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This is my last post till my next plane build, I have redrawn all the planes to the exact measurements provided by Larry Williams. After reading through the many articles with different opinions offered on Larry’s old bulletin board service, I believe that for the larger moulding planes there is no need to angle the mortise. After reading not all but some of the findings of other readers not all moulding planes had the taper. I have built the No.16 without the taper and did so in ignorance and not intentionally, after all plane making is new to me. But having done so and after spending a considerable amount of time adjusting the iron, the plane works exceptionally well without a taper. There is still a 1/8″ wall left on the blind side but I cannot say that a taper wouldn’t be necessary on smaller planes. None the less I’m not willing to modify anything until I thoroughly learn the trade of building planes and it isn’t as easy as one might think at least not for me. The only part I struggle with is shaping the iron, you can do everything right but if you don’t get that part right then it won’t work. In fact, if you screw up the wedge or get a blow out on the mouth you can pretty much throw your plane in the bin. There is definitely an art in building these plane that require your utmost attention and due care.
With the mouth opening being so large I thought there would be some issue and I reckon there will be when dealing with difficult grain but that can be said even if the iron was skewed and the mouth tightly closed. But so far the shavings ejected out without getting clogged and I owe this to the acute angle I pared on the wedge. Keeping the planes body clean during the test fit of the iron is another challenge as well. Being beech a light coloured wood stains or gets black marks on it very quickly after touching metal. A light sand will not do the trick so clean your hands regularly or use a clean rag to pick your plane up.
I’ve slapped a coat of minwax antique oil finish, they all swear by it so I might as well do as they do. I’ll put three coats on over three days. Lol just where am I going to store all these planes?
That’s all folks, Take care.
Many thanks to Phil Sylvester for his suggestion and referral to Larry’s old articles. Larry Williams went through the same dilemma as I have until he saw the lean and that’s why I said his measurements are wrong. I didn’t know about the lean, yes I did view the video several times but somehow the subject of lean passed me by. Now this has opened up a pathway to a successful build, this means that I will have to change all my drawings so I’ll be taking taking those links I posted offline. However, should you wish to use them they will still work as I’ve built a no.16 and it works well. The issue is when you go down in size it gets frustrating. Now I’ve got it finally.
I have finally finished all the drawings from No.18 – No.1. That’s 36 planes in total or 18 pairs. The No.18 has a radius of 1 1/2″ and so it goes down to No.1 which has a radius of 1/16″.
I have based these drawings but not entirely from Larry nor even entirely from James Celeb. These drawings were most difficult to complete, the reasons being that Larry’s dimensions are not accurate. I’ve had a friend of mine who is a doctor of engineering try to make sense of those dimensions and came to the same conclusion that they are innacurate. So I’ve had to change them to make it all work, James Celeb drawing of a single moulding plane is correct but he too had to deviate from Larry’s dimensions a little. Matt Bickford’s planes follows very closely if not identically to Larry’s planes, unfortunately those dimensions he uses are unavailable to me.
The initial base design is the same as Larry’s, Bickfords and Celeb, those base dimensions is an agreed upon consensus since the 18th century and on 18th century planes only. The issue I had was getting the blind side matching the bodies fullness while maintaining the radius profile. Believe me this was one mind boggling thing.
While I’ve stuck to the planes typical 18th century design, I’ve opted to change the finial from the typical circular to an elliptical shape with a lamb’s tongue. In the 18th century there are about 5 different designs for the wedges if I’m not mistaken and the one that appeals to me the most is Thomas Walker’s design. The elliptical shape is taken from those poxy shoes they used to wear, you know the one with the heels. To me that looks most elegant for the wedge and it’s not the same shape though but very similar to the 19th century style. The lamb’s tongue yet adds a touch of further elegance.
18th century planes are slightly longer than 19th century moulding planes, but they are in no way more functional than 19th century planes, it’s very much an aesthetic thing. To my eyes 18th century planes are a lot more pleasing in design than the 19th century style.
So here’s the thing guys and gals, I’m sure you would want to have all the working drawings for these but I won’t release them all until I have built these planes. Even though I have double and triple and quad triple checked my work, I still need to see whether or not changes could be made as an improvement. So far I’ve build one plane the No.16 based on these drawings and it works fine but I want to finish off the rest and if all goes well then I can safely offer them to you and sleep better knowing they are 100% correct.
However, I will not be offering them for free, I don’t know how much I will charge for them but it will be affordable. I’ve always had good intentions for this blog but considering how expensive this country of mine is, I’m really doing it tough. I’ve invested a considerable amount of time and knowledge to draw these up, and to offer them for free would be ludicrous. As far as I know such plans are not available anywhere on the net, I will be the first. So have a look at the sample No.15 plane, see for yourselves just how accurate and well drawn they are.
I posted previously a plan for 1 1/8″ hollow and round plan, I realised I made a mistake on the arc and have corrected it. I was 1° off, my apologies for that, so those who downloaded it scrap it and download this version.
This is a nice inspirational video on Larry Williams and his business partner Don. It’s interesting though to see some machinery used in the production of these fantastic planes. I’ve always found it odd that machinery is used to produce hand tools to promote handwork. No ear protection, no dust, its quiet and efficient but when it comes to manufacturing them, it’s not cost effective and inefficient to do so by hand. Kind of hypocritical don’t you think, it’s like selling tools vs selling furniture, you can sell tools all day everyday but you can’t sell the stuff you can build with them.
Larry mentioned that moulding planes are sophisticated tools and I agree with him, they are as much needed in ones tool kit today as they were back in the day. I know modern day furniture has very little mouldings implemented in their designs, but fashion comes and goes it’s more a cycle or like the hour hand, its start at 12 and completes its revolution ending at 12. Nothing knew is ever thrown at us, nothing knew in terms of design is every invented, fashion comes and goes like the tide, if you don’t believe me look carefully and you will see bits and pieces of things taken from the past going back as far as 2000years and I’m not only referring to furniture.
In this modern age most people don’t like brown furniture but do like the carvings and mouldings and the initial design of some antique furniture. So why have it brown? I’ve seen a beautiful highboy in FWW made entirely from Tiger Maple. It’s the same style of furniture but it isn’t brown, the creator thought out of the box. So you don’t need to stick to any period correctness colour just to go with your own creativity.
