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.
The Netherlands do have a remarkable past for such a small country. Especially during the 17th century a major part of European trade ran through our markets and towns. A bunch of merchants became incredibly rich. And they liked to show it. Naturaly my attention was drawn to the many furniture exhibits. And I must say, I didn't find inspiration for my own home. Almost everything on display is way over the top. The craftmanship to produce stuff like this is incredible, but when you live in a low budget house made in the fifties, it is hard to imagine how anyone could fit things like this in their homes. So, just for the fun of it, some images. You can also find many pictures on the website from the museum https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/search
Later, in the hall with the medieval stuff I did find some interesting things. Not necessarily for a reproduction, but I like these items.
And of course, let's not forget the tools from the expedition which stranded on Nova Zembla.
In the past few years we’ve had some great new content hitting the airwaves, both online and via traditional broadcast television. Some might even refer to it as a glut of information in this age of YouTube and Podcasts, but I say it’s exactly what we’ve been needing for a long time.
There are so many stories to be told, so much inspiration to be discovered, and so many ideas to be shared that the hardest part of getting it in front of an audience is finding the right person to tell the story.
One of the new shows I’ve had my eye on currently is “A Craftsman’s Legacy” with host Eric Gorges.
It’s currently available on PBS, but like many shows that are broadcast through Public Television it may not show up in your market right away. Thankfully at the show’s website they have a search you can do to see when and where it’s on.
Much of the reason I have an interest in A Craftsman’s Legacy is that the host, Eric Gorges, is from the Motor City. While people who never grew up in and around Detroit only have an image of a corrupt, broken down, dangerous inner city, I know personally it’s much more than that.
I grew up in the Northern suburbs, Ferndale and the Troy/Royal Oak area, and Detroit was always the heart of education, museums, nightlife and so much more. It’s where you went to see and be a part of culture. It’s where you went for amazing food and to see inspiring ideas.
But it wasn’t until my last few years in college that I lived downtown and had a chance to see and experience both its gritty side and its beauty. Both of which inspired me in so many different ways.
So in a way I can relate to Eric, and understand what inspires him and why he’s sharing the artists and craftspeople he visits with in each episode.
A Craftsman’s Legacy isn’t a show just about woodworking, and it’s not a how-to show, instead it’s an journey to meet inspiring people who just might inspire you.
For more information about Eric, the show, and to see clips of the various craftspeople and artists he’s visiting, head over to the show’s website at www.craftsmanslegacy.com.
Inspiration comes to us from places we never expect. It comes to us from ideas, people and conversations that often have nothing to do with our existing passions. So sit back and enjoy the journey with Eric.
On Sunday the 19th of October, I was able to sit in on a class taught by Frank Klausz, one of the woodworking world’s luminary figures. Frank taught a seminar on hand-tool joinery and covered the three major types of dovetails: open, half-lap, and sliding, along with mortise and tenon joints. Frank demonstrated his techniques for cutting the joints, the proper use of each joint, when and where you would use the joint and talked about several other topics. In my life, I have had the opportunity to take some classes from masters of various crafts. As a cellist I was able to attend a class given by Yo-Yo-Ma; as a writer I was able to attend a symposium by several amazing writers. The class given by Frank was no different – it is always a breathtaking experience to watch a true master at work.
We started off early on Sunday morning, sitting in the parking lot of Highland Woodworking and eating some breakfast. At around 8:45, the majority of us had arrived and we wandered into the store before class got started. Frank was hard at work already, prepping some stock for his demonstrations and drawing a few diagrams on the white board. At 9:00am Frank welcomed us all to the class and began what has become one of my favorite experiences with woodworking so far.
Starting off we discussed the 4 quadrants of woodworking as Frank views them: wood technology, tools, joinery and finish. When Frank talks about wood technology, what he means is to understand the medium you are working in. We all know wood moves, but we have to understand how and why wood behaves the way it does so that we can think about the proper way to lay out a table top and the best way to make a joint. The wood itself is the foundation of our work, and as woodworkers we have to know, to the best of our ability, what that wood is going to do.
