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Construction pine, the stuff you get at the big box stores, has a bad rap with woodworkers. It’s poorly dried, hard to work and moves way too much. It grows too fast so the grain is too wide and varied. It’s for carpentry projects… I also know this. It’s cheap, requires good tool techniques, needs proper design consideration and demands sharp edges. Which makes it perfect for new woodworkers, experiments […]
One of the best parts of this job is answering angry emails from disgruntled people. Hahaha. Just kidding. One of best parts of this job is working with independent artisans and artists to do stuff that would make my former corporate overlords crap their Brooks Brothers suits.
This month we’ve been working with the supremely talented and creative Andrea Love, a Port Townsend, Wash., artist who specializes in stop-motion animation. You might remember her from this fantastic short for Hand-tool Heaven, or her work from “By Hound & Eye.”
As we were finishing up the latest book by Jim Tolpin and George Walker, titled “From Truths to Tools,” Jim proposed using some sort of adaptation of William Blake’s “The Ancient of Days” on the cover. It’s a fantastic image, but getting it to work on the odd-sized book cover was going to be a challenge.
Then Andrea, who illustrated and lettered “From Truths to Tools,” volunteered to make a watercolor adapted from the Blake painting that would fit the cover – and wrap around the back of the cover, creating a gorgeous package. And she did it in just a few days.
If I had suggested commissioning a painting for a book cover at any of my former jobs, I would have been labeled as a mentally defective, half-witted and spendthrift loon (to be fair, I am a loon).
We hope to get this book off to the printer on Friday and start taking pre-publication orders this weekend (details and pricing soon).
— Christopher Schwarz, editor, Lost Art Press
Personal site: christophermschwarz.com
Filed under: From Truths to Tools, Uncategorized
Finally, an exceptional grinder at a reasonable price!
Take a look at the Rikon 8 Inch Professional Low Speed Bench Grinder in this short video tour with Justin Moon. Justin shows how the Rikon grinder runs quietly and smoothly and details how it could be the perfect sharpening addition for your shop.
The post Product Video: Rikon 8 inch Professional Low Speed Bench Grinder appeared first on Woodworking Blog.
Sho Spaeth, in his article “Obsessed: The Fight for Real Cheese” on the Serious Eats website.
One of the themes I come back to when thinking about the differences between Japanese and western tools is that the differences aren’t because Japanese toolmakers came up with a wacky plan to use laminated construction in chisels and plane blades. That same approach was used by western toolmakers back in the day.
The difference came in how the western world embraced the Industrial Revolution. Laminated steel construction for edge tools couldn’t be easily automated in a factory production environment. So instead of continuing to make a high quality tool, compromises were made in the name of ease of manufacturing.
I like typing a Stanley tool. It's cool to see how it progressed from initial production to what you are holding in your hands now. The progression of the 71 was interesting. The special attachment didn't show up for over 10 years.
|been a day it should have set up|
|won't fit where I want it|
|it barely fits here|
Another problem is the weight is now all concentrated on this side of the box. Not a deal killer but there isn't much I can do about it.
|the lid clears the irons|
|still no screws for the fence|
|got a 16th now|
|bearer on the chain side|
|the till side|
|this looks to be enough room|
|grecian ovolo on the bottom, the top one I don't the name of it|
|better choice for the bearer|
|this should work|
On the Universal Product Code (bar code), what is signified by the digits 2 to 6?
answer - the Product's manufacturer as assigned by the Uniform Code Council
One of the topics that will be covered in the third issue of The Lost Scrolls of HANDWORK will be moulding planes. I’ll show you step by step method of building a pair of No.4 hollow and round using the French build method of the 18th century. It’s a lot easier building a pair of no.14 than it is the more useful smaller ones like the no.4.
The French method is about the cutting a Rebate/Rabbet so you can make the mortise and then laminate that cut off part back on. So there will be some sawing to do and that part isn’t all that easy. For one you need to sset the saw kerf perfectly straight and then maintain a vertical angle throughout the cut. One way you could do this is to use a kerfing plane, but since I don’t have one and really don’t need one a shoulder plane works very well. I do plan on making a kerfing plane in the future, but for now I know I don’t need it.
