A few notes from the shop – it turns out I will not have any more spoons for sale this month. A couple of people wrote & ordered some, and those I have just about done. But I decided not to tackle more. It was getting too hectic, and I have enough to grapple, cleaning out this stuff.
I will have one more carved framed panel, if anyone is interested. I cut the frame at the Lie-Nielsen event at Phil Lowe’s the other day…so I just have to clean it up a bit, and take proper photographs.
Meanwhile, the best day in the shop in ages was Sunday, Daniel came back. Can’t say too much, he’s making a Xmas present. But we had a great time. Being in the public eye 8 months out of the year means the kids only get to the shop during the 0ff-season. So we’re making the most of it right now.
Then, this red-bellied woodpecker sat right out the upstairs window at home. You can tell he’s a red-bellied, because the red head is not all-over. I didn’t name these creatures…in the last shot you can actually see a smudge of red down near his nether parts. That’s where his name comes from. His belly is mostly white, with a streak of red. a faint streak.
I’ll be posting my teaching schedule for 2014 soon. It’s a busy one…
The latest issue of Popular Woodworking magazine strangely sat unread in my living room since it arrived nearly two weeks ago. It’s not that I didn’t want to read it, because when it arrived I quickly scanned through it. Usually when I get a new issue I will do one of two things; either read it right away or bring it to work to read during break. Neither of those things happened this time around. I was very busy leading into Thanksgiving, and then I got sick. When I say I’m sick, it isn’t “mommy I have a tummy ache” sick. I was laid up for nearly 5 days with the flu. I even missed two days of work, which almost never happens. So during that stretch I didn’t do much of anything, let alone read a magazine. So yesterday afternoon after football, and today during my break at work, I read the latest Popular Woodworking cover to cover. My impression? Another extremely good issue.
You may ask, what happened to the angry, foul-mouthed, vitriolic, cynical guy who used to write this blog? Nothing, I’m still mostly here. The truth is, I don’t suck-up much. It’s not me and it doesn’t look good on me, but, I am all for giving credit. Frankly, Popular Woodworking has been great over the past six months. In fact, when I did my magazine review post I had it second to Woodsmith. I still like Woodsmith a lot, but PW may now be at the top of my rankings. I’ve said this before, but I nearly let my subscription expire last year. I am glad that I didn’t. Both the old and new staff are doing a great job, and Christopher Schwarz, love him or hate him, is contributing more to the magazine with some very good projects and woodworking profiles. The best part is that I know that it can and will improve even more, you can almost see it coming.
There were several really good sections in the latest issue. The first thing that caught my eye was a pretty ingenious little idea in the tips and tricks section for a saw till. Roy Underhill’s article about combination planes is another winner, as is Christopher Schwarz’s profile of Australian tool maker, Chris Vesper. Vesper seems like a very nice guy, but he can’t seem to figure out why he can’t find a girlfriend even though he basically lives in a shed that doesn’t have indoor plumbing behind his parent’s house, which it also seems is somewhere in the middle of nowhere. He may make world-class tools, but he doesn’t know squat about women. Anyway, my favorite article is by Glen Huey, and is about lock hardware. Though I am no locksmith, I always enjoyed the inner workings of a lock, and this article sheds some light on that subject. Not only that, it introduces some lock terminology, which is always nice to know when you are planning on adding a lock to your work.
So, at the risk of once again royally sucking up, I have to say that Popular Woodworking magazine has published another great issue (Dec 2013 #208 if you need to know) If you haven’t checked it out, please do. I’ll be honest, I only read two woodworking magazines anymore, and both have been great. I’m having trouble finding stuff to complain about, which I’m finding to be upsetting. In all seriousness, PW continues to do some really good things, and if I have the right to criticize, I should also have the responsibility of praising when it deserves praise. For the last six months, Popular Woodworking magazine certainly has deserved all of the praise I’ve given it. If you are a woodworker, and you aren’t reading it, I really think you should start.
The guard on sentry duty at Prague castle, complete with aviator shades has to be one of the ultimate pics of coolness I've ever seen, but equally as cool and one of the most exquisite things I've ever handled is what we brought back….
…from Moser Glass. The decanter is only around 150mm tall and complete with the two small glasses cost in excess of four figures Stirling.
Suggestions for a cabinet?
