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Immediately in the aftermath of my frustratingly brief presentation at the last annual Working Wood in the 18th Century at Colonial Williamsburg, I received two invitations from Hay Shop Master Kaare Loftheim to return.
The first of these was for a two-day closed workshop for CW artisans last month where I would present demonstrations and hands-on exercises for my approach to historic finishing. I was delighted to be there, as craftsmen from the Anthony Hay Shop, the gunsmith, the housewrights and joiners, and the wheelwright shops packed into the Hay shop for two days of intense work on transparent finishes. Normally I like to make it a three day event, but two days was all they had so we worked with it.
Over the next several posts I will recount the exercises that are my normal syllabus.
Whereas plywood has a long history, and we can trace its roots to past millennia, it’s a material that’s still quite young when you see how long it’s been available as a fully commercial product. It’s also true that beyond the run of the mill manufacturers there are the specialist makers who have established themselves […]
Forget the Process and Treat Each Board as Unique
I’m hesitant to even call this a technique or a method because it is the total absence of process that makes this milling approach so effective. In short, every board is unique so doing the same thing to flatten every board is folly.
Here is the SecretDiagnose the high spots and remove only the high spots…then and only then do you start taking full length passes. There is no need to work across the grain or diagonally, only with the grain.
To add on to this, you want to spend more time checking the board with a straightedge than you do actually planing. Assume that every stroke you take with the plane is throwing it out of flat and so you need to check with the straightedge often so you aren’t creating a shape that will require even more planing to fix. The net result of all of this is a flat board with very little time spend planing and VERY little actual wood removed. So your 4/4 rough board is now 15/16 thick or you are making rip cuts right on the line and flattening and squaring the edge while removing only 1/32″ of wood.
This changes the game and makes milling a board by hand not a trial or hard work, but a quick and simple task that teaches you a lot about how that board will behave in all the subsequent steps.
New Lessons From The Hand Tool School Vault
- If you have ever wondered or struggled with creating parallel edges or duplicate sized parts by hand then this 20 minute lesson may be just the trick to get you making your parts identical with a hand plane.
- For a more in depth look of the Spot Planing Technique and instruction on how to build the planing stop I used in this live broadcast, check out my lesson on the same topic.
Eight or nine years ago I bought a new lathe. The first thing I did was to make several sets of legs and arm stumps for a pair of Windsor Chairs. I put them into a five gallon pail for safe keeping. There they remained, till now.
The first of the pair is nearly complete. Wow! Have I learned a lot. I’ve built a number of chairs, but this is the first sack-back I’ve done. I have new found respect for my friends who specialize in this particular design.
Here are a few of the lessons learned:
– You can’t overstate the importance of a good form,
– Tangential relationships are critical,
– Use bending straps,
– Use green wood for bending,
– Have plenty of bending stock on hand,
A project like this is exactly what keeps me interested in woodworking. No matter how much you know, there’s always something new to learn. (Or in the case of many of us, it may be that we’ve forgotten more than we care to admit. So, shall we say, there’s always something new to remember.)
Hi Wilbur, is there an equivalent japanese tool for the western panel saws, rip cuts and crosscuts? Thank you!
I’d use a larger ryoba, either a 270mm or a 300mm, for the type of cut one would use a panel saw for. Kataba of the same size could also be used, but ryoba are far more common.
After 21 years of working in shops in the suburbs or (worse) sprawling edge cities, I was thrilled to move to a storefront on Willard Street in Covington, Ky. It has exceeded every expectation, and I have forged a lot of great relationships with nearby woodworkers, metalworkers, carpenters and glass artists.
On top of that, the architecture is an endless source of inspiration, offering pattern, shadow, ornament and form. And my store’s plate-glass windows are like a high-definition television tuned to the human dramas on the sidewalks. Here are my three favorite tales from the last two years.
Sprinting in the City
While my daughter Katy and I were walking back to the store from lunch, I challenged her to a foot race down Ninth Street. She declined. But as we turned onto Ninth, she changed her mind and took off running. I pursued her – sprinting at top speed.
It was a spring day, and all the cars lined up at the stoplight on Ninth Street had their windows open. And the drivers and passengers started yelling at us.
“Hey! You leave her alone!” one driver yelled.