The first thing you need to do is strike a line about a 32nd in from the desired depth.
Then with the shoulder plane or a rabbet plane if you have one lean the plane to the left side to create a kerf for the saw to rest in. Do this a few times but not too many unless you’ve allowed plenty of over hang which I’ll go into more detail in the article.
Once your satisfied that you have a deep enough kerf, place your saw in it and very lightly pull back whilst maintaining an upright vertical position. Use the saws reflection to judge by eye if your vertical or not. I’m refraining from using the word “perfectly” vertical. I know it’s not possible to be perfectly anything working by hand so do the best you can and try and be 90° to the surface.
Tip: If you need aid use a small square and lean your saw onto it as you pull back.
Repeat this two or three times and start sawing. Remember you bodies posture to ensure your keeping your saw straight. Don’t force the saw and don’t press down either. Let the weight of the saw do it’s job. Always keep an eye on both ends, another words stop periodically sawing and check to see if you are straight. The first 1/8″ is the most critical, if you get that right then the saw will continue to be straight throughout the rest of the cut. Unfortunately what I just said only applies when your sawing the cheeks and not to the shoulder. The cheek is the longest part and the material has sandwiched the saw which is serving as a helping hand to keep your cuts accurate. You can still stuff up though and wonder in the cut so keep your wits about you at all times.
Your saw will tell you if you begin to wander off your line, that’s the beauty of hand tools. The saw will begin to hang or bind in the cut, that’s an indication that you moved or are moving off the line.
You’re also need to clean out the dust between the teeth as you periodically stop to check on your progress, and don’t forget to blow out as much dust from the kerf as you can. Oil or use candle wax a gazillion times to make sawing easier. Remember the saw plate is sandwiched and there is a lot of friction going on.
As you can see in the picture below I’m 32nd off the line and straight as a ruler. I’ll finish it with a small shoulder plane. In fact this method is no different to when your make a knife wall for your crosscuts.
That is nice and straight. If you don’t achieve that first go, don’t fret too much over it as I don’t make perfect cuts all day everyday. We do stuff up and it’s all fixable. Remember though “practice makes permanent.” If you don’t know what I’m talking about read the second issue.
In the picture below you repeat the same for the cheeks as you did for the shoulder.
There will always be a need to clean things up with a shoulder or rabbet plane. You can even use a block plane and then finish it off with a chisel.
The point is though that you’ve cut down on a lot of cleaning and rabbeting woes using this method. It’s fool proof in my view, but that’s my view and probably you have a different opinion or better yet, a much better method of executing this operation.
In case you do don’t hesitate to offer your suggestment. I’m always open to learn a better way of doing things or just learning something new.
Last month we hosted Nancy Hiller, the author of “Making Things Work,” for an evening of literary readings, children’s games that got the local prostitutes worked up, and a beating of the “biscuit joiner that refused to die.”
Here are the details of the evening:
This was our first real literary event in our 11 years of doing business. I have found that typically, reading step-by-step instructions out loud from a woodworking book will not get women to throw their bras on stage. So why bother with readings?
Nancy’s book, however, is one of those special books that simply begs to be heard from the tongue of the author, like a David Sedaris book.
So we fed the audience beer and wine (no, we didn’t make cucumber finger sandwiches) and Nancy read selections from her book and answered questions from the audience.
If this were a typical literary event, this is when everyone would stumble home to cuddle with Proust, or cover their naked bodies with pages ripped from Jane Austen’s “Mansfield Park.”
Nancy had other ideas.
She concocted a game of “pin the tail on the dove.” Blindfolded participants had to pin a tail on a large-scale drawing of a dove. During the game, some of the local prostitutes watched us play the game through the window like it was surely a scene from “Eyes Wide Shut.” And as I blindfolded yet another middle-aged man and gently guided him to the back of the room by his shoulders, I got a big thumbs-up from the working women outside.
The finale was a pinata of a biscuit joiner that Nancy had made – filled with tiny plastic bottles of booze and little bits of ephemera that related to “Making Things Work.” Destroying the biscuit joiner took about 30 minutes of effort (and switching to a bigger stick).
