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An aggregate of many different woodworking blog feeds from across the 'net all in one place!  These are my favorite blogs that I read everyday...

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Great Wall of Easton – in progress

Bob Easton - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 5:49am

No, it’s not woodworking … nor woodcarving … nor (especially not) DIY.

apr-8-wall-1-1600

apr-8-wall-1-1600

apr-8-wall-2-1600

apr-8-wall-2-1600

apr-8-wall-3-1600

apr-8-wall-3-1600

apr-8-wall-4-1600

apr-8-wall-4-1600

apr-8-wall-5-1600

apr-8-wall-5-1600

apr-8-wall-6-1600

apr-8-wall-6-1600

The back story of why it’s been “in progress” for 6 months will come later.

 

Categories: Carving and Sculpture

Yandles Show

Philsville: Philip Edwards - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 5:16am
Hi Folks
I'll be attending the Yandles Spring Woodworking Show in Martock, Somerset  (near Yeovil) this coming weekend (Friday 11th and Saturday 12th April). It's a great show to visit (especially as its free entry and parking) and it is set in the grounds of a real working sawmill, so there is lots of interesting stuff to see as well as the tools! I'll be on the Classic Hand Tools stand so do drop by for a chat if you are attending.

News......I have a new apprentice! Steve has been helping me out over the years on the occasional project (as well as being a friend for twenty something years!) and has a skill set which meshes nicely with my own. He will be taking on stock preparation and milling up irons to allow me to catch up a little with the order list. We hope to introduce some exciting new products and planes in the coming year and I am genuinely excited at the prospect of having someone to work alongside me - sometimes even I get board of talking to myself ;)



Planes...you may have noticed that some more planes have been added to the site. I now offer the Fore plane and Try plane as standard items, both excellent planes for the preparation and truing of timber. And I have also added the Dovetail plane as a standard item - this is for cutting the male part of sliding dovetails and features adjustable fences to allow a wide variety of sizes to be cut.

Back to the bench....

Philly
Categories: Hand Tools

Sunil Chetiwal: Hobbyist Innovator

The Indian DIY & Woodworker - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 5:05am

Innovation is at the heart of woodworking. Artisans for thousands of years have attempted to solve complex problems using nothing but the simplest of tools and their ingenuity. Innovation for the Indian hobbyist woodworker is the key to solving complex problems without investing in complex machinery and jigs.

A Delhi-based hobbyist woodworker, Sunil Chetiwal, recently wrote in with photographs of his innovations: a homemade table saw and a drill press stand. Both work perfectly and he can get precision at a fraction of the cost of a regular table saw and drill press stand.

The table saw was done in less than a week, he says. "I made this design in 3 days (one night for design 11:00 pm to 4:00 am) and two days for making, during which I made lots of changes and additions. To suit my needs I added a magnet holder for dust cover and a magnet holder for the saw blade changing tool which needs to be stored inside. The design provides for rattle free working. Our guests never notice it while sitting in the living room."

The series of photographs taken by him tell the whole story.








Chetiwal adds that he did not compromise on the cutting height of the blade by making the table top out of Aluminium sheet used in building facades.



He also made this drill press stand to "make 90 degree accurate holes by drill machine in wooden blocks". The stand is light and easy to hide. He says the "holes in the aluminium plates are watertight (done on lathe machine) and thickness (6 sheet of 4mm "Alucobond, aluminium composite panel 3 layer each makes 18 layers of different material) ensures the perfect up & down movement by hand only. I also have installed depth gauge in it to prevent damage from sudden drop & to adjust drill hole depth."

Chetiwal has been forced to make these innovations as he like most of us lacks space and cannot have machinery lying around the living area which he shares with his wife and small child.

Sunil Chetiwal is a a Country Manger Social Compliance & Ethical Standards doing audits for the last 12 years. He is a hobbyist DIY who works with electrical stuff, thermacol, wood and metal. He has made some great projects (see pix below) and plans to share his work with us. We can only wish him best of luck.




Indranil Banerjie
8 April 2014






Categories: Hand Tools

The Good Dr.’s Medicine Chest – Part Five

The Unplugged Woodshop - Tom Fidgen - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 4:21am
  Rolling right along with the Good Dr.’s Medicine Chest project, this is already Part Five in the series! In this video, we’ll see the rear box panel assembled using a sandwich method of construction. This sandwich method, went a little bit like this - Begin...
Categories: Hand Tools

English Mortise Chisels -Part 2 - Mid-18th Century to Now - What the Catalogs Tell Us

Tools For Working Wood - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 4:00am
Click here for Part 1 and the introduction to this series.
Mortise chisels as a special named category of chisels date from at least the mid-17th century. Moxon's "Mechanick Exercises" has both a drawing and instructions for chopping a mortise using them. However, most of the specific information that we have on mortise chisels (actually on most tools) comes from old tool catalogs. The earliest tool catalog with illustrations is "Smith's Key" from 1816. Engravings of tools at the time were very expensive and "The Key" is a generic list of illustrations that any manufacturer or distributor could pair with a price list to show the customer what they were getting. This worked because while there were differences in minor details of quality and fit and finish, by and large all the tools of a type from Sheffield were basically of the same design. For example in this photo, these two very late 18th century or early 19th mortise chisels by Joseph Mitchell and Phillip Law, both Sheffield edge tool makers, are essentially the same and in theory could even have been actually made for each company by the same actual craftsman. The modern reprint of "Smith's Key" is bound in with a rare, actually unique price list listing the tools in the key and their prices from James Cam, another Sheffield manufacturer. The best guess anyone has is that the price list dates from at least five to as much as twenty five years after the list was originally printed. This gives you a good idea of how expensive the engravings were duplicate at the time.

All the catalogs I consulted list the following options: "Mortice Chisels", "Best Joiner's Mortice Chisels","Best Cabinet Mortice Chisels", and "Socketed Mortice Chisels". By 1884 the James Howarth catalog also lists "[Solid] Cast Steel Mortice Chisels" and "Best Joiner's Chisels - Handled". Also listed in that catalog are "Sash Mortice Chisels".

