|Artsy photo of my version next to the vintage model.|
This project was one of the most enjoyable I have ever done. The thing that made it so great was when I started, I didn't have a clue as to how to do it. I didn't know how to box the insert, and I had no idea how to make the oval shaped profile on the beam. The joy in this project came from figuring those things out and watching this project take shape.
I have put together another slide show of the last part of this project. I couldn't help but take a bunch of artsy photos of the completed project. This one is just too easy to take pictures of.
In fact, while it is sitting in front of me, I can't quit staring at it. My wife said it is too nice to use.
When I first got the vintage model, I thought it was a left-handed version. I usually hold the stock of any marking gauge in my right hand, as I'm right handed. This one looks as if it is meant to be registered on the left side of a board while being marked. When I used it, I just turned it around and used it "backwards" with the horn facing forward. Then I saw this picture in Salaman's Dictionary of Woodworking Tools:
This is faster! Mary May talks a lot about learning to be ambidextrous while carving so you don't continually have to adjust what you are working on. This could be a result of the same principle.
I also have a concern about using a blade as opposed to a scratcher for marking. A blade should leave a nice, neat line, but there is always a danger of a knife blade following the grain of the wood where a scratching blade would not. After all, ripping will require cleaning up, anyway.
Lastly, this blade only works in one direction - forward. Being a single bevel blade, I forsee problems if I try to pull the gauge toward me. I'll try it out, and if it is a problem I may try re-grinding the blade to a spear point configuration. The great part about this single bevel blade is it should be easy to sharpen freehand.
- Ebony is rather enjoyable to work with. At least in these small quantities.
- Not all maple is created equal. This beautiful piece must be from some softer species of maple. It is very lightweight, and works easily with hand tools, as opposed to the maple I usually use.
- There is no point on hanging onto a special piece of wood for that "perfect project." It turns out, the project you are working on is the perfect project.
- The wedge holding the blade is so small because it is intended to not get in the way of anything. It might interfere if it had a mechanism to prevent it from falling out. The problem is, eventually it will fall out. I can envision in 100 years some woodworker picking this thing up at a yard sale for 50 cents, wondering how to make such a small replacement wedge on a table saw and putting it back on the table for some other sucker to buy. Perhaps a manager will want to nail it to the wall of his restaurant.
- Making a custom scraper is a cheap and easy way to shape parts. However, grinding metal with a power tool is much faster and easier than using a file. I used a Dremel wheel on my cordless drill (I got rid of my Dremel tool).
"The history of mankind is in woodworking; all cultures have a story of how wood has been used both..."
- Nicholas Phillips, in an interview with the Silver Spring Patch.
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In your laſt acceptable Letter dated from Westminster the 2d. of Auguſt, I obſerve that you deſire me to turn my Speculations, and to give you my Thoughts upon ſeveral Appearances relating to a Razor; particularly to ſay ſomething concerning its Edge and Sharpneſs, which in a good Razor is ſo fine and ſo nice, that it is ſubject to the leaſt Change and Alteration in the Weather; and particularly that Cold has ſuch an Influence upon it, as to ſpoil and blunt its Edge, inſomuch that it will hardly cut a Hair aſunder.
In anſwer to your ſaid Letter, I muſt acquaint you, Sir, that I ſhave my ſelf, and that my Razor, which I always uſe twice a Week, and which I have had above Thirty Six Years, was never Ground but twice, and yet it cuts very well; but I ſet it ſometimes upon an Oyl-ſtone or Hone, yet not as I obſerve ſome Barbers do, who ſtroke it above Twenty five Times on one ſide, and then again as many on the other; whereas I on the contrary paſs my Razor once only on one ſide, and that very gently with the Edge againſt the Stone, and then on the other ſide in the ſame manner; and ſo continue about ten or twelve Times; after that I paſs the Razor, with the Back of it downwards, upon a Leather prepar’d with Tripoly [which the Silver-ſmiths uſe, to Poliſh or Clean their Plate with.]
When I look upon ſuch a Razor thro’ my Microſcope, I ſtand amazed at the great number of Gaps and Notches that I ſee in the Edge thereof, and wonder how one can ſhave ones ſelf ſo ſoftly therewith; nor does my Razor refuſe to do me Service even in Winter and cold Weather, tho’ I muſt own at ſuch times the Shaving is a little more painful, but that I have hitherto thought, was only occaſion’d by the Hair of the Beard being harder in Winter than Summer, when ’tis cold Weather I always keep my Razor in a Room that has Fire in it.
