…determines the outcome
It’s said that the one who frames the issues determines the outcome. With frame saws that may not be so predictable and so I found myself drifting with thoughts of frame saws these past few weeks and the thought crossed my mind that rigid plate steel saws like the ones developed in Britain and further developed in the USA by people like Henry Disston might seem to be a more advanced methodology than say the mainland European frame saw. It struck me then that thin plate was the demand of craftsmen for finer work such as dovetailing and small tenons used in furniture making and so on, but that the plate envisaged was actually too thin for a push-stroke saw without some way of keeping the saw plate from buckling under the forward thrust between hand and wood. Hence the addition of brass or steel splines that allow thinness and rigidity in the same tool.
Thick and thin plate
Thicker plate seemed to be preferred in Western makes of ‘freestyle’ saws as the saws were not pulled into the stroke but pushed, and that then required slightly thicker steel plate. To counter some of the weight and retain strength, Western makers came up with the taper-grind that removed about one third of the weight without compromising rigidity. This also enabled a change in direction for alignment if needed and even a curved cut to a certain degree. Of course thicker plate stock meant more effort and energy in the cut. Adding a rigid back, be it steel or brass, gave rigidity to thin stock and so the Western-style tenon saw was born for finer joinery and furniture making work. In recent years we have seen the Western world adopt Japanese saws and so there has been another trend toward pull-strokes. these saws work well too, but because they are more difficult to sharpen, over time we have seen yet again another substitute with the arrival of the disposable pull-stoke saws mass-made by various giant tool companies. And that’s the kind of saw most people buy today.
Differences do exist between types
A huge difference between push and pull stokes is that the pull-stroke saw almost demands a vise and bench to pull against, and whereas the push strokes work really well on saw horses, pull strokes are indeed more problematic; having the whole earth countering downward pressure from above is a whole lot easier than pulling against your own strength in the same motion. Accuracy too becomes an issue between the two. Which one is backwards seems to me a matter of the culture you are raised in and programmed by.
Mainland Europe’s frame saw
Though of course Britain has long since had a variety of frame saws, most of those in the furniture maker’s arsenal are turning saws. Isambard Kindom Brunel and Samuel Bentham were indeed the first ones to create the vertical frame saw for slabbing trees into boards and this method was used up into the early 1900‘s in some regions of Britain. The frames were huge and so too the blades. It wasn’t so very long before we saw the continuous bandsaw blade we know today.
Frame saws old and new
In mainland Europe and later on in North America, frame saws of every size were used for everything from limbing and logging to fine dovetailing and shaping for violin necks and so on. Many modern-day woodworkers like Frank Klaus use frame saws in their everyday work and on an added note Joel Moscowitz of Tools for Working Wood came up with a most stunning development by simply extending the length of a common coping saw blade, refining the cut, and adding the components for making your own turning frame or bow saw. Joseph uses one he made from the kit parts for all of his shaping work in making violin necks and bodies. It makes a really fine tool. Made using the same cross-beam and stem structure, with tourniquet tensioning to a thin blade pulled taut by the pressure on strings traversing the length of the saw, the saw has a handle and pinion that allows the user to turn the actual blade during a cut, so that the blade can readily follow curved sections in similar fashion to a coping saw.
The advantage of the frame or bow saw is that push and pull stroke both work as and if necessary and for some applications this can prove greatly advantageous. The steel can be super-thin and you don’t need a whole lot of width to the plate for most work. For this frame saw I used a very functional metal cutting bandsaw blade generally used in a hand held power metal-cutting bandsaw. The bimetal steel quality is really excellent and the aggressive non- or negative-rake to the front of the teeth cuts wood along the grain quickly and effectively. Because of the size of the teeth, I can also cut cross-grain with smooth efficient cutting too and so I found that this bow saw can cut small tree limbs and dovetails with equal alacrity and leaves a very smooth cut. I also found that I could rip along the grain or at a tangent, so this answered my quest for a saw that could be used for a range of tasks far beyond those that I could get with a regular handsaw or tenon saw. Of course I am not suggesting that it replaces either. I think that the frame hinders certain tasks that are easier with the British-style saws, but for under $5 I have a saw that adds new dimension to my woodworking and also gives me a saw I can hand to a young woodworker that will give a measure of bandsaw capability without the dangers of a bandsaw machine.
