Buying tools for Christmas gifts makes gift-buying quick and simple, especially through eBay and online buying. This is the reality of woodworking. The price can be matched to any budget from a few pounds and on into the hundreds.
There is nothing wrong with putting one of these on your Christmas wish list, either now or for the future. To prevent price hikes, I suggest an option. Every time I do a blog on the Stanley smoothing planes, or any other for that matter, there is no doubt that prices go up for a period because more people take the advice, looks and finds one, and bids at the same time. Consider another option, which is to give a promissory note and extend the bidding period into January or later. Usually there are several pages of these planes and they vary in price from several pounds to well over a hundred. Many prices are too high. Avoid new planes. They have plastic handles that break soon after purchase And replacing them with wooden ones makes the price all the higher. New Stanley’s are not the same as old ones. They are miserable to use and are not the quality of older models. Some say pre-war models are best, but don’t dismiss post war ones. Mine, the ones I bought in the mid 1960′s, have been wonderful planes and still work perfectly after 50 years of continuous daily use. Not many modern planes have been through what my planes have and so I have no hesitation in saying this. These are readily available via eBay.co.uk and most likely will be forever as there were so many made they just cycle though. In the USA eBay Stanley’s go for much higher prices and there are often much fewer planes available. I cannot say that I have had the same success buying in the USA as the US prices are higher and the number of planes fewer. I also think that the US was far more advanced into accepting machine methods using power equipment than Britain was.
Look for the shiny black look on the handle and knob. This usually shows that the handles are plastic. Any and all new planes will have plastic handles except those that are both old stock but new and unused product. The yellow Stanley box is not a sign of none plastic handles. Don’t use that as confirmation. Look at the handles for yourself and ask questions of the seller as needed. Avoid broken handles. The price is not usually much less when repaired and rarely is a repair permanent unless the repairer knows his or her plane stuff and used the right glue, cramping pressure and so on. Rosewood is better glued with an epoxy and even then a good one. I use West Systems epoxy for such things. Beech handles do repair well with PVA so use these two adhesive types for the different woods. I think it’s true to say that all of the UK Stanley’s had beech handles and the USA Stanley’s had rosewood. I may be wrong on this but some of you may know more than me on this. I love the rosewood handles. They are often slimmer. More graceful and feel really nice in the hand.
Another thing to look for when buying is the height of the cutting iron in relation to the lateral adjustment lever. This image will help you see what I mean.
Here is a link I did some time back on a blog on buying planes via eBay. I think most if it is still good.
Now eBay is not the only way to buy. There are many secondhand dealers out there and though they charge a higher price, they also ensure that the plane is functional and clean.
Next week, Lost Art Press titles that I’ve written will feature a new design of signature bookplate.
Designed and printed by Brian Stupayrk at Steam Whistle Letterpress & Design, these bookplates are printed in two colors on Crane & Co. self-adhesive paper.
If you purchased one of our books from another retailer and would like one of these bookplates, you can order one in our store here.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Products We Sell
It feels like I skipped around a little in the last episode and should have instead saved working on the legs until after the assembly work in today’s episode.
With that said, in this episode we’re assembling the box upon which the platform will rest and the legs will be attached. In other words, we’re doing the foundation work.
We’ll start by prepping the outside surface of the box itself, followed by joining the dovetails and then inserting and attaching the “undercarriage”.
I have made wallets for my tombstone scrapers and my card scrapers, and my steel graining combs, so I thought I should make one for myself. I have a couple of reproduction wallets, one I use for my checkbook and the other I use daily. The problem with the pocket wallet is that when it is opened, it can spill half the contents out, and original design flaw. The wallet was also slightly wider than it needed to be, so the new wallet is about 1″ narrower than the one I had been using.
Then I saw some historic 18th century wallets and billfolds and decided to copy those styles, so I incorporated features from several different examples and came up with a design of my own [which I totally ripped off from the past].
Made from hair cell pigskin I got from the Leather Factory [a Tandy outlet] here in Salt Lake and have used it before for my scraper wallets. The thread is No. 30 Machine Linen thread from Belgium, and used two needles to sew it up. [If I do much more leather work I will need to build a stitching horse or pony. I used a traditional Hudson Bay trade awl for all of the holes for the stitches. The open ends are doubled back for extra reinforcement.
