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While very rare, which is partly a function of the short time they were offered for sale, and partly because very few people bought them, the seemed the perfect antidote to how to work the last bit of a stopped molding. I also thought they might have some general cabinetmaking application as the Mathieson catalog does call them "Cabinetmaker's Floats".
Except that they don't work.
I mean that they really don't work. Of the half dozen floats I have, none has any significant wear on them and the teeth of the float have no relief angle. So then you go over a board, nothing digs in and cuts. I could not get them to cut for squat. I am willing to entertain the idea that the user needed to sharpen the float by either adding relief or rolling on some sort of burr. Of the former notion, that would be really hard to do. There are a lot of teeth and no clearance for sharpening. Of the latter notion, the steel is hard, and there is no evidence that anyone even tried. Also, in any case, most tools sold usually have enough grinding on them so that they sort of work. These floats didn't work at all.
This might account for their rarity.
Now for the second part of the blog title. We like to think that the Victorian woodworker used series of molding planes to work all their moldings on a job, working in an airy, well lit workshop. While this might have been true for workshops in rural areas, and for high end shops, in most places moldings were things you bought pre-made in lengths from a lumber yard, just like today. And from the 1840's on (actually a little earlier in some cases) the moldings were machine made on early shapers.
As a modern day seller of router bits I can tell you that everyone these days uses carbide bits and both routers and shapers spin incredibly fast so that you get a smooth surface. In the 19th century this wasn't the case. The bits would be steel, and the speed of rotation nowhere as fast as today. Consequently you ended up with a molding with regularly spaced rises and falls. This problem gets even worse as the cutters dull - which happens pretty quickly.
So what do you do about it?
Here is my theory, I have no contemporary evidence backing this up and would welcome some documentation. All I can say is that practical testing of my theory bears me out. If you take an uneven machine made molding, with the hills and valleys of a too slow or dull cutter and work a multi-tooth float with no relief over it, the float cuts. It evens out the hills and valleys and you get something that looks like it came from a molding plane. I think this is exactly what the Mathieson cabinetmaker's floats were for. And they were available from the early days of machine made moldings, where the uneven surface of the machine wasn't acceptable to only a few decades later, when the machines were better and customers also got used to machine made moldings.
I have no proof that I am right but so far I haven't been able to poke a significant hole in my theory. What are your thoughts?
Note: "To Make as Perfectly as Possible" is now available! Yipee!!
While this class was going on I also had a bit of a play around making a Travisher too. I've had a set of traditional travisher irons for some years now. When I say traditional irons, I mean the sort that have the tapered 'stalks' which wedge in to the body of the Travisher body, as opposed to a blade that is screwed to the body, like say Peter Galbert's version.
Don't ask me why I decided to make one at this particular time, it just seemed like a good idea at the time.
I think, because I thought it would just be a rough mock up, I picked up a bit of American Oak and scribed a line around a very old Travisher that I bought from Patrick Leach a while ago. I then overlaid the outline of the Travisher Iron and adjusted the curve of the sole a little to suit.
Oak is obviously not the ideal material. But it was what was staring at me at the time.
I then drilled two 4mm holes for the iron stalks and roughed out the shape on the bandsaw, making sure that I left the underside, as you see it in the photo above, flat. That way it would be easy to clamp and hold the oak while I shaped it further.
From that point I used a 1/8" dovetail chisel to transform the 4mm holes to rectangular to accept the iron. This took a bit of fiddling, to ensure that the iron remained tight, but also was going to seat down deep enough into the body.
At this stage I fully understood why Pete does use a screwed blade, as opposed to a traditional iron. There's just too much margin for error. Fixing the iron without having to drill and fit a square mortise, is a much easier prospect.
But I persisted and finally got the iron fully seated and tight. With the iron in place, I cut out the relief for the shavings behind the iron. I then had a search around the workshop and found a strip of brass, which I fixed in front of the seated iron. ( albeit with Philips Head screws - I didn't have any slot screws the right size! )
With the whole thing looking right, all that was left was to finish shaping the body, which I did on the linisher.
