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This year we have been so busy working on new books that we’ve barely had time to tell you what we’re working on. Two books are just weeks away from heading to the printing plant so here are some quick details.
We’ve just finished up the design work on Mary May’s massive and fantastic “The Acanthus Leaf: A Rite of Passage for the Traditional Carver” (still working on the book’s title a bit). This is the most visually complex book I’ve ever worked on. Mary has poured her heart and hands into this book. The result is a fascinating trip through history, different cultures and her long career as a professional carver.
My hope is to have this book in our hands by Thanksgiving.
Also on the verge of publishing is “From Truths to Tools” by Jim Tolpin and George Walker. This fascinating book was illustrated and hand-lettered like “By Hound & Eye” and is just as mind-blowing and fun to read. In this book, Tolpin and Walker demonstrate how geometry is baked into the tools you use every day. And then they use that geometry to create and explain other tools and techniques you can use in the shop (or on the job site).
Even if you have been woodworking all your life, this book will surprise you. It will give you deeper knowledge of how our basic tools (such as a try square) function in the universe. And it will teach you practical methods you can use in the shop.
Again, let’s hope for Thanksgiving on this one.
We’re also working on a bunch of other books as well. Details to follow as we can squeeze out the time to write about them.
— Christopher Schwarz, editor, Lost Art Press
Personal site: christophermschwarz.com
Filed under: Uncategorized
Forget plastic or metal pans – a wooden one looks nicer and works better. June 2017 Pages 38-41 by Christopher Schwarz Some time during the last 25 years of prowling around workshops, museums and antique stores, I spotted a wooden dustpan. The encounter made me slap my forehead – why do I have a plastic pan when I could build a wooden one from scraps? After studying commercial dustpans and […]
Spatulas arrayed on the kitchen floor… It starts with a spatula, or something like a whirligig, usually, woodworking with hand tools, I mean; for children. It’s how I started my children working with hand tools in woodworking. You know, you’re three or four years old and your dad’s a furniture maker. You want to be …
|changed my mind on this|
|1/8" plywood bottom|
|forgot to flush the bottom and check it for twist first|
|still no ideas on storage for these|
|practice till stock|
|not a good start|
|the side I started first|
|this is crappola|
|I might be able to salvage the left one|
|not much room left|
|I like this better|
|some of the tools for the till(s)|
|sometimes you get lucky|
|derusting a molding plane iron|
|loose piece of boxing|
|warming up the hide glue|
|got a hump on the back|
|back is flat now|
|coarse sharpening done|
Who is the only US President to have a national park named for him?
answer - Theodore Roosevelt
Mark Twain, American writer
I realized the other day that I started this blog ten years ago!
My first post was on September 2, 1997.
My wife was the one who encouraged me to start a blog, she thought it was a good venue for me to become known as a guitar maker, to sell my guitars and to connect with others in the woodworking world.
I have met several wonderful people who are professional woodworkers through the blog, but I am still waiting for my first guitar sale because of the blog. All of my sales have resulted from people actually seeing and playing my guitars, either at guitar festivals, lectures I give at universities, or when players stop by my shop because someone told them I make wonderful guitars.
The Internet has done much to disseminate woodworking information, it's a little scary to see how much information there is online! When I started woodworking, if there was anything that I wanted to know I had to go to a library and look up the technique in a book or woodworking magazine!
Now, all one has to do is to surf the plethora of YouTube videos and websites to find the woodworking technique that you want to learn.
One thing I have noticed lately is there doesn't seem to be as many people blogging about their woodworking experiences and adventures. I find it a little sad these days to go to my favorite woodworking blog aggregator and see only three or four new postings. Maybe no one cares to write a full sentence or paragraph anymore because stringing together 140 characters is the most anyone can do. Instagram is a very easy platform to display yourself on.
Or is it that people just want information, but don't want to share it?
I know that it can be hard to write a weekly post for a blog, making time to do something can be a hard thing to do and accomplish.
In my experience, not knowing if I am reaching/connecting with anyone on Internet can discourage me from writing more posts, I don't get many comments about my posts these days, nor does anyone engage me in some kind of text dialogue. I stopped offering how-to information on basic woodworking several years ago because teaching online through my posts is not my intention. I noticed that when I stopped the how-to no one commented.
