In my above video, Frank Klausz takes us into his new workshop and shows his amazing method for speedy “pins first” hand cut through dovetails with hand tools. This is a continuation of the tour that I shared of Frank’s new woodworking workshop. Watch the video tour of Frank’s workshop here.
Before you email me, please first look at the bottom of this article for a list of all the tools that Frank mentioned in the videos.
Frank Klausz is a master Hungarian woodworker and teacher who has been featured in many woodworking magazine articles and video recordings. You can checkout these classic woodworking DVD videos that feature Frank’s instruction. Here are a few photos from my first article:
In the video Frank implores woodworkers who prefer the “tails-first” dovetail method to give the “pins first” dovetail technique a try!
Later this week I will share the next video that Frank wanted me to share with you, so subscribe to be notified or keep checking back!
FRANK’S FAVORITE TOOLS
I know that I’m going to get a lot of emails for a list of Frank’s favorite tools that he mentioned, so I’ll save myself some time by listing them here:
- Lie-Nielsen No. 62 Low Angle Jack Plane
- Vintage Stanley No. 62 Low Angle Jack Plane
- Lie-Nielsen No. 4 Smoothing plane
- Vintage Stanley No. 4 Smoothing Plane
- E.C. Emmerich Wooden scrub plane (made in Germany)
- Antique “Grandma’s Tooth” Wooden Router plane
- Sliding Dovetail Plane
- Lie-Nielsen dovetail saw
- Adria dovetail saw
- Gramercy dovetail saw
- Gramercy Hold Fast (or Hold Down)
- Vintage Stanley 750 bevel-edge chisels
- Marples chisels
- “Joinery Master Class” (Frank’s recent DVD that he mentioned)
- Frank’s table saw (I don’t use them anymore, but this one is cool)
- Antique plumb-bobs
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The IWF and AWFS show (held in alternating years in Atlanta and Las Vegas) are known as places where machinery manufacturers and industry suppliers show their latest products. One of the highlights of these shows for me is the announcement of the winners of the annual Veneer-Tech Craftsman’s Challenge awards. I was a judge for this contest in 2010 and 2011, and you can click here to read posts I […]
If you don’t check my blog at Popular Woodworking Magazine, here are a couple of items you might be interested in.
I’m finishing off two Roorkee chairs this week and am using some different hardware bits that are working out quite well. If you want a preview, check out this entry on my hardware sources for Roorkee chairs.
After I buy a new 1/4” leather punch (the old one is roaming California or Germany or who-knows where), I’ll post some completed photos of the chairs and discuss some of the hardware options I’ve been investigating.
The other thing you might check out is a three-part series on storing hand tools. I have used (and still use) a variety of ways to keep my tools at hand. You might not agree with my perspective, but that’s OK. Because I’m OK and you’re OK. There’s what’s right and there’s what’s right, and never the twain shall meet.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Campaign Furniture
Last week was basket week – and today I’ve started some new work, but I’ll show you what I did last week. Basket work will go on, but as a time-filler. I have enough baskets woven, or started, that I can pick them up here & there for an hour or two. Like many woodworking projects; most of the effort in basket-making is preparing the materials. I have written before about pounding the splints from an ash log – here’s links to old posts on the subject. I have some new posts coming up about peeling the splint, but in the meantime…
But right now, this post is about weaving up the basket bodies. Handles and rims are for another time. The basket itself is made up of the uprights and weavers. “Uprights” is something of a misnomer, because although they bend up to be the sides of the basket, they also form the bottom.
Uprights are generally heavier (thicker, and wider most often too) and weavers thinner and narrower. So a big part of the work is sorting and sizing the material.
If the splint is too thin to divide (or peel) then I scrape it smooth. This makes it less fuzzy, and also thins it some. Better for weaving. These pieces are uprights in the basket. To scrape it, I pull the splint across a piece of leather on my knee – then hold the knife in place to scrape it as I pull back…don’t do it w/o the leather! My them braces the knife blade so it stays stationary.
Then you have to trim them to the desired width. The baskets I was working on last week had around 25-30 uprights. Round baskets have 16, another time. those pictures are on a different camera.
Once you have all your uprights and weavers; you lay them out, this basket has long and short weavers; to form a rectangular bottom. I start with 3 going each way, and weave them one under the other, this way & that. Then add pieces side to side, and north & south. Here, I am weaving a single thin weaver around the perimeter of the basket’s bottom. This binds them together, keeps them from shifting around as I begin weaving the body. Some refer to this piece as a “keeper” – it keeps the uprights in place.