Now as to what concerns the Razor’s becoming blunt in cold Weather, I can conceive no other Reaſon for it, but that the materia ſubtilis, or exceeding fine Matter, which is in all Metals, and which we may compare to Fire, is by the Cold driven out of the Edge of the Razor; by which means the Steel becomes so ſtubborn or hard, that in a fine Razor it makes Notches, and is blunted by the Hair. I have alſo experienced, that after having ſhaven the Beard with a fine Razor, and attempting to Cut ſome of the little Hairs in the Eye-brows, which were harder than thoſe of the Chin, notwithſtanding that they were a little ſoftned with Water, ſeveral Notches were thereby made in the ſame Razor.
I asked a certain skilful Barber, what difference he found in his Razors in very cold or hot Weather; who informed me, that when it was very Cold, he always dipt his Razors in warm Water, which made ‘em cut much the better.
I have thought fit to acquaint you with the manner of my preparing my Leather upon which I paſs my Razor. My Shoe-maker furniſh’d me with a Piece of Leather, that is very ſmooth upon the ſide next the Fleſh, and of about two Fingers breadth; this I faſten’d with Glue to a thin Board of the ſame breadth, and when ’twas dry, I ſmear’d it all over with a Tallow-candle; and then I held it over the Fire a little, ’till the Greaſe had inſinuated itſelf into the Pores of the Leather, and this I repeated three times; after which I pour’d all over it a little Tripoly waſh’d clean, which I workt into the Leather with the Greaſe ſo long, ’till the Greaſe or Tallow became warm, when I pour’d on freſh, repeating that Operation four or five times, till my Smoothing-Leather was fit for uſe.
I have alſo taken fine Powder’d Emery [a Powder or Stone alſo uſed by the Silver-ſmiths to Poliſh their Plate] which I firſt ſteep’d in a little Water, and then pour’d a good deal more upon it, which having ſtir’d well together, and afterwards let it ſtand a little, I pour’d off the uppermoſt part of the Water that was impregnated with the fine Emery into another Glaſs, and after that I put a little Linnen or Woollen Rag into the aforeſaid Water, one end of which extended itſelf to the bottom of the ſaid Emery, which I ſuppoſe to remain in the Glaſs, and the other end of the Rag hung out, in order to draw off all the Water from the ſubſided Emery; which Emery being thereby become dry, I rubb’d it into the Tallow’d-Leather in the ſame manner as I had done the Tripoly before, only with this difference, that I work the Emery in with a Piece of ſmooth Ivory, or elſe with a Burniſhing-Steel; this being done, I ſtroke my Razor ſoftly over it, the Effect of which has been, that Razors, with which I have cut Wood, and which I have thrown aſide as uſeleſs, have been recover’d to ſuch a Degree, as to become fit to ſhave ones Beard again.
The aforemention’d Barber complain’d to me, that he had a Razor, which tho’ it appear’d very fair to the Eye, yet was ſo ſtiff, that he cou’d bring no Edge to it, by paſſing it ever ſo often upon a Hone: I deſired him that I might look upon it thro’ my Microscope, and found ſeveral Notches in it; but I judg’d that it had been little uſed to a Hone, because there was ſo little of it worn away, tho’ he inform’d me ſince that be had ſet it above Fifty Times, but cou’d never bring it to bear.
I paſſed the ſame Razor over my Strop or Smoothing-Leather, which I had prepared with fine Emery, and then gave it him again; and a few Days after, askt him if he had made uſe of it, who told me he had, and that he had found it very good, and that in ſixteen Perſons he had ſhaved with it, he had found but one Beard that the Razor cou’d not Conquer. Now as one Razor it ſofter than another, I wou’d adviſe that the ſoft Razor shou’d be paſſed on a Strop that is prepared with Tripoly, and the hard one upon a Strop prepared with Emery.
You ſay further, Sir, that if one cou’d diſcover the fine Particles of the Steel, of which the Sharpneſs or Edge of the Razor does conſiſt, you imagine that one might alſo be able to find out the cauſe of the very different Effects produced in the ſaid Razor.
