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Recently I attended the annual Working Wood in the 18th Century shindig at Colonial Williamsburg. I’ve been to many of these gatherings over the years, but this was my first since moving to White Run, and also my first entree as a speaker. The theme this year was chairmaking, and the presenters were Kaare and Ted, along with Brian Weldy and Bill Pavlak, the journeymen from the Hay shop and Ted’s crew of interns from the Joiners shop, along with Windsor chair maker Peter Galbert and moi.
The general format for these has always been hands-on demonstrations by the CW craftsmen, usually from the Anthony Hay Cabinetmaker shop, currently mastered by Kaare Loftheim, and the Joiners shop, under the tutelage of Ted Boscani.
The setting for the conference is the Hennage Auditorium of CW, with each of the presenters engaging in actual hands-on work while engaging in soliloquies of discourse on their particular topic, on-camera with live microphones.
First up with the evening lecture on the opening night was Tara Gleason Chicirda, the long time Curator of Furniture for CW, presenting Craftsmanship of the American Chair. Tara possesses a breathtaking range and depth of knowledge about the things we care about, and I have never been disappointed by the many lectures I have heard from her.
The next morning was started by a “three-ring circus” as Kaare, Brian, and Bill took the stage for near simultaneous expositions on their projects with a session titled Chairmaking Fundamentals–Three Chairs which set the stage for the exhilarating ride to come.
More abut each of their projects in coming posts.
John and I are quite particular about how our books are made and spend a lot of time and money on details that most readers don’t notice. We want our books to be able to survive floods, attacks by babies and dogs and – most of all – time.
There are an enormous number of manufacturing steps our books have to go through, especially compared to digital, print-on-demand (POD) publishing. While POD is good for some things, such as bind-ups of classroom material, it has a long way to go to compete with traditional printing and binding.
And so we stick with the time- and labor-intensive methods for our books.
In late September, John and I visited one of the plants where our color books are printed on sheet-fed presses. Our black-and-white books, in contrast, are printed on web press. The difference between the two is somewhat akin to the difference between paper being fed into a photocopier (sheet-fed) or printing out your book on an enormous roll of butcher’s paper or paper towels (web press).
The above is a short peek at the process a typical book goes through. Note that I’ve left a lot of steps out and simplified things (so if you are in the printing industry, forgive me). It took two full days to tour the plant, so 5 minutes of video is going to leave out some details.
Thanks to Jostens of Clarksville, Tenn., for opening their doors to us and allowing us to photograph anything we please. And thanks to Phil Nanzetta of Signature Book who purchases most of our printing for us and helped arrange the visit.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Personal Favorites, Uncategorized
One of our favorite new tools this year is the compact dust extractor, the CT-SYS, from Festool. The portable unit makes workshop cleanup so easy (not to mention other cleanups around the house, in the car and anywhere else you can think of!)
Find out more about the Festool CT-SYS dust extractor in this short, 8 minute video.
Don Williams says his love of learning was probably fostered by the fact that his father was going through seminary when he was a child. Don grew up in a household without television. Instead, his family listened to classical music and read.
“But much to my parents’ dismay, I veered off into jazz as my primary interest, so they were pretty much convinced in my teenage years that they had picked up the wrong kid in the hospital,” he says.
Don maintains a love of jazz.
Jazz can loosely be defined as a combination of polyphony, syncopation and improvisation — simultaneous but independent melodic lines playing at the same time with unexpected and off-beat rhythms achieved extemporaneously. For Williams, jazz is not only what he listens to, still to this day, but serves as an outline for how he lives his life.
A self-proclaimed conservator, educator, scholar and all-around inquisitive guy, Don was a curious child who delved deep into varying topics – some unexpected – and from a young age, found connections.
“I think that being interested in many things, not everything, but many things allowed me to gather a lot of information,” he says. “And since I didn’t necessarily accept the rubric of the classroom, I think I’m able to see connections between distinct bodies of knowledge that wouldn’t necessarily be apparent if you were stuck in the tyranny of specialized knowledge.”
