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With the simpler morning exercise completed we dove into the slightly more challenging task of replicating a flower petal.
Beginning again with a taped-together packet and drilling a tiny hole at an intersection near the center, the sawing began.
Starting near the center and working out, a necessary habit due to the packet being secured only at the outer edges, the pieces begin to pile up.
Soon all the elements are sawn and separated, ready for the hot sand bath to impart scorched shading.
After gluing down the outermost element to some kraft paper, the individual petal are soon in place.
And then it is done, ready to be trimmed and incorporated into a Federal style table design.
I wrote the post below in…I’m not sure – 2010 maybe? I was reminded of it last weekend when Kathy, a second cousin (I think I’ve got the relation right), asked if I still had the plans for the stools my grandfather used to make for all the kids in the family. I think it’s her husband who wants to make one for their grandchild. I made the stool as shown […]
The post Wilde Got it Wrong (Plus Plans for a Child’s Step Stool) appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
When I was first studying woodworking, I was taught that the Ancients (any cabinetmaker in the 18th or 19th centuries, but mostly the 18th century) would use really narrow pins as a decorative touch and also to show off their skill.
In the 1990s it became fashionable to use a fret saw to remove the waste between tails. This led me to the following questions:
Did anyone use fret saws in the 18th century to remove waste between tails?
Is there another reason for narrow pins?
Some baseline facts that would argue against the idea that fretsaws were traditionally used to remove waste:
In the 18th and early 19th centuries, fretsaw blades were hand made, usually by the craftsman using them. Marquetry and inlay makers started the day by making a blade. It would make no sense for a run-of-the-mill apprentice cabinetmaker to use a fragile, hand-made fret saw blade to remove waste. Moreover, blind dovetails, which of course are very common on drawers and things, do not lend themselves to having the waste sawn out.
No matter how you remove your waste, you want a clean chiseled baseline. The main reason for removing the waste with a saw is so that afterwards you can just put your chisel on the scribe line and push. The chisel will cut true and perfect. If you don't saw out the waste (with a fret or coping saw), when you chisel straight down on the scribe line, the mass of wood behind the bevel will push the chisel forward and past the scribe line. I was taught a simple and elegant solution: just start chiseling a hair in front of the scribe line and then stop when the chisels moves onto the scribe line.
I should note that I don't have anything against using a fret or coping saw to remove waste. But I am postulating is that in the 18th century it doesn't seem likely that this was done. Times of course have really changed. Today we not only have inexpensive fret saw blades that work well in thicker wood, we also have flush toilets and the option to use both modern conveniences, or one, or neither: it's up to you.
If you chisel your waste out and you use narrow pins, the narrowness is dictated by the smallest chisel you own. Since there are many examples of dovetails with pins that taper to a point, it is hard to believe that chiseling out was practical. Also, if you have ever tried it when the pin was narrow, you know that the waste just clogs up the space. It wedges in place and makes the task a slog.
Here is what I have been doing for the past couple of years: After I cut the tails out, I waste out the material between the tails by sawing straight down with my dovetail saw. This quickly clears enough material so that chiseling to the scribe line is easy. I need just two tools - a saw and one narrow chisel.
On soft wood, a thicker, less expensive saw works very well. You just clear the waste in fewer strokes - just the thing for an apprentice. But as one works in harder wood, the thinner kerf is easier and faster to push accurately and makes more sense.
As far as I know, there isn't a historical record to prove or disprove my theory, although maybe this blog will shake some informed comments. I do know, however, that this method is FAST. For a professional 18th century cabinetmaker, especially an apprentice grinding out drawers, it's efficient.
With narrow pins, you get wide tails. Drawers are mostly blind dovetails - you can't saw them anyway - but it's a lot faster to have narrow pins and wide tails than it is to have even sized pins and tails, because the pins get wasted away with the saw cuts. It's just as much work to remove the waste to fit a wide tail as it is to remove the waste to fit a narrow tail. You just need a wide chisel to match.
