First up is a nice chisel box made by Kat in California, she commented, 'I'm absolutely loving the dovetail guide. I also enjoy your inspiration and website / blog. I thought you would enjoy seeing my VERY first hand cut dovetail project, a box for my chisels. Your guide was a great help. I didn't use anything but hand tools, including the making of the grooves, rabbets and dados. Thank you!'
It looks like some nice chisels to go inside as well.
Here's a practice piece with the guide (always a good idea before committing to the real thing) from Russell in the US. He said he ended up with a few gaps but it was definitely much better than without the guide, looks pretty good to me!
I’ve become a little obsessed with infographics lately. Maybe I’ll start an entire Tumblr about them?
Here’s one that just dropped in my inbox the other day that was produced for Furniture UK. According to its creator, it’s a collection of facts and information about some of the heaviest, the most expensive, and the most well recognized woods available.
Chances are you’ll learn at least one or two new facts, I know I did.
This is the time of year many woodturners dust off the lathe and gear up for their winter activities. While it’s not even close to fall in Texas, I recently began the process of cleaning up my shop. Fortunately, I do this sporadically throughout the year. This tends to make this job a little less daunting.
This is my process and I hope you find it helpful and maybe inspiring. I am sure you learned to start at the top and clean your way down. So, I began by vacuuming off the light fixtures. Once the lights were cleaned the shop seems a little bit brighter. I also, vacuumed off the air vents.
Perhaps you don’t have HVAC in the garage, but consider cleaning any heating or cooling device you do have in the shop. A thin layer of dust can reduce the efficiency of any device. I am not a fireman, but I think dust build up on motors and heaters would be a fire hazard. Now that I mention it, check your fire extinguisher to ensure it is up to code. If you don’t have one buy one now!
This is a good time to reevaluate that old bottle of finish you’ve been saving for the last decade. Most finishes, glues and stains, once open, do not have an infinite shelf life. You should properly dispose of these old products. It will free up storage space and reduce the risk of a leaky container creating a fire hazard.
Another suggestion is to completely clean off your lathe. This is something that should be done more than once a year. I vacuum off the lathe first, reaching into every nook and cranky. Then I apply Renaissance Wax on the bed and under the banjo. This helps prevent rust and ensures that the banjo and tail stock move smoothly. I also apply wax to various metal surfaces around the shop such as my bandsaw and table saw.
I also vacuum off other equipment such as the grinder, and even inside my bandsaw.
Okay, I think that is enough for now. I’ll save cleaning the floor for later.
Curtis was the 2012 President of Central Texas Woodturners, a member of the American Association of Woodturners, and a member of Fine Woodworkers of Austin. Curtis teaches and demonstrates nationally for Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. He also owns a studio where he teaches and works. Curtis lives and works in Central Texas with his wife and four young children. Take a look at his website at www.curtisturnerstudio.com.
(Thanks to Matt for generously sending me the video.)
After looking through about 100 pages of notes this week, I asked myself: “Does anyone really want to listen me talk about nails?”
I mean, who else gets giddy when reading through a 30-page manuscript detailing the British military’s nail needs in 1813? (Bulletin of the Association for Preservation Technology, Vol. 8, No. 3 (1976), pp. 88-118.)
So I’m also researching fart jokes to insert into that lecture.
On Friday I leave for Perth, Ontario, to speak at the first-ever Woodworks Conference – a nicely organized event that combines a lot of learning with some nice furniture and some quality tool vendors (Lee Valley, Lie-Nielsen, Konrad Sauer and (drool coming) Douglas S. Orr, a dealer in vintage tools.
Thanks to Delta Airlines, I am not flying to Canada. This is good news because John Hoffman is going to come along for the drive. And I’ll get to bring a few pieces of campaign furniture for people to fondle.
Lost Art Press won’t have a booth, and we won’t be able to bring books or T-shirts. We’ll be hanging out like the rest of the attendees.
I’m actually quite excited about my nail lecture – thanks to some tips from Chris Howe in Australia I’ve been researching a forgotten form of nail that is technologically more advanced than anything we use today. Tonight I got a few more clues about the way the nail is made from blacksmith Peter Ross.
In addition to my lecture on nails, I’m also giving a talk on “double irons” – aka “cap irons,” “back irons” or “chipbreakers.”
