Last month, The Ellsworth American did a story on me and my work in their Arts and Leisure section. I had no idea the size of the story they were going to write. I thought maybe if I was lucky they'd even put a small picture of me in the paper! Wouldn't that be something? Well, when I opened the paper that day this is what I saw: my big mug shot! That was surprising. They used a handful of interesting pictures from my blog and wrote up a nice piece.
I feel like they did a good job capturing the essence of what I was saying. They wanted to talk about two different aspects of my work. They first talked about my conservation practice and explained the what and why kinds of questions. Then after that they wrote about my research into Jonathan Fisher. They even interviewed a few local antique dealers to get their opinions of my work. All in all I was pretty flattered by the way the article came out. Thank you Jennifer Osborn!
To read the whole thing click here:
I am still working through all the components of the carving details for the top of a Philadelphia Highboy. So far I have carved the acanthus details and the rosette. I am just about finished with the center shell, and next week I hope to work on the cartouche.
Since I am definitely NOT a wood turner, I did not shape this on a lathe first. I attempted, but failed miserably. I resorted to using my trusty woodcarving gouges to get the general shape of the rosette before carving the details. It would have saved about 20 minutes (which I have included in the video lesson for those who don’t wish to tempt fate on the lathe) and one day I WILL learn the lathe – in my spare time…
One of my students on my online school, David Piazzo, recently worked through this lesson and decided to turn the shape on a lathe first. He was much more successful than I was and here is a link to his blog about how he successfully achieved a lovely turned piece – and a beautiful finished carving also!
I am teaching a carving class at The Woodworkers Club in Rockville, MD at the moment. Having a great time! Better get some sleep or I won’t be able to be one step ahead of the students!
So, what are those threaded holes for? Threaded rods, of course. And the adjustable fence.
The fence itself is pretty simple, two pieces glued together with holes drilled to allow sliding along the threaded rods. Tom Fidgen planed off the bottom piece at an angle, providing a way of resting the plane at an angle which keeps the blade off the bench. I liked the idea and did the same.
Now, the threading… I’ve read good and bad (too often more bad than good) about the quality wood threading kits. I was almost tempted to use metal parts (Hello McMaster-Carr), but decide to give the Woodcraft 3/4″ threading kit a try. It’s worked out very well! No problems, no horror stories. The cutters are plenty sharp enough for producing good results on cherry. I was careful to chamfer entry points, to lube the tap with BLO, and to soak the dowels overnight in BLO before threading.
The dowels are right on 3/4″ diameter, ripped from 4/4 stock and then turned on the treadle lathe.
The nuts too are turned. I stacked four 4/4 blocks together with double sided tape, sawed off the corners and turned on the lathe. Each was then drilled with a 5/8″ auger and tapped. Easy-peasy. I left them round, rather than putting flats on the sides, because they are easy enough to grip and don’t need much torque to do their job.
It comes together very nicely, allowing the fence to be adjusted right up against the blade. I’ll cut the threaded rods down some after I decide how far I might really want to extend the fence.
Snikkarverkstaden på Meldal bygdemuseum er absolutt verdt eit besøk for dei som er interessert i gamle snikkarverktøy. Her er mykje spanande verktøy, ei fin verktøykiste og ein fin høvelbenk. Også på loftet i våningshuset er det ein fin gamal høvelbenk. Benken i snikkarverkstaden har litt til felles med benken som Magnus Wammen har målt opp for oss. Den er lengre og kraftigare enn benken frå Norsk Folkemuseum men er festa til veggen på tilsvarande måte. Den har også to hengsla føter som gjer han meir stødig.Høvelbenken på snikkarverkstaden på Meldal bygdemuseum. Benken er ein del av utstillinga. Derfor er det litt verktøy og høvelspon på benken. Han er ikkje i vanleg bruk. Foto: Roald Renmælmo
Benken har ei L-forma baktang med treskruve. Han har også framtang med skruve. Dei to føtene er smekre og veldig fint utforma. Eg er usikker på om det er takhøgd nok der benken står til at han kan fellast heilt inn til veggen? Det er ikkje sikkert det er meininga heller? Det kan vere at festinga til veggen er mest for å sikre at benken er stødig og stabil? Det kunne elles vere bra å ha ein benk som kan fellast heilt inn til veggen. Då får ein meir golvplass tilgjengeleg til andre ting når ein ikkje brukar høvelbenken. Eg kan lett sjå for meg at ein vinterstid kunne ha høvelbenken montert inne i stova der ein hadde lys og varme. Då var ein slik samanleggbar høvelbenk veldig praktisk. Ein kunne snart slå saman benken og pakke bort verktøyet når ein var ferdig med arbeidet.