That said, visitation to my blog is up this year and I think it is because people want to learn more about the guitars I make. This is great for me, because if there is one thing that I will talk about passionately is making beautifully voiced guitars that will play beautiful music, that in turn will encourage young people to take up the classical guitar.
I will offer this advice about blogging -- don't be afraid to use what you learned in your college freshman English composition courses! Start writing today about what it is you are doing! Make stuff and share it and don't think you have to be the next Roy Underhill or Charles Hayward.
Get into your shop, make shavings and blisters!
Traditional Korean Music Ensemble
Job Centres were government-operated employment agencies intended to help people find gainful work instead of spending their days watching telly while sponging off the dole. At least, such was the image of their unemployed compatriots entertained by many supporters of Margaret Thatcher, prime minister at the time. Her cabinet ministers (well, some of them) were less dismissive regarding the plight of their jobless constituents. There were jobs out there, they insisted; you just had to put some effort into finding one. “Get on your bike” became an oft-heard exhortation after Norman Tebbit, Secretary of State for Employment, told attendees at the Conservative Party Conference in 1981 that he’d grown up in the 1930s with an unemployed father. “He didn’t riot,” Tebbit said; “he got on his bike and looked for work and he kept looking ‘til he found it.”
The Job Centre certainly made it more convenient to find employment. But I would have found a job with or without it. I was raised by parents who, despite the haziness of their hippie years, impressed on me the importance of hard work and self-reliance. At the same time, they also supported the provision of social services and safety nets, knowing that things can go wrong for anyone, despite diligent work and the best-laid plans.
My friend Beatrice, on the other hand, had graduated from Cambridge with a degree in drama. Finding herself unable to secure paid employment in her field, she didn’t hesitate to sign up for the dole. “But surely you could get a job at a sandwich shop, or cleaning houses?” I offered, shocked that this bright, resourceful, relatively well-off friend had sought government assistance.
“If I take a job unrelated to my area of expertise it will count against me the next time I apply at a theatre,” she explained over Lapsang Souchong in her cozy London flat. Seeing my stunned expression, she added that taking just any job “would suggest that I’m not serious about my profession.”–Excerpted from Making Things Work by Nancy Hiller
Filed under: Uncategorized
|all checked out|
|small flat head screw|
|depth shoe screw|
The fence screw I did get in today's blog post. It's a 10-24 x 3/8" and I think it is too short. I ordered some 10-24 x 1/2" & 3/4" screws, along with #10 washers, hex nuts, and wing nuts. I'll get them next week.
|these are the same size|
I would bet the ranch that these screws and the one on the depth shoe would have been all the same size.
|this one is hard to measure|
|the stud is a 1/4-28 so the thumb wheel is the same size|
My friend and neighbor, Takuji Matsuda, is an untraditional traditional Japanese woodworker. He is one of a few remaining makers of a special kind of Japanese box called Kiribako, and perhaps the only North America based maker who is an expert in building dedicated Kiribako for Buddha statues. While well rooted in the traditions of Japanese woodworking, Mr. Matsuda, a graduate of the sculpture program at Pratt Institute in New […]
Here is an extract I painstakingly copied word for word from a magazine published in 1891 called work. They contain projects for home amateur enthusiasts who don’t mind getting their hands dirty. It covers projects for woodworking, talks about metal working lathes, the latest foot powered scroll saws, brick laying just about every trade. It’s like the readers digest when they once printed useful things. Anyway I thought it would be nice to get a real glimpse into the past.
DRAWING BOARD FOR DRAFTSMEN ON WOOD AND IMPROVED INSTRUCTIONS FOR CIRCLES
BY JOHN W. WHITFIELD HARLAND
A GREAT inconvenience arises in drawing upon wood blocks which are 15/16 of an inch in thickness, owing to the absence of a rest for the hand and the difficulty in using squares (T or set) in drawing accurately perpendicular and horizontal lines, a difficulty still increased when drawing architectural or other subjects to perspective points where great care and accuracy are requisite.