Some baskets have independent weavers – each horizontal row is a separate weaver. This is easy to do, but wastes a lot of material. So there’s lots of ways to weave a continuous spiral around the basket. But to do this and keep alternating where the weaver goes under and over the uprights, you need an odd number of uprights. You can split one, or add one. (or do one of several other approaches – but I usually split or add) – Here I added an upright, and tapered it to become the first weaver too. It’s towards the upper right hand corner of the photo – follow that bendy upright, and you see it weaves into the others. Then you just keep adding & overlapping each new weaver as one runs out. I overlap them for 2 uprights.
Then you just keep on weaving. I periodically dunk everything in the water, especially outdoors in summer. I want this stuff damp. Once I’ve gone around a bit, I gently bend things up and then cinch the weaver in tight as I go.
A basket like this has an “open” bottom – there are spaces between the uprights. That’s the most common form I make. but there is one we have around the house that is closed or “filled” in the bottom.
Next time I’ll show you how I lay that up.
Don’t forget – the spoons are posted and ready to go. The spoon rack I had sold, and one reader asked if I would make another – of course I will! Anytime you see something like that – if you missed it, and would like to order one, I’d be happy to oblige. http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-more-august-2014/
Have you been looking for great information and tutorials on the construction of furniture components such as drawers or frame and panel doors? Look no more! Well, actually DO TAKE A LOOK!
Take a look at the two new DVD titles released recently from woodworking expert Hendrik Varju of Passion for Wood. Both titles are filled with hours of great information.
And since Hendrik doesn’t skip out on the details these DVDs live up to their sub-title “Private Woodworking Instruction in a Box” with over ten hours of footage each.
“Making Drawers” includes numerous topics such as “types of drawers,” “orders of operations,” “cutting rabbets on a tablesaw,” along with bonus footage on “fitting and installing drawers.”
“Making Frame and Panel Doors” includes topics such as “designing a frame and panel door,” “making and joining stiles and rails,” “decorative routing and panel grooves,” and many many more, including exclusive bonus footage “fitting and installing doors.”
These two new DVDs make the 13th and 14th titles in Hendrik’s DVD library. To learn more about them visit passionforwood.com/woodworking/dvds. Click on the title you’re interested in learning more about and watch the sneak peek video snippet.
If these are a topic you’ve been searching for more information on, then these are the titles for you!
The La Forge Royale Miter Jack hardware is officially in production. Based on response, we're going to make 100 kits. Here's what's included:
1. Hard maple screw, threaded at 1-1/8" x 4 tpi
2. Hard maple nut block, tapped to match the screw, oversized in length and width so you can cut joinery.
3. Brass ferrule. We sourced the same size as the original, 15/16" O.D.
4. Brass garter
5. Steel hook
6. Steel garter pin
7. Groove pin
8. All the screws you need to build it (not pictured). These will be plain steel, or black oxide.
All the metal bits (except for the groove pin and steel screws) are made by us in our shop, to the exact specs of the original.
Price is $198 plus shipping
For this we're going to offer pre-ordering. We'll post the "Buy Now" button to our store page tomorrow, Tuesday August 26 at 9am. We hope to have these ready by late fall, and well before Christmas. That's the goal anyway.
We're going to include some sort of brand with the kit. Still working out the details on that.
We've also updated the Sketchup drawing to show the grain direction of each part. See the red arrows on the parts explosion (Scene 2).
|Nick Dombrowski's crisp work (in oak!)|
The handful of you who witnessed the incident during the Midwest Woodworking wood sale already know that my block plane spontaneously disassembled while I was using it to check out some 8/4 incense cedar, with the various components flying out of my hand and scattering themselves across the concrete floor.
Surprisingly enough, I couldn’t find any signs of damage afterwards. There was a nick in the front adjusting knob, but that may have been there already. Anyway, once I got home I decided that it deserved the full spa treatment after an experience like that.
I disassembled it as far as I could, lightly went over the sole and sides with some 400-grit silicon carbide paper to remove any incipient rust, then cleaned everything with soap and water. After everything was good and dry, I sprayed the bare iron surfaces with Boeshield T-9.* Once that was dry, I wiped it all down with a cotton cloth to remove the excess.
Then it was just a matter of putting all the pieces back together in the correct order, honing the blade, and verifying that I hadn’t screwed something up and it still worked. Speaking of honing, I’ve been experimenting with some freehand honing techniques recently, and while the jury is still out, one thing I’ve decided to permanently add to the regimen is a final stropping. I bought a couple of Genuine Horse Butt strops from Joel Moskowitz, and—as he advises—use the rough side of the leather with some micro-fine stropping compound.
