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tool rehab day.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 09/03/2017 - 2:52am
Doing a tool rehab for today wasn't on the menu but it is what I decided to do. I bought a Stanley block plane for my grandson's toolbox and a 1/2" skewed wooden rabbet plane for me. I bought them from Hyperkitten tools and I got them late on friday night. I had already written the blog for posting on saturday so they didn't make it into it. The menu had the plow plane box as the entree but the epoxy work sidelined that. So I thought I would quickly whack out a rehab.

Stanley block plane
This is the 20° angle plane which I think is the 60 1/2?. I'm not sure of that but it has an adjustable mouth and it is in great shape. Almost all the japanning is present and it is clean. Most of the Stanley block planes I see look like they served in WWII.

another potential problem area
The lateral lever adjust for the iron is in great shape. I see a lot of these with rounded end tab missing or bent in the wrong direction. This plane looks like it was bought, looked at, and stuck on a shelf after using it once or twice. This will be good block plane for Myles to use.

my 1/2" skew rabbet plane
This plane has an odor that I can't put my finger on. A lot of my wooden planes have an odor to them but they usually aren't as strong as this one is. This one I can still smell on my fingers hours after using it.

owned by someone with an F
escapement side
It looks like this is not the original iron. There is a about 3/8" above the top of the iron going into the plane body. It could be the original iron too and it has been shortened by sharpenings.

no problems making a cross grain rabbet
As you can see I didn't run a knife line first but that didn't stop the plane from doing it's work.

plane iron update
I put an iron from "Tools from Japan(?)" in the 4 1/2 and a Ray Iles in the 5 1/2 at the same time. I used the 5 1/2 more than the 4 1/2 flattening bunch of boards. The iron in the 4 1/2 is dull. It is still cutting but I can feel it isn't as easy. I would have bet the iron from Japan would have outlasted the Ray Iles at a minimum, 2 to 1.

this one still feels like it is sharp
drill caddy bottom closed up
This is almost done. I got the last coat of oil on it today and tomorrow I'll post a glamour shot.

the epoxy has set
I lightly ran the ends over some 100 grit to give it a tooth for the next application of epoxy.

end caps epoxied and taped until tomorrow
my grandson's plane herd
From the top left, a 5 1/4, #4, #3, and a block plane. I think this is a good starting point for Myles. I would like to add a low angle block plane to complete this. I am undecided about whether or not I should add a #6 or a #7. I've time on that as I still haven't made the toolbox.

the next batter
I broke the plane down to parade rest and it is a lot cleaner than I initially thought it was. There is hardly any dirt or dust built up in the nooks and crannies. This should be a quick and easy rehab turn around.

this was a PITA to get off
the brass is nice and shiny
worked the iron next
The back was pretty flat and I finished that and made it shiny too.

had to regrind the angle to 25°
hit a big hiccup here
I thought I was going to be able to remove some scratches and shine up the sole on the granite block starting with 400 grit. That didn't happen sports fans. The 400 grit was barely touching the sole so I dropped down to 220 and that wasn't much better. The clean look of the plane was deceiving.

80 grit
I have a hump on this sole. The front and rear first quarter inches are the low spots. I know now why this looks so good. I didn't try this before I started doing this to confirm it. I'll bet this plane rocked while planing which is why it was set aside.

an hour later
I didn't go at this for an hour straight. It was more of  10 minutes on the runway and 10 minutes resting. I still haven't get it flat end to end but I did close it up some on the toe and heel.

12" precision straight edge
An 1/8" in from the toe and about an 1/8" from the heel, I'm dead nuts flat. I can't see any daylight under the heel but I can see it at the toe.

320 grit
Including breaking for lunch, I had over 3 hours into this rehab at this point. I thought this would have been a 30 minute job tops. Including coffee and head breaks. After 320, I finished up with 400 and 600.  After all this sanding was done I still didn't get the sole down to the low spots. I think that this is the best that I'll be able to do with this without sanding through the sole.

starboard side
stern shot
port side


bow shot
The plane was washed and cleaned with orange cleaner and I applied Autosol to the sides and the sole. I did all this to get it looking pretty but I didn't road test it. I forgot to do it before I put it away with Myles's other planes. I'll do that tomorrow.

my grandson's #71
The depth rod sticks and it was very hard to push through the hole. I checked the rod thinking it was the problem because it had what looked to be a rust bloom on it. It wasn't the problem and the rod cleaned up and feels smooth end to end. When I put the rod in the hole I could feel a burr or something in the hole close to the top.

no more burrs
I first tried 400 grit wrapped on the dowel but it wasn't doing too much. I got rid of whatever was on the inside of the hole with 220 grit. The depth rod slides up and down freely now

Evaporust bath
There are only a few parts that need this bath. Most of the plane and it's parts are nickel plated. The thumb screws have a few spots of nickel lost and rust but those I can sand. It is looking like this one will be an easy tool to rehab and turn around quickly.

had to use heat
I tried WD40, PB Blaster, Liquid Wrench, and penetrating oil over the past week and none of them loosened the screw.  It took heat to finally break the screw free. I tossed this into the Evaporust too.

I meant to go to Pepin Lumber today but I forgot it. They have 1" thick x 12" wide pine, rough one side and smooth on the other, that I want to use for my grandson's toolbox. Maybe next week end I'll get it.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is Hansen's disease?
answer - leprosy

doo-dads........