Simply made in half a day
Making the saw is not complicated, even though my two jointed intersections may at first seem intimidating. This is a functional saw and making one is constructive and enjoyable. On Monday evening this week we had a hands-on workshop making this saw with friends and staff at the Maplewood Center woodshop. I made one complete in about four hours, but I also taught it and took two hundred pictures for my how-too as well. By the time the evening was over we had made eight bona fide frame saws that not only worked but worked exceptionally well. Here are the first dovetails I ever cut with this particular frame saw using a metal-cutting bandsaw blade as the blade. Eleven year old Isaac made one too, alongside his dad, David Ashdown. This is just another step toward getting children back into the woodshop. I think too that this is a good step for others who might be intimidated by machine bandsaws. It’s not exactly the same purpose or intent, but it means people are equipped for certain types of work without the inherent dangers machines inevitably bring.
Evidence of work and functionality
Here are my finished dovetails. I also cut a mitered haunched tenon that followed the gauge lines perfectly. You may take an hour to get used to the lightness of the saw and the nuances of flexing to task rather than forcing the saw.
A new series
I am about to do a series on spoons, spatulas and other shaped items and this saw helps me span the huge crevasse between hand and machine methods for those who prefer not to use machines and those who simply cannot use them.
We’ve made it to Friday! Today’s #FollowFriday is WinterHawk, who was featured in our May 2013 Wood News Show Us Your Shop column. WinterHawk lives and has his shop in the country woods of Templeton, PA, about 40 miles north of Pittsburgh.
WinterHawk specializes in creating Native American Style Flutes. He became inspired to start making the flutes after spending many years of teaching Lakota drumming and holding Native American Gatherings, where the flutes and drums would often be played, along with rattles and shells.
To find out more about WinterHawk’s woodworking methods and to view more pictures of his work, please visit his website HERE.
Friday’s on the Highland Woodworking Blog are dedicated to #Follow Friday, where we use this space to further highlight a woodworker or turner who we have featured in our monthly e-publications Wood News or The Highland Woodturner. Would you like for your shop to appear in our publications? We invite you to SEND US PHOTOS of your woodworking shop along with captions and a brief history and description of your woodworking. (Email photos at 800×600 resolution.) Receive a $50 store credit redeemable towards merchandise if we show your shop in a future issue.
Sila Kopf, renowned marquetarian will be one of the featured speakers at this year's Woodworking in America conference, held October 18-20, 2013 in the Cincinnati, Ohio area. Read more
The post New This Year at Woodworking in America–Silas Kopf appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
Following my post about building your own saw, a couple of people asked about instruction. Here’s one inquiry and my snarky, self-promoting response…
Andrew from Germany asked:
I have been considering making a back saw for some time, but have been a little intimidated by the process. Do you know of any good video resources or books that detail the process? I like videos for the simple fact that I am a visual learner.
Funny you should ask, but yes, I do know of a resource. Me!
I just completed filming two projects with Popular Woodworking Magazine, one of which is two hours of video instruction for an on-line class on how to build your own backsaw from the very kits I spoke of yesterday. In addition to the videos, students who sign up for class (hosted by PopWood, of course) will be able to ask questions and get assistance through live video interaction with yours truly, and post questions with other students in an online forum.
Class size is limited (to about 25 I think), but after the launch, anyone will be able to purchase/stream/download the videos anytime and build their saw. Plus, you can email me questions at your leisure.
The PopWood video team is editing the videos now, and we’re negotiating a launch date for the class, but it looks like sometime in June. Stay tuned for more details.
I’m only a few days away from heading to Des Moines for the first ever “Weekend With WOOD“. I love the idea that a magazine I’m already a fan of is opening their doors and welcoming attendees to a jam-packed event where you’ll learn so much from some amazing instructors.
I’ll definitely be sharing as much of my experience as possible with everyone. For sure there will be full-length posts when I get back, but there will also most likely be plenty of Tweets, Facebook & Google+ posts all weekend long live from the event.
One event that may not sound like the type of thing you can’t wait to sign up for is the WOOD editors panel discussion on Saturday afternoon. This is an opportunity to ask the editors whatever is on your mind about the magazine.
I imagine there will be plenty of questions about what it takes to put the magazine together each month, but I’m curious to see what you might ask if you had an opportunity. IN FACT…I could be that opportunity FOR YOU?! Do you have a question you’d like to ask the editors of WOOD Magazine? Send it my way and I’ll share it with them and then report back what I find out.
Either leave a comment on today’s post or EMAIL ME.