The traditional clasp is made from pure silver .999, and I drilled the holes using pivot bits in my Archimedes Drill and even managed to make all of the cuts from the outside shapes to the piercings for the rectangular slots for the catch without breaking a blade in my jeweler’s saw. I filed the edges and rinded the sewing holes to make them smooth to preserve the thread. I lightly sanded the surface with 600 grit then burnished it with a steel burnisher to a high shine.
I may do some tooling to the surfaces but I can do that at any time, and I am thinking of pinking the scallops on the inside.
Now back to woodworking.
Of all the variables of design, context is the easiest to miss. That is one of the powerful things about using SketchUp, you can easily compare one piece to another, add a human figure to the model or place the piece in a room setting. Seeing is believing and knowing is better than guessing. Yesterday … Read more
This month we’ll take a look at Lie-Nielsen’s Large Shoulder Plane (073). This is the largest of their shoulder planes and weighs in at 4 lbs. The body of the 073 is made from durable Ductile Iron and measures 8-¼” long by 1-¼” wide. The body is ground very precisely so that each of the two reference sides is exactly square to the sole, as is necessary to create the standard shoulder to tenon relationship. The A2 Tool Steel blade is cryogenically treated, double tempered and is .140” thick and .005” wider than the body, so you can set the plane up with the blade slightly proud on both sides. This allows you to make lateral adjustments without the blade becoming inset on one side. If it is necessary for a specific cut, you can always register the blade flush on one side, but in general it is best to be proud on both. The blade comes with a 25 degree bevel and its bedding angle is 18 degrees. The lever cap is Bronze and along with providing both a good grip and additional mass, it is absolute eye candy. Even though there is significant difference in size between the three planes in this series, the operation and features are the same for each.
As a quick note, since I wrote about the sharpening and setup aspect of shoulder planes in another article earlier this year , I won’t bother including it in this article, too. There is one aspect of the sharpening portion that I’d like to update. While I still use my Kell sharpening guide presently, I plan to upgrade to Lie-Nielsen’s forthcoming sharpening guide. It is solidly and accurately made and can handle a wider range of blades than any I currently own.
The size and mass of the 073 are significant and beneficial. Years ago I purchased a Lie-Nielsen Medium Shoulder Plane, at that time thinking it would give me the best of both world’s (small and large). I would now opt for the Large Shoulder Plane if I were obtaining only one for my shop, as I find the mass helps the plane continue through the cut, once started. It also acts as if it wants to stay connected to the reference surface, but even if it does shift slightly, I think the feedback it provides is more obvious.
The shoulder plane can obviously address shoulders on tenons, create or increase the depth of rabbets, and both remove and clean up additional material from a dado, just to name a few operations. Depending on the operation, you may wish to have a nice tight mouth while taking a very fine shaving, or more readily remove a fair amount of wood and open the mouth for the thicker shaving.
It is extremely easy to adjust the “shoe” of the plane, which controls the mouth opening. The first step is to loosen the screw on top of the front section of the plane by turning it counter-clockwise by about half of a turn.
After loosening the shoe locking screw, turn the shoe adjustment screw on the toe of the plane to move the shoe. Turning this screw clockwise will bring the shoe towards the blade, closing the mouth opening. Turning the screw counter-clockwise will open the mouth. When closing the mouth, pay close attention to the blade, so you don’t accidentally hit it with the shoe. You don’t want to dull or damage the blade.
After setting the mouth to the desired opening, make sure to re-lock the shoe by turning the screw on top of the plane clockwise until snug. To limit any damage to the locking screw head, either use a Lie-Nielsen #4 screwdriver that fits the head precisely, or any other screwdriver with correct tip width and length so there is no slop.
For optimum results, make sure you keep the plane iron shaving sharp. I also like to apply a little paraffin to the bearing surface(s) (sole and potentially the side, too) to reduce the friction, which I find allows for better accuracy since less force is required through the cut.
Even if you already have one of the smaller versions of this shoulder plane (or others), I believe you’ll find this plane a welcome addition,
and you may just find it superseding its predecessor. There is just no way around it; this is one sweet plane!
I hope you enjoyed the article and please let me know if you have any questions or comments.
CLICK HERE to find out more information or to purchase the Lie-Nielsen Large Shoulder Plane (073).
The post December Lie-Nielsen Tool of the Month: Large Shoulder Plane (073) appeared first on Woodworking Blog.
We bought an antique office chair to restore. Its main components are made of walnut and it will look great once it has been cleaned up.