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 09/02/2017 - 3:00am
Before I started working on the doo-dads for the plow plane box, I checked the lid in the box first. I got a wee bit of surprise with it in that it was hard to push it all the way home. The lid had bowed slightly across it's width and I had to plane the back corners to get it to slide smoothly again. I also noticed that the back wasn't square and tight there neither. I'll play with that before I applied the finish.

oops
This is what I did thursday night after dinner. I drilled the hole on the right on the wrong side of the layout line.

drilled a practice one first
This is what I should have done last night but I thought I could eyeball the layout lines and get away with that. I think that if I had drilled the hole on the correct side of the line, it would have worked.


fits the fence rods
The rods are 5/16" and the holes I drilled are 11/32 which gives me some wiggle room.

clamped it to the doo-dad
I flushed the backs and marked the holes by tapping on the drill. I drilled the holes on the drill press.

everything fits with room to spare
I had to thin the holder for the plane
I had to saw off a little more than 5/8". If I had put the slot on the other face I wouldn't have had to saw it. I put the plane in the thinnest face because I thought it looked better and it also made things not quite as tight.

the doo-dads aren't quite done
I made the slots for the conversion fence and the plane about a 1/4" longer than the parts. The ends are open and won't work well with keeping the two of them contained. I'm going to epoxy caps on the ends to keep them in place.

using the good stuff
sized the ends
I want the end caps to be secure and this is an end grain to long grain connection. I know that this epoxy will not hold if I attach the caps to the ends now. Sizing the ends and then epoxying the caps on will be a very strong joint. I did this same thing on my xmas present stands. As far as I know they are all still together(all 5 of mine are). This will add a couple of more days to the completion but in the interim I can complete the finishing.

metric drill caddy box
 The 3 and 4 mm bits are in holes a lot looser than the others. These two fall out if I turn the box upside down and fall out through this gap. I am going to glue a strip to the box to close this gap off. This is a piece of ash cutoff from the doo-dads that is a perfect fit.

it's almost 1700
I'll let this set up until tomorrow. The last thing I did before I left the shop was to apply a second coat of oil to the drill caddy. Tomorrow I'll put the second and final coat on the box.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What was the only state (colony) not invaded by the British during the Revolutionary War?
answer - New Hampshire


Fish glue it works

Journeyman's Journal - Sat, 09/02/2017 - 2:07am

24 hours has passed since I edge glued a test piece with Lee Valley’s Cod fish glue.

I must admit I was nervous that it would fail because I thinned it.  I tried squeezing it in my vice and I think I may have buggered my vice, it’s now making some clicking sound.  I changed the strategy and placed the panel flat in the vice and got some multi grips.  Finally I managed to break it and it was no where near the glue line as you can see in the picture below. Also notice in the second picture that it’s virtually impossible to spot the glue line.

I think the results speak for itself.  Fish glue is truly as good as any PVA on the market strength wise however, it does take a full 24 hours to fully cure  and I don’t think that in truth is any different to any other PVA on the market.

I am also of the opinion that instrument makers who have not had much success with it either, used an inferior version or didn’t thin it and therefore the glue had lumps. Lumps will not allow a join to completely seat itself and also the glue won’t be absorbed by the timber.

 


Categories: Hand Tools

birds not woodworking

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Fri, 09/01/2017 - 7:19pm

I recently spent a great day with our friend Marie Pelletier up in Newbury, Massachusetts at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, aka Plum Island. She got great shots of many of the birds we saw… maybe this will take you to her shots – https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10213122359110858&set=pcb.10213122371511168&type=3&theater 

It was not the best light for me, my camera shoots kinda dark. But here’s some of what I got that day:
Egrets were the bird of the day; both snowy (Egretta thula) and great (Ardea alba)  – here’s one of the great egrets:

 

a bunch of the snowies:

great again

snowies again

They weren’t the only long-legged waders around though – we saw Great Blue Herons now and then (Ardea herodias)

A juvenile Northern Harrier – (Circus cyaneus )

The swallows were really the most impressive sight. Their numbers were out of this world. They’re “staging” – stopping here to feed and gather in huge flocks for migration. Many (most/all?) of these are tree swallows (Tachycineta bicolor) – there’s no way this photo or any photo captures the impact of seeing this many birds. they were in constant motion, and the sound of them hitting the water to feed on insects was LOUD. 

Here they are streaming through a gap in some trees, just an amazing sight. 

I never skip a chance to watch cedar waxwings (Bombycilla cedrorum) this one was very cooperative

A couple of days later, at Pret & Paula’s house, an eastern screech owl (Megascops asio). Too distant for my camera, but such a treat to see it poking out of this dead tree:

Then this morning, the flock of common grackles (Quiscalus quiscula) with some other blackbirds mixed in, come streaming up from the marsh just around sunrise:


Hairdryers for Woodworking

Journeyman's Journal - Fri, 09/01/2017 - 5:29pm

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For us blokes going bald or are bald a simple towel will suffice, but they’re not just for drying hair.

We use them on wood too. Don’t let your wife or daughter catch you using her’s just buy a cheapy.

So what can they be used for?

If you’re using animal protein glues and you know your glue up is going to take a little longer than usual that ‘s where a hair dryer can be useful.  Heat up the parts that need to be glued.  The open time will be slightly longer and the adhesion will be better.

If you’re using Fish glue, the recommended clamping time is 12 hours. Once 12hrs has passed you sometimes notice the glue line feels a little tacky.  That’s normal with fish glue as the exposed glue line hasn’t fully cured to a hard state.  It’s still structurally sound, bonded and workable. Not much different to some PVA’s  where you only need to clamp for 4 hours before you can begin working on it and the same rule applies to fish glue.   It will still take 24 hrs before the glue has fully cured.  However, to get rid of the tackiness a hair dryer works quickly.  You only need to use it for less than minute to dry it.