Don believes that the whole notion of specialized knowledge is a modern thing. “In the past, our predecessors in much earlier generations saw knowledge as the continuum rather than a series of cubbyholes,” he says. He mentions Robert A. Heinlein, who famously wrote:
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
Don believes pluralism and knowledge to be good things. “That’s part of why I was able to study lots of different things, both formally and informally, and manage to synthesize them into some body of working knowledge,” he says. “It doesn’t necessarily [make me] an expert at anything, but it does make adaptable I think.”
But expert, he is. In many things.
Williams spent his early years in southern Minnesota, and his adolescent and post-adolescent years in South Florida. His mother was an office worker, his father a pastor. Williams is the fourth child out of five.
At that time there was a program in Florida called the Faculty Scholars program that pinpointed high-achieving students on factors outside of grade point average. Williams had his high school guidance counselor convinced he was a solid “B” student.
“And then when the senior standardized placement test results came back, she literally left her office, came and dragged me out of class and read me the riot act,” Don says. He had received the second highest score in his very large high school.
This test result, through the Faculty Scholars program, allowed Don to begin college as a junior. He enrolled at Florida Atlantic University planning to double major in economics and political science. “This was 1972 and everybody was pre-law in 1972,” he says.
Around this time Don was working in the finishing room of the now-closed Schindler & Son, then a well-known restoration shop in West Palm Beach, Fla. “I found my attraction and interest at the workbench,” he says. “[The work there] was so much greater than the stuff I was studying in college that I dropped out of college around the beginning of my senior year. It just didn’t pull my fascination.”
Don began working full time for Schindler in 1974, and there met Nick Hlopoff, an internationally renowned decorative art conservator. “He was an exotic figure to me,” Don says. “Being a kid of the Midwest, Baptist parentage, here was this fellow who was an ethnic Russian, born and raised in Paris, trained by his father to care for artworks of exquisite importance.”
Nick, who lived outside of Detroit, would come into town and use shop space to care for the artworks of one of Schindler’s clients. “He was the guy who introduced me to the world of museum conservation as a livelihood,” Don says.
So Don decided to go back to college. “I still didn’t know precisely the path to art conservation as a career so I did the closest thing I could find which was to go to the University of Florida and major in architectural historic preservation.” But a year and a half in, the university changed its curriculum in a direction Don didn’t like. So he left school again.
Don worked in restoration and reproductions at Colonial Woodworking in Archer, Fla., and then in 1978 got a job at Maddox Foundry and Machine Works. “I worked as a patternmaker, which is ultra-precise woodworking,” he says. “I mean, ultra-precise.”
At Schindler’s, Don learned all about historical furniture, having worked on thousands of old-money European and French furniture pieces for wealthy clients in Palm Beach. At Maddox, he learned all about precision woodworking.
It’s the early 1980s now, and Don has married Carolyn, who he met on a blind date at his sister’s house. Carolyn wanted to pursue graduate work, and Don wanted to pursue art conservation. So they chose the southern most of the four colleges in North America that offered both — University of Delaware. Don enrolled in an undergraduate art conservation program, which was an interdisciplinary triple major of studio art, chemistry and art history. “Those are the very disparate disciplines that are the foundation for art conservation,” he says. “It’s fully left brain and right brain, both evolving simultaneously.”
There were 17 incoming students in Don’s program, but by the end of the first semester of the second year, Don was the only one left. “For most people either the hard science is going to weed you out or the fine art is going to weed you out,” he says.
A semester shy of graduating, he received three job offers in the museum field.
“I accepted the job offer from the Smithsonian with the promise that I would finish my studies and get my degree.” He did. It took him another year and a half of commuting one day a week to Delaware and back, but in 1985 he earned a B.A. in “Technology of Artistic and Historic Objects.” (The degree is now, more simply called “Art Conservation.”) Don was the program’s first graduate.
