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Kennedy & Bragaw: English and American Hardware, 203 Main Street, Hartford, Ct, July 1st, 1845.
This firm was in business from 1844-1846. Before the advent of bound catalogs, merchants marketed their goods through sheet listings such as this one. Easily folded for mailing, in this early case as a stampless letter, the listing doubled as a format for personal correspondence between the seller and the prospective buyer.
At the bottom of the sheet is a note: "Joiners Planes of our own Manufacture". The proprietors in question were Leonard Kennedy, Jr. and Isaac Bragaw. To my knowledge, no imprint has been recorded. If you have a plane marked by this merchant partnership, please come forward."
James Kellogg, Plane Maker: Price List and Correspondence. Courtesy of Roger K. Smith, are two pieces of history from James Kellogg, the famous plane maker. The first is a stampless letter from Mr. Kellogg to Mr. H. Foster, agent for Mr. J. Daniel, concerning discount terms on an order of planes. The second is a photocopy of an early and unique Kellogg price list. While Roger does not remember from where he originally received the price list copy, if memory serves me right, I believe this is a photocopy of a Kellogg price list that was sold at a Spicer Auction in Rhode Island.
These two unique pieces of ephemera are offered in PDF format for easier reading
Correspondence: Commercial, Traveling Salesman; Jessop Steel, M. Thornburn Correspondence 1848
MR. M. THORNBURN TO MR. Hy JESSOP OF NEW YORK CITY. Stampless letter, Providence, July 7, 1848. Composed in blue ink on pale blue paper. Before the advent of the postage stamp, the stampless letter was the only form available for sending correspondence through the mail service.
Henry Jessop was the son of William Jessop, founder of the Jessop Steel firm of Lancashire, England. In the 1830's William Jessop and Sons opened their own steel and iron foundry business. Thomas and Henry Jessop took responsibility for the commercial side of the enterprise while Montague and Sydney accepted responsibility for the foundry and production side. Jessop Steel did not open it's United States factory until the 1860's. Prior to this, traveling salesmen such as Mr. Thornburn represented the business' interests. Henry Jessop died in 1849.
This piece of correspondence between Henry Jessop and M. Thornburn is a wealth of detail, both explicit and implied. The competition for dominance in the iron and steel industry is evident. Mr. Thornburn has some success but at other times he is faced with the problems of inadequate goods or local competition. Unfriendly buyers leave him annoyed and frustrated. The Mexian-American War ended in February of 1848. Mr. Thornburn was attempting to expand his customer base at a time when funds where in short supply.
The original document and a full transcription of the text.
Envelope: IVES MFG CO., MEPHISTO AUGER BITS. Jan. 7, 1913. "It looks as if it would bore, doesn't it?". I'm not sure what this small envelope was meant for. My best guess is contained some product information. It's a bit too small for use as a mailing envelope, but an envelope it is. Any guesses?
EAGLE SQUARE MFG. CO. MANUFACTURERS OF CARPENTERS' SQUARES AND BORING MACHINES. South Shaftsbury, Vt., May 4th, 1912. Estimate from F. L. Mattison for filing a saw. This billhead notes "House building materials and brush handles of all kinds" are sold in addition to their well known carpenters squares.
|the next project|
|this is where I will keep|
|my pencil is broke|
|hinges with a built in stop|
|you can never have enough hinges|
|they are too big|
|adding two more magnets to the 12" square|
|two added to the 15" square|
|impetus for the roll around drawer unit|
|for the Lee Valley dovetail saw|
|exceeded my goals for tonight|
Who was the first undrafted QB to start a Super Bowl game?
answer - Kurt Warner in Super Bowl XXXIV
I’ve found that the way I design furniture and the way I restore buildings are unusually similar.
When I design a chair, cabinet or workbench, it’s a subtractive process. I usually begin with something quite complicated and then remove bits and pieces until the thing looks right. I’m not looking for a design that excites me (the building part is exciting enough). Instead I’m looking for a quietness or peace in the design. (For more on this process, see the chapter titled “Seeing Red” in “The Anarchist’s Design Book.”)
With old buildings, the process is much the same. Typically they are festooned with the detritus of the 20th century, including oodles of wiring, layers of silly wallboard, paneling, tile and buckets of fossilized “Great Stuff” foam.
The first step is always to subtract. A lot. And keep going until the builder’s original intent begins to emerge.