I wouldn’t recommend using it to dry your finishes even though some people actually do.

In regards to yesterdays post on thinning fish glue.  This morning I unclamped the test pieces.  12 hrs did pass and the glue line was tacky, so I used the hairdryer to dry it to the touch.  The results are no gaps due to lumpiness, I thinned it to the right consistency, and the bond is super strong.  I will let it sit for another 12 hrs to fully cure and then try to break the edge bond.  I’ll use a clamp or stick it in my vice to break it apart.  If it breaks along the glue line then it failed, but if it breaks anywhere else, then it’s a success.  

This will be my final test with fish glue. I really don’t expect it to fail. 


Categories: Hand Tools

Introducing Hand Tool School Orientation!

The Renaissance Woodworker - Fri, 09/01/2017 - 9:06am

Hand Tool School Orientation is the Perfect Starting Point

The started The Hand Tool School more than 7 years ago. In that time I’ve learned a lot about how woodworkers learn. I’ve learned a lot about the concerns and questions they ask when first getting started with hand tools. And I’ve learned a lot about which tools are good to start with and which only confuse and hold back the skill development.

So about a year ago when I looked at my Semester 1 curriculum I realized I need to go back and create a prequel semester that hit on some fundamentals and did everything to get the woodworker over the analysis paralysis and building stuff. Stuff they really want and need for your new shop.

beginning workbenchLike…a WORKBENCH!!! My god woodworkers just can’t get enough about workbenches so I gave in and built another one. But then I went on to build several more projects for the bench and for the new tool collection. I then developed a series of 101 style lessons to supplement all of this and what I came up with is the perfect entry point to hand tool woodworking. An orientation of sorts to a lifelong journey of plane shavings and chisel scars.

Welcome Hand Tool School Orientation.

Check Out Hand Tool School Orientation
Categories: Hand Tools

Bargain

Journeyman's Journal - Fri, 09/01/2017 - 7:06am

Here is a jointer plane for sale in Oz, it’s a steel at $100 because it’s in mint condition.  I laughed at his reason for selling it ” because he has too many planes and he doesn’t use a jointer very often.” Really?  Sounds like a machinist and has several smoothers.

https://www.gumtree.com.au/s-ad/new-town/hand-tools/wooden-hand-plane-ece-short-jointer-plane/1157562317

20


Categories: Hand Tools

Making a Handy Sandpaper Tote – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – September 2017 – Tip #1

Highland Woodworking - Fri, 09/01/2017 - 7:00am

Welcome to “Tips From Sticks-In-The-Mud Woodshop.” I am a hobbyist who loves woodworking and writing for those who also love the craft. I have found some ways to accomplish tasks in the workshop that might be helpful to you, and I enjoy hearing your own problem-solving ideasPlease share them in the COMMENTS section of each tip.  If, in the process, I can also make you laugh, I have achieved 100% of my goals.

I suppose you could say I have two sanding centers. One holds the oscillating spindle sander and, because it has drawers, stores all of the disks for various Festool Sanders, too. It may be too fancy for some folks’ taste, being made from “real wood.”

This “sanding center” is on a universal wheeled base and can be rolled almost anyplace. The dust collection can connect to the cyclone or a shop vacuum, and the assortment of sanding disks can be close by wherever the sanding is taking place. If you’re constantly changing grits, that’s a really handy feature.

Mechanization is fine, as far as it goes. Sometimes, though, a job calls for hand sanding. Because we don’t want to be walking back and forth to our sandpaper supply, I made a sandpaper tote.

Our dear friends at the local Mexican restaurant saved some big steel cans for us. I spent about a million dollars (sorry, Steve) on Rust-OLeum rusty metal primer and Rust-OLeum flat black to coat the cans well before putting them to use. After all, they were going to be holding abrasives.

I attached the cans to a scrap piece of treated pine, and used the handle from an old Stihl string trimmer to complete the tote.

Fortunately, the old Stihl string trimmer handle was black, so the whole project was color-coordinated.

In the cans I put 1/3-sheet sanding blocks, scraps of sandpaper in Ziploc bags and a variety of other items that are used in sanding. Each can has a grit number assigned, with the appropriate Ziploc of scraps and a sanding block with that grit installed. The scraps all have their grit marked.

The cans are marked with Post-It Notes, just in case I want them to hold different grits in the future. One can holds a miscellany of sanding-related aids. For example, the rod can be slipped into the sanding block to lift the “lid” without ruining the ends of the paper. That way, they can go into the scrap Ziploc assigned to its grit, and not be wasted. Old scissors are handy for cutting sandpaper, or anything else that gets in your way. There’s an air blower for cleaning the paper when it clogs.

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

The post Making a Handy Sandpaper Tote – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – September 2017 – Tip #1 appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Chairs at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, by Gerrit...

Giant Cypress - Fri, 09/01/2017 - 5:08am












Chairs at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, by Gerrit Thomas Rietveld and Gerard van de Groenekan, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Hans Wegner, Charles and Ray Eames, George Nakashima, and Samuel Gragg.

Samuel Gragg’s chair was made in 1808. It was in no way the first bentwood chair ever made, but he did use some sort of patented technology to make it.

plow plane box pt V.......