All done and I have to say, for a first try, I'm fairly happy with the result. Bonus was there were three Perch seats in the workshop the day I finished it, so I had plenty of material to trial it with. In fact a couple of the guys used it themselves on their respective seats and gave me a thumbs up on the results.
Here's the new model lined up next to 3 of Pete's tools, the old 1800's tool I based the shape on and James Mursell's Travisher. Mine is not the prettiest, by far, but it was a good experience and I might just get around to fitting the other irons too some time.
In Lawrence, the purpose of my shop changed a lot over time. Sometimes the shop was a learning space. Sometimes it was a productive space. Sometimes it was just a storage space, while I took side jobs to get through the recession... or while I was figuring out how to actually run a business. Sometimes it was just a place for me to stare out the window, philosophize, and decompress, while the Merrimack river slid slowly by. I never took the time to define the mission of the shop. Honestly, I'm not really sure I knew enough about how I wanted to work to be able to define it. I'd been out of school for a year and a half, it was my third shop, and I was still pretty scattered.
It was a 3500 square foot shop, shared between three people. There was a lot of room to do all of the above, without feeling constrained by square footage. There was a lot of room to collect equipment, materials, and scraps that I didn't, and wouldn't need. And so, I was able to amass so many things that I'd never be able to get to, that would never stop distracting me. It was too much room.
My new shop is smaller. I've had to streamline, and make a lot of decisions about what's important to the space, to me, and to the business. And that has meant some hard looks in the mirror. I started out as a hobbyist. After 10 years, I still want to learn, and to try as many new things as possible. But I've learned the hard way that I need to keep the business healthy before I can afford to keep learning and doing new things.
Machines will play a bigger role in the new space, simply because they're faster. I can plan and execute complex designs that require a lot of hand work. And I love doing that kind of work. But after 5 years, it's become clear that the way I have to do things differently than I learned in school. I still want to keep my skills sharp, but I'm going to have to pick my battles on that front. Once the structural work on a piece is done, the process of adding the fine details... carving, inlay, hand planed surfaces, and so on... can begin. The more time I save with machines, the more time I have to add the little details that make such a difference. That won't always be a lot of time... but it'll be enjoyable all the same.
One side note... I have a feeling that I'll be consulting the esteemed Mr. Leach when it comes to new tools. I have a feeling that there are some old hand tools that were designed to be more productive and efficient than others. I also have a feeling that he knows which ones are which, and that he probably has things that I'd never even thought about... like the draw knife he sold me recently, with the chamfer guides that can hold a specific spacing. The ability to move the guides along the blade as sections of the blade get dull, without having to go through the process of setting up the spacing again.will be a time saver.
The other reason to focus on the machinery is that I enjoy the process of solving problems... and I'm good at it. I like coming up with jigs and fixtures, and evolving them to set up more easily or quickly, and to work more accurately. The end goal for me is two-fold: to come up with a better piece of furniture for my client, and to give myself more time with my family. So my focus right now is on reducing lead times without sacrificing quality of construction. That's leading me towards building modular jigs, working with industrial aluminum extrusions, and figuring out what's most relevant in a jig or fixture when I use them.
So, that's where the shop is headed for now, and it's what you'll be seeing in the blog. I'm still going to wax poetic in here about craftsmanship, inspiration, the learning process, and so on. But I no longer have time in the shop to watch the river slide on by.
I’m reading some big books lately. One is the deluxe edition of the Roubo book from Lost Art Press. I sold a lot of spoons to buy a book like that; but I knew I wanted volume 2, so it made sense to get in at the beginning too. The book is intoxicating; it makes me want to fiddle with inlays and other foreign (to me) ideas. Great great accomplishment from a host of people to produce this book. It will take time to really digest the scope of it; some of the images remind me of Serlio’s books on architecture. http://yalepress.yale.edu/book.asp?isbn=9780300113051 . See Jameel’s take on it, he wrote a nice piece about it. http://benchcrafted.blogspot.com/2013/10/to-make-as-perfectly-as-possible.html
I’m also reminded of a giant reproduction book I viewed some years ago, one of two manuscripts by Thomas Trevelyon – a bunch of early English images; including patterns and designs. Now there’s been a third manuscript of his discovered http://collation.folger.edu/2012/12/a-third-manuscript-by-thomas-trevelyontrevelian/
Another biggie is Adam Bowett, Woods in British Furniture Making 1400-1900: An Illustrated Historical Dictionary.
