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A friend Bern, made this wonderful square from the Anarchist's Tool Chest. He made it from some lovely quarter sawn rippled holly which I'd had stashed away for years. Bern is a very skilled woodworker, you can see his work on Instagram under berncarpenter
Some ideas are born in my head, some are inspired by something I see. Scrolling through the internet one night, my wife showed me a picture of a city skyline made with pallet wood. I studied the picture and thought that it would be something fast and simple to make to sell in our booth. The first thing I had to figure out was the overall size of the picture. I measured the hand that was holding the picture and then measured my hand to determine the approximate size of the picture. I took dividers and set them to the size of the hand, then used that distance to step down the length and height of the picture. It was a little under 8 steps for the length and my hand was 5″ long when holding it in the same position as the picture. So, 5 x 8 is 40 with the measurement being a little under 8 steps, I decided the picture was about 3 feet long. Doing the same thing down the height of the picture, I came to a final conclusion that the picture is about 20″ tall x 36″ long.
The next thing I did was google image search “Cincinnati skyline”. Once I came up with a picture I was satisfied with, I printed and cut out the individual buildings. In the original city skyline above, it appears the artist glued a bunch of pallet wood together and then placed a large template over the whole thing, then traced and cut out the outline with a saber saw. I didn’t want to do that. I wanted my buildings to be an individual piece of pallet wood
My pallet wood was 3 1/2″ wide, so I cut some paper 3 1/2″ wide as well. I then took my dividers and used them to gauge where the details of the building fall within the over design of the building. I then transferred those reference marks onto the piece of paper to draw the building.
Once all my buildings were drawn, I lined them up to where I wanted them to lay for my city skyline. The final two buildings are the Procter and Gamble buildings that are the same. So for that template, I simply trace around the wood for the first tower, then flip it over and use that side for the second tower.
The next steps are the easy part. I ripped 1/8″ hard board down to 3 1/2″, traced then cut the shapes out on my band saw.
The templates were the important part of the design process, because they will used to draw the final shape of each building when building the city skyline.
Back to the band saw with a 1/8″ scrolling blade and cut out all the buildings. You can see the final buildings on the right are two of the same.
I decided to use 6″ wide siding for the background. I had some scraps from when I was building my shed, so I didn’t have to go out and buy any. For the frame of the picture I used a 2×4 ripped to 1 1/2″ square with a 3/4″ square rabbet cut down one side. I then cut and fitted each piece with 45 degree angles on each end.
Making sure everything fitted well, I test fitted the frame together without glue. I wasn’t too concerned about the expansion and contraction of the wood, because the siding is freshly milled and will more likely shrink a little bit. Once the wood shrinks, it will be able to expand and contract in the tongue and groove joints of the siding.
I then test fitted the buildings in the frame. What’s great about this project is that it is simple to make and doesn’t require any sanding.
My wife then stained each building with different colors of stain. She also painted the background of the siding with black milk paint. The 2×4 frame was brushed with a steel wool and vinegar solution.
After gluing and nailing everything together, the final product is ready for sale. This is more of a craft project than fine woodworking, but it was super easy to make. The most time-consuming part was the design process. Now that it is made, I need to see if someone will buy it and at what price. Stay tuned.
The glue up for this project was a long drawn out process. I had to break out all my clamps, even the homemade ones. The first glue up was the main tool box and the tray.
Once the glue was dry, I planed the dovetails flush and moved on to the next stage.
The handle and base were glued in place together, and then the tray runners on the main box.
Then I installed the handle components, gluing and temporarily screwing the supports in place and gluing and wedging the handle.
When the glue was dry, the screws were replaced with dowels, which were cut and planed flush. I also applied my mark to the bases of the box and the tray.
Finally, I glued and doweled the base to the main box, again cutting the dowels flush once they were dry.
I decided upon my oil/turps/varnish finish for this piece. It is a tad more hard-wearing than shellac, and a toolbox is likely to get scuffed and dinged with use. I did not apply any wax either, for the same reason. An oil based finish can be reapplied when the box is looking a bit tired, without the need to remove the wax first. Three coats of finish, 24 hours between each, and I was ready to add one final little touch.