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 09/01/2017 - 1:13am
I didn't get to finish the doo-dads for the box. I thought it would have been a done deal but it didn't happen. Sometimes things take way longer than I think they will. Tonight cutting and fitting the plugs for the box took most of my shop time to get done. I'm not a slow worker and I got into a groove doing these and lost all track of time. I'll still get this done before the weekend.


another first for me
I used the 5 1/2 to clean and flush the tails and pins on the box. Using that plane left ridges even though my corners on the plane are rounded off. I smoothed everything with the #3. I need it smooth because I'm going to wax the box instead of shellacing it.


enough walnut for a hundred boxes
I saved these pieces from something else(?) for just this purpose.

back is done
I tried to make sure that the plug end showing was face grain. I want these pop and be an eye catcher and face grain will do that better than end grain.

1645 and I'm finishing up the last plug
conversion fence
I was expecting this to be metric but it is measuring a frog hair under 1/8". I have them squeezed on the fence here to snap the pic.

the plane body measures the same
slot for the fence
I was going to make this groove with my record plow plane but it's maximum depth is only 1/2 of this. I made this one on the tablesaw. The fit of the fence in the slot is perfect. It isn't too tight nor too loose.

the planned spot for the fence
Getting to the conversion fence won't be a problem. This fence will still be needed so it'll come off first regardless and then I can grab the conversion fence. The brass screw will go in a hole inbetween the fence rods.

I measured the rods and they are 5/16" diameter. Again I was expecting metric but I'm happy with the imperial.  Tomorrow I'll make a drilling guide for the rods and make some practice holes before I drill the holes in the box doo-dad.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is the longest running scripted TV show in the US?
answer - The Simpsons at 29 seasons (Gunsmoke and Law & Order both had 20 yrs)

Trial & Error with Fish Glue

Journeyman's Journal - Thu, 08/31/2017 - 11:42pm

56K6001s1

This is going to be a very short post, but I want to share a finding with you.  I purchased 1 litre bottle of fish glue from Lee Valley.  The day it arrived was the day I put it to use.  The glue’s consistency is very thick, and I tried it as is on two moulding planes I made.  The results were poor.  It’s not that it’s not doing its job, that part is fine.  It held on strong and still holding strong, but it needs thinning prior to use.  I knew that all along but since I’ve had previous success with it with their tiny bottled version I didn’t think it would make any difference, but I was wrong.  Like any glue it should flow like maple syrup as they say, I’ve never actually seen maple syrup but I know what it should flow like as I use hide glue.

So, today I thinned it by eye, I can’t say exactly how many percentages you should thin it by, but it should flow off your brush or stick or whatever you’re using like maple syrup.  Not too thick and not too thin.The results immediately showed a remarkable improvement.  It flowed and spread easily with no lumps that caused the two pieces not to fully close.  Another words not show any gaps.  By adding water to any glue your taking away it’s strength, but to render it useless would be to add too much water.

Remember you have to add water to hide glue but only enough to take away the lumps. I’ve set the pieces aside to dry and will check it in the morning.  It’s spring here, and it’s slowly warming up so I’ll see if it’s still holding strong in a weeks time.  I don’t have any reason for it not too.

You may wonder why all the fuss with fish glue as I normally use hide glue.  Well, to be honest it’s sheer laziness on my part.  The part about preparing hide glue and heating it up, OK I have liquid hide glue as well and that too is a pain as I need to heat it up and keep it heated to 140° F (60°C).  It’s easier to use liquid hide than regular hide because it’s open time is longer.

With fish glue you use it in it’s cold state just like regular glue and if I’m confident in it’s holding abilities like I am with hide glue, then I’ll make the switch.  So far this glue hasn’t let me down but I need to use it for a while to be certain of all it’s pro’s and con’s.

Final Thoughts

Is all this fuss really necessary? White glue and yellow glue work fine.

I think the fuss is necessary if your building fine items that’s going to end up in some antique roadshow or shop in a hundred years time.  I glue all my clocks with hide glue and furniture I built prior to clocks I used regular glue.  None of it was reproduction antiques except for the hotel I built for.

You have to ask yourself.  Are you building furniture that it recyclable or furniture that is exquisite and made to last?

In this modern age of consumerism, women mostly like to replace their furniture every 24 months and many would like to replace it every six months if they could afford it.  So when you think about it; do you really think it’s going to end up in some antique shop or someone is going to bother themselves to repair it? No, it will end up at the city dump like most items.

Like I said earlier, unless your building something extraordinary like a secretary, highboy, fancy clocks or you do veneer work, all this unnecessary extra expenditure on glue pots and paying the ridiculously high costs of both fish and hide isn’t worth it. Rather invest your money into timber or a new tool or even some video or book where you will learn something that will benefit you in the long run than on these glues.

You know how much I love these glues and I won’t stop using them, but the truth is the truth and there’s no point in deluding yourselves to think otherwise.


Categories: Hand Tools

Different Curves.

The Furniture Record - Thu, 08/31/2017 - 9:52pm

The auction from the last post was not a great auction, there were no wonderous pieces of furniture. Many nice ones but nothing that jumped out and screamed “Take me to the Met.”

In the absence of greatness, I look for interesting details. Things done differently or things not typically done. I always wonder if these different approaches are naive or brilliant. Did they not know how things were done or not care how others did it. No clue or different inspiration

There were a few items that had a unique approach to curves. First up is this:

Chippendale Style Dressing Table

Description:  19th century, oak, shaped dish top, single serpentine drawer, cabriole legs with ball and claw feet.

Size: 29 x 30 x 18 in.