A few blogs ago I promised a class in hand tools. Two sessions of my dovetailing class are now on the event schedule BLOG,(973,here) and here. My goal is to teach hand tool usage as a practical thing, not magic. The tools we will use are very, very simple. I'm not trying to show you how you can make one prefect dovetail given enough time and equipment; I'm trying to show you that training your hands to cut straight isn't that hard. It's just like any sport that requires hand-eye coordination. We start at the bottom, and develop hand skill via a combination of simple technique, feedback on what we are actually doing, and practice. My goal is that by the end of the class every student will be producing credible work and be on the road to do greater and more complex work as their skills mature. Just in time for their 18th century apprenticeship.
You can register for the class here.
|first tenon fitted|
|off the groove on both sides|
|it's square to the stile|
|had the groove facing the wrong way in the first pic|
|almost flush on the two reference faces now|
|tenon has a good fit on the cheeks but the mortise is a bit wider|
|pit stop to file my tenon rasp|
|the second tenon|
|I can feel the cheeks aren't parallel|
I chiseled some and the I rasped some and checked the fit. I didn't use the router because I had to sharpen the iron first. I didn't do that because I didn't want to clear off the sharpening bench to get access to the stones. I was making good progress with these two so I kept at it.
|I chiseled a hump on the tenon with the chisel|
|frame dry fitted|
|the only flush joint, the other 3 are off|
|about a 1/16 proud|
|changed it around|
|the out face with the rails and stiles all in the right orientation|
|the in toward the cabinet gace|
|what it would have looked like|
The door is basically done but not usable and this is where I started to backtrack and think of how I made this. I did a lot things right but the end result wasn't good. In spite of this I am happy with what I got. Not too bad for my first all hand made door done all with hand tools.
Some of the things I did good on:
The frame is twisted but it fits the cabinet with a little overhang on the top and sides. All my measurements came out spot on. And if the frame wasn't twisted the panels for the door would be 7" wide and I have a 1 x 8 for that. I don't have to use my 1 x 10 for it.
I fitted all four tenons with a rasp and a chisel. All four fit snug and this was my first attempt using this method.
I hand chopped six through mortises which was another first for me. I think now that my mortise gauge layout lines on the bottom being off is what caused the frame to be twisted.
I think I finally turned the corner on figuring out the haunch and tenon sizes while allowing for the grooves. And not ending up with gaps on both sides of the tenon.
So in spite of the end results, my first time means worked well. Now I just have to repeat it for the second door and improve my technique a bit. One thing I will do on the next door is run all my mortise gauge lines first, then center the groove on the edge better, and finally chop the mortises with a square to help see plumb.
Who is Vince D Furnier?
answer - the birth name of Alice Cooper the rockstar
In anticipation of the upcoming Issue Three, we’ve just released the new cover poster. It is the same (sane) 14.5” x 11” size as the first two on the same heavy paper for long-term durability. We think there is pretty much nothing more rad to hang on your wall than old hand tools. This cover features Kenneth Kortemeier receiving a drawknife which symbolizes the passing of the craft baton from recently retired Drew Langsner of Country Workshops. This image, while powerful on its own, has so much more meaning once you read this Langsner – Kortemeier story.
You can order your Issue Three poster here. $15. And, yes, we do now ship all over the world.
P.s. Tomorrow I will have news about the packing party for Issue Three. If you were bummed to miss our last party, you will want to be ready for tomorrow’s announcement. We’ve arranged accommodations for all our helpers but there are only so many slots available. Stay tuned…
Wooden cutting boards are wonderful. I wouldn’t be without them in my kitchen. But over time, their surfaces get chewed up–especially if you keep your kitchen knives sharp. A wooden cutting board can go years and years before its surface needs to be restored, but eventually it will be time to resurface it.
We were thinning out our camping gear a while ago, and we pulled out this sorry looking wooden cutting board. The surface was just too nasty to put it to use in our kitchen.
“Well,” I thought, “I know what to do with this.”
I set to work planing down each surface with my smoothing plane. About two minutes later, the surface looked very different.