I had seen this book back in the spring while at Winterthur’s Furniture Forum. I also had the opportunity to hear Adam speak on the last day of that seminar. His presentation was great- it generally was the subject of the book, what woods are found in British furniture. Could be pretty dry, but Adam made it quite interesting. So I saved up, & got the book. His introductory essay is the best discussion about Britain’s timber situation; use of domestics, importation, etc. There’s several pages on “wainscot” so that in itself made it worth my time. Great book.
Then comes the last big book I’m currently reading – vol 2 of the Autobiography of Mark Twain. (Not about woodworking of course, but hickory bark is mentioned in vol 1.) He rambles through whatever crosses his mind, knowing he can speak freely. His instructions were for the book to by published 100 years after his death. So no one would be offended by him telling the truth. The books are not linear in any way, he’s all over the map. So I didn’t read it with any concern about keeping pace, or trying to follow the narrative. I picked away at vol 1 whenever I thought of it. By the time I was done fiddling with it, vol 2 came out. Perfect timing.
THE SAW WRIGHT AGAIN
I stink at sawing. I can use a hatchet pretty well. Can do some oak-ish carving in a particular style easily. But saws I struggle with. Just not enough practice. I’m working on it. Matt Cianci has helped a lot. When he visited my shop one day, I showed him a new saw I had from the folks at Lie-Nielsen. I told him that I held it funny to get it working the way I wanted…I grabbed it low down on the handle. Matt suggested re-fitting a newer handle with different “hang”. So I handed him the saw & that’s what he did.
I’m sure lots of people use this saw just as is, with fine results. But I didn’t want to treat it like a relic, and I felt that I wasn’t getting what I could from the saw. I was interested in learning how it would behave with the lower fitting handle.
I like it, and use it regularly these days on the chest of drawers I am building. Matt brought the original handle back so it can be reversed if ever I wanted to…
Here’s Matt’s take on what he did… http://thesawblog.com/?p=2312
MOTHERS, TELL YOUR CHILDREN NOT TO DO WHAT I HAVE DONE…
It’s not that I have frequented the House of the Rising Sun, but that I have left half-finished furniture around for months & months. It makes it very difficult to pick up the thread & see where it’s going. Here’s a couple more shots of the chest of drawers’ upper case. I have not really begun the lower case yet. Here it is with some ornament applied, but the case not yet fully assembled. This one is not a copy, but truly an “inspired-by” situation. That means I am making it up as I go along, and that I didn’t measure and examine the originals in detail enough to copy them. Red oak frame, cedrela panels on the side. Drawer fronts are pine, with figured maple inserts. Surrounded by cedrela moldings. Rosewood turnings.
Rear view just before I inserted a single pine panel. The drawer back is a re-used sheathing board; this side-hung drawer is about 10″ deep, so gets 2 sets of runners. I have yet to install the lower drawer runner.
Here’s a clear shot of the smaller upper drawer back; this time oak. Riven, sawn-off drawer bottoms scarred the drawer back. Just like some old ones I see. The rear joints are rabbets, nailed. Fronts are half-blind dovetails. Glued. Sometimes nailed.
When the upper case is tipped on its back, you see the mortise in the bottom edge of the side rails. This is for a registration loose tenon that will align the lower case & upper case. The front lower rail is only 1″ high, maybe 1 1/2″ I forget. It has a rabbet in its inner lower edge, for dust boards that will seal the bottom of this case. The tenon runs the whole height of the rail, so when I cut off the excess end of the stile, the tenon is exposed.
Now I have to put it down again, & finish some stuff for the museum. It’s a hard life wherever you go…
Speaking of which, wherever I go to set up shop, I intend to have a sign. So I started carving one like I did for Lie-Nielsen a couple of years ago.