And yay – this time the cops didn’t come.
Thanks so much to Nancy for being such a good sport and putting on a great evening. I hope we can publish a book some day that is worthy of another reading.
— Christopher Schwarz, editor, Lost Art Press
Personal site: christophermschwarz.com
Filed under: Uncategorized
Maybe you’ve heard of him or maybe you haven’t. His name is Bill Carter an Englishman gentleman, 77 years old and still makes planes by hand.
He makes wooden planes of all sorts including miniature moulding planes and he also makes infill planes and once again all by hand. No machinery used to cut the metal dovetails. A simple hacksaw, a blunt chisel and a file is all he needs to produce beautiful and very antique looking planes.
They’re not cheap though and I wouldn’t expect them to be, but as an investment if you could afford them they’re worth every penny.
On his website he shows how he makes them, a lot of great tips so worth a look.
After he’s gone these planes will be worth 4 times the price and it will only increase in value. It will be a sad day though as he’s probably the last tool maker who purely works by hand.
Yes it's here at last, the biggest and best, quality hand tool show in the UK, maybe even the world!!
The setting is in and around the wonderful 12th C Cressing Temple Barns in Essex.
Tool makers and demonstrators from around the world will be attending and this is one show not to miss, especially as this is the last!
See pictures from the 2015 show here
The show is open from 10.00 - 5.00 pm on Saturday 16th and 10.00 am - 4.00 pm on Sunday 17th.
Hope to see you there!
Alternative headline: Is it too early to start drinking?
Comment from a reader: I have to express my displeasure with your book sales process. For someone in search of increasing his/her knowledge of the craft, you miss a key point that I knew over my four decades as a teacher; books are meant to be used and consumed. Schools at all levels have a misguided policy of buying and reselling books, or renting books and fining students for any “damage” they imparted on the physical item. Books, in order to be truly useful to a learner, should be marked, highlighted, bent, etc. A book is meant to be used up.
For a woodworker hoping to apply knowledge in the shop, it does no good to have a collectable book, with cloth bindings and heavy weight paper. While I can appreciate that for some pieces of literature, instructional books that cost $40+ dollars are like creating an amazing workshop, then keeping it in pristine condition; no dust, no dents, no signs of use in fear of diminishing its original, valued condition.
The cheaper version of a PDF leaves one with the option of running back and forth between computer and shop, or printing out perhaps hundreds of pages to be transported and marked for reference. Neither is really a viable option in an instructional setting.
Making a more affordable paperback version would meet the needs of many, if not most woodworkers. If you were truly committed to educating those who wish to take up and preserve the craft, why would you not offer that option?
Response: Not sure what the point is you are making. I think what you are saying is that a book that costs $40+ dollars is by default a collectable and not used, dented and show signs of wear. We at Lost Art Press want everyone to use our books. All of my books show wear. We are not collectors, nor are we trying to create a market for collectors.
The books cost what they cost. We do the best we can with materials to produce a book that will last as long as the information contained in it. We also want the best information we can produce so given these two criteria the books come out at the prices we list.
We don’t build furniture with cheap plywood and MDF… we build everything we do with the best quality we can. I will grant you that both Deluxe Roubo books we put out could be collectibles, but that is why we do trade editions.
Lastly we are a business. If we don’t make money we stop producing books. We are not working so that everyone in the woodworking world can have the information we produce on the cheap. Our books are a bargain at the prices we charge.
And Back at Us: You either missed the point completely, or, more likely, the issue is about profit. “Books cost what they cost…” profound! My point is that it would be appreciated by many who seek instruction to have options somewhere between a PDF and instruction “printed on heavy #80-pound matte coated paper. The book is casebound and sewn so it lasts a long time. The hardback boards are covered in cotton cloth with a black matte stamp.”
The point is that masters of woodworking make their instructional materials available in paperback form for a reasonable profit. Why? For the preservation of the craft! For those who want to learn from someone as accomplished as Jim Tolpin, #80-pound matte paper doesn’t matter. It’s his revelations about the craft and its design that he hoped to pass along to others, not to have his work preserved in a cotton cloth hardboard cover. LAP’s 1st priority seems to be the profit to be made from selling a high item.