That’s where I am with the Horse Garage. We finally pulled down a lot of ridiculous cripple studs that served only to hold up the butt-ugly ceiling tile. Then came down the obsolete pipes for the wiring. This afternoon a very early 20th-century garage began to take shape. I could see the original structure. And though it is astonishingly straightforward and plain, it has finally brought me some peace.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Lost Art Press Storefront, Uncategorized
So I added another R Groves tenon saw to my collection of working Groves saws. The eBay find was a no brainer for me because it was one I’m yet missing from my saw gatherings. There are still two or three to come that I know of and there may be others I don’t know […]
Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of blog posts by Richard Jones, who has written a generous and detailed book about trees and their structure, and how this affects the work of furniture makers. As you’ll learn from this post, Richard is an incredibly skilled designer, woodworker, teacher and writer. Part of his genius is in the ability to take a technical matter and present it in a way that makes it easy to pick up his book for casual reading. At the same time, the charts and information within this tome on wood technology will quickly become invaluable to the work you do in your shop, and will be a resource you turn to again and again. The book is written, and Meghan Bates is now working on the page design. The book is scheduled to be released in early 2018.
— Kara Gebhart Uhl
Hello. My name is Richard Jones, and I’m introducing myself to you at the invitation of the good people at Lost Art Press. The reason for this invitation is because I am a new author to them and they are transforming my manuscript on timber technology into a book which, at this stage, is still seeking a title that is somewhat different from my working title.
So, who am I to be writing about trees and wood?
I’m not a wood scientist. But I am a trained furniture designer/maker with British City & Guilds qualifications in the subject. I trained in the 1970s, working at the bench making craft furniture and joinery, gaining my qualifications in the early 1980s. Since those first steps I have worked continuously in and around the trade and profession. The early years consisted of gaining experience in a variety of workshops, primarily for smaller businesses, making furniture, repairing and restoring old furniture and antiques, and working as a joiner with jobs that included securing pay stations, and making panelling and architectural doors.
During the 1980s and early 1990s I worked as a technician in the Furniture Department of Edinburgh College of Art. It was the first time I was really required to take on a supervisory and management role within a workshop environment, and my work included overseeing other users, machinery maintenance, sourcing spares and materials, budgeting and other such tasks.
In 1993 I moved to Houston, Texas, with my American wife and became the temporary workshop manager for the Children’s Museum of Houston during the building of “The Magic School Bus: Insider the Earth” travelling exhibition. After this contract ended I started my own business, Richard Jones Furniture. I closed this business in 2003 to take up the offer to teach the Furniture: Design and Make undergraduate course at Rycotewood Furniture Centre, one of UK’s premier centres of craft furniture learning.
In 2005 I moved to Leeds, Yorkshire, to become Programme Leader of the BA (Hons) Furniture Making programme, a position I held for nine years until its closure in 2014. Throughout all these years in business and in my teaching roles I continued designing and making furniture for sale through exhibitions, galleries and direct sales to clients. Nowadays I continue to work in a number of part-time roles in furniture making and joinery on a freelance basis.
My next blog post? Why I wrote a book on timber technology.
– Richard Jones
Filed under: Timber Book by Richard Jones
Below is a sidebar from my “Medicine Cabinet” article, from the June 2016 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine – how to install butt hinges using hand tools (and there are, of course, other techniques…but this is how I do it). — Megan Fitzpatrick
Maureen has been finishing stuff lately and posting them on her etsy site, https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts and she got me poking around my spoon basket. I haven’t had much time for spoon carving, but have a few I’ve finished in the past month or so. If you would like to pick any of these, just leave a comment. Usually paypal is the easiest way to pay; I’ll send an invoice. Or you can mail a check, just let me know. Finish is food-grade flax oil on all of these. Prices include shipping in US, further afield requires an extra charge for shipping.
November spoon 01; an American sycamore crook, with S-scroll carving
L: 9 5/8″ W: 2 1/8″
Nov spoon 02; birch serving spoon
L: 11″ W: 2 1/2″
Nov spoon o3; birch crook. serving spoon. One of my favorite kinds, following both the crook of the branch as well as the curve.
L: 9″ W: 2 3/*”
Nov spoon 04; birch serving spoon.
L: 10 7/8″ W:2 1/2″
Nov spoon 05; cherry crook serving spoon. Maybe my favorite of the batch.