Condition: Restoration including the drawer being reworked, later glue blocks, break and repair to back right leg; insect damage; surface stains.

DSC_7899

This lot has sold for $110.

To start things off, the ball and claw feet are a bit different:

DSC_7905

That’s not how they did it in Newport.

The drawer has been reworked?

DSC_7907

How was it before the reworking. No dovetails yet I took a picture of it.

The serpentine drawer front caught my eye:

DSC_7908

A drawer front you don’t see everyday.

A sawn serpentine drawer front is not unique. What is unique is how thin the drawer front gets:

DSC_7909

it gets down to below 1/2″.

I do like the bail pulls:

DSC_7911

Seems to be original.

Next specimen is quite a bit taller:

William IV Mahogany Bookcase

Description:19th century, two-part form, mahogany, mahogany veneer, oak and pine secondary, applied cove molded cornice, two hinged glazed doors with original wavy glass open to two louvered shelves, over an ogee drawer, two paneled doors with flush base.

Size   94 x 43 x 18 in

Condition: No key; surface wear; top surface to base with looseness.

DSC_7920

Taller than your average bookcase.

The only curved thing on it is the, as they call it, ogee drawer. Looking at is in profile you see:

DSC_7921

Dovetails look kinda funny.

It looks like it started life as a squared drawer to which bits have been added and removed:

DSC_7932

Used to be square.

Staring at it for a while, I think I might have figured out how they did it. It started out as a drawer with a square profile. The baseline looks like it was made by a marking gauge which would require a flat front. Moldings and fillets were attached and the drawer front was then given the ogee profile. The through dovetails were hidden behind a thick veneer on the concave surface.

The third curve is the first kidney-shaped server I’ve ever seen.

English Regency Concave Mahogany Server

Description: 19th century, mahogany, oak secondary, top with applied gallery, two drawers over two tambour doors, shelved interior, on flush base.

Size: 39 x 50 x 22 in.

Condition: Right tambour door with loose panels; surface scratches; shrinkage crack to top; other wear.

DSC_7935

This lot has sold for $400. The figural humidors not included. They sold for $310.

The tambour doors were a bit stiff. Now knowing how the non-existent Pottery Barn Rule (You break it, you bought it)  applies at an auction, I wimped out and chose to use their picture to show it closed:

ConcaveServer

Tambour doors closed.

The joinery might be a bit coarse but it has lasted for 200 years:

DSC_7934

Not perfect nut good enough.

Interesting way that the lower shelf boards installed on a bias:

DSC_7937

Nothing straight about this server.


The Impractical Guitar Maker, Part 1

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Thu, 08/31/2017 - 7:59pm
...some contemporary luthiers refuse quite bluntly to deal with anything that has the slightest scientific "flavor" to it.

Gila Eban, luthier, 1990

The last couple of days I have been leafing through the James Krenov trilogy, The Cabinetmaker's Notebook, The Fine Art of Cabinetmaking and The Impractical Cabinetmaker. As a classical guitar maker, I really don't need these books anymore, as I have said before, I make guitars, not cabinets.

Squares, rectangles and triangles don't interest me, shapes that are based on the human body do.

I keep Mr. Krenov's books because of all the little bits of advice on how to enjoy life and to see the world around you that he hid and tucked away in paragraphs about dovetails, sharpening, woodworking education, etc.

I am not a big fan of his writing style, a little too verbose and perhaps too sentimental, so these days I scan the pages looking for words that are familiar and excite me like spokeshave, friend, and curved edges and then I read.

Yesterday, as I was thumbing through The Impractical Cabinetmaker, which I first read way back in 1992, I glanced at a paragraph at the end of "Woodcraft Today", and remembered that the last few lines in that paragraph gave me much hope and encouragement back in then, which I took very much to heart.

This is what Mr. Krenov wrote:

The only good advice worth offering is: Keep your goal in mind. Get some fine wood in little bits and pieces, but get it. Put it away to dry properly. Improve the heating in the shop. And all the while think about finding or making better tools. You'll need those fine tools to do that real work. So when the time comes and you get that chance you will be ready.

This then made me think that I should explore The Impractical Cabinetmaker chapter by chapter from the point of view of a guitar maker and post about it. I sallied forth and re-read the first three pages of that chapter because I wanted to read his definition of an "impractical" craftsman.

He is the craftsman for whom an atmosphere of much-to-sell is a hindrance to doing his best always--and living accordingly. He is an idealist who wants to survive to have the chance to work with wood, but not at the price of having woodworking become something less than he hoped it would be.

Hmm. I guess that makes me an impractical guitar maker.

I say I am an impractical guitar maker because I enjoy making guitars and then selling them to people who have been affected (look it up if you don't know what it means) by the sound and playability of my guitars. That is far more rewarding that doing market research to figure out how to tap into and make money from the latest fads of the classical guitar world.

The latest fad is the same it has been since I started studying the classical guitar in 1974, it is to buy the same guitar that the hottest classical guitarist de jour is playing. In the 1970's-80's you had to play a Ramirez No.1A guitar because Segovia, Parkening, Boyd and Niedt all played them. Today you need to play a "double top" guitar by Dammann, Price, Smallman, Connor or someone else who has succeeded in making a guitar sound like a piano, because current greats likes Russell and Barrueco, etc., all play double top guitars.

Perfect practice makes you a better player.

Owning a really good guitar that you love will make you practice more, but popular makers don't always necessarily make the best guitar for you.