Referring back to my own build I’m finding it frustrating to shape the irons to make a perfect replica of the sole’s profile. Unfortunately I had to resort to using a dremel to help with the grinding. If I had an assortment of files I believe I could do a much better job quickly and more efficiently. The two quality files I have are Bahco files and are the best files I have ever worked with. Sometimes I feel like buying a whole bunch of them in fear that they will drop their standard of work and produce crap like Nicholson does today. I wonder though how the select modern day toolmakers shape theeir soles and irons? I look at James Celeb’s profiles and they’re perfect, I looked at Matt Bickford’s and Larry Williams and HNT as well and all the irons perfectly match the sole. So perfect that it’s impossible to think that they did this by hand and I don’t think that they did.
When I examine Ron Herman’s profiles through his videos there are slight variations because he grinds them by hand and some of my own antique planes again you see those slight variations as well. I could be wrong as I’ve never held any of those above mentioned toolmakers planes in my hands before to study them up close, but it just looks too machined perfect to be done by hand. So I wonder what is it that they they use to get it so darn perfect.
I believe that I will get it perfect by hand, I know me and I know how much of a nit picker I am so it’s only a matter of time before I get to that aha point. It’s easy to say I don’t know, it can’t be done and to resort to some machine to do it for you. For me that’s not being a craftsman, a craftsman relies on his own skill sets or develops them and not rely on some machine to do it for him. For me it’s always been about skill development and freedom from the dependence on machinery.
“The man nowadays who is able to do a job at his own pace is one of the fortunate ones. Then to one he’ll either be a craftsman with a small workshop of his own or a man working at a hobby. A feeling of enjoyment so much more often accompanies work that is freed […]
Haven’t I been trying to get this message across in my entire blog
- Maker: Possibly Joseph Pons (French, born 1776) (probably a son of César Pons)
- Date: ca. 1805
- Geography: Paris, France
- Culture: French
- Materials: Mahogany, spruce, ebony, brass, nickel-silver, gilding
- Dimensions: Height: 34 1/4 in. (87 cm) Width: 14 3/8 in. (36.5 cm)
This form of the guitar was created about 1785. The columnar arms supporting the yoke are veneered in mahogany. The guitar has six single courses of strings. A printed label inside the instrument reads: “Pons / fils / luthier, / Rue du Grand Hurleur / No. 5 / A Paris, an 13.” The phrase “an 13” refers to the thirteenth year (1804–1805) of the French Revolutionary Calendar.
Renaissance paintings by Lorenzo Costa and Raffaellino Garbo show lyre-guitars held upright (possibly interpretations of incised strings in classical bas-reliefs), as they were properly held by the player. Essentially, the lyre-guitar was a modified version of the lyre of antiquity, but with a fingerboard and six strings. English lyre-guitars were sold from 1811 as the six-string “Apollo” lyre of Edward Light and the twelve-string “Imperyal Lyre” of Angelo Benedetto Ventura.
Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings: (printed label within ornamental border) “Pons, fils/luthier,/Rue du Grand Hurleur/No. 5/A Paris, an 13.”; (stamped on front of pegbox and on soundboard just below fingerboard) “Pons fils/à Paris”
It’s been a while since I last worked on this build, I’ve had a week off work due to being sick and even though my body ached and my head throbbed it wasn’t enough to keep me out of my workshop, but enough to keep me out of my crappy, schizer of a job.
I went back to my original No.16, if you remember when I started on this build I screwed up the mouth by opening it too much. Plus Lie Nielson advertised on their site that they had the 1 1/4″ iron but it turned out to that they never did. It’s a mystery still to this day how it got on their site at all. So I bought some O1 flat bars from the states because I couldn’t find any in Australia to be at 1/8″ Of course I paid through my backside after all the conversion and shipping was done and yes I will do it again and again and again or atleast until Australia has it which will probably be never.
I’ve completed the build today but I still need to shape the iron, heat treat it, sharpen it and give it a test run. I’m basing my planes on 18th Century moulding planes, my designs are directly from Larry Williams, the same designs that Matt Bickford uses on his planes. I’ve never built a moulding plane in my life, in fact I’ve never built any plane besides the small router plane before either. So this was a huge learning curve and adventure for me. I’ve watched Larry William’s dvd on side escapements countless times and I’m still watching it over and over again. You’ll be amazed at how much information you’ve missed when you watch it several times. Your minds starts to wander and your not really concentrating but the dvd continues to play. So I just kept rewinding it and watched over and over again until I got it.
That mouth opening will bother me till the day of judgement and beyond, but I will learn to live with it because it’s actually not entirely my fault. Sure I cut it but I blame it on my ignorance at the time. Sure enough I think I pretty much nailed and once I get the iron done and she performs as I expect she will I’ll be starting on the No.15 and work my way down.
I’ll be the first to admit that it isn’t easy, it’s slow, pedantic and there was a lot of “how the hell do you work this part out.” In the end I achieved what I set out to do but I know there will be even more frustrating part as I work down to the itty little bitty ones.
If you’re going to tackle these planes I would highly recommend you practice on some structural cheap pine. A lot will end up just piling on your bench but you’ll save alot frustration and money in the long run. Also I thought this French method would be easier but now I’m of the opinion that it’s not, as it has its own quirks. Setting the Veritas Rabbet plane is difficult, insanely difficult, so planing a rabbet with it is no walk in the park. For me that was the most frustrating part and I will without a doubt build myself various sized rabbet planes. Also creating a fillet that you see on the toe and heel of the plane to look crisp and right is also difficult. Shaping the sole isn’t as hard as I thought it would be but I practiced on some scrap a couple of times to get it right. When you do decide to make a set always start off with the round and then use that to make your hollow.
I am really holding off from revealing detailed information on how to build these planes because I would like to reserve that for the magazine. Yes the magazine will be released by the end of this month. I’m only waiting for one more author to complete his article and as soon as that’s done there are over 60 pages of reading materials to go through. For now I better get back to finishing off this iron. Another new challenge, how do I shape it without having an assortment of files.