While helpfull, this was not precise enough, especially not in between the lines. And it was difficult to see while planing,how deep I was going to be. So, I decided to make a special marking gauge. A block of wood, cut out at the desired depth with an old planer blade on top for a marking knife.
I could even move the blade for two different reach settings. Shorter reach is more precise of course, because the blade tends to curve under pressure. But despite this shortcomming it works pretty well.
You'll have to visit the BBC site to see it, I hope it works outside the UK too here is the link
Portrait presumed to be Alfred de La Chaussee
Musée du Berry – Bourges, France
19th century oil on canvas
Roubo bench in the dining room?
Anything is possible if you dress the part.
Filed under: Historical Images, Workbenches
|A picture of the original tool rack borrowed from the PW website.|
|A layout of the sides, This picture also borrowed from the PW web site.|
I mostly use them for dividing up spaces and laying out carvings. I knew they could be used to scale up drawings and dimensions, that's the best reason to have a pair of different sizes, I just hadn't actually exercised that knowledge yet. The process turned out pretty simple. Tool wise it took two sector's of different sizes, two dividers of different size, a try-square and a pencil.
Then I set the smaller sector on the page and line up the markings from two of the same number to bracket the outer corners of the drawing. It doesn't matter which of the 13 numbers I line up, I chose 10 at a whim. The perspective of the photo makes it look funny but the outer corners of the drawing are in line with the inner lines of the 10.
Then I take the measurement I locked on my small dividers and find where it measures out on the sector. The tips fell just inside the lines for the number 1.
Now I take my larger sector and set it up with the stock. Since I chose to use the number 10 on the smaller, I repeated that on the larger. I also made sure to take into account the amount of board that would disappear into the eventual dado joint.
Once I had the larger sector set and stable, I took my larger dividers and repeated the reading I took with the smaller, just a little inside the number 1's lines. Since everything is spaced out equally on the sectors, the spacing will be proportionally identical, within a slight factor of human error. This isn't a C&C machine I'm running and a few millimeters matters little when it's the over all look I'm after. In the end it will look right or it won't and that will be the ultimate determination of success.
Then I use the new set dividers to transfer the spacing to the board. repeat the action over for the other measurements and you'll work out the spacing and pattern. I drew the curves between the hard line elements freehand, but mostly because it was quicker. You could use the same method to plot out a few points to follow if you need to. I suggest trusting your eyes and instincts though.
With the lines all set down in pencil I went back over where I wanted the hard line to fall with a sharpie so it would stand out across the room. I also shaded in the space to be removed to help from a distance.
I picked up the book, and from across the room held the image out at arms length and judged the job I had done.
I ended up a little narrow in the top, front of the board to back, but the shape was there and it was pleasing to my eye from a distance. I decided to keep it.
I hope I explained how I made the process work well enough. If not I may consider shooting a video to help explain, however I don't want to step on Jim Toplin and George Walker's toes as I suspect sectors may be something well covered in their new book "By Hand & Eye" from Lost Art Press. I've ordered my copy and I cannot wait to read it. You may want to consider it too.
If there are a bunch of questions, please comment, email, open your back door and scream them to the stars. I'll be able to try and answer two of those three instances.
Ratione et Passionis
I am in need of some scorching sand for heat shading veneer and for hardening goose writing quills. I got a couple of cups of sand from a friend, it was left over from an out door cook oven. It is coarse construction sand and was in need of cleaning.
I first ran it through a coarse sieve [12 wires per inch], the stuff that didn’t make it through went into the garden. I then ran the sand through fine brass screen [20 wires per inch]. The stuff that didn’t make it through I separated out and saved it for future use, thinking I would still need to wash it when I was done.
Everything that fell through the fine brass wire screen contained all of the fines and dust, which I assumed I would have to wash it and dry it out. As I was pouring the sand from one container to another the wind blew some of the fine dust away. Now I was winnowing the sand and in about 15 minutes it was very clean. I didn’t have to wash it after all.
The size of the sand really does not matter for scortching wood or hardening quills, but it is nice to have two different sizes of winnowed sand.
I decided that I would have (approximately) two 3" drawers, two 2 1/2" drawers and two 1 1/2" drawers. The bottoms of the drawers are going to be in slips, and they will use up 1/2" of the depth.