Here’s the beginnings of mine, the piece of red oak courtesy of Bob Van Dyke:
As editors, we search our two web sites (popularwoodworking.com and shopwoodworking.com) constantly for information for the online extras portion of all articles and most columns – the information, we hope, is both relevant and interesting. While searching the sites, I often come across books, articles and DVDs that have scads of interesting information, including tips … Read more
After laying down the new ¾” plywood flooring over floating 2×4 sleepers the next step in preparing the machine room for the actual arrival of the machines was to finish the doorway to allow entry into the space. For the past seven years I just had plywood fastened over the garage-door opening there, removing the sheathing only under very unusual circumstances, which had not occurred often. I had always intended to build some nice, simple doors and now was the time.
The finished doors are absurdly simple units of plywood and 2x4s, roughly 48” wide by 81” high. I started by cutting the plywood to the right size, then all the 2×4 framing pieces, and assembling the whole with decking screws. Each door of the pair includes two 20” x 40” thermal window panels, left over from building the dozens of windows in The Barn. I originally purchased almost a hundred of these glass units from a salvage yard in Toledo, who had purchased the contents of a defunct window factory who-knows-when.
I made the openings for the windows by simply cutting the voids mostly with my circular saw following the frames, then finishing off the cuts with a hand saw. I laid down a bead of transparent silicone calk and dropped the glass panels in place, followed by molding strips to lock the panels in place. No framing, no joinery, just quick and dirty.
I did not get the doors all trimmed and weatherstripped this trip, but at least they are up and functional. There are no door knobs as the doors will only be opened from the inside when the barrel bolt latches at the top and bottom are released.
They are inelegant, but I am content with them. Some day I may make some exquisite doors of mortised frame-and-panel, but for now the screw gun assemblage does the trick.
I am especially pleased with how well they blend in to the barn overall, but could not help but notice that the concrete block wall around the doors need painting, pronto.
It seems like yesterday I was wrapping up my keynote address on furniture design to a packed house in Chicago. Then a woodworker down in front raised his hand and posed a question I didn’t know the answer to. A little embarrassed, my brain froze and I fumbled through an awkward ” I don’t know”. The woodworker was Jim Tolpin and he hung around after the event and peppered me with more questions I didn’t know the answers to. That was the beginning of a great new friendship that eventually led to the two of us collaborating on our book “By Hand & Eye. They say that co-writing a book is a recipe for wrecking a friendship, but in our case we must have lost that recipe. As the project reached that point where it’s a slog (as all books do), my respect for Jim increased as his inquisitive mind and generosity of spirit rubbed off on me.
Charles Brock interviewed Jim for the November edition of The Highland Woodworker . It’s worth a look.
George R. Walker
Some of you will already have noticed that I have brought my Scytherspace site and blog into the SteveTomlinCrafts site.
As well as making them easier for me to manage this will mean that you now get posts all year round and I hope that you will be as interested in both seasons of my work as I am to have that variety.
On the site itself you’ll find the main blog in the menu as usual but with two drop down options which will take you to either the woodworking or scythe posts, making it easier to browse and find what you’re looking for. I’ll also be sending out an occasional newsletter with details of courses, exhibitions and events to watch out for.
Thanks for following, I feel really lucky to have such interesting and varied work through the year and love sharing it with you on the blog. I hope you’ll enjoy what’s to come just as much but, if you change your mind, you can always unsubscribe by clicking the link in your email or at WordPress.com.
For the last few weeks I've been spending my free time dipping into the new translation of "Roubo On Marquetry" and enjoying every page. I've found I cannot burn my way through it very quickly because the things I'm reading in there set my synapses alight and I have to digest the ideas before I move forward.
Then Friday I came home from work to find my copy of Joseph Moxon's "The Art Of Joinery" had arrived. So paging back and forth between both of these historic tomes is amazing. If I didn't know any better I'd say those jokers over at Lost Art Press planned it that way.
I've tried to read through some .pdf versions of "The Art of Joinery" and the accompanying works in the past and I have to admit, I'm not sure I took much away from it in the past, but after Chris Schwarz hammered on it a bit, cleaning up the text and offering his analysis, I'm enjoying it much more this go around and learning some interesting things too.