One of the ironies of the Smithsonian gig was that Don was hired in part to be on a team that was developing an art conservation graduate degree program, even though he hadn’t received a graduate degree himself. “So my time for the first couple of years was split between working on the curriculum for this new master’s degree program and doing hands-on caretaking and inquiries and research into the materials and artifacts that related to the Smithsonian.”
Don was 29 when the Smithsonian offered him a job. “You pinch yourself,” he says. “You just can’t believe it.” In his later years, when working alongside his best work friend, Melvin Wachowiak (“With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture” is dedicated to him), Don says they would often say to each other how unbelievable it was that they were being paid to do this type of work. “Because it was so much fun,” Don says.
Don describes the small group he worked with as semi-autonomous, with a think-tank-like culture. “We were given just extraordinary latitudes in pursuing the intersection of our interests and Smithsonian collection needs,” he says. His official job description, which he wrote, was 15 pages long. When asked to distill that down he says this: Be productively curious.
He was. And he was good at it.
“Part of my success in this poly-dimensional disciplinary world was that I could synthesize information from completely unconnected sources,” he says. “I hope I’m not bragging about it but it’s just a way, it’s a familiarity with the way I work. My wife has identified me as severely ADD so that’s perhaps worked out well there.”
Day to day, Don said he got to “literally intrude into the fabric of some of the most prominent artifacts in the history of the nation. And so some days I was working on irreplaceable treasures, and some days I was just sitting and reading. And still, the paycheck showed up at 12:01 a.m. every other Tuesday morning.”
The pieces that most interested Don during his time at the Smithsonian weren’t those with historical prominence but rather those that had “attractable degradation.” He talks about a 19th-century replica of a 17th-century French desk with spectacularly decorated marquetry but was run-of-the-mill in the 19th century.
“But it was in the Smithsonian collection,” he says. “And it was undergoing really catastrophic damage because the carcass underneath it – the veneer was coming apart. Working on that was really an amazing experience. But it wasn’t owned by anyone important. It wasn’t made by anyone important. It was a typical sort of French replica that an industrialist of the gilded age would have in their sitting room or library to kind of evoke a false nobility.”
Don also worked on a desk that was one of the earliest and largest examples of artificial tortoise shell. “I’m nuts about tortoise shell,” he says. “I’ve invented a really persuasive imitation tortoise shell for my own work so studying that piece was really great.”
During the second half of Don’s career he was very much involved in the caretaking of the Mace of the United States House of Representatives (look it up on Wikipedia). “Most people don’t know about it, but it is one of the biggies, it’s right up there with the Liberty Bell,” he says. “For me, that was a such a powerful, powerful artifact symbol for us as a nation. And that has touched me to this day.” For 20 minutes Don’s work on the Mace was featured in a C-SPAN documentary called “The Capitol.” (The next time you watch C-SPAN, and they offer a panoramic view of the House Chamber in the Capitol Building, you’ll see the Mace at the very left edge of your screen.)
After more than 25 years of service to the Smithsonian, Don left his job on the last day of the last pay period of 2012. “I was ready,” he says. Don describes the Smithsonian as a scientific arts bureaucracy wrapped inside an academic bureaucracy wrapped inside a federal bureaucracy. “For us, geological timeframes were not merely some abstract idea, that’s how things worked sometimes,” he says. “It was pretty clear that my own particular interests no longer coincided with the organization that I worked for. That’s not malevolence or anything else. People’s priorities change. My priorities stayed pretty much the same, my organization’s priorities changed. They offered me the chance to retire at the age of 57 with lots of years of woodworking left and I said, ‘Wow. That’s pretty good.’”
