At the recent David Stanley Auction I was treated to a history lesson on the making of moulding planes by Richard Arnold and one of his friends. This is a set of six 'mother' planes from which the soles of moulding planes received their final shaping. Mother planes are very rare and valuable and to find six in such good condition was a real find.
The WCLA stamp stands for Warwick County Lunatic Asylum which is where these planes resided for many years. The maker was William Kendall (1764-1840) and these were made in the early 1800's. For much of his working life he worked for John Green as a plane maker. All the planes were stamped.
In addition to mother planes for the sole profile there were a number of other planes used in the shaping process and you can see these were clearly employed in the making of the mother planes.
These strange looking beasts were used for the chamfers on each side of the top.
The four planes below were used in the shaping of the wedges and we had a long discussion over this.
Now if it were me I would take an appropriate sized board and cut all the profiles for the wedge, before sawing off the wedges to the appropriate width. But it would appear that offcuts from the plane making were clamped together in a row and then profiled, I was shown a museum photo which backed this up.
In this last photo you can see a little prick hole on the wedge. All the wedges of a set would have this in exactly the same place and then each of the wedges was fitted down to the mark. This meant that when a set was complete all the wedges were a perfect match, true craftsmanship!
As you may have read in the past couple of weeks, I’ve been appointed the incoming editor of American Woodworker magazine – I begin the new position as of March 15. There is a rich history at American Woodworker. During the mid-90s, AW was full of articles from woodworking legends such as Toshio Odate, Frank Klausz, Don Weber, Kelly Mehler, Jim Tolpin, Mike Dunbar, Patrick Spielman, Silas Kopf and many others. As I began woodworking, I picked up a couple of issues at the newsstand. The issue that I remember best is from June 1995 (shown at left). It’s from this issue that I learned about breadboard ends. Almost immediately I signed up for a subscription.
This past week, I had the chance to visit the current headquarters of the magazine in Eagan, Minnesota to talk with and meet the staff that’s keep that magazine rolling in spite of an almost complete lack of corporate backing. (If you’re a current subscriber, you owe a huge thanks to Tom Caspar, Tim Johnson, Brad Holden, Joe Gohman, Jason Zetner and Shelly Jacobsen.) American Woodworker magazine will move its operation to Cincinnati in the coming weeks, although Tom Caspar and Brad Holden will remain in Minnesota and work remotely as editors. Other members of the team are moving on to new opportunities.
(If you’re not a subscriber to AW, may I suggest that you purchase a subscription quickly. Tom and his gang are working on issue #172, and the new regime takes over for the following issue. I can say with great conviction that you won’t want to miss a single issue.)
While in Eagan doing what I needed to do, I walked around the office, workshop and a couple of storage areas to see the operation. On a wall in one area photos – hundreds of photos – are thumb-tacked to the walls. It’s a visual history of American Woodworker magazine. There are, of course, images of projects from the many issues, but what caught my eye were the photos of past authors and woodworkers. There is a young Mike Dunbar shown looking through a couple of squares while handsaws hang on the wall behind him. Another image is of a younger Thomas Moser seated in a Moser-designed rocking chair. There are lots more photos. (Sorry that my photos of the photos are a bit fuzzy.)
Those photos were not the only historical records uncovered. Back in one of those storerooms are box upon box of old American Woodworker magazine files containing scads of original transparencies – how magazine photos were taken prior to digital cameras. Each box held the contents of 10 to 14 issues, and each issue is broken into articles. I was able to find the folders for each of the articles in the issue shown in the opening photo. You talk about history – and memories. I cannot wait to get started. Get your subscription now.
Build Something Great!
|Gluing up the 16" top|
|Dimensioning the legs|
It’s rewarding to work from rough splintery boards to the last rubbing out of the finished product. The pine drawer parts are from my property with the exception of the drawer bottom which was recycled from an old floorboard. The finish is three coats of Waterlox original rubbed to satin sheen with Liberon #0000 steel wool.
|Chopping all eight mortises|
|Dimensioning the aprons|
|Legs turned and apron tenons fitted|
|Pine drawer sides|
|Drawer face half blind dovetails|
|Drawer dry fitted|
|Ready for glue-up|
|Final fitting the drawer|
|Thicknessing and surfacing the top|
|Making a mess!|
|Attaching the top with screws from the underside|
|Completed "in the white"|
|Complete and in its new home|
Questions? Feel free to leave a comment below!