“Stop chasing her!” another screamed. “I’ll call the cops!”
I started laughing so hard I lost the race.
Money Doesn’t Buy Good Taste
It’s pretty common for local residents to stop by the shop to see what I’m building. They also like to look at the completed pieces of furniture waiting to go to customers.
One day a woman stopped by who was looking for work cleaning bathrooms (sorry, I clean my own toilets). After walking in she rushed to the back of the room, dropped to her knees and started examining the fretwork on the staked dining table we use as a desk. She spent a few minutes examining that table, then moved to the aumbry to examine the carving. Then one of my chairs.
She went on a rant about store-bought furniture that any woodworker would recognize. This woman, who you might think is homeless, had really good taste in furniture. (Better taste than my suburban neighbors on the whole.)
If it Looks Like a Crime Scene…
Last winter when I was building the 1505 Loffelholz workbench I was having a heck of a time getting the tail vise working properly. After a frustrating day of adjusting it and failing, I gave up and decided to go home.
I locked the shop’s door and walked to my truck. I had a sudden idea on adjusting the vise that stopped me dead in my tracks. I turned around, unlocked the shop door and immediately slid under the bench, lying on my back. I was so excited I forgot to close the shop’s door.
After 10 minutes of working on my back, I heard someone running toward me.
“I’m calling 911! Are you OK? Are you hurt? Did they rob you?”
A guy was standing in the open doorway, out of breath, with a cellphone.
Again, I started laughing. Except for a pool of blood it looked like a crime scene. I was flat on my back, staring straight up. The door was wide open.
I know a lot of woodworkers fantasize about a cozy workshop out in the woods somewhere where they can be surrounded by nature. And be free from distractions of human society. But for me, a city workshop is best shop I’ve ever had.
— Christopher Schwarz, editor, Lost Art Press
Personal site: christophermschwarz.com
Filed under: Lost Art Press Storefront, Uncategorized
I had 4 comments left that I didn't get to answer that I'll do in my blog. I was trying to fix my comment to Bob Demers comment when things went south on me on the midnight express. Paraphrasing what Bob said - I should get the draw bore pins from Lee Valley.
My answer to Bob was
you're talking to a stubborn old fart. I don't see the need for the draw bore pins. To my thinking they would not help and would elongate the holes reducing the effect of the pins pulling it tight. LV does have the best price on them I've seen anywhere. Besides these are something I don't see written about nor do I see a lot of pics of them.
I had this comment because I did a copy but no joy getting to a paste it. What I don't have is Bob's posted comment. I can't see any of the comments and responses to this blog post.
Ralph, my experience has been that you want to sharpen pins to a small tip almost like a pencil such that the tip of the pin will hit inside the offset hole and then also inside the back hole. This makes pins required to be about 50% longer so that you can cut off the pointed tip entirely on
I agree with you on the pin points. Unfortunately I beat the snot out of that pin driving it out. I couldn't tell what the point of it looked like. I will make sure that the next ones will have a longer point.
I did miss what you asked. I didn't measure how much I offset the dimple from the drill bit mark. I made it above the 'outside circle' made by the drill bit. If I had to guess, I would say maybe it was a 16th and no more.
I've thought about replacing the boiler but I'm sticking with what I got for now. It will still heat the house even if I lose power. It doesn't have the current loss of power cutout that furnaces today have. Another problem is removing the asbestos on the furnace and piping. My last estimate about 8-10 years ago was $3500. No plumber will replace the boiler because of it.
These are the comments I couldn't answer and I don't know the status of the ones I did. Another blogger quirk that I can't seem to remember. Has anyone else that uses this platform have this particular problem? I started a Word Press blog but I like the simplicity of this blogger. Besides I don't know how to migrate all my posts from blogger to Word Press. I have a lot of keyboard diarrhea to move from one to the other.
|the foot is twist free and ready to mortise|
|mine #6 on the right|
|the plane in action|
|my #7 and a unwanted #6 now|
|no hiccups encountered|
|sometimes you get lucky|
|I didn't get lucky with this|
|the end cuts|
What does sic mean?
answer - it is Latin for thus or just as It is usually used in brackets after a quote or copied word(s) to show that it is exactly quoted/copied from the original
I’ve just posted a blog entry that shows the evolution of the Crucible Improved Pattern Dividers (and explained why they have that name. Check it out here.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Crucible Tool, Uncategorized
“ … For the comfort and seemliness of our furniture will decide the background of our home; whether it is to be a place we can truly rejoice in and be proud of, or whether it is to be a shoddy sort of place, a mean, vulgar sort of place. And these things do not depend upon whether a man is rich or poor. A rich man’s house can be innately vulgar, and a poor man’s house have real charm. It all depends upon what we are trying to do and how we set about doing it.