To which I ansſwer, that as for what concerns the fine Particles of Steel, as alſo Gold, Silver, &c. they are inconceivably ſmall: one may indeed, by the help of a good Microſcope, juſt diſcover the exceeding ſmall Particles of Gold and Silver, but one cannot perceive of what Figure they are; and who can tell of what a Multitude of Parts thoſe little Particles, which we ſee by the help of a Microſcope, are again compoſed: and although we can diſcover thoſe little Particles of which Gold and Silver are compoſed, becauſe we can diſſolve both Gold and Silver in proper Menſtrua or Waters, and can as it were unite them with thoſe Waters, and again collect thoſe Particles of Gold and Silver together, fit for our view; yet this has no Place in Iron or Steel, the fine Particles that compoſe which, we can only diſcover in the broken Gaps or Notches of a Razor, for inſtance; and the greater and courſer the Parts are, of which thoſe Metals are compoſed, as we may ſee in Caſt-Iron, the leſs valuable are the ſaid Metals; but the finer the Particles are, the more valuable in my Opinion will be the Steel and Iron which they compoſe.
Now when we view the ſmall broken Parts of Gold, Silver, Steel, Iron, &c. We muſt conſider that each of thoſe Particles, as ſmall as they appear to us, are again compoſed of a great number of other exceeding ſmaller Particles, which Nature has knit together; and that theſe coagulated Particles are yet more ſtrongly united by Fire, and after that are ſo conſolidated by the Strokes and Preſſure of the Smith’s Hammer, that they ſeem to us to be but one body, tho’ they do conſist of a great many ſmall Particles, the courſeſt of which are always obvious when we come to break the Mettals: and how often ſoever you melt any of theſe Mettals, and break them again after they are cold, you will always be able to diſcover the grainy Particles therof; but you will find them ſo ſtrongly joyn’d and riveted in one another, that they appear to be but one Body.
When the Steel if prepared and made into a Razor, and ſet upon a Hone, we may perceive a great many long Streaks or Scratches of the ſaid Stone upon the Razor; and the Courſer the Hone is with Sand, the Courſer and Deeper thoſe Streaks are in the Steel. They Paſs the Razor thus prepared upon one Stone, oftentimes upon a finer, to the end that they may Grind out the aforeſaid long Streaks, which it had acquir’d upon the courſe Stone; for every one of ſuch Streaks in the Steel, when it is Sharpned or Ground again, becomes a Notch: when ſuch Notches are Ground out of the Razor upon a fine Oyl-ſtone or Hone, the Steel, where any of theſe Notches were, appears to the Eye as ſmooth as Glaſs; but when we come to view the Razor with one of our beſt Microſcopes, one may diſcover that thoſe long Streaks which cauſe the Notches, are no more taken away by the Oyl-ſtone, than when the Razor is Ground on a rough Stone; and the only difference is, that the Streaks of the former are finer than the latter: in ſhort, when one obſerves with a good Microſcope the many Notches that are in the fineſt Razor, one wou’d wonder how any of them cou’d cut ſo well. This, Sir, is all that I have to ſay to you upon the ſubject of Razors at this time.
Delft, Sept. 10, 1709.
Your Humble Servant,
Antony Van Leeuwenhoek.
Philosophical Transactions, Giving Some Account of the Present Undertakings, Studies and Labours of the Ingenious, In many Considerable Parts of the World – Vol. XXVI (London) – 1710
Filed under: Historical Images
OK, I’m going to sound like I have a “man crush” on Joel Moskowitz with this blog entry. But when I think about the simplest inventions in my lifetime that have changed my work, the Gramercy holdfast is pretty much at the top of my list. For just $35 you can get a pair of … Read more
This week I must finish off the order for 35 wooden spoons for the USA. I decided to make them from scraps; fire wood or recycled wood from a safe resource. Elm is a wood I and all woodworkers of old loved to work with. Some old doors were discarded from the castle and I couldn’t stand to see them thrown out. They are made from elm. It is not so available as it once was, but it’s such a beautiful wood. At one time it was predominantly used for chair seats and kitchenware but those days are long gone.
Another commitment I have is to show you how to make stars for hanging in a mobile, decorating a door wreath, hanging at the top of your tree or to create a stunning centrepiece for the table at Christmas dinner. We will be posting a video on woodworkingmasterclasses very shortly for this and I know you will enjoy it. In the meantime we will be wrapping things up in readiness for starting the new year filming and classes. It’s been a wonderful year for me. I look back on it with affection when I see all the faces I met, work with and enjoyed.
Star sizes are governed by the thickness of the stock you use. In this case I am using material I have milled to two sticks of wood measuring 10mm thick. This can be varied and the method of making remains the same. Cutting the wood about 30mm wide and 25cm long means you have enough length to hold it in the vise and make more stars later if you want to. I used a variety of woods but my favourites are mahogany and figured maple. Ebony and maple give striking contrast but there are many others you could use too. I think pine makes lovely stars.