By now Don and Michele Pietryka-Pagán had already begun working on “To Make as Perfectly as Possible: Roubo on Marquetry.” And Don had begun work on “Virtuoso: The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of Henry O. Studley.” The Smithsonian (which demands right of first refusal on all intellectual property relative to your job when employed) had no interest in either. So he already had two projects dialed in that he knew were of interest to Lost Art Press. “I already had a working relationship with Chris and he was very much interested in the kind of scholarship I was trying to pursue,” Don says. “So really, Lost Art Press was a big part of my decision-making for this fairly substantial lifestyle change because frankly, it was a really, really good job. It was way too much fun, part of it, and paid way too much, but somebody had to have that job and it might as well have been me.”
So Don and Carolyn left Washington for a new life on a secluded property in the mountains of Virginia, which they had purchased a dozen years before.
These days, Don follows his muse. On the day we spoke he had plans to finish formatting photos for an article he wrote for Popular Woodworking Magazine. Then, lunch. “One of the advantages of me being here is that there’s always a fresh, hot lunch – every day. I’ll come down the hill and my wife will have made us a wonderful, wonderful lunch.” In the afternoon he’ll continue work on replicating a desk for a client.
He does a lot of writing. In addition to his woodworking-related writing he says he also has a “fairly vigorous email circle of circumstantial and political and economic commentary that I carry on with my virtual community of observers.” He also writes fiction – thrillers, specifically. His latest is about a museum conservator who has withdrawn to the mountains and gets drawn into a mystery dealing with documents hidden in a piece of furniture. Those documents threaten the structure of Western civilization, and the bodies start piling up.
“My wife says I like to do it because I get to put words in everyone’s mouth,” he says, laughing.
Often, while drifting off to sleep, Don says he’ll compose things in his mind — an artistic design, an essay on the state of the civilization, theological apologetics.
“One of the things that I celebrate the most is that I do not have to regimen my life,” he says. “It’s fairly mercurial. To be utterly frank about it I’ve reach a position of status in the artifact world that you know clients are willing to wait for whatever it is that I do.” (A recent call with once such client resulted in a request to call back after Christmas 2018.) “And I never for a moment take for granted that blessing. I’ve been restoring furniture and decorative objects with some level of accomplishment now since 1971. So that’s a fair amount of time.”
While Don says certain kinds of problem-solving skills are innate to him, he says his success is due, in part, to some marginal native artistic talent. “And I do mean marginal,” he says. “But through skill you can overcome limitations and challenges. Because skill is about repetition. It’s like in writing. The more you understand the meaning, the power, the organization of the words, the greater facility you have using those words for their intended purpose. And when you’re talking about working with artifacts it helps to be interested in and able to comprehend the nature of the materials from whence they are fabricated, the technologies by which they are fabricated and then the trajectory of their degradation. And I guess the thing that I am every thankful for is that I, for reasons unknown to me, can sort of put those pieces together. I’m not sure if that’s a talent or a skill or something else, but it’s something that I just sort of get.”
And frankly, he says, he loves being intimately associated with beautiful things. And not just aesthetic beauty. “Sometimes just thinking skillfully or thinking clearly or thinking creatively is a beautiful thing,” he says. “I love a beautifully crafted concept.” He says his daily expenditure of resources, time and energy spent on restoration is diminishing, “in part because there are other new avenues of rediscovering historical craftsmanship. The related expression is much more prominent on my horizon than before.”
Don’s ideal week is not a whole lot different than what he’s doing now. He hopes to make more replicas of prominent, historic, smaller-scale furniture. He hopes to continue working for a very few number of clients whose collections he has a strong affection for (think: caring for tortoise shell). He has a series of sketchbooks, and the drawings in them are a car wreck between James Krenov’s car and André-Jacob Roubo’s car (his words). “I’m trying to apply some of the technology and artistic vocabulary of Roubo with the technology and artistic vocabulary of Krenov with a dash or two of some 16th-century Chinese furniture in there.” He likes writing. He likes collecting. He likes communicating. He doesn’t like traveling. For Don, a 50-50 mix of studio time and time spent at the keyboard is a good mix.
“I would just like to continue what I’m doing both artistically and intellectually and stay healthy,” he says. “I’m going to be 62 coming up. I just returned from Florida where we celebrated my mom’s 100th birthday, so I figure I have about 40 good years of woodworking left so I want to be careful so I can do it.”
