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This is a collection of all the different blogs I (try to) read. A whole bunch! If you have any comments or suggestions feel free to use the CONTACT page to get a hold of me. Thanks!
When the Joiner and Cabinetmaker was first published, co-author Chris Schwarz, who had built the three projects in the book, had hundreds of extra pictures that just didn't fit in the book. From a construction guide standpoint these pictures were very useful, but adding several hundred pictures and pages to the book wasn't very practical. So Chris instead used the photos to produce a DVD slide show with audio that takes the viewer through the process of building the projects --a nice complement and amplification of the information in the book.
Before Chris actually built the projects - the Packing Crate, the School Box, and the Chest of Drawers - he, as any craftsman would, took the original sketchy dimensions for each project and made real plans using SketchUp, the free CAD software you can download from Google. So when he made the DVD he adding those Sketchup files so that you can examine and alter the plans to your heart's content.
These slide shows and plans are now available as a free download. Click here to get to the product page. We've embedded the three slide shows in the picture viewer. A sample of the book and the SketchUp downloads are at the bottom of the screen.
|still nice and straight|
|it's a banana tree|
|left turn minor distraction|
|mounted on a lazy susan bearing|
|the banana tree base|
One other thing I'm going to do is bevel the 4 edges. That should lighten it a bit and make it look thinner.
|everything is laid out|
Way back when I first starting to make these, I put them together with biscuits. This was the early 1990's and Norm ruled the airwaves with the New Yankee Workshop. He used biscuits and so did I for everything. I don't know if any of the 3 I gave to my sisters are still alive but I think this one will last for a bit.
I got distracted again as you can see. I wanted to do something in the shop tonight but not work on the cradle. I have a lot of hand planing up coming on the cherry and I think I'm going to get an assist on it. I'll hand plane one face twist free and flat and run the other side through my lunchbox planer. The glued up panel for the ends will be roughly 24" square and that is too much to plane in this weather.
What was the name of the Prince that woke up Sleeping Beauty in the Walt Disney movie version?
answer - Prince Philip
Drivel Starved Nation;
Someday I am really going to have to do a thorough search of all the stuff tucked away around here. Yesterday I found something that really gave me pause for thought…
Residing at the bottom of a box full of other boxes of old stuff, I found this;
This is a non-logo TS-2 made from solid Brazilian Tulip wood. The non-logo is a key that I made this in 1983 when I thought branding tools was somehow evil. (I have never claimed to be a good businessman.). And I do remember making this square. I was experimenting with exotic woods left over from my furniture making days and I have always liked Tulip wood (Dalbergia decipularis). I don’t think it is commercially available any longer and that is probably a good thing.
Finding this square makes for an interesting dilemma — should I keep it, or should I throw it up on eBay? Since I have been sitting on this for 33 years, and actually forgot I had it, makes me wonder why I should keep it. Then on the other hand, it is one rare tool. So chime in and I will tally your votes… which of course is completely different than making them count.
Speaking of votes, approximately 10 years ago I met Dave Jeske, founder of Blue Spruce Tool Works. If you recall, we met after a customer sent me a link to a particular nasty internet thread that was slamming your favorite tool company and your favorite Tool Potentate. Imagine that!
Dave was “elected” to meet with me to get to the bottom of our unbearable greed. We met for breakfast so he could “analyze” our price structure and report back to his friends who I fondly referred as the “Woodworking Taliban”. (Not only am I not a good business man, but I am not politically correct either.)
His first words, “Why are your tools so expensive?” was followed about a minute later with the confession that he wanted to be a tool maker.
We have been friends ever since.
We meet two or three times a year to discuss the tool business, or lack thereof, and you can imagine my surprise when last week he shared with me an almost identical internet thread slamming his character, his prices, etc. etc. The truth of the matter is; this shit gets old.
On our third glass of wine, he shared with me some of his new stuff, and one in particular is damn cool and a great deal. Check out his new universal marking knife set;
He has the same make to order model as we do, and this kit is specially priced at $220 through August 10th. You can learn more about it here. Dave promised me that if he sells 100 of these to BCTW customers, the next time we meet, he will buy — and that will be a first!
NOW for Something Completely Different. Sorta…
“When is Commemorative Tool #20 going to be announced?”
Hey! Thanks for asking!
I only want to work each surface of this benchtop once. The slab weighs enough (approximately 115 pounds) that I have to struggle with it to get it in and out of the vise and onto the benchtop.
So every move with the slab is planned with care so I don’t end up injured or (at best) embarrassed at having to ask a friend to help me get the benchtop off the floor.