More on this shortly.
Trying out materials from different suppliers is always an adventure. Some time ago, I ordered a “medium” sized block of plateaux briar wood from a vendor who came highly recommended. When I got the block in the mail, I was at a loss as to what to do with it–it was so big! It was 2 1/2″ tall and a good 3″ long. I had planned to make one pipe out of it, selecting the best figure and discarding the rest, but now I began to wonder…. Could I get two small pipes out of one block?
I drew out and then erased several designs on the side of the block until I had a plan. I cut it neatly in half, so as to make myself two small blocks fit for tobacco chambers about 1 1/4″ deep. (I am grateful for backsaws that cut thin kerfs!) Here are the results:
This bent Dublin takes advantage of the natural top of the briar burl–called “plateaux”–creating a rough, irregular surface to contrast with the smooth surface of the pipe’s sides. The lucite stem came from my first pipe kit. I broke it while assembling the kit, and it has been lying around my workspace ever since. I finally repaired it and fitted it to this pipe, which I think it fits pretty well.
The second pipe is a churchwarden. Although I enjoy doing freehand shaping, I also need to work on making some classic shapes. This is one of my favorites–the “apple” shape, which I should say doesn’t look at all like an apple to my eye. Nevertheless, I find it a pleasing shape, and I think the grain pattern in the wood complements the shape pretty well.
As usual, these pipes are both available for purchase at my Etsy shop.
Tagged: apple pipe, bent stem pipe, briar, churchwarden, dublin pipe, etsy, lucite, plateaux
This plane looks like it did the day it was made. It’s a Chapin Stephens #12 round. The sole is properly shaped to cut the intended 7/8″ radius profile. The iron is in great condition, but it needs to be reground to match the sole profile and sharpened. This is easy to do on a regular flat grinding wheel. I already have a 7/8″ round so I don’t need this one. It’s in really great shape though and will make a really nice user. I’d keep it myself if my #12s weren’t a matched pair.
First comment that says I’ll take it gets it. Price is $40 plus shipping.
R.A. Salaman, Dictionary of Woodworking Tools, 1975
I am a little tired of my tool chest.
As soon as I close the lid things magically appear on top of it.
I remove these items so I can rummage through the chest to find what I need.
And the stuff reappears once the lid goes back down. I think the wood working elves are having fun with me.
I work in a small studio, it's 10'x11' and is between our bedroom and kitchen. I have some storage with shelves, but I desperately need another work surface for finishing my guitars.
I spent most of last week working on building the carcass (yes, I am using the American form of the word) for a new work bench. I sawed out the tenons by hand, I drilled all the mortises with a brace and bit. While doing all that I remembered why I never got into furniture making, I really don't enjoy making squares and rectangles. When you make a guitar you work with voluptuous curves, you can't mistake the feminine shape of a classical guitar. Curves are more fun to look at and handle than sharp corners.
I found the plans for this bench at Shop Notes, click here to see the plans. I like the looks of the bench, but I found the plans to be a little over worked and who ever came up with it loves dadoes! All I really need is a flat working surface and some nice storage space. I am going to adjust the drawer sizes to fit my tools and because of limited space I will make a set of sliding doors instead of those that swing out. And no vises. There isn't enough room in my studio to have the vises that are on the plans!
Just having the unfinished plywood top done has made my work life a little easier, it is so nice to have an extra work surface. I plan on spending one day a week working on finishing the bench, I need to start assembling some guitars!
If I were ever to make another bench, one out of hardwood instead of Douglas fir, I would make a close copy of Norm Vandal's Shaker inspired bench that is in Scott Landis Workbench book. His bench makes much more sense when it comes to its construction than this one does. This one will work and serve it's purpose.
I do know that as soon as this bench is finished the tool chest gets the boot!
Merle Burnham, my father, 1976
This is a neck for a copy of a 1929 Santos Hernandez guitar, it's all glued up from heel block to head stock. In this photo I am adjusted the sides of the neck with a draw knife so I can carefully plane the sides of the head stock perfectly square so the tuning machines can have some where to sit.
What happened next is that I drilled all six holes in the head stock only to find out that I had laid out the positions for the holes using the wrong reference line. Whoops!
Spanish cedar is getting scarce, I bought this blank from Stew-Mac just before they stopped selling Spanish cedar neck blanks. I didn't want to throw it into the wood stove, I owe it to the Universe to persevere and use this neck.