The are no jigs or outside moulds in my shop to create "the perfect shape" of a classical guitar, which some makers insist upon to make them "competitive" in today's global classical guitar market. I use a solera, a dished out work board to hold the top and neck while I attach the sides and back. A solera lends itself to asymmetry, which as I have discovered helps give the guitar a voice, a great voice that affects the human psyche.

Does this make me a better guitar maker? Not using power tools or jigs or moulds?

Maybe it doesn't, but as Mr. Krenov said, keep your goal in mind.

My goal is beauty.

The beautiful sound of a guitar that carries throughout the cosmos.

Categories: Luthiery

Pépé Clothaire’s Tool Chest

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 08/31/2017 - 7:17pm

Grandpa's_Workshop1

This is an excerpt from “Grandpa’s Workshop” by Maurice Pommier.

The darkest corner of Pépère’s shop both fascinates and frightens me. It is full of spiderwebs and dust. It is there that Pépère keeps the tools he doesn’t use anymore.

It’s also the place he keeps the odds and ends of things he calls his “couldcomeinhandy’s.”

He says it would be a terrible idea to clean the corner, because the elves would be furious. Grandma says he should be ashamed it is such a mess, and that he could easily clean up that shambles. Pépère just chuckles.

Today I came in earlier than usual. I brought a flashlight to look through the jumble of things in the corner while Pépère had gone to break his bread. I discovered a big blue chest. When Pépère came back into the shop, I tugged on his sleeve and asked him what it was.

— It’s Pépé Clothaire’s tool chest, he said, tapping his finger on the chest.

— Tool Chest?!?

Grandpa's_Workshop2

— Pépé Clothaire’s chest was handed down from his grandfather, and certainly from the grandfather of his grandfather!

Pépère wrinkles his nose a bit, and he tugs on his mustache.

— Wow! It must be incredibly old! Open it! Show me what is inside!

Pépère goes to the keyboard on the wall and picks up a little key among the many hanging on nails there, and he makes a little space around the chest. He turns on the light and with a broom sweeps the dust off the top of the chest. The key goes cric-crac in the lock.

When he opens the chest, Pépère’s eyes shine. He shows me the underside of the top where the big English saw had been stored. Then he pulls out the tools and arranges them on the floor of the shop, and he teaches me the names of them all:

Grandpa's_Workshop3

— Wow, Pépère, they are a little rusty…

— Yes, and they are covered with dust that tickles your nose. You see, here are almost all of your Pépé Clothaire’s tools, all that he needed to build the roof structures of churches, of castles, and of houses. But there is one missing…Wait a second, I think that it is over here, it was too long to fit in the chest.

He wipes his nose and rummages around in the corner of the woodshop. He returns, peeling oily rags off a long, strange tool.

— Is is the besaiguë of Pépé Clothaire, Pépère tells me before I can ask him what it is. The ends of the tool are protected by leather sheaths. He takes them off to show me:

Grandpa's_Workshop4
— On one end you have a big chisel, like a slick, and on the other a mortise chisel. To cut a mortise, the carpenter would drill a series of holes into a beam , and then use the besaiguë to finish the square hole in the wood. He also used it to shape the pegs used to pin the joints, and when he wanted to show off, he would even use it to sharpen his pencil!

Pépère shows me how he can use the besaiguë to shape a peg from a scrap of oak.

— Pépère, who did the besaiguë belong to, before Pépé Clothaire?

Pépère’s face falls a little, and he says he will tell me about that later. Because he needs to put the tools away, because he has some work to do, and he isn’t going to do it alone. I help him put Clothaire’s tools back away in the chest. Pépère takes the angel’s head and looks at it, frowning, and stuffs it down deep into the chest.

Meghan Bates


Filed under: Grandpa's Workshop
Categories: Hand Tools

Easy Wooden Pants Hanger

The Literary Workshop Blog - Thu, 08/31/2017 - 1:33pm

As a professional teacher, I own a lot of dress slacks.  Until recently, I had them hanging on a variety of different hangers, most of which sagged and left unsightly wrinkles on each leg.  There are a lot of effective ways to hang up a pair of slacks without wrinkling them, but most good hangers are expensive and hog valuable space on the rack.  My new pants hangers each cost approximately 75 cents took under five minutes to make.

Making them requires only a few simple woodworking tools and almost no skill.  Here’s how I did it.

I began with some old wire hangers that came from the dry cleaner.  Such hangers are easy to find.  These are have a cardboard tube that each end of the wire sticks into.

Wooden Pants Hanger 2017

I had most of my slacks hanging on hangers like these.  They worked for a while, until the cardboard began to sag and finally break in the middle.

Wooden Pants Hanger 2017

I had a lot of them.

You could use regular wire coat hangers for this project just as easily, but I had these ready to hand.

Wooden Pants Hanger 2017

The first step is to use wire cutters to snip off the lower wire close to each end.  I cut the wire about 3/4″ from each end, but the exact length isn’t critical.

Wooden Pants Hanger 2017

I also clipped the wire at an angle so as to leave a sharp point.  That will be very helpful later when it comes time to assemble these.  Be careful, though, as cut wire IS very sharp.

Wooden Pants Hanger 2017

The next step is to cut the new wooden rod to length.  I used 1/2″ diameter poplar dowels from the home center.  They’re often labeled “hardwood dowels,” and the wood often has a slightly green color.  They should run you less than $2 apiece.  I got mine for $1.69 each.

At the store, take some time selecting the straightest dowels you can find.  To test straightness, just sight down the length of each dowel rod.  If they look straight, they are straight enough.  But if you don’t trust your eye, roll them on the floor.  A bent dowel will wobble a lot.  A straight one will roll pretty evenly.