Høgda på høvelbenken er ikkje høgre enn at det er godt mogleg å feste han under eit vindauge og såleis få lys rett framafrå. Ei ulempe med å ha festa benken i veggen er at ein ikkje får bruke heile lengda av benkeplata til flaskhøvling. Emnet må festast noko frå veggen slik at ikkje høvelen støytar i veggen når ein høvlar heilt til endes. Det er helst når ein brukar langhøvelen at det kan bli eit problem. At benken har to føter er nok nødvendig når benkeplata er såpass smekker. Den ekstra foten motverkar svikt i benkeplata under høvling. På denne måten kan ein få ein stødig og stiv høvelbenk som er smekker og lett i vekt. Når ein skal rigge seg til på eit loft slik der høvelbenken står i dag på museet så er nok det ein fordel. Ein høvelbenk som er tung nok til å stå stødig fritt på golvet og samstundes ikkje har svikt i benkeplata, vil vere upraktisk å få opp loftstrappa.
Arkivert under:Framtang med skrue, Høvelbenk utan fast understell
The book is written in German which makes it a bit harder (for me at least) to read compared to an English text.
The illustrations of the book are spectacular, and there is a wealth of information regarding how buildings were made around the turn of the 19th century.
It is not you typical timberframing book, since the architecture which is covered is more Jugend or Art Noveau style than most other books I have seen.
Sadly a lot of the information in the book is obsolete, based not on how things are supposed to be done, but based more on how we choose not to decorate most buildings of today. There are several suggestions and instructions for towers to be placed on roofs for decoration purposes. I don't think a house with that kind of decoration have been built in Denmark for the last 75 years.
The book covers projects from both ends of the scale, e.g. construction of a small stand for a market and in the "slightly" larger end an example of a circus building made out of wood.
There are a lot of tables in the book concerning e.g. dimensioning of rafters and joists.
Every time I have read in the book, I am kind of saddened by the loss of decorative elements on most architecture today. But I am afraid the costs would be very high if something similar was to be made today.
The book is not one that is read cover to cover, but more used like a handbook or for inspiration. It can also be read as a document of an architectural period which is still visible in many old towns in central Europe.
I would recommend it just for the fantastic illustrations alone, but I have used it as a handbook as well during a project of constructing some stairs.
Dies ist meine erste Versuch um ein Bisschen Deutsch zu schreiben, Wenn es nicht ganz korrekt Hochdeutsch ist, dann möchte ich gern entschuldigen, aber meine letzte Lektion in Deutsch in die Schule war 1989.
Ich habe dieser Buch vor Zwei Jahren von Dictum gekauft. Es wurde mir empfohlen bei Peter Lanz
Die Abbildungen in der Buch sind ganz spektakulär und es gibt eine riese Menge von Information über wie Gebäude konstruiert war rund Jahr 1900.
Es ist nicht eine typische moderner Buch über Holzkonstruktionen weil das beschriebene Architektur mehr Jugend Stil ist, im Vergleichung mit andere Bücher die ich gelesen habe.
Leider ist ein große Teil von die Information in das Buch überflüssig, basiert auf wie man Heute wählt Gebäude nicht zu dekorieren. Es gibt mehrere Vorschlage und Instruktionen über wie man zum Beispiel Dachreiter und Türme gemacht und installiert.
Ich zweifeln darauf das es solche dekorative Elementen in die letzte 75 Jahre in Dänemark gebaut ist.
Das Buch umhandelt Projekte von der ganze Scala. Von Sodawasserhäuschen bis Zirkusgebäude, alles aus Holz gemacht.
