It’s not that often I get a second chance at anything important, so when I received an email this evening asking if I’d be around Friday night to talk with Don Williams about the H.O. Studley Tool Chest and Workbench I made an audible gasp.
It took me longer to verify it wasn’t a fake email than to respond with a resounding “YES!”
So here’s where I need a little help. During this interview Don and the guys will have the cameras turned on the iconic tool chest and workbench and we have an opportunity to ask him all sorts of questions and get a closer look at it.
If you were in my seat, what questions would you have? Are there items or features you’d like to get a closer look at? Well here’s your opportunity.
I’m planning to not only record the audio of our conversation for the audio-only feed, but we’ll be recording our video chat, including closer looks at the tool chest.
Get those questions to me by 6pm Eastern Time. Submit them here, on any of my social media outlets or by emailing me by clicking here.
Several folks wrote and said that they were having some difficulty getting their heads around this method. Well don’t despair. When I first read about this method, it took me a couple of days for it to sink in. And, if you don’t have much experience with projective drawing, it’ll take a bit of cogitation. Of course, at my age, everything takes a long time to sink in. But it doesn’t necessarily stay “sunk in” for long.
But here’s a little more graphic information that might help. First off, I elongated the major axis to make the model a little more easily understood. So remember, A-B is the Minor axis, A-C is the Major axis. I’ve divided the A-B line into equal segments (with a couple of little “cheater” segments at the ends.
Again, I extend the segments at right angles to the diagonal line and transfer the line measurements from the semi-circle.
I join the dots to create the elliptical line. If I add this elliptical line to the diagonal line running from A to C, I’ve got a 1/2 plan. I could use a flexible drawing spline to “fair” the line. Or if I was working with a wooden plan, I’d simply fair the edge with a fine rasp.
If I want to see a full plan of the ellipsis, I simply extend the angled lines and transfer the measurement to the other side. Again I connect the dots and I see the ellipsis in full view. This is very helpful if I working in scale on a table, as I can quickly determine the appropriate rectangular measurements for the base.
Hope this helps.
My four-decade-long desire to identify, understand, replicate and develop new analogs to historic furniture-making materials has led me on some interesting quests and situations. Included in these would be learning a lot about tropical insects whose “sweat” is the foundation for the most amazing finish ever (shellac); studies of sausage casings, artificial skin and corneas as I tried to (successfully) create a convincing alternative to tortoiseshell for my own Boulle-work […]
Nothing special about this. It's a typical ca. 1900 "factory fiddle", probably from Germany. Labelled "Antonius Stradiuarius ... 1736".
I liked seeing the facets. Hastily carved, by someone who had carved a few, and was just trying to make a living. After that, the scroll itself has seen some use over the years.
Interesting character, I'd say.
First we have a very nice little box made for one of mini smoothers bought at the last Yandles show. Adam's wife and mother said it should be admired rather than used so this is a great compromise, returning it to it's little box after a work out!
The alignment board above was Lawrences first project with the guide. As I suggest in my video he left the legs over long in case things didn't go right at the first attempt, which they didn't. However his second attempt looks bang on, very impressive!
The 071 or 71 router plane has several uses but the primary use of this specialised plane is to guarantee the depth of different types of recesses. It’s the essential tool of hand tool users and surface trims just about everything from inlay recesses to housing dadoes and levelling depths of sliding dovetails and the cheeks of tenons.
The tool comes with additional accoutrements as you can see above, enabling different functions for the plane’s use. The fence fits to the underside of the plane and is two-ended. One end of the fence piece gives a parallel squarely rectangular edge to the fence and the opposite side end a two-point contact fence that facilities turns on the edge of curved work. The fence is adjustable and locks into two square grooves running each side of the blade along the sole. Loosening and tightening the setscrew into the sole secures the fence for use. It’s best to use the fence when running the blade along a narrower recesses to keep the plane square and parallel to the wall of the work if necessary.
Because of a horseshoe shape in the sole that splits most of the forepart of the sole into two halves the plane sole is effectively useless on narrow sections of wood. On such narrow work, with no fore part before the blade, running grooves trips the plane forward because there is nothing to stop the plane from tilting in the direction of the cut when the cutting edge of the blade grabs the wood. Stanley developed an additional unit that locks a post stem into the body of the plane which then holds a shoe to align an auxiliary section level with the sole to fill in the gap between two halves of the sole.