In Section 3 he spends ink talking about the differences in setting the depth of the plane iron for a wooden fore plane. Later in the text Chris writes about the order he planes down rough stock and that often he works from a heavy set fore plane to a fine set fore plane followed by a smoothing plane. In essence, the process uses two fore planes.
The "fore" plane is a more complex thing to the numbered system ushered in by Leonard Bailey and Stanley Tools. In place of the singular fore plane you have the number 5 Jack Plane of appropriate size and the number 6 Fore Plane of appropriate name. I use both of these planes regularly when bringing a stick of lumber down from rough to square and surfaced.
I use the number 5 with a heavily cambered blade to do the heavy lifting. I use it to traverse the board and knock down the high spots to cure wind and cup. Then I follow with my number 6, I have a lighter camber on the blade and I use it set fairly fine to finish out the flattening and erase the tracks left by the number 5. The final touches them come from a number 4 smoothing plane.
I've found success using that system and I've stuck with it. It's kind of fun to hear that backed up by both Moxon's and Chris's writing.
When I first started making the hand tool transition in my shop and began to put my toes into the vintage plane market I found a great resource in Patrick Leach's "Blood and Gore" resource. I had read through it a dozen times by the time I ran across my number 6 at a flea market and as I picked it up and turned it over in my hands Patrick's playful venom about how he dislikes this plane ran through my head. I put it down and almost walked away.
But the plane had already been cleaned up, restored, and the price was so cheep I'm embarrassed to repeat it. I picked it up and it brought it home and that plane has managed to touch nearly every project I've built since. I pride myself on keeping a modest tool collection. Just what I need to work, and maybe a little more. I could get along without the cursed number 6 but it does make things easier.
It really goes to prove one of the things I've come to love about woodworking. There are a ton of different ways to do every task and, provided they are safe, every single one of them is correct.
Ratione et Passionis
Hey Marie – your screech shot was the highlight of my autumn-armchair birding season…
but today I got my own luck. After spending a couple hours trimming & digging by the riverside; we were putting stuff away & coming up to the house. I saw what I thought was a creeper in the pear tree, but it turned out to be a golden-crowned kinglet. He stuck around long enough to get his picture took, here with his crest puffed up:
For a split-second, he sat still out in the open:
Most of the views were like this, of course…
IF I learned one thing over the past two weekends, I learned that I don’t enjoy building workbenches. There are some woodworkers that love constructing benches and everything that goes along with it, and to that I say ‘Whatever makes you happy’. Building workbenches does not make me happy; nor does modifying them, flattening them, or fixing them. Why? I think the main reason is because of the size of the parts you are dealing with when it comes to workbench construction. For instance, I had to maneuver my new workbench top, which is roughly six feet long, sixteen inches wide, and three inches thick, and which weighs around one hundred pounds, around my garage at least half a dozen times yesterday morning. My garage is just over twelve feet wide, and that is before you count the other stuff in it. It was a real dance getting that thing where I wanted it to go, even though I had to carefully plan out each motion so as not to drop it, or trip, or knock something over with it. I’ve found that when you are building something large, you need a proportionally large space to build it in. Of course, I knew that already, having learned the lesson several times beforehand. Yesterday morning’s lesson was just an audit of a class I had already taken.
Once and for all, I decided to add the tool tray to my workbench top and attach it to the base. It is my hope that this will not only make my woodworking more enjoyable, but also end my bitching about the topic. Yesterday morning I started early. I had a few things I needed to do to get the new top prepared for the tool tray. The first thing needed to be done was to make some Dutchmen to fill in the recesses I had on my old bench top, which is now the underside of my new top. I made the Dutchmen from some 3/8 poplar scrap I had. I glued them into place and clamped them, and while they were drying I started building the three boxes that would make up the new tool tray.
