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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator
This "aggregator" collects all of the woodworking blogs I read every day - or try to anyway! Enjoy!
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I’m pleased to say that there does, indeed, appear to be some renewed interest in applied geometry. I’m convinced that it was one of the things that separated humans from the lower animals.
Several readers have said that they are intrigued by more advanced geometric techniques like l’art du trait and stereotomy, but found them hard to comprehend and a bit overwhelming. Rightly so, as these techniques have been shrouded in secrecy for centuries, thus assuring carpenters and masons a fair amount of “bargaining power.” These techniques require the novice to have some level of familiarity with geometry and, sadly, the vast majority of the population has not had that experience. A few days ago someone asked if I could recommend any books on the subject that might get the “pilgrim” started on the journey.
Well, the novice could start by reading Euclid’s Elements. But trust me, the plot line is very difficult to follow and it’s easy to loose interest (a statement based on my own experience). Perhaps the best way to become introduced to trade geometry is to read up on perspective drawing. Yes, that’s what I said, Perspective Drawing. Remember, geometry is a way of seeing. Figuring comes later.
The very best book that I’ve ever come across on the subject is “Basic Perspective Drawing” by John Montague. There are many editions which indicates to me that it’s one of the best tomes on the subject. I think the drawing below will support my reasoning. This is plane geometry:
Take some quiet time for yourself, with a “wee dram” perhaps, and peruse this book (or any book on the subject, for that matter). My guess is that you’ll get the connection pretty quickly. But beware, you may never again look at the world in the same way.
I am in the process of designing a plane body for a custom profile, dedicated plane that I will make this week. I was sent the following image from the customer and we're trying to come up with a plane design that will create the profile.
There are two planes illustrated below. The plane that is vertical has no spring. (This is the one from above.) The other plane, the left, has a spring angle of 22.5 degrees. The mouth will be more uniform and the cutting edge will have more linear feet in it.
Not everything should be as smooth as a nun’s stomach. While every surface of my work is finished with handplanes, that doesn’t mean it was a smoothing plane.
Cabinet backs and the undersides of everything are best finished with a jack plane, either across, diagonally or parallel to the grain. Not only does this speed you along and allow you to save your effort for the show surfaces, it is pleasant to touch.
The shallow scallops – even the woolly ones that plow across the grain – actually feel like something worth touching. Even a little bark down below is OK with me. On the interiors of cabinets and drawers that will get touched frequently, I finish with a jointer plane. This leaves wider and shallower scallops that almost anyone can feel if they look for them.
On the show surfaces, the even-shallower scallops left by my smoothing plane are almost imperceptible unless you catch the top in the right light or pass your hand lightly across the surface with the intent of finding them. They are mostly invisible to the touch, but they are there.
I’m fully capable of planing all surfaces to nearly dead-flat and then finish them with a sanding block. That’s a great surface for a highly reflective finish. And while a perfect and smooth finish would have been spectacular in 1769, it’s unavoidable, plastic and mundane now.
Today I finished my first 15th-century dining table for the “Furniture of Necessity,” and I figured that by leaving these toolmarks, I saved an entire day of labor. And I like the table better than if it were perfectly extruded from a wide-belt sander.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Furniture of Necessity
Today’s woodworker has a lot more help when it comes to working out the tricky angles of some furniture joints, roof geometry or the wind and rise of a set of stairs he is constructing. Back in the day, school geometry lessons fed straight into the knowledge needed in an apprenticeship and carpenters found themselves learning on the job and learning what was needed to be able to draft calculations in their heads.
A lot of this knowledge has been lost as technology has taken over somewhat, but I find myself increasingly fascinated in the various calculations one can learn to estimate precise cutting angles.
Following on from my post about French ‘guitardes’ and ‘L’art du Trait‘, I have been researching knowledge about plane geometry and it’s use in carpentry and joinery.
Over on ‘A Woodworker’s Musings’, D.B.Blaney not only seems to know a lot more about this in practice than me, but has also constructed some fine models. I love the pictures of loftsmen in the mould loft at Harland and Wolff shipyards. You can see the large drawings on the floor from the loftsmen.
