I bought one of the new Veritas bevel-down planes to get familiar with its parts – I’m quite sure I’m going to see a lot of these planes at woodworking schools and in the hands of students in the coming months. Overall, it’s a great plane, and I have a full review coming up shortly in Popular Woodworking Magazine. One of the little difficulties I had with the plane at […]
The post How Best to Adjust the Cap Iron on a Veritas Plane appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
I can’t help it, I love options! I keep saying it over and over, and amazingly they keep coming along.
Once again the folks at Shop Woodworking haven’t let me down. It’s not just one, not two, but a handful of woodworking value packs available right now.
Bargain packages filled with woodworking information on joinery, projects, techniques and more, combining books, CDs, DVD and magazine downloads. Chances are, whatever you’re looking for, it’s probably on sale!
Head over to Shop Woodworking and checkout what’s available and save big money before they’re gone. Plus, save 25% off with Offer Code Mattsbasement25 (expires 12/31/2014.)
I am pleased to announce that we’ve signed the site contract for Woodworking in America 2015. The dates? Sept. 25-27. The place? Let’s have a little fun with that for a few days. • The city has a major league baseball team. • It is the most populous city in the state. • There are many municipal fountains. • The state flag is predominantly red, white and blue. • The […]
As mentioned earlier, I just got back a few weeks ago from a trip to the Galapagos Islands with stops in Quito and Otavalo, Ecuador en route. Otavalo is a town of about 90,000, seventy miles north of Quito. With an elevation or 8,500 feet, one could safely consider it to be in the mountains.
We arrived in Otavalo early evening on Thursday, had dinner and went to bed. On Friday, we hired a small van with driver and visited a few notable local weavers. In the afternoon, we visited a local town that specialized in leather goods. It was an interesting day. Not activities I might have chosen, but it’s not always about me.
Saturday is market day. We started the day by visiting the animal market. I won’t try to describe it other than saying there are no USDA inspectors involved. Use your imagination. Ya, it was like that. Not quite enough to make me a vegetarian and it won’t as long as I visit only every ten years.
When we were done there, it was back to town for “the market”. The market engulfs the square downtown and sends tentacles down several side and main streets. Much of the merchandise looked like much of the other merchandise. To me. Woven art, purses, carved figures, some paintings. Stuff I am not looking to buy. My wife took her two friends on the grand tour. The other couple went their own way looking for a wooden flute (him) and at all the woven art (her). Once again I was left to entertain myself.
I started walking in search of an antiques shop or a furniture store and found neither. I did find one small shop about the size of a supply closet and not as well-lit. It was packed with locals that look surprised and vaguely annoyed to see me there. But they were very polite. Discretion being the better part of tourism, I left. And kept walking.
What I did notice was the doors. There were lots of different doors. Interesting doors. It is a city with all blocks solidly packed with buildings. Or one big building. I couldn’t always tell where one ended and the next began. Retail on the first level and offices and residential on the upper floors. There mustn’t be a strong zoning office in that there didn’t seem to be a uniform color palate.
Another thing I noticed was ready availability of funerary supplies. I must have seem six funeral supply stores.
And I found their dollar store. Ecuador use the US dollar as currency. Their have some of their own coins but use US paper money. So, a dollar store really is a dollar store.
While walking, I learned you can make a ladder with bamboo poles, a saw, a chisel, some hardwood scraps and a bit of wire.
Did I mention there were doors?
Lots of doors.
Click HERE to see the entire set of my walkabout pictures. It is worth a look.
Have I ever lied to you…
I have a new monthly newsletter that I send out at the beginning of every month. It lists the recent lessons that have been added to my online school and gives a preview of the lessons that will be added the next month. It also has a free template that you can download, tips and tricks on carving techniques, my class schedule, and any news or changes happening at the school.
You can also sign up for a weekly e-mail that announces when a new video is added to the school.
Here is the link to sign up.