The handplane leaves a glassy smooth surface, so no scraping or sanding was required. The wood appears to be hard maple, which is very common in older wooden cutting boards. It’s a tough wood–the same stuff they use for bowling alleys and basketball courts. A handplane needs to be razor sharp to cut this wood effectively. A closely-set chipbreaker also helps a lot.
Now, I realize that not everyone who has old wooden cutting boards also has a good handplane. But if you’re the sort of person who does a lot of handyman projects around the house, I think it’s really helpful to have a handplane. An old #4 or #5 Stanley is not hard to find used, and with a simple sharpening routine, you can keep the blade razor sharp. (There are many good tutorials on YouTube and elsewhere.) Just avoid the new-in-the-box handplanes at the big-box home improvement store. They’re pretty much all junk.
So after I posted the above pictures to social media, I got a message from my mom. Would I please bring my handplane next time I visit so I can resurface her cutting boards too?
Sure, Mom. I’d love to.
These are her cutting boards before I started work on them. They had belonged to my grandmother, and I remember them being in our kitchen growing up. In addition to the marks left from normal kitchen use, there were scoring marks from craft projects, as well some paint splatters and pinprick holes. I had to remove quite a bit of material from each side, but when I was done, they looked pretty good.
I not only resurfaced the working faces of each board, but I also scraped the grime off each end and edge with a card scraper. When I brought the cutting boards back into the house, my Mom hardly recognized them. But she was pretty happy with them.
I hadn’t brought any finishing materials with me, but I don’t think it’s really necessary to put any finish on cutting boards anyway. They will slowly but naturally absorb oils in the kitchen. I’m not lazy, just efficient.
Oh, and while we’re on the subject of cutting boards, I was in a high-end home-furnishings boutique in a big city last month, and I ran across this fancy cutting board:
It’s probably more of a serving platter than a cutting board, but you get the idea. Zoom in on the price tag if you can, and you’ll see it’s priced at $140.00
It certainly is a nice piece of spalted maple, but I think the price is a little steep. But I’ll tell you what: if you want a similar cutting board, I will happily make you one out of spalted pecan for half the price of the above cutting board.
Tagged: cutting board, cutting boards, handplane, maple, resurface
In the next few months, I’ve got a lot of furniture to make, as Josselyn (my partner) and I just moved to Cincinnati from Maine. Last week, I built a new coffee table for our place. This week I’m building us a new kitchen table, in between getting settled in my new job here and figuring out where to buy lumber (and food, clothing, etc.). Later this week I’ll post […]
Last month I taught two short classes in Germany – a rare exception to my vow to avoid teaching and instead focus on new furniture designs. The reason I taught those two classes is quite personal, so I won’t discuss it here. But during the classes I was struck by an odd question I’ve struggled with for 30 years: Is it a good idea for students to personally like their […]
The post Like Your Woodworking Teacher? Maybe You Shouldn’t appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
I had a peculiar childhood, I grew up running CNCs and robots before I got my drivers license. Perhaps it was that experience that led me to believe that every other woodworker was as interested in the future of automation as me – I think I may have gotten ahead of myself. Before I attended the AutoDesk Fusion 360 Roadshow in Columbus, Ohio, I wrote a post and asked our […]
Prevent rust from taking over your tools with these simple tips.
Summer heat and humidity can be tough on our woodworking tools, especially if you store them in an unconditioned space. The absolute best way to eliminate rust from the surfaces of machines and other tools in your shop is to stop it from ever really getting started in the first place. If you’ve already got a rust issue, we’ve got some solutions for how to completely remove it once it’s already formed.
While searching for examples of lowrider (Roman-type) workbenches for Chris, I started to find images of workbenches from the Spanish Colonial era in Mexico and South America. As this is a field that is underrepresented, Chris and I thought it would be a good idea to assemble them for study. I found woodworking images from seven countries, with the majority from the early 17th through late 18th centuries.