I read a comment on a woodworking forum last night stating: “I wouldn’t take a Sawstop table saw if you gave me one for free!” Or at least that’s what it said in paraphrase. That got me to thinking. If Sawstop offered to give you a free table saw would you take it? No strings attached, no cost, nothing, just a free saw out of the goodness of the company’s heart.
Or lets say you really love your table saw and wouldn’t want to give it up, so Sawstop came up with a free adder to retrofit your current saw with their safety technology free of charge. Would you take that offer? I’m curious to find out the answers here, because there is a lot of backlash against Sawstop and many claim that price has nothing to do with it. So please feel free to comment and let me know what your reasoning is either way. Thanks.
We spent hundreds of hours developing our Classic Leg Vise, which includes lots of time researching historic forms.
Most of our research takes the form of hunting down early photographs, which appear in everything from vintage tool catalogs to postcards. We also keep our eye out for ancient workbenches in modern contexts, like Ebay, auction catalogs, and lifestyle magazines. The latter is our favorite source, purely for the entertainment factor. Our image collection of bastardized benches is enough to make any woodworker cringe.
But now and then we stumble on a real gem, like the picture above from a school for disabled veterans.
One thing we found interesting. It seems shortly after Roubo's time, and the advance of the industrial revolution, that at least in France (and its colonies in North Africa like Algeria and Tunisia) the vast majority of extant benches featured metal vise screws, not wood. Why fewer wood screws? I think in a school or commercial setting, the metal screws were probably viewed as more durable, and with mass production coming into play, they could be made quickly and cheaply.
French leg vise screws invariably feature a metal hub and handle. English and American versions almost always use a cast "T" with sliding wood handle. We chose the French version to allow our handle to center up repeatably and reliably (this is nearly impossible with wood) and also because the cast "T" version is already available from other tool makers such as Lie-Nielsen.
We've uploaded some of our research images here.
Some customers who purchased the electronic version of “Campaign Furniture” encountered some problems with the pdf – some of the photos looked like photographic negatives.
The explanation is long, but the solution is short: If you ordered the electronic version you should have received an e-mail from us that a new file is available. This new file looks fine on all the devices we’ve tested so far.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Campaign Furniture
There is an event in the USA that will shortly unfold with regards to the final work of Aldren Watson.
Over recent months Aldren’s daughter, Clyde Watson, as been working to make Aldrens as yet unpublished book, Waterfront New York, ready for release later this year and we thought this new legacy to be something everyone should know about. You can preorder the book via the attached here. Please visit Aldren’s website for an introduction and perhaps glimpse one of my most favourite illustrating authors. You wont regret it.
Keep an old candle on your bench when planing. Rub it on the sole of the plane and you will find it much easier to push. It will not have any ill affects on your finish.
As always thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment.
When beginning woodworkers rank the difficulty of the different dovetail joints, they usually think of the through-dovetail as the “bunny slope.” The half-blind dovetail is the “expert slope” – perhaps a blue or a black trail if you are a snow skier. So what’s the full-blind dovetail? Or the secret-mitered dovetail? Throwing yourself off a cliff without a parachute? In my view, the through-dovetail is actually the most difficult […]
The post If You Haven’t Tried Full-blind Dovetails, It’s Time appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
Last week we took it upon ourselves to determine some of the defining parameters that we felt we should work to, while building the Nicholson bench for the Toledo Woodcraft Store. There are only a few. First: workbench height will be at 34″. This is a compromise, as the bench will be used by people of varying heights. The ideal way to judge correct bench height for a bench to be used for handwork is to measure from the floor to the wrist of the user, or (and probably more ergonomically correct) from the crease of the buttocks to the floor. Of course, this would be the user’s buttocks (old timers regularly “hiked one cheek up” on the bench while cutting mortises, in fact there are benches built for the sole purpose of mortising and they are typically knee height, so one could sit “astraddle” of the workpiece). Second: simply enough, was to build the bench heavy. A workbench cannot be too heavy or too long. Let me repeat that, a workbench cannot be too heavy or too long. However, a workbench can be too high and/or too wide. So, be advised. (Save time, save money, learn from the mistakes of countless thousands of craftsman who thought they had a better way, that’s how “standards” got started.) And third: use the most effective joinery methods. This translates into joinery that is not only pretty, but joinery that will stand up to repetitive movement and stress. So, now it begins in earnest.
