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Best Of: Stickering Lumber – 360w360 E.212

360 WoodWorking - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 4:00am
 Stickering Lumber – 360w360 E.212

In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking the 360 guys revisit Episode #70 and talk about stickering lumber.

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.

If you have topics you’d like to hear covered in future episodes, click here to send an email to the guys.

Continue reading Best Of: Stickering Lumber – 360w360 E.212 at 360 WoodWorking.

The English Inch, the Spanish Guitar and a Shop Made Ruler

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 1:28pm
Although this may seem a paradox, all exact science is dominated by the idea of approximation. When a man tells you that he knows the exact truth about anything, you are safe in infering that he is an inexact man. Every careful measurement in science is always given with the probable error ... every observer admits that he is likely wrong, and knows about how much wrong he is likely to be.

Bertrand Russell, in The Scientific Outlook, 1931


When I first started making guitars, Guitarmaking: Tradition and Technology, by Cumpiano and Natelson, was my best guide. One problem I ran into with this book is that the authors recommend using a machinist's ruler graduated in tenths of an inch to use in making a guitar. At the time, I had a hard time finding an affordable machinist's ruler that was longer than 24 inches, I ended up buying a double sided ruler, both imperial and metric, from Bridge City Tools. As I did more research into classical guitar construction I discovered most of the books available worked with the metric system and used it to take measurements of historic guitars. I never really gave much thought to either system, both accomplish the same task, namely measurement.

Recently, I re-read an article on the restoration of an 1863 Antonio de Torres guitar by the luthier R.E. Brune. (Click here to read the article). In the article, after describing the guitar, Mr. Brune states "Aside from the lack of fan struts, there are several other notable features. The first is its adherence to English measurements based on the inch."

Wow, a Spanish carpenter using the English Imperial system of measurement! Torres worked as a guitar maker from about 1845 to his death in 1892.

Of course, Mr. Brune doesn't address why Antonio de Torres used the English system.

My first question was, why didn't Torres use the Spanish unit of measurement, that of the vara, pulgado and pie? These units of measurement are descendants of the Roman foot, very ancient, well used and loved by the Spanish. Yes, I know that the length of the vara was different in each Spanish town and province, but why would a man who apprenticed as a carpenter in his hometown take up a unit of measurement used by the English?

The second question I asked was, maybe Torres did use the vara to layout his guitar plans and nobody used a vara to measure his guitars.

I made a ruler based upon the Spanish vara to test this theory very unscientifically.

As I understand it, the vara was/is equivalent to our "yard". Juan Villasana Haggard, who wrote Handbook For Translators of Spanish Historical Documents, states that the official historical vara was 32.91 inches; a codo equals one half a vara, 16.5 inches; a pulgada, consisting of 12 lineas, equals 0.914 inches; a linea equals 1/432 of a vara, or 0.0769 inches; a dedo equals 1/48 of a vara, 0.6949 inches; there is more, but I think you get the idea. Another source states "(t)he standard vara was the vara of Castile, (about 0.8359 meter, subdivided into 3 pies or 4 palmos)". A palmos is 8.23 inches, a pie is 10.97 inches.

I ripped and planed down a piece of maple, I sharpened the points on my old Lodi brand dividers, set to them to that space between 29/32 and 59/64 and went on a wild ride for 26 pulgadas.

When I placed the new ruler next to my trusty old Bridge City ruler, imperial side, I saw no marks really lined up, no pattern emerged.
One half of the 25.625 inch scale length is 12.812 inches, and as you can see, the new ruler really doesn't line up with 12 and 13/16 inches.


I flipped the Bridge City ruler over to the metric side and again, no alignment or pattern either. Half of 65cm is 32.5cm.


Yes, I probably should have spent more time dividing the pulgadas into 6ths, 7ths, 8ths, 10ths, 12ths, 16ths, etc., but I need to buy better dividers and I am not sure I need to explore this side street further at this time.

Third question: was there a connection between the violin and guitar makers of Seville, Spain and those of England?