"Socketed Mortise Chisels" are really heavy, have a giant socket (not like the demure sockets of the 20th century Stanley 750 derivatives), and are too rough and rare to be a viable chisel for people to used for general mortising.
"Sash Mortise Chisels" are shorter, lighter, and ground parallel. They arrive on the scene in the 1850's era, are tanged, with a ferruled handle. They are very handy for doing the shallow mortises needed in window sashes, but are downright frustrating to use on full size mortises.

It's the first three types of Mortise chisels that are of interest to us today. "Mortice Chisels", "Best Joiner's", and "Best Cabinet" all have tapered oval or (sometimes on very early samples) octagonal handles that butt up against oval, octagonal, or semi-oval bolsters (for an illustration defining these terms see part one of this series). The early versions (mid-18th century to early 19th) might have octagonal bolsters but the overwhelming survivors have oval bolsters of one quality or another. A fair number of the earlier mortise chisels I have have squarish bolsters that were rounded off without being actually oval.

Other than the illustrations I don't know of any contemporary distinction between these three types of chisels. The price between the regular mortise chisels and "Best joiner's or cabinetmakers" is nearly double. Joiner's and cabinetmaker's mortise chisels are priced the same and where shown, share an illustration. The surviving catalogs are all wholesale to the trade so it's very possible that the latter two styles are identical, but are listed separately to account for what customers were used to ordering.

In theory the bolster, the wide ring of steel at the base of the chisel where the handle butts up against and transfers the force of the mallet blow to the steel needs to be flat on the tang side so that the handle will neatly and evenly bed down into it. Some samples I own are like this, others are far rougher and flush fitting a handle without a leather washer would have been pretty hard. This could account for some of price difference.

Smith's key shows the cheaper style as having octagonal bolsters but later catalogs do not. Some of the earlier catalogs show the cheaper style with a not quite oval bolster but certainly not an octagonal one. Some catalogs show the cheaper style with a thin bolster and the "Best" with a thick one - almost double in thickness. In any case I can't see anyone paying nearly double for a cosmetic change. Thin is more elegant than thick and it's less expensive. Octagonal is harder to make than actually oval, the sort or rounded rectangles are easier still. It is far more likely that the price difference was about differences in the length of the welded on steel cutting edge, and if the edge was cast steel or less expensive blister steel. I suppose it is also possible that once you have decided to use cast steel and made a higher grade tool the fit and finish needs to be better all around. So no matter if the bolsters are thick or thin the better grade would be better ground to receive a handle. But there is no contemporary documentation that I know of that supports or refutes this.

The theory that the better chisels used cast steel is made more convincing by the 1884 James Howarth catalog. This catalog not only lists the three usual options, it also lists a version in "solid cast steel" (the price list above and the illustration below are both from Howarth) and at a much higher price, handled chisels, which were double the price of an unhandled one. You pay more for real features, not cosmetic ones.

Another point that also supports this is that bolsters of all chisels up until the mid 19th century were usually elegant octagons. Oval bolsters are easier to make because they don't need to be symmetric, but they really reflect a newer style. Considering the conservative nature of toolmakers it is very possible what we are seeing in "The Key" is a older style chisel made of blister steel by an old time maker, and a more expensive chisel made by some more modern maker using cast steel who at the same time modernized the look.

It doesn't matter. As long as the heat treat of a mortise chisel hasn't been damaged, or the chisel worn past its steel edge it will work fine.

The pricing difference between the types of chisels is typical of all the catalogs I consulted. For 1 dozen (these are all wholesale catalogs) 1/4" mortise chisels you had the following options (in shillings / pence)

Common Mortise8/3
Best Jointer's and Cabinet Mortise14/0
Best Jointer's and Cabinet Mortise - handled 23/0
Cast Steel Cabinet Mortise16/0
London Sash Mortise Chisels16/0


Sizing (and this is important):
All the catalogs list mostise chisel widths from 1/8" to 5/8" by 1/16"s and (the early catalogs especially also list 5/8" - 1" by 1/8". Sizes over 5/8" are pretty rare, and largely useless for regular cabinetmaking. Driving a chisel that wide is hard. The reason for the 1/16" gradations, at a time when bench chisels were only available in 1/8" increments, was that the usual way of making a mortise (as documented by Moxon in 1678 but almost nowhere else) was that you would gauge the lines of the mortise to whatever size you wished, or the exact size of an existing tenon, then select the next smaller size mortise chisel. With at most 1/32" waste left on the sides, you could chop a mortise very very quickly, and not too carefully. Then a wide paring chisels, would be placed on the scribe line exactly and trivially peel off the excess to a perfectly dimensioned smooth walled mortise. The 1/8" increment of sizes available for bench chisels would leave too much waste to pare away.

While I mentioned that the very late James Howarth catalog lists handled chisels, retailers certainly offered chisels with handles to their customers all through the 18th and 19th century. Christopher Gabriel, the London planemaker and ironmonger who sold the Seaton chest (one of the very few extant nearly complete late 18th century tool chests) stocked tool handles in his inventory and the mortise chisels (by Law) in the chest are so uniform and professional and little I find it hard to believe that they were not sold to Seaton with handles originally in place.

English style mortise chisels were never made in Continental Europe or in the US. In Europe they use a heavier version of a sash mortise chisel, and in the US even very early on mortising was mostly done by machine, but tool catalogs offered imported English mortise chisels. There is a version of a socketed mortise chisel that was made in the US but I have only seen them listed in catalogs - they are not common in the wild. They are simply heavier versions of regular American style socketed chisels.

Part Three, coming in a few days is about the the manufacture of these chisels, followed next week by part four on handle design and part five on how to install a handle on a mortise or any other type of tanged chisel.