Jede mal ich diese Buch gelesen habe wird ich ein Bisschen traurig wegen der Mangel auf dekorative Elementen auf Gebäude heute. Aber ich glaube das die Kosten für solch ähnliches Arbeiten heute wurde sehr hoch.
Dieses Buch ist nicht ein die man von Anfang bis Schluss lest, sondern mehr als ein Handbuch für Inspiration benützen.
Es kann auch wie ein Dokument über ein Architektonisches Periode, heute noch in viele Städte in Central Europa deutlich sichtbar gelesen werden.
Ich möchte das Buch allein auf Basis die phantastische Illustrationen empfehlen, aber ich habe es auch als Handbuch benützt, bei Konstruktion einen Treppe.
There’s only one reason the Handworks 2015 event is going forward. This unique gathering of woodworking enthusiasts somehow caught lightning in a bottle last time around in 2013. That’s no small fete, as that first event seemingly broke all the rules. No slick marketing plan, no big corporate underwriters, and they held it out in the middle of a cornfield in Iowa.
Yet somehow it was like that memorable pickup ballgame when you were a kid. The one that went past sundown just for the pure joy of playing. It won’t be easy to catch that magic the second time but the ingredients are there. Most of the toolmakers are returning as well as some new ones who kicked themselves for missing last time. In addition there will be ongoing demos and the chance to pick the brains of some really accomplished toolmakers and artisans. If that weren’t enough there will be a unique showing of the iconic Studley Tool Chest in near by Cedar Rapids. Click the link below for details on tickets to get your Studley on.
I’ll be there and look forward to seeing you. Don’t miss it!
George R. Walker
On Tuesday we will begin selling our first-ever sweatshirt: A 100-percent cotton American Apparel zip hooded sweatshirt that features a hand-drawn logo by artist Joshua Minnich. The sweatshirt will be available in small, medium, large, XL and 2XL. The cost will be $45.
Though this seems a small thing – selling a sweatshirt – this product represents almost seven weeks of work for John and me. I had the easy part – working with the artist on the logo. Since August, John has been trying to reconfigure our supply chain for apparel so it’s like our supply chain for our books.
John got us very close to the source and cut out several layers of people who do nothing but pass on expenses. As a result, this sweatshirt will be $45 – a very good price for a quality American-made sweatshirt – instead of $65.
It’s the same strategy we use to ensure our books are competitive.
With any luck, we will be able to lower prices on our hats and T-shirts in the near future, thanks to John’s diligent work.
I’m wearing one of the prototype sweatshirts right now. The logo is fantastic; I like the way the zipper passes right through the compass. And the sweatshirt is as soft as the thigh of emu.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. I know these questions will come up: I’m afraid these are the only sizes available to us from the factory. And we are still not able to sell apparel internationally; we hope that day will come.
Filed under: Products We Sell
Recently I ran into someone who expressed dismay that the upcoming exhibit Henry O.Studley Tool Cabinet and Workbench was sold out.
“Where did you get that idea?” I asked.
“I tried going in to buy mine on the second day they were available and had no luck, so I figured it was sold out.” Convinced of the unavailability he had never returned to see the status of the exhibit or its web site.
I reassured him that this was an artifact of the total meltdown of the web site in the first hour of tickets going on sale several months ago. If he returns to the site, all is well and functional.
It occurred to me that others might be thinking the same thing, hence this post to remind everyone.
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.
Spread the word.
Our final day for the recent Boullework marquetry workshop included wrapping up our sawing,
assembling the finished patterns,
and gluing them down to supports.
For small compositions I am a big believer in using bricks as free-floating dead weights to hold them steady while the glue sets. I think these will be used as project starters in the future.
The students also had time to examine their tordonshell they made on the first day, which had air dried until the end of the second day and then spent the final night and day in the dessication chamber. Thus they had their own pieces to take with them, along with the leftovers from the pieces I’d made for the workshop. They’ve got plenty of tordonshell to experiment with several new projects.