My two-week-long trip to make on-site exhibit arrangements and a final examination of the Studley Tool Cabinet and Workbench began with a long day’s drive from the Virginia mountains to Cincinnati. I remain convinced that Google Maps employs aspiring NASCAR drivers to ascertain driving times.
About an hour out of Cincy I drove through a storm cell that almost certainly contained a tornado or two, or so I deduced from the building parts flying past me on the road. I’ve driven through rain so intense that I could not see the road in front of me, but this was the first time I have ever been in rain so fierce that I could not see the road beside me. I pulled into a gas station as soon as I could see well enough to navigate, but immediately noticed two things. First, the gas pumps were scattered around the lot, some on top of cars. Second was the unmistakable smell of gasoline. I moved on as soon as I could get turned around.
As I write this I’m in Fort Mitchell visiting Chris Schwarz for the evening, reviewing the recently returned page proofs for the Roubo l’Art du Menuisier Book of Plates and working through some of the details for the soon-to-be-submitted manuscript for VIRTUOSO: The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of Henry O. Studley. We spent a fair bit of time discussing Chris’ vision for the physical manifestation of the latter. To tell you the truth I am ambivalent about some of these details; I just want the book to be as compelling as Lost Art Press can make it. Given their track record, I have nothing to worry about in that regard.
A special treat was to be a fly on the wall as Chris and Megan Fitzpatrick discussed an upcoming PopWood article (November, I believe) about a cabinet with some spectacular Gothic tracery Chris is finishing.
And I cannot deny the little tremor of pleasure I experienced when noting this image.
Early this Saturday morning, I will be headed down to Culpeper, VA for the next Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event®, which is being hosted by C. P. Johnson Lumber. I have never been there, but I am really looking forward to browsing through their selection of domestic hardwoods.
Although the event will be held on both Friday and Saturday, I will only be in attendance on Saturday.
Friday & Saturday, October 24-25
9:00 – 5:00 (Friday), 9:00 – 5:00 (Saturday)
Remember, the admission to these events is free, and you will have a chance to play with a lot of beautiful tools, as well as talk to other people who share your passion for them. Hope to see a few of you there!
Glen Huey, Bob Lang, and Chuck Bender on what they’re up to with 360 WoodWorking. This sounds like a fascinating concept, and I’ll be interested to see how this turns out.
Matt from Maine sent me these shots of the first project he made with the tools he recently purchased.
The curvy cloud shaped mirror is stack laminated for strength and ease of construction and it must have taken a while to make.
The curves contrast well with the intersecting rectangular box with nicely dovetailed corners.
Keep the projects coming, it's great to see!
Most of the verbiage I’ve read about the H.O. Studley tool chest has been misleading, candy-coated or just silly. I can say this because I’ve spent the last five years embedded with Don Williams, the author of our forthcoming book “Virtuoso: The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of H.O. Studley.”
Thanks to the scholarship of Don and his research assistants, we now have a clear(er) picture of Studley and the history of his chest and workbench.
For the first look at some of the real Studley story, I recommend you check out Matt Vanderlist’s blog at “Matt’s Basement Workbench” this coming Friday. Matt was kind enough to do a Skype interview with Don and Narayan Nayar, the photographer on the project.
They chatted with Matt last week while sitting in front of the chest and discussed some of the questions many woodworkers ask: Who was Studley? Why did he build the chest? And what will become of it?
Matt will publish the full 30-minute interview on his blog for free this Friday. Those who support Matt as a Patreon will also get a (very) cool segment we did on the workbench with Narayan manning the camera.
Go there on Friday!
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Virtuoso: The Toolbox of Henry O. Studley
IKEA’s take on The Shining. Appropriate, given the upcoming holiday, and because there’s nothing more frightening to woodworkers than a warehouse full of termite barf furniture.
(Note that since this comes from IKEA Singapore, this relates to Asian woodworking, of a sort.)
NEW WILD AND CRAZY THINGS HAPPENING AT MARY MAY’S ONLINE SCHOOL OF CLASSICAL WOODCARVING!