I contacted Mr Blaney about this great post and asked if he had some reference on how to get re-aquainted with plane geometry and it’s use. He recommended some books:
A Treatise on Stairbuilding and Handrailing by W & A Mowat
A Builder’s Companion by Asher Benjamin
and also Chris Hall’s website, The Carpentry Way.
(I have also been told a recent book called ‘A Simplified Guide to Custom Stairbuilding and Tangent Handrailing‘ by George Di Cristina is also excellent)
This brought me onto Googling tangent stairbuilding and I hit upon a four-part series online by ThisIsCarpentry, which explains how geometry is used in tangent handrailing and crafting a proper volute.
Drawing a volute
Carving a volute
I’m sure there’s a lot more out there, any recommendations for making a start are gratefully received. I did also buy the new book from Lost Art Press, ‘By Hand & Eye‘, but overall I didn’t think it was put together very well, or was that helpful. I believe the authors are currently making an accompanying ‘workbook’ to explain the workings better. Read into that what you will, but not one of LAP’s better books, in my opinion.
Yup. “Men Defined: Nudes,” which is still available at Amazon. That’s not my writing, I promise. If I were to write an erotic non-woodworking book it would be about goats.
It’s an odd experience to see your name on a book you didn’t write. And I had that same weird feeling when I saw “Classic American Furniture” by Christopher Schwarz advertised on ShopWoodworking.com.
My first thought: Hey, you other Christopher Schwarz. Stop invading my topic. I’ve carefully steered clear of writing about the erotic world of men in black and white.
As it turns out, I did write this book. Kinda sorta.
“Classic American Furniture” is a compilation of a lot of projects I built for the now-defunct Woodworking Magazine (yes, I miss it, too). In addition to my stuff, there also are a fair number of technique pieces and small projects from the other editors.
I finally got a copy of the book yesterday and spent some time paging through it. It’s actually a nice compilation of projects with a pared-back American aesthetic (and not a single nude person in sight). There’s Some Shaker and Arts & Crafts pieces, of course. But also some simple back-country pieces that are unadorned and nicely proportioned.
If you never saw Woodworking Magazine, this book is a good introduction to it and the approach we took to building and finishing pieces.
I receive no royalties from this book, FYI. And I’m not an affiliate with ShopWoodworking (or anyone). So I have no financial interest in it. Check it out here. It’s on sale for abou $20.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Personal Favorites
This is one of the two main international auctions held each year and is well worth a visit. As usual the catalogue is crammed full of goodies including some very rare gunmetal Norris planes, out of my league!
There are also about 25 stands in the hall selling a wide variety of tools with plenty of bargains to be had. I will have one of these stands selling a few planes from my personal collection as well as my piston fit oak toolbox featured in my YouTube video above, price £300.
Also for sale in the auction is the anarchists tool chest made by Chris Schwarz at his teaching course in 2014. The chest comes full of tools kindly donated by numerous toolmakers around the world with a total value of £5,400, (excluding the chest). The guide price is £3-5,000 for the lot.
This is a charity lot with the entire proceeds going to the furniture crafts courses at Warwickshire College where the course was held.
This will be a great auction and well worth the trip!
I’ve been a fan of Roland Chadwick’s music since hearing a performance of his trio for classical guitar, Letter from LA, a few years ago. So I was delighted when he contacted me about a guitar that needed some attention.
It was a fine instrument too – a cedar top classical guitar made by an Australian guitar maker, Simon Marty, in 1988. Quite apart from being 25 years old, it had worked hard for its living and the thin cedar top had developed some nasty cracks in the widest part of the lower bout. Some of the internal braces had come unglued too, and the guitar was more or less unplayable. To make matters worse, someone had tried to repair the cracks with superglue.
This is what it looked like after I had scraped away most of the superglue.