To obviate these drawbacks and ensure ease, convenience, and extreme truth of drawing the writer designed made, and used a board, which has stood the test of twenty years’ use most satisfactorily, not only for wood but drawings on paper, if to a very small scale, the paper of course mounted.
First make a 3/4in. drawing boards A clamped at ends 24in. by 15in. over all, and plant upon it a 1 in. strip B. 4 in. wide, 24 in. long, glued and screwed from the back, with a groove ploughed in its face 1/2 in. from edges, of a dovetail form ( see a in section) and rebated 1/2 in. by 1/2 in. on its upper edge, next to A, so as to leave a soffit of 7/16 overhanging 1/2 in. beyond where the rebate is jointed on A Fig. 1. To the right hand side of drawing board A fit and plant with glue and screws a strip c of 1 in. stuff, 6 in. wide, 11 1/2 in. at back, rebated at one end to 11 in. Long at face so as to fill the rebate in strip B. Note that this strip must be made absolutely square with B, or more explicitly with the edge b of B, c, with the edge of C, forming a perfectly true right angle with it. Next fill a similar piece of 1 in. stuff of same dimensions called the “follower” so that it correctly fit the rebate of B, and its edge d made perfectly square with b. Half an inch back from its edge d plough a groove parallel to d 1/4 in. deep, 1/4 in. wide at top by 3/8 in. at bottom exactly as groove before mentioned at ( a in sections). This strip must not be glued or screwed, but is utilised as it’s name, follower, implies to slide square with B all along from the edge of c, also square to the full extent of the uncovered portion of A. At e e cut a groove through the drawing board as a slot 1/4 in. at face and 1/2 in. at back of a T shape parallel to B, but 5 in. From it, to receive a stud and thumbscrew f, or what is called a camera – backscrew, and on underside of the follower D let in and screw the plate g (see f in section also).
Now the board is so far complete that a block can be placed upon the uncovered part of A against B and C, and the follower D pressed against its side until it is firmly held; whilst the thumbscrew secures the follower in its place, the surface of the block will be flush with the surface of B, C, and D, thus fulfilling the first condition: convenience for the rest for the hand of same level as the block itself. Now fits exactly to the dovetails grooves strips of wood (boxwood for preference) of the section shown at h, Fig. 2, respectively 9 in. 6 in. long, made so accurately as to slide readily but not loosely in the grooves (see a in section). Having fitted these slides h, h, which stand up 1/8 in. above the level of the block they can be slid along and used as straightedges for set squares to slide against, the longer giving perpendiculars, in the groove in B and the other, horizontals in groove in D, with a right-angled set square, but when not so required they may be pushed along their grooves out of the way of the hand when drawing.
At any point on the horizon of the required perspective where the vanishing points fall, a needle may be driven into the strip C and the follower D, and all vanishing lines can then be drawn with a straight edge to these points with microscopic accuracy, the slides being pushed out of the way and pushed back again when vertical or horizontal lines are required; the width of strip and follower, 6 in. each, being ordinarily sufficiently distant for the vanishing points. In certain instances this is no the case, however; the writer therefore, provided and fixed (see plan Fig.5 “looking up”) two sliding grooves in back of A ( which can be taken out and hung up when not in use), having a thicknessing piece at their outward ends glued and screwed on with a fixed point or needle in each, so placed as to be in the same horizontal line.
As the horizontal line varies in various drawings, it’s distance should be first ascertained, and the block to be drawn should be pushed up to the fixed horizontal line of these sliders, and the vacuum, so to speak, between base line of block and the edge b should be filled with a strip boxwood block of the exact size to maintain the block to be drawn in its right position with its perspective horizontal line coincident with the normal one of the board. The sliders being drawn out to the required mdistance on each edge, ought to remain n position through accuracy of fit, but as wood shrinks in time, and they may thus become looser, and thus be apt to slip, the sliders may be marked with inches and eighths like an English rule (or centimetres or decimetres etc., on the French decimal scale of lengths, which we like better), and when the point is found a note can be made of it, to check any subsequent shifting. By this means, before photography and process work came into vogue, the writer has produced for The Builder perspective architectural drawings which for accurate detail have not being surpassed, an accuracy due entirely to the means employed. A careful tracing put down on the wood gets obliterated in the shading up on Indian ink and it’s exact angle lost, but if the vanishing point is there it can be regained in the ruling up with mathematical precision. But the draughtsman on wood – perhaps we ought to say nowadays – have not only to draw upon wood have very frequently to trace from very indifferent photographs, which is best done by light being transmitted through the print or glass photo onto the tracing paper. Our drawing board offers convenient means of doing this in the following manner.