English Mortise Chisels - Mid-18th Century to Now - What the Catalogs Tell Us

Tools For Working Wood - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 4:00am
Click for Part 1 and the introduction to this series.
Mortise chisels as a special named category of chisels date from at least the mid-17th century. Moxon's "Mechanick Exercises" has both a drawing and instructions for chopping a mortise using them. However, most of the specific information that we have on mortise chisels (actually on most tools) comes from old tool catalogs. The earliest tool catalog with illustrations is "Smith's Key" from 1816. Engravings of tools at the time were very expensive and "The Key" is a generic list of illustrations that any manufacturer or distributor could pair with a price list to show the customer what they were getting. This worked because while there were differences in minor details of quality and fit and finish, by and large all the tools of a type from Sheffield were basically of the same design. For example in this photo, these two very late 18th century or early 19th mortise chisels by Joseph Mitchell and Phillip Law, both Sheffield edge tool makers, are essentially the same and in theory could even have been actually made for each company by the same actual craftsman. The modern reprint of "Smith's Key" is bound in with a rare, actually unique price list listing the tools in the key and their prices from James Cam, another Sheffield manufacturer. The best guess anyone has is that the price list dates from at least five to as much as twenty five years after the list was originally printed. This gives you a good idea of how expensive the engravings were duplicate at the time.

All the catalogs I consulted list the following options: "Mortice Chisels", "Best Joiner's Mortice Chisels","Best Cabinet Mortice Chisels", and "Socketed Mortice Chisels". By 1884 the James Howarth catalog also lists "[Solid] Cast Steel Mortice Chisels" and "Best Joiner's Chisels - Handled". Also listed in that catalog are "Sash Mortice Chisels".

"Socketed Mortise Chisels" are really heavy, have a giant socket (not like the demure sockets of the 20th century Stanley 750 derivatives), and are too rough and rare to be a viable chisel for people to used for general mortising.
"Sash Mortise Chisels" are shorter, lighter, and ground parallel. They arrive on the scene in the 1850's era, are tanged, with a ferruled handle. They are very handy for doing the shallow mortises needed in window sashes, but are downright frustrating to use on full size mortises.

It's the first three types of Mortise chisels that are of interest to us today. "Mortice Chisels", "Best Joiner's", and "Best Cabinet" all have tapered oval or (sometimes on very early samples) octagonal handles that butt up against oval, octagonal, or semi-oval bolsters (for an illustration defining these terms see part one of this series). The early versions (mid-18th century to early 19th) might have octagonal bolsters but the overwhelming survivors have oval bolsters of one quality or another. A fair number of the earlier mortise chisels I have have squarish bolsters that were rounded off without being actually oval.

Other than the illustrations I don't know of any contemporary distinction between these three types of chisels. The price between the regular mortise chisels and "Best joiner's or cabinetmakers" is nearly double. Joiner's and cabinetmaker's mortise chisels are priced the same and where shown, share an illustration. The surviving catalogs are all wholesale to the trade so it's very possible that the latter two styles are identical, but are listed separately to account for what customers were used to ordering.

In theory the bolster, the wide ring of steel at the base of the chisel where the handle butts up against and transfers the force of the mallet blow to the steel needs to be flat on the tang side so that the handle will neatly and evenly bed down into it. Some samples I own are like this, others are far rougher and flush fitting a handle without a leather washer would have been pretty hard. This could account for some of price difference.

Smith's key shows the cheaper style as having octagonal bolsters but later catalogs do not. Some of the earlier catalogs show the cheaper style with a not quite oval bolster but certainly not an octagonal one. Some catalogs show the cheaper style with a thin bolster and the "Best" with a thick one - almost double in thickness. In any case I can't see anyone paying nearly double for a cosmetic change. Thin is more elegant than thick and it's less expensive. Octagonal is harder to make than actually oval, the sort or rounded rectangles are easier still. It is far more likely that the price difference was about differences in the length of the welded on steel cutting edge, and if the edge was cast steel or less expensive blister steel. I suppose it is also possible that once you have decided to use cast steel and made a higher grade tool the fit and finish needs to be better all around. So no matter if the bolsters are thick or thin the better grade would be better ground to receive a handle. But there is no contemporary documentation that I know of that supports or refutes this.

The theory that the better chisels used cast steel is made more convincing by the 1884 James Howarth catalog. This catalog not only lists the three usual options, it also lists a version in "solid cast steel" (the price list above and the illustration below are both from Howarth) and at a much higher price, handled chisels, which were double the price of an unhandled one. You pay more for real features, not cosmetic ones.

Another point that also supports this is that bolsters of all chisels up until the mid 19th century were usually elegant octagons. Oval bolsters are easier to make because they don't need to be symmetric, but they really reflect a newer style. Considering the conservative nature of toolmakers it is very possible what we are seeing in "The Key" is a older style chisel made of blister steel by an old time maker, and a more expensive chisel made by some more modern maker using cast steel who at the same time modernized the look.

It doesn't matter. As long as the heat treat of a mortise chisel hasn't been damaged, or the chisel worn past its steel edge it will work fine.

The pricing difference between the types of chisels is typical of all the catalogs I consulted. For 1 dozen (these are all wholesale catalogs) 1/4" mortise chisels you had the following options (in shillings / pence)

Common Mortise8/3
Best Jointer's and Cabinet Mortise14/0
Best Jointer's and Cabinet Mortise - handled 23/0
Cast Steel Cabinet Mortise16/0
London Sash Mortise Chisels16/0


Sizing (and this is important):
All the catalogs list mostise chisel widths from 1/8" to 5/8" by 1/16"s and (the early catalogs especially also list 5/8" - 1" by 1/8". Sizes over 5/8" are pretty rare, and largely useless for regular cabinetmaking. Driving a chisel that wide is hard. The reason for the 1/16" gradations, at a time when bench chisels were only available in 1/8" increments, was that the usual way of making a mortise (as documented by Moxon in 1678 but almost nowhere else) was that you would gauge the lines of the mortise to whatever size you wished, or the exact size of an existing tenon, then select the next smaller size mortise chisel. With at most 1/32" waste left on the sides, you could chop a mortise very very quickly, and not too carefully. Then a wide paring chisels, would be placed on the scribe line exactly and trivially peel off the excess to a perfectly dimensioned smooth walled mortise. The 1/8" increment of sizes available for bench chisels would leave too much waste to pare away.