We will soon be adding a new option in how to watch video lessons on my online school. Individual video lessons will be available for purchase. In November, we will start making each lesson available to purchase and you can download it to your computer. To use this option, you do not have to be a member of the school.
Some reasons you may be interested in this new option:
1. You just don’t have a lot of time to look at all the videos on the site and can’t justify paying for a monthly membership
2. You are only interested in particular lessons – for example, you are building a Newport desk and only want to learn how to carve the shells, or you are building a Chippendale style chair and are wanting to learn only how to carve the ball and claw feet.
3. You like to focus on one lesson for several months, perfect it, carve it over and over again and then go on to the next one.
4. Just because…
The prices will depend on the overall length of the lesson – starting at $9.99 (cheaper than most DVDs).
I finally got back to the carved oak box with drawer that I started.
I have been thinking about this box for a month, and was thrilled to get back to it. I shot a slew of photos yesterday and today. First, I had to make the till parts and install them, so I could then finish nailing the box together. Once I had the till’s trenches cut in the front & back, I nailed the back to the sides. Then after fitting the till, I nailed the front in place.
Planing thin stuff like the till lid gets scary when you shove it against the toothy-bench hook. I made a board with a very thin stop at one end, to sit the workpiece on, then I shove the board against the bench hook.
There’s lots going on when you’re fitting the till parts; 3 pieces that can one at a time, or all together hang you up, and keep the box parts from fitting. A bunch of fiddling around gets you there. Best to take a breath when fitting a till.
I make the till lids from oak, often with a molded edge like this one. The till sides and bottom can be various woods in my work; all oak, white pine, or Atlantic white cedar. This one’s cedar.
Then I worked on carving the drawer front; in this case based on/inspired by the original – but I didn’t copy it note for note. Outline begun.
Shaping & beveling.
Relieving the middles.
I work at my regular joinery bench, often hunched right over the carving. Some carvers work higher, but I find I like to get right above it sometimes.
This gives you an idea of the shaping, prior to adding the gouge-cut details.
I just try to keep from making the same design on 2 consecutive rosettes.
I had one panel of oak ready for the bottom of the box. It needs a bevel on its rear end, to fit into a groove in the back board. The front edge fits in a rabbet. To bevel it, I jammed it up against some scrap and the bench hook. Held down with a holdfast.
The inner edge gets a rabbet, so the next board will overlap this one.
A dis-orienting shot – the box is upside down, This first bottom board slips into the groove, drops into the rabbet, then gets slid/knocked over til it bumps up to the inside end.
Here’s where I quit for the day.
Let me be honest up front. I do know how to use a hand plane, and I have used a jointer plane once or twice. But it was a metal-bodied plane – only remotely similar to a wooden-bodied plane as used during the 18th Century. I liked the feel of the plane, and it’s long body made sense for one of its purposes of shooting edges to join boards. That […]
As most of you already know, I am joining Chuck Bender and Bob Lang in 360 WoodWorking (360woodworking.com). In the coming weeks, all my blog posts and other woodworking informational content will become part of the new website. As of this time, you can visit 360 WoodWorking and sign up for notification as to when the site goes live. In the meantime, the short video below fills in a bit more about our future plans.
Build Something Great!
One afternoon at the Marquetry class in San Diego, Patrick called us over to meet a former student, Aaron Radelow. The story he told was amazing; in short he created a perfect reproduction of this reading/writing table that had been built for Louis IV around 1760. The original is in the Getty museum, and Aaron was able to get access to the original to measure it.
When he was done he had a perfect replica, and a perfect inverse copy as well. Because this was made with the Boulle method to saw the marquetry parts, the packets that were prepared for each panel had layers of both blue horn and ivory. The resulting parts could then be assembled blue-int0-white and white-into0blue.
The link below has more details. Regardless of the style of furniture you like, this is an amazing piece in terms of technical complexity, fine details and masterful execution.
Read all about Frank’s dresser project progress. It’s time to begin building the dresser drawers. I have spent a fair amount of time choosing the wood for the drawer fronts. In fact I was very pleased with the wood for the lower drawers: the grain runs all the way through and the lower 4 drawer […]
The post Dresser Drawers Started – 7 Drawer Dresser Project, Continued appeared first on Heritage School of Woodworking Blog.