While a few people on the forums have burned this topic in effigy, I have found that a reasoned, historical-based discussing of this 18th-century device helps students immensely. Most woodworkers don’t have the patience to wade into the nasty discussions about double irons to extract the useful bits.
This lecture is about the useful bits. (And why Stanley needs to spanked for almost ruining the technology for us.)
So come to Perth and have a beer with your American friends (that’s John and me).
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Personal Favorites
Briefly on dovetails and sizing.
Of course it’s far from ideal to use a machine to cut dovetails, a router, a bandsaw or whatever. We all know that if you do, then it’s the machine that cut them not you and, if it were me, I’d feel like I’d been robbed. I have yet to look at a machine-cut dovetail that didn’t look like a machine-cut dovetail. Sometimes I feel people might take what I say the wrongly; this might help. The reason I say that it’s far from ideal is that the craftsman approaches things very differently than the machining wood mechanic. When I work on joints and such, and especially dovetails, mortise and tenons and such, I’m always looking for any and all areas in need of micro-adjustment to maximise my insights inside those parts never known by my customers. I know by feel and experience exactly how much pressure to build into the dovetails. In other words I don’t merely size them as identically sized opposites but I assess how much ‘spring’ is in the wood so as to take full advantage of the particular wood’s characteristic properties. I adjust sizing according to elasticity in the species and then within the type itself. I also evaluates how much expansion takes place when the parts are mated permanently together, so that the pressure from expansion seats the mating faces against one another and when shrinkage from the added glue moisture takes place there is a permanent bonding of faces. These small decisions set the craftsman apart from the mechanic of the machine. Generally, the machine relies on perfect sizing but takes no consideration for micro adjusting according to material and in fact any machine jig can =not be adjusted for such fine adjusting.
On sizing of tails and pins.
Here again there can often be a certain snobbery surrounding superfine pins between the dovetails. “They look so highly refined they can be no earthly good.”, and whereas that level of refinement shows the distinctive skill of the artisan when made by hand, the pins are quite weak in many woods and it’s not unusual to test a dry fit and pull a pin from its root in the body of the tail piece. As far as toolboxes go it will suit most of my work to marry 3/8” pins to 1” tails. I generally like 3/8” pins. They look neat. Back in the old days of early machined dovetails the tails and pins were equally sized. It was telltale in its day. Today its not so, with tails shaped like little hearts and such.
On machine cut pins and tails; through dovetails of course can have the angular internal corners dovetails rely on for strength even when the slide easily together. On the other hand, half-lap dovetails have rounded internal corners that drastically reduce the efficacy and strength of the joint. For the main part it’s that internal corner that’s the fulcrum of ideality. These corners allow no wiggle room and indeed lock. That’s what’s needed.
You could also use a box like this for a toy box if you work out the lid safety issues.
I doubt I would ever truly find any real fulfilment from making a machine-cut dovetail. I’m glad I never tried because when someone asked me if they were hand cut I would have to admit that the lie of presentation stood in truths stead. Take the risk. Better to cut the odd gap in your dovetails by saw than use a machine I think. At least it has the character and meaning of human frailty, a little heightened risk, and, more important, it looks real. Give it a go. Build your toolbox with me.
The post On Dovetails and Sizing – Just Some Thoughts I Have appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.
Tony Murland kindly sent me a catalogue for the latest international sale in Felixstowe. I’ve never seen the proper catalogue, but have heard very good things about Tony’s sales. The tools in the catalogue seemed to me not just of a better quality than a lot of other specialist auction houses, but the variety was
so much better. I set the satnav for the sale in Felixstowe and had a thoroughly good day out.
I was delighted to finally meet Gary from OldSchoolTools, who had one of the, ok, in my mind, THE best dealer table of the day. Just take a look at the spread below. No, you are not dreaming, all the tools were there today and some will be there tomorrow for the second day. (He sold a lot today, so be quick if you see anything you’ve been promising yourself!) It was generally acknowledged that Gary has a good eye and a quality collection. Nice one, Gaz.
In the above video I show a solid cherry entertainment center that my good friend gave me because it was poorly built. Great wood but poor construction. I regularly point out to my children the difference between finely built furniture and poorly built furniture, so I found this to be a great test of their knowledge!
My boys and I point out poor woodworking joinery techniques often used by beginner woodworkers. By the way, my three-year-old son knocked out his tooth when he tripped at a BBQ restaurant…it’s not due to poor hygiene!