While I mentioned that the very late James Howarth catalog lists handled chisels, retailers certainly offered chisels with handles to their customers all through the 18th and 19th century. Christopher Gabriel, the London planemaker and ironmonger who sold the Seaton chest (one of the very few extant nearly complete late 18th century tool chests) stocked tool handles in his inventory and the mortise chisels (by Law) in the chest are so uniform and professional and little I find it hard to believe that they were not sold to Seaton with handles originally in place.

English style mortise chisels were never made in Continental Europe or in the US. In Europe they use a heavier version of a sash mortise chisel, and in the US even very early on mortising was mostly done by machine, but tool catalogs offered imported English mortise chisels. There is a version of a socketed mortise chisel that was made in the US but I have only seen them listed in catalogs - they are not common in the wild. They are simply heavier versions of regular American style socketed chisels.

Part Three, coming in a few days is about the the manufacture of these chisels, followed next week by part four on handle design and part five on how to install a handle on a mortise or any other type of tanged chisel.


Hanging wall cabinet, made by George Nakashima out of cherry in...

Giant Cypress - Tue, 04/08/2014 - 3:58am






Hanging wall cabinet, made by George Nakashima out of cherry in 1958, on display at the Newark Museum. The most interesting thing to me is the use of dowel joints alongside the expected dovetails.

Also note that the angles of these dovetails are fairly acute compared to the skinny-pin dovetails seen on many pieces. The pieces that I saw on my visit to the Nakashima workshop showed that this was a fairly consistent practice by George Nakashima.

George II Walnut Ladderback Chair – Part Three

Pegs and 'Tails - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 9:53pm
I came across another Giles Grendey ladderback chair (fig. 1) on display in the London Room of the Handel House Museum (the London home of the baroque composer, George Frideric Handel). Other than the slight difference in the shape of … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

It’s a French Thing

The Furniture Record - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 8:54pm

The French really are different. Or at least their furniture is. I don’t know that many French people. I am uncomfortable making such a broad generalization about the French.

Living in North Carolina, the majority of the antique furniture I see has strong English influences with some German mixed in to make things interesting. When I see an identified piece of French furniture I take note. Dealers tell us that what we see is all “country” French furniture. Apparently French urban furniture is much more sophisticated and refined, so much so that it refuses to get on a ship and cross the Atlantic.

First thing you notice is all the carving. Doors, panels, drawers. They like to carve. (Click pictures to enlarge.)

There be carvings. Everywhere.

There be carvings. Everywhere.

And unique hardware. Here we revisit the frame mounted lock that locks two drawers.

Lock in the middle. High mortise on the left drawer and low bolt to the right. One key locks two drawers. No tiny dovetails here.

Lock in the middle. High mortise on the left drawer and low bolt to the right. One key locks two drawers. No tiny dovetails here.

It there is a hardware person out there that can shed anymore light on this lock, feel free to share.

There is this lightly carved chest with some interesting features.

Alleged 18th century French chest. It's carved, too.

Alleged 18th century French chest. It’s carved, too.

And an interesting strap hinge on the exterior of the chest.

Hinge is attached with clenched nails.

Hinge is attached with clenched nails.

On this chest, the battens are rabbeted onto the end of the lid and not under the lid like on the small boarded chest.

Battens on the end of the lid. Nailed into the end grain . Not up from the bottom and clenched.

Battens on the end of the lid. Nailed into the end grain . Not up from the bottom and clenched.

French furniture also comes with spare parts.

Not sure where they go.

Not sure where they go.

And then there is this desk. What can I say?

I think it speaks for itself.

I think it speaks for itself.

To see the entire set of these pieces and more, click HERE The last two desks are not believed to be French but are in the same shop and interesting. .


Manner of Plaining and Trying - Moxon

L'ébénisterie Créole - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 8:24pm





As a continuation of excerpts from Joseph Moxon's Mechanick Exercises let's take a look at his explanation of Plaining and Trying or rather what we usually refer to as jointing or squaring lumber.

Moxon's ability to construct run-on sentences and write extreme redundancy has little been matched through the ages. For that reason I have edited the original text in order to make it a bit more sufferable while not removing any real content. If you want to skip his text and jump down to my re-hash simple explanation then scroll down or click here...




Moxon refers to wood in all instances as "stuff" therefore I have rather unscrupulously replaced all instances of the word stuff, save the tittle, with corresponding terms such as lumber, wood, board, material etc. You're welcome.


Joinery
§. 16. The manner of Plaining and Trying a piece of Stuff-square


Bench-Hook
We will take, for example, a piece of wood called a Quarter, which is commonly two inches thick, four inches broad, and seven foot long. To plane this square, lay one of its broad sides upon the bench, with one of its ends shoved pretty hard into the teeth of the Bench-hook, that it may lie the steddier. Then with the Fore Plane, as you were taught, plane off the roughness the Saw made at the Pit, and work that side of the Quarter as straight in its length and breadth as you can with the Fore Plane, which you may give a pretty good guess at, if the edge of the Iron have born all the way upon the work, yet you may try by taking up your Work, and applying one end of it to one Eye, whilst you wink with the other, and observe if any Hollow, or Dawks be in the length of it, if not, you may conclude it pretty true: For the Work thus held, the Eye will discern pretty nearly. Or, for more certainty, you may apply the edge of the two-foot Rule, or rather a Rule shot the full length of the Quarter to your Work, and if it agree all the way with the Rule, you may conclude it is straight in length. But if you find it not straight, you must still with the Fore-Plane work off those Risings that bear the edge of the Rule off any part of the board: Then try if the Breadth be pretty straight j if it be, (the Dawks the roughness the Fore-plane made excepted) the first office of the Fore-plane is performed: If it be not, you must straighten the Breadth as you did the Length. But tho' this Quarter be thus plained straight in length and breadth, yet because the Iron of the Fore-plane for its first working the lumber is set rank, and therefore makes great Dawks in the wood, you must set the Iron of your Fore-plane finer, as you were taught and with it then work down even almost to the bottom of those Dawks: then try it again, as before, and if you find it try all the way, you may, with the Jointer, or smoothing-plane, but rather with the Jointer, go over it again, to work out the irregularities of the fine Fore plane: For the Iron of the Fore-plane being ground to a Rising in the middle, as has been shewed, though it be very fine set, will yet leave some Dawks in the surface for the Jointer, or Smoothing-plane, to work out. Thus the first side of the Quarter will be finished.