I don’t expect you to lower the price of these items; I’m just calling bullshit on what you’re attempting to do. Educators make knowledge more readily affordable.
Filed under: Uncategorized
This is the first post in a series. Today we’ll have an introduction and list of the basic tools and materials you’ll need to complete a typical linoleum countertop project. Next week we’ll cover the process of prepping, adhering, trimming, and edging. Do you need a counter solution that’s durable, handsome and affordable – one you can make yourself? Consider linoleum. I moved into my home when it was a […]
Back to the auction gallery.
There were a few other auction items worthy of attention. First is this:
American Chippendale Blanket Chest.
Description: Late 18th century, white pine dove tailed case, lid with fishtail hinges and applied molded edge, interior with till to left side (lacking lid), base with two side by side lipped drawers, raised on ogee bracket feet with spurs.
Size: 29.5 x 48.5 x 23 in.
Condition: Wear and marring to top; missing lock; later pulls; feet have lost some height.
They called it a blanket chest while others might consider it a mule chest. The argument is that the drawers make it a mule chest but others say mule chests must be taller. Who knows?
Some interesting details:
Till lid is missing. Saw cuts were used to make the dados for the till and mortises for the hinges:
The breadboards on the lid are very narrow and really seem to be wide moldings more than ends designed to keep the lid flat.
Interestingly, they are attached with through tenons:
For a minute I thought the tenons were wedged but a closer look showed me that it wasn’t a wedge but a pinned tenon that suffered a break in the end grain where the pin came too close to the end of the tenon:
I like the pulls…
Next up is this:
Cherry Dovetailed Blanket Chest
Description: 19th century, hinged top with applied rounded edge, interior with till, applied molded base with turned peg feet.
Size: 23 x 38 x 18.5 in.
Condition: Later hinges with break outs and repairs; moth ball smell to interior; surface scratches.
There carcass is dovetailed. Really. Email me if you need to see the pictures.
I haven’t shown any secret compartments for a while so I owe you this.
There is a till on the left. Thetill appears shallower than the till front board would lead you to believe:
Not all that much or a secret really.
Note the arc of a groove on the chest’s lid caused by using the till lid as a stop.
Odd to find a boarded chest at a “better” auction but, here it is:
American Grain Bin
Description: 19th century, white pine, hinged lid, divided interior with two compartments, straight legs from the solid with half-moon cut.
Size: 26.5 x 30 x 16.5 in.
Condition: Rat chew to lid and front boards; tin patch to left side.
This piece had some remodeling done:
George III Chest of Drawers
Description: Early 19th century, mahogany, pine secondary, converted originally from a commode / wash stand, now with four graduated drawers, with a bracket foot base.
Size: 30 x 26 x 20 in.
Condition: Converted from wash stand to chest of drawers; later pulls; wear and chipping.
You see, in this chest, the two doors were rebuilt into two drawers. Original lower drawers are dovetailed:
Improvised upper drawers are dovetail-free:
Looking at the upper drawer fronts tells the story of its origin:
In review, this chest was initially built with two drawers below with two doors on top. The doors were cut up and converted into two drawer front giving the chest four drawers.
I like this sring pull, too.
Finally, apparently no recent blog of mine is complete without a Hitchcock chair. This blog is no exception:
James L. Ferguson’s Hamilton College Hitchcock Chair
Description: Late 20th century, black lacquered wood with gilt and painted decoration, back support with early scene of Hamilton College and signed S. Marshall, stenciled on seat rail “L. Hitchcock, Hitchcocks-ville Conn., Warranted” and gilt signed “James L. Ferguson ’49, Charter Trustee 1973-1988.”
Size: 31 x 24 x 16 in.
Condition: Some scuffs and light wear; overall good estate condition.
