Eclipse saw sets like the ones shown are inexpensive finds at garage sakes, flea markets and car boot sales here in Britain, mostly because they look like some kind of plier and no one knows what they are or indeed what they do. Even if someone did know what they do, they chances are that they’ve never used a pair and don’t need them so they go for £3 and less.
On old models, the hammer, the little plunger that bends the teeth by squeezing the handles together, is generally about half the thickness of the post 50′s models. Much finer and more practical on fine toothed saw with teeth smaller than say 10 TPI.
Compare the old at left with the newer, right
The problem is that the hammer in the saw set is often too wide for small teeth and if used the set ripples the saw plate rather than simply setting the tooth itself. I own several old saw sets that indeed do have finer hammers but it’s simple enough to remove the hammer from the barrel, re grind the sides of the plunger and reinstall with the fineness you need for setting your saw. That doesn’t mean you must have two pairs of sets. The finer set will set all saws.
Shaping the hammer
To remove the hammer you must remove the setscrew that holds the two handles together. Inside there is a shaped piece, which is actually the hammer, pressured by a compression spring. It is a short compression so should not spring too far or hard. Pull out the shaped piece. This is the hammer you will be shaping.
You will need to use a grinding wheel as the hammer is hardened and too hard for filing. You could use diamonds though. To grind the hammer, work equally from both sides on the grinding wheel. It’s not necessary to be parallel, a taper will do nicely. The leading edge of the hammer is angle so that as the hammer bends the teeth they are bent with the angled front edge of the hammer.
Here is how the hammer should look after grinding
Loosing the innards
Make sure you don’t lose the springs from inside the assembly. There are two not one, and they can Spring out if you are unaware of the innards.
It’s hard to imagine that Eclipse went from high quality bronze saw sets to plastic handled ones but they did. A Japanese company,Somax, started making them from metal again, but lighter weight alloy. Somax saw sets mirror the UK Eclipse models exactly and are nicely made too. Just in case you want to purchase a set.
With regard to the anvil setting numbers on the anvil, that little wheel against which the saw teeth are forced over to control the setting distance. I use only the shallowest setting on my saws any way, so that’s what I suggest you do with yours. Lots of set means loss of control, loose cuts and twice as much effort in the stroke.
Pradeep and the boys in Mumbai really hit it out of the park. As most of you know, I have outsourced the production of my blogs to a team in India. I’m not happy about it but it is the only way I could guarantee the delivery of of fresh and interesting blogs almost every day. Left to my own devices, I couldn’t do more than one or two blogs a month. I lack discipline and they spell better.
I am talking to some officials from Oklahoma next month. With tax breaks and a few incentives, I might be able to bring production back to the old US of A.
Yesterday’s successes really helped the stats. Going in I had 17 followers. Backing out my family and close friends, I have 20 followers. I know that makes no sense but numbers don’t lie. As I write this, I am up to 30 followers. If I ever make it to 100 followers, I am going to quit. I can’t handle success.
Flickr and Word Press have asked me to back down until they can add more servers and bandwidth. We almost crashed them yesterday. So much traffic.
So today I offer a smallish set from some antiques dealers in Chadds Ford, PA. We lived in the area for eight years until we moved down to North Carolina. Chadds Ford is just north of Wilmington, Delaware and close to all the former du Pont mansions like Winterthur, Longwood Gardens and Nemours.
One of the dealers continues to be interesting. The other, not so much. They have primitives and country pieces. Nothing to fancy. I thing the du Ponts bought it all. Chuck Bender used to live in the area. He might know where the fancy stuff is.
These are just a couple of pictures to draw you in:
Click HERE to see the pictures from Chadds Ford.