Today I dressed the two broad faces of the benchtop: the underside and the benchtop itself. Both have to be fairly flat and free of twist in my experience. Of course, this slab turned out to be a weird one. Typically the bark side of a slab will be concave across its width, and the heart side will be convex. This slab was reversed.
So I started on the convex face. Normally when I dress a rough convex face I remove the hump in the middle using with-the-grain strokes with my jack. But because I had a lot of wood to remove (about a quarter of a thumb), I used a different tactic. I traversed the hump alone at first and stayed away from the long edges of the benchtop. Traversing allowed me to take a bigger bite with the jack plane.
Once the hump was gone, I checked the top for twist. It was indeed twisted. So I used my jack plane to work away the two high corners, which were diagonal from one another.
When the underside was flat (according to the winding sticks), I dressed the entire underside of the top with the jack to leave a consistent and tidy (if scalloped) surface.
Then I flipped the benchtop over to work on the concave side.
Because I knew this surface was also twisted, I began working away the two high corners straightaway. After bringing all the corners into the same plane, I dressed the surface with a jack. I’ll probably dress it with the jointer in the morning and leave it like that until after assembly – that’s when I’ll clean up the leg joints protruding through the benchtop and tooth the surface with a toothing plane.
I also managed to rough out the legs on the band saw today and hope to turn them on the lathe tomorrow.
If this sounds like a lot of work, it’s not. I have logged only two full hours of shop time. How much more time I’ll log will be determined by whether I decide to build an opossum or an arachnid.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Roman Workbenches, Uncategorized, Workbenches
When I bought my first Stanley No. 5 in the mid-1990s, I regularly used the lever cap as a screwdriver to adjust the tension screw in the center of the frog and to tighten and loosen the cap iron screw. Then one of my fellow employees dressed me down. You should never do that, they told me, because that illicit activity could chip the lever cap. This is advice repeated […]
Almost two years ago Chris sent me a pre-publication copy of “The Book of Plates” and gave me free reign to color, cut-out and otherwise manipulate anything I found in the plates. Yesterday I started work on the index for “Roubo on Furniture” and now get to read the descriptions of each scene, tool and work method in the plates. Most of the plates that I transformed into dioramas and collages are from the furniture book and seeing them again was a reunion with old friends.
The plates have tremendous detail but having the matching text is like have the sound turned on. Part of Plate 4 is a description of proper storage of wood and protection from the elements. Roubo provides meticulous instruction on stacking the wood and how to achieve the angled “rain diverters” at the top of each pile.
In preparation for this indexing assignment I pulled my special china pattern out of storage. I like my china pattern to match the book.
Later in the week I’ll revive the Birds of Roubo and the trash-talking Chairs of Roubo.
– Suzanne Ellison
Filed under: To Make as Perfectly as Possible
The Tormek T-8 water cooled sharpener will let you sharpen practically everything in your shop and home. The T-8 uses a unique wet grinding stone that lets you restore your woodworking tool’s edges quickly and precisely, without any risk of destroying the temper of the steel and then uses a leather wheel strop for honing them to a razor sharp edge.
Michael Morton gives an overview of the features of the T-8 sharpening system and shows how the sharpening machine is used to sharpen a chisel.
the 3-legged/footed stool is done.
here’s some of how it went. I do the joinery in two halves. Here, the leg is propped in the “joiners’ saddles” (V-blocks) to hold it steady. Line up the centerline on the end grain with a square, and then fire away. Because the stretchers are at three different heights, you need to keep track of which one’s which. I tend to make the front stretcher the lowest one. the other two don’t matter which is which. Align the bit against the square propped on the bench.
My half-inch mortise chisel is packed away somewhere. I had to use this short firmer chisel. Makes it harder to steer, and can’t whack it as hard. I chop half-way, then turn the leg over & come in from the other side.
test-fit the rectangular tenons.
I drew the seat plan full-scale on a piece of cardboard, then copied the angles from that. Set the adjustable bevel and tilt the inserted rail so that where I’m boring is plumb. Then go.
Same idea, different setup with the bevel.
beveling under the seat. Like a joiner’s beveled panel, feathered down to fit the grooves in the seat rails.
the front seat rail & stretcher have spindles between them. Knock this together, then insert one rectangular tenon into each post/leg.
Keep in mind the rectangular tenon is a through tenon, the stretcher is not. So the seat rail enters the post ahead of the stretcher. Here’s the front section on the saddles, don’t want the rectangular tenon to bump into the bench top.