In order to tart up the handle a bit, I thought it would be nice to add a leather grip. Using hemp string, I simply made a few holes in the leather and stitched it on in a crisscross pattern.
Another project completed.
All boxed up and ready for delivery in time for Christmas.
Filed under: Projects Tagged: leather, oil/varnish
Starting tomorrow morning, orders for Issue Two will have the regular $5.00 shipping cost added in at the cart. If you want that free shipping, now's the time, folks!
My Matthias Fenner Collection:
Spreading glue is a necessary task in woodworking, no matter your choice of glue. If you use PVA glue then a disposable brush is probably the best choice. You may not even use a brush, I have spread a lot of PVA glue with a sliver of wood scrap. Hide glue is different though.
When hide glue is at its proper working temperature it is much more viscous than PVA. This viscosity necessitates the use of a brush for applying the glue. The brush doesn’t need to anything fancy. The bristles need to be stiff enough to push the glue into the joints and the brush needs to hold enough glue so that you are not constantly going back to the glue pot. I like to think of it as a glue mop more than a glue brush.
You can purchase a purpose-built hide glue brush, here and here. They are not too expensive, but it seemed to me that making one or two shouldn’t be too difficult. So that is what I set out to accomplish.
The first thing I needed was a source of bristles. Traditionally horse hair or hog bristles were used. I don’t have a source for either of those, so I headed to the Home Center. There I found a $2, natural bristle paint brush. These are the el-cheapo, throw away brushes.
Once home, I dismantled the brush to get at the bristles. First I removed the metal ferrule.
This revealed that the bristles were glued around a small rectangular wood core. Using a knife, I separated the clumps of bristles from the wood core.
Hide glue brushes are traditionally round. So now I needed a handle. I have lots of small bits of pine and oak in the scrap pile. I ruled out the oak for fear of the tannins causing a reaction with the glue and discoloration. Ideally I would have had some bits of birch or maple, but pine should work fine.
I used a spokeshave and knife to round and taper my handle blank.
I searched far and wide on how these brushes are traditionally made and came up utterly empty. So my method may or may not be correct, but it works just fine. I left the scavenged bristle clumps in their original glued together state. To fit them to my new handle a carved a recess in the handle. The shape of this recess allows the glue clump to sit flush with the surface of the handle. The recess is also shaped in such a way that the bristles will be positively secured to the handle. The remaining core, that the bristles surround, will create a hollow area within the bristles that will hold a fair amount of glue. This it what the recessed area should look like.
I then simply applied enough of the bristle clumps to fully encircle the handle. I then secured them in place with a constrictor knot tied just below the original clumps of glue. This draws the bristles down below the bulbous tip of the recess as well as flaring the bristles outward creating the hollow, glue holding center.
Using a sharp knife, I trimmed any bits of glue clump the were proud of the handle surface. The smoother the transition between handle and bristles, the easier and neater the next step will be.
To complete the joining of the bristles to the handle, I applied a common whipping. This is simply a bit of string tightly wrapped around the joint. I used unwaxed cotton sail twine, but any strong cotton string will work just fine. Most grocery stores in the US have cotton butcher’s twine which should work just fine. I wouldn’t recommend any coated or nylon string. Coatings could contaminate the glue and nylon tends to react unpredictably to heat.
I also added a hole and loop of string at the far end of handle so that I can hang the brush from a peg/nail.
I trimmed the bristles of my new brush to a shape that I think will work best for spreading glue. This will be trail and error as to what shape of brush actually works best for spreading glue into joints though.
The last step was to coat the wrapped joint with a bit of hot hide glue.
There should be no need to clean the brush after every use if you are using hot hide glue. Simply allow the glue to dry. Stick the brush back into the pot on the next round of glue up and the hot hide glue will reconstitute the glue on the brush. If liquid hide glue is your preference, then cleaning of the brush after every use will be the way to go.
Here is a reference drawing that outlines the steps.
Obviously you can make these brushes any size you desire. You could also refine your handles to the nth degree, if that is your inclination.
At any rate, I hope that you found this useful.