This piece then rides the edge of the board along with the flat of the rear of the plane. In addition, the depth rod that holds the shoe can be used alone inside a groove to align the blade and prevent the cutter from digging into the walls whilst at the same time restraining the plane from digging any deeper than fractional increments. This effectively works as an additional sole depth guide for grooved work and the rod itself has two diameters, one for wider grooves and one for narrow ones.
We often use both the fence and the depth rod and shoe in conduction with one another to ensure accuracy in the work. The depth rod used alone can follow the rim of inlay recesses to guide the narrow cutter or the smoothing cutter around shaped work too.
Adding a Wooden Sole
It’s quite common to add a wooden sole for general work because sometimes the metal sole on wood tends to mare the surface of the material being worked. Wood on wood works best and makes the sole smooth and free of fence grooves, screw holes and so on that tend to grab shavings that can further mar the surface of the work too. When working wide recess areas, wider than half the plane sole width, we use an auxiliary sole to extend the base so that the router plane can traverse the surface area and be used to trim the recess perfectly to depth. Making an additional sole piece also enables us to use the plane without the additional shoe on narrower work (Pic above). The plane operates more smoothly with the wooden sole.
To make the wooden sole choose section of wood 12mm (1/2”) thick and to a size that suits the task in hand. Bore two holes 1” in diameter 38mm (1 1/2”) on centre and remove the excess with a rasp or chisel.
Screw the base to the sole of the plane by passing screws through the sole into the base piece.
Sometimes, often, router planes bought secondhand have lost the parts you need to have the plane fully functioning. Adding the wooden sole means you can also screw fences or guides to the sole. This also works well.
During the last five years, I’ve had more than my share of intimate contact with the famous H.O. Studley tool cabinet. And so wherever I travel I get asked this question: “What’s it like?”
So I lie.
“I hate it,” I say. And then I talk about how stressful it is to unload and load all the 245 tools from such a precious artifact without dropping them or harming the chest.
The truth is, my encounters with the chest have changed both me and my woodworking. (And I’m sure that Don Williams, the book’s author and team leader, and Narayan Nayar, the photographer, would concur.)
The chest mocks us. It is a piece of craftsmanship and design that is virtually faultless, no matter how close you get to it. It’s an experience you don’t get from looking at the poster of the chest or a picture on a screen. It is something that is best experienced in person.
If you start with your eye about 2” from the chest you can see that the interior surfaces are exquisite. The inlay is seamless. The grain has no defects.
As you step back, you can see how each grouping of tools is organized. They are stepped and scaled in an orderly fashion, some of them looking a bit like a military formation.
You step back again. And again. Until it is at the back of the room. At no point does it become imperfect.
We are finishing up our shooting and filming of the chest (and Studley’s workbench) this week for the forthcoming book “Virtuoso.” I promise the book will be incredible on every level we can manage. But what I also recommend that you – as a craftsman – make a pilgrimage to see the chest in person in May 2015 in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Details at www.studleytoolchestexhibit.com/.
It will humble you, as it has me. And it will inspire you to be a better woodworker or toolmaker. The only reason not to go is if you are already a better woodworker than H.O. Studley.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Uncategorized, Virtuoso: The Toolbox of Henry O. Studley
By now, just about everybody with a computer and internet access has seen or heard of the “Bad Luck Brian” meme. Bad luck Brian is a hapless lad with a bad yearbook photo that can seem to catch a break. I have to think that poor Brian may have once or twice thought about giving woodworking a shot, so here is my take on that very idea. Some of them are obvious, some a bit more subtle.
I’m preparing the pieces that will be needed for the drawers in the lingerie chest I am making. The drawer sides are very thin and to cut a drawer bottom groove in it would make it very weak. Instead, I’ve opted to include drawer slips – a piece of wood glued to the side to effectively thicken the drawer side where the grove is located.
I began with a board just longer than my drawer sides and wide enough to cut 12 drawer slips. For each slip I completed the following steps:
- Plane the board flat.
- Create the groove (I used a Record 043 plow plane with a 1/4″ blade).
- Marked the thickness of the slip and the chamfer limits with a marking gauge.
- Chamfer to one side of the groove – this will be the side seen in the drawer bottom in use.
- Riped the slip from the board with a big rip saw.
- Planed away the saw marks to leave a good surface to glue to the drawer sides.