One last thing to mention, I started this build last summer. The glue I used is not surprising to anyone is OBG Liquid Hide and look at it, it’s holding together even through the hot, extremely humid months. Our summers in my state lasts for three months and they get unbearably hot, sometimes too hot to work. Hide glue has held on, so why it doesn’t work for some people bewilders me, even the fish glue I used on scrap and left it in the laundry is still holding strong I still haven’t thrown it away. So there you have it in a nutshell.
- Maker: Attributed to Joseph de Frías (Spanish, active Seville and Cadiz, ca. 1775–1800)
- Date: ca. 1780
- Geography: Seville, Spain
- Culture: Spanish
- Medium: Spruce, rosewood, cedar, ebony, mother-of-pearl
- Dimensions: Height: 37 5/16 in. (94.7 cm) Width (of lower bouts): 11 in. (27.9 cm) Depth (at tail): 4 3/4 in. (12.1 cm)
This nearly pristine instrument is a fine example of Spanish guitar making in the late eighteenth century. Rather unusually, the soundboard is of five pieces, similar to a guitar by Frías located in the Museo de la Festa in Alicante. It is decorated with inlaid rosewood, mother-of-pearl, and ebony floral features around the soundhole, at the base of the fingerboard, and between the bridge and the end of the guitar. An important feature of this instrument is the absence of bracing on the underside of the soundboard. Most six-course (twelve-string) guitars of this period were fan braced, whereas here the soundboard has been reinforced with woven cloth adhered in an X pattern to the inside of the soundboard.
- Maker: Christian Frederick Martin (Markneukirchen, Saxony 1796–1873 Nazareth, Pennsylvania)
- Date: ca. 1838
- Geography: New York, New York, United States
- Culture: American
- Medium: Wood, maple, spruce, abalone, ebony, metal, brass, ivory
- Dimensions: Height: 36 13/16 in. (93.5 cm) Width: 11 11/16 in. (29.7 cm) Depth: 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm)
Christian Frederick Martin was born in Markneukirchen, Saxony, Germany in 1796. He is known to have studied guitar building in Vienna, working for Karl Kuhle, whose daughter Otillia Kuhle Martin would marry. Martin also claimed to have worked in the shop of Johann George Stauffer whose designs he closely followed in examples such as this instrument. Such features as the scroll-shaped headstock and metal machine tuners, the body outline, and the pin bridge, were all based on the Stauffer design. In 1833, Martin immigrated to New York City where he opened a music store and built guitars, like this one, based on the Viennese style guitars he had learned to build in Germany.
Within a few years, Martin would design a distinctly American form of the guitar that would shape all subsequent acoustic guitar making in the United States. His company, C. F. Martin & Co., would become one of the most influential musical instrument companies in the world and continues manufacturing acoustic guitars in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.
Something to think about
These are the standards we should be aiming for, no routers, no cnc, no table saws, no bandsaws just pure hand work. I can’t help but wonder about this statement which is true by the way “Time is money.” Time was also money then and before then and before then. The only difference between us and them, they had skill, and knew how to work fast and maintain accuracy while we don’t. We can blame machinery all we like, we can blame mass production and advertising and the guys who convinced us that we’re just not good enough, so we need machinery to produce outstanding work. But the truth is, the blame solely rests on us. Don’t you think we’ve been sheep long enough. Don’t you think it’s time we break these shackles of modernisation and embrace what is truly free.
Handwork brings true freedom, it only takes effort on your part.
They weren’t super humans, they were ordinary people like us and we human beings are an extraordinary creation, who can achieve unbelievable things if we set our minds to it. We can also produce sh*t, this we’ve proven over and over again, we live it and we see it everyday, isn’t it time we said enough.
Some of the most beautiful and refined furniture ever made, displaying the highest level of artistic and technical ability, was created in Paris during the eighteenth century. Much admired by an international clientele, it was used to furnish residences all over Europe and also influenced fashions of cabinetmaking outside France.
Furniture-Making Guild (Corporation des Menuisiers)
French furniture of this period was the collaborative effort of various artists and craftsmen who worked according to strictly enforced guild regulations. Established during the Middle Ages, the guild system continued with little change until being dissolved in 1791 during the French Revolution. The Parisian guild to which the furniture makers belonged was called the Corporation des Menuisiers. It had great influence on the education of furniture makers by requiring at least six years of training that led to a high degree of technical specialization and ensured a high standard of work. First an apprentice spent three years or more in the workshop of a master furniture maker, followed by at least as many years as a journeyman. In order to become a master, a journeyman had to prove his competence by making a chef-d’oeuvre, or masterpiece. Once that was successfully completed, he could open his own workshop only if a vacancy existed (the number of masters allowed to practice at one time was strictly controlled by the guild, as was the size of their workshops) and he had paid the necessary fees. The dues were lower for the sons of master cabinetmakers than for people from outside Paris who had no relatives in the guild. From 1743 onward, it became the rule to stamp every piece of furniture that was offered for sale with the maker’s name. An additional stamp, JME (for jurande des menuisiers-ébénistes), would be added once a committee, made up of elected guild members who inspected the workshops four times a year, had approved the quality. Any furniture that failed to meet the required standards of craftsmanship was confiscated.
Menuisiers and ébénistes
The Corporation des Menuisiers was divided into two distinct trades, that of the woodworkers who made paneling (boiserie) for buildings and coaches, and that of the actual furniture makers. The latter can be subdivided into menuisiers (joiners), responsible for the making of solid wood furniture such as console tables, beds, and chairs, and the ébénistes, from the word ébéne (ebony), makers of veneered case pieces. Most of the menuisiers were French born, often members of well-known dynasties of chairmakers, and were located in or near the rue de Cléry in Paris. By contrast, a large number of Parisian ébénistes were foreign born, many of whom worked in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine. Although not forbidden, it was rare to combine the professions of a menuisier and an ébéniste.
In addition, there were two other groups of furniture makers active in Paris, working outside the framework of the guild. The so-called royal cabinetmakers, who were given special privileges and workshops either at the Louvre palace, at the Manufacture Royale des Meubles de la Couronne at the Gobelins, or in other buildings owned by the crown. Royal cabinetmakers were free from guild regulations. The second group consisted of the so-called artisans libres, or independent craftsmen, many of them foreigners who sought refuge in certain “free” districts of Paris outside the guild’s jurisdiction.