I also allowed them to practice with two important tools. First, the chevalet,
and second, the Knew Concepts precision saw (full disclosure — I often collaborate with Knew to give my two cents about developing new tools and uses for those tools).
A grand time was had by all, and I enjoyed it immensely. I look forward to the next time I teach this workshop.
I have long been a fan of HNT Gordon planes from Australia and I'm delighted to be offering these four tools from their range. I have made a bulk purchase to get the very best price and I'll be passing this on. The radius plane is £99, the flat spokeshave and shoulder plane are £109 (each!) and the curved sole shave is £114.
The wood used is Gidgee a very hard and dense wood from the Aussie outback. All the spokeshaves in this batch have a nice figuring to the wood. Some of the planes also have nice figure, first come first served!
The machining on the brass is superb and both shaves have nice tight mouths. This combined with the 55 degree bed angle means they perform with no tearout even on the nastiest of woods. These new spokeshaves are made to be used on hardwoods.
The shoulder plane I have picked to sell is the 3/4" model. It feels nice in the hand and is the right size for delicate as well as larger work. The iron is bedded at 60 degrees so again no tearout.
All are neatly branded and finished superbly.
Detail of the shoulder plane's tight mouth.
The radius plane is a fairly specialised tool, with a sole curved in both directions. Ideal for chair seats, I've used one to make a very nice textured surface on a door panel. It feels great in the hand and again the fit and finish are flawless.
The iron is hollow ground so maintained the radius on sharpening is made much easier.
I just finished the binder read-through for the December 2014 issue, and in it, Mary May has an article titled “Woodcarving Basics.” Therein, she shares the tools and techniques you need for a successful start in carving, and one of her suggestions was so interesting that it caused me to pick up an iron for the first time in…I don’t know how long. (We share office space with our parent […]
Bob Van Dyke (who doesn’t know which way is up) http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/2014/07/30/bob-van-dyke-doesnt-know-which-end-is-up/
tells me we had some folks who had to drop out at the last minute in the class there this weekend. Saturday through Monday, we’ll carved and join a frame & panel. It amounts to the fundamentals of joiner’s work, but with less work than attempting to make some stupid joined chest in a week, like I tried this summer!
Watch Bob coil in horror as everything we carve looks like a face to him. It’s gonna rain Saturday anyway, so why not c0me in & work some oak? This is a class with sawn stock; but the quartered oak we picked for panels is out of this world. I’ll show how I rive a piece of red oak too…
call or email Bob – I’ll be there Saturday bright & early…
Due to disturbances there have been several things that we’ve worked on and mentioned that were left half done. Now that we’re settled in to our new workshop we’re both feeling reinvigorated and very much excited about picking things back up, finishing them off, and starting anew. Here’s an update on what’s being worked upon and what’s around the corner.
The Bench Video – This is Richard’s endlessly long 12′ English workbench. The build was started earlier this year and we took the time to film every stage so that it could be made in to our first premium video. At present we have many hours of footage waiting patiently on a hard drive, and I’m slowly but surely editing my way through.
This won’t be available until next year, however if you like workbenches and building by hand it will be well worth the wait.
The Website – I began working on a redesign of the blog last year to give it a facelift. I became distracted by the purchase of some barns and our ideas changed along the way. A fresh redesign is almost complete and we’ve aimed at keeping things pretty but straight forward, with some important improvements for viewing on small mobile screens, and some expansion room for adding extras down the line.
The Workbenches – Our bread and butter, the workbenches have had a big upheaval due to our move but are seemingly happy in their new home. The designs have been re-tweaked over the years until we felt that they were just right, but we’ve considered streamlining the range slightly since our move, and shall provide more details as soon as any decisions are made.
The Beginner – My journey of getting started in woodwork has been continuing and I’ve been loving it. I’ve restored a handful of tools so far, and with good guidance I’ve been able to get them working wonderfully. So good in fact, that when I can’t find them I know they’re on Richard’s bench or in his hand – so much for having my own personal set of tools.
I’ll resume shortly with some details of how I’m getting on.
The Book – Apparently we’re writing a book… or at least I hope the rumors are true because we’re pounding on with it. This one really is exciting!