With a hand through the soundhole, I could feel that the cracked part of the soundboard had become detached from a long transverse bar running across the instrument under the bridge. This explained the multiple little dowels, which were a previous attempt to fix the problem. The only thing to do was cut out the damaged wood and replace it.
I also needed to replace some missing braces and re-glue several that were beginning to come unstuck. The difficulty here was that the braces, constructed out of balsa wood and carbon fibre, were very thin and it was almost impossible to position conventional clamps accurately enough to hold them in place without distortion. In the end, I solved the problem by making a few spring-loaded miniature go-bars. Wedged between the back of the guitar and the top of the brace, they kept everything in place while the glue cured.
After re-polishing, it was ready to perform again. All well worth the trouble because, despite its age, it’s an excellent guitar which produces a big warm sound.
I put this aside for a while and moved on to something else.
|did a good job on the scraper|
|the card scraper edge|
|this don't look good|
I filed these two by hand also and I didn't get any bald spots. I expected that as I was using more of the file and not concentrating on one area. I think using the Grobets by hand for this would make them last a lot longer. Big favor point was I didn't have any bald spots when I was done.
Of the two methods I like the hand filing method vice using a jig. The files cut easily and with very few strokes I had a consistent shine. It's not that difficult and I find filing much easier to do then sharpening a chisel freehand.
|flush and even|
I wanted to glue the ribs on tonight but I need my wife's phone to do that. I want it to check the position of the phone's speaker and middle shelf relationship. I'll be doing that tomorrow because after my wife came home she wanted to go get a pizza.
In what city was the first stock exchange established in the United States?
answer - Philadelphia in 1790
A covert exchange in a harvested Indiana corn field.
Three woodwoorking nerds gather on a Chicago side street.
A back-alley hand off in Roger's Park.
The case for sharp tools is home.
Getting a screw to locate dead center in a countersunk hole involves dealing with some tricky forces. The fibers on the surface can throw off your best efforts: they influence the tip of the drill toward a preferred direction, often not your own. When working with hinges you have a restraining shoulder or gain toward which you can offset the screw hole location, pulling the hinge tight against it, similar to drawboring a pin in mortice and tenon joinery.
There are times when there is no restraining shoulder and the centering must be accurate or the piece to be held down by the screw will shift. In a regular through hole a center punch works well, but with a countersunk hole the point is too far in advance.
In many situations a vix bit does the job well enough (not “foolproof” though!) if the tolerances permit, such as the holes for metal drawer slides and door latches. In a more critical situation it might well bite you because the drill bit is simply a twist drill passing through an oversized shaft that can react to the surface fibers and ride away from center even though the beveled self-aligning tip is designed to register dead center. The drill will go where it will and can veer off center, pushing the sloping ends of the tip to push up one side of the countersunk hole. Compounding this situation is the fact that you are generally using it in a hand held drill and can easily not be drilling truly perpendicular to the work.
I have figured a way to use the vix bit to create a very small and accurately centered mark in the wood fibers. From there other tools come into play.
First I remove the drill bit (in this case for the vix bit #2) and substitute a 9/64” center punch that fits the shaft with no side-to-side slop. It isn’t tightened with the screw but can slide up and down.
Carefully checking for perpendicular I just use finger pressure downward and spin the punch a little.
It leaves a tiny hole. This I enlarge using the Carbide Scrawl from Blackburn Tools.
Another punch follows which I tap lightly with a hammer.
The tip of this punch matches up nicely with the tip of a tapered woodscrew drill bit chucked in the drill press.
I will use my standard method of a hobby knife aided by my cheap linoleum cutting gouges.
His full name is Forum's Bernie, but I'll just make a sign saying Bernie.
He is not a pure bred horse, but something called: Danish Warmblood. It is a breeding federation where all kinds of horses and breeds are accepted, as long as they are warm blooded horses. So you can mix other warmblooded horses that you might like, and get the foal listed in this register. The main idea is to make a ride-able horse with fine qualities in various situations (as far as I have understood)
As far as I remember, some of his pedigree is Hannoveran and Trakehner, but there is also some Danish Warmblood in the lines too.