L: 12 3/8″ W: 2 1/4″
Nov spoon 06: Not sure what to call this one. Almost a pie-serving shape. American sycamore crook. Very flat “bowl” to this one…(clouds came out, photo is darker than the spoon really is…)
L: 9 3/4″ W: 1 1/2″
Nov spoon 07; cherry, large serving spoon. The last of a batch of oversized serving spoons in cherry. Too late for Thanksgiving…
L:13 7/8″ W” 3 1/2″
Nov tray; birch. When I was carving it, I thought of it as a bowl, but now I see it done, it’s a tray.
L: 15 3/4″ W: 5 7/8″
Nov bird bowl, cherry. The last one of these I have done for quite a while. I have unfinished ones lurking at me in the shop, but no time for them now…
L: 15″ H: (at front) 7 1/4″
Today I had the opportunity to chat with a customer about dovetail saws, and he asked me the same question that I get all the time: what makes one saw better than another? Of course, since TFWW makes the Gramercy Dovetail saw, I have a pony in this race. Were lucky to live in a time in which people have a lot of good choices. There are many great modern makers of dovetail and backsaws. I know a lot of thought went into the Gramercy Dovetails design, so I end up talking a bit about those features, and what they mean to woodworkers.
We tout our saws high hang handle and its light weight, which makes it easier to saw straight. This isnt a useful feature for anyone who has spent a lot of time with other designs and has learned to saw straight accordingly. The Gramercy Dovetail has the smallest handle on the market, but we think it helps with the sawing. Its rare that anyone has an issue when using the normal three fingered grip - most people find it very comfortable, just different than what they expected. A review in the woodworking press noted the small size of the handle as if it were self-evidently bad, which I found very frustrating. The handle isnt cramped or uncomfortable to use. It would be a shame if this design feature puts people off unnecessarily. By the way the picture at the top of the blog is my saw atop a pile of student practice dovetails left over from the class.
Earlier this year I began teaching a class called Mastering Dovetails and its been fun to explore the concepts of sawing dovetails with the students. Most students use our Gramercy Tools Dovetail Saw but others bring in a variety of saws by other makers. It gives us a chance to play with different models and understand the design features of each better. Im gratified when students gain the satisfaction of gaining a skill and find it fun to make dovetails well. The Gramercy saw is designed expressly to make woodworking more fun.
Gramercy Dovetail Saw is not the most expensive dovetail saw you can buy, but at $240 it is still a chunk of change. We totally get that its an investment decision that almost no one makes lightly. Remember if you purchase a dovetail saw from us, or in fact anything from us, you have a lengthy six months (and, if you live in the US, free return postage) to decide if the saw is right for you. And of course the best judge for this would be you yourself, not some pundit (like me).
Here are the criteria that seems to guide choice:
Does it look pretty?
Some people profess not to care about how a tool looks, but I think most of us do. Our tastes may differ. I happen not to like the modern streamlined look. I love classical detailing. For other woodworkers, its the reverse. But either way, I think every time you look at your saw, you want to be able to smile and say to yourself, "Wow."
Does it inspire you?
The main reason I don't like modern saw design is that my thinking about woodworking is deeply influenced by history. Every time I cut a dovetail I am thinking of some 18th century apprentice. I love the brass and wood or period designs that keep me in the mood. I constantly am reminded by my tools that I am not as good as my equipment. Nice tools keep me striving. In the case of our Gramercy Dovetail Saw, the handles are made of black walnut - which I love. I know many makers like to use exotic woods: Duncan Phyfe had a small saw with a zebrawood handle. I get the appeal, although an exotic handle can really throw off the weight of the tool.
How is the fit and finish?
There is an old saying among metal finishers, "Highly polished and deeply scratched." No matter who makes your saws, you want over the years to have honest battle scars, not simplifications because the maker didn't know how to fit a back, polish some brass, or make a handle without tearout. For me also - and the reason we have those nice decorative file lines on the handle is that it looks much better than a curve cut by a router - I don't want crude lines and corners, or a square handle with barely rounded over sides. We chamfer the brass on our brass backs and chamfer and round the nose. I like the finished look. I don't even like most historical backsaws post-1820 or so because the workmanship is just cruder than the earlier saws. I find the 18th century elegance that we copied inspiring. Ive already written about our saw etch, and while saw etching uses a later technique (post-1860 or so), I love the what it brings to the tool.
Is it easy to start?