It is all part of the last defence, which is honesty of workmanship and purpose, qualities that were by no means the hallmark of the mass-produced furniture that flooded the market before the war, much of which had for its only purpose to tempt people to buy meretricious stuff which they did not really need and to push good, honest workmanship into the background. The man who has sufficient skill to make his own furniture need never succumb to this kind of temptation. For he at least knows how things ought to be done, he understands good construction and should have a keen eye for all the paltry makeshifts by which weaknesses and defects are hidden in the shoddy article. It is one of the evils of our time that so many men do not know how things are done. The nature of their work has been divorced from making; and it is from making, something, anything, soundly and well, that we get our main training of eye as well as hand.
Allied with this last defence comes beauty a shy quality in which good taste must combine with good workmanship and which even then refuses to be exactly defined. So many things in the home contribute to it; comfort, order, colour, charm, all reflecting something of the personality of the man and woman about whom the home centres, so that in thinking of “home” we think of a unity into which all are gathered—father, mother, children, background. And beauty becomes the first defence of the home as well as the last when it helps to keep boys or girls poised and steady when they are away from it, seeing it with new eyes just because they are away and are no longer blinded by familiarity, and giving them a standard by which to judge the outer world. The man who is honest with himself, honest with his work, and anxious to make good, honest things, is laying the foundation of such a standard. And beauty will not be far behind, indeed must follow, if he will put the best of his mind and will to it:
‘ … look where our dizziest spires are saying
What the hands of a man did up in the sky;
Drenched before you have heard the thunder,
White before you have felt the snow;
For the giants lift up their hands to wonder
How high the hands of a man could go.’ ”
—Charles Hayward, The Woodworker magazine, 1942; the poem Hayward references at the end is by G. K. Chesterton, titled “For Four Guilds: III. The Stone-Masons,” from the book “The Ballad of St. Barbara: And Other Verses”
Filed under: Honest Labour, Uncategorized
This is an excerpt from “With all the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture” by André-Jacob Roubo; translation by Donald C. Williams, Michele Pietryka-Pagán & Philippe Lafargue.
Once the mouldings are cut, you finish them, that is to say, you shape them on edge and you round off the talons/fillets and the beads. (In workman’s terms, it is called relieving the mouldings.) The tools appropriate for this use are the moulding planes for cutting beads, the moulding planes to make V-shaped grooves, moulding planes for beads of all sizes, duck beak [bec-de-cane is a plane whose blade is the shape of the top of a walking stick or door handle rather than a reference to an animal (duck)] and gorge fouille [a plane similar to the bec-de-cane with the extremity of its iron curved and rounded with a fillet or tip at its end so this plane makes round cuts and fillets], or furrowed gouges.
The moulding planes for cutting beads do not differ from other moulding planes, except that they have a cheek [guiding ledge/ridge/shoulder] just like the other moulding planes that I already spoke of. The other moulding planes, as well as the round planes [as in hollows-and-rounds], do not have one.
The duck beaks [see comment above] are tools which serve to dig out the bottom of the hollow/ ogees or beads where the moulding planes [ for cutting beads] cannot get in, as in the case of a ravalement [this refers to an area where one lowers the surface of the wood in an area to accentuate adjacent areas, or to accomplish the same effect through undercutting] or a groove. They differ from other planes in that they cut horizontally [on their sides] instead of the others that cut straight [down]. Their iron [blade] is placed upright in its throat or at least with very little angle (there are even many which are not angled at all). The angle of this iron [skew] is only on its width, that is to say, on the thickness of the tool, behind which it is empty. That is why this slope [skew angle] is made inside, not only to make the shavings eject, but also to make itself open to the iron [give a cutting angle or pitch to the blade/iron].