Filed under: Drawers & dressers, Projects Tagged: drawer, Record 043 plane
Just to make sure, the joints are reinforced with 12 riven pegs in each cabinet. There will also be a half-lap back on each cabinet which my design will cause to be very rigid.
This picture gives you the idea.
Another advantage of this design is that it provides a convenient place to install stop blocks so that the front of the drawers are precisely aligned with the front of the cabinet when fully closed. Maybe this was obvious to you, but it was new to me and it works very well.
The following comes from William Noyes’s 1910 classic, Handwork in Wood. See the whole Handwork in Wood series (so far) here. More to come. Pounding Tools The hammer consists of two distinct parts, the head and the handle. The head is made of steel, so hard that it will not be indented by hitting against nails or the butt of nailsets, punches, […]
The post “Handwork in Wood” – Wood Hand Tools, Part Nine: Pounding and Holding Tools appeared first on Heritage School of Woodworking Blog.
Dream all you like. Think about what it would be like to be skilled in a craft. But skill is gained only by work. Mastery comes after years of study, the rewards through discipline & sacrifice. Sigh.
Quality work does not come through an afternoon’s study. It is the work of a lifetime. And why not? What great skilled worker learned their craft in a weekend? What musician became masterful in a few hours of study?
It is this very process of learning your skill, of practicing your craft that is the goal. Never reachable, always worth striving for. Quality is not perfection. It is real, it is actual, and changeable as we learn more, as we discover more about our tools and about ourselves. Begin.
In the most recent issue of The Highland Woodturner, I gave the step-by-step instruction of turning a wooden snowman ornament. In Part 2 you can find out how to turn a wooden bell ornament here on the Highland Woodworking blog. Finally, here in Part 3 I will turn a wooden Christmas tree light as seen below.
Making the light bulb ornament follows the same steps as the two earlier ornaments: mount the blank, use the template to lay out the parts, mark off those lines with a parting tool, and start shaping the bulb. See Figures 1 through 4 below.
I’ve found the skew is quite useful in the small curve at the top of the bulb (Figure 5). Once the bulb is shaped to your satisfaction, use a parting tool to waste away material on the socket area.
If you have a fluted parting tool (Figure 8), it is excellent for cutting small beads that simulate the threads of the bulb’s screw connector. If you don’t have one, a skew can be used to cut sharp threads with a V-cut, or a small gouge can be used.
Finally part off the ornament (Figure 12). I’ve drilled the hanger holes on the drill press for the bulb ornaments, as discussed above, so with a drop of glue, the hanger can be screwed in place. (Figure 13)
The Christmas tree light bulb ornament is finished!
CLICK HERE to return to the October 2014 issue of The Highland Woodturner.
The post Quick, Easy, and Great-looking Turned Christmas Ornaments – Part 3 -The Christmas Tree Light Bulb appeared first on Woodworking Blog.
In the first part of this article, I showed how to make a Christmas tree ornament shaped like a snowman (see Figure 1). In this part, I’ll show you how to turn a bell ornament (Figure 2).
Figure 3 below shows the size of the blanks for the bell ornament, and details the location of each major division of the piece.
If you, like me, are making lots of these ornaments for Christmas gifts, I suggest making a sizing template for each ornament (Figure 4). This makes it much faster to lay out each new blank when you’re ready to turn it.
Preparing the Blanks
Part 1 of this article has more detailed instructions on preparing the blanks for the ornaments, so I won’t repeat them here.
For the bell ornaments, cut lengths of 1 ½ square spindles to 3 ½ inches; for the bulb ornaments, cut lengths of 1 inch square spindles to 3 inches. Mark the ends for center, mount them between centers, and rough them down to round. On one end, cut a ½ inch long tenon to fit whatever chuck you’re using.
You may wish to drill a hole for the hanger right now (Figure 5); it’s easier to do it now, rather than waiting until the ornament has been turned and doesn’t have a flat surface to sit on. Remember that for the bell and bulb ornaments, the top of the ornament is on the chuck end, so the hole needs to be at least an inch deep (to account for the tenon which is parted off).
Making the bell ornament
To make the bell ornament, take one of the bell blanks and mount it in the chuck. Then use the bell template to mark off the parts of the bell (Figure 6). Use a parting tool to cut in a half inch or so at the first line (in the waste area) to mark the end of the turning (Figure 7)
The bell ornament is laid out so that the bottom of the ornament is toward the tailstock. After making shallow cuts at the marked lines, I start by working on the bottom, cutting a shallow curve across, going in about 2/3 of the diameter, and then, right in the center, turning a small “bump” (Figures 8 and 9), which is the clapper of the bell, just visible below the bell’s body.