I’ve worked with wood all my working life so far now and I can’t imagine not doing it. Today I begin making a king-size Craftsman-style bed from oak. I suppose it’s really more craftsman-inspired in that visually it could be said to be like another, but I am designing this one from scratch. I have never copied a design in my life and so I don’t intend to start now. Often woodworkers are inspired by the work of another and design something that has a feel of a design from someone else or a definite copy of a period piece.
This weekend my friend, Duncan, came by to learn some saw sharpening. He came with a lovely Ash chair he had designed and made by hand. It was a simple, uncomplicated design that lent itself to hand tool work and we talked about how it could be made using mostly hand tools as this one had been made. I thought the bandsaw was the ideal machine to rough down wood to size and that he could easily eliminate the need for planer and jointer all together because chair parts are always small and lend themselves to hand work like planing and shaping. I started the ing about this coming year as we will be focussing a percentage of our work to power machines and addressing the issues that so confuse woodworkers as to what they really need to prep their wood for subsequent hand work. I have four bandsaws now and may well bring in a fifth one. I have one at my house and three at the castle. Why? Well, they take up very little room compared to other freestanding machines, I can load different blades in each machine and I can tune them to the different work I use them for. But we will be going into that much more deeply over the next few months. Also, me y needs are different than yours will be I think and we will indeed be looking at different machine operational options for you to better understand as we go. You definitely do not need to go out and buy four or five bandsaw machines; one good one will work just fine. I suggest you wait for a more definitive review when we start this next phase in our teaching. Well be looking at old and new options. Powerhouses and bench top models too. I have every kind of bandsaw on a daily basis many times a day since January 1965. That’s 14,400 days when I switched on a bandsaw several times a day. My first bandsaw stood 8′ tall, today I use a 14″ – 18″ bandsaws. I used the same Grizzly 18″ bandsaw I bought in 1988 until 2007. I replaced one bearing only in all of those years and the work I did was often done for several hours a day throughout that period. The machine never let me down once. I sold it on to another woodworker and as far as I know he’s still using it. New ones are very nice now and have several safety features I think are important. Perhaps one day SawStop will put their technology into bandsaws. Now that would be well worth the investment. At an auction a few short years ago I bought a small but very old US Powermatic 14″ with a cast iron body, cast iron back and doors for $25. It’s a great little machine.
Back to the Bed
I am using oak for the bed I am making. Today I pulled the wood and started to cut the rough dimensions on the bandsaw. Rails, side rails, head board and a zillion square uprights will keep me busy tomorrow. I will post most days if there’s something interesting about the work. Today was all sweat, grunt and shove. We will run the cameras too most likely, so you can maybe see some of what I do as I work.
Beds are simple projects and this one would be simple but for the size and the number of parts. I tuned up the bandsaw with a new blade installed so tomorrow I start cutting and planing which will take me all day. I could use my mortise machine for the mortises but I want this to be mostly hand work, so I can keep in shape over the holiday period.
I know a lot of my peers cannot fathom why, if I have mortiser, would I consider doing it by hand. Mostly it’s because they see it as purley hard and inaccurate work. I used to think the same way they do. You see, I think it’s that they just don’t know.
I’m installing 12 hinges today on a collapsible bookcase and about half of them are in tight quarters where no drill can go, and screwdrivers are no picnic, either. To make the job easier, I like to cut the screw threads in the pilot holes before assembling things. And because I have 72 screws to … Read more
It’s been awfully cold in the little shop and I’ve been distracted by other obligations. But the holidays usually bring with them a flurry of all sorts of activity. Hopefully I’ll be doing something that’s worth talking about.
After a lot of various obstacles such as a course north of the Polar circle, a heavy storm and 80 cubic meter of sea shells - today seemed like the right day to end the project.
The traditional way of attaching the beckets to the cleats is by means of an axle made out of rope. In order to make a nice diamond knot, you need at least some 4 stranded rope (or a higher number).
I don't have any rope of that kind lying about, and I don't want to purchase some just for making two small axles. So instead I decided to turn some axles instead.
I made the axles out of some old apple tree that I had once saved for turning purposes. Turning old fruit tree like apple, pear or plum etc. is a joy. The turning itself went conspicuously smooth, and that is rather strange since I don't do much turning. I turned two axles with a dome shaped end, and two loose domes that were drilled out afterwards - and then glued on to the axles (with the beckets installed)
I made the recesses of the cleats little deeper, to accommodate the domes, and then I simply screwed them onto the ends of the chest. I didn't use any glue in case someone will want to disassemble the arrangement in the future to renew the beckets when they are worn out.