With my trusty knife, block plane, Porter Cable 14 volt drill and a 13/32 inch hole drilled into a piece of bubinga, I made three dowels from a scrap piece of Spanish cedar. Some fish glue from Lee Valley and a few taps with a live oak mallet and things are as right as rain again!
Yes, you can see the plugs, but when you a play a classic guitar you are watching your hands, not the headstock! This will not affect the sound quality of a guitar.
The tuning machine's plate cover the plugs! Don't they look great!
The headstock carved and slotted.
Now, to finish carving the heel!
On the subject of creating a passable keratin substitute for genuine tortoiseshell, the eminent French lawyer and aristocratic handyman, Louis Georges Isaac Salivet, wrote in 1792 (under the allonym of Louis-Eloy Bergernon – in order to obfuscate any associations with his avid readers and clientele at the Royal Court and thus hopefully evade the guillotine):
“Horn is very extensively used, and especially the horn of cattle. The best kinds come from Ireland. It is worked and soldered in much the same way as tortoise-shell. The following is the method adopted.
Select a good piece of cow’s horn and saw it about two to four inches from its solid end, and cut it in the direction of its length with a back-saw. Then hold it for some time in front of a moderate fire, seize it with pincers and dress it until it takes the form of a flat-board. Next remove by means of a tool called a scraper, the surface which has been exposed to the fire, and finish the process by trimming it by means of a rasp-file. The plates now made in France are at least equal if not superior in transparency to those made in England.
Dissolve in a pint of boiling water about three ounces of potash. Allow this mixture to boil for about a quarter of an hour, and then pour it out into a vessel of double the capacity, and containing about half a pound of quick-lime. Stir the whole well up. When the lime has become thoroughly slacked and cool, add to it about three ounces of red lead, and one ounce of cinnabar or vermilion, and agitate the whole again until all the elements which compose it are perfectly united. When they are, the mixture should have the consistency of thick soup and be of a soft red colour.
The mode of using this composition is very simple. Take a small portion of it on the end of a spatula and apply it to those parts of the horn which are to be coloured, avoiding those parts which are to remain transparent in order to imitate as much as possible the caprices which nature displays in distributing the colours of the tortoise-shell. The shell must remain covered with this paste till the whole has completely dried. Then wipe the piece of horn with a moist sponge; it will be found to be so well coloured in some places and transparent in others that it might easily be taken for tortoise-shell. The thicker the patches of plate the richer will be the different colours. It is then very easy to vary the tints so as to increase still further the resemblance of the piece of horn to tortoise-shell.”
Filed under: Materials Tagged: keratin, Louis Georges Isaac Salivet, tortoiseshell
To a man, we all have delusions of grandeur sometimes. For a woodworking blog writer such as myself, that may mean believing that what I write actually inspires another woodworker, or helps another woodworker, or at the least shows woodworking from another perspective. Maybe I have accomplished those things in some small way, or maybe I haven’t. The problem I have is that as a woodworker/blog writer I have little or no credibility. I am not a professional woodworker, nor am I a professional writer. I’ve had little training in woodworking, and my instruction in writing is limited to general high school and college English courses. I am a rank amateur. In fact, what I probably should be writing about is electrical work and tools, which are subjects where I may be considered an expert, or at the least accomplished. But while I make my living in the electrical world, it is not a field that draws many hobbyists. It is very much a technical field following fairly strict rules and guidelines. i.e. it is not something most people would do for fun in their free time. Woodworking, on the other hand, thrives on the weekend warrior.
The financial success of woodworking magazines and web pages depends on the hobbyist. The hobbyist is asked to contribute to the “woodworking community” nearly every day. I am somewhat cynical, I freely admit. I do not often trust the motives of many, especially when they are selling something. But just as I am a cynic, I am also an optimist, and there have been times when I thought that my contributions, as it were, have made a difference, at least a little. The real, sad, truth of the matter is they have made no difference, not really. My blog fails on two levels. Firstly, I am not selling anything here, therefore it generates no capital whatsoever. Secondly, it generates no capital whatsoever. I’ve discovered that in the world of woodworking, when you aren’t selling something, and you aren’t making anybody money, you are not considered a contributor.
