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The Part-Time Woodworker

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...just messing with a bunch of old hand tools and enjoying it
Updated: 49 min 3 sec ago

Poor Ol' Keyhole Didn't Get No Respect...

Thu, 01/25/2018 - 9:01am
Awe, the lowly Keyhole Saw. Tossed into the bottom of our toolboxes, lost in the back of a closet, this poor category of saw rarely garners any respect. The only time their needed it seems, is when you have to whack a hole for a light fixture in a sheet of drywall. Until then, though, they just seem to be things that get in our way when we are going through our toolboxes looking for a tool that we really need. After a few short years of being disrespected, their tips get broken off, their blades become bent and some of their teeth somehow go missing, but its a Keyhole Saw, so its no big deal. No respect.

In fact, we treat these "saws of last resort" so badly, we don't even call them by their proper name. We call them Keyhole Saws or Pad Saws, but in most cases, they aren't Keyhole Saws at all. Keyhole Saws have a very fine blade, both in thickness and in height, being only 3/8" to 1/2" high, with a length of about 10" to 14". Because the blade is so thin, the ideal Keyhole Saw has a handle that will allow the blade to pass through its entire length, allowing the blade length to be adjustable.

I bought a Keyhole Saw, the seller called it a Keyhole Saw, and everyone that I have shown it to since getting it has called it a Keyhole Saw. It isn't. It's a "Compass Saw".

A Compass Saw is similar to what you see below in the photos. Compass Saws have a 10" to 18" blade that are normally about 1 1/2" in height at the heel, tapering to a definite point at the toe. The blade can be fixed to the handle or removable, and is made from thicker steel than most saws, due to its shallow blade being unsupported for its entire length.

So here is my £31, 150 year old Keyhole Saw that is really a Compass Saw...

Pretty flash-looking little saw.
As with most saws of this nature, it is missing a few teeth,
the result of getting no respect. Its filed 6TPI.
Nice looking handle from any angle.
The handle has a couple of strange cracks that must be
attended to.
Pretty handle design, Mr. Mitchell.
Opps! It seems to be missing the point.

So now I need to find someone who can bring this find back to life. I am still looking for an experienced saw technician in Canada. I found one two years ago, but he quit offering the service and shipping back and forth to a sharpener in the United States is more expensive than ever. If you know someone, or are that guy or girl with all the patience needed for saws, please let me know. I have four saws now that are waiting for you.

This Mitchell Badger Plane was made in 1865 - 1867


And on another note, I got email the other day from a gentleman in Leeds, UK, who sent me a bunch of photos of an H. E. Mitchell plane that he produced in his first two years of business. It's a Badger plane with a skewed blade that is flush with one side and set back on the other. I was really pleased to get the photos as the plane has multiple maker's stamps on the toe, a mark that I haven't seen before on a Mitchell plane. I have seen the "H. E. Mitchell, Eastbourne", but never with the added line, "Saw & Tool Maker". In fact, this is the first time I have seen any mark for Mitchell that says he is anything other than a Saw Maker. I have also seen his planes marked with the Elms Building address before, but not separated like they are on this particular example. I get the feeling that this particular plane is either a very early one in Mitchell's career, or he made it for some type of exhibition where he wanted his business location information in everyone's face. The plane is a bit beaten up, but I have asked if I could purchase it and I'm waiting for a "Yay" or "Nay".

In all these years of messing with H. E. Mitchell planes, I
have never seen one marked with this type
of maker's mark before.
Great Stuff!
That's all I got today...

Peace,

Mitchell


Categories: Hand Tools

Line Drawings and Dimensions of Small Portable Vise...

Wed, 12/13/2017 - 9:37am
Here are the drawings of the little portable vise I posted originally on November 11, 2017. All the drawings are done full size and can be used as cut-out templates. Just print them off and glue them to your wood.

Enjoy.

Peace,

Mitchell








Categories: Hand Tools

Catching Up With This And That...

Fri, 12/08/2017 - 9:45am
Just a few quick thoughts...

Someone, I think on Google, asked me to post drawings for the little portable vise I posted about on November 11th. I have been working on them and should have them done relatively soon.

Also, I was asked about the knicker blade for the Filletster Plane I posted about back in February of this year. I did get a replacement blade from Bob's Tool Box in the UK, but it was a tad too wide so I plan to do the slight modification it needs right after I finish veneering my bondo-trued fir plywood (I love typing that because I know it makes some cringe). I will be videoing the process and I will post the results here.

And speaking of veneering...all I can say is...what a pain in the ass that job is.

The only bit of advice I can give anyone who hasn't tried veneering yet is; don't do it unless you have the proper set-up for it. I will never veneer anything this large again, so I think spending a few hundred or so on a couple of dozen clamps and cauls, or better yet, spending the time and the money to build a 40" x 50" (the size of the largest piece) multi-screw press is crazy. As a result, I have jury-rigged the weirdest set-ups to get the job done.

I have been getting the job done slowly, doing it in a way that is either gutsy, or just damned stupid.