The second quadrant of Frank’s woodworking seminar was a discussion of tools, both power tools and hand tools. Frank is what I call a hybrid woodworker, someone who incorporates both power tools and hand tools to make his pieces. We talked about tools, what young woodworkers should look for, advice on what tools to buy, and overall, an approach to your tools that will allow them to last for generations. Frank laid out one of my favorite quotes from this seminar about tools when we were discussing hand planes, and specifically Lie-Nielsen tools:
When you purchase a tool like a Lie Nielsen hand plane, or other fine woodworking tool, you are not the owner; you are the custodian of that tool. Tools such as those are heirlooms that you will pass down through the generations, we do not own them, we hold onto them for the woodworkers that will come after us.
We went through a demonstration of sharpening as well. Frank illustrated the way he sharpens his plane irons and his chisels. We talked about the various types of stones and grinders that are available and how best to utilize each. Frank demonstrated that the best jigs you have are your own hands – if you pause and take the time to think about things, to feel the tool in your hands, you often don’t need a special jig. It was brilliant to watch as he took a dull and rounded plane iron from dull to sharp in a matter of minutes.
Throughout the class, Frank told stories and anecdotes about his life as a woodworker and life in general. Frank is one of those speakers who often will wander off on a tangent, telling a story about something that has happened in the past, or that seems un-related but they always circle back to the project at hand and the discussion as a whole. Frank’s stories leave you feeling richer and more enlightened about the world of woodworking. We moved on to the third quadrant of joinery and Frank discussed his thoughts on when to use a joint, and the proper place for joints within a piece. There was a lot of information there, about the differences between reproduction and fine furniture, about Frank’s opinion on when to use which joints, and what it means when you experiment. Frank has some solid opinions, and I got the impression that there is a wrong way to do things, and there is Frank’s way of doing things.
When we discussed the fourth quadrant of finishing, Frank made another point that will stick with me as I continue my woodworking journey. The finish is one of the most important parts. Often times as woodworkers we build a piece and then slap a quick finish on it and call it a day. When we spend so much of our time and effort on a piece, we should spend an equal amount of time and effort on the finish. That finish is what defines the piece in the end, and using cheap hardware or a slap-dash finish can take a wonderful piece and ruin it. It reminded me I want to look into the Finishing the Finish class that Highland offers.
After the whirlwind tour of Frank’s four woodworking quadrants we moved on to the demonstration portions. Frank showed us how he cuts dovetails, how he lays them out pins first, and how he uses gravity to help him mark the tails. We then discussed sliding dovetails, how they develop a watertight joint when they are properly made. Frank showed us the box he uses for his honing stones and how, with no sealer or glue, he is able to craft a water-tight box. Once we were done admiring the wooden gasket that Frank demonstrated for us, we moved on to lunch. Let me tell you, one of the great things about classes at Highland is that you can go out to lunch with folks like Frank Klausz, and you get a pretty decent hamburger as well.
When we returned from lunch we went back over the dovetails for a bit, and Frank gave every member of the class an example of how he cuts them, so that we could take it home and practice. We then moved on to mortise and tenon joints. Frank explained why you need a mortising chisel and why you need to cut your tenons a little shallow, to allow for wood movement. We discussed the advantages of tools like Festool’s Domino Joiner and the applications of domino joints versus traditional hand-cut joints.
The class ended with more stories and anecdotes from Frank, discussions of life, of the world outside of wood, and of how woodworking impacts all of us. The advice and knowledge I took away from this class made me a better woodworker. It also showed me a path to advance my woodworking and transform the way I do certain things. Not often do you get the opportunity to sit at the feet of a Master, but when you do you take it. I cannot recommend highly enough that you keep an eye on the class listings at Highland Woodworking and that when an opportunity like this presents itself you leap upon it.
The post Frank Klausz at Highland: Watching a True Master at Work appeared first on Woodworking Blog.
I was relaxing a few days ago reading an article in the October issue of Fine Woodworking entitled "Build Perfect Drawers" which had a section called "Wood matters, a lot" that contained this statement (p. 45):
So if you need a 1/16"-gap at the top of a drawer made with the pine, [for flatsawn white oak] you'd need to leave a gap that's five times as big: a whopping 5/16 in.I omit their development of this conclusion but I don't think I am taking it out of context or misrepresenting it. I reacted with incredulity, thinking that, even though my white oak is rift sawn, a gap anywhere close to this would make the drawers look absolutely awful. How could this be? White oak would shrink a full quarter of an inch more than pine on a 3" drawer? I've owned white oak furniture and I never saw anything like this. After doing some research, I think the article is incorrect and I want to provide an explanation. The silver lining for me is that I think I understand this subject fairly well now but, if you think I am wrong, please, please comment below.
