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Seek Out the Deep Dark Corners of Your Moulding
This week I show off my new track lighting and smart bulbs in my shop. For me these lights serve 2 masters: woodshop and film studio. So my set up may be a bit different than a lot of you, but embracing task lighting over banks of fluorescent lights is a major step forward for any hand tool shop.
Then I answer a question about nailing moulding to a case and how to hide the nails so you don’t have to mess with wood putty that usually makes things more obvious.
I’m getting ready to go over to Southbridge, Massachusetts for Fine Woodworking Live http://www.finewoodworkinglive.com/ but in the meantime, Lie-Nielsen just posted a preview of my new video on hewing wooden bowls. I copied it here, in case anyone would like to see what this video covers. I still have some available: https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/new-dvds-carved-oak-boxes-hewing-wooden-bowls-spring-2017/ and they have the rest https://www.lie-nielsen.com/nodes/4243/home-education-videos
The first issue was what material to use. I wanted to use douglas-fir, but most of what you find around here is days from harvest and so green it literally drips. The big boxes sell kiln dried 2x material as "whitewood" so they can use different species. Usually it is hemlock, which is unsuitable for a workbench, but I checked and it happened to be douglas-fir that day. I sorted through the pile and found half a dozen studs that were sorta rift sawn and had clear sections. So, together with scraps left over from the kitchen remodel, I had my materials for a grand total of less than $18.
The first step was laminating the top. I settled on a length of 34 inches and the width of four 2x4s, which turned out to be 13 inches after jointing off the rounded edges. At this point I got a nice surprise. In the past I have flattened panels with a jack plane, but a while back I heavily cambered the blade of an extra #4 to make it a dedicated scrub plane. This was the first time I had used it and I couldn't believe how much easier it was.
I was able to flatten both sides in about twenty minutes and, after smoothing it out with old #7 I had a top that is a strong 1 3/8" thick:
Now I need a base that will also function as a case for the toolbox.
As I mentioned in the first part of the story, Shay likes to frequent the Jaffa flea markets to look for all kinds of goodies. In fact, many of the tools that he uses come from boxes of miscellaneous items that he has seen there. He buys the tools for little money and later finds the time to rehabilitate them. After fishing the tool from a merchant’s box or picking it from […]
The post A Visit to a Furniture Restoration Shop in Tel Aviv: Part 2 appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
Fully expecting that the Hardwood Derby at Fine Woodworking Live will be as entertaining as this. Be sure to watch through to the end.
One of the common criticisms I hear of North American woodworkers is that we try to do so many things – casework, carving, veneering, chairmaking, turning – that we never become good at any one of those things.
There’s truth to the criticism. When I work side-by-side with traditionally trained European woodworkers, they beat the pants off me (speed-wise). German, English and Swiss joiners can cut dovetails and assemble casework much faster than I can.
I do get a small measure of revenge when I pick up a turning tool without a second thought to make a leg or knob. Most of them have never touched a lathe, worked with green timber, dealt with compound-angle wet/dry chair joints or carved even a simple detail.
Maybe it’s the frontier blood in our veins or the fact that our society never embraced the European apprentice system for woodworking. There was just too much work to do, not enough people to do it and not enough time to train people in that manner. Heck, most North Americans I know are one or two generations removed from our subsistence farming ancestors.
At times I wish our history was different. I covet the pure European skill when I watch people from the French schools, for example, make astonishing chairs with ease. Or when I watch German carvers at work on restoring a cathedral. Or English joiners making ridiculous dovetails. I feel inferior, as if I’ve spent my entire adult life working at the craft and haven’t really gotten anywhere.
And this is the part of the writing arc where I am supposed to say: But we’re great! We get to do so many different things! And blah blah freedom #Murica.
That’s not how I resolve this conflict in my mind. I turn to the parable of the scorpion and the frog, made famous in the movie “The Crying Game.”
A scorpion asks a frog to carry him across the river. But the frog queries: “How do I know you won’t sting me?”
The scorpion replies: “Because if I do, we’ll both die.”
Satisfied, the frog allows the scorpion to hop on his back. Halfway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog. And before they both drown, the frog asks: “Why?”
“It’s in my nature,” replies the scorpion.
Sometimes I ponder my 11-year-old self. Would I have signed onto a seven-year apprenticeship at a technical academy if it were offered? It’s an unanswerable, navel-gazing question, and so I pick up a saw and get back to cutting some tenons. And so should you.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Personal Favorites, Uncategorized
This is the last of the catalogues I’m going to post unless I find one dated back to the 18th century which I don’t even know if they actually had toolmakers who made tools as a business. Generally woodworkers and blacksmiths made tools for themselves and the latter for woodworkers. Anyhow, I feel the catalogues I posted is more than enough.
Another method that involves just a little bit more work is to insert some battens in sliding dovetails.
Now there is a plane that is designed for that specific purpose, but mine is at home, so I had to do it with my smoothing plane instead which means that my battens visually taper and don't cover the line up as they would have if I made them the other way.
Since this isn't a show surface it will be just fine.