Some of the screws that secure some pieces together were missing, and upon closer inspection I found it was the screw-heads that were broken off – the body of the screw remained in the holes.
Screw ‘extractors’ (see here for an example) are designed to work on stripped screw heads. As I have only the body of the screw available the surface area to work with is simply too small for an extractor (if you can get them to work at all).Time to dig
So the only option is to dig a mortise around the screw to expose it, and then come in with some needle-nose pliers and unscrew the screw body from the wood. Some points to note:
- Be CAREFUL using chisels near metal parts. It’s very easy to chip the edge you’ve just sharpened….
- I used an awl to scrape material from around the screw to save my chisel from harm.
- I had to excavate quite a depth around the screw before it was loose enough to unscrew. The reason it snapped in the first place is because it is in there so tightly (probably no pilot hole was drilled prior to the screw being forced in).
- The needle-nose pliers took a beating, too. It is hard to get a good grip for twisting the screw out.
Once the screw was out, I used scrap walnut to create a square plug for the hole. The plugs have a friction fit but are still glued in place and flush-cut to the surface. I drilled a pilot hole in the centre of the plug for the new screw to go in.
All in all, I had five of these broken screws and the procedure took some time to do. I’ll post about the remainder of the restoration sometime soon. They don’t make ‘em like they used to…
Filed under: Projects Tagged: broken screw, mid century, office chair, restoration, screw extractor, walnut
The last two items on my list are for woodworkers who have been very good this year. They are a bit more expensive than the other items on my list, but they are excellent tools. Of those last two items, the first is the Saddle-Tail from Sterling Tool Works, a one-man toolmaking company in Maryland. … Read more
A quick clean up of a great plane, with some ‘before and after’ shots. I love the Millers Falls brand, with many a plane passing through Hackney Tools Towers. Mostly, I’ve regretted selling them on, and if I find any more in good condition, I’ll probably hang onto them.
One recent acquisition was a rather sorry-looking ‘No.14′, I think a Type.2 from 1936-45, with what looks like the stained handles, rather than solid rosewood.
I did a fairly normal clean-up on this plane, which only took about an hour. I’m really pleased with the results and I know I’ll end up using this one. I’m also very pleased I got to the plane before the rust was irreversible, as it was, it cleaned off, but I think it only had a few more months in that shed!
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was born on 18 July 1918 in the small village of Mvezo, on the Mbashe River, district of Umtata in Transkei, South Africa. His Father named him Rolihlahla, which means “pulling the branch of the tree”, or more colloquially “troublemaker.”
(Photo from the Nelson Mandela Foundation.)
As editors, we search our two web sites (popularwoodworking.com and shopwoodworking.com) constantly for information for the online extras portion of all articles and most columns – the information, we hope, is both relevant and interesting. While searching the sites, I often come across books, articles and DVDs that have scads of interesting information, including tips … Read more
Most of the buildings at our new premises are in need of fairly extensive works before we’ll start using them but I’m looking to gain the benefits of a new hand tool workshop straight away. Since we set up our filming room earlier this year we’ve had new neighbours on the industrial estate who’ve brought with them a lot of new noise. This has made it awkward to get on with any videos so I’m eager to get set up on our more peaceful new site.
Fortunately the building that’s in the best nick will be ideal for this. It’s a former stable and it’s going to be a very generous space for hand tool work which will benefit the videos no end. I’ll likely bring along my Little John workbench and will also have space for a longer bench if I find time to knock one up (possible video build?). As far as filming goes the space will allow us to stand the cameras from a better range of angles and set up some more professional lighting and sound absorption. Best of all though there’ll be far less distracting noise and having this more dedicated, separate space means we’ll be able to make videos more often.
The stable is solid but far from a perfect condition. One day it will have a full refurb with the roof off and the lot but since it’s part of a longer stretch of buildings we don’t want to do too much in isolation. With a few temporary improvements, addressing any leaks and the installation of a nice stove for warmth this should soon work well for what I need.
The fun yet daunting part of this workshop is that for the most part I have to set up from scratch. With most of my existing tools required where they are for bench building I’m going to have to think about new additions. I’ll start by bringing together the most basic of tool kits and will let you know whether I’m opting to buy these new, refurb old ones or even make them myself as I feel each tool lends itself to a particular option.