Cut your dowels to 16 inches long.  If you bought 48-inch dowels, you can get exactly three hangers out of each dowel with no waste!  I cut them with a small hand saw and a bench hook–that’s the handy holding device pictured above.  (See the end of this post for more details on making a bench hook.)

Wooden Pants Hanger 2017

Next, drill a small hole into each end of the dowel.  You can eyeball the approximate center.  Go as straight as you can, but don’t sweat a crooked or off-center hole.  The hanger will work fine even if your drilling is off a little bit.

I like to stand my stock up in a bench vise, but if you don’t have a vise, you can brace one end of the dowel on something solid, hold the dowel in your hand, and carefully drill the end.  I braced mine onto my bench hook, and it worked great.  Just don’t slip!

Poplar is a fairly soft wood, so use a smaller diameter drill bit than your hanger wire.  I used a 1/16″ bit, but you could go one size bigger without trouble.  The exact depth of the hole is not crucial.  I just drilled to the depth of the drill bit’s flutes.

Wooden Pants Hanger 2017

The dowels come from the store sanded smooth–which is great if you want them like that.  However, I don’t like my slacks slipping off the hanger and onto the floor at the slightest touch–as they will if the rod is too slick.  So I used a piece of 80-grit sandpaper to roughen the rods a little.  I just swiped the sandpaper down the length of the rod once, turned it slightly, and did it again, until the whole rod was just a little coarse.  Just remember to clean off any sawdust before you hang your slacks on these things.

While you’ve got the sandpaper in your hand, also sand off any ragged fibers that the saw left at each end.

Wooden Pants Hanger 2017

Now it’s time to assemble your new hanger.  With your fingers, press each cut end of the wire into the holes in each end of the dowel rod as far as you can.

Wooden Pants Hanger 2017

If you feel they haven’t gone in far enough, a few taps on each end with a hammer will seat the wire firmly.  If the wire doesn’t seem secure, you can always add a dab of strong glue, such as E6000 glue or even hot glue, to each hole.  But that probably won’t be necessary.

Wooden Pants Hanger 2017

And that’s all there is to it!  Hang up your slacks on your new hanger.

I didn’t use any kind of stain or finish on the wood because (a) I didn’t want to wait for a finish to cure, and (b) I don’t want any smelly or sticky stuff on my clothes.  These are going in my closet anyway, and I really don’t care what color they are.

Wooden Pants Hanger 2017

I made up a dozen of these in under an hour.  It’s probably the easiest woodworking project I’ve done in years–and I’ll use the hangers I made for years to come.

Bonus: The Bench Hook

I use my bench hook all the time.  I actually have two of them, and for cutting up long stock it’s nice to have a pair.  But for small stock, one works just fine all by itself.

A bench hook is simple to make, and almost as simple to use.  Each one consists of three pieces of wood.  The base is a wide-ish board 3/4″ thick.  Mine is about 8″ wide and 12″ long, but exact dimensions aren’t critical.  You could easily build this with smaller pieces–whatever you have on hand.

 

Bench Hook 2017

The other two pieces are they cleats.  They are narrower bits of wood, almost as long as the base.  They can be screwed, nailed, or glued to the base, as you see above.  Mine are glued on.  If you’re right-handed, the smaller piece should go almost to the right-hand end of the base but not quite.  Leave between 1″ and 1/2″ of the base protruding past the cleats.

To use the bench hook, the lower cleat hooks over the top of a workbench or table.  You hold your stock against the upper cleat with your off-hand, and you saw with your dominant hand.  I have two sawing spots in this bench hook–one on the end and the other in the middle.  The one in the middle is best for very small pieces that need to be supported on both sides of the saw.  I use the spot on the end for everything else.

Bench Hook 2017

When one side of the bench hook gets too chewed up to use–which will take quite a long time–you can flip the whole bench hook over and use the other side.  This essentially doubles the working life if the jig.

The saw I’m using is a cheap dovetail saw made by crown, which I think retails for about $25.  But any normal, sharp saw with relatively small teeth can be used effectively on a bench hook.  With practice, you can hold a workpiece firmly and saw a clean, straight line with ease–no clamping required.

If you do much craft work at all, I highly recommend investing the fifteen minutes it will take you to make one or two bench hooks.


Dugout Chair Part 5, Ready for Sculpting

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Thu, 08/31/2017 - 11:43am

After sculpting the backrest of this dugout chair with a chainsaw, I noticed two things. One, the chair is about half the weight when I started. I can move this thing around by myself with some grunting. Two: It’s now a rocking stump. Yup, after removing a lot of waste from the front of the chair, the stump began to tip backward on its own, rocking nicely on the meat […]

The post Dugout Chair Part 5, Ready for Sculpting appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Sept. 9 at Our Storefront: ‘Sharpenday’

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 08/31/2017 - 6:51am

BA-grinding_IMG_0017

Next Saturday, Sept. 9, is our regularly scheduled open day for Lost Art Press. We’ll have our complete line of books plus a good number of slightly damaged books at 50 percent of retail (cash only). And T-shirts. Coffee. Stickers.

I also have been informed that we will have a handful of Crucible dividers there that are cosmetic seconds (100 percent fully bang-on functional). Those also will be 50 percent of retail (cash only).

It’s ‘Sharpenday’
To reinforce the “Sharpen This” series of blog posts, I will offer free sharpening lessons all day. If you want to learn basic sharpening or get into more advanced topics, come on down. I don’t know everything about sharpening, but I’ll be happy to share what I do know.