And here is the obligatory picture of the genuine stenciled logo:
I didn't get much done in the shop today but I did have a late day burst working on the 71 box. I figured out how to stow the three irons. I am still waiting on the screws to come in for the fence so that will hold up being 100% done with the box. Maybe I'll get them tomorrow.
|made a change with the banding|
|this will replace it|
|checking the two pieces|
|4 1/2 feet of molding shavings|
|yikes! the left hand molding came out like crap|
|right end molding (bottom) came out ok|
|4 1/2 isn't wide enough to use on the jig going R or L|
|surprisingly, this worked very well|
|I had to take one more trimming run|
|this should be more than enough wiggle room|
|right corner dialed in to set the short side|
|first rough cut and check|
|sneaking up on the fit|
|an hour later|
|I'm happy with this fit|
|off the saw|
|how I snuck up on the fit|
|how I kept my placement of the molding|
|clipped them off close|
|box lid lightly clapped shut|
|two sides done|
|one more piece and this will be done|
|the 71 box|
|got an idea for stowing the irons|
|nailed the miters|
|I screwed this down rather then glue it|
|two of the screws broke off|
|I can hide these two|
|first screw hole hidden|
|using hide glue for this in case I need to reverse or repair it|
|my iron storage idea|
Tomorrow I will plane and clean this up. I think I might have enough room on the right to put the fence there. If I don't I will make something else to hold the fence. I glued this and set aside to set up.
The US $500 bill was discontinued in 1969 but they are still legal tender. Whose picture was on it?
answer - President William McKinley
*first posted at Making Things Work
Research for English Arts and Crafts Furniture: Projects and Techniques for the Modern Maker* has entailed some spirited conversations with scholars of medieval literature and art. My readings on medieval European life without the benefit of Ruskin’s rose-tinted specs have touched on such seemingly unrelated subjects as church-based charity and prostitution in Paris.
So when I saw that St.John Starkie had posted a video on The Quiet Workshop about building a medieval pole lathe, I was intrigued. At a whopping 22 minutes and 41 seconds, it’s longer than your typical video in this day of Instagram hyperlapse, and (please don’t tell me you expected “but”) well worth watching. I found it visually mesmerizing as well as informative.
Minor mea culpa: However instructive the video component may be, my special guilty pleasure is the audio, which I find downright intoxicating. There’s something about the sounds of hand-tool woodworking when recorded through a mic that transports me into an alternate realm. It’s akin to lying in bed during a storm in someone else’s house: You can pull the covers up around you and sleep even more soundly than usual, comforted by your warm, safe situation. I’ve always found the equivalent storm experience far from soothing in my own house, where I worry that the roof might leak or be damaged by the wind. No wonder people who’ve never picked up a tool themselves wax romantic on the subject of making furniture for a living.–Nancy Hiller, author of Making Things Work
*working title; the book is scheduled for publication by Popular Woodworking in May 2018
Filed under: Uncategorized
Frame Joinery Press Release Over the years, more than two decades now, I’ve been encouraging woodworkers to adopt a method for perfecting tenons using the extraordinary adaptation of an otherwise ordinary hand tool. It’s not new anymore, but in the beginning, back in the late 1980s, it was quite new and not usual in any …
This year’s Kezurou-kai USA will be held on the weekend of October 21-22 in Oakland, CA. Looks like it will be a great time. Andrew Hunter, Jay van Arsdale, Matt Connorton, Makoto Imai, and Yann Giguère are among the presenters. I wish I could make this one.
It’s been ages and ages since I did any turning on a regular basis. I have a lot of it coming up this fall and winter, and in preparation for that work, I decided to start with some joined stools. The first one is in walnut instead of oak.
My lathe is the last piece in the workshop puzzle; as it is now, it’s been buried under/behind 2 chests, and all sorts of wood, projects, etc. So I shoved all that aside and turned these stiles recently. I started the first session with sharpening the gouges and skews, and turned one stile. So the next morning I did the other three. I’ve covered this stuff in the joined stool book and the wainscot chair video with Lie-Nielsen – but here’s some of it. First off, mark the centers on each end. I scribed the diagonal lines, then set a compass to see what size circle, and how centered it was (or wasn’t). I decided it needed a nudge a bit this way & that – so when I punched the center, I moved a little bit over.
Then rough out the cylindrical bits –
Then I use a story-stick to mark where to cut the various elements of the turnings, here one cove is cut and I’m lining up the stick to locate the other details.
I alternate between a skew chisel and narrow gouges to form the shapes.