The full 2014 WoodworkingInAmerica.com site should be live any day now, and on it, you’ll find the schedule, sessions descriptions, speaker bios and much more – and we’ll be adding to the list of Marketplace vendors as they come in. (Visit the site now to sign up for the newsletter to stay in the loop on early bird deadlines, registration information, etc.) Registration will open in just a couple weeks…to […]
When you have to work inside a carcase, there are a wide variety of specialty tools on the market – such as right-angle drills and drawer-lock chisels – to make your life easier. I try to keep a small tool kit. Not because I’m a tightwad. I’m not. But I travel a lot and I prefer to have fewer tools to take care of and keep track of. Buying fewer […]
As Winter Storm Vulcan howls outside, work continues on the Nicholson bench for the classroom.
We’re starting to “dry fit” the base together. ”Doublers” that will provide additional clamping surface adjacent to the aprons have been glued in place. As there are “right and left” components in the base, it is very important to double check lay-out. And, upon dry fit, it’s a very good idea to match mark parts.
As a “lesson learned”, we could have simply centered our stretcher mortises on the primary leg face. But we’re designing on the fly and for some reason, we decided to move the stretchers closer to the outside surface. Can’t remember what the reason was, but centered should be just fine.
Les presented a “prototype” that might have served as a “universal” primary leg. After noticing a look that indicated Les’ wry sense of humor, I realized that he was pulling my leg.
Tenons are hand fitted. The “leg set” will be glued and pinned. Accordingly, the stretcher tenons have a slight interference fit, that will provide enough room for the glue to do it’s job. Be careful to give yourself a little depth clearance. There’s nothing quite like trying to pull a joint together that has an excess of glue in the bottom. It is virtually impossible to do. In fact, with enough clamping pressure, a hydraulic event can occur that will literally blow the joint apart. By the way, Les is using a Record 073, one of the best planes ever manufactured for this type of work. If you ever see an 074, buy it, on the spot.
The longitudinal stretcher tenons have a slip fit, as these joints will be made fast using bed bolts. This will not be a bench that will be easily broken down, due to its weight. But we decided that we should have the ability to dissemble it, if necessary.
Here is the undercarriage (base, frame) dry fitted. At 6′ 6″ long, it is substantial. So much so, that we may shorten it up a bit. Reducing the base length might give us a little more latitude, should we decide to mount some type of end vise. However, we’re not sure if there is a need for that type of device, just yet.
Next will be dry fitting the aprons and lay out and making of the center cross members. After that will be the installation of the main vise, attachment of the top and crochet. Then, of course, boring holes (lots of holes) and finishing. Should be ready for Spring, so to say.
I often think about these statements later, while I’m working on a project, and wonder, WWRD (what would Roubo do)? The more I think about it, and the more I do this kind of work, the more I think they actually would not have bothered with a lot of the tools and machines that are typically in use today. In some cases, sure, the machine would certainly have been an asset to their work. But in other cases, I think that the kinds of things they were building and the processes that they used would have made some of our modern machinery more of a hindrance than a help. Here are some examples of how my mind works with regard to the usefulness of some of our modern machines and gadgets when it comes to the amateur woodworker’s shop.If the old guys had a table saw…
The table saw is frequently cited as the center of the shop and the first tool that any woodworker should get. I had one. I used it when I had it. It was also the very first machine that I got rid of when I started my journey to learn “the old ways”. In my opinion, the table saw is a lousy tool for an amateur home wood shop, unless you plan to use nothing but plywood for everything you make. Table saws take up a ton of space, requiring a lot of open area on at least three sides. Decent ones are extremely expensive (I could equip a shop with an entire basic hand tool kit to build just about anything for the cost of a single cabinet saw). And they practically require one to become a full time jig maker, because other than straight line ripping, they more or less require a new jig in order to safely complete just about every other operation. I so tired of making and adjusting jigs that I was thrilled to be rid of my table saw when I finally sold it.