Having thus tryed one side of the Quarter straight and flat, apply the inside of the Handle to it, and if one of the adjoining sides of the Quarter, comply also with the inside of the Tongue all the way, you need only smooth that adjoining side: But if it do not so comply, that is, if it be not square to the first side which you will know by the riding of the inside of the Tongue upon one of the Edges or some other part between the Edges, you must, with the Fore-plane Rank-set, plain away that material which bears off the inside of the Tongue from complying all the way with it. But if the Risings be great,
you may, for quickness, hew away the Risings with the Hatchet : but then you must have a care you let not the edge of your Hatchet cut too deep into the wood lest you either spoil your board, by making it unsizeable, if it be already small enough \ or if it have substance enough, make yourself more labour to get out those Hatchet-stroaks with the Plane than you need. Then take off the roughness the Hatchet made with the Fore-plane Rank-set, then fine set, and last of all with the Jointer, or Smoothing-plane:
So is the second side also finished.

Gauge & Square
To work the third side, set the Oval of the Gage exactly to that width from the Gage, that you intend the Breadth of the Quarter ( when Wrought) shall have, which, in this out* Example, is four Inches, but will be somewhat less, because working it true will diminish the board: Therefore sliding the Oval on the Staff, measure on your Inch-Rule so much less than four Inches, as you think your board diminishes in working: Measure, I say, between the Oval and the Tooth, your size: If, at the first proffer, your Oval stand too far from the Tooth, hold the Oval in your Hand, and knock the Tooth-end of your Staff upon the Workbench, till it stand near enough: If the Oval stand too near, knock the other end of the Staff Upon the Work-bench till it be fit. Then apply the flat of the Oval to the second wrought
side of your Stuffs so as the Tooth may reach athwart the breadth of the stuff upon the first slide, and keeping the Oval close against the second side, press the Tooth so hard down, that by drawing the Gage in this posture all along the length of the Quarter, the Tooth may strike a Line. In like manner upon the side opposite to the first* viz.* the fourth side, Gage another line opposite to the first gaged Line, and work your Stuff down to those two gated Lines on the third side, either with Plaining along, or with Hewing, and afterwards Plaining as you were taught to work the second side.

To work the fourth side, set the Tooth of the Gage to its exact distance from the Oval two Inches wanting so much as you think the Stuff diminished in working, and apply the flat of the Oval to each side of the first fide, and Gage as before two Lines, one on the second, the other on the third wrought side. Work your Stuff then down on the fourth side to those two Gage lines either with Plaining alone, or with Hewing, and afterwards Planning, as you were taught to work the second side.



Woo… tired of reading yet? Moxon doesn’t mention proper use of the planes or rather any specific techniques – he covers that on a couple pounds of paper in an earlier section. To break this down, the nut-shell version if you will goes like this.

Secure the board flat on your bench by jamming into the bench hook. The addition of a stop for the back of the board is also quite helpful. Use a fore plane to take down the high spots and traverse the boards edge to edge (across the width) and at an angle askew to the grain. Follow up with a jointer plane to remove the peaks between the dawks or trenches left by the fore plane’s radiused iron. Sight down the board to check for flatness or use a straight edge side to side, corner to corner to check. Moxon does not mention the use of winding stick but I point out that they are quite helpful at this point. Plane down any high spots left until the surface of the board is flat and true down the the depth of the lower area of the board. You have now successfully tried or joint one face of the board – congradulations!

Place the board in a vise or other device to then joint the edge of the board square to the flattened face. – Again we are trying the board. This edge should be 90 degrees to the flattened face by use of a jointing plane. Moxon does point out that a fore plane may be used to start and even there is a great bit of matial to use that one should use a hatchet! He further cautions to be careful with the hatchet as to not remove too much material and spoil your stuff by making it unsizable. Finish up with a jointer plane and use a square down the length of the board to ensure it is tried to the previously jointed face. Congratulations again, you have now jointed two faces of the board.

Here is where I differ from Moxon. Moxon would have us use a gauge to, striking from the jointed face along all four edges of the board to give us the defining line of an opposite coplanar surface. I typically joint my opposing edge prior to jointing the last face side of the board simply because it makes the line struck easier to see. There is one disctinct disadvantage to this and that is that we may but not always loose a bit of width of the board or be forced to plane the board thinner than desired due to blowout of the edges as we use the fore plane aggressively to joint the last face. With care and practice this can be mainly avoided.

In any case the method for establishing a parallel edge for the board is to use either a large marking gauge or a panel marking gauge to strike a line from the jointed edge. I use a panel gauge and strike deeply. In the event that I have a lot of material to use I do not hesitate to use a hatchet or broad hatchet to get close to the line. Do not be afraid of hatchet work – your furniture will be a hatchet job you can be proud of. With a bit of practice and the right hatchet rough jointing boards is incredible easy and quick. It is a matter of selecting the right tool for the job to keep us efficient.

For jointing the last face of the board you will repeat the process as with the first face however now you are working to a line from the marking gauge. Set your gauge to the just less than the thinnest point of the board or to a predetermined thickness and mark all four edges. Next plane down to this with your fore plane being cautious not to remove material past the line. Remember those dawks need to be above the line so that the work of the jointer and smoother result in a level at the line.

If you have trouble with this last face and are prone to planning past the line there is a little trick you can employ to help. Using a fillister plane set about 1/2'’ wide run a rabbet around all four edge down to your line. This will give you a physical landmark to which to work as well as prevent your edges from blowing out while using the fore plane.

If possible, try to remove an even amount of material from each side of your board. Also remember that hand tooling a jointed board is no different than using power tool – for fine work you should joint your lumber oversized and them allow it to acclimate and stresses to come to a new equilibrium prior to a final jointing. This means allowing lumber that is already dry to sit overnight, at least, in the shop prior to continuing work with it. This is most important for hard wood with soft woods generally being more stable. Also a trick my friend and fellow furniture builder, Jon Brinkerhoff, shared with me is to beat large slabs being jointed with a rubber mallet to quicken the balance of tensions – you can sometimes watch them twist and cup while wailing on them with the mallet!