Make a frame of 1 in. stuff 1 1/2 in. broad (see Figs 1 and 4) 24 in. inside measurement, tenoning one piece of the sides E into the ends F, F, which are 15 in. long. Before gluing up into the mortises cut in ends, plough a 1/4 in. by 1/4 in. groove about 1/8 in. from face in the four pieces of frame, and then make the fourth a sliding piece G, to fit the groove accurately, so that it will move therein to any desired position; then glue up and wedge the end pieces and the tenoned side; when dried and finished off, slide the piece G into it. At K, K, in F, F, bore screw holes countersunk and screw into the ends of B, so that when level with face of block, the strip C and follower D shall at their top ends be in contact with their inner edge of G when it is pushed close up to the tenoned side of frame E.
These screws form pivots, or hinges, on which the frame can be raised to any angle, or allowed to remain flush with top of block and board. In the frame ends f, f, passing into the grooves in which the sliding piece G moves should be made every 1/2 in. or so from 3 1/4 upwards, so as to maintain G with a photograph covered with tracing paper, or glass plate, with a paper print and tracing paper mounted upon it, put into the grooves of E and G (see section Fig.2), which will hold it whilst being traced. A mirror being put at the proper angle behind it through reflect the rays of light through it, the frame F E F G being inclined to a convenient angle to the plane of the board supported by the following means.
The top of the frame F E F G should be, when down, flush with the surface of the block, i.e., with the surfaces of b, c and d; when up; at a convenient angle, say, for instance, at 45 or 50 degrees to these surfaces or planes. By making two strips of wood I, I, with screw holes bored and countersunk at one end, and screwing them onto their sides of A below the frame which is screwed to B (see end view Fig.3), leaving them 9 in. long, and putting screws, in position shown, into A to perform pivots support for the frame F E F G is at once provided in the position shown in the perspective view, Fig.6. But these pieces or levers, when not in use would fall on their pivots; we halve them at their ends, as shown, and save the pieces, so cut away – to plant onto A with a single screw each, in the same places they would have been occupied had they not been cut off. The levers I, I, when not in use, are thus locked into normal places by these “frogs” but they are capable of another use, namely, that of forming hind legs as it were to slope the drawing board to a suitable angle when blocks are being drawn (see dotted lines perspective Fig.4).
Having now completed the construction, we may to it’s perfection as a “tool” rounding the edges of B, so as not to fray the sleeves or irritate the wrist as shown in the drawings, and add to its appearance by polishing it with French polish or oiling it with raw linseed oil; or the parts where friction exists may be rubbed with powdered talc (Pudding Stone), the French shops of oil shops, the boot makers, or glover’s.
Whilst on the subject of drawing to fine scales, probably we may usefully suggest simple means of keeping the radius of compasses always the same with pencil as it is with pen, the pen never wears away; the graphite gets shorter with circle turned. Instead of using a lead pencil cut to a diameter suitable for the holder in a pair of compasses, procure a propelling pencil case (see Fig.7) and break away the outer case; this costs but a few pence, and will save hours of time wasted in sharpening leads and altering legs. You have only to propel he lead further out, by turning the nose piece to always keep the length of the leg of he compasses the same as the other leg. Another plan, useful principally for bow pencils and spring pencil bows, is to obtain, or make, split tubes to carry Faber’s moveable leads which are made in all degrees of hardness (Fig.8).
As the lead wears it may be pushed further through the carrier and always kept to length, without altering the angle of the legs. Another alternative is to gum a strip paper and roll it around a piece of Fabre’s lead until it is thicknessed out to fit the carrier of the compasses, and keep pushing it further and further through as the graphite wears away.