Don and Carolyn live in the least populous county east of the Mississippi. Folks keep up with him online at donsbarn.com. The Barn on White Run, a three-story 19th century barn he found on eBay, houses his studio, classroom, library and dorm space. It took several years to dismantle, move and rebuild the barn, but for Don, it’s a dream fulfilled, a dream he’s had since he was a teenager.
Don enjoys the solitude of rural living. Since he was a child he’s sought out remoteness and isolation. “If I have an mp3 player, that’s about all the human contact I need most days,” he says. “I love being out here. It is exceedingly remote.”
At least four times a year Don and Carolyn head over the mountains to Charlottesville, Va., where he visits University of Virgina’s ophthalmology department for some issues with his eyes. They make a day of it, eating a nice lunch and stocking up at Trader Joe’s and Costco. He also relies on online shopping, and says he’s learned to appreciate “the astounding sophistication of the economy and its distribution network.” Most items arrive in 48 hours.
“You know, I’m just at traditional guy pursuing my faith and my family out in the mountains here,” Don says. “I have daughters who I love to death and a wife who I’ve been married to for 35 years, hopefully we’re on our way to forever, but that’s pretty much it.”
Except, it’s not. His life is an eclectic mixture of conservation, restoration, woodworking, finishing, metal casting, collecting obscure books, tools and shellac (yes, really), writing, gardening, presenting, discussing politics and making connections between all of it while forever remaining curious. All while listening to podcast lectures. Or, of course, jazz.
— Kara Gebhart Uhl
Filed under: Roubo Translation, To Make as Perfectly as Possible, To Make as Perfectly as Possible, Roubo Translation, Uncategorized, Virtuoso: The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of Henry O. Studley, With All the Precision Possible
|first of two problems I found at 0700|
It was another should of, could of, would of, but didn't do kind of moment. I knew I should have waited until I had the closet rod holders before cutting the shelf and back stretcher. I made them14" long and I thought that would be more than sufficient. Turns out it wasn't.
With the distance between the two rods holders at 12 1/2", the outside measurement ballooned out to 16" and change.
|this stuff won't stretch at all|
|the other side of the chipbreaker|
|the iron is toast|
|what dragged me in the dirt|
|Caleb James 3/16" bead plane|
|beading plane #2|
|my one and only side bead plane|
|pit stop to sharpen and hone the iron|
|I think I figured it out|
|the finished molding|
This is a better shot of how the square portion of the molding at the top over powers the bead beneath it.
|the square would look better if it was rounded over|
|I have a beader|
|had to brace it|
|I like this a lot|
|the only hiccup|
|8 of the 10 cutters|
|some of the cutters had rust blooms|
|why I bought the beading plane and the one that won't fit|
|it feels sharp|
|gallery rail and back stretcher ready|
|new shelf glued and cooking|
What country established the first universal emergency phone number?
answer - Great Britain did in 1937 with #999 (the US did it in 1968 with #911)
The April issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine (#231) just mailed to print subscribers and emailed to digital subscribers. It’s live in our online store too. There’s a lot to dig into in this issue, including a chisel primer from Christopher Schwarz – he addresses what chisels you really need, how to set one up right and correct chisel usage techniques. And if you’re interested in period woodworking, you should really […]
|A cabinet for my hand planes|
Tools that are not close at hand tend not to be used. I have had to stow away most of my hand planes because of lack of storage space in the area where I do my woodworking.
This became a problem because I found Jack Planes were the most useful whereas the ones I had space for in my work area were all number fours. Thus sprang the need for a cabinet for hand planes particularly my Jack Planes.
|A STACK OF PLYWOOD FOR THE PROJECT|
The aim was to quickly put together a plywood cabinet with pocket hole joinery, white glue and a few housings.