I once was putting one of these together in front of a crowd, pounding away on the joinery, when my friend Ted leaned over & said “you forgot the seat!” Not this time…
Knock it together.
|#2 of 3|
|oak one on the left and brand new brass one on the right|
|Mark does excellent work|
|new brass one on the left and the first brass one on the right|
I have noticed with using the first brass gauge that at first I wanted to saw a steeper angle than what I had marked. I think the memory of using the wooden gauge was kicking in. So I had Mark make me a new gauge that I will now use for my dovetailing. I think I may use the first one to do half blinds. Or maybe I'll go up town and use one for softwoods and the other for hardwoods. I've been known to do crazier things.
|Yikes something is amiss|
|erased the last 3 and remarked them|
I was trying to go real slow in the shop tonight. Today was a notch below miserable but tomorrow is supposed to notch it up beyond miserable. I didn't want to start sweating like a pig and doing the T-shirt exchange dance steps so I purposely picked things to do that wouldn't cause that.
But this is with the drill shut off. I am concerned that with the drill running it will grab the bit and throw it off. I would have a real nice warm fuzzy about this motorized sharpening if I could secure the vise to the table somehow. I'll think of something because I don't need this chisel and bit for a little while. I'll also practice on a crappy 3/8 mortising chisel first.
I don't need the flattening jig right now neither so I stickered it on the tablesaw along with the newly sawn sides. The only remaining part needed is the front stop.
|using my jig to lay out my boards for the ends|
|not wide enough|
|8" board in the middle|
|left board is the problem|
|back up board|
|the V board is the center one|
|the defect board is outboard|
I stopped here because I was starting to sweat. I went upstairs and started to sketch some hardware that I would like Mark to make for me. I want the cradle to swing freely and noiselessly too. Another thing I want is the ability to lock the cradle too. So far I haven't find any off the shelf hardware anywhere. And I looked at a lot of hardware to see if I could repurpose any of it for my needs. I'll keep looking and run my ideas by Mark.
What is a philogynist?
answer - a person who likes or admires women
It happens frequently enough. You buy a tool and it looks good, but then you start to work with it and it doesn’t work. This was one of those more awkward situations that unfortunately happened in front of a larger group of woodworkers looking for shavings when none came. I say unfortunately because the tool itself was well made and priced right, but it was also disappointing because the other factors surrounding its manufacture seemed sound. At first glance the tool looked like it should have worked, but then I know something I have studied extensively with router planes and that is that the cutting iron must have a relief angle from the cutting edge on the larger flat face opposite the bevel forming the cutting edge. Here you can see that the foot is dead square to the stem.
In other words the cutting iron cannot lie parallel to the face of the sole of the plane, it must rise up from that cutting edge to the heel of the foot-shaped cutter. Without this, the cutting edge will not reach the wood surface and the whole functionality of the plane is lost. Truth is that even the flat face of a cutting edge on say a chisel or a plane has an unintentional micro-micro bevel on the cutting edge because of micro-fracture along this edge. Offer a chisel to a flat face of a piece of wood with the bevel up and push it into the wood and the incline of presentation will be a few degrees before it actually has the capacity to engage and penetrate into the surface fibres of the wood. This is what’s needed for router plane blades also.
Of course what happened in this case was the tool was never tried by its designer, manufacturer or by any crafting artisan on the wood itself. Of course logic prevails; how can it not work? By the time it was on the shelf and offered for sale it was too late and the name of the company slightly jeopardised for a few weeks. In my case I was with my friend who stocks the planes for sale and I could show him directly the reason the tool didn’t work. I was also able to make some points for him to perhaps work with the tool maker to make suggestions for other considerations for improvement or correction. In this case, as far as tool looks goes, the design was fine. The size of the router plane was very nice and it was indeed nicely made too. So now let’s take the plane apart and say what would make the plane a best seller all round.
The cutting iron
In this case the three cutting irons are developed with the cutting iron welded or formed exactly 90-degrees to the stem of the cutter. The stem is installed in the plane through a perpendicular hole that then also presents the foot of the iron at a perfect 90-degrees so the iron will only cut if presented into the wood from an edge and not a surface. That being so, and the fact that we actually enter the wood from the face and not the edge so much, the plane is rendered unusable.
Thankfully the fix is simple and takes but a couple of minutes with a grinding wheel.Once the heel is ground down the router works perfectly.
Once done the cutter is good for the rest of its life. Here I did just that. I ground the underside of the foot in a straight line from toe to heel and then used the diamond plate to finesse the work. Further polishing and refinement gave me a good cutting iron and I was ready to go. Oh, and the steel is hard. I tried to file mine with a flat file and it barely scratched the surface. I ground it on an electric grinder and then honed it on diamond plates and it worked fine. The steel seemed good and took a good edge.