I suspect that the slight round-over produced by the stropping acts sort of like a micro-bevel, and helps toughen the edge. The net result is that the edge seems to last a bit longer between sharpenings.
*I’ve also used TopCote (now apparently called GlideCote). Boeshield has gotten better reviews with regard to preventing rust; TopCote is less messy to use.
Filed under: Uncategorized
I spent today futzing with the last details on the cabinet before starting to apply finish — which I’m going to wait to start until I’m fresh and go over the cabinet one more time with clearer eyes. But, I think it’s ready for finish. All the hardware has been mounted, the parts fit and sanded to 320, and today I sorted out the last little bits.
First, as Ralph pointed out, I needed to make the retaining strips to hold the stained glass panel in place. I probably would have remembered that, although whether I’d have remembered it before starting to install the glass is a coin toss.
With that chore out of the way I mounted the door pull and chopped all of the square holes for the ebony plugs. This was ease compared to the recent Thorsen table which had 40 plugs, there are only 12 in the door and another 6 in the case.
About the door pull – I thought seriously about putting a mortised lockset into the cabinet, but eventually realized that the backspacing for the key didn’t look right. To have that look right I need narrower stiles.
Then is was just a matter of making the ebony pegs, I used the little sanding board I made for the last time I did this, and it didn’t take much time at all to knock these. out. Maybe five or ten minutes. Less than two Lighting Hopkins songs.
To glue the pegs in, I first bevel the sides slightly so I can get them started. Then I apply glue into the hole using a little wood coffee stir stick cut square on the end. Then I set the peg in the hole and tap it down with a plastic mallet. I try to stop just before the rounded-over edge gets to the surface of the door.
And that’s it. The finishing should be pretty straightforward, and the glass isn’t too complex (although I still have to do the layout for that). The end is in sight, I need be starting another project soon. Speaking of which, I priced out the wide, thick quarter sawn white oak I need for the bookcase project — it’s probably $1,000. Gulp. That might not be the next project after all!
John J.-G. Blumenson, Identifying American Architecture, 1977
This side of the house that I am looking at may be the original 14x16 log structure that was built on this site in 1862. I haven't pulled off anymore siding and corner boards to see how these logs were notched, I need to keep as much original material as possible to maintain the historic integrity of the house. So far, the house isn't giving up much information as to what year it was built.
This past Friday I pulled off siding on the south elevation that was covering the lowest logs between the two doors (and underneath the window) that you see in the above photo...
...and discovered this - the corner of another log house! Apparently, someone cut off the east wall of the original building and then constructed another log house against it! I assume that the fireplace of the original building was on this wall and since it left a big hole, the owners thought is would be better to remove that wall and put up a new one, no repairs to the original wall was needed. This new room is 14 feet wide by 17 feet 2 inches long.
In the lower left of the above photo you can see the square end of a floor joist of the original building. All the joists in that part of the building fall on 16 inch centers. When I measured to the left of the center this joist another 16 inches the tape measure fell on what would have been the 16 foot mark of the building. Hmm.
Tree ring dating of the logs would tell us what year the trees were cut down, not when the house was built. The men who built this house may have left the trees "mellow" for a year before they used them or used them as soon as they were cut.
Speculation about this house's construction is running rampant, and in a way, I hope we don't learn every thing about it...
In my last post, I discussed sharpening and how changing our thinking about it as well as some of the gear used to perform it could be improved.
We covered steels and their improvements, Abrasives and their evolving improvements as well. I also touched on the learning process of sharpening, and how a lot of what we know about it comes through trial and error. When we find a sub process of sharpening that works for us, we stick with that, and usually that is good, and other times it can limit us so that we stop pushing to find better.
It is true, the sharpening process is a series of smaller processes, that depend on a lot of material factors, and the user’s experience of knowing which factor is being observed so the right process for that factor can be applied at the right time. This is an evaluative matrix of solutions that come from knowledge and experience. It can save us time, but if we miscalculate, we can spend more time. It is developed practice to be sure.
Still, sharpness is simple enough. Two surfaces on a piece of steel brought together at an angle that forms an edge. Then those surfaces are polished to such a fine degree that the edge itself will not reflect light.
The fine-ness of our woodworking is a direct reflection of the sharpness of our sharpening skills and tools. It is a symbiotic relationship where one depends on the other. Getting sharp is one thing, call it half the battle if you like. Staying sharp is another.