Last night, while surfing the Internet for "English unit of measurement and Spanish guitars", I stumbled onto a thread that was up on a well known classical guitar forum. I won't mention the forum's name, I find forums a waste of time, mostly because of the dilettantism you find in forums, but, I will say I think I actually found the start of answer to my first and third questions.

A well known guitar maker mentioned that he had done some research on Spanish carpenters and guitar makers and learned that most of these men tried to purchase English made tools and rulers. Why English tools? They were the best tools available. The only problem with this maker's thread post is he does not cite his reference for this claim.

This maker also states that he has examined guitars made by the great Jose Ramirez III in the 1960's that layout perfectly to the English inch. That statement correlates with a statement made by the late Eugene Clark, a wonderful guitar maker, who said that nearly all of the guitars made by the great Spanish makers that he had repaired, laid out to the English inch.

What a thought, Spanish guitar makers used the English inch into the 1970's! And Spain officially adopted the metric system over one hundred years earlier!

Here are some photos of a plan of a 1963 Hernandez y Aguado classical guitar from Roy Courtnall's collection purchased from LMI. All measurements on the plan are metric, but notice that the drawing lines up well with the English inch.


Overall length of box, 19 1/4 inches.


With of lower bout, 14 3/4 inches.

Where to from here?

I will look at the bibliography in Tools: Working Wood in 18th Century America, by Gaynor and Hagedorn, and The Tool Chest of Benjamin Seaton, by TATHS for paths to research British tool and ruler exports to Spain. At some point, I hope I can find books on the history of woodworking and carpentry in Spain. I also need to email that guitar maker about his references for Spanish carpenters and their English tools. If anyone has any suggestions for research possibilities, please let me know!

Categories: Luthiery

Tool Cabinet Supports

orepass: Woodworking to Pass the Time - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 12:37pm

Moving the cabinet around to install hinges, shelf supports and doors has become quite a challenge. There isn’t a scale nearby, but even before tools are placed inside it’s quite hefty. Fortunately there are supports to be built that will fit underneath.

img_2202 img_2206 img_2230

 

The supports consits of a pair of dovetailed boards with a brace. The dovetail is unique and was fun to make. I admit that I did have some trouble getting the angles correct on the brace and the fit is not as snug as I would like, but there are plenty of lessons in mistakes.Unfortuantely I only have the three photographs that I took while making the parts.


Categories: Hand Tools

Twisted Dovetails Complete

David Barron Furniture - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 10:18am

The twisted dovetail alignment board turned out pretty well. The dovetails weren't as difficult as I had imagined. I've written an article for F&C magazine which will be published in the coming months, if you want to have a go.

Categories: Hand Tools

Top Posts of 2016

Bob Lang's ReadWatchDo - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 9:59am
I realize that this website is a mixed bag, but it is a reflection of what I do. I’m interested in many different things and old enough to be pretty good at several of them. As it’s time to get … Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

My latest approach to sharpening

Oregon Woodworker - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 7:54am
I am apparently like many woodworkers in wasting time and money pursuing various sharpening approaches, being dissatisfied and starting over.  There are others who pursue sharpening as an end in itself, but, personally, I'd rather drink craft beer.  I do seem to be circling in on what works best for me though.  I think that the right sharpening approach for a particular woodworker depends on a lot of things, personal preference among them.  This is what I have settled on for me:
  1. I am interested in getting a workably sharp edge quickly and easily and am willing to forgo ultimate sharpness if it takes time or requires fussy equipment.  Actual sharpness experienced in use is more of a function of regular honing. 
  2. I wish all of my tools were O1 steel, but they aren't, so my method has to be able to handle the harder steels.
  3. I don't mind taking time to sharpen my tools between projects but I resist stopping in the middle of a project to hone a tool, yet regular honing is crucial, so my honing method has to be right at the bench and very very quick.
  4. Spending time flattening my sharpening and honing media is intolerable.
  5. I'm done buying machines and gizmos.  If I've got it and it works ok, I'll use it, but I'm not buying any new ones.   
Adapting the Paul Sellers method by using coarse, medium, fine and extra fine diamond stones followed by a strop was a definite step forward for me, but I found I didn't want to go through all the steps every time my tool got dull.  Part of the problem is that I bought two-sided stones, which are very inconvenient, but I also don't see the need for sharpening from scratch every time and I like secondary bevels.  I want to be like a barber who hones his straight razor between each haircut at the chair, maybe even with the same drama that the old timers used to achieve.  (By the way, they now use disposable ones in my area).