Except for a very few, the majority of Spanish Colonial images are of religious scenes. In Europe, the shift from religious to secular images occurred earlier, but in the Spanish-controlled lands religious orders of the Catholic Church set up craft guilds for the converted indigenous peoples, and controlled much of the production of painting and other arts until the 19th century.
Paintings from Spain were used to communicate religious ideas and also served initially as examples to copy. And many copies were needed as churches were erected in every settlement, and new arrivals from Spain built new homes. In a twist that did not occur in North American, the Amerindians in Spanish-controlled territories began to infuse elements of their ancient cultures into the art they produced.
Along with workbenches, you will also see the basic tool kit in use, some sawing, angels and a few cats.
In the image at the top (lightened to see detail) Joseph is using an adze at a simple staked bench. Note the cabinet in the upper left corner with the basket of tools and two planes. You will not see all of Joseph’s workshops so neat and organized. And there is a parrot.
The painting above shows a simple bench with a substantial top and stretchers. A wall cabinet with a door is somewhat unusual in colonial paintings. Jesus has contrived a support for sawing on his own, no angels needed. This painting is probably a close copy of a European painting.
The painting above is from Oaxaca. Joseph and Jesus use a low and very long bench to support their sawing. There is a tool rack on the back wall and strewn about the floor are a selection of planes, chisels, an adze, square and mallet. It looks like Joseph is using his leg and a short bench as an additional support for the piece they are sawing.
In Mexico in the 18th century a type of secular paintings were made to illustrate a complicated and legal caste system. Very briefly: with a population of Iberian Spanish, colonial-born Spanish, Amerindians and Africans there were bound to be intermingling; racial mixtures were used to determined levels of status. Casta (caste) paintings generally illustrated 16 mixtures.
In the secular trinity above we have a nice example of the staked bench, although a bit higher than Chris would like, and a small selection of tools.
Of the hundreds of Casta painting I looked at most of the craftsmen were shoemakers, so I was surprised to find some carpenters. With adze in hand he works the wood supported by his bench and child.
It is highly likely some of the workbenches are exact copies of benches in European paintings. As more immigrants and members of religious orders arrived, more paintings and other artwork was available to copy. However, I think the Casta paintings and paintings from missions point to the type of bench most commonly built and used in mission shops and by craftsmen working in city shops.
The Spanish-controlled lands in the new world became part of a global trade network that extended from Spain to Asia. Via “La Nao de la China,” otherwise known as the Manilla Galleon, precious metals found in the New World, especially silver, were transported to Manila to trade with Chinese merchants.
The Manilla Galleons ran from 1565-1815 and ultimately completed two voyages a year using the largest ships in the world. The goods from Asia landed in Acapulco with some distribution in the New World. The bulk was moved over land to the Atlantic Ocean and thence to Spain. The human cargo consisted of slaves and freeman and with them the colonies were exposed to new materials, methods and influences.
One example is the use of mother of pearl for inlay (a craft the Japanese had perfected) which became known as enconchada. In paintings it was generously used to impart a richness to the subject. In dim churches and homes, the garments of Mary and Joseph, angel’s wings and the embellishments around doors and windows would glimmer and glow.
Back to the benches. Similar low staked benches, one with stretchers. On the left there is the not-recommended tool storage above the dishes. On the right, we have a sensible woodworker with only a gluepot (?) and a smaller saw on the shelf and a nice basket o’tools.
In the Mexico gallery there is a painting with bench that may be a reproduction, more glowing, some polychrome sawing and a vista. Click on each image for a description.
To wrap up Mexico here is a 19th century bench of a master carpenter.
The legs look like they have been replaced. The bench is 228 cm long and 127 cm wide. Chris commented that he suspects the face vise screws are so long to accommodate sawing pieces for veneering. My contribution is to name the nuts “double-bunny ears.”
Flemish paintings brought to the colonies introduced the idea of spiritual scenes warmed with details of domestic life. This is very likely a close copy of a European painting.
Jesus is a bit older and has his own bench. Both benchtops seem to have holes for pegs (or a holdfast) to use for work holding.
