While at Woodworking in America 2014 I had the pleasure of talking with Don Williams about the upcoming H.O. Studly Tool Chest exhibit he’s curating in May 2015. I captured the entire conversation, and was really excited to hand it over to the folks at Highland Woodworking to include in their WIA 2014 coverage.
Unfortunately, in my excitement I picked the absolute worst location in the building to record. As a result, even with some audio tricks and editing, most people will be bothered by the background noise. So it probably won’t see the light of day.
But that’s no reason not to share the gist of the conversation. And that is; H.O. Studley was an amazing craftsman who we actually know very little about. But we are very familiar with his tool chest. His meticulous work and attention to detail has us awe-struck when see images of it. And while pictures and detailed descriptions help us to get a sense of how awe-inspiring it is, it’s only when you see it in person that you can appreciate what a treasure it is.
But how many of us will ever have an opportunity to be up-close and looking at it only feet in front of us? Well, if you’re able to make your way to the Scottish Rite Temple in Cedar Rapids, Iowa May 15-17 2015, you can!
Tickets for the event went on sale earlier this year. Initially there was such a rush to the website to get information, and purchase tickets, that it momentarily overwhelmed the system and gave everyone the impression that all the tickets were sold. In fact they haven’t, there’s more available and waiting for you to purchase one.
For more information about the exhibit, to purchase tickets, and also to keep up-to-date with the release of the book Don has been working on about H.O. Studley visit both the website for the exhibit at www.studleytoolchestexhibit.com and Don’s blog at www.donsbarn.com.
I picked up a Carbide Burniser.
98/99 Side Rabbet planes.
A 66 Bronze Beader.
And a right handed 140 Iron Skew Rabbet, to match my left.
As well, I got a No.85 Cabinetmakers Scraper. Due to problems with obtaining material, checking issues, and with increasing employee sensitivity to the allergens inherent to cocobolo that option has been discontinued. That makes this scraper the first LN tool (aside from chisels) that I own without upgraded wood. I'm saddened, I used to tell customers I thought that the $50 upcharge was a fantastic bargain, as the cocobolo looked like a million bucks.
This ones already earned its keep, I used it a few weeks ago to scrape old lacquer off a dining table refinish job. It's got me thinking the large scraper might be a worth while investment.
I also got a Hornbeam Mallet, made by Blue Spruce Toolworks for Lie-Nielsen. Due to problems with the material checking these were discontinued almost as soon as they were released. I was fortunate to receive this one.
I went to Highland last weekend for a Saturday class on Spoon Making. I have made a few spoons over the years, mostly by trial and error, watching Roy Underhill and some other videos on the internet. It is always funny to me there is a mythos about many kinds of woodworking and Spoon Making has its share. Generally speaking, you are pretty far down the handle if you use power tools. The really good makers have a large beat-up stump in the middle of a brick floor, use a small axe to get the initial shape, and a curved knife made by American Indians on an island in Puget Sound. The rest of us use whatever we have in the shop and knives we buy from Highland.
When I tried my first spoon, I took an old piece of dried wood and started hacking at it with my small axe and then with whatever knives and chisels I had in the shop. It did not take me more than about two days of hacking to decide that the traditional methods were not for me. My style degenerated into seriously considering using my chain saw to hollow out the bowl. I figured if I could clamp the saw into my workbench vise with the chain facing my chest, then I could hollow the bowl by pressing the nose of the chain into the blank piece while holding it to my chest. Of course, I would be wearing my leather apron just in case it slipped away. (Do not try this at home, Ralph. You do understand sarcasm when you see it, right?!!) The point being that without the right tools and a little instruction, it is really easy to get tired and discouraged trying to make a spoon out of dry hardwood.
Our instructor, Jay Hallinan, met us at Highland early on Saturday and introduced our little group to the art of Spoons. Turns out there is more to spoons than you ever thought about. The shape of the bowl, the shape of the handle, the shape of the end of the spoon to fit into a pot for stirring, all are more involved than you would think. For instance, an eating spoon must be shaped so that when you put food in your mouth, you don’t have to scrape the bottom of the bowl with your teeth to use it. Jay showed us some salad spoons, larger than eating spoons, which were too heavy on the handle end and tended to tilt out of the salad bowl flipping lettuce all over the table. Who would have thought?