Boy would I love to confiscate many furniture made today.
This is a quick update to let you know where we’re at. The announcement of this magazine has sparked a lot of excitement amongst our craftsman worldwide, we have gained several contributing authors, among them are Brian Holcombe, Joshua Stevens aka Mr.Chickadee, Bob Rozaieski from the Logan Cabinet Shoppe, Bob has written several articles for various woodworking magazines, one of them being finewoodworking. Unfortunately Paul Sellers has declined to become a contributor at this time, but the door is always open should he reconsider time permitting.
I’m in talks with Colonial Williamsburg, they’re very positive about this magazine. I know I could do alot more had work not be in the way, but that’s how the cookie crumbles. So far there’s about 23 solid pages of great articles completed including projects.
So it’s all coming together slowly but surely, I didn’t realise just how much work goes into producing a quality magazine. Also in addition, an ePub version will become available in the near future for iPad’s. ePubs are an interactive eBook mag with video’s and so forth. So I’m hoping to have two versions, the standard PDF for those without an iPad and an ePub version for iPads. I’ll see if it’s possible to cover the android users.
Articles are being written up by our authors as we speak, mine are already done I just have a few other additions I would like to add. I’m not entirely sure just how many pages there will be in total, I’m doing this on the fly. Comparing to other magazines I’ve counted about 30 pages of advertising and about four actual pure woodworking articles. So I think I’m doing a pretty good job so far, no ads just pure woodworking.
Please help spread the word, help by contributing if you can, send your articles, projects pics, tips, ideas, discoveries, everyone is welcomed to contribute.
Send to firstname.lastname@example.org
This magazine is not about me but all about you, it’s for all of us combined. Articles are not reserved for the privileged, like you find with other magazines. I want the world to see craftsmen and women from all over the world, let the world see you and what you make and have to offer. This magazine again is not reserved for celebrity woodworkers, even though they are more than welcome to contribute, but I’m more interested in the unknown woodworker, the silent achiever. Not matter who you are, what part of the world you live in, you all have something valuable to offer. If language is a barrier, I will help you along as best I can. This is a community based magazine and therefore a community based effort. Let’s make this the best and most sought out hand tool woodworking magazine together.
6 June 2017
Working faster with hand tools
By Salko Safic
Its a common misconception that working with hand tools is a slow and tedious project, and the justification of having machinery in both amateur and professional workshops are based on these common misconceptions. Professional woodworkers claim that time is money, and all of us agrees upon this statement, but have they been misled by advertisers that machinery is truly faster.
We can come to an agreement that once machinery, or a single machine is setup to perform a repetitive task, it most definitely is faster. Most small cabinet shops don’t deal with mass production type work. A successful cabinet shop won’t also work with single commissions, but will have a multiple of various commissioned orders with a back log that can run into the years ahead. Still one has to ask is there any truth to this misconception? I would have to say yes and no, yes for thickness planing and ripping long thick material, and no to everything else.
Say your building a chest of through dovetailed drawers. Will the router get the job done any faster? And again I would have to say no, not for any single project. The task can be quickly and time efficiently done by hand in the same time it would take to setup a router and a jig.
By developing a good work habit you can avoid simple mistakes and increase your production time by following some examples below.
Arranging your work to suit
You want to keep your work organised, so plan ahead. Be mindful of your workbench, you know it’s strengths and weaknesses. If your chopping a mortise, you would choose the corner of your bench as there is more solidarity minimising vibrations, noise and softening blow effects than if it were in the middle of the bench. You wouldn’t chop one mortise and one tenon to suit, but you would chop all the mortises, while marking each one as you go along with a number or a letter, then make all the tenons to suit again, marking each one that corresponds to each mortise. This will not only speed up your production time but will also eliminate mistakes and time wasting locating what fit goes where. The same principles apply to making dovetails. You would employ what we call stacking, where you lay each board on top of each other in a stair step sequence. If your sawing dovetails you can gang them up in your vice and saw multiple boards in one operation. Frank Krause made a video back in the 90’s demonstrating these techniques. It takes Frank 2 mins to saw, chop and fit two dovetailed boards, it would take longer to do the same with a router and jig setup.
When planing, plane all your boards rather than as the need arises, if you can afford to have several planes it would be highly recommended. You can preset these planes according to your needs, you can also save time in sharpening by having several planes, set, sharp and ready to go. Ron Herman a house wright in the United States does just that.
Another good method is to own several marking gauges set at different settings, here you can save a lot of time without the need to set your gauge constantly.
Unnecessary clamping and unclamping of boards is also a huge time waste, many artisans throughout the ages avoided as much as possible clamping anything on their bench. They would either lean on it or work against a stop, for example if your chopping out some dadoes, rather than go in and out of the vice, you can have it rest against a stop.
Another overlooked aspect of hand tool woodworking is regularly sharpening your tools in particular to hand saws. It wouldn’t be uncommon for a woodworker working twelve hours a day, six days a week not to wear out and replace his saws a few times in his lifetime. By regularly sharpening your saws as soon as you feel a slight degradation in the cut will decrease your sawing time. My new bow saw has a Japanese disposable blade, it cuts very fast, faster than any of my western saws. At first glance I couldn’t understand the reasons why until I stopped looking at everything but the obvious. It was razor sharp, so I took my western saws to the vice and took light strokes making each tooth to the same level of sharpness as my bowsaw, none of it took more than five minutes as they were already sharp but all I did was take it to the next level. Immediately there was a notable difference, it cut just as fast, one was not faster than the other. Had I not experience a Japanese saw blade I would never have made this discovery.
One last thing comes to mind, if a particular technique or tool works for you then stick with it, rather continue developing your skills and efficiency with what your doing than trying out someone else’s method because it works for them. Reality is, in some cases there is a right and wrong method, but if a method works for you then stick with it. What works for you might not work for me and vice versa, it all boils down to who trained us or how we trained ourselves.
Woodworking is a repetitive action, you as a craftsman decide what joints your going use and then you repeat it throughout your project. Experience develops from repetitive actions, speed develops over time through muscle memory, and muscle memory develops from repetitiveness. Work smart, not hard and remember, always safety first, if it doesn’t feel right; it’s not.
