Hand Tool Headlines
The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator
This week, Katy has been crazy busy down in the workshop making soft wax. In fact, she mixed and packaged 77 tins in three days – a new record. I asked her today what kicked her into high gear.
“I need money for food and stuff and….”
“Maybe a potter’s wheel.”
Last week, Katy’s art class took a tour of a commercial pottery. And when the potters asked if any of the students had used a wheel, Katy raised her hand (she’s taken a couple classes on using the wheel). By the end of the tour they had offered her a summer job, and Katy remembered her love of throwing pots.
So she made a bunch of wax. And now she has her eye on a wheel.
I’m not going to dissuade her. If you would like some wax, now is a good time to buy it and stock up (I’m buying a couple tins myself). It’s a really excellent soft paste with a gorgeous smell – perfect for the interior surfaces of woodwork or for restoring wooden surfaces that have become dried out by time or weather.
You can order it from her etsy store here.
— Christopher Schwarz, who might be surrendering part of his shop to a young potter.
Filed under: Uncategorized
Here is the full slate of activities.
May 23-27 Making a Ripple Molding Cutter – this is less of a workshop than a week long gathering of fellow galoots trying to design and build a machine to allow us to recreate ripple and wave moldings. Material and supplies costs divvied up, no tuition.
June 16-18 Make a Nested Set of Brass Roubo Squares – This is a weekend of metal working, as we fabricate a full set of nested brass squares with ogee tips, as illustrated in Plate 308 of l’art du Menuisier. The emphasis will be entirely on metal fabrication and finishing, including silver soldering with jeweler Lydia Fast, and creating a soldering station for the workbench. Tuition $375, materials cost $50.
July 24-28 Minimalist Woodworking with Vic Tesolin – This week long session with author and woodworking minimalist Vic Tesolin will begin with the fabrication, entirely by hand, of a Japanese tool box. Who knows where we will end up? I am looking forward to having my own work transformed. Tuition $625, materials cost $50.
August 11-13 Historic Finishing – My own long-time favorite, we will spend three days reflecting on, and enacting, my “Six Rules For Perfect Finishing” in the historic tradition of spirit and wax coatings. Each participant should bring a small finishing project with them, and will accompany that project with creating numerous sample boards to keep in your personal collections. Tuition $375.
September 4-8 Build An Heirloom Workbench – I’m repeating the popular and successful week-long event from last year, wherein the participants will fashion a Roubo-style workbench from laminated southern yellow pine. Every participant will leave at the end with a completed bench, ready to be put to work as soon as you get home and find three friends to help you move it into the shop. Tuition and Materials $825 total.
Since some recent research revealed the attention span of Americans to be eight seconds, I’ll re-run this periodically.
If any of these interest you drop me a line here.
One of the challenges when building a chair is clamping the dang thing down so you can work on it. I’ve seen lots of solutions that use band clamps. But I dislike band clamps (perhaps I had a bad experience at band camp). So here’s what I do. Most workholding problems can be solved with handscrew clamps and holdfasts, including this one. First you squeeze the legs with the handscrew […]
I am extending my 15% off sale through March 2017!
Now's your chance to own one of my handcrafted guitars!
Please contact me for details!
When I slice packs of shop-made inlay or work with material that’s expensive, I generally install a 7-1/4”-diameter, thin saw blade on my table saw. The smaller-diameter blades produce less waste and the material with which I’m working stays around longer. That’s a good thing.
This past week I discovered another good thing about using smaller diameter, thin blades. As I turned off my saw I noticed that the spin-down time was significantly less.
It’s a good day when I find three new images of stick chairs. Researcher Suzanne Ellison sent me the September 2015 issue of Antique Collecting recently, and I devoured it this morning while juggling some technical publishing problems.
Inside the issue were three stick chairs – two likely Welsh and one labeled as Irish. All are notable for one reason or another. Let’s take a look.
The chair above was listed for sale by Suffolk House Antiques and has a burr ash seat that is 2-1/2” thick. There are several things I like about this chair. Its spindle layout and armbow are similar to the chairs I’ve been building recently, but the crest rail and back spindles are quite eye-catching. I like the way the crest rail is curved along its top edge – very graceful.
The three back spindles look delicate and fragile, though I doubt they are. I really like how the maker bent the two outside spindles outward. It’s a nice contrast with the density and verticality of the lower spindles and seat.
The second chair was featured in an article on auction results. Though it’s not specifically called out as Welsh, it looks it to me. This chair has a charming lightness to it, despite its 14 spindles. Also, take a look at the “hands” of the armbow. They end in a nice semi-circle. Finally, the ogee on the ends of the crest rail is a nice classical surprise on a folk chair. Who knows if this detail is original to this chair. But it works.