These considerations led me to a two-stage regimen.  I start a project with all of my tools sharp.  During projects, I hone regularly at the bench.  The fastest, easiest, most reliable method I have found is to use these steel honing plates and diamond paste followed by a strop.  I use the 6 and 3 micron paste but I don't use the 1 micron paste because I strop.  The plates are cheap but the paste is expensive.  However, you use much less paste than you would think.  You just put on a very small amount and it lasts a long time.  There's no water and all you have to do is wipe the edge between grits.  It works well on all steels.  Someday I might get rid of every non-O1 tool I own and use oil stones.  Until then, I expect to stay with this honing method.  I do not use any kind of jig or guide when honing.  It takes too long and I don't have the patience.

Between projects or if honing isn't enough, I sharpen.  Depending on how much I need to do, I either use my Worksharp or I use my diamond plates.  For narrower edges like chisels I sharpen with a guide but for wider blades like plane blades I sharpen free hand.  I have owned a number of guides but I have gone back to the first one I bought years ago, this one.   It is quick and easy to use, works well with skewed blades, clamps solidly to every tool shape I have and is durable.  I've had a number of other guides that were fancier and more expensive but I just didn't like them.

I think that if I were teaching an introductory woodworking course, I would urge the students to only buy O1 steel tools and use oilstones and a strop for sharpening and honing.  Alternatively, I would suggest that they get the basic guide I use, three honing plates and the three grits of diamond paste generally available.  For sharpening, I think sandpaper on a piece of glass would be fine.  For aggressive material removal, as when restoring a tool, sandpaper is the way to go in my opinion.

None of this is to challenge in any way the wisdom that waterstones are the way to get an ultimate edge, just to say that they are too much trouble for recalcitrants like me.  Maybe if I had a heated shop with a stone pond and running water, but that is what it would take to get me to consider using them.  None of this is to challenge sharpening systems like the Tormek, but to me the cost and complexity are just over the top.  None of this is to challenge hollow grinding, which has a lot of appeal for sharpening.  I avoided it originally because I feared ruining my tools but hollow grinding has a lot of appeal.  I don't have a grinder and I am not going to buy one.  The Worksharp is good enough.

As I said at the outset, I am after a workably sharp edge as quickly and easily as possible.    

Categories: Hand Tools

Silent Film Fun

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 6:43am
 

I whipped up this fun little silent film last evening for your amusement. I’ve always loved the handcrank look. There may be more of these in the future.

 

Categories: Hand Tools

How To Grind - Part 1 - When To Grind

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 4:00am

Happy New Year! I thought I would start off the new year with some practical woodworking information. I have always thought that a grinder is one of the most important tools in the shop -- and it's also one of the least understood. While I do teach an occasional class on grinding at our shop (and will do so again in the future), most people don't live nearby, so written instruction seems in order. The last time I wrote on this subject, in the June 2008 issue of FWW, the response was overwhelming. But I have learned stuff since then, and technology has evolved.

This series on grinding will be in four parts:

1 Introduction + reasons for grinding
2 Grinding wheel and grinder technology
3 The angle to grind at, wheel dressing, and how to grind to maintain the existing bevel
4 Grinding to repair an edge


Parts three and four are hands-on; the rest is theory and background information.

There are three reasons to grind.

1 - To Maintain a Hollow Grind. Grinding an edge tool against a curved wheel will always result is some sort of curvature on the bevel. The larger the wheel, the less the curvature. We call this "hollow grinding" (see picture). Producing a hollow grind enables easier and faster honing. When you think about it a bit, the only part of the chisel that does any work is the cutting edge at the very tip. The rest of the chisel is just support for the edge. So the steel in the middle of the primary bevel is basically waste. With a hollow grind when you go off to hone the tool after grinding, you get a very stable platform of the tool solidly supported at the front and back edges of the bevel. You won't be wasting energy, stone wear, and time removing the middle of the bevel, you'll also get a simple way to make sure you are always honing at the edge. All the force is applied at the edge, and there is no tendency to wobble or rock the chisel. Hollow grinding GOOD!