I made the center box first, because it is the largest, and also because it is deeper than the other two. I wanted a box deep enough to lay any of my bench planes on their sides without sticking out, and that meant a recess at least 3 1/4 inches deep to be on the safe side. I sized the length of the box to fit in between the back legs of the workbench. Happily, the legs were relatively square, so the tray fit if fairly nicely. The construction of the tray was simple: pocket screws and glue, with 1/2″ cleats to hold the tray bottoms. Once the first tray was completed, I planed down the two Dutchmen I had made, and attached the new workbench top to the base. Originally, the top was held to the base with some ‘L’ brackets, and four 3/4″ oak pegs. The pegs are what really gave the top stability, but yesterday I had to use the ‘L’ brackets only, as my work would possibly need adjusting. Thankfully everything fit, so I attached the top to the base. At that, I changed the top configuration a bit. Originally, my workbench had equal over hang on each side of the bench. I found that very rarely did I do any work on the left side of the leg vice, so I left only a six inch overhang, with the right side of the bench getting the majority.
The other two boxes/trays I made by measuring off the first tray. They are not as deep, only two inches with the tray bottoms attached. I plan on using those as hardware bins, though chisels also fit in nicely. Ideally, I would have made the tray all as one unit notched around the benches base, with corresponding rabbets and dados for separating the compartments. That certainly would have been the proper way to do it, as well as a cleaner build. Unfortunately for me there was nothing ideal about this project. In fact, I would go on record as saying that the trays I made are just okay, and probably represent some of the worst woodworking I’ve done in years. They are a bit too sloppy for my tastes. I could always reconstruct them the “right” way, and somebody may point out that I should have done that in the first place. I would point out that the “right” way would have cost me a lot more money than this did, which was next to nothing. I don’t usually spend the bucks unless I know for sure that it will work. If this experiment is a success, and hopefully it is, I will make all of the proper changes.
So for all intents and purposes my new top and tray is finished and ready for work. I still need to peg the bench to the base, which shouldn’t be too difficult. One other thing I would like to touch on is dog holes. When I ripped down my original top, the original dog holes were removed, leaving only four that I had near the center of the bench that I used for the holdfasts. Catching a lucky break, it turned out that those four dog holes were nearly perfectly placed, so I reused them. I will probably add another four to the same row, but for the time being I will not be adding a front row of holes, nor a tail vice of any kind. I very rarely used that front row of holes; the middle row for the holdfasts saw much more use. The same can be said for a tail vice: I almost never used it. In my experience, holdfasts work for nearly all of the clamping that I ask a workbench to do, and a planing stop in the leg vice was more than enough for hand plane use. There is probably something to be said for my theories, because in some old photos of woodworking benches that I’ve seen there was no front row of dog holes either.
There are still a few small tasks I need to complete: pegging the bench, attaching the board jack (or ‘dead man’ if you prefer), adding a few more dog holes, and finally adding a protective finish to the new top. Those jobs shouldn’t take too long, and in the meanwhile my bench is up and running again. I’ve said before, this is a temporary arraignment. ‘Temporary’ may mean twelve months or more, however. But what I am saying is this is not my last workbench. I have come to the realization that my next bench may be purchased and not made. I don’t have the time or patience to spend months upon months making a woodworking bench. From the research I’ve done, it is nearly as cost effective to purchase a bench from Lie Nielsen, Sjobergs, or Veritas than it is to make one yourself, and it is much, much faster. While I try not to make everything about costs and time, I am making an exception in the case of a workbench. Building a workbench isn’t the same thing as building a cabinet or an end table. We are talking a very sizeable investment of time and money. For some reason, woodworkers seem to think that they need to build everything. That may be somewhat of a healthy attitude, but it isn’t necessarily smart. For instance, I could probably build an automobile given the time and money, but purchasing one is probably the smarter move for most people. What is the comparison? I believe that workbenches are the woodworking equivalent of a car. They are one of the most used woodworking tools, and they are often one of the most costly. A good woodworking bench, either shop made or purchased, is probably the most expensive tool that a home woodworker owns, with the possible exception of a (higher end) table saw. At that, I rest my case.
