has proven to be quite a challenge, I have so far faced many obstacles due to tool limitations and poor planning.  I have also made a dreadful mistake of where’s there’s no going back.  There really is no easy way of making these planes, neither using traditional nor non traditional methods.  Every method has it’s own challenge and the wider plane the harder it is to apply this french method.

Ok enough with ambiguity and I don’t have time to take pictures either as I must get back to work on the planes and then get ready to go to work to earn my keep.

So here it is a nut shell, I made the mouth opening too big because when I first cut those angles and took out the waste in between, the mouth opening was too small. But then I noticed that the saw guide I made and used one of the angles being the 55 degree was not square across.  So now the bed of the plane was also out of square which I then had to correct.  So I then recut a new angle further away which resulted in the mouth opening gap being too much.

Then came the part where I had to route out the rest where one would mortise as traditionally done.  Again a new problem arose due to the thickness of the body of the plane and the rabbeted top.

The standard stock blade that comes with the router plane is just barely long enough to reach the bottom.  I had to take out the depth stop and it was still short by a 32nd.  Also there is the issue of not having enough real estate meaning timber for the plate of the router to work on.  So the maximum thickness plane I can make using this french method is 1 1/4 wide, which is still fine as I’m not a joiner and any crown moulding I do make with this plane will suffice.  But if the need arises I will have to make a bigger one, I doubt it though.

I have seen Chris Schwartz use a much longer router plane blade when he was building his workbench I think or it could of been something else but the point is he has one and I don’t know where he got it.  Maybe it was custom made blade specifically for him, I will ask him.

It became evidently clear that I must take another approach working with different thickness moulding planes, I know now there is no one way method of building these planes that one can stick to, but a variety of ways one has to be implement.  So for the next build which will be the round and no, I haven’t even come close to finishing this one off yet, I cannot rabbet the top portion until I have routed out the mortise first.   But this also means that I cannot reattach that same piece I would normally have sawn off, instead I will have to cut a fresh piece  from another piece of wood that could have been used to make another moulding plane.  It also means that the grain will not be in line with each other, which may  or may not cause any issues down the track.  But I’m hoping as Greg pointed out with so many working laminated planes out there with no issues been made mentioned, I don’t think it will cause any issues.  This is only a small thin 1/4″ part that will cover the side of the mortise.

I actually wish but it’s too late now, that I had of continued making prototypes of varying thickness planes from pine, rather than using this very expensive beech to potentially stuff up on.  If you are going to attempt to make these planes I strong recommend you to practise on scrap first and cover your bases until you know for sure exactly what to do.

What I would also highly recommend is to get yourself an accurate mitre saw, it doesn’t have to be antique but you need to get those angle right and square.  Fart arsing around with a saw guide getting it right by hand isn’t as easy as pie. The sawing part is easy but making that saw guide by hand isn’t.  There really is no room for error.

For the machinists this most frustrating part would be a walk in the park for you, all you need is a chopsaw we call it a “drop saw” with radial arms and a depth setting on it.  You would make successive passes as you would with a radial saw.  This method unfortunately  defeats the purpose of skill building and hand tool woodworking which is what made our crafting ancestors so blood good at their job.  You need to crawl through mud and climb the steepest mountains to develop such skills.  The price is high but the sweet taste of it is everlasting.

This plane will still be functioning well even if the mouth is a little too big, I haven’t affected the planes functionality in anyway but what I have done is affect the efficiency of building them.  Woodworking needs to be efficient to work quickly and effectively despite whether you earn a living from it or not.   These are just baby step challenges that will be overcome by slowing down, taking your time by walking through the process in your mind before you begin.  Work on scrap if you have it or go and buy some.  Instead of listening to the radio and getting stressed from all the ads and rap crap, I’m arrogant, gangster too lazy to work for a living music, put on some calming music that you can relax to and concentrate so you can focus and your mind opens up to new ideas and work methods.  Our work environment plays an equally important part to successful woodworking or any other work for that matter.

So I’ll leave you with this for the moment, until I can figure it all out, I won’t be making any videos on it yet and any progress posts I make will be called Moulding planes build Part A and so forth until I’ve nailed it.  Then I’ll start making a video and hopefully do an in depth walk through if I get my cameramen kids to record it.

Categories: Hand Tools