Let Me Tell You a Story about a Sharpening Journey
I sincerely appreciate everybody who hung out with me live and asked questions. Sharpening is always a topic you can expect people to have confusion. And my tour and subsequent redesign of my sharpening bench is the perfect example of how we as woodworkers can overcomplicate what is actually a very simple topic. We live in a wonderful world now with many fancy gizmos and sharpening aids and when you are unsure they all look like game changers. I hesitate to say I fell into these traps as each method I used only added to my understanding of sharpening and what works for me and what doesn’t. I stress what works “for me” because I feel that it is a personal thing and often times the journey is what is needed to figure out what you need and don’t need. These days my sharpening regimen is very minimal and I look at it not as a task to be performed but merely a breath in the woodworking action. Sharpening is less event and process and often I don’t even realize I’m doing it. That sounds very zen but think about the last time you got into a groove on something and how you don’t realize how much time has passed nor can you clearly remember each individual task that you performed during that time.
Anyway, I’m waxing poetic now. I’m always open to more sharpening questions and stay tuned for the build of my new sharpening bench. If for no other reason than to see me use a track saw and maybe some pocket screws!!
The Questions You Asked
- 1:40 Sharpening Bench Talk
- 28:05 Sharpening Narrow Chisels
- 32:17 Hand Cranked Grinder and the Wheel
- 33:50 What’s a Good Brand of Rasps & Files
- 37:14 Would you have been able to understand what sharp is without jigs?
- 40:30 Why Do my blades go cloudy when changing stones?
- 43:56 Sharpening a Router Plane blade
- 46:34 Sharpening a Spokeshave blade
- 49:43 Scary Sharp?
- 52:20 Thoughts on Squares?
- 54:18 Hand Tool School Orientation
- 54:40 How do I sharpen drill bits?
- 59:42 Experience with Irwin Auger Bits?
- 1:01:42 How do I set rake and fleam when saw sharpening?
Interested in how historic american furniture was built? This week’s book giveaway is for a copy of Zach Dillinger’s “With Saw, Plane & Chisel.” This look at period-accurate building techniques is perfect for those who love hand tools as well as anyone who appreciates classic American furniture styles. The book includes joinery techniques, processes for prepping stock by hand and features six furniture projects covering such styles as Queen Anne, William & Mary and Chippendale. Simply post […]
The post Book Giveaway: Build Historic American Furniture With Hand Tools appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
This is an excerpt from “By Hound and Eye” by Geo. R. Walker and Jim Tolpin; illustrated by Andrea Love.
Now let’s move past bisection and divide a line into a bunch of evenly spaced intervals.
This process is useful for laying out such things as:
Now let’s divide a line up into four equal segments; first with dividers and then with the sector.
As you have likely guessed by now, you can use the sector to find most any number of segments.
Now let’s do something practical, such as spacing fasteners evenly on the side of a tool tote.
— Meghan Bates
Filed under: By Hound and Eye
|stud for a bench plane tote|
|I tried a few more just to be sure|
|got my new fence screw|
|it fits in all four fence holes|
|it fits and holds the fence securely|
|screw appears to be short (front hole on the left)|
|it's a 10-24 screw|
|no problems threading the wood with the screw|
|making a tap|
|stowing the fence screw here for now|
|cleaned up and made the chamfer a bit wider with a chisel|
|chiseled most of the pencil line off|
|calling the box done and ready to shellac|
|forgot to saw a bevel on the front|
|this is where I found out I had been misspelling his name|
|from this side too|
|the bottom has no half pin and it is mitered|
|I had made a second one I didn't glue|
|the first half blinds I ever made|
|a mitered bridle joint|
|shellac comes tomorrow|
It was held for the first time on this date in 1921. What was it?
answer - the American Beauty Pageant
I built this for my wife oh about two decades ago for her 20th birthday, how time flies. My daughter has this now and it’s in tact and it hasn’t fallen apart nor has the stain faded. It looks the same as the day it was made.
I made it from radiata pine and stained it with rosewood mahogany. The finish I used was my dad’s 15 year old automotive clear lacquer. They say old paint won’t stick but it hasn’t worn off after 20 years unlike the gloss I bought 15 years from a big box store. That’s the difference between industrial made finishes and the finishes made for the DIY’s.
