Highland Woodworker has just published an interview with me on their “Web TV for Woodworkers” site – Episode 12. There are several other things happening on that particular show – You can also see Luthier Kipp Krosa and his beautiful musical instruments, Glen Huey talking about how to buy shellac that is not too old (who would have known?) and the Tennessee Barn Project where some of those amazing old barns are salvaged.
My interview starts at about the 29 minute mark.
Since my 47 year old mechanical school clock has left home, there’s been an empty spot on the wall where eyes land several times a day, finding little but a faded outline and silence. It’s time to change that.
Back when clocks and watches actually had mechanical things inside, watchmakers and watch repairers (often jewelers) needed an accurate timepiece from which to set and check times. “Regulators” were accurate enough, probably not quite as accurate as H4, or other chronographs used for navigation, but close.
Many case styles exist for regulators. Two of my favorites are movements with longer pendulums, the Vienna Regulator and the Jeweler’s Regulator. Here we have a Jeweler’s Regulator that has been offered for many years by Klockit. I’ve admired it for as many years, keeping it on my bucket list as one of the clocks I want to build. Nope! I am NOT building a kit. Klockit offers drawings for this clock, 8 large sheets. I’m working from those drawings and using some Cherry that I bought last year. However, I will be using the mechanical movement components the clock was designed around, a Hermle regulator movement. When I built that school clock 47 years ago, mechanical movements were very plentiful and reasonably affordable. That was a decade and a half before the rise of quartz movements. The transition to quartz is now nearly complete and mechanical movements are becoming rarities. Demand has fallen, resulting naturally in fewer choices and dramatically higher prices. So, I caught this one during a 20% discount sale before its cost escalated yet more.
Rarely do I build from plans. In this case, I’ll stick close to the plan but will make some alterations, specifically to allow some carving. At the moment, I’m thinking the biggest change will be replacing the dentil molding in the crown with egg and dart. Maybe more…
In any case, we now see the reason I jumped on that set of hollows and rounds a while back. They were bought for clock moldings. Learning curves ahead…
For the last seven weeks I’ve been building this folding campaign bookcase using sapele I purchased from the dearly departed Midwest Woodworking. My logbook says I have about 50 hours in the project. It took seven weeks because I was interrupted by travel, teaching and taxes (to name a few things).
Overall dimensions (open): 37” long, 27” high, 10-1/4” deep.
Hardware: Most of the hardware is from Lee Valley. The corner guards, brackets and campaign pulls were vintage stuff from eBay (though Londonderry Brasses carries the exact stuff I used). The lock is from eBay as well. See here for details.
Finish: Garnet shellac and black wax.
More details on construction: Coming this fall in Popular Woodworking Magazine.
The piece is away for photography and then to the customer. Now I can get started on making some birdhouses.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Books in Print, Campaign Furniture, Projects
Northwest Woodworking Studio Director Gary Rogowski will be featured in the Oregon Artbeat Exhibition.
From Art Beat’s Facebook Page
In honor of Oregon Art Beat’s 15th season, OPB is excited to present the Oregon Art Beat Exhibition: Celebrating 15 Years of Creativity. Opening April 19 to the public, the exhibition will feature hundreds of Oregon Art Beat alumni artists and brings together paintings, metal work, sculpture, calligraphy, pottery, music and more from across the region. The exhibition will take place on the top floor of Pioneer Place Mall at the Peoples Art of Portland Gallery, the Mark Wooley Gallery and the Art Beat Main Stage Gallery.
The address is 700 SW 5th Avenue, 3rd floor. The exhibition is free of charge and will run April 19-June 15. Hours are 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Get the app!
A new app for iOS and Android has information about all the artists, a complete schedule of performances and serves as your guide through the Exhibition.