Once I was finished with the turnings, time to bore the tenons for the pins, and assemble. Here, roman numerals ID the stretcher-to-stile.
Mark the joint, and bore the peg hole in the tenon.
No one, NO ONE, likes the way I shave pegs. I’ve done thousands this way, and it seems to work for me.
The peg-splitting & shaving tools; cleaver (riving knife) by Peter Ross; tapered reamer by Mark Atchison (for opening holes when the offset for drawboring is too severe), 2″ framing chisel.
Make a bunch of tapered pins and hammer them in one-by-one. I line it up over a hole in the bench so the pin can exit.
After assembling two sections, then knock in the angled side rails, and pin the whole thing.
Frame assembled, wants some walnut for the seat board. I have a wood-shopping trip coming up…I don’t have 11″ wide walnut around.
All the joined stool work is covered in detail in the book I did with Jennie Alexander – I have a few copies left for sale, (leave me a comment if you’d like to order one, $43 shipped in US) or get it from Lost Art Press – https://lostartpress.com/products/make-a-joint-stool-from-a-tree
Mike and I have finally settled on a logo for M&T. We’ve spent two years going back and forth trying every idea under the sun: plane shavings, hand planes, joinery dissections, etc. None of it worked. We needed something dead simple that eluded to (but didn’t clobber you over the head with) the heartbeat of M&T. We knew the most effective logos (such as those of Apple, Nike, and Target) can be drawn in a few lines and are recognizable from across the room. After many abandoned designs, we decided on the one above. This drawing is from the title page of London-based painter and engraver William Hogarth’s 1753 book, The Analysis of Beauty. The image is simple, powerful, and beautiful. But what does it symbolize?
The Meaning Behind the Symbol
In 1745, William Hogarth painted a self-portrait with his pug. Lying on the painter’s palette prominently set in the foreground was an S-shaped three-dimensional line with an explanatory caption below: “The Line of Beauty”. Hogarth later said that “the bait soon took” and many artists came to him to inquire of the meaning resulting in “freequent explanations and disputes”. Hogarth made the case that the waving line, found all throughout nature, was “ornamental and pleasing” requiring a “lively movement of the hand” to draw. It was the Line of Beauty.
Hogarth expounded his case in The Analysis of Beauty which he said was “written with a view of fixing the fluctuating IDEAS OF TASTE”. The book set forth six principals of beauty: FITNESS, VARIETY, UNIFORMITY, SIMPLICITY, INTRICACY, and QUANTITY. He explained that these elements work together to create true beauty. In his view, although all these principals were to be balanced together, the waving and serpentine lines made the biggest visual impact. Hogarth’s biographer, Ronald Paulson, has explained that the Line of Beauty was “a synecdoche for his theory and its crucial terms of variety, intricacy, and pleasure. It was his theory reduced to a hieroglyph.”
Not all waving lines are created equal, however. To illustrate the ideal curvature, Hogarth showed seven cabriole chair legs, the first three of which were “mean and poor” (too straight) and the last three of which were “gross and clumsy” (too curvy). The ideal curvature for a cabriole leg was depicted as number four.
Because of the importance of the waving line in his system, Hogarth composed an illustration that sat on the title page of Analysis. This emblem depicted the serpentine Line of Beauty set inside a transparent glass pyramid atop a plinth inscribed with the word “VARIETY”. Of the pyramid shape, Hogarth wrote, “Observe, that a gradual lessening is a kind of varying that gives beauty. The pyramid diminishing from its basis to its point [is a] beautiful form… There is no object composed of straight lines, that has so much variety, with so few parts, as the pyramid: and it is its constantly varying from its base gradually upwards in every situation of the eye.”
One scholar has said this symbol was “emblematic of and embodying Hogarth’s ideas espoused in his work” and was “a synthetic visual demonstration of the argument of his text.” In his preface, Hogarth explained how the two elements in the logo come together to symbolize the essence of beauty: “the triangular form of the glass, and the serpentine line itself, are the two most expressive figures that can be thought of to signify not only beauty and grace, but the whole order of form.”