2 - To Restore or Change the Geometry of the Primary Bevel Angle. Personally I am not fussy about bevel angles. The lower the angle of the primary bevel, the less force it will take to push the chisel into the wood. With less force comes more control. The trade-off is a thinner, weaker edge. A higher primary angle gives you a stronger edge, but more force is needed to punch it into the wood, and with that comes less control. The traditional angle of a bench chisel is 25° but a little more or less isn't a big deal. Paring chisels should really be lower by at least 5° and mortise chisel higher by the same amount. Every once in awhile I realize that my geometry on a particular chisel or plane blade is off enough to annoy me. This usually happens because after several years of honing I find the bevel angle getting steeper. These days, however, as I am hollow grinding to make honing easier and I don't have this problem at all. I'm also not personally adding new chisels to my toolbox - but certainly someone building a shop will always have "new to them" tools that need a geometry change.

3 - The Unfortunate Reason: To Restore a Damaged Edge. Probably the most frequent reason I end up grinding something. Chisels, plane irons and other display tools in our showroom get handled all the time and get dropped. Repairing a damaged edge is a little more involved than a just maintaining the hollow, but there really is no better way of repairing a damaged edge. Honing past damage, even with a coarse abrasive, just takes a lot of time and elbow grease.

The issue that many woodworkers are scared about when grinding is heat. The basic problem is that (with the exception of turning tools made from High Speed Steel (HSS)) if you heat up a hardened piece of steel past 400 degrees it will get start turning brown and blue and get softer -- and most importantly, it won't keep an edge anymore. HSS is called "High Speed Steel" because it can be heated up way past 400 degrees and yet stiff hold an edge. But in general, HSS won't hold a sharp enough edge for woodworking, and it's very hard to hone. The goal when grinding an edge is to achieve a ground edge without overheating or "burning" the edge. And a more important goal is to be able to consistently grind without burning because otherwise the crap shoot of what will happen is too scary.

There are three (or four) basic approaches to keeping cool when grinding. Use a very slow grinder. Use a grinding wheel that allows speedy steel removal without heat. Use some sort of coolant, such as water for wet grinding. Finally in parentheses: (grind really slowly and gingerly). The goal for me is to grind as fast as possible without any real danger so in Part Two we will talk about wheel and grinder selection, and how to keep a wheel grinding as cool as possible.

A George II Walnut Serpentine Chest – Part One

Pegs and 'Tails - Tue, 01/03/2017 - 7:59pm
Towards the close of the seventeenth-century, rather heavy, solid wainscot (oak) furniture gave way to refined European walnut chairs, tables, mirrors and walnut-veneered wainscot and deal (pine) casework etc. Joined oak furniture was attractive enough, but somewhat workman-like and couldn’t … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Making a Dovetailed Recorder Case

The Literary Workshop Blog - Tue, 01/03/2017 - 3:03pm

Some years ago I was given a wooden tenor recorder.  (It’s a Küng pearwood, made in Germany, if anybody cares.)  It came in a basswood storage case that the previous owner had made for it, but time and use had weighed heavily on the original case.  The cheap hinges eventually fell off, and there was no latch to keep the box closed.  The interior, however, still did its job of protecting the instrument, so I resolved to build a second, sturdier box around the original basswood case.

That was four or five years ago.  Finally, over the holidays, I built the case.

Tenor Recorder Case 12-2016

The finished box is made from cherry and spalted pecan–the same wood combination that comprises my tool chest, on which the recorder case is sitting in the above photo.  I like the combination visually, and I happened to have a lot of both woods on hand.  I also selected some cherry that had a few bug holes in it (including one massively big hole) in order to do some creative inlay to fill the holes.

But back to the original basswood case.  It has a story.

Tenor Recorder Case 12-2016

The maker was a high school math teacher.  She wasn’t much of a woodworker, but she did understand geometry.  She bought a number of thin pieces of basswood, which is very soft and easy to carve.  She she measured the recorder pieces at different points, drew out the measurements on each thin piece, cut the profile out of each section, and then glued the sections together to form a box.  The result is what you see above–though I presume she did some sanding to get everything fitted just right.