Show off your excellent work in 2014 Popular Woodworking Magazine Excellence Awards. Winners in each of five categories, a grand-prize winner, and a Readers’ Choice winner will be published in a feature article in the November 2014 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. You can enter up to five pieces; the categories are: Casework, Cabinets & Bookcases; Seating; Tables; Boxes & Smalls (e.g. beautiful tools); Turnings, Carvings & Objet d’Art (by […]
I was shown this joint at Yandles show. At first glance it looks like a lapped dovetail until you look more closely, it's angled at the top as well.
It was made many years ago out of boxwood and rosewood, both very hard and yet it was still a perfect fit. The pictures below should explain how it was achieved.
Apparently it was a joint used for holding together the top of large bookcases.
Another fine craftsman showed me some dovetail guides he had made and they really were things of beauty!
The two pieces were dovetailed square and then the angles on the sides cut afterwards. He was thinking of adding magnets and using them as a magnetic dovetail guide. Not that he needs one as these were cut totally by hand and were perfect.
We have been busy creating new input for training and of course our outreach is far bigger than ever before. Your requests for specific videos and blog posts really is taken seriously so please keep the requests that interest you coming in.
We have new posts and videos emerging on the following over the next few weeks. This is a partial list:
Bevel-up and bevel-down planes – What’s the difference?
Moulding planes – What they do and how to sharpen them.
151 Spokeshaves and others – Sharpening them jig, adjusting them and using them.
The #4 scrub plane – How to develop yours, use it and more
Planing rough stock with scrubs
Carving a wooden scoop
Preparing chisels – Should they all be flat or do we obsess?
How to use #80 scraper to its best
Clamping stock to benches – Techniques and methods that work
When these are posted I will mention it here but to guarantee video access and updates it’s best to sign up by subscribing. We will post some on YouTube and there are about 50 free videos there already and some via the woodworkingmasterclasses.com site. To access WWMC you will need to sign in for the free subscription here. This is simple enough and we will not bog you down with any advertising because we do not allow any adverts on our websites.
Jackie Chan. Chopsticks. Woodworking.
What’s not to like?
VIDEO 11/15 of Joshua Farnsworth’s free hand cut dovetail video series shows how to cut the pins using a dovetail saw.
This is a very detailed tutorial designed to teach beginners how to become expert at dovetailing by hand. It is offered as a free resource to encourage the revival of traditional woodworking.
This detailed video series was inspired by a 5 day class that I took from Roy Underhill and Bill Anderson: world-renowned experts on traditional woodworking with hand tools.
Which traditional hand tools should you buy?
If you need advice on which hand tools to buy (and not buy), then definitely read my 13 category buying guide article: “Which Hand Tools Do You need for Traditional Woodworking?”
Shortcuts to Dovetail Videos 1-15:
- Part 1: “Arrange the Boards & Mark the Reference Faces”
- Part 2: “Square the Board Ends”
- Part 3: “Prepare the Layout”
- Part 4: “Lay out the Half Pins”
- Part 5: “Layout the Tails”
- Part 6: “Mark the Tail Angles”
- Part 7: “Cut the Tails”
- Part 8: “Remove the Tail Waste”
- Part 9: “Clean the Tails”
- Part 10: “Layout the Pins”
- Part 11: “Cut the Pins”
- Part 12: “Remove the Pin Waste”
- Part 13: “Clean the Pins”
- Part 14: “Join the Pins & Tails”
- Part 15: “Glue & Clamp the Dovetails”
I have been interested in the communications of your correspondent in regard to shingles. I have had over thirty years’ experience in building and repairing roofs. I have taken rifted pine shingles from off several roofs that were worn entirely through, at the line where the water falls from one shingle upon the next one below, while underneath the courses the shingles were as bright as when first laid.
Such is not the fact with sawed and cut shingles, from any kind of timber. The reason is, that sawed and cut shingles are cross-grained, so that water runs through the pores of the wood,—wets the under course, and, in wet seasons, seldom if ever dries.