Some of my woody friends said the rails will snap because there isn’t much meat due to the scrolled leaves. I suppose they would of snapped if you stood on the table or even sat in the middle, but if you use it as it’s supposed to be used then it won’t and it hasn’t and never will.
The moral of this story is:
Don’t be afraid to experiment.
Don’t fret too much over structural integrity, even nails (cut nails) will hold a toolbox together for a couple of hundred years.
I build a table back then that 5 ft square, it was a split top hinged lidded table. We used to place DVD’s in one half and children’s toys in the other. It was held together with wooden nails and the tabletop was doweled at 2″ spacing. My kids were jumping on it, dancing and even I who was overweight then stood and jumped on it several times, the darn thing never broke.
If the table was built from chipboard it would of snapped like a twig. If it was built from MDF it would’ve snapped like a twig. That’s why IKEA furniture and any furniture made from chipboard and MDF rarely last very long.
Drivel Starved Nation!
You talked and we listened. Over the past couple of years we have received numerous requests for a larger KM-1 Kerfmaker. I am pleased to announce that I finally got around to designing one. And in the process, we have made it better!
If you are new to our Kerfmaker tool, we conceived and patented this device several years ago and over this time it is our number one selling tool. Here’s a video of how the original KM-1 works–the KM-2 Kerfmaker is no different;
The KM-1 Kerfmaker is limited to a maximum stock width of 2 inches. The KM-2 Kerfmaker will allow you to make cross laps and other joints with stock up to 100mm (4 inches) in width. Here’s a pic;
It is a scaled up version of the KM-1 with the exception of the two magnets you see embedded in the end of the two referenced faces. These magnets firmly hold the the KM-2 in place so you do not need to by hand. This is incredibly handy. Here’s a pic of the setup using our new magnetic reference stop (you clamp this in place). As you can see, the KM-2 can be used with this stop either in the vertical or horizontal position;
With a wider capacity, you can now use the KM-2 with a dado head and the KM-2 can be calibrated to any kerf size up to 25mm in width. Pretty cool. Hey wait, there is more! The magnets allow you to stick the KM-1, and the stop, directly to your saw. Pretty cool again.
So, what does this mean for the KM-1? I really don’t know as of this writing but I am entertaining the thought of adding the magnets to the KM-1 with a magnetic stop that fits that tool the next time we make them. The magnetic base really is a huge benefit in use. The KM-2 closed is 182 mm in length, 44 mm tall and 16mm thick and gauges stock width up to 100 mm with a maximum kerf of 25 mm. FYI.
We will open up pre-orders for the KM-2 the second week of September with delivery in early December. The whole set-up will be around $100 bucks.
JOHN IS STUPID DEPARTMENT…
In other news, we are making an incredible new tool that has caused some confusion, mainly because I did a crappy job of explaining how it is used. I actually explained my reasoning to my two dogs and they looked at me like I was an idiot. Let’s try round two…
Pictured below is our new Universal Gauge;
The tool at the top is the LEFT version of this tool (UG-L) and the unit on the board is the RIGHT (UG-R). If you are using this tool to set-up a table saw, you would use the RIGHT version if your blade tilts to the left, and the LEFT version if your blade tilts to the right. The confusion we created is for those woodworkers who want this tool but will not use it on a table saw, so here is the definitive answer to “Which one?”
See the unit on the piece of wood? It is the UG-R (R for Right). If you were going to scribe a line along the bevel arm, which hand would you use. If you said LEFT… BINGO! If you are right handed you will want to order the unit in the top of the image. Make sense? Regardless, this may up being my most favorite layout tool, my shop at home is really small.
Look for an email soon regarding our FREE SHIPING OFFER on the Gyro Air Dust Collector that runs through October 15th.
Some 15 year old kid with illegal fireworks deliberately (through ignorance I presume) started a forest fire in the beautiful Columbia Gorge east of Portland last weekend. You cannot imagine how bad the air quality is here, the worst I have ever seen and I was here when Mt. St. Helens blew. I mention this because if you are a parent or a grandparent, this is great teaching moment to inform those you love that their lives can change in an instant and that every action has an unintended consequence. This fire is unbelievably tragic and right now it is about 40,000 acres and is 5% contained. Ugh!