I like to read other amateur woodworking blogs such as my own. I’ve found some good ones right here on WordPress, among other places. These blogs feature some good writing but more importantly, good woodworking. Besides the fact that they are amateur blogs, what else do they all have in common? Well, it goes without saying that they aren’t selling anything woodworking related: tools, furniture, or both, and secondly, nowhere will you find them on any “must-read” blog list. That second point bothers me, a lot. Why does it bother me? It has nothing to do with recognition for me or anybody else. Recognition to an amateur means next to nothing when it comes down to it, other than a feather in your cap. But it does have something to do with what is “good” for woodworking. Most of the “must-read” blogs that I’ve read have two things in common: they are selling something, and as far as blogs go a lot of them suck. Maybe my blog sucks, too, but it isn’t selling anything, and it isn’t on a list of blogs considered culturally significant in the world of woodworking. The optimist in me likes to believe that a list of must-read woodworking blogs would not only be entertaining, they also wouldn’t require a credit card number and expiration date. The cynic in me knows why they do.
Before I finish, I would like to say that I am not implying that all professional woodworking blogs/web pages are bad and not worth a look. Some of them are quite good. I would also like to acknowledge that I am all for seeing the financial success of professional woodworkers and blog writers everywhere. In fact, I can say without hesitation that I’ve tried my best to solicit some of these blogs, because they certainly deserve the support of the woodworking community. Not to sound like Dr. Seuss, but I have to think that what is “good for woodworking” doesn’t always have to carry a price tag. I’ve learned as much from amateur blogs as from anywhere else, and I’ve been much more entertained; I can’t be the only woodworker to make that claim. I also have to think that a must-read woodworking blog list just by the law of averages should have its fair share of amateur blogs on it and sadly almost none of them do. So what is the message being sent, to be a contributor to the woodworking community you probably should be selling something? For me, a contributor to the woodworking community is not selling, but making, and then sharing his/her experiences with the rest of the group. There’s just not much of that going on. So I am going to do my part and not contribute to any blog but an amateur one, and of course my own. That may be nothing more than the statement of a self-important ego maniac, but it didn’t take a credit card number and expiration date for all of you to find that out.
The original 19th-century Roorkee chair looks at home on safari. Whereas the mid-century Kaare Klint ‘Safari Chair’ looks right in the home.
As I have been gathering data on original pieces for the forthcoming book “Campaign Furniture,” a critical piece of the puzzle fell into place Saturday when Mark Firley sent me some measurements he took of some original Kaare Klint chairs. Until now, I’ve been relying on auction records, and those measurements were suspect when compared to dimensions I’d struck off of photographs.
Firley, a woodworker and fine American, took good measurements that will help guide the construction of one last chair before the end of the year.
What is surprising – no shocking – is how closely the Klint chairs mimic the original Roorkee of 50 years earlier. They are so similar that it’s almost not fair to call the Safari Chair anything more than a minor evolution from the original.
Here are some details:
The legs of the original were 1-1/2” square and 22-1/2” long. The Klint chair legs are 1-9/16” square and 22” long.
The stretchers of the original were 1” to 1-1/8” in diameter. The Klint chair has stretchers that are 1-1/4” in diameter that are clearly cigar-shaped. I’ve been making my stretchers this shape to add strength in the middle for some time now. So I was pleased to see the Klint chairs were made this way.
The seat height is also similar between the original and the Klint. On the original, the front of the seat was 12” from the floor and the back of the seat is 10-1/2” from the floor. On the Klint, the front stretcher is 12” from the floor and the rear is 9-1/2” from the floor.
The back is virtually identical.
There are some interesting differences. Klint moved the side stretchers down. This gives the chair a sleeker look in my opinion and – engineering-wise – reduces the leverage on the side stretchers.
Klint also removed the handles at the top of the legs, which is probably the most visible difference, but it has little to do with how the chair sits or works.
Firley also supplied some interesting photos of how the seat of the Klint chair works. The underside of the leather seat is lined with a white cloth to prevent the leather from stretching. Modern chairs use a synthetic fabric to stop stretching; I have no clue what Klint used without some analysis.
So if you have been thinking about making some Safari Chairs and thought to yourself: “I can just change the leg turnings a bit and I’ll be almost done,” then you are thinking correctly.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Campaign Furniture
Before I attached the lid of the tool chest I marked the cut line for the lid. I’m now physically prepared to make the cut. Notice I say physically, the chest is positioned, saw is sharp, cut lines marked……mentally however I’m a little concerned.
Sawing a straight line all the way around the carcass looks to be a little tricky so I clamp a guide to help me get started. Then using a panel saw I progress one edge at a time around the chest. Changing my hand hold on the saw gave me more control as I attempted to stay between the marks. Finally the cut is complete. I’ll need to take some time with a plane to clean up the edges, find some hinges, then I can begin the drawers.