(Note: Let’s not make this day about me rehabbing your old or damaged tools. If you’d like to bring in a tool to discuss, great. I’ll show you how to sharpen it, but you will do the grinding and honing. One guy brought in a box of old planes for me to fix for him once – that service is $60/hour plus materials.)

If you struggle with any aspect of sharpening, put your ego aside and come ask for guidance. If you don’t know how to sharpen curved blades (travishers or scorps), we can cover that. Scrapers? Yup. Grinding V-tools? Nope (those drive me nuts).

Our storefront is at 837 Willard St. in Covington, Ky., 41011. The hours on Saturday are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

— Christopher Schwarz, christophermschwarz.com


Filed under: Lost Art Press Storefront, Sharpen This, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

This video from the Victoria and Albert Museum shows lacquer...

Giant Cypress - Thu, 08/31/2017 - 4:58am


This video from the Victoria and Albert Museum shows lacquer craftsman Lee Kwang-Woong using traditional Korean techniques to create a lacquer box with an inlaid shell decoration. There are many parallels between the techniques used in this video and the western traditions of marquetry and animal glues, not to mention the fine abrasives used for the final result. One thing that is underplayed in this video is the perfect surface needed on the box itself prior to the application of the lacquer. Any imperfection in the box surface will telegraph through the lacquer.

The other thing that strikes me is that the work area looks more like a laboratory than a workshop. I can see why, however, as the smallest stray bit of dust would telegraph through the lacquer finish on the box as well.

(Thanks to the Sturdy Butterfly for the link.)

It’s All About Backboards – 360w360 E.247

360 WoodWorking - Thu, 08/31/2017 - 4:44am
It’s All About Backboards – 360w360 E.247

In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking as the Labor Day Weekend holiday approaches and we plan time with our families, I decided to revisit an “Around the Shop” podcast that discussed backboards. It’s solid woodworking information with an eye toward historically accurate work.

Join 360 Woodworking every Thursday for a lively discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more). Glen talks with various guests about all things woodworking and some things that are slightly off topic.

Continue reading It’s All About Backboards – 360w360 E.247 at 360 WoodWorking.

plow plane box pt IV.......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 08/31/2017 - 1:27am
There is an old adage that says haste makes waste. That is true most of the time but I would add that mistakes are usually tagging along behind the waste. I accomplished all three tonight. I worked in haste initially, made a mistake, and ended up with some waste. I was trying to get too much done in too short of the time allotted and I paid the price. Oh well, I have suffered worse intracranial flatulence attacks and survived.

lid choices
 I went with the smaller board because it would have less waste.

both have cathedral grain I will use
sawn to rough length but not the width
I want to center the width on the point of the cathedral between the sides of the box
the haste, waste, and mistake part
I did get the width centered on the cathedral and I got a snug fit between the sides. But I forgot to add the rabbet that goes in the groove.

repeated the cathedral thing with the second lid
This time I did include the rabbet for the lid and it is 2 frog hairs too wide, groove to groove.

labeled the front so I won't get it mixed up(on both faces)
I have the point of the cathedral pointing to the front of the box. I squared the back end to fit up against the back.

left the front long
Once I had the rabbets made and fitted, I trimmed the front end flush.

planing the rabbets
These rabbets were a bit on the large size and I could have sawn them out and saved some time but I opted to plane them. I need the practice and so far I'm doing good.

a teeny bit of a slope on the entry end
none on the exit end
pretty even on the gauge line too
I don't have my usual 'ramped' in/out planing nor a hump in the middle. I got the same results on the opposite side when I planed it. I am slowly getting better with making rabbets by hand.

I'll plane to this gauge line after I fit the rabbets
about 80% on the second try
This is one area where I don't haste at all. I've learned my lesson here from past fittings and I go slowly, like molasses flowing in the winter. I look at the lid front and back frequently as I fit it.

right front - loose on the side and at the top
left front - loose on the side and tight at the top
the back right
This is a little harder to see what is what but it appears the top of the rabbet is tight to the top. I can see a bit of a gap on the side.

the left side is a close repeat of the right
This is where I take thin wispy shavings and do frequent checks. I gradually snuck up on getting the lid fitted.

I could probably close it but I' wasn't sure that I could open it again
finally got it
I can open and close the lid without a finger grab. I may have to plane the rabbets deeper because I want to put some shellac on this box. The shellac build up will cause the lid to bind.


marked the lid and planed it to the line - left it a frog hair proud
planing a chamfer on the front end
I am doing the chamfer first because an astragal is next. If I do the astragal first I will get blowout when I do the chamfer. It took me two lids done that way before I started doing it this way.


done

I don't like the knife point edge so I do it this way. I think the flat not only is a better visual presentation, it is stronger and less prone to chipping or breaking on the edge.

1/2" astragal batted next
grain reversed on this end
I got a little chipping and few divots on the bead on this side but there wasn't much I could have done to avoid it. I went at it as slow as could to minimize it.

layout for the thumb catch
I should have done the layout for this before I did the front chamfer and the astragals. I had a hard time getting a square on this because of the chamfer and astragals being in the way.   I did most it of by eye.

don't know what I want here
I am not sure if I want a bevel on this or a round over. I like the round over and I think it will hold up better than a bevel. I'll have to wait and see what shakes out with this tomorrow.

it's 1700 and quitting time
I'll finish the cleanup of the exterior tomorrow and start making the doo-dads for the plane and the other parts.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is an anglophone?
answer - someone who speaks english

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