I am still thinking about the drawer joinery. My question is this: Am I really going to create 6 half-blind dovetailed drawers for a tool chest? I watched a video of Rob Cosman making one half-blind joint in seven minutes. I am not that proficient at them and they would definitely take me a whole lot more time than that and possibly more than one try in some cases. By the way, here are a pair of videos with some really innovative techniques for making half-blind dovetails that I ran across:
Half-blind dovetails, part 1
Half-blind dovetails, part 2
It would never have occurred to me to use a scraper and drill press this way.
Here's a thought. I have no aversion to using quality baltic birch plywood for the drawer bottoms and there are obvious advantages to doing so. They can be glued in solid and, in so doing, will add tremendous strength to the drawer. On drawers this shallow, a glued-in bottom would take a lot of load off the corner joinery. I am not sure that sides pegged in a rabbet in the front wouldn't be more than strong enough. I admit to a vague feeling that they would be uncraftsmanlike. A disadvantage is that this design requires making a rabbet on the edges of the undersized plywood so it will fit precisely into the groove.
What would you do?
I remember years ago when I first started making saws and how hard it was to find parts. No one sold brass backs or saw hardware or saw plates. If you wanted to make a saw you had to fabricate the parts yourself, or scavenge them from old saws. And neither is too much fun when all you want to do is make a saw and not get an internship in a machine shop.
Fast forward to 2013 and the wonderful reality that is the 21st Century American Hand Tool Renaissance.
Thanks to a small number of enterprising people, and the growing demand to resurrect and revitalize our appreciation for meat powered tools, we now have several commercial sources of excellent quality parts and supplies for saw making.
I use parts from all of these suppliers and can personally vouch for every one. These are the same parts that I use every day in my shop. They ALL offer top quality and awesome customer service:
Saw Plates, templates, plans and more: TGIAG.com
Complete saw kits, backs and fasteners: BontzSawWorks.net
Saw Kits, split nut fasteners and driver bits: ToolsForWorkingWood.com
Saw Fasteners, supplies and filing aides: BlackburnTools.com
So what are you waiting for….get building!!!! Any schmuck can build a saw. Believe me….if I can make one, so can you. And if you’re a bit nervous about jumping into the whole project then you’re in luck again, because I also teach a two-day class at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking on making a backsaw from rough components.
And starting with this next class in July, we are now offering students the option to choose the size of their saw! That’s right…..thanks to Ron Bontz at Bontz Saw Works, students now order their saw kits directly. You can pick any saw you want, from a tiny 8 inch dovetail saw to a monster 18 inch tenon saw (though I recommend starting with the 12 inch backsaw kit). Let Ron know your preferences when you place your order. Then just bring the kit with you to class and I’ll show you how to turn it into a top-notch tool. It’s a blast. And you certainly don’t have to take the class to buy a kit from Ron, or parts from any of the suppliers above.
Check out the details on the saw building class: Build a Backsaw July 20-21st
And just to make the whole experience a little more fun, I’ll now be adding a ’Gallery’ section on the blog to post pics of saws made by students, readers and fellow saw lovers.
So get building and keep in touch.
Greg Knopp had contacted me earlier about fixing up a Japanese plane that he had. From the photos he sent me, it looked like it was in nice shape, except for one thing: the blade protruded a good ways past the mouth.
As it turns out, I have a Japanese plane that does the same thing.
This sometimes happens with Japanese planes. What I think happens is that the body shrinks over time, which effectively lowers the bed as the wood moves away from the position that it originally was in when the blade was fitted to the plane. As the bed lowers, it allows the blade to sink further into the grooves that hold it in place, resulting in the excessive protrusion you see above.
There are three ways to deal with this situation.
1. Make a new body for your plane blade. My guess is that’s more work than you want to do. It certainly is more work than I would want to do to fix this issue.
2. Grind down the blade so that it no longer protrudes out of the mouth like that. That would be a bit waste of a good portion of your blade, and you would have to do a lot of grinding, resharpening, and tapping out the blade. That’s also a lot of work.
3. Raise the bed by gluing a thin shim in place. A thin piece of cardboard has often been used for this. Some people swear by copier paper, business card stock, or index cards. Others would resaw a thin piece of wood. Once you do that, the blade shouldn’t be able to go all the way down. Then start rescraping the bed to allow the blade to drop down again.
I decided to go the thin piece of wood route. I’ve tried paper and cardboard before for this task, and found that when it came to rescraping the bed, the scraping was much less predictable than I liked. I’d often try to remove a small bit of the paper or cardboard, and come away with a bigger chunk than I wanted.
The first step is to get a thin piece of wood. I had a scrap of hard maple available, and resawed it to get a thin piece that was a strong 1/32” thick.