In my opinion, table saws really were never designed for the home shop. They were designed for a production shop, that makes multiples of the same thing, over, and over, and over. Kitchen cabinets come to mind. If all you want to do is make plywood kitchen cabinets, you should get a table saw. However, if your project interests vary, then a table saw is a really big expense that I think you should avoid. They don’t save a lot of time for one off projects. In this regard, today’s amateur woodworkers are much more similar to period woodworkers than they are to modern production shops. Period shops took orders for custom pieces. They didn’t have warehouses, they didn’t have multiple showroom locations, and they weren’t typically building pieces to spec. As amateurs, most of our work habits are similar. In my own experience, I could crosscut or rip the few boards that I needed for a project in the same or less time than I was spending making jigs and adjusting the setting on the table saw. So it was an easy choice. Bye bye table saw.If the old guys had a jointer…
I love this one. I think this is absolutely a tool where “the old guys” would have looked at it and just walked away. Most amateur shops today are working with a 6″ jointer. So this limits safe use of the tool to 6″ wide boards and less. However, “the old guys” had access to, and routinely worked with, boards much much wider than this. And for good reason. Wide boards are so much easier to work with than narrow boards. I can hand plane an 18″ wide board flat in the same amount of time it takes me to plane a 6″ wide board flat. However, when the 18″ wide board is done, it becomes a case side. When the 6″ board is done, I still have 2 more to go, then I have to glue up the panel, then I have to plane the panel. So it’s actually way more work for me to use narrower stock than it is for me to use wide stock. The “old guys” would never had used narrower stock to save hand planing at the expense of adding two to three times more time to the process. It would be a waste of glue, it would require more time and it would cost them more money. Nope, don’t think they’d have bothered with this one.If the old guys had a router…
Several years ago, a gentleman walked up to me while I was chopping out a mortise at a woodworking show and suggested that a router would do the job much faster. I politely smiled, continued working while I chatted with him, and finished the mortise I was working on, and a second one, before he nodded approvingly and walked away. I think he’d have still been setting up his router in the time it took me to chop those two mortises.
Routers to me are like table saws. If you have dozens of mortises to cut (think Morris chair), hundreds of feet of molding to stick (an entire house full of baseboard maybe), or a kitchen full of plywood drawers to dovetail, you might find a router beneficial. But for typical furniture projects, I don’t think they’re that useful. Chopping 8 mortises for a typical table really doesn’t take me that long. Maybe 5 minutes or so per mortise after they’re all laid out. Sticking a furniture length piece of a simple molding with a complex molding plane takes mere minutes; with hollows and rounds, a few more minutes (not to mention hand planed moldings almost ALWAYS have nicer looking profiles than routed moldings). Dovetails for a drawer or two can be hand cut in an hour or less. So thanks, but I’ll skip the router unless I open a custom kitchen business.If the old guys had a band saw…
OK. Now we might be on to something. There are several sawing tasks that are kind of tedious and time consuming to do by hand: long rips in thick stock; long rips in really hard stock; resawing. These jobs are not simply done in the hand tool shop. Give me a 4′ length of 4/4 pine and I’ll blow through it in a minute or two with my rip saw. Change that wood to 12/4 cherry and things get exponentially harder. Maple, harder still. Sawing veneer or resawing thick stock into thinner? Doable by hand, but still time consuming, hard work, and not a whole lot of fun when there’s a lot to do. So I think “the old guys” would have gladly plunked down the cash for a band saw. A band saw would fit right in with the work flow and processes of a traditional shop.If the old guys had a planer…
Another tool that I think would have been happily put into use in a period shop, as long as it was wide enough. The benchtop models we have today are typically limited to about 12″ wide. This is probably fine for the average amateur today. However, in my experience, if I were going to plunk down the cash for a planer, I think I’d save my pennies for a few more months, bite the bullet, and go for a 20″ wide model. This would allow planing of all but the widest case sides. When working on a piece that requires 150-200 board feet of lumber, well, a wide planer would save some time.
Of course, today, we have more choices in tools and methods that there ever have been. So we’re not faced with having to do everything the hard way if we don’t want to. We’re all free to work in whatever way makes this craft enjoyable to us and fits in with our own ideals and desires. There is no right or wrong way to do this stuff (as long as it’s safe). That’s what makes it so great. As amateurs, we’re not under time constraints (other than those we place on ourselves), and we don’t have to do things a certain way because that’s just how you do it. We’re free to experiment with different tools and methods and find what works for us and provides us with the most enjoyment.