The third chair is listed as an Irish fruitwood chair from the 18th century. I’m charmed by the low seat and the overall boxiness of the thing. Also, if you look close at the seat you can see there is a hole that is plugged at the rear of the seat (it could be a knot but I think that’s unlikely). This chair might have started off as a 3- or 5-legged chair.
Finally, a fascinating pig bench from Suffolk House antiques that might be from the Middle Ages according to the magazine. This bench proves that sometimes warped wood can be your friend.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: John Brown Book, The Anarchist's Design Book, Uncategorized
Feeling validated. If Christopher Schwarz can teach Chinese, then I can do the same for woodworking.
(Photo from the Lost Art Press blog.)
|the thing that needs to be sharp|
One other thing I noticed between the two that is tipping my favor in the direction of the citric is the rust blooms. Evaporust doesn't deal very well with them and they are there at the end of the bath. I left one rust bloom on this iron and the citric acid removed it. It's a hard choice to make because I started out with Evaporust and I'm sure I'll continue to use it. But there are a lot of check marks in column A for the citric acid.
|it's a 1/2" astragal|
|my first attempt with the new plane last night|
|one stop on the plane|
|sharp and shiny|
|ripping off the bad so I can plane some good|
|not too bad, even and straight end to end|
|squared up the rough sawn edges|
|it's a small amount of real estate to keep on the edge|
|much joy and rejoicing in Mudville|
|against the grain|
|outside groove wall tore out a bit here|
|a handful of shavings to burnish the profile|
|got another surprise|
|this is an interesting profile|
|screws came in|
|the part sticking out screws into the threaded insert|
|after dinner work|
|also found a board I can use for the back stretcher|
|got most of the wood for the towel holder|
|set #1 after 4 rounds|
|set #1 and the comparison piece|
|set #2 after 4 rounds|
|set #2 and the comparison piece|
|all 3 together|
I am going to put a few coats of lacquer on the biggest piece of wood in both sets. I want to see what the black looks like with some finish on it.
Who has won the most Grammy awards?
answer - conductor Georg Solti with 31
From Journal Tuesday 14th February 2017 I’ve used my rag-in-a-can oiler for over 52 years to date. It’s for adding a super-fine film of oil to my planes and saws and so far as I know it knows no equal. The trouble is it’s prompted questions that come up all too often so hopefully the …
There isn’t enough written in English on the woodworking of the Chinese, who have a long and amazing woodworking and technological history. But today I’ve been gobbling up “China at Work” by Rudolf P. Hommel (MIT Press, 1937), which focuses on tools used for making other tools (blacksmithing), food, clothing, shelter and transportation. Unlike other contemporary writers, Hommel lived in China for several years, had enormous respect for the culture […]
Whether you buy your furniture wood from a specialty hardwood lumberyard or from a local sawyer, the chance that the wood is ready to go into a piece of furniture with a minimum risk of shrinking (or, rarely, expanding) unduly is just about nil. Instead, it’s more likely (at least in most areas of the United States) that the wood has been sitting in an unheated space and is, at […]
For your woodworking Valentine’s Day pleasure, here’s Cari Romm on how Ikea breaks up couples:
The Ikea website currently lists more than 30 different types of side tables alone, and a side table’s one of the least consequential types of furniture you can get. And once you land on the model you want in the price point you want, there are supplementary decisions to make — size, color, etc.
There’s some debate surrounding the concept of ego depletion — the idea that you have a finite amount of mental energy to spend before you become decision-fatigued — but even for someone with infinite willpower, making all those choices with a partner can be a fraught, highly delicate balancing act, says psychology professor Julie Peterson, who leads the Self and Close Relationships Lab at the University of New England. Shopping for a high-stakes item is stressful even when you’re on your own, “but then you add a relationship partner to that — who you care about, love, ostensibly want to please in some way — and it it just compounds it even more,” she says.
And it gets even worse:
Here’s the cruelest of all the cruel jokes Ikea plays on its customers: If — if — you and your significant other still make it out of there with minimal strife and all the furniture you need, you still have to go home and assemble it.
In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking the 360 guys are joined once again by Ron Herman who proceeds 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.