The basic carcase came together quickly as it does when using pocket hole joinery but then things slowed down a bit.
|HOUSING ROUTED FOR THE SHELVES MAKE FOR ACCURACY|
|BASIC CARCASE CLAMPED|
|6MM PLYWOOD BACK IN PLACE|
I needed to glue on wooden strips on the exposed plywood edges for which I had to painstakingly edge clamp each piece and wait for it to dry.
|GLUING AND CLAMPING WOODEN EDGES|
I also decided to use real veneer ply for the sides to cover the plain plywood. Real veneer is available laminated on 2mm plywood sheets. Prices range from Rs. 40 to Rs 200 per square feet depending on the kind of wood used; great looking burls can cost upwards of Rs 400 per square feet.
|PLYWOOD VENEER STAINED AND POLISHED|
I usually go for the cheaper varieties as it serves my purpose, which is to cover raw plywood with a material that can be stained and polished. I prefer stain and polish exteriors to painted ones, though there are times when paint is preferable.
One lesson I learnt while painting the interior of the cabinet, which is difficult if the gap between shelves is narrow, is that it is better to paint the shelves before assembling the cabinet. I'll keep that in mind for any similar projects in the future.
|FETTLING THE DOORS|
Making the doors took longer even though they were made with mortise and tenon joints and were of a plain Shaker style. For the panels, I laminated oak veneer on plywood and nailed it into rebates routed in the insides of the frames.
I lightly stained and polished the oak fame and panel. The doors are stopped by two magnetic catches on the top. It is a simple but functional home for my three Jack Planes (which I find myself using all the time), one old but great Ambika jointer plane, a couple of block planes, a small shoulder plane and an assortment of scrapers.
The other lesson I learnt was that its far from easy to get things done as quickly as one would like to.
|THE COMPLETED CABINET|
17 February 2017
In case anyone is going to the Woodworking Show in Somerset, NJ, on the weekend of Feb. 17, my woodworking club, the Central Jersey Woodworkers Association, will be there. We’ll have a booth there and an ongoing series of demonstrations.
I’ll be there all day on Friday, Feb. 17, and Saturday morning (Feb. 18) demoing Japanese tools (of course). I’ll be showing how to use Japanese tools to cut joinery, even if you have a workshop already set up in the western tradition.
Hope to see you there!
Just a reminder, if you’re in the area. See you tomorrow!
“The Woodworker, The Charles H. Hayward Years, Vol. IV, The Shop & Furniture” wasn’t supposed to arrive in our warehouse until next week, but it’s here now. And, according to the photos John sent me, it looks fantastic.
Our warehouse will begin shipping all of the pre-publication orders on Wednesday. Then it should take about five to seven business days for the book to arrive in your mailbox.
This is the final volume of “The Woodworker” series, and it caps many years of work by people all over the country and globe. The four volumes comprises 1,492 pages of work spanning 30 years of writing in The Woodworker magazine in Great Britain.
The final volume covers two broad topics: the workshop, plus furniture forms and styles. The workshop section discusses workbenches, tool chests and useful appliances for handwork. The section on furniture forms and styles gives you an education in different historical styles (and their hardware), plus hand-drafted shop drawings of historical pieces.
The book is $39 (that price includes shipping to the U.S. and Canada) and can be ordered from our store here.
Like all of our books, this one is made entirely in the United States: printed and bound in Michigan from durable materials. The hardback book is casebound. The signatures are section-sewn, glued and assembled with a tough fiber tape.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. Many readers have asked if we are going to offer all four volumes as a set for a special price. The answer is: no. We never punish our customers who are early adopters. The price can only go up, as the cost of raw materials goes up.
Filed under: Charles H. Hayward at The Woodworker, Uncategorized
One of my most favourite woodworking series we filmed for woodworkingmasterclasses was three years ago now, I think, where I replicated a very unique and inspiring occasional table. Made from mahogany, at first glance the table might have seemed nothing of much out of the ordinary. A simple looking piece with no particular embellishments to …
Read the full post Forensics in Woodworking – Links to Becoming a Woodworker on Paul Sellers' Blog.