The agents of decay are, air, water and heat. All are combined on a roof to produce decay, and you have the effect on all roofs made of sawed or cut shingles. I have replaced many roofs of sawed shingles, but they never were half worn; they were rotten and unfit to remain longer.
Let any one examine a sawed shingle, and he will find the grain severed and every pore, through which the sap was pumped up from the roots to the branches, is a water-pipe to conduct water through the shingle, instead of over it, as is done by a rifted shingle.
I advise every man, who has means to procure a rifted and shaved shingle, never to use a sawed or cut one. I think slate is the most economical and durable of all roofs. Tin will do well, and roofs with it will be laid more flat, thereby making less surface to cover. There may be compositions that will make good roofs, but I know of none I would accept as a gift, and I have tried several kinds. In choosing rifted shingles, don’t get those of twisted grain, so that one side will turn up and the other turn down.
Any person who will discover a cheap kind of roofing, that will endure our variable climate, will deserve the everlasting gratitude of his kind. But forever deliver me from sawed, and more especially cut shingles.
The Canada Farmer – June 1, 1864
—Jeff BurksA Shingle sawing and packing operation at a small mill near Jefferson, Texas 1939.
Filed under: Historical Images
A Carpenter can no longer be judged by his shavings. Machinery and improved tools is knocking to pieces the old-fashioned mechanical way of lots of sawdust and any amount of shavings in housework.
On this point the Springfield Republican remarks:
“A prominent city landlord, who is putting up many of the wooden houses in a district which is being rapidly filled, when asked by an old resident for a few barrels of shavings the other day, replied: We don’t have any shavings in the houses now; they are all made at the mill and you will have to go there for them. I don’t believe that the carpenters now a-days make more than a barrel of shavings in building a house. Modern residences are put up pretty much as Solomon’s temple was, the parts are brought together all prepared and fitted, and it is short and easy work to put them together.”
The wooden house is turned out of a saw and planing-mill, much as if it were a toy-block. Like ready-made clothes, the average mechanic can put up a ready-made house, while there is still the same opportunity for elaborate workmanship and outlay as in fine clothing.
The Builder and Wood-Worker – September, 1887
Filed under: Historical Images
All I will say is we wanted some stock that was a bit thicker than the stuff Dad usually uses for his walking sticks. It turned out he didn't have much, so we used what we had including some stock that had parts smaller that 1 1/2" in diameter.
It wasn't ideal. but after some testing involving a hammer and a tapered mortise and tenon, we decided these should be plenty strong for chairs. We'll see.
|Legs for two chairs.|
|Dad got pretty adept at roughing out the taper on the disk/belt sander. He doesn't have many woodworking tools, so we made due with what he had. I did bring a LV tapered reamer and a tapered tenon cutter.|
|This was one of the work-holding solutions I came up with. Dad has no woodworking bench and no woodworking vice or proper clamps, but we figured out what to do without them.|
|It really didn't take long for the two of us to make enough stretchers for two chairs.|
|Here is an action shot of me doing some precision sawing. The meat saw we were using was great for the dowels, but I had to use the hack saw for the back pieces.|
|The hardest part was figuring out the angles to drill. There was a lot of eyeballing going on as none of these sticks were straight.|
|Here is the tapered reamer in the drill. It worked great as long as you went slow. All that work practicing with a brace and bit paid off here as the same skills were used to drill straight holes.|
|Here is Dad doing his thing with finishing the willows. He uses a random orbit sander for this most of the time.|
|It fits together!|
|Almost done. I stripped some zinc-plated carriage bolts and blued them with something called Black Aluminum. They look cool now.|
|Done with the joinery. One chair to go, and then the leather. - Or, maybe the leather next, then the rest of the other chair.|
I bought my first marking knife in 2010. Up to that point a pencil had always worked well for me. I bought it because I'd read it was something essential for a hand tool woodworker to have and to use. I knew it was indispensable to improving my dovetail layouts. I knew it because the internet had told me so, and the internet never lies. Abraham Lincoln wrote that and I know because Facebook told me so. Facebook is also on the internet.