We went over tools and sharpening. The best primary tool is the curved knife. Used upside down so the blade comes out the bottom of the hand and with the thumb on the end of the handle for leverage, it is surprisingly effective in hollowing the bowl. One of the best things I learned from the class is that the shape of the spoon does not have to be symmetrical. You know me, Mr Engineer, I want things to be parallel and perpendicular, but who cares if the handle is curved. The issue is how it feels in the hand and how it eats and how it stirs and your name on the back of the handle.
We used soft wood to do our spoons so no one would get discouraged with the difficulty of the carving and whittling. Our first spoons were made from blanks Jay had prepared for us beforehand. After that, we had plenty of scraps and fire wood we could choose from and begin to make another. And the point is just that — you can use scraps, fire wood, found wood, fallen limbs and shrub trimmings to make a spoon. Many people sit around and spread a cloth on the floor to keep the spouse happy and carve away while watching TV or listening to music.
All in all, it was an excellent class. Coming to the Seminar Room at Highland is like coming home. The workbench at the front of the class is signed by instructors who have taught there and you will recognize many of them. The best thing about it is the camaraderie of like-minded people who come to learn a new old skill. I am always pleased to have classmates ask about some other class I’ve taken or some blog I read that they have not yet discovered. We all go to lunch together to one of the bars next door and the instructor generally goes along with us. And on the way back from lunch you can shop in Highland Woodworking and buy a basic tool kit for making spoons. You can even get the address of the guy in Puget Sound.
I'm selling my set of L'art Du Menuisier. I bought this set three years ago directly from Jacques Laget, the son of Leonce Laget who published this version in 1976 in Paris. Jacques was kind enough to sign the inside cover of Vol. 1-2. There have been other versions of Roubo's original work published over the years, but they are mostly excerpts. This is the only version that's arranged like the first edition. If you want to read Roubo as it was originally published without spending $10k on a first edition, this is the only way to do it. This edition contains the extremely fascinating fold out plates, which no other version contains, again, other than the first edition.
The books are in excellent condition. There is some musty smell to some of the pages. The binding are all intact and strong. The slipcovers have a bit of creasing on the corners, and just a couple very small tears. I've stored the books flat.
If you're interested in the set, drop me an email at jameel at benchcrafted dot com.
I have a secret desire to get this Marquetry Chevalet done quickly. OK, maybe it’s not secret anymore, but still. The reality is I’m going to run out of Chevrolet car model years to joke about long before I sawing marquetry packets. Oh well, I’ll get it done eventually.
I found a build up blog over on Lumberjocks by Mike Lingenfelter he shows in 8 posts the construction and adjustment process of fabricating his Chevalet. I picked up a couple of tips, but it was also instructional to see how long it took him to do. He started on October 6 2013 and by January 4 he was tuning it to cut correctly. Three months, that probably what it will take me too although I’d like to cut that in half.
Fitting the upright to the base took some time, I went slowly so I didn’t make a mess of it. I planed the rough spots off the tenon cheeks, then pared the walls. The finished fit is fairly snug without any gaps along the faces so it should be plenty strong.
Then I did the cut out detail on the base, drilling holes for the rounded end and sawing out the waste in between. A little work with a plane and a task cleaned that up likely. I sawed the outer corners and blended them in. After it’s all assembled I’ll probably run a round over but around everything to get rid of the sharp edges.
The two remaining steps are to saw out the detail for the top of the upright, and add on the side supports for the saw support clamp. I have the stock prep’d for the support clamps, and laid out the cut for the top, but ran out of time. Another hour or two and this part will be done.
My blog is having issues and I grow impatient, so its time to start fresh. I’ve wanted to make some changes anyway.
My new blog will be here at thesawwright.wordpress.com and linked through my site of course. New posts will be cleaner, more streamlined, less text, less preaching. And no more comments on posts as well…you’ll have to send questions to my email address.
I’ll try to figure out a way for TheSawBlog to be hosted somewhere permanently…but I don’t think I’ll be posting there anymore. We’ll see.
Stay tuned and thanks to all the concerned readers who’ve emailed while the blog has been done. More to come. :) And please help spread the word.