In my own stock selection, I found pieces of wood that were thick enough that I could saw each one in half.  That way, the top and bottom pieces that make up each side of the clamshell would be bookmatched.  The cherry sides ended up at about 3/8″ thick, and the pecan top and bottom just a little thinner.  But I did almost no numerical measurement on this project.  The new case just needs to fit the old case snuggly inside it.

Tenor Recorder Case 12-2016

I carefully arranged the pieces for the best visual effect and marked them out.

Construction was straightforward.  I dovetailed the corners–one big dovetail per corner–and plowed grooves all around the insides of the cherry sides to accept the pecan top and bottom, which will be captured in the grooves once the sides are assembled.

On the long sides, I used my plow plane to cut the groove along their entire lengths, but had I done that to the short end pieces, the ends of the groove would show as gaps once the box was put together, and I’d have to plug each gap.  The other option is to make a stopped groove.

Tenor Recorder Case 12-2016

I began by taking a couple strokes with my plow plane, stopping before I went all the way through the end.  That way, I had the groove laid out exactly as it should be.  I just needed to deepen the groove.  I first used a utility knife to score each side of the groove.

Tenor Recorder Case 12-2016

I then used a narrow chisel and mallet to deepen the groove.  The result wasn’t exactly pretty, but it worked.  The grooves are small, about 3/16″ wide and deep.

I beveled the top of each panel with a handplane so as to just fit into the grooves.  Then it was time to glue up each side.

Tenor Recorder Case 12-2016

Everything came together nicely.  When your joints are cut precisely, you shouldn’t need much clamping pressure to keep them together as the glue dries.  Just enough to ensure that all mating surfaces are making full contact, and that the joints don’t somehow spring apart while you’re not looking.

Tenor Recorder Case 12-2016

After planing, the joinery looks pretty tight all around.

I cut a small chamfer all around the top and bottom of each side, just to break the sharp edges and prevent damage to the box in use.

Then it was time to fill in the bug holes with some some crushed stone inlay.  The process is not difficult, and I’ve used it before on my dining table and other projects.  I begin by back-filling any deep holes with cheap material–either sawdust or a slip of wood, such as a section of a toothpick.  When I back-fill with sawdust, I flood it with superglue to keep it all in place.  Then I fill each hole with the inlay material, which in this case is a green stone called malachite.  (I get it in small amounts on Amazon–I get the finest grain available.)  I mound it up a bit over each hole and then soak it with superglue.  The regular, thin variety works better than the gel kind.  Once the glue sets up, I scrape and sand the surface flush and clean.

Tenor Recorder Case 12-2016

Fitting the old box into the new one was easy enough.  It did require a little planing here and there to get everything to fit.  Somehow I made the new box just a little too long, so I had to pack just a little filler (wood shavings squeezed flat) into one end.

I ordered some hinges and a latch from Lee Valley, and while I waited for them to arrive in the mail, I set about finishing the box.  Because the box may see significant handling, I went with three coats of a semi-gloss polyurethane.

Everything fits nicely now.

Tenor Recorder Case 12-2016

The recorder fits very nicely

Tenor Recorder Case 12-2016

I could have used small hinges that required a mortise, but I really like the look of decorative, surface-mount hinges for a project like this.  And they’re a lot easier to install.   To hold them steady while I marked out the screw holes, I taped them down with masking tape.

Tenor Recorder Case 12-2016

The latch is a simple wire catch.

It was a satisfying project, and my favorite recorder will have a fine home for many years to come.