This is an excerpt from “The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years: Volume I” published by Lost Art Press.
Moulding plane cutters are of two kinds; those used with wooden moulding planes, and those made for the Stanley Universal plane. Except that the latter type is short, whilst the former have a long projecting part which reaches up beneath the wedge, there is little difference between them, but there is one feature which affects the sharpening; the wooden plane cutter must be sharpened so that its edge follows the shape of the sole, whereas there is no shaped sole in the universal plane. This means that, although it is desirable for the cutter to keep its original shape as far as possible, it is not vital.
Since the sharpening of the wooden moulding plane is the more exacting job of the two, we will deal with it here. When first obtained, the cutter is ground to the shape of the sole, and it requires only to be given a keen finishing edge with oilstone slips. As an example take the cutter in Fig. 1 which will work the moulding section, shown at A. Two separate operations have to be carried out; the small hollow shape which works the bead has to be sharpened with a small round slip, and the rounded portion which forms the hollow has to be treated either with a flat slip or on the ordinary oilstone.
Take first the small hollow. Select an oilstone slip which approximates to the shape when it lies along the bevel. The fact that it fits or not when held at right angles to the cutter is no test. Place the slip flat on the bevel. If anything it should be of slightly smaller section. Apply lubricating oil, and, holding the cutter at the edge of the bench, as in Fig. 2, rub the slip back and forth. Do not consciously start a fresh bevel, but press the slip slightly towards the cutting edge, otherwise there will be a great deal of metal to remove and the work will take a long time. Avoid dubbing over, however.
One important point must be watched. In an endeavour to get an edge quickly there is a temptation to rub the sides of the shape at the cutting edge only, so that the bevel begins to assume the tapered shape, shown at C, Fig. 1. This is clearly impractical because the back or heel of the bevel is narrower than the shape at the cutting edge, and it will be liable to bind. If anything the bevel should taper the other way as at D, this affording a slight clearance. Test for sharpness by seeing whether a burr has been turned up.
The rounded part of the cutter can be sharpened with a flat slip, or on the oilstone. Some men prefer one method, some the other. Fig. 3 shows the normal oilstone process. A sort of rocking movement is adopted, an effort being made to keep to the original bevel as far as possible. Finish off by reversing the cutter flat on the oilstone and rubbing back and forth once or twice.
Now place the cutter in the plane and, giving a minimum projection, see whether it follows the sole contour uniformly. If not, note the high parts and rub these down more. Note, however, that the corners of an old plane are bound to have worn more than the rest, and it would be an obvious mistake to follow these. Corners intended to be square should be square. When all is satisfactory strop the edge to a final keenness and so get rid of all burr. This can be done with a piece of leather dressed with oil and fine emery powder. If folded it will approximate to the shape. The back is stropped on leather held down on a flat board.
Some cutters are simpler than this; others more elaborate, but the principle is the same in all. If you have not a slip that will fit in a small hollow exactly (and it is unlikely that you will be able to buy an exact fit), you can always alter the section by rubbing it down on a piece of marble, using fine emery powder and oil or water as an abrasive. Extra hard stones may require fine carborundum powder.
A little experience in sharpening a moulding cutter will convince you that it can be a lengthy operation, especially if really dull. The best plan, then, is to sharpen as soon as it shows signs of becoming worn, and to do as much preliminary work as possible with the ordinary bench plane which is clearly much more straighforward to sharpen. Fig. 4 shows three sections, in which the black portion could be removed first with the bench plane.
— Meghan Bates
Filed under: Uncategorized
A couple weeks after starting to wreck the interior of The Blaze bar in 2015, I had a moment where I thought I should go see the doctor.
This is embarrassing and personal, but there’s only one way to say it: My night soil sparkled.
After a few anxious moments, I made the logical conclusion that I was taking in too much glitter during the demolition. You might think I’m exaggerating, but every painted surface was covered in glitter. It would become airborne – weaponized glitter – as I tore out the painted walls, floors, tiles and bars that ringed all of the rooms.