Here’s a common and frustrating finishing problem: You apply finish to your piece, and one of the parts – say a rail or a stile – ends up a slightly different color or shade. The off-color piece makes the project look like a jumble of parts instead of a cohesive whole. There are several ways to fix this problem. And while a full explanation of color-matching would require a book […]
I was browsing Peter Lloyds website http://www.finehardwoodboxes.com/ when I came accross this lovely desk box for sale. At £260 I couldn't resist!
It's made from rippled sycamore and has his trademark curved opening. It sits on my office desk storing pens, glasses etc. as well as being a lovely thing to look at. An essential office accessory!!
Don Williams, on the H.O. Studley exhibit at Handworks 2, May 15-17, 2015:
The truth is there are still plenty of tickets available, and you can order them now. I do not have the spreadsheet in front of me right now, but I am pretty sure there are still time slots that could accommodate a woodworker’s guild or any other groups who wanted to purchase tickets and make it a shared experience.
Barring some disaster, I’ll be there. This is a once in a lifetime event, and should not be missed if at all possible. Get your tickets here.
Two of the most often repeated questions from my readers are: 1. “Where can I find great deals on woodworking hand tools?” 2. “How can I meet other hand tool woodworkers in my area?”
I always have two answers: 1. Read my woodworking hand tool buying guide (click here) 2. Join a local tool collector’s group & go to their tool swaps / sales
Joining a local antique tool collector’s group will instantly plug you in with new friends who are eager to teach you traditional woodworking and how to find great deals on tools.
A few weeks ago I was invited to attend a huge (and jaw dropping) tool swap in North Carolina, run by the largest tool collector’s society in America: the Mid-West Tool Collectors Association. Most smaller tool collector groups have moved under the Mid-West umbrella, but have kept their local identity.
I was introduced to Ed Hobbs, the president of the North Carolina chapter (there are groups all over the U.S. & Canada) who gave me a summary of why joining a tool group is so beneficial to people who are passionate about traditional woodworking with hand tools. This is the video that I posted a few days ago:
I have been to hand tool swaps before, but this one was the largest I had ever attended. And I found some hot deals on some great hand tools, like this solid boxwood plow plane (my wife actually likes it):
I handled some gorgeous hand tools that were put out by paying vendors (the booths under the white tent):
I found some great deals on non-collectible tools under the tent, but I spent most of my time browsing the truck beds & tables of guys who were just trying to rid their house of excess tools. Most of the tool sellers & swappers fall into this category…just nice guys looking to downsize and make some friends along the way.
This guy (Tom) is passionate about transitional hand planes, but his collection got out of hand, so he was liquidating many of them at a surprisingly low price of $20 each!
If you’re not aware of transitional handplanes, and how cool & affordable they are, check out my handplane buying guide here.
The tool meeting had some rare tool displays, a tool auction, and even a pig roast barbecue lunch…
At the swap I ran into Rick Long, the president of the Richmond Antique Tool Society (RATS) who I had met at a local Richmond tool meeting, and he was selling some great “user tools” (non-collector tools) at affordable prices.
My friend Bill was unloading 3 complete sets of hollows and rounds (molding planes) for a pretty descent price of $500! They came from this wall of molding planes in his workshop:
And a sight like this chisel truck will get any true man excited!
Ed Lebetkin escaped his store above Roy Underhill’s The Woodwright’s School to see what he could sell to the tool hounds of North Carolina.
These tool swaps are mostly filled with woodworking tools, but you’ll also find other types of collectible tools, like blacksmith tools, wrenches, etc:
Here are some beautiful and rare combination planes on display:
Who has $8,200 for this rare Millers combination plane??? Here are pretty Millers Patent combination planes that are a bit more affordable.
And here are the beloved Scottish Infill Planes (click here to see prices on eBay)…definitely on my wish list. If you’ve got some cash, then these are the Cadillacs of metal handplanes:
This was one of the plow planes that I was considering buying. These old style of plow planes (with screw fences) are the best & most stable for plowing grooves. You can find prices on these style of plow planes here. Look how nice the wood screws are…not broken like a lot of these wooden plow planes:
I hope you’ve enjoyed this tour of a antique tool swap. Please tell me what you thought in the comment box below!