On a final note…I generally don’t offer a whole lot of advice on this blog, but if I may, it would be this: If you are a new woodworker and you are planning on making a workbench, make it as cheaply as possible. My suggestion would be the Bob Key good, fast, and cheap bench. Use that bench for a while, see what you like and don’t like, and then save your money and purchase the nearest and best bench that fits your needs. While I will be the last person to deny the need a woodworker has for a good woodworking bench, they are also one of the more overrated tools you will ever own, at least when compared to the cost and time needed to make one. You can make a lot of nice furniture in the time it takes to make a workbench, and you can be learning a lot more about woodworking while doing it. Still, if you want to be a bench builder then by all means do it, but if you want to make furniture there are other ways to go about it than spending months building a giant clamp.
A temporary beam and struts to hold the roof in place while we remove and replace the stud walls.
Above the missing bricks is about a tonne more bricks, which very quickly started to crumble away….. holy s%#*t
A tonne or so of detritus, dirt, rocks, half bricks and shingle ends removed from one side of the kitchen floor. This should give some breathing space under the new floor.
Rotting walls.. ( Inside & Out )
and tea spoons, buttons and marbles. The lens from a pair of
I promised last week to show you the moulding installation. But if you stopped by, you found that I was unable to post. So as promised, here is the technique I use to cut, fit and install the lower moulding on the tall clock.
Layout is the important step. First position the arched moulding to the hood. After it’s in position draw a line along the back or top edge. Make the line run the entire length of the moulding, or at least indicate where it crosses the inlay at the center and the lower 2″ at the hood’s base. The second step is to lay in the straight line to indicate where the moulding runs along the base – show the area that fits between the arched moulding and the hood’s return. To obtain the angle needed to fit the two pieces (arched and short straight) draw a line from the two corners as shown in the photo above.
To reveal the cut lines on the moulding, slide the arched piece back into position then use a couple of spring clamps to keep it in place. On the top edge of the moulding, mark where the lines intersect – the intersection of the arched and straight, as well as where the arched crosses the inlay should be marked. Repeat the steps to mark the two points on the inside edges of the arched moulding. Both steps are shown above.
On the back face of the moulding, make a couple of tick marks that show the two points then use a rule or straightedge to draw the line from mark to mark. Strike the lines at the two layout points. I also square the lines down the back edge of the mouldings to provide two points of reference as I cut. Because the moulding is arched, a couple of spring clamps will hold the piece secure as you cut. The easiest way to cut the lines is to grab your handsaw and make the cuts. I like a Japanese saw for these cuts because the finer teeth are easier to start, and glide through the cut better. This saw is from Lee Valley (link). Make the cuts while watching both lines – it’s the same as when cutting dovetails. After the arched moulding is cut (touch-up the cut with a small plane if you’re off your layout line), reposition the arched moulding to the hood.
The next step is to cut and fit the short, straight moulding at the base. You can repeat the same procedure to cut this piece; layout the two points, strike your line then saw the cut by hand. But for this cut – because it is a straight piece of stock – I work at my miter saw. I simply guess the angle then make a couple of cuts to hone-in on the final angle. You could, of course, use a bevel gauge to setup the correct miter. Even using a bevel gauge, I find myself fine-tuning the cut, so I go right to the saw. Make sure your fit is tight and that the moulding profiles align. You will have a small amount of work to do to bring the two profiles to match, but the work should be minimal.
For me the tricky part of this installation is the next step. On the top edge of the straight moulding, mark the start of the 45° bevel, and indicate the direction of the bevel. (That’s where I sometimes have problems.) It’s easy to get things turned around as you move to make the cut. I, again, use my miter saw. This is also a straight piece of stock and easily set and cut at the miter saw. Because it is a small piece, you may not feel comfortable at a power saw. If that’s the case, use your handsaw and a bench hook to do the job.
The last piece – on this first side – is the return. It’s a simple 45° cut at the front with a 90° cut at the rear. With all the parts cut and fit, turn your attention to the second run of mouldings. The process is the identical, but the angles are reversed. When both sides of the mouldings are fit, use spring clamps to hold a run in position as you prepare to attach the pieces to the hood. Working with the arched piece of moulding, add a thin bead of glue to the back face, then position it to the hood and to the short straight piece that is clamped in place. A few #23-gauge pins hold everything as t he glue sets. Work from there to the return, then repeat the same steps to install the second run of mouldings.