What the hell is a halfback saw and why would I need one?
This is but one of the questions I usually get peppered with whenever I post this image in a social media channel. The half back is offensive and annoying to many who feel they have just figured out which saws they need in their nest only to have their world rocked with this hybrid abomination. It doesn’t fit nicely into their segregated world of back saws for joinery and backless saws for dimensioning.
It was this odd ball nature that drew me to this saw. The fact that they were produced from 1860 until the 1920s tells me they weren’t some kind of fluke or gimmick (though production runs were low). Since I’m forever experimenting with old tools in the hopes of discovering a forgotten technique or process this saw seemed like a perfect opportunity. I believe there are only 2 modern makers of this saw, Wenzloff (not sure they are making it anymore) and Bontz, and the Disston originals are hard to find. I called my buddy Ron Bontz up since I was already swooning over his other saws and placed my order. That was more than a year ago and I think it is safe to call my experiment complete.
My intention isn’t to review specifically this Bontz saw, but rather focus on the type of saw and how it might find a use in your shop. But since I know the questions will come, let me reveal the specifics of this particular saw. From my research this is a pretty typical geometry for a half back saw.
- 18″ long
- 9 ppi
- Crosscut filed with 15° and 20° of fleam
Results may vary from one maker to another but let me be clear in that I don’t think that is something to worry about. While I love Ron’s saws, he isn’t sprinkling them with a special fairy dust that will make it perform any better than another saw with the same care and attention to detail put into it’s make. However, I do think Ron’s study of hang angles would give him a slight advantage in head to head tests depending on how you want to use your half back. (more on that later)
One Saw to Rule Them All
The easiest thing to say about this saw is it is like the Jack plane of saws. Or perhaps the Sham-Wow of saws. It slices, it dices, it watches the kids on date night. It is a viable contender in the single saw contest and I have been giving it a healthy work out. I built my treadle lathe almost entirely with this half back saw. Over the past summer I loaded this saw into my tool tote and took it with me to the Steppingstone Museum each weekend as well as any time I had work to do out of my shop. If you look closely at any of my videos in the last year you will find this saw featured prominently. In most cases it was the only saw I took with me. In August when I traveled up to Maine to build a trestle dining table, I took this saw and a carcass saw. Truly I could have left the carcass saw at home. Not only did I rip 10/4 Walnut with it, I cut massive tenons, bridle joints, and breadboard tenons.
Let ‘er Rip
The saw didn’t flinch at any of these tasks and performed them admirably. If it faltered at all if was during ripping. Yes it was a bit tedious for the 7 foot rips in 10/4 Walnut but that is to be expected of any 9 ppi saw. The gullets are just too small to effectively clear the sawdust here so it is slow. It did however track a line perfectly and when I tipped it up almost vertically in the cut, it picked up speed substantially. My end result was a dead straight and plumb cut that was clean enough to only need 4 or 5 pass with the jointer plane to be ready for glue. Along a 7′ length that easily surpasses any results I ever got from my bandsaw. The size of this saw makes it a close competitor to the panel saws (20-24″ saws) in that it really excels in material already surfaced and in thicknesses under 1-1 1/4″. These panel saws are so named since they are employed to dimension a panel rather than break down rough stock like your typical “hand saw” (24″ and greater). So making long rips in thick stock is taking the half back out of its element. It performed well but not as efficient as I like to work. However when I used the saw “properly” for cutting 7/8 and 3/4″ thick boards to final length or panels to size it worked like a dream. The perfect combination of fast cutting and dead accurate, clean cuts.
Where the half back really made a difference was with panels where a longer cross cut needed to be made. The 18″ plate quickly started a straight and square kerf over 12, 15, or 20″ panels without thought. Normally for longer cross cuts like this I would use my 14″ Sash saw or grab my 20″ panel saw. The half back was a happy combination of the stiff precision of my Sash and fast action of my Panel saw and now it is my go to any time I’m cross cutting something wider than about 8″ and need a close to finish cut.