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Once you have cut an adequate number of equilateral parallelogram lozenges, take a piece of heavy paper larger than the finished field onto which you will create the pattern field from the lozenges as has been illustrated previously.
Mark the center lines of the pattern on both axis and the outer perimeter of the pattern field (one helpful step is to draw all the lines entirely to the edges of the paper; it will come back to assist you very soon!) begin to assemble and glue down the pattern with hot hide glue
Take care to periodically check the pattern against the pattern system making sure to always get the correct orientation of each lozenge. Otherwise there will be wails of anguish when you discover something out of proper orientation, resulting in aggravation, discouragement, and perhaps abandonment of the technique. That would be unfortunate as it is such a powerful and useful design tool.
When you get enough lozenges glued down so that the entire pattern field is obscured, set it aside and let the glue harden prior to the next step of trimming the field.
There is this image in today’s blog over there at Lost Art Press:
The plate is titled How to Stack and Preserve Wood, Plate 4 and is from the forthcoming Roubo on Furniture, a work in progress from the fine folks at Lost Art Press. What struck me was that I saw the real life version of this plate in Ecuador. The reason I was not blogging for a while was that we were on a trip to Ecuador. My wife had always wanted to visit the Galapagos Islands and this was her chance. We recruited four friends and booked ourselves on a tour of the Galapagos Islands. On the way down, we spent three days in Otavalo, a center of weaving and a market town a few hours north of Quito. More on that later.
What struck me about the plate in the LAP blog was that I had just seen the real life version of the plate driving from Otavalo to Quito. We were traveling down the Pan-American Highway. Between the recent earthquake damage and all the local festivals, the 90 minute drive took about four hours. This left lots of time for observing the scenery. We passed several small lumber yards that looked something like the plate.
There will be more about the trip in the next few days but for now I will offer you some panoramic photos I took at a raptor center near Otavalo and the drive south. The last two panoramas prove that you can take panoramic photos with your iPhone from a moving vehicle if you reverse the scan and are traveling at a relatively constant speed on a level and smooth road. Results aren’t perfect but are interesting.
The other pictures are from a brief stop in Cayambe, home of our driver and location of his family’s biscotti bakery. Click HERE to see the pictures.
|Used by permission of Jonathan Fisher Memorial|
"The ideas that the artist puts into action to create an object can be classified by the relationships they bear to the cultural norm that receives overt and massive support from the agents for economic, religious, and political stability. With regard to this public culture, some of the ideas in the artist's mind may be considered conservative, some normative, some progressive-or, in the terms of the folklorist, folk, popular, and elite (or academic). If the idea was, when expressed, conservative, the resultant object-the song of story or sculpture-can be called folk. Saying that a thing is "folk", then, implies that the idea of which it was an expression was old within the culture of its producer and that it differed from comparable, contemporaneous ideas explicitly advocated as the popular culture of the dominant society...
It means also and most significantly that the folk object, unlike the popular and elite object, is not part of rapidly changing fashions; the establishment of the folk nature of an idea is the demonstration of its persistence through time. The artist may or may not be aware that his idea is folk; his conservatism might be self-consciously archaic and nativistic, or it might be the only way he knows: the folk artist's usual answer to an inquiry about the logic of his métier is "Well, how else would you do it?"
-Henry Glassie, from "Folk Art" in Folklore and Folklife: An Introduction
Typically there is a list of projects that I want to tackle. Since finishing the table last weekend I have cleaned up a Stanley #12 that has been sitting under my bench. Discovering that the blade angle is adjustable. Not sure how I missed that, but I’m looking forward to trying it out an some particularly gnarly wood.
The plane cleaned up nicely and with a little oil on the threads the angle adjustment works easily. As I sharpened the blade I realized that it had a moderate camber. The blade is not overly long and looks well used and with the camber I wonder about what this plane has seen. Digging around on the web,there was not a lot written, so I’ll have to keep reading and do some experimentation. If anyone has some experience or resources I’d love to hear from you.
Sitting next to my bench are plans for Paul Sellers Arts and Craft Lantern. Stock is selected and it is also by the bench. I recently realized that Greg Merritt prepared the plans for Paul. They are awesome! Greg stops by my blog as I’m sure he has visited yours and always adds some great comments. If you have’t seen his work take a look.