I’ll be keeping you updated with every step of this workshop and it should come together to form a nice series on setting up from scratch. I’m going to start by measuring up and weighing up the defects this afternoon – I’ll report my findings.
Let’s bookend this week of awesome sales by posting something awesome from my friend Shannon Rogers, the brain behind The Hand Tool School.
Many of you have had an opportunity to sign up for a semester or two already and you know how amazing it is! Shannon demystifies hand tools in a way that takes you from hoping you can saw near the line TO splitting it like an 17th Century Master Craftsman.
Just in time for the holidays Shannon is offering a special deal for new or returning members. Save $20 off any semester or bundle a few together and save potentially from $75-$200!
USE CODE xmas2013 AT CHECKOUT
Don’t wait until it’s too late. Signup today!
Christmas is very near and sharpening looms high on the agenda for any hand tool enthusiast and real woodworking demands it. This would be a good time to state your needs and perhaps acquire your sharpening plate ready for the New Year and the woodworkingmasterclasses.com training. I have one of these EZE-Lap two sided plates for good measure and I do like them. I have a holder for mine that enables me to use it securely on the benchtop and to flip it over easily during uses. I find them very good for transporting when solid steel ones take too much weight off my luggage allowance and scream out at security barriers because of the mass off steel solids.
Using a home-made holder and a guide to sharpen a shorter spokeshave blade
This coming year I hope to spend more time teaching in mainland Europe and when I travel I always take one or two of these with me because, well, somehow I get through customs and security more easily with them. These plates work and work well and I like them where economy is an issue — economy of weight, cost, and space are often critical for me. In the US I have two duplicate sets of tools on a par with what I have here in the UK. In mainland Europe I have no such luxury. Oh, forget the poker dot things – more dots less diamonds for your money I think.
I am amazed at our friends following and supporting our efforts in mainland Europe. I think the small country of Belgium is the largest following per capita and this is quickly followed by the Netherlands next door. Not sure if it’s because my Great grandparents and grandparents are from that region or because I spent most of my holidays as a child there. Germany is massive too, but I love the fact that our efforts now so span the globe and that people love what we are doing to revitalise what has been so decimated by industry giants and some involved in media. Thankfully that seems to be over and we can get on with the real task of real woodworking.
If you follow my drift, that you can sharpen to any level and get good results with chisels, planes and spokeshaves, even at 250-grit, you will understand how a combo stone will get you over the hump of starting out with good stones for about £72 including shipping. Now I know that that’s a chunk of money enough to choke a donkey, but don’t get me wrong, this is not a second rate item in any way. They work, work well and will last you for several years of daily sharpening. In this image I am using 250-grit one side and 1200 the other. Might I suggest you go here with 400 and 1200 first. These will get finer the more you use them because of surface fracture. After a few months, go for a 150 and 250 combo.
Now remember this important fact. Once you have flattened the flat face of an iron or chisel, you most likely never (NEVER) need to touch it again. (This video for initial prep on chisels will help you I think.) (And this one for planes too.) It will stay flat and polished through general use. For some reason no one tells you that. There for you don’t really ned dead-flat stones. Unlike the bevel, flattening the back is not an iterate task. Because flattening generally happens at the outset of tool preparation work when you first acquire the tool, and this is best done with abrasive paper on a certified granite block or plate glass, the only area we really need to focus on is the bevel and this is only because its the smaller of the two adjacent surfaces that form the cutting edge. If you are like me ,and others in Britain and the USA, and you have access to inexpensive Stanleys, you can sharpen them to different levels and enjoy the luxury of sharpening to task. That is, different levels of sharpness.
I was glad to see that Chronos is now a major distributor for EZE-Lap plates here in the UK. Their new website is programmed to this end and they have a full range of choices, so now it’s easier than ever to get what you need and customise your buying.
The post Sharpening – Don’t Dismiss Two-sided Plates for Christmas Gifts appeared first on Paul Sellers.
The Cotswold school of furniture design, to which hay rake tables belong, was pioneered by Ernest Gimson and Sidney Barnsley. This particular style derives a lot of it's essence from the primitive utility of farm equipment: Wagons, rakes, and other items that are made to be functional, and durable. There's a lot of exposed joinery. Chamfers are used extensively on Cotswold furniture, as they were on farm implements and wagon parts. This was done both to reduce weight, and to keep square edges from getting damaged by the daily indignities of farming life.