A narrow board was divided to form two wedges. The surfaces were cleaned up with the plane. Each of the edges were planed at an angle, so the end of each wedge resembled had a trapezoidal shape.
I marked out where I wanted the pieces to go and clamped down the first wedge. Using itself as a guide, I sawed along its edge using my small dozuki. When I had reached my intended depth I loosened the clamp and shifted the wedge a bit to saw the other side of the dovetail dado.
Once the sawing was completed I removed the material with a chisel.
A router plane would have been the obvious choice, but the body of my small homemade one is so narrow that it would fall into the dado. And a chisel does the job fast and well enough in this case.
The wedge was marked out so I could saw off the lower part of the wedge, to enable the protruding end to grip behind the lower front lip. Finally the edges were chamfered with a chisel and the wedge installed.
The second wedge was negotiated in the same way.
A board was split and resawed and planed for making the locking pin. It was cut to length and a hole drilled in the upper part to give something for the fingers to grip when it has to be pulled out.
The bridge shaped piece that will hold the upper part of the fall front was a quick saw and chisel job.
Ralph asked about the shaving deflector for the Stanley No 50 combination plane (mine is actually a Record plane).
As you all know, taking pictures isn't my strongest side, but hopefully the pictures of the deflector mounted in the plane will give a bit of an idea on how it works.
The backside is sloped to match the blade.
The inside is sloped to that the lowest point of the deflector is positioned as far outwards as possible. This slope guides the shaving to the centre of the plane where it can escape without being jammed.
I've had a request o show some pictures of a tiny instrument makers plane of mine, so I thought I'd share them.
It is just 1 5//8" long and unusually is dovetailed, a real one off.
It has a skewed mouth and was clearly made to be used. Thankfully it's been very well looked after.
|using an off cut|
|the first row is easy to do|
|the throat isn't deep enough for the second row|
|if I drill one hole off in either direction|
|all the resultant holes will be off too|
|what I should get|
|doing the opposite side|
|switched to the plate rail|
|a circle isn't going to work|
|used a french curve to draw the arc|
|the wife wants this edge to be rounded over|
|the clock shelf|
I can make this in 5 pieces. A R and L plate rail with the clock shelf in the middle. A two piece apron that I can butt together by placing it centered under the clock shelf. A corbel placed over it will hide that joint. This is starting to look to be doable.
What is a portmanteau?
answer - a large suitcase usually made of leather and opening into two equal parts
I was looking through the family picture album and came across this one:
We were there on vacation. We passed this café and stopped to look at the furniture. We could tell the chairs were Thonet. Turning them over we saw they were branded Thonet and Made In Poland.
We couldn’t tell about the table. My Mother did the only reasonable thing and checked the table for markings. I could easily walk under the table but I couldn’t read so my use was limited.
Ever the lady, she even managed to keep her legs crossed at the ankles.
And, yes, she was wearing pearls.
(With apologies to Gianni Berengo Gardin and others)
This is an excerpt from “By Hand and Eye” by Geo. R. Walker and Jim Tolpin.
The lifeblood of craft has always depended on knowledge passing from one generation to the next, and I struggle finding words to convey the importance that classic orders played. This is an opportunity to walk in the footsteps of thousands of artisans gone before you, a chance to learn things that cannot be put into words, because this leads into a room in your imagination. The classic orders aren’t about memorizing some nifty proportional recipes. In fact, it’s the furthest thing from recipes. It’s about learning to see. The physical act of drawing challenges the mind to reshuffle and see things anew. Try not to approach this like you’re learning a task or skill; instead just immerse yourself in this rite of passage. Have some fun with it, and let the ancients knock down the cobwebs and pry open some windows in some long-forgotten play space in your imagination.
Grab a clean pine board about 8″ wide and 3′ long for a canvas. If (when) you botch the first attempt, simply plane or sand to reveal a new surface for another go. Pencil in all your lines then, after the entire drawing is complete, go back over your pencil lines with a marker. Think of it like a maze or a puzzle that will change the way you think and make new connections in your imagination. I encourage you, as always, to do this with pencil and not a computer to make sure you get the most direct connection between the portal of your hand and inner eye.
A word about scale. Because you will be drawing a relatively small image, some of the details will be too awkward to draw with a compass. For elements such as moulding profiles or the finer points on the capital, draw a separate detail sketch in larger format with a compass. Once you have completed the larger sketch, go back and hand sketch those details in. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how well you can freehand sketch once you have the boundary of the form established and little practice on the larger detail drawings. This has real value in furniture design, also. For example, a volute is a delightful form to work into a design, yet because of scale, almost always requires drawing freehand. Generating a volute with a compass will inform your freehand attempts. Also because of scale, don’t attempt to use geometry to draw the entasis (slight convex bulging) on the upper two thirds of the column, just draw a straight taper.
In this drawing exercise you will render a Roman Doric order based on James Gibbs’ “Rules for Drawing the Several Parts of Architecture” (circa 1732). There are five orders – Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite – that exist in an almost endless number of versions and varieties to draw and explore.