And that’s a good thing. Because if it’s not fun, then you’re doing something wrong.
This project reminds me a lot of an amazingly beautiful art piece I saw at the 2013 Art Prize in Grand Rapids Michigan titled “Grand” by Sophia Collier. Of course, that piece wasn’t meant to be touched like this one.
In fact there were a few times I think the security guards spent most of their time just watching the Vanderlist family.
Regardless of whether you think CNC designed projects are cheating, you have to admit this is a pretty cool cabinet! Thanks to Toolstoday.com for sharing.
Join us on Wednesday, March 19th from 6pm to 7:30pm for a DESIGN: Open House discussion with Edward Gordon, shoji screen maker and woodworker here in Portland for the past 35 years. This will be a fascinating discussion on the life and journey of a contemporary furniture maker. He will discuss his art education at the fascinating Glasgow School of Art, which is housed still in the monumental piece of architecture designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. He’ll talk about what it takes to survive as a maker, the sacrifices and compromises, and the triumphs and joys of this work. He will also talk about his design work with screens and shoji screens in particular. For anyone interested in what it takes to be a furniture maker or with presumptions of becoming one, please come and listen to this veteran discuss his path. It will be enlightening.
"If you start to feel down about your work, go to the museum and look at these so-called masterworks,..."
- Shannon Rogers, on the Wood Talk podcast.
Did I hear someone say, “campaign birdhouse”?
– Steve Schafer
Filed under: Uncategorized
Mark Firley of The Furniture Record blog has written up a piece on campaign furniture that is 100 percent false. Except the pictures. Go for the photos.
Click here to read the post.
If you don’t subscribe to The Furniture Record, remedy that now. Firley travels the world with the obsessive goal of photographing every piece of furniture and every dovetail ever made. He collects his photos into sets on Flickr (120 sets as of today) that are a furniture-maker’s delight.
If I want to make a piece of furniture that looks nice, I look at 100 examples of that piece first – at a minimum. Only then will I see the bell curve of ugly, average and extraordinary. And only then will I know where my design falls on that curve.
The Furniture Record is a completely free jumpstart of your furniture education.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Campaign Furniture, Personal Favorites
I just wanted to say a big thank you, prior to the event for all the support shown to us in the lead up to the event. It's been amazing. The Weekly Times, The Leader Newspapers, The Midland Express, Country Style Magazine, Green Magazine, The Guardian, The Herald Sun, ABC National Radio, ABC Radio Country Hour, ABC local - Australia All Over with Macca, Kyneton Connect and too many blogs and websites for me to mention.
Early this morning at Kyneton's Museum
Then just to cap it off this morning, Edwina Bartholomew, Ben and the whole film crew from Channel 7's Sunrise show, broadcast 6 separate live segments from Kyneton this morning, nationally, all focusing on our Lost Trades Fair this weekend. Wow.
Suffice to say our phone and email system has not stopped since. It gives us hope that we are on the right track with this. That people are interested in these important trades, that they care enough to not let them fade into obscurity.
So please get in your car, pump up the tyres on your bike, hop on a train, or even a plane and head to Kyneton this weekend and see, hear and experience real people making real things with their hands. It may just put a big smile on your face and inspire you. Hope to see you there….. cheers!
I put together a photo set of all the chests I could find. I passed the link for the set to Christopher Schwarz of Lost Art Press. As he is want to do, he blogged it. Since I first sent him the set, I looked through my iPhone and MacBook and came up with another 24 chests. I uploaded the chests and added them to the original Chest set and a new set called More Chests.
If you haven’t already seen the Chest set, click HERE to see all 167 pictures of chests.
If you have see the Chest set, click HERE to see newly found chests.
I first met Chris Schwarz right after the war. We were both on the troopship USS Republic sailing from Manila in February of 1946. Chris was a reporter with Stars and Stripes. I was a stagehand closing down operations for USO shows in the Pacific. Fortunately, the fate of the Free World had not been in our hands. We had adjacent berths on the 23-day voyage to San Francisco. We took most meals together. He either had a bad memory or trouble following directions because, all though we agreed on where and when we would meet for meals, I usually had to track him down.