The best treatment of this subject I could find is by the National Wood Flooring Association (NOFMA), which you can find here. It is worth reading, but I'll give you the short version.
Wood reaches an equilibrium moisture content (EMC) based on its environment, not instantaneously but with a lag. I am discussing indoor furniture so it is the indoor environment that is relevant here. The indoor environment is influenced by the outdoor environment but it is obviously not the same. A sufficiently sophisticated HVAC system could maintain constant indoor environmental conditions year round regardless of the local climate and, if it did, the wood would not expand and contract. In reality indoor conditions do vary with the seasons so the question is how much the EMC of wood indoors changes in reality. The USDA Forest Products laboratory (FPL) has done empirical studies and produced a map showing ranges for different regions of the country. As it happens, both my son and I live in an area with extreme variation, the west coast along the Pacific Ocean, where the average range of EMC is 8-13%. There are the usual problems with averages, but the map is pretty detailed. So, we would expect the equilibrium moisture content to vary by 5 percentage points during the year in this region.
How much shrinkage and expansion will result from this 5 percentage point variation in EMC? Once again the FPL has developed coefficients based on wood species. For white oak, they are .00365 for plainsawn lumber and .00180 for quartersawn lumber. To use them you multiply the coefficient by the percentage change in EMC and multiply the result by the width of the piece of wood. I have rift sawn lumber so it is reasonable to choose the midpoint of plain sawn and quarter sawn coefficients, which is .00273, multiply it by 5 (percentage points) and multiply the result by 3" (the height of my drawers) for an expected shrinkage/expansion of .04", a bit more than 1/32"!
If you don't care to do the calculations by hand, Woodweb offers an online shrinkage calculator here. It provides results consistent with those above. For example, predicted shrinkage for a 3" flatsawn white oak drawer is .0563" vs. .0548" using the coefficient above.
Maybe my seat of the pants method isn't so bad after all. There is a rub though. I really need to know my starting point. What was the moisture content of my lumber when I built the drawer? After all, it could be at the high point, the low point, in between or even, conceivably, outside of the range. Given the time of the year, I guessed that the EMC was at the bottom end of the range so I made the drawer a little loose. In order to do any better, I will need to buy a moisture meter. Maybe the gap will be a little too big. Doesn't really matter. My son just graduated from law school so he should be used to big gaps by now! :-)
Diwali is a special time of the year - a time to get together with friends and near ones, celebrate our good fortune and light up the world with good wishes and offerings of thanks.
|With Diwali Presents|
This year we got boxes of cakes, cermaic mugs and steel bowls for our maids, the gardener, the street cleaners, the garbage collectors and postmen. My wife got a few DVDs and I got a load of tools.
The most expensive buy was a Bosch cut off saw for cutting metal - I had this on my list for many months because I plan to cover my first floor terrace with metal roofing on a steel framework. The list price of the saw is more than 13,000 rupees but I got a deal for Rs 7,500.
The other goodies include a Mitutoyo Vernier Caliper, a Stanley smooth cut general purpose saw, a couple of Stanley metal working files, a holesaw and some paint brushes.
As you can see I am mighty pleased with the Diwali goodies.
Write in with details of what you bought this Diwali - and happy tidings to all of you.
Don't fortget to light candles and oil lamps, and keep your door open all evening to let in good fortune.
May the Goddess Lakshmi shower blessings on you!
22 October 2014
If we planned to market “L’art du menuisier: The Book of Plates” to a second genus, it would likely be to the Corvus of the world – the crows. Not only do these birds appreciate shiny objects, but they have been observed both using and making tools (unlike some members of online forums).
Suzanne “Saucy Indexer” Ellison has been spending her free time transforming pre-press proofs of “The Book of Plates” into an art project. Here are her latest images.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Personal Favorites, To Make as Perfectly as Possible, Roubo Translation