It is a very popular breed of horses in Denmark, and they are doing all right in various International competitions, with dressage as the main focus as far as I have been able to tell.
Danish Warmblood has got their own logo which is pretty simple to carve. It is a crown with a wavy line beneath it.
All I have to do now is to pull myself together and start the project by finding a suitable piece of wood and plane it flat. Well, maybe tomorrow will be the starting day for that.
I mean really, Algebra, Calculus? Just couldn’t get my head around it. (Also too busy chasin’ girls and not a member of the football team.) Now Geometry, on the other hand…I could “see” that.
My friend Chad (of Woodchoppintime fame) and I were discussing this just a few weeks ago. After several glasses of a very nice bourbon cask ale, we concluded that Geometry is a way of “seeing”, not a way of “figuring”. If I move myself in relationship to an object, I get a one view. Conversely, if I move the object in relationship to myself, I get another view. Hello! This is the how they built the Pyramids and how Hiram put the “Temple” together. It’s all about seeing. And it’s about making yourself “part of the picture.”
We see “lines” that are “plumb”, “level”, or angled in relation to other lines. I don’t know about you, but I don’t “see” things in terms of sines and cosines. We see in reference to planes of view. Ergo, Plane Geometry.
Geometry was what allowed masons and carpenters to build the great cathedrals of Europe, with not one computer on the jobsite. Geometry was the “life blood” of our “brotherhood”. It gave craftsmen position in society.
But then came Newton and Leibniz. They changed everything. After these two, the mason and carpenter were no longer officers of the town council, they were mere employees.
But hark! There may be good news. It seems there is a resurgence of interest in geometry and how it relates to our craft. One can only hope. But we must study, if we are to see.
Short post today.
Sam was coming to us for the month of March, only a week or so left already, but now he will be staying on at the end of the month. I invited him to pursue his training with us as we have empty benches between classes. Tomorrow we’re picking up wood for him to start his 9th project, building his first workbench. I’ll keep you posted over the coming year. Might film some of it too. So, yet another new maker on his way.
One of the challenges with the design of this cabinet is the glass panel floats between the two doors. At least it does the way I am building it. This means the glass panel (which is dead square and can't easily be changed) fits only when the doors are hung dead-nuts-perfectly-square when hung.
I was hoping that the problems would be resolved when I tuned the hinges. The problems have to do with the fact that I didn't check ANYTHING for square when constructing this. I thought it would save a bit of time.
I was wrong.
|Not sure if you can tell from this angle, but the doors are not in a straight plane with each other.|
|This part of the door hangs down, the hinge side is right on.|
|For example, the top door. The rabbet is adjusted perfectly, but you can see the door is not straight on the cabinet. Pay no attention to the glob of paint that ran down the front and dried right in front of the camera lens!|
It sounds like an opportunity for a blog post on the strength of panels constructed with clinched nails!
My plan is to build the door panels a little oversize. After I mount the door straight, I can then cut off the extras and sink the rabbet so it will fit the glass dead perfect.
The problem with this plan is that the cross battens on the door also serve to clamp the glass in place.
So, I think the solution is to sink that rabbet with a plow plane.
Unless anyone else has a better idea, I'll probably get a chance to do this on Monday.
I am eagerly awaiting 6:45 p.m. today, March 20. Yes, because it’s a Friday, but for a more important reason: at that moment, spring officially arrives in the northern hemisphere. Right now my backyard is a soggy, muddy mess, with everything that was hidden under the snow finally revealed. There are sticks and branches, part of a tarp that blew off a stack of yard chairs, chewed up dog toys, […]
Simple project, just a felt-lined tray to hold marquetry pieces as I cut them out. Modeled after the trays at ASFM. Made out of off-cuts of VG/OG Fir from the press and scraps of 1/4″ ply. Doesn’t everyone have turquoise felt laying around the shop?