Above is 2/3′s of today’s crew ripping stock for the leg sets. Between Carl, Les and I, we’ve got over a hundred years of woodworking experience. What does that mean in real terms? It means we’ve made a whole lot of mistakes over the years. A whole lot of mistake that you don’t necessarily have to make yourself. Readers of this blog should realize that everything we’re doing here can be done with hand tools. Only thing is it would take a whole lot longer.
So the first things we’ll build are the two leg “sets”. Here’s a little “cartooned” illustration. Dimensions aren’t important. And remember, you can use almost any lumber, durability is the driving factor. Just remember, it should be of a proper thickness to allow a holdfast to work efficiently.
We’re moving now and it won’t be long until we complete the bench. But in the meantime, I’m wishing for warming temperatures because this is what is just outside my front door. Is it Ohio or is it Siberia? You be the judge. My Norwegian friends will surely enjoy this.
We’ll have this thing put together well before we play our first round of golf (June 1?).
This one’s for all the woodworkers who are happy to be on the disavowed list…
Am I the only woodworker that thinks most woodworking plans suck?
Before I start, I will be forthright and admit that I often don’t follow woodworking plans, at least not to the letter. When I start a project, I will usually draw up a rough sketch with the dimensions I am looking to achieve and go from there. However, some of my sketches are not fully original and are sometimes based off pre-existing furniture and/or from already published plans. It is during those moments that having plans with at least some degree of certainty would really come in handy. Unfortunately, most woodworking plans are very, very vague; as in “What?”. Lately, I’ve been looking at and making chests, firstly because Kate Upton is hot, and secondly because I recently made several and my wife wants me to make another. While making a box may sound pretty straightforward, it sometimes can be a little more tricky than would be thought. For instance, attaching a lid to a box is not always easy, or at least not always easy to do it correctly. One plan I looked at for a blanket chest simply said “mortise the back for the hinges and attach the lid when the case dries.” Another plan didn’t even make mention of attaching the lid at all! It just assumed that the reader would figure out a way to do it. I don’t know about any of you, but the reason I subscribe to and read woodworking magazines is to pick up helpful little tips and tricks for performing tasks such as attaching a lid to a blanket chest. No offense, but an article on making a piece of furniture probably should contain information that will actually help you make it.
Am I the only woodworker that thinks the “Roubo” workbench is a huge waste of wood?
My own experiences with workbenches is not all that extensive. I’ve used the benches at the handful of woodworking classes that I took over the past few years, and I’ve messed around with the benches at tool shows and woodworking stores whenever I had the chance. When it came time to make my own bench, I built one based on the “French” workbench. For the record, it’s been a good bench for me, and for a while it was the only frame of reference I had for a bench that was made specifically for woodworking. As far as I was aware, most woodworking benches were similar to my own, and after taking a few classes with benches that were like my home bench, the nature of workbench design was a topic that I stopped giving a lot of thought to. Then, I attended a Lie Nielsen handtool event which for some reason had a Veritas bench present among all of the Lie Nielsen tools. For whatever reason, I went over to the bench with a board, saw, and a hand plane and messed with it for a few minutes. The bench worked just fine, which was surprising to me considering everything I had read about work benches with “thin” tops and legs. The Veritas bench was only half the size of the bench I have at home, yet I noticed no difference in how I used it. It got me to thinking that I could have made a bench similar to the Veritas at home in half the time and using much less wood. Now, the Nicholson, or “English” workbench has been popping up on woodworking blogs and forums and it seems right up my alley. It is easy to construct and uses half the material of a French bench, and from all appearances looks like it would have no problem doing anything that a larger and heavier bench would do. As for lighter benches “jumping around” during use; I just don’t buy it. At 205lbs, I am neither small nor weak, and I’ve never had a bench “jump” while using it unless I purposely made it happen. I think most of those movement claims are very exaggerated. If you are making a 200lb bench move while you are using it, whatever you are doing will also make a 300lb bench move. If you are that worried about your bench moving, stick it on a rubber matt instead of making it a foot thick; you’ll save a lot of time, money, and wood.