Tagged: box making, cherry, dovetailed box, pecan, recorder, recorder box, recorder case, spalted pecan, stopped groove, tenor recorder

Mitch Kohanek: My First Woodworking Mentor

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Tue, 01/03/2017 - 1:07pm

Because it’s National Mentoring Month I have to say that the single biggest influence in my professional development is without a doubt Mitch Kohanek, founder and instructor of the National Institute of Wood Finishing. Although I first learned sharpening and basic hand tool skills during my time at luthiery school, it was Mitch who introduced me to historic furniture and conservation. His contagious enthusiasm for furniture set me on a trajectory from which I’ve never recovered. In that program, I learned furniture history (especially through weekly book reports), joinery methods, repair techniques, inpainting, spraying, brushing, French polishing, color matching, conservation ethics, and even basic organic chemistry. But Mitch was one of those teachers that brought more than lectures and bookwork to the classroom- He was a father to the dozen or so of us in my class. That year studying under his direct tutelage was so inspiring, in fact, that I credit him with single-handedly cultivating my interest in historic furniture.

There were a number of things that Mitch drilled into us students. The most often quoted one is “In finishing (and woodworking), there are no ‘tricks’ – there are only ‘techniques’.” Although it may sound like semantics to outsiders, we students saw how this principal was imbedded in everything Mitch taught us. Mitch never wanted us to proceed on with work in the dark. He reinforced time and again that figuring out ‘why’ and disciplined “perfect practice” was the path to success. “Techniques” are developed skills. “Tricks” are shallow.

So here’s to Mitch, my mentor and friend. If it were not for his enthusiasm and generosity, I don’t know that I ever would have paid any attention to old rickety furniture.

 ------------------------

How about you, readers? Who are your mentors? If you didn’t have a face to face mentor, who have you learned from through books or videos most? Give them the honor they deserve. Write your own post on social media about what they’ve done for you. They deserve our admiration and praise.  Please tag your post with #woodworkingmentors so we can see them all!

 

 

Categories: Hand Tools

Alan Peters Twisted Dovetails

David Barron Furniture - Tue, 01/03/2017 - 11:39am

Alan Peters wrote an article for Fine Woodworking back in December 1986, on the twisted dovetail joint. After Alan died I was lucky enough to buy a few things from his widow Laura including the joint he cut for that article.


She was surprised I wanted it. It's never going to be worth much, but as an avid Alan Peters fan it's a nice thing to own.

The wood is Elm and is 34 mm thick (1 3/8"). I'd never noticed this little sticker before.


This afternoon I had a go at the joint myself making a dovetail alignment board in 3/4" thick, quarter sawn English cherry. I got it glued up before I went home so I'll see how it turns out in the morning!


Categories: Hand Tools

Ash splint pack baskets

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Tue, 01/03/2017 - 7:48am
A pair of gorgeous ash splint pack baskets which I just finished making in time for Christmas. Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

Best Of: Freaky Finishes – 360w360 E.211

360 WoodWorking - Tue, 01/03/2017 - 4:00am
 Freaky Finishes – 360w360 E.211

In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking the 360 guys revisit Episode #62 and discuss their favorite freaky finishes.

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.

Continue reading Best Of: Freaky Finishes – 360w360 E.211 at 360 WoodWorking.

Bazinga Bubinga

The Sharpening Blog with Ron Hock - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 3:59pm
Bazinga!

Bazinga!

So long, Bubinga — we were just getting to know ya’. Here it is January 2017 and you’ve been added to the CITES list (appendix II) of  “species that are not necessarily now threatened with extinction but that may become so unless trade is closely controlled.”

Oh, we can still ship you to our customers within the United States — until we’ve exhausted our inventory of plane kits and carving knife handles. But no more import or export. Here at Hock Tools we’ve been employing your good looks, toughness and durability for years. You’ll be missed, and fondly remembered. Now we’ll have to find… another*.

So, Bubinga lovers of America, the party’s over. Cherish what you have and can still get domestically. Bubinga has left the building.

*Yes, Jatoba, that’s you we’re winking at:

Shazam!

Shazam!


Categories: Hand Tools

Marking, cutting, and mortise gauges, part 4

Heartwood: Woodworking by Rob Porcaro - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 3:39pm
2mm leads in marking gauge
Sometimes, directly gauging a pencil line gives all the accuracy you need. Here are some options of various degrees of ease and precision. Plain old #2 In the wooden stem of most gauges, you can drill a hole, saw a kerf, and locate a tightening screw to bind the walls of the hole around an […] 3
Categories: Hand Tools

Curiosity

Northwest Woodworking - Mon, 01/02/2017 - 8:03am

It is not specific to humans. Birds and cats have this urge to discover. That overwhelming desire to open the closed door or to look around the corner. That is called curiosity. To satisfy this need should remain a lifelong quest. Because then one is always occupied, one is never bored, always learning, and always trying to cure one’s own ignorance. A large task for me. Happy New Year.