We at M&T celebrate the SIMPLICITY of historic craft process, eschewing elaborate machining processes and complicated jigs. A major part of that includes embracing the VARIETY (in dimension, tool mark texture, etc) inherent in hand tool work. We’ve decided to adopt the drawing (sans the plinth) as M&T’s official logo because it perfectly depicts the beautiful fusion of SIMPLICITY and VARIETY.
This logo, shown on the first page of Issue Three, will also be featured on our merchandise in the future. Yes, stickers and shirts are coming.
This clock is called a Pomeroy Wall Clock. It was first built in 1886 by CT. Hartford, there are only three originals in existence. The original is only 3/16″ thick and from memory if I’m not mistaken about 27.5″ long x 10″ wide but don’t quote me as I reproduced the original almost 19 years ago.
I did about two reproductions before I decided to make some changes to beef it up as I felt it was too fragile looking and in needed of a serious upgrade.
My dimensions and these are only in the ball park were 60″x 18″x 3/4″. The whole Clock was scrolled and being so thick I broke a ton of blades in the process. I used sandwich parts that were identical which would make it even thicker and harder to scroll. There were plenty of corners that needed to come to a sharp point and only a thin blade could do it, that’s why I broke a lot of blades in the process.
You see many people using CNC machinery for their scroll work. I never went in that direction for two reasons, my clocks had to be done by hand, it needed that personal human element to it. The other reason is that cnc burns the edges and cannot create sharp corners and points, only a hand can do that. The scrolling takes about 8 hours solid going at it very fast or 12 hours at a steady pace. The whole clock would take about a week and half to complete including the finish.
There are about eight through tenons and mortises that held this clock together. The lower half where the stalk is had the longest shoulder as the tenon was smack in the middle. This shoulder had to be perfect as gaps would show on the show side.
Unfortunately a battery powered chime movement was used which made it affordable for the average person. If one wanted to use a mechanical movement then the whole clock would have to be redesigned to accomodate it. You build clocks around the movement your going to use, battery powered movements eliminates that need.
This clock you see in the picture was one I built a couple of years ago for a customer in Switzerland. I made countless of them as they were one of most popular wall clocks. I still have plans for many more I never got to build as the popular ones were mostly in production so I couldn’t introduce anything new to the market.
I would normally build a mockup and just look at it and see what changes need to be made. You can make one in 3D on screen but nothing beats one in real life. If I was satisfied with its looks I would go ahead with its production. At first I used to ask people if they like what they saw. I eventually stopped that because everyone has different tastes and you can’t please everyone.
I don’t know when it happened, but at some point in the research for the book on Roman workbenches, it became a text that would feel at home in the “art history” section of a bookstore.
Researcher Suzanne Ellison, who has a deep love of art, and I spent months poring over texts that discussed Roman and early German tools and woodworking for the letterpress edition of “Roman Workbenches.” After we completed that book, I switched gears to finish up work on other authors’ books (and some furniture commissions).
Suzanne, however, expanded the scope of her research and began finding paintings, drawings and mosaics that dealt with the low-style workbench that I had never seen. And not only were they from Europe, but they also came from the New World, especially South America.
I could barely keep up with the pace of her research. Before I could fully digest a series of paintings to sort through their interesting bits, she had already dumped another load in my inbox. This crazy pace has continued for the last nine months.
After discussing hundreds of paintings, we narrowed our scope to ones that were truly representative of a long-term pattern. Or ones that showed methods of workholding that were, quite frankly, shocking to me.
As a result, this book – an expanded edition of “Roman Workbenches” – has become something far greater. It is a survey of early workholding methods that were used on simple and low workbenches for almost 2,000 years. Many of these workholding devices are incredibly simple – like the doe’s foot – but also incredibly effective. If you’re reading this blog, you probably agree with the statement that early artisans were incredibly clever and resourceful.
And this book has gotten much bigger. So big, that I wonder if I should even call it “Roman Workbenches” anymore.
During the coming months I’m going to share some of the gold that Suzanne dug up, along with some of the dead ends. The painting at the top of this entry was right up the road from me in Indianapolis and almost made me wet myself.
— Christopher Schwarz, editor, Lost Art Press
Personal site: christophermschwarz.com
Filed under: Roman Workbenches, Uncategorized