I have spoken with a number of woodworkers who have shared that they have tried different abrasives and tooling to minimize the sharpening process. Depending on the steel or tool, incremental improvements were possible and noted, still the overall sharpening experience was still leaving them wanting.
The biggest issue noted was that working their edge tools to the point of complete dullness required the tool edges be reworked from course grinding and re-honing up through fine polishing. This is a complete rebuild of the cutting edge(s) which causes the sharpening sessions to require a large chunk of time. How much time? Full time furniture makers doing a lot of hand work were relating that they were doing 30-45 minute sharpening sessions on their most used tools, twice daily. More frequently if edge failures occurred.
Thinking about time spent sharpening is important. Sharpening isn’t as creative as it is redundant, and it’s methods require that we pay rapt attention to something pretty exact in order for it to be successful. It also requires more attention as based on the level of sharpness we require from the process. Dubbing an edge can set the process back a step or two, really easy. At the same time, good sharpening is absolutely necessary if we are to experience the creativity we desire from what our tools can help us produce.
Tool cutting edge dullness is the roadblock to creativity, productivity and quality, while taking considerable time to overcome. This circle is made worse the longer we put off correcting it. That sounds like something we should avoid! Let’s consider why we wait too long to sharpen.
So how do we improve our sharpening regime? It is a couple things in ensemble actually. It helps if we have the right evaluative experiential knowledge and productive sharpening gear that matches the steel in our tools to do the job. It helps even more if we never allow our tools to get very dull in the first place.
If sharpening could be easier, we would not be so reluctant to do it. If the gear had the ability to remove dullness in the fastest way and optimized the honing/polishing process using what worked fastest and best, that would remove some of the roadblocks to sharpening, and we might not delay the process so much, or at all.
That’s food for thought and worth considering. Part 3 in this series is next.
The Magstrop™ Sharpening Stations are custom made to order. They are helpful and adaptable to most sharpening methods in use and can be ordered today.
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Jose Romanillos, Antonio de Torres, Guitar Maker, 1987
I assembled this guitar earlier this year and today I was able to glue the bridge onto the guitar's top.
This is always a little nerve wracking, there is always the chance that the bridge will shift under the clamps pressure and I may not notice it in time. Before I do this procedure, I do spend some time making sure that I locate the bridge in the correct place with the proper amount of string compensation (for intonation), the saddle must be parallel to the frets and that the outer string holes are parallel to the neck.
Three clamps and cauls to glue the bridge in place.
I should really call this a Torres/Santos model guitar. It's outline is that of Torres FE19 guitar (as rendered by Neil Ostberg, click here to see his wonderful site and to download those plans), but at the last minute I decided to use a bracing pattern that was used by the great Santos Hernandez on a guitar he made in 1930.
Torres used a bracing pattern that resembles a kite, click here to see that, it makes for a very well balanced guitar, but the parallel bracing of the 1930 Santos really intrigued me. Click here to see that guitar plan.
I've used the standard Torres bracing on other guitars and it works well, I wanted to experiment on this guitar and next weekend after I have fretted over the frets, installed the tuning machines and new Savarez strings I will find out what voice "Amparo" will have.
Even though I’ve been writing for newspapers and magazines for 25 years, it’s still a thrill to be on the cover or the front page. This month, a campaign-style bookcase I built for a customer is on the cover of the October 2014 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine.
The folding clamshell bookcase is my own design that is inspired by bookcases I have observed and measured during the last few years in my research for “Campaign Furniture.” The bookcase is in sapele. The finish is garnet shellac.
It’s a really good issue of the magazine, overall. And if you don’t subscribe, here’s where you can remedy that.
In addition to my piece, there’s a great article by Willard Anderson on restoring wooden-bodies bench planes. And Don Williams, the author of “To Make as Perfectly as Possible” has plans for a clever sawhorse that folds flat.
Oh, and Peter Follansbee, the author of “Make a Stool from a Tree” is now the Arts & Mysteries columnist. (Congrats to both Peter and the magazine.)
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Campaign Furniture, Make a Joint Stool from a Tree, To Make as Perfectly as Possible, Roubo Translation
I’ve said it a hundred times before, but I don’t watch much TV, in particular if you take football and baseball out of the equation. Up until very recently, one of the few indulgences I had was watching television woodworking shows. Unfortunately, I’ve just found out that The Woodwright’s Shop is no longer being shown in my area. While there are a few other woodworking television shows still being shown, it just so happens that I’m usually not home when they are on. For all intents and purposes, woodworking television no longer exists in my house, and it’s disappointing.
