I have been told that a bridge on one of the approaches to the Picnic site may be closed for construction. The map below shows some alternate routes.
It’s shaping up to be a beautiful fall day, so I hope to see some of you there!
I am pleased to announce the availability of replacement brass barrel nuts for the older Stanley planes. These nuts are manufactured from high quality brass bar stock and are a direct replacement for the OEM nuts.
With this addition to my product line I am now able to offer complete mounting hardware sets for all vintage Stanley bench planes.
As always, thanks for stopping by, and feel free to leave a comment.
Wrapping up my Adamstown travelogue, I offer a refresher course on painted chests. There are several styles of painted chests that can be divided into four major groups. First is painting for the sake of painting, much like you paint a house:
Next there is the decoratively painted chests. Often religious, cultural or ethnic themes are portrayed. Some are celebratory, weddings, births. Some are just decorative:
They ya got yer faux wood grained, often done to make the chest seem to be made from a better wood. Possibly to make it look veneered.
Then we move into the abstracts, starting with imaginative wood graining and quickly moving on to things I don’t understand and might never. Wood graining on mushrooms.
And then there is this one I like but don’t get:
I had this earlier blog on painted furniture, “As Close to Easter Eggs as I’m Going to Get.”
And my legendary Flickr set of Chests.
If there are any discrepancies between this and previous blogs, rest assured that this blog is correct. It just goes to show how much I have learned and how much smarted I am now.
I live in a house that was built in 1860. My shop is in a “carriage house” that I suspect was built sometime between 1900 and 1920. My guess would be that the structure was built for “horseless carriages” and replaced the original stable. It’s a large structure with a second floor apartment that, very likely, was home for a driver in an earlier, grander time. I’ve worked in this shop for more than a decade now and it still surprises me that very few visitors have ever noticed the “hidden treasure” that resides next to the west wall. In fairness, it may be that I’ve managed to keep it buried under various tools and supplies. But it’s worth a look.
Clearly, someone who resided here in the past, was involved in some serious woodworking. This is a bench that was built for joinery and it’s been here for a long time, a very long time. The bench is 126″ long, 18″ deep and 32″ high. The top is a single slab of 3″ thick white oak. A pegboard (hopelessly stuck in place) leg vise is attached on the left side. A 12″ wide “stretcher” runs diagonally from the left front leg to the right rear. The stretcher has helped maintain the top as “straight as a string” in length. However, over the last century the slab has cupped (crowned, if you prefer, as the work surface is convex).
The stretcher is fitted with two tiers of planing supports. These are large dowels that can be moved forward when additional support is needed. Unfortunately, some of the support rods have been cut short, rendering them useless.
Though I use the bench now for a place to support a grinder, filing vises and storage containers, it could be put to work, jointing long stock in a heartbeat. With any luck, this bench will be around for another century. I guess I could clean it up a little bit. But it’s got an awful lot of “character” just the way it is.
I got some new business cards the other day. I’ve been ordering through Print Place the last few times and have been happy with the results. They get printed in Texas and get here pretty darn quick. I use GIMP to design them according to the specs on the site and I get to see a digital proof of both front and back before it goes to press. I definitely prefer no coating on the card. I tried the gloss coating once and hated it. I thought it looked tacky. Uncoated is classy. They don’t offer super thick paper or letterpress printing (both of which I want someday) but the card looks decent as is. Besides, 250 double sided cards shipped to your door for $25.00 is hard to beat. If you’re looking for decent budget business cards, download GIMP and then order through Print Place. I think you’ll like it.
Got two days free in Southern California? Wanna see a guy make a campaign trunk by hand?
There are still seats available in my two-day presentation for the San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association seminar this Saturday and Sunday.
I’m building a dovetailed campaign trunk from start to finish – including all the hardware – and talking about a wide variety of hand-tool topics, everything from sharpening to hand joinery to not bleeding on the wood.