This is an actual important feature that shouldn't need mentioning, but everyone seems to report on it. Most modern saw-makers use foley saw filing machines to do their teeth. Foley machines are great but finicky and can't really reliably files saws finer than 15 tpi. In the era in which tools for handwork reached their peak - around 1800 - 1820 - dovetail saws were typically of much finer pitch (18 tpi and up) and pretty aggressive rake (zero). Starting a 15 tpi saw is a lot harder than a 18 tpi (or finer) saw, and I'm not a fan of the various schemes that are used to get around this problem, such as making the teeth less aggressive. sawing backwards, etc. I'm of the starting school of placing the toe of the saw on the wood, maybe tilted up a touch, and pushing forward, keeping as much weight off of the wood as possible so that the teeth do their job without jamming. Works like a charm with a fine tooth saw. THe only drawback to a finer pitch is that in thick material 1" or more the saw does cut slower as the gullets fill up.
Can you control the saw - and saw straight or at any angle you so desire?
We honestly think that the Gramercy Dovetails high hang handle and ultra light weight make it easier for a beginner to saw accurately. Ive gotten to see a lot of beginners give our saw a try at shows and now in the dovetail class, and its easy to observe how quickly and easily beginners find the saw to control. A lighter saw influences the cut the least. Woodworking shouldn't about fighting your tools.
9" is about average. You can go shorter or longer. Some people like a longer saw. In my class one student used a Gramercy Sash Saw that he purchased because he wanted a more versatile saw. It's a light saw for its size. It took a little getting used to, but it worked out fine. Fast too.
Is there a break-in period?
No lie: our saw has a break in period. This has gotten us into trouble with some reviews in the woodworking press. As far as I know, we are alone in echoing not just the general appearance of a traditional saw but also th4 way it is sharpened. This means aggressive filings and zero rake. When you first get your saw, it has seen only a few strokes when the shop tests it to make sure it tracks correctly and cuts fast. But those teeth are like needles. When you first use the saw, they will want to catch in the wood, especially in open pore species like oak. But after 10 minutes or so - the break-in period - any burrs and bits from the filing should be worn off have worn off and the teeth should be thoroughly evened out. At this point your saw will work smoothly and FAST.
Will the handle stay true over time?
We use Black Walnut because it is stable. I would guess that all of the mainstream materials used by everyone in the industry are fine, but if you do get a saw that is made from an exotic wood, make sure the maker says it will be stable. You wont find much to admire in a gorgeous handle that is heavy and unstable. Nothing is more frustrating than a warping handle - especially on a premium saw.
Handle size and shape.
Think about golf. The amount of effort that goes into designing a handle and club that let's someone driver further is insane. And of course what a pro does is teach you to exploit the tool, not force the tool into your current posture. Sawing is exactly the same. The goal should not be that a saw handle feels perfect from day one. It might - hopefully it will, but it should not under any circumstances just mimic whatever you are used to, it should make you a better craftsperson.
Is it within your budget?
This is a tricky one. In theory, even the most expensive dovetail saw on the market is less than a trip to Disney World. And over time, per use, it's inexpensive. But a budget is a budget and all the dovetail saws worth buying are a healthy chunk of change - with two exceptions: The Veritas saw is well made, inexpensive (1/4 of the cost of ours), works very well, but way too modern for my tastes. I don't think it is as easy to use as our saw, but it's the best deal in well-made pistol grip saws. We also stock a straight-handled gents saw that I recommend to students all the time. It could use a sharpening out of the box but even so it works well, albeit slowly.
As you might imagine, I think the Gramercy Tools Dovetail Saw does well according to these criteria. But I admit I'm biased. If I didn't like the way our saws performed we would be making them differently. The real good news is that with so many modern makers to choose from, all of whom make fine saws with differing characteristics, no matter which saw you pick, you will end up with something pretty excellent.
"I worked for nonprofits and had jobs that were just looking at numbers on a screen. But this is..."
- Mac Kohler, founder of Brooklyn Copper Cookware, in Saveur magazine. He’s talking about the copper cookware that he makes and cooking, but this is exactly why I like woodworking with hand tools. And cooking, for that matter.