For example, I can see the possible use of occasional pocket hole joinery in kitchen cabinetry, but deck screws? Um, no. Not even IKEA uses deck screws in furniture. My boys have learned the value of furniture that is made using traditional joinery like mortise & tenon, tongue & groove, and dovetails (see how I make those joints here). I want to teach them to avoid “throw-away furniture” that will only last a few years, but to buy (or better yet, to build) furniture that can be passed down through the generations (like these Windsor chairs).
So we dug out the wood putty, removed all the screws, and recycled this beautiful wood for use in my traditional woodworking workshop.
Comment below to tell me about your experience with poorly built furniture or recycling furniture like this!CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO JOSHUA’S FUTURE ARTICLES & VIDEOS!
Yesterday marked the tenth week camping on our land. About two weeks ago we moved into the unfinished cabin, but it is still like tent camping as there is no water, electricity, heat, bedrooms, or privacy to be alone for a minute.
Today I feel physically and mentally exhausted. I need to get back to work, but I am having a hard time getting my head in the game.
They say that in survival situations, what kills most people, is when they get to the stage where they have a hard time doing what they need to keep fed, dry, and warm. I can completely understand that right at the moment. I would just like to go sit next to a tree for the rest of the day and not worry about anything. However if I do that the cabin will not be ready for winter and we would be miserable and probably freeze to death.
I do not typically write about stuff like this on my blog, but it is the reality of undertaking such a project. Lots of people have a glamorous view of doing something like this, but it is extremely hard living on property with very little and camping while you undertake building a home in a place like northern Minnesota where the closest hardware store is over an hour away.
So there you have it. I cannot afford more idle time so I must get up and finish getting this cabin insulated, for the cold nights are here and winter will be upon us very soon.
Yesterday I published my first blog post in a while. I haven’t been woodworking, therefore I don’t have much to write about that would work on a woodworking blog. Anyway, last night something was brought to my attention by a “fan” concerning a “non-fan” and what this non-fan had hoped for this blog. He may get his wish yet, but I don’t care too much for punks.
I talk tough on this blog sometimes. Talk is cheap. Maybe if I happen to come across this person at a woodworking show you will all get to see how tough I really am.
Peace and Love.
On eBay right now. Doesn’t seem right and I find no reference anywhere to a scraper plane having been produced. Not for me to say, but if you’re going to invent something, maybe invent something that’s never been seen!
We get this question frequently:
"I only have room for a 6' bench, how do I alter your Split Top Roubo plans to accomplish this?"
Until we have a chance to draft some plans, here's some info that will help you alter the plans.
Option 1: Angled rails
If you want to get full capacity from your Benchcrafted Tail Vise on really short benches (less than 72") you can make the base longer at the rear of the bench. Angled rails at the top and bottom make this happen. The bench pictured above isn't a split top, but you get the idea. The tenons on the rails are also angled, so they fit into the perpendicular mortises in the legs. This is easier to cut, but it makes for a weaker tenon due to the short grain. A better way would be to chop angled mortises and keep the tenons inline with the rail. If you do the angled tenons, keep them beefy for strength, and drawbore them as well. We did this on the bench above, which is only 60" long.
Option 2: Bury the Tail Vise
Jeff Miller built this short Roubo bench above and reduced the overhang on the Tail Vise end by burying part of the mechanism in the legs and upper rail. This reduces the overall capacity of the vise, but still allows plenty of travel (I've never used the full capacity of our Tail Vise.)
Camil Milincu did a similar thing with his 53" Split Top Roubo. For more details on Camil's bench, see this post.
Option 3: No left hand overhang
This is the best option for a 6' bench without hardly any changes to the plans. Push the top overhang at the leg vise end back so its flush with the left edge of the chop. This will buy you about a foot of length so you don't have to remove it from between the legs. The plans call for a 14-3/4" overhang here, and if you make your chop the width of the leg (5-3/8") instead of the 9" in the plans (the narrower chop will hold just fine) the rest of the bench you can leave unaltered and you'll end up with a bench that's just 72-1/4" long. It will be very stable, even without angled rails.
We attended part of British woodworking teacher Graham Blackburn’s class titled “5 Favorite Hand Tool Appliances.” Graham made a convincing case that hand tools need not be used merely freehand. In fact with some simple preparation he demonstrated using hand tools to cut accurately without even using his eyes.