Since the point of the duck beak [see other description above] is very thin, the wood of their body [of the blade tip] can hardly survive very long. That is why it is highly advisable to make soles of copper or iron, which is even better, just as I said elsewhere. Look at Figs. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7, which represent a duck beak viewed in all directions, as well as its iron and its wedge.
The gorge fouille [literally furrowed gouges] are types of duck beaks which do not differ from the former except their end is rounded in the form of a gouge, and it is squared up [the blade edge is configured more like a scraper than an edge tool]. The iron of these tools is not found ready-made at the Merchants, at least not normally. That is why woodworkers make them themselves.
Their use is to dig [out] bottoms [hollows] of ogee shapes, [and] to enlarge and finish the bottom of grooves, see Figs. 8, 9, 10 & 11. When it is [used on] frames with bevels or chamfers rounded with a fillet or tip at [the] end, one makes use of an ordinary grooving plane that is used on the edge of the frame, noting only to make it void on the inside.
There is still another tool where the iron is placed upright and which cuts horizontally which is called a side rabbet plane. Its use is to enlarge the grooves and to re-cut those that were badly made, see Figs. 12, 13, 14 & 15.
When the panels are dry, that is to say, the glue has set well, you set their length and width as needed, which in workman’s terms, is called squaring up the panels. You then produce the raised panel, which is made with a tool called a fielding or raising plane, which is similar to other rabbet planes, with the exception that they have a fence [and] that the slant of the mouth is skewed within the inside over the width of the iron, to make it more appropriate for cutting the end [grain] wood and [working] cross-grain. There are two irons on this tool, one that is in the form that we call flatbanded [making a bevel or chamfer], and the other in the shape of a square called a nicker. The two together are about 14–16 lines wide. On top of this plane and toward the front is a notch similar to that of the bench fillister, which serves to support the hand of whoever is pushing it, see Fig. 16.
— Meghan Bates
Filed under: With All the Precision Possible
In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking we meet Greg Pilotti of GPFurnituremakers.com. He’s also a graduate of the woodworking program at Thaddeus Stevens College (from podcast #248 with Steve Latta). What better insight into the teachings (and benefits) of the program than to talk to one of its graduates who is running a successful and profitable woodworking business. He was voted one of the “40 Under 40” up-and-comers in woodworking for 2017.
Join 360 Woodworking every Thursday for a lively discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more).
I ordered some japanese tansu handles and had a question about mounting them. What is the traditional method of mounting these handles? It comes with this U-shaped piece of metal that's used to pin the handles against the "draw front". Do you just...
As far as I know, the traditional method of attaching handles and other hardware onto a tansu is using square shank nails. From their description, it sounds like they would be similar to traditional cut nails.
The U-shaped piece of metal seems like a more modern method. It’s hard for me to get an idea of what you mean by splaying out the ends without a picture, but it’s probably similar to the method of clenching a nail, and I wouldn’t hesitate to do that.
|let there be more light first|
|the before pic|
|the why (the pin went in from the front to the rear)|
|a bit of a knot|
|see the track above the hole in the front left hole at the back|
|dry fit of the first set of donkeys|
|used hide glue|
|new foot stock|
|rough cut to length|
How many women have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor?
answer - only one, Dr. Mary Edward Walker, for her service in the American Civil War
I want to apologise to all my readers of HANDWORK for not releasing the third issue in a timely fashion. It’s very hard to do so because of my current job. It’s a juggling act and the balls are falling all over the place.
Writing this magazine is probably the best thing I have ever ventured into. I know firsthand the benefits in terms of knowledge I have personally gained, and the many benefits others have gained according to the emails of support I have received since releasing the first issue.
It’s not easy by any stretch of the imagination. Dedicating the time needed to build then write about the build is most difficult.
As we near Christmas things get busy at work and I may have to work 7 days a week for the next couple of months. It’s crazy I know and the money isn’t so incredible either. It sure is no way to live.
I’ve started this magazine with good intentions and I had no idea that its popularity would rise so quickly. May be because it’s free or may be this is what people really want. But it isn’t possible for me on my own to continue the way I am without ending up in a hospital bed due to exhaustion and being financially strained as well, even though, I’m working inhumane hours to do both and be expected to not walk around looking like a zombie or end up being a corpse.