I’m not sold on internet woodworking. I write a woodworking blog, I read many woodworking blogs, I watch woodworking videos, and I even watch The New Yankee Workshop and The Woodwright’s Shop, all on a computer. It just isn’t the same thing. There is a disconnect that occurs when using a computer. I can’t necessarily describe what that disconnect is, but it does exist. Sitting at a computer desk and watching a screen is not the same as watching a television program with my family, or even the same as reading a book in the same room. My daughter, and even my wife would watch Norm Abram with me; she would ask questions, or tell me what she liked and didn’t like. If I happen to be reading a woodworking magazine or book, my wife will usually check out what I am reading. My daughter always enjoyed looking at the project books I have, and she particularly likes the Eric Sloane books. I can only speak for myself, but you don’t see too many families gathered around a computer screen enjoying each others company.
I know that the internet has done a lot of amazing things for woodworking like allowing people to take woodworking classes who otherwise may never have that opportunity. But something about sitting at a desk watching a computer screen just bugs the hell out of me. It feels lazy, it feels wrong. In this paperless world, I print out articles I want to read because I don’t like having to sit at a computer to read them, in fact I have several ring binders filled with them. I find it funny and ironic that many woodworkers took up the hobby to work with their hands, get away from the grind, get away from the computer screen, and maybe slow down an ever quickening technological and fast paced world. Yet the world of woodworking media is now dominated by the internet, and I don’t know if that’s for the better.
Internet woodworking is here to stay; I know that. And internet woodworking certainly has its place. I’ve been able to share my thoughts and radical ideas with people around the world because of the internet. I’ve been able to learn woodworking techniques by watching skilled woodworkers, both amateur and professional, who were thoughtful enough to post their videos. In fact, you might argue that the hobby of woodworking would not be flourishing without the internet. I would probably agree. But I like woodworking television, and I like woodworking books, and there are those out there that would say that those forms of woodworking media are dead or dying. I don’t agree. For all the internet has to offer, it can’t replace a book, or a few minutes watching Roy Underhill while sitting on a couch with your kid. So if the day ever comes when you no longer can buy a woodworking book, or watch a woodworking television program, I believe that woodworking will die along with it.
During one of our trips around Inle lake we encountered a guy making a bunch of simple chairs and tables. Morticing by hand, despite the router in the background. And he also used one of these typical Asian handplanes. This one has a double iron, bedded somewhat steeper then the 45 degrees we usually have overhere. It looks very homemade like. Another regular tool in Asia is the framesaw.
The highlight of handtool working certainly was this small boatyard, also in Inle lake. First time ever I saw pit sawing in real life! Another nice picture is the planing bench, very simple, but effectively enough, I guess.
Ripsawing by hand. Of course, what else?
And finally a picture of handplaning with one of these Asian planes. Good to see how they use these in real life. They probably use them in every possible way imaginable, but this handposition is unique to these kinds of planes.
That's all about the woodworking I've seen in Burma. It is a unique country. Because of its isolation during the last decades, you get a glimpse of the old ways of Asia. But Burma is changing really fast now, so if you want to see it yourself, don't wait too long. One last picture, the famous and unique rowing technique of the fisherman in Inle lake.
Part 4 of a British Introduction to Japanese Planes
What we in the West do not realise is that a plane comes to a maker as a kit of parts. He would buy the blade and maybe the back iron from the blacksmith but they may have been made by two smiths. The body would come from a Kanna maker down the road. These are the three parts that have to be made to fit together and it’s YOUR job to do it.
Note that there are only three parts. There is NO WEDGE to press it all together.
What we have instead is a tapering blade and back iron that tightens as it fits down in the body of the plane.
Most plane bodies are cut at an effective pitch of 38° this works well for them as they are cutting mostly softwood. If we are to plane hardwood to a shine we need a slightly higher pitch. My advice has been to go for 41°. Higher and you tend to loose the polish and have a harder pull on the plane body; lower and you get tear-out.
Getting a body made for a specific blade is not a problem. I will give a source later.
Back irons need some explaining. We have cheap bits of low-carbon steel that flap around like mother’s washing. The Japanese have laminated steel back irons that are made to sit a HAIR’S THICKNESS behind the edge. The contact with the blade is honed smooth and there is an angle ground at the point of contact with the blade about 0.25mm wide of about 70°. See the photo. This surface is to drive the shaving immediately up after being cut by the blade.
High-tech stuff this back iron.
Earlier planes were made to function without back irons, but this was in softwood. I believe we would not get the result we want without a back iron. Maybe wrong, but that’s the gut feel at the moment.
Next we will be fitting blades to the body.
Filed under: Handplanes