I’m a bit ashamed of how long it took me to buy an inexpensive block of rosin and put it in my tool chest. Rosin, also called calophony, is derived from pine sap and increases friction on anything you rub it upon. That means that your slippery bench dogs or planing stop will suddenly stand at attention and stay that way. Rosin makes things stick. It comes in a variety […]
|waiting for me|
|each one comes with two blades|
I like the knife and it is better than what I was expecting it to be. It has a bit of weight to it, the blade is wicked sharp as is, and it feels good in my hand. This fills my palm nicely which I didn't think it was going to do. Haven't even made a mark with it and it already has a few gold stars.
|one is in Miles's toolbox|
|dovetails penciled in|
|itch is getting scratched|
|LN is in the on deck circle|
The saw cut from both was too close to declare a winner. I did find the LN saw easier to start but by the time I got to the last tail with the LV saw, it was old hat. I figured out the sweet spot for starting the cut which happened to be towards the heel. Both saws were easy to saw square and then follow the angle of the tails.
|cut my thumb|
|road testing two more|
|sawing the half pins|
I give the edge to the half pins to the LV saw but not by much. Not only was it easier sawing them with the LV saw, it was easier to track on down on the gauge line. The LN did them but it felt a bit rougher doing them with it. No hiccups with starting the LV saw on any of the half pins either.
|edge to the LV saw|
The LV saw is for Miles's kit and I had got it because it was good deal $$$ wise. I know LV makes good stuff so I went with their reputation. This is my first experience with any of the LV bench saws. If I hadn't seen the LV deal, I was going to buy Miles's a LN dovetail saw. Now I'm thinking maybe I should buy me a LV dovetail saw. After all it is almost xmas and I've been a good boy all year.
|a gold star for the knife|
I ran a few lines on my shooting board to get a feel for the knife. I didn't dig into the blade on the square and I seemed to have mastered the bevel right away. Out of the box this knife is wicked sharp. It is 100% sharper than my curved blade marking knife here. The Stanley doesn't require any flattening of the back neither. I can also sharpen the blade or toss it and put a new one.
I did all the knife lines for the dovetails with this. I like the length and it feels better in my hand than the curved blade marking knife. The Stanley has more weight, heft, and a presence when held. Compared to the other knife which has little weight, no heft and less than half the presence of the Stanley, the edge goes to the Stanley as the all around winner.
Again I feel like a traitor because I was getting fond of the curved blade marking knife. I am not ready to ditch it and marry the Stanley just yet. The Stanley has impressed me so far but like the LV saw I'll reserve final judgment until I have used both knives and the LV saw on a few projects.
What US holiday is also celebrated in Italy, Spain, and Latin America?
answer - Columbus Day
Meet the artists from the December 2017 issue How five masterful makers integrate CNC and CAD technology into their woodworking. In the December 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking magazine, the article, Digital Artistry gives the readers a peek at what five professional woodworkers are doing with digital tools in their shops. Each has an extensive traditional woodworking background and many years of experience before they added digital tools like CAD […]
The post Digital Artistry — Meet the Artist: Curtis Erpelding appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
Meet the artists from the December 2017 issue How five masterful makers integrate CNC and CAD technology into their woodworking In the December 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking magazine, the article, Digital Artistry gives the readers a peek at what five professional woodworkers are doing with digital tools in their shops. Each has an extensive traditional woodworking background and many years of experience before they added digital tools like CAD […]
Book cover, showing the plane till in my basement workshop.
If you'd like a copy of my book, Hand Tool Basics, published by Popular Woodworking Books, you can order it online at ShopWoodworking.com.
It's available in both hardcopy and e-book formats. It's a direct companion to my video series, Intro to Hand Tools (more information on the series, including the free Part 1 and sample lesson, is at Intro To Hand Tools Downloadable Videos).
The images in the book are taken from the digital video I recorded for the series, and its organization and content match the series. The book is therefore a matching visual reference for hand tool woodworking, with some 1400 captioned photos.
Why have a book version identical to the video series? Several reasons:
- Some people prefer learning from videos. Some people prefer learning from books.
- It's nice to have both so you can sit back and watch the videos, then have the book with you on the workbench as you follow the steps for a procedure.
- The dynamic images in the video allow you to watch the tools in motion, while the static images in the book freeze the action so you can take your time examining details. These complementary views help you get the whole picture.
Here are a few sample pages representative of the layout and level of detail in the book.
From Chapter 1: The Tools, showing a selection of the tools covered.
From Chapter 5: Mortise and Tenon Joinery, showing some of the fistfights and fundamentals.
From Chapter 6: Dovetail Joinery, showing some of the steps laying out and sawing a tails-first through-dovetail.
Feel free to email me at email@example.com if you have any questions about anything in the book. One of the challenges is getting just the right explanation that conveys the information to all readers regardless of their experience and skill level, and sometimes that fails.
Early 20th century memes.