I have come to the conclusion that we went through a phase of several decades where people were trained to follow a sort of legality leading to almost obsessing over sharpening without fully realising the criteria we should be perhaps aiming for. As a young apprentice my mentoring craftsman would repeatedly say, “Sharpen up, lad!”, throughout any given day. I dutifully sharpened up on two stones to around 600-grit and got back to task after stropping the burr from the edge on the palm of my hand. My plane never faltered, protested or chattered and the work I did became more and more acceptable through the years. Today I sharpen to higher levels of fineness and encourage others to do the same. That said, I don’t think I am obsessive so much as practical and my practical knowledge comes from my work, not what someone told me or wrote about or showed on a film. My sharpening levels developed through fifty years of sharpening 20-30 times in a day. Evolutionary sharpening has left me knowing my work gets done in a practical way and now it is unlikely that I will change.
We live in a woodworking culture of much head knowledge that has less and less of an application to real life and that might mean real woodworking too. We live in a culture where the shaving has become as much if not more the goal and not the levelled surface or the finished adjustment to the wood being planed. This can lead to a strange and artificial culture that has less a link to working wood as a job or to getting the actual job done in a timely order. My thought is that most people may not be aware that this changes the dynamism of woodworking because they don’t actually work wood for a living but more because they love working wood, using the tools and stretching themselves in spheres of productive craft work that gives them results in seeing something made. My thought though is this. This is all acceptable. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying seeing shavings ripple and rise from the throat of a plane. After fifty years of daily doing this I still enjoy these gifts to my work that are indeed priceless. The point in this article and the ones yet to follow are more to address any imbalanced perceptions people have as a result of magazine articles, catalogue companies and online information that often more distort reality than serves it.
What would you do if I told you that your sharpened edge taken to say 15,000-grit quickly deteriorates in minutes only of use to perhaps the much lower level of under 1,000. The reality is that most woodworkers using hand tools work with chisel and plane edges at this level most of the time. The tools still cut effectively and acceptably for a long time once this level occurs. At this level the edge is strong and degrade speed much diminished. The greatest edge fracture occurs immediately after sharpening when the tool is offered to the wood and the cutting edge is at its thinnest and thereby most fragile.
I have tested new steels and have generally ended up with disappointing results. Someone wrote to me questioning the validity about the Aldi chisels being made from a chrome vanadium steel and said that his chrome vanadium chisels did not take and hold a good edge. He then went on to ask if high end chisels really offered a better option, naturally basing his assumption on his personal chisels, non Aldi chisels, deteriorating straight away. Aldi chisels, I can assure anyone, truly hold their sharp edge as well as any high end chisel I ever used and better than any UK maker I have come across to date. This not what people want to hear, I know, but the reality is right here in the everyday of working. This past 10 days we had a classful of students using many chisels each made for Aldi supermarkets and the edges gave perfect service hour by hour. Are they my favourite chisels? No, not really, but I would not choose the tested high-end chisels from my research for their name thus far but firstly for their edge retention and service, balance in the hand, and further functionality. Aldi’s take some beating. Whereas It would be good to expect a higher priced tool to give better results, longevity and so on, more and more the reality is shifting. Many European makers have accepted deterioration in their standards of production and quality of manufacture, in many cases relying on past reputations of founder owners rather than their individual responsibility to hold to standards they set. That being the case, they surely forfeit any rights to unearned loyalty and support. This far I have tested 5 different sets of UK-made chisels made by current makers and none of them match the standards set by their forebears. Edge fracture and crumple has been common to them all within a few minutes of use. Most of the chisels I use from the late 1800s and early 1900s never fail through the same results and so too the Aldi chisels. The proof of the tool is in the use on the bench, the problem is you have to buy the tool to test it out, but you can always send them back if you find what I am saying is indeed true.
More to come on this shortly.