Build Something Great!
The one area of The Barn to receive the least attention thus far has been the ground floor, a shortcoming I have begun to address. In anticipation of the upcoming move of my machinery next month I needed to get room for them prepared, which I began with the recent clean-up of the space.
For the past couple of days I have been making great progress in getting the machine room ready not only for the machines but also the installation of a wood stove to heat the machine room and my main workshop which is immediately overhead.
Fully cleaned, or as fully cleaned as I could get it, the space looked like this at the beginning Wednesday night.
The best thing about being at The Barn is that it is not close to anywhere. The worst thing about The Barn is that it is not close to anywhere. When building materials are required for a project, if they are not delivered it means a three-hour round trip to the lumberyard. On Thursday afternoon I made the trek, returning with about 1400 pounds of supplies in my little half ton S10. If GM had not been vampirized into a confiscated soviet enterprise I would be the perfect spokesmodel for their little trucks, as I have used them hard with nary a whimper on their part. Remind me to tell you sometime about heading over the mountain, some of the winding-est roads anywhere, with two 400-pound smelting furnaces, a raft of machines, and weighty supplies in the back, my pal Mike riding shotgun. In the dark. In the rain. And me with poor night vision. I cannot state with certainty that when we arrived he leaned over to kiss the ground, but it would not surprise me.
The space for the machine room still had its packed gravel floor from the original construction seven years ago, wholely inadequate for machines (yes I know the dictionary spells wholely differently, but in my opinion dictionaries are wrong about this). In addition, the gravel floor was not really level. So, my plan was to flatten the gravel and lay floating 2×4 PTSYP “sleepers” on it, then screw ¾” CDX sheathing on top as the final floor.
The first several feet were fine, and the gravel level was just about right. The hardship came after these first few sleepers were laid.
Unfortunately the remaining gravel had been put down with a slight crown, about 3 inches worth. That would not have been a terrible problem, but I had to inset the sleepers with their tops to be about two inches below the current gravel level.
Let the digging begin.
For the majority of the project, I wound up loosening all (and removing most) of the gravel where it was, using a shipwright’s adze as my implement of destruction. The gravel was a local product known as “limestone dust” which packs tight, becoming almost cementitious over time and traffic. This consumed about 75% of my time and 90% of my energies, as the gravel had to be bludgeoned into a state of looseness, the shoveled and raked smooth at the right level.
Had you been there to keep me company yesterday and today — and where were you, by the way? — this is what you would have seen a thousand times.
My working routine for this was to sit on a concrete block and work in arcs swinging the adze to break up the gravel, working in ever widening arcs and moving the block stool as needed. Once a large enough area was so prepared I would remove about half of the gravel, one shovel full at a time.
By the end of the day I was practically immobile with exhaustion, and last night I was in bed by about 8.30, too tired and sore to even open the folder with Roubo 2 manuscripts being edited.
Just before a late supper tonight I finished with the main area of flooring I will get done this trip, but even this 300 square feet (with another 100 s.f. to get next trip) exceeds my current tiny basement workshop by 50% so things are looking good. But then, I have to make room for a wood stove and all the machines I have out in the barn at the other house…
Tomorrow I make the new garage doors for the machine room.
It’s not often I get to take my woodworking to work with me, but not long ago our art department at the university was collaborating with our English department to have a art/poetry/music exhibition. So I brought a few small pieces to exhibit, and I brought my spoon carving tools and my family.
It’s good to have art students on hand to handle signage.
I’m sitting just a few feet outside the building that houses my office.
Doing my best to use some of the techniques I learned from Peter Follansbee at Woodworking in America last month.
A fellow professor brought her spinning wheel and her loom to demonstrate traditional textile work.
My wife brought some relief carving work, and my kids wandered around at will.
We had a glorious afternoon.
Special thanks to my friend Doug Mitchel for taking all the pictures.
Tagged: art walk, artwalk, loom, spinning wheel