With the clapper shaped, move left to the body of the bell. Using the spindle gouge, begin cutting a slope from the bottom edge to the marked line to the left, which is the top edge of the body. For a decoration, leave a raised flat area at both the bottom and top edges of the body.
After shaping the body as desired, move left again to the crown of the bell (between the waste cutoff and the body). Turn a large bead in this area.
Using a narrow parting tool or the toe of a skew, cut a couple of very shallow lines at the top and bottom of the body, and use a burning wire (a length of steel wire with a small handle on each end – homemade of course, although you can buy them) to burn in two dark black lines for decoration (Figure 14). You might want to increase the speed of the lathe up to 1500 or 1900 if you’re having trouble getting a burn. Be aware, you’ll get smoke, as shown in Figure 15.
Unless you want to do more decoration, the bell ornament is ready for finishing. As with the snowman ornament, put on a coat of friction polish with the lathe off, polish it with the application cloth, put on some wax with the lathe on, and polish it with the wax applicator cloth (or paper towel).
Part the bell ornament off (Figure 18), and in the same manner as the snowman ornament, attach a hanger on the top.
(If you haven’t already drilled the hanger hole, you’ll have to do that first, of course.) If you’re mass-producing, however, set the ornament aside, turn all the other bells, then drill all of them for the hanger.
The bell ornament is finished!
CLICK HERE for Part 3 - The Christmas Tree Light Bulb (seen below)
The post Quick, Easy, and Great-looking Turned Christmas Ornaments – Part 2 – The Bell appeared first on Woodworking Blog.
|This is NOT what I do|
Here's a quick tip:
When setting the depth of cut on your bench plane irons, a number of folks recommend sighting down the sole to eyeball the protruding edge. People especially like this with metal bodied planes with the adjusting knob. In my experience I have found this difficult to do with an degree of accuracy. The way I was trained (even on metal bodied planes) was to rely on touch rather than sight. I was taught to use the gentle brushing of two fingers to feel the set iron depth. You can even easily tell if the iron is skewed. I find this gives much more feedback than my eye. Quick, simple, and easy to do in the low lighting of period shops. Give it try.
|THIS is what I do.|
|Noah building the Arc at his workbench. From the Maciejoski Bible circa 1250AD.|
What I need the bench to do is easy. Workbench Whisperer Chris Schwarz has a list of ten rules for workbenches that lays out everything you need to know. Really, it's everything. trust me, if it's not on the list then forget it.
Want to cover the ankles of your workbench with lace so the sight of it's slender ankles doesn't unduly excite the men-folk? Your answer is on that list. . . trust me.
My issue is in all the names. There are so many names, and fads, and trends when it comes to workbenches. Sometimes it's like hearing the well off doctors at work talk about their cars.
"What kind of workbench do you use?'
"Oh, I'm into a standard Roubo now, but I may upgrade to a split top next year."
"Have you seen the specs on the Nicholson? I understand it's back in vogue again."
"Did you see Jim was still planing on a Holtzapffel. . . that's so ten years ago."
As I reflect on it, I find it a little over the top. I don't remember my grandfather's workbench having a name, It was his workbench, it did what he needed it to do or he modified it. It wasn't a near and dear thing. It was a workbench, a tool, a place to work. Sentimentality need not apply.
But there is sentimentality for an old bench. I have enjoyed the hours I've spent working at the one I'm using now, but I can do better and I've grown as a woodworker, so much since I built the first bench. I need better. As I make the decision moving forward on my new workbench, I try and take the lessons I learned from my last bench and step forward.
The only name I've truly considered is Dominy.
On display at Winterthur Museum is the preserved remains of the historic Dominy Brother's workshop. Included is a 12 foot long workbench. It's that correlation in length that has made me think about it.
In the end, I'm not that interested in a twin screw vise for my workholding. I have a moxon vise that does that better (hmmm another name). I like a leg vise myself but I like the sliding deadman a lot especially considering the 12 foot span. The trouble is every picture I can find of the Dominy bench is obscured by the rest of the museum and that damn tall clock case.