As I continue to unpack the shop, daily life and parenthood hurtles on in a mildly controllable fashion. Among other things, I had a commission for a hay rake table, made with reclaimed wood, and the client wanted it for Thanksgiving. That, and I still haven't had time to actually hook up the table saw and dust collector, so no table saw was used on this project. Given the need to work quickly, I decided to skip my normal habit of making 'serious' jigs, and worked with a few pieces of 80-20 aluminum that I'd recently unpacked.
If you're a push-button, store-bought jig woodworker, more T-track won't really help you much. If you've been building jigs for a while, and you need a fast way to make new jigs in a flexible way, this stuff is a game-changer. Yes, you can make any of these jigs with wood, MDF, plywood... but there's a lot more drilling, cutting, installing T-track, etc... and at the end of that exercise, you're the proud owner of a dedicated jig that will need periodic recalibration or rebuilding. That's a big investment in time, and an investment in materials that you won't get back. Building these jigs was fast. And when I was done building the table, the original extrusions were in exactly the same condition, and I can use them again for more jigs. THAT'S a big deal.
Fast, flexible, with minimal waste? And not having to break down sheet goods? Yeah, I'm impressed. And I can tell (gut feeling) that I'm just getting my feet wet right now.
Jigs need to position and hold the material in place, and in some cases guide the material past a cutter. Using nothing more than a few carriage bolts, a couple of Incra clamps, and some blocks of scrap wood, I was able to throw together some pretty decent production jigs in a very short amount of time.
Drill press fence for drilling out mortises in the legs. The fence is simply bolted to the table, (holding the plywood surface down, too) the block is held on with a simple 1/4-20 t-track bolt. (The oval-headed kind, not a hex bolt.)
Stop fence for the band saw, for cutting tenon cheeks, and stopping at the shoulder line. Held onto the band saw fence with Incra clamps.
Cross-cut fence, and stop fence, for cutting shoulders. I also used this setup for cutting parts to finish length, since some of them (like the legs) were just too big for the track saw to handle. The black extrusions have larger tracks, and use 5/16" carriage bolts.
Support and stop for drilling out the 45 degree mortises in the stretcher assembly. Again, just bolted to the table. There were moments when I needed the Incra clamp to be moved back, so that I would have space to clamp the material to the extrusion with an F-clamp. Thankfully, there are 3 tracks in the faces of the aluminum, so moving that clamp was very easy. +1 for an easily modified jig...
Cutting the 45 degree mortises in the long stretcher. I did have to bolt on an extended L-shaped block, but it was a very easy thing to do. (By the way, these are the mortises I was working on when I started using the 3-pound hammer.)
As the deadline loomed larger, I quit stopping to take photos. But I also used the extrusions that hold my router table to mount a positioning block to adjust the router table fence more easily and accurately. More on that some other time...
Indeed you can. Someone wrote and asked this question. You can carve spoons and a whole lot more using mesquite. I have made hundreds of items and furniture pieces using this unbelievable wood but it’s not easy. For spoons there is no problem at all though.
Mesquite is one of those treasure woods that’s much maligned by ranchers or loved by them. You can of course do much more than carve spoons from it but spoons are fine too. I once designed a pie point table 6′ in diameter and with added leaves that made it 9′ in diameter for a lady named Karen T in Houston. We took two trees from her ranch, slabbed the boards, dried them and made a beautiful table from wrought iron and mesquite.The design was something you just don’t do with solid wood, but it worked.
For the inlaid eagles we used figured maple, Osage orange and Texas Walnut. The panel is very beautiful highly figured mesquite in a frame of cross banding and ebony and oak sandwiched between.
The wood we call mesquite is not so easy to harvest and convert because of its idiosyncrasies, but whatever you make from it will always be stunning. In the US there are 67 million acres with 64 million in Texas alone. Carving spoons can be done in green mesquite and used immediately. You can turn it to any thickness on the lathe including solid and not hollowed shapes and it will not usually degrade through checking at all. I love mesquite. If I had to name my favourite wood,
I would most likely say it’s mesquite. I have used it on and off, mostly on, since 1987. There is no other wood like it. Ken Rogers who once worked for the Texas Forestry Service in their R&D wrote the book Magnificent Mesquite because of its provision for life through history; I would most likely write one from my perspective as a furniture maker.
When I got an email last month about holiday discounts at Taunton Press showing a book on SketchUp, I decided to take a look. I found two eBooks and a video, all instantly downloadable. I couldn't choose, so I bought all three; after all, the price was right, and I could get instant gratification. Having gone through them, I can tell you unequivocally it was money well spent.