No where was this accuracy and efficiency with long cross cuts more apparent than cutting the shoulders of breadboard tenons on a 36″ wide dining table. I wanted this cut to be dead accurate not only across the top but also in depth. It is here where Ron’s chose of hang angle made such a difference. This particular saw likes to have a lot of teeth in the cut and it glides nicely when the tooth line is parallel to the surface. So making a cut to a precise depth across the entire 36″ surface was super simple and quick with this particular saw. Honestly I could see adding this saw to your kit for breadboards alone.
The real game changer was how it handled joinery, big joinery. With long tenons and deep half laps usually a tenon saw can start the cut but I would have to switch to a back less saw to take the kerf to my baselines. Even the biggest tenon and sash saws will bottom out around 3-4″. The half back has over 5″ of plate under the back up by the handle and the stiffness there is excellent for starting a cut but also it translates down the plate to make even the toe very stiff and responsive. I use this saw opposite of how I use my back saws in that I start the cut with the heel of the saw instead of the toe. Once my kerf is established then I switch to using the entire plate to quickly blow through the wood all the way to my baseline. If you are working with a joint that requires more depth than what is under the back then you truncate your stroke and use only the backless front part of the plate. In other instances, it wasn’t a necessarily big joint to be cut but something in a hard to reach area like the edges of my breadboard tenons that were set just far enough in from the edges that only a backless saw would reach to the line.
Now perhaps you just don’t cut a lot of big joints then the half back as a joinery saw might not make sense. This is just overkill for dovetails or typical tenons. I tried it anyway (I had too, its for science) and I ended up with great joints. But it is just silly to use such a big plate and aggressive pitch to cut fine joints like dovetails. Maybe it is just my choice of projects over the last year but I was surprised just how many times I ran across a joint that was too big for my regular nest of back saws. Angled joints in particular get real hairy and require plenty of depth beneath the back. Being able to rely on this saw over one of my panel saws made these joint go much easier.
The Ironing is Delicious
On the whole, while the half back appears specialized for big joints, the utility nature of a saw that can be used throughout a build, and the best in class performance on long cross cuts really makes this one of the most valuable saws in my nest. Ironically despite the odd, neanderthal nature of this saw, I think it would be most valuable in a power tool user’s shop. A shop where machines are used for rough work and a hand saw would never be considered. Those guys don’t have the hand and panel saws to fall back on when joints get big and oddly angled and their delicate joinery saws don’t have the capacity. Having a single saw in your shop that can handle any of these tasks is quite attractive to the power focused woodworker. Looking at it another way, the half back could be an excellent entry point for the woodworker looking to use hand saws more frequently. Rather than buying several specializes models, a single utility player is much more appropriate.
So I didn’t uncover any trade secrets from the last few centuries in my experiment, but I made a new friend that I can rely upon in my saw til. It doesn’t hurt that this particular saw is a pretty thing to look at either.
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. Chopping Tools The primitive “chopping tool”, which was hardly more than a wedge, has been differentiated into three modern hand tools, the chisel…the ax, Fig. 139, and the adze, Fig. 141. The ax has also been differentiated into the hatchet, with a […]
The post “Handwork in Wood” – Wood Hand Tools, Part Eight: Chopping and Scraping Tools appeared first on Heritage School of Woodworking Blog.
Thanks to a solid month of volunteer work, there are now complete transcripts of “The Naked Woodworker” available for Lost Art Press customers.
These transcripts are ideal for woodworkers with impaired hearing or who simply want to check the dimensions from the videos before they make a cut. The transcripts are in three documents: Two documents for the video on tools. And one document for the video on building a sawbench and workbench.
If you already purchased the DVD or video from Lost Art Press, you were sent an e-mail this morning notifying you that the product has been updated and that you can download the new version (so check your e-mail). The new version contains a folder with the transcripts.
And all new customers will automatically receive the transcripts with every order.
If you purchased “The Naked Woodworker” from one of our retailers, send us a note and we will send you the transcripts via e-mail.
Transcribing a technical video takes a lot of time. So please thank Suzanne Ellison for creating the transcription and Mike Siemsen for proofing it. This was weeks of 100-percent volunteer work to assist one reader. And every customer will benefit as a result.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: The Naked Woodworker DVD