For a finish I have thought about painting the chest, but I ended up deciding for a pure oil finish. I read on the can of Kamelia oil I have, that it can be used as a finish. Since the whole chest has been sort of an experiment, a new type of finish seemed just right. The oil penetrated the wood impressively easy, and I have now left the first coat to dry. I guess that I will add three coats in total.
What did I learn about this build:
The correct tools really do a difference. A scrub plane was probably the biggest difference from my previous sea chest build.
The nice looking Crown of Sheffield chisels that I had brought with me are nice looking and comfortable to use, but they can't hold the edge. They are so soft that I had to resharpen them way too often considering that the wood is soft pine. So I don't recommend anyone to buy that model of chisels. It is actually a shame since the tapers of the sides are nice and thin, and the name Sheffield used to be synonymous with high quality steel years ago.
Peer pressure got me into making beckets and cleats. Looking at the finished chest, I have decided that I think they look a little too extravagant. I have to admit that I am more into Shaker simplicity than fancy rope work. But I guess that I would never have found out if I hadn't tried.
All in all a nice little project that is possible to make even without a proper workbench.
When I was laying the foundation of my mechanical fame and fortune running a bolt cutter in the Rock Island shops at Chicago a year or two ago, I boarded in a house filled with locomotive engineers and firemen. A practice prevailed there of enlivening the supper table with social conversation, and the locomotive being in the majority the leading theme of talk was stupendous feats performed in getting over certain hills without doubling.
This was occasionally varied by the record of minor incidents such as the exploit performed by Tom Jones when the 96 broke her rocker arm, how narrowly Dick Swiveller escaped from having his checks called in when the 124 broke her side rod running down Valley Hill, and how Harry Walbrandt whooped up the 92 to make a passing point, and just got clear into the side track when the Chicago limited showed up.
George Dorwart, who ran a lathe in the shop, sat opposite me at the table, and he got tired of being excluded from the conversation. He became ambitious to hear himself talk in that crowd. One evening catching on in a lull of the talk he called out loudly to me: “Well, I went over and saw that machine to-day, and it is astonishing the fine work it does.”
“How does it work?” I inquired.
“Well,” said he, “by means of a pedal attachment, a fulcrumed lever converts a vertical reciprocating motion into circular movement. The principal part of the machine is a disc which revolves rapidly on vertical plane. Power is applied through the axis of the disc, and when the speed of the driving arbor is moderate, the periphery of the machine is traveling at great velocity. Work is done on this periphery. Pieces of the hardest steel are by mere impact reduced to any shape the skillful operator desires.”
“What in thunder is the machine any way?” demanded Tom Jones.
“Oh, it is a new grindstone,” replied George, and a silence that could be felt passed round the supper table.
The Old Man.
American Machinist – December 15, 1883
Filed under: Historical Images
I had planned on doing that at one point, until I was fortunate and lucky enough for this to happen.
The classical guitar tuning machines slide into three holes bored through each side of the headstock. The holes need to be perfectly spaced for the tuning machines to slide into the headstock properly. I was nervous about this step since drilling six 10mm holes straight through the side of the headstock seemed like quite a dramatic thing to do.
After carefully marking the centre each hole I got ready to drill. I clamped the headstock to a guide, ensuring that the drill press would squarely enter the side of the headstock.
The first hole seemed to go fine. When I started to drill the second hole, disaster struck. The drill veered off course and damaged the wood. I turned off the drill and noticed that there was a worse problem: the first hole was at least a millimetre away from where it should have been. Panic!
After falsely blaming the drill bit I noticed that I hadn’t fastened the drill press properly, causing the drill to swivel horizontally to the side as it made contact with the wood. I was so fixed on my clamps and the guide that I had forgotten to tighten the drill press! After fixing this, I plucked up the courage to drill the other holes. This went smoothly:
The incorrectly drilled hole is the one on the left. The damage around the middle hole is annoying but will be covered by the tuning machine plate so won’t cause any further problems.
As I’ve discovered with woodworking, there’s (almost) always a solution when things go wrong. Luckily I still had some cedar off-cuts with which I could make a dowel to fill the hole. I asked my friendly local wood-turner Joost Kramer if he could help. He used his lathe to turn me a dowel by hand. This man is highly skilled: five minutes later I had a perfect dowel with an exact fit:
The picture below shows how off-centre I was:
As a furniture-maker, turning was always an uphill battle for me. Every turning tool requires a different touch and a different sharpening approach. The problem was that I never practiced enough to keep my skills up. So every time I picked up a skew, I was a baby turner again. A few years ago I … Read more
Woodworker Matt Czegan sent these photos of his recently completed tool chest. Love the eagle – and the extra detailing on the drawers. I’ve always meant to do something with the panel of my chest’s lid, perhaps a veneered panel or even some parquetry a la Roubo.