The two eBooks are by Tim Killen: SketchUp Guide For Woodworkers and the follow-on SketchUp Guide For Woodworkers: Traditional Cabinets. The video is by David Richards: Google SketchUp Guide For Woodworkers - The Basics (note that Trimble Navigation bought SketchUp from Google in 2012).
Killen's first book, 145 pages, consists of 16 chapters covering SketchUp tools and techniques, from basic navigation to creating original drawings to making drawings from imported photos. He uses a variety of different furniture projects for examples, including simple cabinets and tables and a Windsor chair. It's copiously illustrated with step-by-step diagrams and is a fabulous example of written instruction.
His second book, 197 pages, consists of 7 chapters focusing on using SketchUp for cabinetmaking. It includes some review of basic usage, then covers three cabinet projects in different traditional styles down to the last detail. One of them shows how to work from scanned images. He also uses several other projects as examples. Like the first, it's packed with diagrams. Both books include information on creating a set of shop drawings and templates.
An interesting feature, taking advantage of the electronic format, is that the second book has several videos embedded in the PDF. So you can watch a video and see SketchUp in action, then read about the process in detail. The combination of video and text makes it suited to all types of learning styles, whether you prefer to read it or watch it.
Richards' video, 67 minutes, consists of 5 episodes that show basic navigation and usage, then go through the complete process for a hanging cabinet design. The download includes a PDF containing the complete transcript so you can jump around to find things easily.
Working With SketchUp
What's fascinating about SketchUp is that it truly is intuitive to use. And by intuitive I mean that when you use one of its tools and click on something, it understands what you want to do. No "you meant this and it did that" fussing around. Its drawing paradigm is to form faces from lines, rectangles, and circles, and then with the amazing push/pull tool, extrude those faces into the third dimension.
Connecting lines and arcs is very natural to form more complex shapes. Cleaning up lines and faces with the eraser tool is simple. Copying and duplicating bits of shapes is easy. It just works. It's very intelligent about selecting what you click on. Every intersection forms a new selectable segment.
The other thing that's absolutely fascinating is that you build up a drawing from components almost exactly the way you make the real thing. You form a squared-up piece, cut dovetails in it by drawing outlines and using the push/pull tool to push out the waste, form mortises and tenons by drawing outlines and pushing in or pulling out shapes.
One big difference from working the real wood is that you form parts in place, overlapped at the joints, then go into x-ray view to form the joinery and transfer the lines to the matching piece. The ability to copy components also means that duplicate parts can be formed instantly. Any change you make to one copy is reflected in all the copies.
The ability to compose alternate scenes showing different views and details is a huge benefit. Once you've drawn an initial perspective view, it's easy to add exploded and orthographic views. You can add any number of detail views with dimensions and annotations.
My First SketchUp Project
This all turned out to be timely because I had recently drawn up a project for a class I'll be teaching next year. Until now I've been focusing on skills-based classes; this will be my first project-based class.
The project is a simple Shaker-style step stool incorporating both dovetail and wedged mortise and tenon joints. While that may not be strictly Shaker style, it allows me to cover more joinery skills. Killen's first book also includes a version of a Shaker step stool.
I originally did a freehand drawing of what I had pictured in my mind. There I focused more on general shape and not on specific dimensions. Then I drew up a measured drawing with good old fashioned drafting tools on a drawing board and colored it in with a pencil.
I would have left it at that point had I not seen these SketchUp resources. I downloaded the free version of SketchUp Make and set it up according to Killen's specifications (that's another major hurdle to overcome, because there are a lot of settings that you can get lost in). After going through the exercises in his first book, I was anxious to try it out, so the stool was a perfect opportunity.
My progression of drawings is below. I was quite happy with the results. I was able to do it reasonably quickly for my first attempt as I got used to controlling SketchUp, very little struggling involved. The drawing process flowed very naturally using what I had just learned.
My initial freehand sketch to capture the concept.
Hand-drafted isometric drawing with dimensions.
SketchUp perspective view.
Orthographic view with dimensions.
If you'd like to learn how to use this powerful tool, I highly recommend these resources. There are others available as well, including free ones. It's a worthwhile investment of your time.
My first experience using shellac in the mid-1990s was a disaster. The stuff wouldn’t dry. And when it did finally, kinda dry it was a gummy mess. So I stuck to pre-cat lacquer and other film finishes. However, since then, I’ve gotten my hands on some very good, fresh and pure shellac from Tools for … Read more