The plane comes with three cutting irons and whereas I might dismiss all three and say give me one good one to the right size and square instead of the others, I thought that the others would be very useful in some of my work not the least inlaying recessing tight internal corners where the angle might be impossible with a square and wide bevel. The main cutter is a spear-point cutter, the one we use rarely but used for truing up recesses after the straight, squarely presented cutter. Mostly we don’t need this cutter unless the recess bottomed out is seen rather than hidden after the installation of hardware that covers it. This is a rarity for most work and that’s why the cutters are often found in good condition in standard sets when bought secondhand. What I am saying is that the set of cutters should include the ones provided but the main cutter should be perhaps 2-4mm wider and square ended. This would make the tool a craftsman’s tool.
The cutting irons provided at the moment measure approx 6.4mm and 2.4mm wide, so around 1/4″ and 1/8″. Such sizes are actually arbitrary for most work because of course everything we route down is wider than the cutter width. 1/4″ and 1/8″ are handy sizes. I also think that a 10mm cutter would be a very good size for this plane too. A 10mm cutter is good for most of the general recessing work we do that involves routing down recesses such as housings and housing dadoes. The cutters already in the blades provided are excellent for small work but too pernickety for most of the work we engage in. We choose the cutters to match the work, so a narrower recess is usually scarcer and therefor lessens the need for narrower cutting irons.
The sole of the plane
Most routers have a flat aspect connecting the two sides of the sole so that the router is supported over narrower edges. Without this the router cannot be used on say the edges of thin (narrow) wood. In this case anything less than 20mm cannot be routed. For 95% of general woodworking this plane works fine, so I would not hesitate to buy the plane at all. Here you can see the plane slips down over the face and makes depth of cut impossible to control. This then means that the cutter gouges in on narrow, unsupportive edges. It would have been better to have the sole span the gap at the rear half of the plane in my view. That said, again, for 95% of work the plane works great as can be seen below.
The front arch gives clear visibility to the work and no fibres build up at the fore edge for stopped recesses such as stopped housing dadoes. Something other manufacturers have failed to see.
In this case the plane is adjusted by pinching the cutter and setting it near to depth. No router plane is intended to hog off large amounts so in most cases we have reduced the depth with a chisel. The plane refines the depth of cut and goes down incrementally by further adjusting the depth of cut by half a mil at a time. To do this we pinch the cutter at the top of the stem and use the top edge of the plane to micro adjust the depth once it’s set near to depth. The setscrew can usually be set by finger and thumb pressure but a full lock-on is achieved with a screwdriver. This makes it less convenient. The best method is a thumbscrew and nothing comes close for solidity, speed and effectiveness. If they were to change to this the plane would be greatly improved too.
With the corrections made I hope to see this plane enter the world supply. We cannot get the plane in the UK but when we do I will likely look for the cutters to enhance the functionality of mine. It’s a good plane.
Grind the foot to 95-degrees instead of 90 and the problem of functionality is solved. Provide an added main cutter of 10mm and also an 8mm cutter but both square across. Not totally essential but definitely a winner for me is the fill in the rear part of the sole so no gap there.
I loved the overall size of the plane. I also liked the ‘wave’ shape that so suits the hand. This is not new, but it was never really manufactured in quantity, yet the shape combines with the knobs for finger gripping.
For small router planes like this it is common and adequate to pinch-set, but I am sure that this plane/tool maker will want to make a version a bit larger with a precise adjustment mechanism. A simple enough addition.
A thumbscrew to replace the slotted head would greatly improve functionality.
You just got back from a tour of duty civilizing and acculturating those in the far corners of the Empire, er, Commonwealth. You like everything about being out there in the field. Your Campaign furniture greatly enhances your gender identity. You bring most of it home with you but some of it does not fit your urban, hipster lifestyle. You’ve just purchased a vintage bistro height table. You know bistro height tables are passé but you are such a hipster that you are on the leading edge of the early 2000’s retro movement.
One issue is that your favorite Roorkhee chairs don’t really work with your bistro height table.
Your civilian brother-in-law can only afford a set of Kaare Klint Safari chairs.
Now there is a solution to your conundrum. I present the Roorkhee safari stool:
It’s got wood. It’s got leather. It breaks down. It’s got straps.
Now, your task is to go out there and find the right clip on instant man bun. You may be in the service, but you have a reputation to uphold.