The right leg on Joseph’s bench seems to have holes and perhaps a holdfast.
This painting is from Medellin. The staked bench has a substantial top and legs. Tool collection on the ground and a cat.
Nice heavy bench top and a face vise with indeterminate nuts.
Staked bench with a very skimpy top and wonky legs, but you get the idea. The same set of tools strewn about. Baby Jesus is not using a safe chiseling method.
I add subtitles to images in my notes to remember which is which. This one is, “Get that baby off that bench!” But, we are back to the long and narrow staked bench. Demerits for the Baby Jesus on the bench (with chisel), merits for using a basket for tool storage.
Chisels in a rack on the wall, squares, planes, mallet, and saw on the floor. Dividers and adze on the bench. Bench more than a bit too high for its legs. Wait! What is that NOTCH on the front edge of the benchtop? I can’t repeat the exclamatory phrase Chris used when I sent this image to him. I believe this bench joins the Roman Saalburg workbenches in Workbench Mystery No. 326 (read that post here).
The Colombia gallery has two more benches and a vista.
Isabel de Santiago was the daughter of a well-known painter. Using her will, and other documentation, it was determined she had painted several paintings attributed to her father. Of course, the re-attribution occurred a few centuries after she died.
Joseph is about to strike a chisel with his mallet. An angel with dividers in one hand and a square in the other works alongside Joseph. The bench is similar to others earlier in the post with the addition of a cat and dog.
I had almost given up on finding a clear and uncropped image of this painting.* The bench has a face vise with hurricane nuts. There is a tool rack on the wall and minimal tossing of tools to the ground. The painter, Miguel de Samaniego, a mestizo, is considered one of the premier painters in Ecuador’s colonial era. He clearly had a sense of humor.
He gave Joseph a plethora of shop angels: naked angels are ripping, but who is supporting the other end of the wood? Joseph’s leg? The clean-up crew is busy. The chickens are being fed. Over at the soup pot, one angel blows air to stoke the fire while another suffers from smoke inhalation. And under the bench we have a spoon carver.
A staked bench with no face vise. Just as Joseph is about to bring his adze down, his helper angel puts finger to lips in the international sign of “Shhh” and points to the sleeping Jesus.
In the Ecuador gallery there is another painting by Isabel de Santiago (Joseph and bench are in the background), from the coastal city of Guayaquil a painting of Joseph with his tools and two vistas.
*A big thank you to Jaime H. Borja Gomez and his ARCA project. I was able to find missing information and better photos of previously found paintings, and many more images I would not have otherwise found.
I hope to have the next post up in a few days and it will cover Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina.
— Suzanne Ellison
Filed under: Roman Workbenches, Workbenches
Since this is a handtool build, I did mark a reference face on the rails and stiles. I paid attention to them when I plowed the grooves and marked for the mortises. I thought all was well in Disneyland and the lines for rides had only 3 people waiting. I found or saw a hiccup right away tonight.
|all 3 are different|
|stile and rail|
|they are even|
|Holy bat turds Batman said Robin|
|no problems sawing out the bottom tenons|
Noticed another hiccup with these in that the mortise gauge lines I did don't line up with the tenon cheeks. My plan on these is to fit the cheek up against the wider wall first because that one is the reference face. I ran a pencil line from the edge of the groove up and around the tenon on both sides.
|the back side that I couldn't see|
|my front saw line|
|won't go any higher|
|not my favorite way|
Who was Dov Moran?
answer - he invented the USB flash drive
In the morning they arrive and we will be together for nine days. For some it is all new. For some a new career path will begin. We will all be excited and wide eyed. In my mind I will be unlocking doors into the lives of people I may have never met or met only …
One of the different tasks in saw making is to smooth the flat parts on top and below the hand. If you use rasps across the handle you risk blow outs on the fare side.
Also benutze ich die Raspel falsch. Im Englischen kenne ich den Befriff drawfiling. Die Raspel wird in maserrichtung und in 90° zu ihrem eigentlichen Hieb bewegt.