The seminar is Saturday and Sunday at Francis Parker School, 6501 Linda Vista Rd. San Diego, CA 92111. The seminar starts at 8 a.m. Saturday. You can still register here online.
All attendees receive a copy of “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” (signed in thumb blood) and the book’s companion DVD.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Woodworking Classes
The day before going to the show we had a good look around Old Salem, which lived up to the recommendation, thanks David.
This was a Mennonite community originating from Eastern Europe. Although the many properties have been for the most part rebuilt, it's been very well done. This is the Two Brothers house which featured some wonderfully executed double dovetail on an amazing scale.
This was the Single Mens house, the single woman's house was just across the green, so not as bad as it sounds!
A fine German bench with a dog leg vice, a very useful thing. Notice the angled support leg, doing the job without getting in the way. I have one of these on the to do list, I must remember that feature.
Another fine old bench with a leg vice and angled legs for maximum stability.
There seemed to be beautifully executed dovetails everywhere, even the stretchers of this stool had them!
And some more with a crazy angle and pins as skinny as you like.
This was the most enjoyable building we visited, the gun smiths shop. We had a fascinating history of the gradual transition from the European ways to new American ones. He also had plenty of well supported opinions on more recent topics such as US gun laws, health and social security. I tried to coax him a couple of times into working on the gun stock behind him but to no avail.
Here's a couple of antique guns (do not touch jobs!) the one at top was the more fancy with plenty of brass inlay and additional shaping. The wood was curly maple which replaced the more traditional maple of Europe. His hand made reproductions of these guns started at $3,000 which I thought seemed quite reasonable, that is when he got round to doing some work!
Anyway with appetite truly whetted it's off to the show!
After the aborted first attempt at excavating the inlay cavity, I decided to try again. I applied a couple of coats of shellac to seal the wood, hoping that it would make the layout lines more visible — it didn’t. Or at least not by much. I followed the same process as last time — glue the inlay down with Duco cement, trace around it with a fresh Xacto knife, pop the inlay off and excavate with the mini router.
The hardest part of the whole inlay process was accurately excavating the cavity to fit the inlay into. I expected it would be sawing the parts, but I was wrong. What made the inletting difficult (aside from the fact that it’s 100 degrees in the shop) is a combination of tool problems and ergonomics.
I’m having issues with the mini router base not holding it’s position and a few other small issues. I’ve been emailing with William Ng, and I’m sure he’ll get it sorted out for me.
The ergonomics are a little more of a problem. I didn’t have a good way to get hold the part at the right height, I didn’t have a good solution for clearing the chips so I could see the line, and the lighting was bad. I made do, and I have an idea for how to make that better next time. In fact, I think between getting the tool and ergonomics dialed in I’ll have a much better result and more relaxing time of it overall.
The actual process of inletting was a matter of “hogging” the bulk of the waste out with a 1/8″ bit (if you can consider it “hogging” with a tiny router bit). I tried to stay about 1/16 off the line as I was hogging out. Then I switched to a 1/16″ bit and snuck up on the walls, watching for my scribed line to disappear. Sometimes the line would disappear, but when I looked closely the surface where the wood was scored would come off, but lower in the cavity the wall would still be sticking out. So the process included a lot of fine tuning until the inlay seemed like it would snap in.
After a couple of rounds of back-and-forth fine tuning (and the requisite amount of overshooting the line, and only a moderate amount of swearing) I had an inlay-shaped cavity I thought would work.
I filled the bottom of the cavity with Superglue and pressed the inlay in. The little base had broken loose from the main part, which wasn’t a problem.
I put a sheet of waxed paper over the inlay, added a caul and clamped it in my leg vise for two hours. It was with a fair amount of trepidation that I pulled it out to check. I was surprised at how deep the inlay was in the wood. I’d sawn the veneer about .125″ thick, and only routed the cavity .075″ deep, but it was almost flush. I think this was from sanding the back of the inlay assembly to remove glue, I’ll have to watch that in the future.