2. Avoid cutting freehand. Example: use a one-bevel marking knife to scribe your cut line, then use the vertical wall of the cut line as a “fence” for your saw blade.
3. Take advantage of what your body can do best, e.g. place the workpiece vertically in your vise to make it easier to saw accurately; place 3 fingers on the saw handle so the index finger points in the direction of the cut; in general position yourself and your stance to your ergonomic advantage.
Graham considers the try square to be a woodworking jig, not an actual tool. (To him, a woodworking tool is something that cuts wood.)
His first 3 favorite “hand tool appliances” are the bench hook, shooting board, and winding sticks, all of which he strongly believes a woodworker should build for themselves, since after all, they are made out of wood. When told by someone in the audience that artisan wooden winding sticks were being offered for sale in the show’s marketplace for $95 a pair, he laughed and said “Isn’t America great!”
We moved on to sample another class before he named his final two favorite jigs. He does have a new book out that covers that and much more:
Jigs and Fixtures for the Hand Tool Woodworker
The post Woodworking in America 2014: Graham Blackburn’s Hand Tool Appliances Class appeared first on Woodworking Blog.
Last Saturday found me first at Peter Galbert’s talk on rocking chair design, which I found very helpful as I contemplate some efforts in this area, and merely heightened my anticipation for his up coming book
Following that I hustled to my room to set up for the gold-leafing discussion and talk, from which unfortunately I have no pictures as I forgot to ask anyone to take pictures on my camera. If you were there and would like to share some of your pictures with me, please let me know.
Our assembly for that was wonderfully small, perhaps two dozen, so I just had everyone gather around the workbench while I worked and talked and demonstrated. The size of the audience allowed for much more participation than normal, as everyone got to try brushing good home made gesso, etc.
Following that was the chairmaker’s roundtable. Again the discussion was enlightening and helpful to future work in that area. Notice how cleverly I placed the banner for the upcoming Studley exhibit.
We had a quiet delightful dinner with our hosts, then sped home the next morning to reload out suitcases for another whirlwind research trip to New England.
More about that anon.
No matter how much we write about a new book, there are always additional questions we didn’t think of at first. Here are some of the common questions I am fielding about “l’Art du menuisier: The Book of Plates.”
Question: If I buy all the deluxe editions of the André-Jacob Roubo translations, will I then have all the plates in full size? In other words, do I need to buy “The Book of Plates?”
Answer: While we hope to eventually translate every word of Roubo, that will take many more years to accomplish, and I can offer no guarantees that it will be possible. “The Book of Plates” is a way to have all 383 plates in one quality binding.
Question: How many are you printing? Will you sell out?
Answer: To keep the price reasonable, we are printing several thousand copies of “The Book of Plates.” Unlike the deluxe editions of Roubo, this book is not a limited edition. We plan to keep “The Book of Plates” in print for many years. So if you cannot afford it now, it will be available in the future. No rush.
Question: Will there be a deluxe edition of “The Book of Plates?” Will this book match my deluxe edition?
Answer: There will not be a deluxe edition of “The Book of Plates.” This book is not designed to “match” either the standard or deluxe editions of Roubo now in print. It is larger than the standard edition and smaller than the deluxe. But all the books were designed by the same person, Wesley Tanner. So they all look like part of a family.
Question: So I’m confused about what plates are in what book. Will I have all the plates if I buy “Roubo on Marquetry” and “Roubo on Furniture?”
Answer: Here’s the shortest answer I can offer without a Venn diagram: “Roubo on Marquetry” contains 34 plates. “Roubo on Furniture” (due early 2015) will contain about 84 plates. So the “Book of Plates” will have more than 260 plates that are not in those two books. These 260-plus plates include lots of good stuff on interior woodwork, carriage-making, garden woodwork and some miscellaneous stuff on geometry.
Question: Will you ship “The Book of Plates” internationally?
Answer: This book will be offered to all of our retailers, including the overseas sellers. So we hope it will be available worldwide through them. As retailers officially sign on, we will announce it here on the blog.
Question: Will this book be signed by the author?
Answer: We don’t have an Ouija board that works that well. Sorry.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: To Make as Perfectly as Possible, Roubo Translation
It’s the First Day of Autumn (Autumnal Equinox for those you who like fancy words,) and to celebrate the inevitable falling of the leaves Shop Woodworking is celebrating with an one day only sale. Save 40% off with offer code FALL40.
Hurry up before this offer FALLS AWAY…