Nice work Matt!
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Books in Print, The Anarchist's Tool Chest
Goose-neck mouldings are, in my opinion, the great equalizer in any discussion of moulding planes or power tools for curved designs. Sure straight runs of moulding can be made using hollows and rounds, but the curved mouldings are a completely different animal. With goose-necks, you better be thinking kindly about a router, router table or shaper. And, you probably should have a selection of carving tools if your design has a rosette and doesn’t return on itself (as shown in the above photo).
Of course, the Egerton clock has rosettes. This translates into more hand work using carving chisel. But the bulk of the waste is removed with power tools. You just need to find the correct profile, and that can be tricky as you flip and turn the profile looking for a match, especially if you’re using bearing mounted router bits. (I’m tossing out shaper work, because most woodworkers are not working with a shaper – router tables have all but replaced the shaper in home shops.)
The best way to run these profiles using a router is with the face of the goose-neck moulding facing up. To do that you need an over-arm pin router setup, or you need to create a method to hold your router above the workpiece as you guide the cut, as shown to the left. This setup uses the guide-fence holes and scrap pieces to raise the router cut abilities. The setup is easy to duplicate, but using the arrangement is not that simple. You need to accurately guide the router along the curved lines of the goose-neck while holding things at 90° to the workpiece. Slow and steady wins the race, but even then you have clean-up work to do. It is much better if you can use bearing-mounted router bits. To do that in this scenario, I had to run at my router table, keeping the face of the mouldings against the table.
The problem with bearing-mounted router bits is reach. On wide goose-neck mouldings, you often cannot reach back into the profile enough to make things work. On the Egerton moulding, though, that’s not a problem because it’s only 7/8″ wide. I was able to use the bearings on my router bits of choice to get the job done, so the first bit used was a cove design for raised panels. That router bit allowed me to reach back 3/4″ of the 7/8″ needed – that left an 1/8″ of flat at the top edge of my profile. On the straight runs, cut from end to end. On the curved work, you need to stop just short of the rosette area.
The second profile I used was a simple 1/4″ round-over bit, but I switched out the normal bearing to use one that was a 1/8″ smaller in diameter. That change moved the round-over profile in slightly on the workpiece. Height adjustments need to be accurate. Because I was looking to flow the second profile into the larger cove cut, I found it best to sneak up on the final setting. I could have stopped at this point, but the square edge left after the second router cut was smaller than what I saw on the original clock profile. I wanted more.
Deciding to make the last router-bit cut added the needed square-edge to my profile, but it also caused more work after routing work was complete. To achieve an additional 1/16″ of square edge for an 1/8″ total, I used a rabbet bit to push the design up into the moulding. That cut removed a lot of the round-over profile, but that would be easy to replace with carving tools, and the extra square edge made the design of my goose-neck more in line with the original.
To complete the mouldings, both the curved and straight pieces, I use a couple carving gouges to re-round the profile. Work on the straight pieces was easy. I found and carved with the grain direction. On the curved pieces, carving required that I move in different directions due to the grain changing as the curves undulated. Even with that need, the work was not difficult.
Next week I’ll show the completed and installed goose-neck moulding with the carved rosettes in place. I’m getting close to finished.
Build Something Great!
The best one I've seen is definitely worthy of a swift mention here and can be wholly attributed to my friend Chris Tribe.
It concerns cramps and cramp heads. For years, I've used bits of 6mm plywood with a slot cut out...
…so that they hook over the bar. Works quite well, but does have the slight problem of...
…your own. Blocks of scrap wood with a slot milled down the middle. How simple is that?…and you've still got some 'folding' left to spend down the pub in the evening.
To return to the cramp heads, here's the solution. The 'fork' has now been cut off and some offcuts of nice thick leather glued to the face, but here's the cunning bit. The reverse….
….side now sports an 8mm rare earth magnet, set in flush with the surface.
This means that your cramp heads stay in position...
…no matter which way the cramp is orientated. Clever n'est pas?
See Chris's full Utoob clip for more enlightenment.