This is an excerpt from HANDWORK, I’m still a fair way from finished but here is sample of what to expect in the magazine.
Much has been said of late about the testing of glue, its value and adhesive qualities, different grades and makes. Several rules and regulations have been devised to determine the exact value of each glue which are all very good. Nevertheless, most of these tests can only be made with the aid of special appliances made for this purpose. With this fact in mind the writer will give a few simple rules to determine qualities of glues.
First of all, the odour of glue is always considered a good indication of quality. The best grades of glue have a not too pleasant odour but the cheaper grades are practically obnoxious. Usually the cheap bone glues are easily detected through their rank or nasty smell and can be thus judged for their quality in their dry state. Particularly is this true of the powdered or ground variety. Another test for ground glue is by taking a handful and closing your hand over it. If it gets sticky within a minute or two it is a cheap kind, or made of bones, etc. A good hide glue usually retains its brittle nature for quite a while without getting sticky. A fact worth mentioning is that cheap ground glues always will be found to lump or pack together in warm weather.
Flake glue will act in most instances the same way as ground glue. Another test for ﬂake glue is to take a piece and try to break it. If it breaks easily and with a brittle crack it is a sign of cheap glue. On the other hand, if it proves elastic and can be bent back and forth and is hard to break, it is of a much better quality.
When a piece of good glue is held against the light it should show a perfect
clearness and even texture. A cheap glue will show streaks and appear cloudy. Glue, however, should not always be judged by colour, as some of the best glues are of the dark coloured variety.
That white glue is stronger in adhesive qualities than the natural colour is an error, as the white glue is always found to be coloured with mineral pigments. White vitriol or oxalic acid and oxide of zinc are most commonly used for this purpose. This is done solely for the purpose of providing a white coloured glue which in some trades is absolutely necessary. The mixing of any colouring matter has never been found to increase the adhesive quality of the glue.
Glue may be tested for quality as follows: A thin sheet must bend until both ends touch without breaking. If after breaking a sheet of glue the fracture appears in splinters then such glue has not been cooked properly. If the sheet breaks readily then the glue is weak in binding quality and low in value.
The surface of good glue should be velvety, but sometimes dust falls upon the damp glue, imparting a matte appearance. Never purchase glue that has been exposed to moisture, nor glue that emits an odour similar to that of dead animals.
Irregular bubbles noted in melting glue, when of large size, prove that the material from which such glue was produced had been in a state of decay. If, in cooking, glue of this sort emits a noxious stench it is unﬁt for use. Even when soaking this glue before melting the disagreeable odour may be noticed. Further proceedings with glue of that peculiarly objectionable odour would only prove to be a waste of time and money, because such glue when used for veneering or glue jointing will blister or come loose in a short time after or joints come apart when such glue is decaying.
R. O. Neubecker
I thank each and every one of you for all your emails you have sent me, for your comments you left, for all your support. You guys are the true lovers of this craft, you’ve remained silent for the last two years, but you’ve stood up and made yourselves be heard when it mattered. You stood in defence of your craft, what a noble act that was. In all my years of standing defiant against injustice, have never seen more courageous people like yourselves, and I commend you all. I have read all your emails, your concerns and passions you all have for this craft, and I have given it much thought to all your thoughts and advice on this issue and the majority wins.
You’re absolutely correct, the political bollocks of it all isn’t worth my sanity. It is evidently clear with the mass response I received that such a magazine is much needed, and I can’t help but wonder if Ed Francis Young, the visionary creator of WORK faced the same opposition as I have, and if that was the reason of it’s demise., for it only lived a short three years. For the ones I did not reply too please forgive me as there were far too many. Despite of it all, I must commend Christopher Schwarz for his effort in making available to us books from the ancients, for if he didn’t make this effort to reprint word for word tirelessly resulting in many sleepless nights, these most valuable books would be lost to us forever. I know he loves the craft and admittedly I was hasty in my previous assumptions, I can’t help but wonder if he too, once upon a time faced the same opposition as I have. Chris did get in contact with me this morning via email, he believes this to be a worthwhile venture and has explained what he can and cannot do, his hands are tied due to valid reasons and has given me good suggestions, not much more needs to be added here.
So I shall continue writing this blog as I always have, but not as often as I have, for I will devote more time behind my bench. After having said all of that, I am still torn between two worlds, reality and fantasy. The reality is, time consumption with no monetary compensation. As a husband and father of five I need to work to pay the bills. To invest the time needed to produce this magazine to a reasonable standard, I need to invest a considerable amount of time and energy into it, another words it would be a full time job, and with my current fourteen hour daily shifts makes it very difficult. On the other hand the fantasy of forcing myself to make it happen doesn’t coincide with the reality. So how about a compromise, I can tone it down. Rather than treat it professionally, I can treat it on an amateur level. I can spend one or two hours a day or weekly on it, working with materials I have on hand and materials you contribute if you so wish. I will also without question include excerpts of ancient text, articles and so forth. I will leave texts in its original words without putting them into my own words, because I would rather you hear it from the source rather than read my own interpretation and understanding of it, this is to protect you from any errors I may make. I will include my own projects as well.
I also want to keep it free, I think that’s fair after all this isn’t a business nor a professional magazine with any monetary outlay other than my time. The contents I receive will be given freely with no monetary exchange so why should I charge any my readers. It doesn’t feel right to do so. I do this with good intentions and with sincerity towards my readers and our craft. If at any point in the future this magazine or newsletter call it what you will out grows itself, which the possibilities are always there, then I will have to consider the option of going professional. Only at that time will I have to consider charging a subscription fee and or purchase price for each individual copy. I may even consider having two copies available to you as downloadable PDF and hard copy, price adjustments for each will be made. I will then consider paying contributing authors a set fee for publication of their work, provided they haven’t published their article prior with any other magazine and or made publicly available for viewing or downloading on the net. Obviously then there will be advertising as advertising is crucial to any magazine but at no time will they influence the magazine, no favouritism, no influenced biased reviews will be made to anyone if a review of their product is being made for publication. If they can live that then so be it, if not they need not advertise with us. But I’m getting way ahead of myself but I needed to mention that if the day ever comes.