William Morris wrote that furniture should be made of timber, not of walking sticks, and this is pretty much the unwritten motto of Sidney Barnsley's work in particular. I wouldn't park my truck on top of one of his tables, but I probably could. One of Barnsley's contemporary critics wrote that his furniture looked like the work of a savage. When you compare it to the work that came before; Queen Anne, Chippendale, Sheraton, etc, it certainly does. And the intellectual side of my brain understands that. But in my eye, whatever this furniture may be lacking in a refined veneer of dignity, it more than makes up for with an enthusiastic display of grounded strength, and competence. It's rustic, not primitive.
The photo up above is the Memorial Library at the Bedales School in Hampshire, England. It was designed by Gimson, built under the supervision of Barnsley, furnished by both men, and is listed as one of the Grade 1 listed buildings in the UK. It's completely unlike anything that was done over here by Frank Lloyd Wright or Charles and Henry Greene, but I think it has the same kind of unity to it that those architect/ designers were known for. And I can't decide, given the choice, if I'd rather visit this building, or one of the Blacker or Gamble houses.
Back to now.
Six years ago I took a class with Brian Boggs. Brian is one of the smartest woodworkers I've ever met, and seeing him go at it with a draw knife was a revelation. At the time, he'd been making chairs for 25 years, and when he worked, it looked like he could shape the wood more easily than some people can tie their shoes.
One of the things he said was that the last stroke of the tool is the most important. A draw knife, spokeshave, or other edge tool, used properly, will leave a burnished surface that you can't get any other way. How you get from raw wood to that last stroke doesn't matter... the surface that remains is what you see. That stuck with me, but it really came to mind when I started working on this table. Machines make neat work of the complicated joinery. But then the real fun begins of making the finished surfaces... including the extensive chamfering on the stretchers.
I went to visit Patrick Leach when the hay rake table was still on the drafting board. A draw knife was on one of his monthly tool lists, with a chamfer guide, and the guide really caught my eye. (I still have to tune up the knife I bought from Patrick. This draw knife was ready to go, so I swapped the chamfer guide over.) The guide has two sides, which is normal, but also has a keeper on top, to hold the setting when it gets moved or removed. I moved it around on the knife a fair amount, so that keeper bar helped a lot.
There was a learning curve. (In part because Patrick had clamped the guide onto the knife upside-down.) A draw knife is a pretty dynamic tool: It gives a lot of feedback, and responds best to adjustments made on the fly. And the guides are designed to function accordingly. They're not designed to turn the knife into a chamfer plane. But they do allow a more controlled introduction of the tool to the material, to make it easier to take thin, chamfer- width shavings with the knife. And they do limit the depth of cut, like a chamfer plane. After a while, I was roughing out with the bare side of the knife, and using the guide to take the last few strokes that would leave a nice, uniformly cut facet.
Once I started to get the hang of how the guide works, I also found that it could steer the knife into and through the stop-chamfers, too. The knife is a visceral tool to begin with, but this particular operation felt more instinctual than I'd've thought. It also made layout a lot easier. Initially, I'd drawn out the edges of each chamfer with pencil lines, and traced the curve of the stop chamfers with a fender washer. But once I understood that the guide would help to shape the stop chamfers, as well as define the chamfer width, nothing more than a tick mark to indicate each end point was necessary. That was a huge time saver.
The more I read about hand tool methods, the more I'm starting to understand just how efficient they can be... and how much thought and effort had been put into making them more so. North Bennet gave me a solid grounding in the fundamentals of hand tool woodwork. But there's a big difference between cutting fine joinery in school, and doing daily battle with dead trees for a living. This particular setup gave me a good long glimpse into a world where push-button woodworking didn't exist... but neither did the time to reverently commune with the wood, or relish the shavings that spill slowly onto your basement floor. This is not the tool of a hobby woodworker.
I had a fair idea when I started the table that I would want to make more furniture like this. And I was right. I'm very handy when it comes to jiggery and precision machine work, and that's where I'll save a lot of my build time. But the opportunity to spend a few hours working and sweating with a draw knife isn't typical of a lot of the other work that I do, and the hand-hewn, burnished surface left behind by the knife isn't either. It's that last cut with the tool that Brian was talking about.
And, it's enjoyable. If I can build more furniture that's big and visceral, like these tables, I'll be a really happy guy. It's worth two weeks of dust and noise to get to a couple of hours of quiet, sweaty, focused work.