A few points about communicating proportions using arcs. One common way to show how a proportion relates to another element is to use a half-circle or quarter-circle to indicate a connection. Typically, a half-circle extends a mirror image proportion along the same line. Conversely, a quarter-circle mirrors a proportion from one element to an adjacent element but from horizontal to vertical (or vice versa).
Start by organizing the form (Doric order) into its major vertical parts: the beginning, middle and ending, better known as pedestal, column and entablature. Draw a vertical centerline and establish the top and bottom of your drawing with a pair of horizontal lines, leaving yourself a few inches of margin above and below. Use dividers to step off these major elements and indicate their boundaries with horizontal lines. Once you establish the height of the middle (column) you can determine the module. In the case of the Doric, divide the column height into eight equal parts. That’s the diameter of the shaft near the base and also, therefore, your module. Now – and this is important – draw a small module key in the space below your drawing. Many of the elements that follow will be simple divisions of the module, for example, the column-base height is a one-half module, so having this key handy will speed up the drawing process. To create a key, draw a horizontal line and mark off two modules end-to-end using vertical hash marks to highlight them. Then use your dividers and, through trial and error, step off one module into halves, quarters and eighths. Then step off the second module into thirds, sixths and 12ths.
Start with the largest divisions and work down to the smaller details. Once you have established the overall column height and diameter of the shaft at the base, there are a couple reference lines to pencil in. Note that the column height is divided into thirds and that the lower third’s shaft diameter remains constant while the upper two-thirds curve in gradually – an effect the Greeks called entasis. (As I mentioned earlier, however, at this scale you may want to just render the entasis as a slight taper rather than as a curve.) Also note the use of reference lines: One extends the outside diameter of the shaft above the column while a second extends the outside of the column base below into the pedestal. These lines allow you to step off the horizontal projection of elements in the pedestal and entablature.
Once you’ve established the overall vertical organization, draw in the details of the pedestal. Start by stepping off the vertical organization and then establish the horizontal projection for each part. Most are a function of the module or pulled from an adjacent proportion. Move up to the column and then the entablature.
For certain, you will take a wrong turn or two and have to backtrack and rethink it. It’s all part of learning to see proportionally. When your drawing is completed, you’ll not only have some studies to hang on the shop wall, but you’ll also have created an important mile marker on your journey to becoming an artisan designer.
— Meghan Bates
Filed under: By Hand & Eye, Uncategorized
As you all must realize, all our blogs go through extensive editing and quality contoll checks. The link for the flickr photo set accompanying today’s earlier blog, Primitives From Hickory Mountain, was disabled shortly after posting. I believe we were hacked. I am going through the forensic evidence and now believe it was either the Russian FSB, the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence, the North Korean Bureau 121 or, most likely, the dreaded Landespolizei, the Liechtenstein National Police Force. We have had issues going back many years.
There is a small chance I deleted it when I went back in to edit the link to make the link open in a new window, but I doubt it. Beginner’s mistake.
If you were unable to see the photo set (as opposed to not wanting to see the photo set), you can go back and reread the blog (it’s that good) or click on the link HERE.
In the April issue of The Highland Woodturner, we are featuring Ray Bissonette, a favorite contributor from past issues.
After having his turnings featured in the June 2013 issue of The Highland Woodturner, Ray Bissonette used his earned store credit toward a new Spindle Gouge, which helped him add a new design element to his already “eccentric” woodturned candelabras.
Nearly every time that I approach the planer, I think to myself, how am I going to get rid of snipe this time? Without fail, I end up with snipe at the leading or trailing edge at some point in the process to a varying degree. It has been rumored that some have totally mitigated the issue – but it is relieving to hear Doug Dale at Marc Adam’s School of Woodworking share […]
Finally we are getting to some of my prints wherein Roubo actually illustrates furniture rather than arcane geometric exercises (I can only speculate from the abundance of the latter in L’art du Menuisier that Roubo had not yet discovered girls). Here is Print #248, “Illustrations of a Turkish-style Bed and its Developments.”
The artistry, rather than the mere technical mastery, of Roubo as both a draftsman and engraver are on display here as he shows the composition and design aesthetics required for creating “D’un Lit a la Turque.” Frankly I am uncertain of what makes this a Turkish Bed, as opposed to the Polish Bed, the English Bed, the Martian Bed, etc., he presents in adjacent sections of the book. Regardless, it is a lovely illustration and the page is in excellent condition, in fact I would say that there may be several in my inventory in as good a condition, but none better.
If you have ever wanted to own a genuine piece of Rouboiana, this is your chance. I will be selling this print at Handworks on a first-come basis, with terms being cash, check, or Paypal if you have a smart phone and can do that at the time of the transaction.
In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking Asa Christiana talks about his upcoming book, and his class at Marc Adams School of Woodworking, both of which focus on woodworking from the start.
Join 360 Woodworking every Thursday for a lively discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more). Glen talks with various guests about all things woodworking and some things that are slightly off topic. But the conversation is always information packed and lots of fun.