So the title of this magazine, newspaper or newsletter again call it what you will, will be HANDWORK. The layout will contain my new logo or crest you see on my blog, the layout or design is influenced by WORK but with minor differences not that it matters legally anyway, I think it’s a good spread and in honour of Ed Francis Young I want to remain within the spirit of the magazine. So I will include articles written in WORK, that’s pertaining to woodworking and possibly articles in metal work if it pertains to woodworking and if I find any subjects on tool making as well but not all necessarily WORK being the source.
As it’s apparent to us all you can choose to download all 200 scanned issues of WORK from tools for working wood. Not all of them have turned out ok but most are still readable. I won’t be using using scans of text of any materials other than images from ancient sources, everything will be retyped by me and printed for you in the highest quality. As for submissions of articles by contributing authors, I would prefer them to be submitted in Microsoft office file format with accompanied pictures in high resolution in a separate folder, if you don’t have access to Office then provide me a link to your article in your website and I will extract the materials from there. I will then email you a layout proof for your approval and only with your approval will I include it in the magazine. If you do provide me your article in the file format specified above, then please note down what picture goes where as pertaining to your article. At my own discretion I may also post article projects from other existing websites without obtaining prior permission to do so first, I will include the source of where I sourced the material from and the authors name if it’s available, but a link will always be provided to the sourced material. At no time will I ever attribute someone else’s work as my own, this is not the purpose of this magazine. This will also provide substantial exposure to the craftsman which I’m sure he or she will appreciate. I will publish HANDWORK at my discretion, there is no set time at present how often I will do so. It’ll get done when it gets done, and finally it’s obvious my experience in magazine layouts are limited, so don’t be too judgemental on its appearance, it’ll get better as time goes by and my experience grows. I sincerely hope that HANDWORK will be beneficial to you as a craftsman and be an asset for the craft. I hope you enjoy reading it and look forward to each new issue.
If I can offer any wisdom it’s this, support one another, promote one another, create, learn and pass on what you know, try and teach the young and keep the craft alive.
I think that pretty much covers it all for now, and I’ll take leave by saying thank you all once more for your support, and I will also leave you with an excerpt from the chief editor Ed Francis Young 1889, may he rest in peace.
TO OUR READERS.
“Read you, and let us to our WORK”
2 King Henry VI., i. 4.
ALTHOUGH no apology may be needed for the appearance of WORK, an explanation of its Why and its Wherefore-its rasion d’etre, as our friends across the Channel would put it- is certainly desirable, and a little space in this, its first Number, may be usefully taken up in showing the causes that have led up to its introduction; the persons to whom it chiefly appeals; the objects at which it aims; the special features by which it will be marked; and the field of operation that it seeks to cover.
First, then, let it be shown why and wherefore WORK has been called, and has come, into existence. What, let us inquire, is the great demand of the time; for what are most men chiefly asking and seeking in the present day? To this question the right reply is by no means difficult to find. It is, and must be- “Better and fuller means of Technical and Practical Education.”
Never, indeed, it may be said, was the demand for technical education greater than it is at the present time! Never was it heard more that it is now among workmen of British nationality! And why? Simply and solely because of late years it has become painfully apparent that by means of increased facilities for obtaining technical knowledge the foreign workmen have been stealing a march upon them.
Never, forsooth, at any time has the necessity for sound technical education for the workman been so thoroughly impressed upon the minds of men as now; and never has it been so eagerly desired and demanded by all grades and classes of the people.
At the present moment, there lies in the pigeon-holes of the British Government a Bill for the Promotion, Extension, and Elaboration of Technical Education in the United Kingdom, which will be discussed and moulded into law at the earliest opportunity. Our Universities and great Public Schools are awakening to the necessity of teaching the hands to work as well as the brain to think. In every large town, and in London itself – the head as well as heart of the Empire – a craving is springing up for the establishment of technical institutes and workshops, in which any and every man, whatever may be his social station in life, may obtain improved knowledge of the leading handicrafts that are practised by men, or even to learn their very rudiments, if he so requires.
In these amateur workmen are already assembling, that they may better know through practice under trained teachers how to carry out the work they may have adopted as a hobby; and professional workmen that they may become better conversant with the theory that underlies the work they do; and by this, and a quickening of their taste and perception of the beautiful in form and perfection in execution, gain greatly in skill, and capacity for carrying out the work by which they have to live.
And all grades of workmen are alike led to seek self-improvement, because they have realised the truth of the grand old saying – Knowledge is Power.
To meet, then, at a most critical period of our national existence, the needs of workmen belonging to each and both of the two great classes into which workmen are naturally divided – professionals on the one hand, and amateurs on the other – WORK has been brought into being. That WORK will prove the most useful and most complete serial of its class that has yet been given to the world, there is every reason to believe; and, without doubt, it will be eagerly sought after, read, and followed by those for whose benefit it has been produced, as the first, the best, the most helpful, and the most reliable practical instructor of the times in which we live. Nay, more than this, it may be regarded as being verily unique in itself through the comprehensiveness of its scope, for although efforts may have been made, prior to this, to help and instruct the amateur, never yet has any attempt been made to regard all workmen, whether workers for gain and daily bread or workers for amusement and recreation, as one great family possessed of common aims ad actuated by common interests, who enter the lists of competition in friendly rivalry alone, to provoke one another to the execution of work of greater excellence than either the one or the other has yet produced. Each class has much to learn of the other; each class can teach the other much. Time, it is to be up and doing, and, with regard to those who write in the pages of WORK, it is to lead and help their fellow-men to better things that they are banded together. They, verily, are first afield to guide where assistance and lend a helping hand wherever aid may be sought.
And this they will ever do in the spirit of Solomon’s mingled counsel and command – “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might.”