Little Dust Collector, BIG Green Machine
This week has been a bit slow in the shop as I was finishing up a few gifts on the lathe but my new dust filter and hose showed up. So I installed it on the wall in its new place. I’ve had this dust collector for more than 8 years so there is no question how well it works, but I always felt the dust bag was the weak point and I wanted true 1 micron filtration. The new canister filter fits that bill and I’m really pleased with the space saving nature of this entire system.
I also got a question about how effective the built in mobile base is on my Grizzly planer so showed a quick demonstration of how well it moves the 900lb machine.
I can't tell you what the angles are because I chose them by eye. As I went along, I made a series of story sticks for the dimensions and angles rather than measuring anything.
You may be wondering how I drilled the holes for the pins. I drilled vertical holes through the seat and sawed the tops of the legs at the compound angle I chose for the leg using two bevel squares for reference. Then I put the seat in my vise and positioned the leg at the proper orientation for drilling. This was the wrong way to do it. As you will see, I could have completed the base then set the seat on top of it to drill the holes. Much easier and more accurate.
This spare, long-legged look appeals to me, and I didn't want to add anything more to it than I absolutely had to. You want at least one stretcher because most people need something to put their feet on when sitting on a 26" high stool. So, I decided I would have lower stretchers on the fronts. I chose to have them 19" below the seat for a comfortable position to rest your feet. The pins joining the seat to the legs are close to the edge of the seat, so I am concerned about breaking out the round mortise as a result of racking sideways. This stretcher will share the load and I wanted to make it as strong as possible, so I oriented it vertically and attached it with a rabbeted dovetail. Here's what they look like:
I first bought my bevel up Jack for planing end grain on thick workbench tops.
I’d always been a normal steel, conventional plane kind of chap before building benches, but as I touched on last time, hand tools can moan and groan a bit at certain woods, and I was building with a lot of kiln dried ash.
A few specialist tools made a huge difference, and the bevel up plane was perfect for all that thick end grain work.
It's ready! Our Classic Workbench Plans are finally available. Details here.
Benchcrafted Classic Workbench from Benchcrafted on Vimeo.
As I mentioned in my last post, the dry fit of the toolbox seemed to be missing something. Eventually, I decided that it needed a lift-out tray. Just a small one, not one that went the entire length of the box, but a little one that could slide back and forth on runners so that items could be retrieved from the box even with the tray in place.
I planed up a couple of ash boards and edge-jointed them for the base…
…and while they were drying I moved on to the joinery.
For the handle, I decided that a 1″ thick piece of ash could serve as both handle and divider, so I made a paper template, transferred the shape onto the wood and cut it out, refining with a spokeshave and files.
The handle/divider is held in place with housing dados.
I then spent a bit of time refining the shape of the main toolbox components. First, the sides of the box needed to have a section cut out to make it easier to remove the tray.
Second, the handle supports needed to be rounded off and tapered.
Finally, I cut a kerf into each of the handle tenons, so that they could be wedged during the final assembly. I also planed up some pieces of walnut for the tray runners.
A request from the customer was that the box should have his son’s racing number on it. To achieve this I decided on a little bit of scorching. I had some small pieces of aluminium sheet, so I cut out some numbers from them, laid them on the sides of the box and used them as a mask while attacking the wood with a blowtorch.
With all the components ready it was time for the glue up, but that is for another post.
Filed under: Brace and Bit, Joinery, Projects, Pyrography Tagged: ash, blowtorch, walnut
In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking the 360 guys discuss what they do with they Christmas trees.
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.
Here is the latest in my series of forthcoming articles for Furniture and Cabinetmaking magazine.
With its compound angles dovetails and curved tapering lid it took a lot longer to make than the first two boxes, but I'm pleased with the result.
It has very discreet pivot hinge lid which, although nice and cheap, has to be installed very accurately to work well and look good. This is even more challenging in angled sides!
I really like this scallop for opening the lid, delicate and unobtrusive as well as easy to create using a rasp followed by sandpaper wrapped around a Sharpie.
|I used only Roman nails, even to attach the battens for the large panels like the lid.|
I had to use about six coats (maybe more, I don't remember) in order for this light color to cover. There still is some parts that you can see under the paint, but mostly I'm happy. That, and I refuse to use more than four liters of skim milk.