I wore a mask when I could, but it must have sneaked in through the beard, into my saliva and then, like Raquel Welch, coursed through my entire being.
Today, 18 months after taking ownership of this building, we hauled out the last of the glitter-covered tiles from the utility area at the back of the building.
I won’t say that we are free of glitter (it’s like herpes don’t ya know) but we have no more active glitter-containment protocols. No more glitter Superfund site. It’s been (I hope) remediated.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Lost Art Press Storefront, Uncategorized
Box maker Phil Weber has been making a living producing his wonderful small boxes for 41 years now. This will be his last year of making as he and his wife want a change, I think he's done his bit! He has a chapter in the excellent book New Masters of the Wooden Box.
A few years ago, when the exchange rate was a lot better than now, I bought three of Phil's boxes. The one below was featured on the back cover of Fine Woodworking.
This one has a lift off lid with ebony and spalted maple.
The last one is simple box but with some lovely curves.
Phil has produced lots of new designs for his final year. If you want one of his fine boxes don't leave it too long!
The Greek philosopher, Plato, was also a mathematician and he discovered and proved that there are only five regular solids. A regular solid is one that is made up of all the sides being made of one simple regular plane figure such as an equilateral triangle, a square or a regular pentagon. The five regular solids are:
- Tetrahedron made up of four equilateral triangular sides,
- Cube (or Hexahedron) made up of six square sides,
- Octahedron made up of eight equilateral triangular sides,
- Dodecahedron made up of twelve regular pentagonal sides,
- Icosahedron made up of twenty regular triangular sides.
These shapes have fascinated me for a long time and I decided that it would be an interesting project to make a set of these using different exotic woods for each face. The project required having to design and make two different fixtures to assure that every face was exactly the same size and that the side angles were also exactly the same. (The cube didn’t require any special fixture. I just used my normal table saw settings for that.)
Here are pictures of my five Platonic solids made from different woods. (Each face is about 1/4″ thick.) As an added “secret” touch, I added small beads into each piece before adding the final face. Each piece has the same number of beads as it has faces, so for example: the cube has six beads and the tetrahedron has four beads.
Frank Klausz reveals the family secret – how to make the watertight wood-on-wood joint for the bottom of his sharpening pond – a boatbuilder’s joint taught to him by his grandfather. It takes a special shop-made tool…from a material that you likely already have on hand. (I think I’ve enough of this particular thing to make at least 40 of them…I need to clean out the basement.) The pond also […]
In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking the 360 guys are joined once again by Ron Herman who continues to piddle on your parade.
Join the guys twice each week for six lively minutes of discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more). Chuck & Glen, and sometimes a surprise guest, all have their own opinions. Sometimes they agree and sometimes they don’t, but the conversation is always information packed and lots of fun.
|glue blocks at the front only|
|front corner of the toe kick|
|horizontal glue blocks|
|sawed down this far and then I switched sides|
|just like resawing a board in half|
|had to switch my big tenon saw|
|not too bad|
|it's tight as drum now|
|Harbor Freight goodies|
|closet rod holders|
|no longer made|
|screwed the magnet to it|
|3 hours work|
|the used to be kitchen|
|what I saved|
|sneaky U clip|
|still not coming apart|
|missed a screw|
|motor is spinning away now|
|miniature electronic controller board|
|matched the knobs|
|HF metric and imperial ball drivers and a torx set|
|I didn't think they were this big|
|maybe tomorrow I'll get the pins chopped out on the tequila box|
|Harbor Freight 4x36 sanding belt|
|80 grit belt|
|might as well|
|another side trip|
|got a good scratch pattern|
|I can't see any reflected light|
|I've got a burr straight across|
|not so fast moose breath|
|that's a big chip to remove and it wasn't happening today|
|moved up 120 grit|
|my 2two #3s'|
|adjuster on the rehabbing #3|
|my first #3|