I started flattening this with 100 grit glued to some plywood scraps. 60 grit would be better, the 100 loaded up pretty quickly. I had to sand the inlay flush, sand off the glue, shellac and paper.
Once that was done I checked for any pinholes and gaps and filled those with Superglue.
So I’ll give myself a C+ for effort on this. It’s obviously got some problems when you look at it up close, although it isn’t a complete disaster. The problems I see are almost exclusively with the excavating of the cavity. A little neater job on that, and this would be presentable. I can see some problems with the sawing too, but surprisingly then almost disappear in the finished piece. And I’d I’d inlayed this into a dark wood the gaps around the edge would be nearly invisible.
Before I do this again I need to get the router base sorted out, and set up better ergonomics for the process. Tomorrow if it isn’t too hot I might finish the Thorsen cabinet…
A young lady tries out the spokeshave at my booth during the Ayer Fourth of July celebration at the town park. Photo by Amelia Pak-Harvey, used by permission of Nashoba Publishing.
JOTMOST, the Joseph O. Thornton Memorial Open Shop Time for veterans, has been going well. I currently have four participants learning hand tool woodworking skills in my basement workshop on Wednesday evenings.
This is a free program open to all US military veterans and active duty, any service, any era. Full information is available here.
One of my past students came over for the first session and wanted to help pay for things. So I used his donation to stock up on materials for the program at Parlee Lumber in Littleton (they celebrate their 200th anniversary as a small working lumber mill next year!).
Generosity begets generosity; as I was chatting with the yard manager at Parlee and told him what I was using the lumber for, he told me to take a couple of extra pieces off the stack.
To help get word out, I setup a booth at the Ayer, MA Fourth of July celebration. I had a number of people of various ages stop by and try out the tools.
I also sent a notice to the town Veteran's Officer, and he very kindly posted it on the town website and Facebook page, helping to bring several people in.
The reporter from the local paper who had taken the photo above asked if she could do a story, so she visited the workshop a couple weeks ago to meet several veterans and get some photos. She wrote up a very nice story that you can read here.
While I only have space for four people at a time, if you're interested in attending or know someone who might be, I can start a wait list and notify you when a spot becomes available.
Yesterday a friend, Fred Sutton who is a craftsman from my home county as a child, dropped in and gave us almost 100 chisels that need new handles turning. A good two hours work! Bevel edged and firmer chisels, some mortise and other styles. I will need to do some turning now. There are other tools too, a nice wooden jack, a Mathieson, and an old Tenon saw by Robert Sorby with 10 tpi and is sharpened to a crosscut, which I think we’ll keep as a crosscut. More restoration work but everyone benefits. John claimed one of the 3/16” Marples mortise chisel and he needs a handle for that one too.
We are about done with the Shaker Deacon’s bench seat and so we are going to release the new series on picture frame making using methods unknown in the last 150 years or so. I mentioned them recently. We’ll use scratch stocks and moulding planes and other methods too. I am so glad we have been able to transition dome of the teaching to video because it saves so much of my writing time. Today we have been working through a series on replicating a table following methods we are unlocking by dismantling the past in the piece itself piece by piece.
It’s been amazing to discover a piece made 150 years ago where every facet is dead square and every leg is identically sized within the smallest fraction of a millimetre. How did they do it? They did it with wooden jack planes and smoothing planes in a few strokes. I so enjoyed starting the filming of this series this week. Today we concluded much of the series and then we get ready for our fall series workshops which include the Craftsman Style Rocking Chair, an introductory Women’s woodworking workshop, Discovering Woodworking and a couple of Foundational Course. Please check online for dates and space availability.