I painted over the nail heads, too. To clean them up, I found that a Q-tip soaked in water did a good job of removing the paint on them. I think I have to buy the Frau some more Q-tips now.
|The chest lift really pops against a bright background.|
While I'm at it, the lid fit just a little tight on one side, resulting from one of the hinges being off just a gnat's nadger. I decided to plug those holes, too, and install the hinge just a little farther to the right.
|Plugging holes with bamboo skewers. Greg would be proud.|
|They get sawed off flush with my Dick saw.|
|Hinges installed and visible from the back.|
|As you can see, I still need to sort out the guts, and make it friendly to hold tools.|
|More likely I'll over stuff it with tools and slam the front on before they fall out.|
|Battens are resting on the chest locks.|
|Here's a closer view. I don't think this is much of a problem, just some triming of one or the other.|
|I suppose she's right.|
Schwarz's videos are great because he gets real basic with how to perform each part of the build. He has several videos describing how he does dovetails, but he describes it on this one, too. I highly recommend this video, and even if you know how you want to build it, some questions you might have will likely be answered.
I think that once you understand why he does it the way he does on the video, you can choose for yourself if that is how you would do it. For example, I used a much more modest tool set to build mine, and I also used clenched nails to fix the battens on the large panels, something he does in a different way.
Not that my way is better, but my way fit my idea of how it should be done, and more importantly, my tool set.
I am really looking forward to having a proper place to keep my tools. I really miss my tool chest from my Munich workshop, and I think this will be a good solution.
I have written previously about TATHS so I won't repeat myself except to say JOIN NOW, but I just got the current issue of their magazine and in it was a link to a free ebook about nailmaking. Called "A Capful o' Nails" it's actually not about nailmaking but about the evils of working in the nailmaking industry. The book, written in 1896 is a fictional memoir about growing up in a family of nailmaker's and how the father became an organizer. So it's not about the nuts and bolts of making nails. But it is a story about the grinding poverty that effected so many industrial workers, tool makers too, just about all the semi-skill trades. In this particular case nailmaking was outsourced to level upon level of middleman until the lower paid people on the ladder were the actual nailmakers who worked out of their homes.
What I don't understand is that the story takes place in the mid-19th century. At this time in the US nailmaking was mechanized and industrial. We stock Tremont nails, which, depending on the model are still make on machines from this era. I don't know how long hand nailmaking lasted in England but you know that if your job can easily be done by machine (or automation, or a robot) at a fraction of the cost of a living wage - it's gonna suck. And it did.
Here is the link to the book.
The picture above is from the 1811 edition of the London Cabinetmaker's Book of Prices. I own an original copy but you can download a PDF here. The book is basically pages and pages of different types of furniture with lots and lots of special cases and tables showing how much the craftsman would get paid for that particular work. It's not the only price book of its kind, all over the UK and US these types of books were pretty common. But this 1811 edition is the most comprehensive and was used, basically unchanged, for at least a half century. The prices were the result of negotiations between the shop master and the union but under the table, and in non-union shops, prices were routinely discounted. The particular chunk I copied (which BTW is printed in beautiful letterpress- all they had at the time - but it is so lovely) is of two versions of knife case both costing far north of a pound wholesale. A huge amount of money for at the time. This is fancy work for rich people.
If you are traveling this week and you are looking for something to distract you, both downloads might be of interest. This season is when we reflect back on the year and the good and the bad. And also our hopes for the future. Both of these book gave me a sense of the past of the woodworking craft. From "A Capful o' Nails" I learned about the struggle of hard working people to survive. From the "Book of Prices" I got a sense of the work involved to make the furniture I see in museums today.
From all of us at Tools for Working Wood we wish you and your family happy and healthy holidays. With peace and prosperity to all.
- Graham Haydon. So glad to see him back at writing about woodworking.
Is that a saw or an Anime Sword?? It appears to be St. Simon (the Zealot) one of the Apostles. He is often depicted with a large saw symbolizing one of the traditions of his martyrdom. I keep wondering about having one of these saws made. If for no other reason than to experience the use.
Better yet (and more interesting) this scene showing construction of a cathedral and one of the earliest representations of a bow saw I can remember seeing.