While clamps are one major requirement, the other is "plates". These are dead-flat pieces of material that are at least the same size as the piece you are veneering, or better yet, slightly larger. Again, I'll never use them again so instead of buying material to make them, I bought a couple of pieces of 18-gauge sheet metal. I am using the actual substrate pieces I made for the cabinet as the plates, stacking them with two, already veneered or not, on the bottom, covering it with a piece of sheet metal, then the piece of substrate I am veneering on top of it, then the second piece of sheet metal, then two more pieces of substrate, again veneered or not, on top. I then use strips of 11mm plywood (leftovers from the substrate) and some 2x4 cauls I made to clamp them all together. Because the substrate pieces are made from two pieces of 11mm ply glued together, giving a finished thickness of a hair under 1", there is relatively no give to them, and with five of them clamped together, there is zero chance of any twisting. They have also been flattened beyond an inch of their lives (remember the bondo), so they actually do the job very well. I did have one veneered piece I was using as a plate that came out with a 3" long by 1/8" wide dent in it. I don't know what caused it, probably a stray, missed sliver of veneer, but I took my wife's really expensive, and very hot, steam iron to it and it just disappear.

Peace,

Mitchell
Categories: Hand Tools

It Followed Me Home, Dear. Can I keep it...

Sat, 11/11/2017 - 2:29pm
Sometimes, something catches your eye and you immediately have to have it. That is what happened here.

During one of my usual weekly internet search for tools, I went to http://bobstoolbox.co.uk, a fantastic vintage tool shop in Liskeard, Cornwall, England, where I came across this...
It was such a pretty vice, I had to have it, so for the reasonable list price of £58 plus shipping, it was on its way to Canada. When it arrived at my door, I was even more taken with it than I was when I saw Bob's image of it.
It is only a little guy, measuring 8" tall by 8" deep by 2 3/4" wide, but it is beautifully made and the wood is...well...just gorgeous. There isn't a maker's mark on it anywhere, which is too bad. I would have liked a chance to know a little bit more about the maker. 
The Coke can is for scale.
I'm not sure if it is dogwood or pear. I'd like to think it is latter, but it is more likely that it is made out of the former.


It has what looks to be a blacksmith made mount on the back of it. The mount screw is missing its swivel, lost probably when its mounting screw sheared, so replacing it will require a bit of fussing to extract the screw's leftovers. I really do not expect the mount to work very well, as this type of mount rarely does, but it is very cool looking, effective or not.
It has a piece of spring steel mounted on the inside-bottom of the rear leg, just above its mount point. The rear leg is fixed while the front one has two pivot points, one a half inch behind the other. The spring steel ensures the jaws separate from each other when the pressure is released.
The Coke can was added for scale.
I also bought a knicker with wedge for the H. E. Mitchell Filletster Plane I bought last winter, and a Veneer Hammer to spread the cost of shipping over more than just the vice. Bob charged me £20 for the shipping.

If you want to spend an enjoyable few minutes wandering around Bob's Tool Box without heading off to England, use this link to get you there...Bob's Toolbox 360° Virtual Tour. It's a little freaky to get used to, but it is also a real hoot.

Peace,

Mitchell

Categories: Hand Tools

To Quote My Old Man, "Boy, What the Hell Were You Thinking"...

Tue, 10/31/2017 - 1:35pm
To say I'm surprised by the lack of comments regarding my experiment with Bondo and veneer would be an understatement. In fact, I have been mildly shocked by the lack of comments raking me over the coals for doing something that isn't considered a normal way to do things. The only thing I can think of that would keep the, "you-can't-do-it-that-way" boys from ripping me a new one is that they think I'm beyond help.

So what the hell was I thinking...

  Why Construction Grade ply?
This is mainly to do with price, but also to do with convenience. 
One sheet of 11mm Good One Side Fir Sanded Plywood at Lowe's or Home Depot is less than $50 a sheet. Included in that price is up to five cuts to the sheet, so getting the stock into the trunk of my wife's Fusion to take home was never a problem. 
  Why two layers of 11mm fir ply?
I wanted the material thickness to be in the same scale as the cabinet it defines. This is a fair-sized cabinet so its components should reflect that. I didn't need a full 1" thick. All I needed was material that was obviously thicker than 3/4", hence the laminated 11mm ply, which, when veneered on both sides, ends up being a very thin hair thinner than 1".
By laminating two 11mm pieces I could ensure they were dead flat during glue-up and they would stay that way after they came out of the clamps (ok, when the screws were removed - don't be so picky).
  Why not use pre-veneered ply?
I wanted White Oak veneer, not Red. The box stores only sell Red Oak Veneered ply, so I would have to purchase what I needed at a hardwood lumber yard, rent a truck to get it home, and fight with it to cut it up as I do not own a panel saw.
Price!  
Also, I have never done any veneering before and I wanted to try it. 
  Why veneer before assembly? 
Every component included in this cabinet is flat-slabbed. There isn't a curved surface on it. Believe me, I tried to add a curve or two, but when I did, I lost a lot of storage room where the corners once were. Because it is just flat panels, I guessed that fitting the veneer would be far easier if I had to trim 1" thick stock than it would be if I had to deal with stock that was 0.8mm thick.
  Why use Bondo? 
You can't be a car-guy who grew up in the '50s and '60s and not know about Bondo. 3M makes Bondo, and they also make a slightly heavier two-part filler called White Lightnin'. They recommend both for metal and wood, but I have found that the Bondo is quicker to work with for lighter applications, such as fairing my plywood slabs.
Peace,

Mitchell
Categories: Hand Tools