1-avion-3-airplane-by-clement-ader

 

Avion 3 aeroplane by Clement Ader. Now that is curiosity!


Categories: Hand Tools

Marking, cutting, and mortise gauges, part 3

Heartwood: Woodworking by Rob Porcaro - Sun, 01/01/2017 - 10:43pm
panel gauge
These conical and half-conical markers are strictly for use along the grain. There they make a wider groove than a knife point that is easier to see on its own, and easier to fill with a pencil to improve its visibility. I keep the half-conical marker installed in my panel gauge because it is a […] 0
Categories: Hand Tools

Marking, cutting, and mortise gauges, part 2

Heartwood: Woodworking by Rob Porcaro - Sun, 01/01/2017 - 5:51pm
Titemark gauge
Is there a gauge that works well both across and along the grain? Yes, but there are compromises and it depends on the wood. What we are looking for here is an all-around gauge. For this, I suggest the Titemark gauge or one of the gauges made by Jeff Hamilton of Hamilton Woodworks. The Titemark […] 2
Categories: Hand Tools

The Octagonizer Gauge

Hillbilly Daiku - Sun, 01/01/2017 - 4:04pm

img_2727

The most recent episode of “The Woodwright’s Shop” has Roy Underhill and Christopher Schwarz discussing staked furniture.  Part of the discussion is how to layout and cut octagonal tapered legs.  Just before CW starts the explanation of how to layout an octagon with a compass, Roy pulls out a gauge that he jokingly refers to as a “Octagonizer”.  Of course my ears perked up with interest.  The gauge seemed to work much like a center marking gauge in that it registered on either side of the stock. The difference being this gauge had two marking pins and established the extents of a regular octagon.  Not much more than that was presented in the show and I was left wondering about this gauge.  I have several octagonal tapered legs in my future and a gauge such as this could prove handy.

After consulting the Google, I found that this gauge is a common boatbuilding tool referred to as a “spar gauge”.  The gauge is used to layout a regular octagon on a spar blank to aid in the rounding process.  It is also quite large.  Much too large for working on small leg stock for staked furniture.  So I did a little more digging.

Turns out the pin arrangement on the gauge is based upon the proportional relationship of the corner of the square that is removed to create the octagon.  More in-depth information can be found here.  Using the Pythagoras’ theorem, you find that the proportional relationship of the sides and diagonal of this waste corner if, 1 : 1.41 : 1.  So with a little math you can make any size gauge you desire.

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With this information in hand I sat down at the drafting table and worked out a design for a scaled down gauge for furniture sized legs.  This morning I put that design to the test in  the shop. I scrounged up a small piece of maple, a couple of finish nails and made myself a octagonizer for laying out octagonal legs for my staked furniture projects.

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It’s really simple to use.  Place the gauge on the wood and rotate it until the guide pins make contact with opposite sides of the stock face you are marking.  Then either press down to create marks or slide the gauge to scribe in the extents of the side of the octagon on that face of the stock.  Repeat for the remaining three faces of the stock.  Then connect the points on the end of the stock to delineate the octagon.  In the photo below I used a compass to layout the octagon and verify the accuracy of my new gauge.

This thing is fast and accurate.  You really only need to mark points on one side.  Then take a pencil and set your finger gauge to one of the dots and quickly mark all faces of the stock with that setting.  If you like to taper your legs before creating the octagon, this gauge will automatically adjust for the taper as you scribe down the stock.  How slick is that?

Anyway, of course I made a construction drawing.  I included a chart with a few different sizes that will handle varying thicknesses of stock.

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I also dipped my toe into the cold, deep, dark video making waters.  Depending on feedback and interest I may attempt to put together another video on the making of one of these gauges.  Constructive criticism only, please don’t mock my piss-poor video skills.  LOL

Greg Merritt


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