Am I the only woodworker that thinks tools are becoming overvalued?
I’ve slowly come to the realization that amateur woodworkers are overvaluing their tools. What do I mean by this? It seems to me that more and more we are being sold on the value of tools; which tools to buy, how to care for them, how to store them etc. and less regard is given to the actual furniture we are making. How many times do you read stories about “the old time craftsman” and how he lovingly stored and protected his tools and passed them on to his son when he retired. Know why he did that? Because his tools were his livelihood. The old time craftsmen sold all of the furniture they made, they didn’t get to keep it and in general they wouldn’t even be able to afford to purchase what they were building. I would bet that if the woodworkers of yesteryear did keep the furniture they made those pieces would have been even more lovingly cared for and passed on from generation to generation than a tool set.
I’m not blameless here; I fell into the same trap; I found myself becoming a tool worshipper and not a furniture maker. Being a tool worshiper doesn’t mean you have a lot of expensive tools or even a lot cheap ones. A tool worshipper woodworks to use tools, not build furniture. A tool worshipper worries much more about the sharpness of his chisels than the usefulness of his current project. A tool worshiper spends more time on his tools than he does on projects, period. Like I said earlier, look at the plans in a woodworking magazine; they are often afterthoughts, but an article on sharpening a saw will have a dozen detailed photos and drawings of the process.
I’m not trying to undervalue tools, but I am trying to put more value on what I make. I woodwork to make things, not play with tools. Don’t get me wrong, I like tools, I enjoy owning them and caring for them, but I like making things more. At that, I say own as many tools as you can afford and use them all, just try to remember why you have them. I’m not trying to tell anybody what to do here; do whatever you like. But I want to make furniture.
To see Day 1 of the class, Build a Continuous Arm Windsor Chair with Peter Galbert, CLICK HERE
Using angled mirrors (no smoke!) and reference guides set with the correct angles the student is able to drill the holes in the seat blank at the correct splay and rake needed for the chair to sit as designed:
With scorp, travisher, drawknife and spokeshave, the shield-style shaped chair bottom is sculptued forth. The seat is scooped out with the scorp and travisher and the unique outside shield pattern is created with the drawknife and spokeshave:
The post Build a Continuous Arm Windsor Chair with Peter Galbert – Days 2, 3, and 4 appeared first on Woodworking Blog.
Sure the Polar Vortex has piled up a few feet of snow, but it’s time to start prepping for some Spring renovation projects. I’m sure at some point I’m going to be facing a stuck screw during one or two of those “to-do” list items I’ll be tackling as the weather warms up and the icecaps recede.
Rather than doing what I normally do when I’m faced with a stuck screw I think I’ll try one of these 5 methods of stubborn screw removals that the folks over at M&M Tool Parts wrote about recently.
“Typically caused by the inevitable rust and corrosion that occurs inside a screw hole, a stuck screw can be an incredibly frustrating thing to work with.
Not only can it slow a project down, but it can throw a wet wool blanket over anybody’s good mood. This corrosion effectively locks a screw into place and removing the thing can potentially destroy the screw itself or, worse yet, the material it’s embedded in.
Fortunately, though, there are few sure-fire methods that will help you remove a stuck screw with relative ease and minimal annoyance.”
From “Chemical Warfare” to “Total Annihilation” you’ll probably find a few new ways to tackle a stuck screw without screwing up your project!
Checkout the article and all the great suggestions over at www.mmtoolparts.com.