A lot of what we do in woodworking masterclasses is very unique to us. I am glad for this because that’s what is making our training so unique and refreshing to do. I often think that you might think everything I teach is old stuff I learned as an apprentice and whereas there is a lot in that, much of what we are teaching is new and innovative too. We might take a 100 year old tenon saw and file off all the teeth. We have a brand new video we just worked on that shows how you, not just me, can remove the teeth of any traditional hand or tenon saw that has bad or wrongly sized teeth – and I mean file off every single one of them – and recut and file them sharp in only a few minutes.
The results are stunning and all you need is two or three small and inexpensive tools to do it. So looking forward to sharing this with everyone. Look out everyone with woodworking masterclasses for another new and free video you’ve never seen before. It was a blast to see this come together.
This coming Tuesday evening September 16, at 7:00 PM, you will find me in Dallas, at the North Texas Woodworkers Assc. Meeting. I will be there letting off some steam! Seriously, I will be demonstrating steam bending techniques during this presentation. I will be going over several topics, from choosing your wood and building your […]
Mechanics of chipbreakers and high cutting angles in woodworking planes.
Kees van der Heiden, The Netherlands, 2014.
When using handplanes, tearout is a typical problem. Two methods to prevent tearout are high cutting angles and chipbreakers set very close to the cutting edge. In previous work it was found that a cutting angle of 60° is equivalent to a chipbreaker setting of 0.1 mm behind the edge when the chipbreaker edge is beveled at 45°. Likewise an angle of 55° is equal to a 0.2 mm setting of the chipbreaker. To compare the two methods a planing machine is used with force transducers to measure the cutting force Fc and the force perpendicular to the wood surface, the normal force Fn. Fc proved to be 30% higher for the plane setups with a high cutting angle, compared to the equivalent chipbreaker settings. Fn is normally negative, pulling the edge into the wood in a standard 45° plane without the chipbreaker. When setting the chipbreaker close to the edge this negative force is slightly reduced, but in high angle planes this is reduced much more and tends towards 0 around a 60° cutting angle, under the circumstances of this experiment. A second experiment has been conducted to measure the forces after a planing distance of 100 meters. The rate of change of Fc is about equal for both methods. The rate of change of Fn is twice as fast for the high cutting angles. The conclusion is that the plane with a chipbreaker is technically more advanced then the plane with a high cutting angle. A hypothesis about how the two methods prevent tearout is proposed in this article too.
See our previous posts on how to choose a sharpening stone. In view of what I’ve learned from many years of experience using different sharpening stone systems, I’ve settled on using the diamond stones mentioned in the previous post, following the finest diamond stone with a hard translucent oil stone. I’ve chosen this stone because it’s hard, […]
The post How To Choose a Sharpening Stone, Part 4: What I Use appeared first on Heritage School of Woodworking Blog.
In this part 1 I focus on milling the quite substantial 10/4 and 12/4 Walnut stock and joint and gluing up the parts of the top. Here again I present my hybrid milling process that I detailed in episode 182, but it should be noted that it is possible to use this same process on the edges of the boards. A general rule of thumb is that you should not run a board through the planer whose width is more than 3 times the thickness. So with me using 2.5″ thick Walnut for the legs, I can comfortably run the 4″ width and quickly surface them on 4 sides.
We’ve got a weekend workshop on Boullework Marquetry coming up at The Barn the first weekend of October. Recently I made a batch of artificial tortoiseshell for us to use in that workshop, with at least two pieces for each participant. One of the exercises for the weekend will be to make another batch so that each attendee can make their own once they get back home.
My method is described somewhat in an article I will post next week in the Writings section of the web site, but here again is how I did it this time. Start with a flat clean surface with a sheet of mylar on which to cast the artificial shell on.
Cast out the material on the mylar,
then create the pattern. The upper row of scutes is made to mimic “hawksbill” turtles, and the lower row “greenback” turtles. Once that is firm, cast a second layer of polymer on top of the pattern to complete the composite, and you are done.
PS – I purposefully left out all the chemistry stuff. It’s in the article
PPS If you are interested in joining us for the course, drop me a line through the “Contact” function of the web site.