I bought that marking knife and tried to use it. I tried to use it just like I'd read about.
I bought that knife. I tried to use it, and it was horrible. I hated it. It stuck in the grain, It took a slice off the blade of my wooden square. It wiggled and pushed the square out of line. It slipped and cut my finger. It cut into the dovetails I was trying to trace. The damned thing was defective.
I put it back into it's plastic sheath and threw it into the drawer of a tool cabinet. The controversy was settled, I was a graphite man.
A while later I built a traditional tool chest and started to work out of it. I emptied the drawers of my tool cabinet into the tills of my chest. The Damned Marking Knife ended up with my measuring and layout tools in the top till. I spent a while moving it out of the way to grab a pencil. Then I started to pull it out of the chest every once in a while to see if it was still defective.
Once in a while grew to more often, which grew into fairly frequently.
Then I impulse bought a second marking knife at a woodworking show in Milwaukee.
That one seemed to follow the example of the first, It worked as well.
I'm proud to announce the Damned Marking Knife has learned it's lesson. It understands if it stops working again I will be forced to return it to exile. I consider this another bad tool reformed.
Now where did I put my pencil?
Ratione et Passionis
For some reason I never considered a tree stump as essential workshop equipment until I met Richard Maguire.
Maguire, a lifelong furniture-maker and bench-builder, uses a stump and an axe in his shop and counts it among his essential workshop kit. I’ve always favored sawbenches (yup, I hew on them), but I am coming around to Richard’s way of thinking.
Especially after playing a few (OK, 126) rounds of the Hammer Schlager game, the best stump game ever.
This week Suzanne Ellison sent me this photo from the Victoria & Albert Museum archives. Lady Hawarden Clementina took this photo at Dundrum House circa 1858. It is a fascinating photograph. Not only for the workbench, the chest in the foreground and the awesome hats, but for the stump and the axe.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Historical Images, Workbenches
I really enjoy customers sending me photos, but not this time. Joshua Tree Furniture and the Wooden Duck Furniture Store in Berkley USA were both totally destroyed by fire.
At this stage it is not known how the fire started.
It took five hours for the firefighters to get the blaze under control and this was what was left in the morning. Thankfully no one was hurt in the incident. My condolences to Aaron and his staff.
Don Williams – conservator, historian and woodworker extraordinaire – was in town a couple weeks ago to shoot a video on historic transparent furniture finishes, for which he brought a truckload of examples and props (the video will be available in mid-August). He was kind enough to leave some of his stuff behind for us to try out, including the “lemon shellac flour” pictured above. Now Don cares about shellac […]
Since then, I've learned a lot about the process.
A client recently asked me to reproduce a chair for a set, and the Museum where the original is housed refused to let us take measurements. Don't get me started...
Anyway, here is the scan that he sent me.
He is dropping the book by with the image soon so I can get better details, but this is my starting point.
My first step is to create a rough scaled drawing while getting to know the details and relationships in the chair. I'm trying to figure out the role that the different elements play so that I can get the overall impression to match, even before fleshing out the details.
I try to pin the scale of the chair by some educated guesses. Usually, older chairs like this are rather small, but a 17" to 18" height at the front is probably reasonable, and besides, it will ensure that the chairs can be used at a normal table. The chair is not shot straight on, which is almost always the case, but it is straight on enough that I can use the height to guess the distance between centerpoints of the bow where it enters the seat are about 13" apart. I confirmed this dimension on my own hoop backs as well as the measured drawings in John Kassays book.
Next, I'll refine all the proportions, measurements and angles in an accurate drawing that I can scale up for the patterns and forms.
Next week Tommy MacDonald is stopping by to film an episode of Rough Cut on building Windsors and we will be showing the construction of this chair.