Mention has been made, well-nigh in the same breath, of the amateur and the professional workman; but are they not more closely akin than superficial thinkers are disposed to allow? Are not all men amateurs alike? Are not all professionals? Verily, yes; each and every man in his own order. What, indeed, is the difference between workmen, amateur and professional, save that the latter practices his craft or calling for gain, and the former loves and cultivates an art for his amusement. The distinction is very much like that which has been drawn from time immemorial between those who live to eat and those who eat to love; and the comparison runs far more closely in parallel lines than may appear at first sight, for if the professional works to live, does not the amateur in an equal degree live to work? Even a professional workman is an amateur in everything else except the one particular handicraft by which he lives; so that, speaking fractionally, every man, if he be one-fourth professional, is very likely three-fourths amateur and so may be regarded as being in point of fact more of an amateur after all than he is of the professional.
Said a working man to a writer one day, “I look upon myself as an amateur in every man’s trade except my own, and as I like to know something about all trades besides my own, I hail with pleasure every source from which I can derive some knowledge of them.”
Every man, indeed, has, or ought to have his hobby whether he be professional or not, and therefore, in seeking to administer to the improvement of one class and to build up and augment the knowledge of its members, precisely the same thing is done in the interests of the other.
This has been said to show that the pages of WORK are intended for both groups of workmen alike, and to point out, on the good old principle that what is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, that that which is desirable and useful and desirable for the other. If there be any difference at all, it will be found to consist chiefly in this – that the professional workmen require and desires to gain in comprehension of theory, and the amateur conversely, in practice, and thus each will be brought on pari passu to the same goal – perfection in execution.
We must now pass on to consider briefly the objects of WORK, and the subjects that are to receive treatments in its pages. On this it is only necessary to say that in the papers which will appear from week to week will be found a clear and practical exposition of the modus operandi to be followed in every art, craft, or science that bears directly or indirectly, on handiwork of a constructive or decorative character, the directions being supplied and comments made, either in short single papers, or in series of articles tersely and comprehensively written.
If the reader presses for a more accurate definition of the nature of the articles that will be treated in WORK, let him attempt to sum up in his mind for a moment the handicraft trades that are most familiar to himself, and endeavour to realise that instruction will be given on, or notice taken of, every one of them sooner or later. To catalogue them would be simply to make a list of every kind of constructive and decorative work that is practised by man. Let us take this as done, and so avoid the waste of time, space, and power that would be involved in its preparation. Number 1 and Part 1 will sufficiently serve as samples of the whole. It is impossible, manifestly, to touch on everything at once, but everything nevertheless, will be touched on in time.
In general character, WORK will be purely technical and instructive. Nothing that comes within the region of polemics will be touched on in its pages, and discussion will be permitted on such subjects only as are processed of common interest for all readers.
Wit reference to the special features by which WORK will be marked, it may be said that every paper that requires it will be fully illustrated with sketches, diagrams, or working drawings to scale as may be described. This alone will tend to render WORK invaluable both to the workman himself and those at whose bidding and for whose benefit he may work.
New machinery, new tools, new appliances, new arts, new processes, new modes of treatments will always find exposition in its pages, and a special feature will be made of
OUR GUIDE TO GOOD THINGS,
In which notice will be taken of tools, machinery, technical works, etc., and all things useful and novel that manufacturers and inventors may produce in the interest of those who labour with the hands. Manufacturers and others are requested to send the Editor timely notice of any new tool, machine, or appliance that they are about to introduce as a new claimant for public favour.
Well I promised to do an extreme test of this lower grade Lee Valley Fish glue I’ve had for a number of years. I’ve place the glued up test pieces in the laundry when my wife had the dryer on and place them next to the dryer where the moisture levels are at their extreme. I left it there overnight and much to my surprise they were still bonded with no movement of trying to pull them apart.
So with everything I have read, all the negative hysteria of joints falling apart placing all the blame on the glue for it’s failure, I am not convinced it was the glues fault at all, and will not speculate as to why it failed for others other than the strong possibility it’s the users fault. There are many factors at play to cause glue failure and some of which I noted in my previous post, if people choose not verse themselves well in the products they use then they simply cannot put blame on the product but themselves.
Ever since I posted the idea of starting up a magazine that involved woodworking by hand, I’ve had nothing but headaches. I really need to clarify some points as many are not reading the comments, I want to be open and transparent with my intentions and actions for this magazine.
Two days ago I’ve discovered that tools for working wood posted 200 issues of WORK, which is fine but so what. WORK is owned by no one, there is no copyright claim to it, the magazine that existed in 1889 is 128 years old which obliterates copyright claim or anyone claiming to have copyright on it. Tools for working wood scanned the pages and posted it, another words its a reprint. This is no different than other publishes who do the same thing on ancient books. When a publisher reprints a book from ancient book they put their own copyright on it to corner the market, they say no part of this book may be reprinted, published etc etc without the express permission of the author. But that only pertains from their book it doesn’t apply if you reprint from the original source, why because there’s no copyright on it. No one can claim copyright on ancient books, same applies to classical music.
I wanted to begin a magazine using one or two articles written in WORK and the rest to be my own contents, just because TFFW already reprinted that magazine and made it available for download means nothing. They even said everyone can use these copies and publish them on their website for non commercial use, they can say non commercial but they have no legal standing in stopping anyone from commercially reprinting and selling the entire collection of WORK. Their versions are poorly scanned copies, my few articles are rewritten and high quality re-prints that I painstakingly sat for hours doing so. But like I said it’s only one or two articles that pertain to woodworking that would be included in every new issue released or published. I want this magazine to be within the spirit of that then magazine.
I’ve written to Christopher Schwarz and Meghan and presented in short my idea to them and did ask for their blessing and support. To this day, I haven’t received a reply, I’ve sent Paul Sellers an email if he would be interested in becoming a contributing author, I have not received a reply and I have noticed for the last two days none of my posts are being made through the unplugged shop. What is going on here, why am I being stonewalled.
More and more people are switching to hand tools, like it or not hand tools are going to be the way of the future, and I’m not going to get into the reasons for it, but the facts are that more people are switching to hand tools than ever before. People are fed up with their corporate lifestyle, people are fed up with everyday stresses, hand tool woodworking is their moment of release from the current hectic world, its where they find their zen in life, their ground zero. Current woodworking magazines don’t want to acknowledge this, but throw in a bone now and then to keep the masses happy. So, why then don’t they want anyone to start up a magazines purely based on handwork, because it goes directly against their financial interests. Switching to hand tools would be detriment to many businesses, but it would not lead to a collapse, because there will always be a market for the machine users. But the facts are clear that more and more people are switching to hand tools than ever before. Paul Sellers has proven this over and over again, look at the reaction from his own followers.