Next I spent some time figuring out how to use Instagram. Eventually adding a link on the right side of my blog. If you tap on the picture it will connect to that site and you can see a couple of pictures. Over time I will use it to drop in quick snapshots. Hopefully through that link I will be able to cross paths with a new group of woodworkers and learn new skills and designs.
Digging around in a coupe of boxes I pulled out this transition plane. I use it occasionally and enjoy the feeling of its wood sole gliding across a board. Seems that many people have a dislike for these planes although it combines the adjustability of the Stanley bench planes with the wooden sole. Beside a couple of moulding planes and a curved plane it is the only wooden bodied plane I own. Whenever I use it, I think about finding a transition smoothing plane and giving it a try. A quick coat of oil on the metal parts and some Danish oil on the wood and I tucked the plane away until I need it.
Then I sharpened all the chisels and planes that are kept in my small tool chest. These are the ones I use constantly and keep close at hand. Keeping the planes in plane socks seems to have solved most of my rust problems during the seasonal changes. Working in an unheated space like most of you is always a challenge for tool maintenance.
Thats a basic summary of my week. Not a lot of woodworking but some much need time caring for tools and preparing for my next project. The big question is what will it be? For now the bench is empty.
My search for tools and equipment turns up some amazing finds and I bought this vise partly because it was inexpensive but mostly because it looked so very beautifully made from elm and steel. It’s a simple enough piece of equipment to make, but the decision was based as always on buying art made by a past craftsman. I think these things are exactly that, works of art, and that they are worth investing my time in just to see how a man worked in times past. An engineer made the piece and the woodwork in the form of shaped coves is gracefully executed. It’s too easy to take things for granted in countries like Britain. Common tools sell for very little; planes and tenon saws, saws of all types and of course related equipment like the vise. I think this vise was for working metal with, not wood, because of the metal plating used on the jaws and such.
A Flotilla of Woodworking Planes
Here is a collection of beautiful planes of rare worth and scarcely seen anywhere. Two nice panel raising planes, a sash-rail plane that creates the pane divider and two sash moulding planes are part of a collection of planes used for particular work by joiners making doors and door frames and sliding sash windows. It is rare to find these specific planes individually placed anywhere let alone unique a collection of nine planes. Including shipping the planes came to me for about £30 each on average. They are all made by the same Scottish maker named Mathieson.
What we take for granted is a distant wealth of workmanship and knowledge of past times and working men and the way they did indeed worked. In ignorance tools are listed and misnamed, miscategorized and so misplaced. In ignorance we misunderstand the tool’s significance and thereby misplace the past. The tools are beautiful working tools that saw little use in work as the age of hand work yielded to the machine age and have been stowed and kept in good conditions for decades now. Now they will begin work again. They need work, but not much, before they can perform well.
The post From the Past We Can Continue Discovering the Future appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.
Although the wood which one chooses has by itself all the required qualities, it is still necessary to watch out for its preservation. Since wood for woodworking should not be used except very dry, it is of the final consequence to woodworkers to always be well provisioned with wood of all types, which they keep and dry in their yard before using them.
They should also take care that their yard not be placed too low, nor planted with grass, because the falling and gathering of leaves will prevent the run off of water, which could ruin the wood pile coverings and also the base of a woodpile.
The terrain occupied by the woodpiles should be higher than the rest of the yard, so that water does not collect there. It must be well set up and leveled, after which you put on top some pieces of wood side A, which we call chantier [or beam/timber spacers] which has a length the same as the width of the pile – ordinarily 4 feet, although sometimes they make them wider. You make them the greatest thickness possible, so that they make the pile taller with the most possible spaces between the boards.
You put the spacers distant from each other about 3 feet. Their topsides should be squared and straight, after which you pile the wood on top, after having taken the precaution of putting the worst planks on the lowest level to save the better woods from ground moisture.
— Translation from the forthcoming “Roubo on Furniture.” Colored plate by Suzanne Ellison.
Filed under: To Make as Perfectly as Possible, Roubo Translation
Sadly, couldn’t quite agree on a price for this bunch. But nice to see, all the same. (Click the pic for a lot more!)