Other considerations for hand tool lumber preparation is to keep in mind the end use of the board. If the board will have tenons on one or both ends there is no need to shoot the ends square or give them much regard when sawing. The end of the tenons need not be perfectly straight or square and energy spent on this is energy wasted. Mark the shoulders of your tenons square and fret not about the rest. Another thing to consider is that in many instances you need NOT joint the second face of a board. Will anyone see the back side of your table apron? Again, energy and time wasted. Craftsmen of two-hundred years ago realized this as is evidenced by examples of fine work with unjointed backs of boards on the bottoms and backs of drawers, the backs of case work, etc. If nothing else this lends to the authenticity of what we do as Traditional Woodworkers.



Regards,


Jean


© Jean Becnel, 2014. 
The material found herein is the sole intellectual property of it's author(s). 


Reproduction of this information is strictly forbidden without the written permission of it's author(s)

Categories: Hand Tools

How to Buy a Plane

Caleb James Chairmaker Planemaker - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 8:22pm
I promised to update everyone and let you know how to buy a plane. So here is the low down. I am not taking any additional orders as of this time. I currently am taking inventory of my planemaking material.

As you can imagine it is not good business to sell what you don't have. Or in other words it doesn't work out well for me or the buyer to sell a plane and then not have the wood to make it or it not be seasoned properly. I think most of you that read this blog appreciate how much effort it is to get quarter sawn beech. If you don't know then read this post here.

Coffin Smoother

What does this all mean? It means that if I have sold you a plane then I have confirmed that I do have the beech stock on hand to make those planes. Everyone else that would like to buy a plane will need to keep an eye on my blog. Over the coming months I will be releasing some planes as they become available.

Jack plane

Why not take orders on these? It comes down to my scheduling. One thing is I still have outstanding chair orders that I need to fulfill. I will in the future continue to produce Danish modern pieces as I have been along with my wooden planes, thought the furniture will be much less by way of comparison.

Miter plane

I think there is something positive about this approach. It means that I will be more efficient at producing planes since I can work with the stock I have ready. Plus I can take advantage of some unique material, like pear and apple wood, that I have seasoning at the moment that otherwise, in a practical way, I wouldn't be able to take orders on because of the limited stock.

Panel Raiser

I will also be focusing on making sizes and styles of moulding planes that are suited for furniture making. These generally are the smaller sizes or profiles specific to furniture. These are the ones that are hardest to find on the antiques market since it is dominated by architectural moulding planes, etc.

Rabbet plane

Another positive thing is that I won't have a super long back order that you will have to sign up for if you want a plane. Everyone will be on an even playing field and when things come up for sale it will be announced and then first come first serve. If you miss out then you will be first up for the next batch if you tried for the previous one. I will explain more when that time comes.

Hollow and Round Pair

I am trying to keep this simple as I will have quite a varied schedule over the coming year. I realize things will evolve as I develop this aspect of my craft and try to accommodate the increased interest in the growing handwork craft movement.

I will have a few more announcements in the coming months that I currently have in the works for those of you that want to make planes yourself.

Stay tuned for updates and thanks for your patience. I will get back to my regular blog posts soon.
Categories: Hand Tools

Carving a Philadelphia Chest on Chest

Mary May, Woodcarver - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 7:01pm

Mary May - Woodcarver

I recently received a great new commission – to carve the top details for 4 reproduction Philadelphia Chippendale chest-on-chests. These ornate tops are usually seen on highboys from around 1760 to 1780, but occasionally are added as decorative tops (or bonnets) of chest-on-chests. Quite often the chest-on-chests have a simple flat top.

The following is a photo that my carving will be roughly based on.

Top of a Philadelphia Highboy from around 1760.

Top of a Philadelphia Highboy from around 1760.

 

Philadelphia Highboy that I carved details for.

Very similar style Philadelphia Highboy that I carved details for about 8 years ago.

 

P1010274

Details of Philadelphia Highboy that I carved.

The first step is – how to get the design to the wood in the most accurate and efficient way possible. Since I am carving 4 of these, it would be best to get a clear, durable and accurate template made of each detail that I can use for all pieces of furniture.

Ideally, I would get a thick piece of flexible plastic. I often use a disposable cutting board or chopping mat that I purchase at a flea market (those booths where there are boxes filled with really inexpensive Chinese made things that you can never imagine needing – except for now). You can also use plastic page dividers at office supply stores. What you want to look for is something clear enough to see the design through, thick enough so you can run your pencil along the edge as a template, and textured enough so you can draw on at least one side of it.

chopping matt

Stiff plastic for template material.

However… I did not use this process because when I started, I did not have any of this thick plastic to use. So I used the next best thing I had in my shop and settled on velum or tracing paper. Great for tracing a design, but not great for use as a template because it is so flimsy and you can’t run your pencil along the edge easily. So the process I went through was a little more laborious because I really do want the template to be on a stiffer material that I can trace around.

After enlarging the photo of the original to full-size, I traced over the leaf design onto velum paper. This is definitely not a real accurate process because of the fuzziness of the photograph as it is enlarged. I got it as close as I was comfortable with for this first step. More detailed drawings were done after this.

Tracing design onto velum paper.

Tracing design onto velum paper.

Next, I cut out the design in the velum paper, taped it to my wood (about 5/8″ thick mahogany) and gently traced it around the outside.

Tracing around template onto wood.

Tracing around template onto wood.

Next I drew the design details accurately on the wood as it should be carved, fixed any parts where the tracing process was a little vague, and did any adjusting with the design. Why didn’t I do this while it was on the velum paper? Good question. And I really had to think about this. There is something about drawing it onto the material that it will actually be carved in where I can visualize it easier and more accurate. If you wanted to, I guess you could do this final detailing on the velum drawing before it was cut out. But if you do that, then the following steps will make no sense… so let’s not confuse things…

Draw accurate design on wood.

Draw accurate design on wood.