Then I saw this bench, called "The Workhorse," from Richard Maguire, a man who makes traditional workbenches for a living, and it seems like the right configurations. Mine will be a little different yet. I want a traditional saw toothed plane stop. and I'm not so sure about a tail vise. I don't have or use one now.
In the end I say, forget the name, figure out what you like and name it yourself.
Ratione et Passionis
Simon’s new book arrived a couple weeks ago…to say it was worth the wait would be the most incredible understatement. How saws were made, how handles evolved, the history, the marks, the references….its all there. Oh praise be!
I asked Simon how people can purchase it and he said that he prefers people contact him directly to order a copy. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. For $70.00 USD he’ll ship you a copy anywhere in the world.
You’re welcome. :)
|Looking South on Lake Ennis from my neighbor's land|
My father's family arrived from Germany around 1908 and settled with the rest of the Germans in Wisconsin. My great grandfather was a simple carpenter, and worked with his hands all his life. Not finding the jobs in Wisconsin, he left the family behind and hopped the train West.
When the train stopped in Whitehall, Montana, he looked out the window and saw the smoldering remains of what had been the main block of businesses in town. The entire block had burned down the night before, and he understood that there might be work soon to rebuild it, so he set up shop.
For the next 20 years he operated a mill and sash shop, and sold construction lumber as the Interstate Lumber Company. His shop had a large painted sign on the front, which reflected the philosophy of the day, "A Square Deal." In the center of the shop stood the prize piece of woodworking machinery, the Crescent Multi Woodworking Tool. This belt driven tool was a large single chunk of cast iron, weighing nearly half a ton. It included a 36" band saw, 16" jointer, 12" table saw, and a hand operated mortising chisel, all driven by a leather belt running under the floor. My job, when I was very small, was crawling under the floor and lubricating the bearings of the belt.
You can imagine why I am not that interested in using power woodworking tools after that.
In any event, as I was born in Southern California, the visits to Montana were annual and rather short, depending on the weather. I am not interested in snow. However, I love the smell of the mountains, and the open sky and fishing. I also love finding deer, minks, sandhill cranes, rabbits, owls and other wildlife wandering around the property. Not so much the beavers...who think my creek is their swimming pool.
|The Miller Cabin, after 90 years|
Fortunately, my family had the good sense to purchase a couple acres on a lake, 60 miles from Whitehall, to set up a vacation cabin or two. Actually, there are three cabins, all from the 1930's and still furnished with all the furniture, dishes, wood stoves, guns and fishing rods, and vehicles from that time. Really a simple "turn key" operation. The first cabin was a simple building, which was built inside the workshop in Whitehall. Then it was taken apart, placed on a Model T flatbed truck and driven over the dirt road to Ennis, where it was put back together. It is a wonderful cabin, completely wood inside, with all the conveniences of "modern" life, except plumbing, and insulation. I helped install electricity in the 1960's so we could have a refrigerator and lights.
I have enjoyed these cabins with my family and friends for the past 60 years, and find it essential to return there for a different "perspective" on life. Like Walden before me, I find solace in the simplicity of life, when you live off the land. Chopping wood, getting water from the artesian well, catching fish, and just watching the environment as it changes over time is a full time activity.
Each year there is a lot of timber which needs clearing, as the weather is fierce and the trees are old. Last year and this year I lost two of my largest willow trees, and it took a fair amount of time to clear out the wood. I must admit, I am rather good with a double axe. I really enjoy using it to cut wood. It is such a different aspect of woodworking from the usual job I have, cutting minuscule pieces of exotic hardwoods with a 2/0 jeweler's blade.
|Nice Chain! Need a Pull?|
|Reliable Transportation since 1946|
There are also several vehicles which are waiting for us and ready to go when we arrive. The best one is a 1941 Dodge Power Wagon, which was built for the medical corps during the second War. This truck was purchased by my great uncle in 1946 and refitted for mountain camping purposes. I learned to double clutch on this truck and it is a wonderful thing to drive...anywhere you want. It has been on top of all these mountains around the cabin many, many times.
There is a bit of culture shock when I return to my workshop. It soon wears off, as I begin to get back in the "groove" of work. The good news is that I am constantly reminded of where I came from and it keeps me humble as I work on the wonderful things which compose my life's work.
|Cooked on a Wood Stove|
Congratulations to DBell, whose comment on my giveaway post last week was chosen randomly from among all respondents. He or she is the lucky winner of a set of the four-volume paperback set of “The Practical Woodworker.” — Megan Fitzpatrick