I last saw him on the gangplank leaving the ship. We were walking off together with me recalling all the ways to prepare shrimp. Then he was just gone. I had no idea of what happened to him.
I next ran into him in rural North Carolina at Ray Underwood’s Woodwrights School. Chris was there taking a class on dovetails and mortise and tenon joinery. I had just been appointed the interim head groundskeeper and maintenance chief. We talked about old times and lifted a few to celebrate. He promised he’d call but left town before I could give him my number.
(Little known fact is that Lizzie Borden offed her parents by bashing them with an Underwood #7 typewriter. Ray has been given several.)
We then would run into each other and the monthly meetings of the Upper Ohio Valley chapter of the Trilateral Commission. He edited the newsletter and I manned the coatroom. He eventually resigned for ideological reasons. I stopped going as well. The meetings were on the same night at Cheers. I had a thing for Rhea Perlman playing Carla Tortelli. Priorities.
We now have lunch when we both attend Woodworking In America. I have a fond memory of our last lunch, I was sharing my views on Keynesian economics and he was eating an apple and pounding out a blog on his trusty Blickensderfer.
I bring this all up because I see he is finally coming out with his book on campaign furniture. I first introduced him to campaign furniture during our Trilateral Commission days. During the snack breaks, I would show him pictures of my family’s collection and discuss with him the history and construction techniques.
When he started his own publishing house, I e-mailed him and suggested campaign furniture would be a worthy topic for a book. Apparently he agreed. Congratulations on publishing it.
I turned this over to my fact checkers and they have come up with the following issues. Since we did not have time to verify either version, I am publishing both.
1. I wasn’t talking shrimp. I was discussing pasta shapes.
2. It’s Roy Underhill’s Woodwrights School.
3. Lizzie Borden allegedly offed her parents with an Underhill #7 ax. Roy claims to have been presented with several.
4. The reason I quit the Upper Ohio Valley chapter of the Trilateral Commission was not Cheers. It was Who’s the Boss. I had a thing for Tony Danza.
5. Chris used a Caligraph typewriter, not a Blickensderfer.
6. It wasn’t Keynesian economics. It was Chicago School Economic Theory,
7. Chris denies actually knowing me.
No. 7 is not true. We are good acquaintances. If one of us saw the other stricken down, I know we would make sure 911 was called before we went on to lunch.
With that, I present all my campaign furniture pictures. These are the ones that got this whole thing going.
This is my favorite campaign handle:
This piece is a naval officer’s toilet chest I saw at a local antiques fest:
This is a picture of the inside of a campaign chest showing the overcuts common when making full-blind dovetails.
Chris just did a blog on full-blind dovetails HERE. What a coincidence.
Click HERE to see many of my campaign furniture pictures. I will say that some are campaign in style only.
Instead I have been practising hand cutting dovetails for the past couple of weeks and as it often happens this became a project in itself.
Instead of practising on scrap, I thought I would make dovetail boxes. I had some rubber wood pieces left from a previous project which I used.
The toughest part was to accurately mark the pins on the ends of the pieces that would form the pins. Even a slight shake can lead to disaster as the cuts need to perfectly match the dimensions of the tails. I tried to copy a design for a jig to hold the pins piece in place but could not make one accurately. I will try to make the jig again and in the meanwhile tried to do the marking without the jig.
|Fitting the Dovetails|
|Dovetail box with lid|
I suppose the gaps are tolerable but I am not fully satisfied. More practice is called for.
In the meanwhile, I have built two boxes which I intend to fine tune and finish over the next weekend.
|Dovetail Box with open top|
I made one of the boxes with an open top to which I intend to fit a lid with a quarter inch or so overhang. The first box has been made with the lid attached; the top will have to be sawed off to make the lid.
|Lid for Box with Inlay|
I do not plan to go ahead with the tool chest project until I feel more confident about cutting a whole lot of dovetails for the carcass.
12 March 2014