This idea of mine to introduce to the market a hand tool, handcraft magazine is based upon an idea and principles that the originator of WORK 128 years ago had, he and I are one and the same separated by 128 years. I wanted to cover real woodworking, teach real knowledge, work with everyday artisans around the world without the bombardment and influences of tool makers and other advertisers of machinery and paint products. I wanted this to be a community based effort, of everyday people contributing their work and their ideas and their discoveries for all to be published in this magazine for everyones benefit worldwide. This not about cornering the US market or the Australian market or any other countries market, it’s about you and I as craftsmen artisans wanting to contribute, wanting to do their fair share of the work who would be more than happy to do so. Imagine people like Don Williams contributing and Bob Rozaieski, Mack and Jeff Headley, imagine you and I and everyone who have many things to offer. Imagine the possibilities, the knowledge and insight that can be gained from such a magazine.
I don’t intend and never intend to step on anyone’s toes, I don’t intend God forbid to take bread away from anyones mouths. But don’t we deserve a magazine that suits our interests? That pertains to what we do and how we work? I must admit to one sad fact that I can’t do this alone, I don’t have the financial means nor the time to invest because of the lack of finance to make this magazine the most sought out woodworking magazine in the world and believe me with proper financial backing, investment, this magazine would reach serious heights.
I will say this though, that I am completely disgusted in how much politics is involved with all the woodworkers I believed were promoters of the craft. Shame on you.
Even though it is 128 years old and free from any copyright according to the law I still felt uncomfortable using the title WORK, so, I’ve changed it today to HANDWORK. I think its better suited and will help me sleep better at nights. The theme is still basically the same, I will still use some of the content as I think its brilliant, but obviously there will be plenty of new and modern day hand work from myself and other contributing authors.
I’m not really sure why but I haven’t received much feedback at all on this, I thought everyone would be excited about it, am I wrong or is this the norm for the net.
I attended the show last Friday as I do every year, its an exciting part of the year for me as I guess it would be for any amatuer and professional woodworker. We get to meet old friends and catch up, you see loads of tools for sale that are mouth watering but the best part for me is the timber.
This year I was pretty selective and had to choose carefully, unfortunately not all the stuff is dry and guess who forgot to take his moisture meter. Yep and boy did I pay the price for my forgetfulness. But that’s what happens when you’re in a rush, I headed up the highway in my beat up van travelling 80 km per hour in a 110k zone. I wasn’t anyone’s favourite on the road but hey, my fuel injectors are clogged and if I do the speed limit it will stall and not start up for 15mins. As I was travelling up there like an old man with a white hat in the rear window, you guys know the type, I watched how everyone just zoomed passed me. Some looking annoyed at me as they pass me by, others sticking their finger out the window, but I just plotted along like the old Beverley Hillbillies. It dawned on me then, just how much people are in a rush and I’m sure it’s work related, but everyone is annoyed with everyone on the road. Speeding up, pushing the car in front to go faster, others taking over as if there’s some massive pot of gold waiting to be taken on the other side, and then, all of a sudden out comes the revenue collectors. Blue and red flashing lights pulling them over one by one, handing tickets and not to some police ball. There goes their weekly earnings, while I continued to pass them by, glancing in my rear vision as they diminish into a spec and then nothing. I thought about my hand tools and how much slower they are compared to machinery, and how everyones in such a rush to get production done and out of the shop both amateurs and professional like. It put a smile on my weathered face and made appreciate even more the way I work wood.
So I arrived on time, with no speeding tickets and walked straight over to the Tasmanian timber section.
I knew what I wanted, and what I wanted was pretty darn expensive as they always bloody well are. Sassafrass.
I paid through my you know what for it but I got it and will end up making a box for myself to store my wax and seal and make some other useful things for charity. Then I headed over to another section where they had even more exotic timbers. Huon Pine is great for carving, but get a load of the prices.
Well a little way out of my price range. So, I turned my direction to the great outdoors where the most timbers are. This is where I needed my moisture meter and now I had to rely on my hands and their word for it. I can usually tell just by feel in a ballpark figure how wet or dry it is. I headed over to a trustworthy source I know air dries his stuff, he doesn’t say it like someone I know, but actually does it. So I picked up some African Tulip which is light as a feather and has a nice texture to it, will look great as draw fronts, and along side it is my favourite Hoop Pine.
Here’s a closer look.
I went back inside and stumbled upon a slab of birch and bought that as well, unfortunately for me when I slapped the moisture meter on it when I got home it was at 28%. Holy crap 28%, so I texted the guy and thanked him for it. It all turned out to be an innocent mistake, he said he built furniture from it 6 months ago and dried it himself in his own kiln, some guys are just spoilt rotten, and he couldn’t understand why it was so green. Nonetheless he refunded me the money and said keep it, I felt bad about it and insisted on him to pick it up, but as it turned out it wasn’t worth travelling the distance for it so he insisted that I keep it. It will be ready for use in a couple of years, sorry I didn’t take any pics of it. Here’s another pic of a beautiful timber, another favourite of mine Camphor Laurel.
This is considered a weed in Australia and is most poisonous to other surrounding trees, but is gorgeous and takes an oil finish really well. The last time I bought timber from this guy I’m still drying it, yet the same old story it’s all air dried. There was another massive slab to the right of it, it was so big and wide it couldn’t fit in anyone’s pick up nor van, and that too is apparently air dried yet it was cut down only 6 months ago. None the less you learn these things over time and you make a judgement call.
Then I went over to Steve Hay and said g’day, he’s demonstrating one of Terry Gordon’s plane.
I finished off the day by saying g’day to some of my other old timer mates and talked nothing but wood. Since our wives are not interested in listening to us, at least the show gives us the opportunity to get together once a year and let out a year’s worth of unspoken wood talk to each other.
And so my day ended with a smile, as I chugged back home in my old beat up van down the highway watching fingers out their windows at me as they pass me by, and then waving back at them as I pass them by as they pull over to be greeted by their friendly over zealous neighbourhood revenue collectors.