Nereng er ein gard i Tynset kommune i Østerdalen i Hedmark. I samband med ein stor gardsauksjon 22-23. juni 2013 kom det fram ein skottbenk i oversikta av det som skulle seljast. Dette vekka mi interesse og eg fekk mobilisert representantar frå Norsk Skottbenk Union som sikra seg denne skottbenken. Bilete og oppmålingsteikningar av benken har vi tidlegare posta her på bloggen. Eg vart også merksam på at det var ein del verktøy som vart ropt opp på auksjonen og prøvde å sikre meg så mykje som mogleg av dette for å ha som referanse på verktøy frå Nord-Østerdalen. Andre sikra seg ein del av verktøyet frå smia på garden. Skottbenken, snikkarverktøyet og utstyr frå smia kan til saman gi eit interessant bilete av handverket på garden.
Eg har så langt fotografert alle høvlane eg har fått tak i. Desse har eg presentert i eit billedgalleri lengre ned i posten. Det har ikkje dukka opp nokon skottokse mellom verktøya eg har fått tak i. Derimot er det med ein golvplog som tydeleg er meint for å brukast på skottbenk. Under har eg eit bilete av noko av verktøyet slik det stod i skåpet i snikkarverkstaden før auksjonen.Eit av bileta frå auksjonen på Nereng. Skapet med snikkarverktøy ser veldig spennande ut for meg som er interessert i kva verktøy snikkarane hadde og brukte tidlegare. Foto: Ola Rye
Dei fleste av høvlane er stempla med bokstavane PP.N. Eg tolkar det slik at N står for Nereng. I folketeljinga for Tynset i år 1900 er det Peder P. Nereng som er husfader på garden. Han er fødd i Tynset i år 1849 og er sonen til Peder Arnesen fødd 1805. Peder Arnesen står oppført i folketeljinga frå 1865 som gårdbruker og smed. Det skulle tyde på at han har smidd meir enn berre til eige behov. Mange av høvlane har stål som verkar å vere heimesmidde. Blant “rusk og rask” i smia var det nokre tremalar som såg ut som høvelstål. Truleg er desse laga av snikkaren som har laga seg høvel og levert til smeden som skal smi stålet nøyaktig etter malen. Det er ingen malar som høver nøyaktig til stål i høvlane frå garden. Kanskje er det malar frå andre snikkarar som har kjøpt stål frå smeden på Nereng?
Peder P. Nereng er også nemnt i folketeljinga frå 1865, då som 16 år gamal. Det står i feltet for yrke at han “hjælper Faderen med Gaardsbrg.” Han er altså med i arbeidet på garden. Kanskje har han så tidleg begynt å snikre og å lage seg høvlar? Garden hadde vore i familien i lang tid før dette så det var sikkert høvlar til husbruk på garden. For meg verkar det rimeleg at Peder P. Nereng har vore den mest aktive snikkaren på garden og at høvlane for det meste er laga og brukt av han. Han yrkesaktive karriere var starta så vidt i 1865 og han var i full drift i år 1900. Meir detaljar om kor lenge han levde og arbeidde har eg ikkje klart å skaffe i denne omgang.Tremalar til høvelstål frå smia på Nereng. Dei 4 øvste er tremalar til høvelstål og dei to nedste er stål frå høvlane frå Nereng. Foto: Roald Renmælmo
Under følgjer eit billedgalleri med høvlane frå Nereng som eg fekk kjøpt på auksjonen. Det kan ha vore fleire høvlar på garden men dette er truleg mesteparten. Eg har berre skrive kort om kvar enkelt høvel. Ei fullstendig registrering av høvlane har eg ikkje tatt mål av meg til å gjennomføre. Likevel håpar eg at bilete og dei korte tekstane kan gi eit bilete av høvlane på ein gard på Tynset i andre halvdel av 1800-talet.
Samlinga av høvlar frå Nereng trur eg kan avspegle kva som var vanleg på ein gard i det området. Det er få høvlar som verkar veldig spesialiserte. Dei fleste kan knytast til snikring av vanleg innreiing og møblar i hus. Kom gjerne med innspel og spørsmål høvlane.