I have given this much thought and I think I ought to take a leap of faith, go out on a limb and turn it into a business and work it full time. Ha! easier said then done due to lack of finance. Giving up my job till I can earn enough from the magazine if any for that matter to sustain my household is a big risk I’m not willing to take. Instead, I would like to take baby steps. With that I mean setting a price on the fourth issue. With the income earned from that I can expand and pay contributing authors for the fifth issue. The money earned from subsequent issues I can begin with some prize giveaways and I’m not talking about some cheap shabby cruddy cheap tool either. I’m not going to be stingy about any of this.
If you’re all willing to give this a shot, we will have a good hand tool only woodworking magazine. I cannot do this without your support. The price I’m contemplating to be around US$5.00. Please don’t gruel me out for charging in US dollars as Veritas is a Canadian company and they only charge online in US dollars as their dollar isn’t worth much just like the Aussie dollar. I think this price is fair and much less than current woodworking magazines on the market.
Let me know your thoughts it would be interesting to hear them.
P.S. All the articles besides the moulding plane build is finished. I have just begun writing the article because I have finished the build only last week. Yes I know its been slow but blame it on my job and also blame it on the high cost of shipping O1 tool steel. The shipping costs are twice and in some cases three times the price of the steel. I’ve also devoured just about every engineering place in my locality hoping to lower the costs a bit and they too made a hefty profit from me. I wore the cost. So what I’m saying is that I had to stash a little aside every week just to pay the high costs of shipping and there’s the conversion rate and credit card fees on top. Geez have I missed any other fees?
I wanted rustic legs from small logs that would be attached with loose round tenons so I used a technique that I have used successfully with three-legged stools but never with four legs. I created a 45 degree sight line and used a bevel gauge to guide a brace and bit.
This doesn't seem like it could possibly work, but it does. The four legs were all within 1/4" first try.
Here is the final result:
I’m a huge fan of installing a grippy liner on your bench vise. Wood faces grip your work OK. Add the right liner and the grip will become fantastic. Here are some details on choosing and installing a liner. What’s a Good Liner? Most people prefer leather, cork, felt or a rubber such as Crubber. Each has advantages and disadvantages. Peel-and-stick cork is fast to install but isn’t very durable. […]
I positioned them and clamped a set of pliers on the sides to ensure that nothing moved during the drilling of the holes.
At first I drilled a new set of holes instead of those that I plugged the other day. After that all the existing holes were bored in the infills as well.
My original plan was to insert some small tubes to function as distance pieces. I had laid my eyes on a piece of stainless steel pipe, but I had to give up the plan because the hole was too large by 1 mm in diameter (3/64") compared to the rivets that I was going to use.
So a quick change of plans resulting in that I assembled the plane without any distance pieces.
The rivets are actually short lengths of round iron bar of 1/4" diameter (6 mm). Those were sanded first to remove the black crust, and one end sharpened just a bit, to make sure that it would engage the hole on the opposite side of the body.
The rivets were driven through and I started peening the metal.
After doing one rivet on one side, I flipped the plane over and completed the other side of that rivet.
The riveting disturbed the look of the sides a bit, I guess that the wood compacted a bit, and the sides naturally followed along. So the bottom of the planes doesn't look quite as nice as it did in the beginning. But the overall feeling is rock solid.
Smoothing the sides again to level out the rivets took some time. Again this is where a belt sander would come in handy, but a file can also do the job if you have a little bit of patience.
A nice trick when filing metal is to pack the file with chalk. This helps to prevent chips to get stuck in the file and make a major scratch in the surface on the next stroke.
You basically just take some writing chalk and rub it onto the file before using it.
It really helps a lot. Especially if you work in softer metals like brass, copper or aluminium but for steel or iron it also helps. These metals aren't as prone to clog the file, but any bit helps to make a nice surface.
Some of you will file this under “Bleeding Obvious,” but few people ever discuss their “junk drawers” in their shops. I call mine: The Hardware Drawer of Last Resort. It has saved my butt a thousand times. Actually, it’s not one drawer. It’s five. The one shown in the photo above is the “random fasteners” drawer. Every time I install some hinges and have extra screws left over that don’t […]