I bought a spokeshave you can afford and one I haven’t tested out before either. I liked the look of it and Draper UK has been a long established distributor of all kinds of tools, machines and equipment here in the UK for decades and whereas their quality is generally accepted as reasonable to well made, …
|batting lead off tonight|
|this is it|
|chopping the tails|
|towel rack is batting cleanup|
|ready to cut out|
|cut out and ready for shaping|
|most of the rough shaping is done|
|dead nuts flush|
|I don't like this point|
|sides are done|
|something I'm adding|
What is the maximum allowed weight for a PBA bowling ball?
answer - 16 pounds
The Ma’agan Mikhael, a 5th-century BCE Cypriot merchantman, was found off the coast of Israel in 1985. The wreck was an important find in learning more about ancient shipbuilding techniques and trade practices. After excavation and preservation the reconstructed hull was placed in the Hecht Museum in Haifa.
Three wooden boxes were found in the wreck: one in a heart shape with a pivoting lid and two violin-shaped boxes. There is plenty of evidence in the archeological records that these boxes were of a type used for cosmetic pastes and creams.
In 2004 Yigal Sitry published, “Unique Wooden Artifacts: A Study of Typology and Technology” part of a series of research articles in “The Ma’agan Mikhael Ship – The Recovery of a 2,400 Year Old Merchantman” by Yaacov Kahanov and Elisha Linder.
In his article Sitry provides a full description of the heart-shaped box and outlines, with illustrations, “the order of operations” in the making of the box (and easy for a modern woodworker to follow).
The box, before conservation that caused uneven shrinkage, measured 110 mm x 109 mm x 34.5 mm (about 4.3″ x 4.3″ x 1.4″) and was made of oak. One note: the heart-shaped box has been renamed the ivy leaf box as that shape was more consistent with shapes found in contemporary pottery and art.
The link to Yigal Sitry’s article is here.
For the “recently spurned:” Put Nirvana’s “Heart-shaped Box” on a loop, make the box, burn it, repeat.
— Suzanne Ellison
Filed under: Historical Images, Personal Favorites
After a teaching excursion in Germany some years ago, an old friend and I decided to drive over to visit Prague in the Czech Republic. We toured the old city and the square with its magnificent clock tower. Then we walked up to the very old Prague castle and explored around it. St. Vitus Cathedral is right beside the castle. Church and State never far away from each other in medieval Europe. The cobblestone streets there date back 1000 years.
On the back side of the church is an alleyway where merchants no doubt kept shop for the clerics and nobility up on top of this hill. It is not wide this alley. Barely room for two carts to pass by each other and the walls of the church rise up far above our heads with gargoyles starting out or down at us to menace and keep us peasants in our place.
There is not much to see walking down this alley. It is a route to the back road down the hillside. But passing through it, I saw these large doors, the back doors to the church. On these iron doors, held together with giant black metal spikes and screws were hung a few door knockers. Made of iron, these knockers showed the bodies and heads of serpents hanging down to the pavement below.
I lifted one to let it see the alley once again instead of the stones below. Then I let it drop against the steel and resume its watch of the street. Who would put this much effort into a door knocker on the poor side, the distaff side of the cathedral? Who would make something so carefully? More evidence of the value of doing things well. Even when ignored by most of a world but known to the craftsman.
Consider exploring another world with us in the Studio. Join us for The Hand Tool Shop this spring starting March 13th and lasting through April 7th. Take one week of class or all four in an exploration of hand tool work, patience, and practice. Working with hand tools is a different kind of meditation and exercise on the value of quality.
In the years since I wrote about and hosted a video on building the knockdown workbench from the collection at Old Salem, N.C., folks have sent me hundreds of photos of the benches they have built. I absolutely love getting these. I am always interested to see the different vise set-ups, materials and alterations different people have done with the design.
I few days ago, Luther Shealy sent some photos of a Moravian work bench he has nearly completed. Shealy is in the U.S. Army stationed in South Korea. He had to leave his Roubo bench behind when he was deployed overseas.
Fortunately the Army base has a morale and welfare shop the servicemen can use, and he decided to build a bench for use while in Korea. He was able to source the pine parts of the bench on location, but the oak part proved to be problem. Undeterred, Shealy had friends back home mail him enough white oak for the short stretchers. He brought the oak vise chop over in his luggage; that must have been interesting trip thru TSA!
I very much admire Shealy’s determination to make this happen in a less-than-ideal situation.
— Will Myers
Filed under: Workbenches
If you get to know some toolmakers as friends, you’re likely to hear all kinds of wild stories about people who return tools for odd or non-existent defects. Think sidewalls of a handplane that are different in thickness by a few thousandths of an inch. Or cutting bevels of a tool that are ground 1° out of square. But sometimes tools do need to go back to the manufacturer. Students […]