This afternoon I got a good start on my first Roman workbench – a knee-high bench with almost no workholding, aside from holes for pegs or holdfasts.
I’m building it using a red oak top from Will Myers, who dried the slab in his homemade kiln in North Carolina. The legs are some white oak stock that is sold at the lumberyard for making rustic mantles. (I was going to instead use some firewood I have in my shop, but that firewood is actually going into two upcoming commissioned chairs.)
The real fun part of the project is the measurement system. Thanks to Brendan Bernhardt Gaffney at burn-beart.com, I have a Roman ruler to guide me as I design and build these two workbenches. I’m using his Cubitus Ruler, which combines several Roman systems onto one pretty stick.
So here is the cutting list for this first Roman workbench:
1 benchtop, measuring 3.4 thumbs x 14 thumbs x 4.9 cubits (or 87.8 thumbs)
4 legs, measuring 2.2 thumbs x 2.2 thumbs x 1.25 cubits (or 21.3 thumbs)
Before you do the math, just think of the cubit as the distance from your elbow to the tip of your middle finger. And the thumb as the length of the second segment of your thumb. That’s accurate enough.
Today I dressed the front edge of benchtop with my jointer plane, making sure it was square to the benchtop (the benchtop is the heart side of the slab, FYI). Then I marked the final width of the benchtop using a large square – my panel gauge is in my other shop.
That’s when I found that I had to remove almost 1/2 thumb of wood in places to make the front edge and back edge parallel.
I looked for my hatchet. Dangit. It’s also in my other shop.
So I decided to traverse the edge with my jack plane. After marking the final width of the benchtop, I use my jack to create a chamfer on the corner that touched the line that represented the final width of the benchtop. The chamfer acted as gauge – as the chamfer disappeared I knew I was closer to my finished width. It also protected the corner from spelching during the traversing.
This dodge worked surprisingly well.
Tomorrow I’ll dress the benchtop and start shaping the legs.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. The book “Roman Workbenches” is unlikely to have any photos because we are printing it via letterpress, so I’m not sure why I’m documenting every step. Old habits die hard, I suppose.
Filed under: Roman Workbenches, Uncategorized, Workbenches
I recently stopped by the Lost Art Press shop to chat with Christopher Schwarz for a few minutes about Roman workbenches. He’s in the midst of building two of these in preparation for his talk on that subject at Popular Woodworking in America 2016 (Sept. 16-18 at the Northern Kentucky Convention Center). I was curious as to why, after so many years of championing the “Roubo Bench,” he’s become interested […]
For those of you who think that sanding and abrasive technology is a fairly new thing, I have news. Sanding is older than handplaning. As Geoffrey Killen points out in “Egyptian Woodworking and Furniture” (Shire, 1994), Egyptians did not use handplanes. Those tools were invented by the Romans or Greeks. Instead, Egyptian woodworkers used an adze to dimension pieces and then finished off the wood with sandstone. His book shows […]
Been very busy the last few days getting this drill press cleaned and painted, still more to do, and I will continue to share the progress as time goes on.
Thanks for stopping in. Enjoy the video, and don't for get to subscribe, like, share, comment.
Summer is in full swing and where I live it is HOT. The best way around this is to stay inside and read the forum. Remember, if you have a question about our products, procedures in our books or anything related to Lost Art Press, the fastest way to get an answer is our forum. Check it out here.
Workbench is finally finished
I love showing off people’s finished projects and this one is perfect for that (above). I love the painted legs. Beautiful work Tyler.
Staked worktable is rickety
Christopher is finding his staked worktable to be a little rickety so far in his construction and is thinking of putting two aprons between the battens with screws to remedy the problem. Has anyone had a similar experience? And if so, what was your solution?
Suitable replacement for pine
David is looking for pine on the West coast and has found it nowhere. The question now is whether to build from 3/4” pine or switch to poplar. What are your thoughts?
Roubo bench green timbers – the waiting game
How dry does wood need to be to start a bench build? This is the question Jason is pondering while anxious to get started. Most are advising that as long as there is dry would for the legs, the top can be green. Do you agree?
Making a wider bookshelf
Thomas’s bookshelf is painted and in use. Looking good! (At right.)
Planting on a raised panel
Michael is getting ready to build a wall cabinet and is thinking he wants to approach his doors the way Peter Follansbee did the lid on his tool chest. (Below; the photo is from Peter’s blog.) The problem is that he is not sure how he attached his dust seal. Glue? Dowels? Dominos? Anyone able to help him out?
See ya next week!
— Meghan Bates
Filed under: Forum