Next, I scanned the wood with the drawing on my computer scanner. I had to do some real funky adjusting with the color to make the drawing show up. But it worked! Now I have a file on my computer where there is an accurate, full-size drawing of my design.

Scanned image of design on wood.

Scanned image of design on wood.

Next I printed this design out, and glued it onto a manilla file folder (or any other thicker cardboard or plastic material) with a light coat of spray glue or you could use glue stick (don’t use glue that will soak into the paper and distort the design). Next, I cut out the outline of the design as accurately as possible.

Design after glued on manilla folder and cut out.

Design after glued on manilla folder and cut out.

manilla folder side

Other side of template

Now this template can be used for all 8 of these cut-outs (2 for each piece of furniture – used in reverse). And since it is in a thicker material, the accuracy of running a pencil along the outside edge makes it all worth the effort!

Like I said, this process was a bit long-winded, and it could have been accomplished much easier if I simply had that thick plastic where I could just trace the design from the photo, and cut out the design. That’ll teach me to make sure I have my shop stocked! I went to the market last weekend and bought 6 packages of the plastic “chopping mats”.

I could also have shortened the process by making the final accurate drawing on the velum paper, gluing that to the manilla folder and cutting it out. But that wouldn’t have been nearly as fun! I’m sure there are some engineers out there that are just cringing at my “meandering” approach.

The moral of the story is… be prepared! Also, if you can’t do it one way (because of lack of organization), there are ALWAYS other ways.

I think I’ll do it differently next time…

 

 

 

Greenhouse in April

The Workbench Diary - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 6:11pm













It's amazing to have a greenhouse in April in Maine.
Categories: Hand Tools

Polissoirapalooza

The Barn on White Run - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 5:24pm

Since I announced the expansion of the polissoir line about six weeks ago, word has gotten around and stuff’s a-poppin’!  It really does help to have enthusiastic support but it is quite a shock to wake up and find your email box stuffed with requests for information about them.

IMG_4804

 

There I was , smoothly sailing along with five or ten orders a week, with a buffer of a month’s inventory at that pace.

WHAM!

In the blink of an eye my inventory was purchased, with multiple quantities in line behind the initial orders.  Fortunately I was able to pick up another three dozen last weekend and expect to get another few dozen within a fortnight.  I am a bit surprised at the popularity of the large 2″ polissoir, but perhaps I should not be.  It gets a lot of spectacular work done in a hurry.  I expect to have all the orders filled in about three weeks.

A few things have emerged from this recent chapter.

1.  I need to blog about the structure and nature of a good polissoir.

2.  I’m thinking about some new polissoir styles to compliment the ones already extant.

3.  I need to blog about the properties, technology, and use of natural waxes; beeswax, shellac wax, and carnauba.

4.  I need to blog about preparing and tuning up a polissoir.

5.  I need to blog about using the polissoir in greater detail, especially how it fits with combined finishing strategies.

Will do.

 

A Correction to my Entry on Polissoirs

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 4:17pm

stools_polissoir_IMG_8908

My recent article on the new polissoirs from Don’s Barn and a long-term test of the burnishing effect from the tool had a significant error: The photo showed the wrong sample board.

That similar-looking sample board was given to me by woodworker Steve Schafer – he’ll be blogging about the finishing schedule on that sample board in the near future.

Last tight I rooted through my wood rack to find the mahogany sample that I prepared 18 months ago. I made it halfway through the rack without finding it; when it turns up, I’ll post a photo of it.

In the meantime, here are photos of two projects that I finished with a polissoir about the same time I made the sample board. These two stools were finished with a polissoir only on the lathe. Like all properly prepared polissoirs, it had a little wax on the tip, which was applied when I first got the tool. But I wouldn’t call this a wax finish. It’s a burnished finish, much like the burnishing finish you get when you use shavings to polish a piece spinning on the lathe.

So the result isn’t wrong – just the photo.

Apologies for the error. I should have marked Steve’s sample board as it is very similar looking to mine.

— Christopher Schwarz


Filed under: Finishing, To Make as Perfectly as Possible, Roubo Translation
Categories: Hand Tools

A Correction to my Entry on Polissoirs

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 4:14pm

A Correction to my Entry on Polissoirs

My recent article on the new polissoirs from Don’s Barn and a long-term test of the burnishing effect from the tool had a significant error: The photo showed the wrong sample board. That similar-looking sample board was given to me by woodworker Steve Schafer – he’ll be blogging about the finishing schedule on that sample board in the near future. Last night I rooted through my wood rack to find […]

The post A Correction to my Entry on Polissoirs appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

New Events This Week!

Paul Sellers - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 2:21pm

A New Online Series Starts Wednesday

We just completed the Bookshelf series last Wednesday and so this week we see a new series for building an oak Sofa/Entryway Table beginning in a couple of days. Thank you everyone for sharing your enjoyment of the last series and all of the other work that’s going on. I think that this table will aid in your skill development and understanding of joinery whilst reinforcing your working knowledge too. I made two tables during the table build just to show a couple of alternative possibilities. Those members of woodworkingmasterclasses.com can follow this new course this coming Wednesday evening any time after 5pm and new members, remember you can access all of our past series when you sign up too. Here is a brief intro:

At the New Legacy School

DSC_0005As the training through online broadcast shapes the future of woodworkers across the globe, on a local level I will be hosting a two-day introductory Discovering Woodworking workshop here at Penrhyn Castle. We are working on developing a series of workshops with woodworkers around the bench attending some of these workshops and letting you see the questioners as we answer the questions. It’s still in the research and development phase but we look forward to this as a training aid for all levels of woodworking.

Two-day Discovering Woodworking Course

DSC_0108Discovering Woodworking has proven a valuable transitional course at the bench for those new to hand work to bridge the gap between those with little or no prior knowledge of using hand methods and working with hand tools. It’s important to get the foundation dead right to avoid the confusion many would-be woodworkers face after getting started. From this workshop students know which tools do what and which joints to choose for different aspects relying on solid woodworking joinery. Making the joints reinforces the work at the bench in the same way setting up the plane  and using a spokeshave establishes insights into planing and shaping wood by hand.