The post Bridge City Tool Works Introduces New KM-2 Kerfmaker… appeared first on John's Blog.
In my last few posts, I showed how two different vise chops designs were created for the BARN workbenches. One technique was based on an easy to use 3D CAD tool: extrusion. Armed with a squiggly line, that gave me a 3D ripple in a hurry. The second chop was created using rule-based clone copies of simple geometric shapes to create an array. That gave me a big set of […]
The post CAD to CAM to CNC: Part Six — 10 Different Vise Chops appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
For the first time in a long, long time I was a “power tool woodworker” on Sunday afternoon. There was nothing momentous about this occasion, it just so happened, to happen.
To set the scene, several years ago (I don’t remember exactly when), I purchased a weather instrument kit from Lee Valley because it was on sale and because they were offering free shipping. I’ve always enjoyed the appearance of vintage weather stations and I thought it would be a nice idea to make one. So like all new project ideas, I planned on starting that one ASAP, and the kit was promptly placed in a cabinet in my garage where it sat untouched for around 24 months give or take.
In the meanwhile, I’ve managed to build up quite a stash of walnut, cherry, and ash, along with the prerequisite pine and poplar, and coincidentally I happened to see one of those weather stations at a museum recently, so I thought it would be a good idea to finally make my own version.
The original plan was simple: a walnut slab cornered and chamfered with a basic finish applied. So I used broke out the table saw to cross-cut and rip the slab to finish size. The news is all good; the saw cut smoothly and there was no hint of bogging or binding, and this on a 1 inch thick x 13 inch wide slab of well-seasoned walnut. I then laid out the corners and cut the first one with a hand saw. Of course I had to clean up that cut with a block plane, and then it dawned on me to use the table saw to cut the other corners. Why not? What was the worst that could happen?
Nothing happened, it took all of 2 minutes for the cuts to be made.
I then needed to plane the board smooth, as it was a true in-the-rough board. I used a jack plane first just to get the bulk of the work done, and I then went to my Stanley #4. For whatever reason, it didn’t seem to be producing the results that I wanted, so I decided to turn to my coffin smoother, which is a tool that I painstakingly and lovingly restored myself with many hours of labor (thank you Graham Haydon). The plane performed above and beyond expectations and it should have, considering I spent hours on the sharpening alone.
Lastly, I chamfered the edges with a block plane. Everything went so quickly I had myself a wacky idea: how about adding another panel, inset and raised above the walnut, in a lighter wood such as cherry. I had several nice pieces of cherry that would work, but rather than taking the risk of ruining them (in the sense that it wouldn’t look all that great) I decided to use a piece of scrap pine for a test run. So I went back to the table saw and quickly made the cuts. I then had to cut out the holes for the weather pieces, which required a 2 1/2 inch hole. My largest forstner bit is 2 1/8 inches, so I used a hole saw instead, and in the drill-press it worked just fine.
The most difficult part was accurately drilling two holes for dowels which would align the two boards. I used a combination square to set the reveal, taped the board securely with painters tape, and started the drilling. My plan was to use the scrap pine as a template, so I drilled through that board and around ½ inch into the walnut. Lastly, I quickly planed and chamfered the pine, screwed in two temporary spacers on the walnut, and installed the panel. (once the cherry is installed the dowels will not be seen)
All in all I like the look, though I do think it will look even better with a cherry panel instead of the scrap pine. When I removed the pine to apply a finish, it split a touch, not that it matters because it was only a temp solution, and I should have no trouble using it as a template for the cherry. The project came in at just about 2 hours, and I’m estimating that replacing the pine with cherry will probably be a 45 minute affair. I would have finished right then and there but the day was already getting long. Truthfully, I think maple would look even better but I don’t have a suitable maple board to use.
Regardless, it was a fun little project, and I think it will look great in the area I have set aside for it. Not to get ahead of myself, but this is the first in hopefully a series of projects to create my own little “dream” office area, complete with old manuscripts, candle holders, writing desks, and quill pens. Yeah, I’m a history geek; I admit it.