This class starts on Friday 11-12 April 2014

DSC_0177All in all I feel a contentment in moving from level to level and interfacing with woodworkers afar off and near to, face to face and on the other side of camera lenses. The future for woodworkers never looked brighter than today.  I know thousands of others feel the same way, judging by the ever-increasing number of emails I receive from around the world. This year I feel that we crossed a critical line in our game plan to make serious woodworking work for anyone. We use a functioning workshop, ordinary everyday hand tools, a proven curriculum and the insights of 50 working years as a crafting furniture maker.

Categories: Hand Tools

The Kitchen Island Begins

Brese Plane - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 11:55am
We have wanted an island for our kitchen since we moved in our house. It's one of the many projects that was put off due to us being so weary of building by the time we completed the house and could move in. I really didn't need another item on a final punch list of items that needed to be completed prior to move in day.

 We could use some more work space in our kitchen and the island is the solution for that problem.



I looked at a couple of different ideas for the top of the island and I even went to Ikea to look at their solid wood countertop materials. They were okay but frankly I was underwhelmed and I really wanted something thicker than 1.5" for the top of the island.

I don't live close to a hardwood supplier that would have 10/4 stock to choose from. I did the next best thing and called my friend Jon Fiant. He doesn't live far from Peach State Lumber in Atlanta and he frequents their warehouse on a pretty regular basis. I asked Jon to check out their 10/4 red maple inventory on his next visit and told him the rough dimensions I was hoping to achieve on the top. Jon is a custom woodworker and also works at a large millwork shop. He certainly has the experience to act as my personal lumber shopper.

A couple of days later I got a call from Jon. He was in the warehouse at Peach State and had already scoped out 2 boards of 10/4 red maple. One was 6 3/4" wide and 11 feet long and the other was 7 1/2" wide and 12 feet long. I was hoping for an island top at least 20" wide and about 5 1/2 feet long so I knew these boards should yield the top with some left over.

2 days later I sent my youngest son on a trip up to Jon's to fetch the boards home. I knew handling the 10/4 boards was going to be physically taxing and my eldest son and family were due in for a week long visit. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to have my son Daniel help me with the heavy lifting of these boards. Don't get me wrong I wasn't taking advantage of Daniel's presence, he was a willing participant and actually quite excited by the prospect of helping me with this task.


With the boards cut into pieces approximately 6 feet long we jointed one face and the edges. The edges needed to be refined with a jointer plane in order to get an exact fit and flat glue up. There were two joints in the glue up. We made them one at a time wiping away the excess glue.



The next day we were faced with the dilemma of how to process the top surface of the glued up blank. I explained to Daniel that we really had 3 choices. We could do it by hand, but I don't really have a jack plane set up for heavy material removal, we could travel to Bo' Child's shop in Barnesville and see if he would run it thru his Martin planer, or we could build a router sled and do the rough removal with that tool. We were both intrigued with the idea of building the router sled so we found what we needed in my wood storage area to cobble together two accurate rails and enough birch plywood for the sled. Couple hours later we were ready to surface the top of the glue up.



The router sled worked quite well and after two passes we were ready to work the surface with hand planes.



Daniel cut the top to length with a hand saw. A couple of years ago I was in the NWA showcase in Saratoga Springs, NY. Adam Cherubini was there by himself setting up his bench in his booth space and I sent Daniel over to lend him a hand. He also helped Adam with a computer issue related to the camera he uses to display a closer look at his hand work. After that issue was resolved I looked over to see Adam giving Daniel a sawing lesson. He spent a while with Daniel showing him the in's and out's of using a hand saw. That lesson cam in handy for Daniel while he was cross cutting a 20" wide piece of 2 5/8" thick maple.


Daniel is a quite capable young man. He worked in an internship program with the SCA (Student Conservation Association). Daniel would travel with a group into the wilderness building hiking trails and if they encountered a water way they built bridges out of what was there in the forest to be used for materials. A person becomes adept at building something out of nothing with simple hand tools under those conditions.  It's hard to put a value on those type experiences in a young man's life. Working in a well equipped shop was a piece of cake for Daniel.


Daniel and I took turns traversing across the blank at a diagonal. I would plane one diagonal and then would pass the jointer plane over to Daniel and he would plane the opposite diagonal across the board. We continued this process until we were taking shavings all the way across the board and then we made several passes down the length.


We used a similar system with the smoothing plane. I would plane half way across down the length and then hand the plane over to Daniel on the other side of the bench and he would continue from the middle to his edge. We basically divided the work in half and soon we had a very nicely hand planed maple panel.

This was the perfect situation for a young man to learn about hand planing. We certainly had a great deal of it to do. He didn't have to achieve the learning curve of sharpening and fettling a plane, all he had to do was to use a plane in well fettled condition. He also had an experienced person to help him during the process. It was an ideal situation for learning about using these tools.


The next day I stood the blank on end in my leg vise and cleaned up the ends of the blank.


Later that day I broke all the sharp edges and applied a generous coat of tung oil finish. The next day I applied another coat. The weather was nice both days so I positioned a window fan in front of the open front door to keep the shop well ventilated for this process.

Daniel lives in Vermont so we don't get to spend a lot time together and in this case it was the difference in tacking a labor intensive job by myself or having the opportunity to spend some quality shop time with Daniel. It was a win, win for everyone, plus the fact that we will end up with a kitchen island.

Now, what to do about a base for this hefty chunk of maple?

Ron
Categories: Hand Tools

Yandles Show This Week.

David Barron Furniture - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 11:44am

Yes it's here again, the Spring Show at Yandles in Martock in Somerset, this Friday and Saturday.
It's a great show and the wood yard gets freshly stocked in the large sheds. All the timber is end reared for easy (ish!) self selection and the prices are very reasonable.
It's very well attended and the weather is usually very good, so come along!


Categories: Hand Tools

How’s Your Peening?

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Mon, 04/07/2014 - 11:25am
<img class="alignright" src="http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7266/7670707366_e589e367dc_m.jpg" alt="scythe peening workshop" / Well, Peening Day is done for another year; I hope you got your blades nicely cleaned and sharpened ready for the mowing season. If you're struggling, try asking yourself these questions Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

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