As it turned out, the shim was not quite even all the way across, but that’s not critical. I’m going to be shaving away at it anyway to fit the blade when this process is all done.
Next, I needed to cut it to fit the bed of the plane. The first time I tried this, I did a lot of trimming, then fitting, then trimming again. Eventually I realized that I already had a template for the shape of the bed.
I used the plane blade to trace an outline on the shim, and cut it out slightly oversized. Then I trimmed the edges with a plane until it fit nicely in the bed.
I used a liberal amount of hide glue, and set the shim in place. To apply pressure, I used the plane blade, and tapped it in with a hammer.
The plane blade now sits a good 1/4” short of the mouth, even with vigorous tapping with a hammer. In the above picture, the shim can be seen past the end of the blade.
I checked the shim around the mouth of the plane from the underside just to make sure that the shim was seated on the bed. Once the glue dried, I could pop the blade out, and start rescraping the shim to fit the blade to the plane just as I would if I was setting up the plane for the first time.
On today’s show, we’re talking about restoring a cupped table top, a box for severed fingers, using router bits with shapers, t-slot miter bars, compact table saws, bevel angles on bevel down planes, jointer options, dado blade safety, and designing difficulty.
Around the Web
The scale also has the instructions printed on it, which will be especially handy when years of breathing epoxy fumes degrades my ability to remember basic instructions or do simple math.
Comments, questions or topic suggestions?
- SKYPE – Woodtalkonline.
- Voicemail – (623) 242-5180.
- Email – email@example.com
- Wood Talk Facebook page.
Special thanks to our show sponsor: Festool at FestoolUSA.com
For the rest of the shownotes including any links, voicemails, and emails; along with contact information and downloads for today’s episode, visit www.woodtalkshow.com.
It falls through the Sawing and Axe Violence,
The fresh, joyful free Forest;
What Wonder, when at last the Tree takes revenge.
And his Murderer is sawed in Pieces.
The World is inverted!
Fliegende Blätter – 1852
An illustrated weekly magazine published in Munich.
Filed under: Historical Images
We're pleased to announce a new addition to out line of planes - the Side Bead. I love these planes, very simple to use, and you dress up a simple project into something very sophisticated quite quickly. Drawers, panels, corners - you name it, there's an opportunity for a bead!
Megan Fitzpatrick of Popular Woodworking magazine ordered one recently and placed a little review here - I think she was quite pleased with it.
The planes are initially available in 1/8" and 3/16" sizes, perfect for most smaller scale cabinet work. Price is £150 each or the pair for £280, available now on our website.
In some high technology circles there is an expression they use when engineers move too quickly to launch a project. They have “go fever” and are willing to overlook horrible mistakes in order to launch a product. When teaching woodworking – especially casework – I find that most students need to take down their protective netting, … Read more
As has been mentioned here before, imitating tortoiseshell on furniture has been achieved with varying degrees of realism down the centuries. The tortoiseshell backgrounds of japanned work often consisted of nothing more complex than daubs of opaque black paint on an opaque coloured (predominantly red) ground, while original standalone testudinal painted finishes usually exhibit more artistic accomplishment. As with grained wood finishes, a proportion of absolute painted tortoiseshell finishes developed into an art form in their own right.
All the same, great strides were made by a number of artists to more accurately recreate natural tortoiseshell, which process involved laying metal foil (brass, gold or silver) on a substrate over which were laid numerous coats of coloured translucent varnish.
Venetian born Joachim Becher developed a method of extracting tar from coal which he used (in conjunction with asphaltum and pitch) to tint varnishes for simulating tortoiseshell.
The ‘projecting genius’, Thomas Algood, (d. 1716), a Northamptonshire Quaker, applied brown lacquer [presumably asphaltum- or tar-based] over irregularly shaped pieces of foil to imitate tortoiseshell.
John Baskerville of Birmingham took out a patent for his simulated tortoiseshell in 1742, describing it as “An imitation … which greatly excells Nature itself both in Colour and hardness.”
The finish on my William and Mary chest of drawers adhered to the practice of building up layers of contrasting paint and translucent varnish to simulate tortoiseshell; however, this girandole attempts to replicate the work of these latter craftsmen using asphaltum and other naturally tinted varnishes over metal foil.
Due to the complexity (and presumable cost) of foil-and-varnish tortoiseshell, it was normally reserved for smaller, more intimate objects for the bed chamber and parlour.
While my chest’s distinct painted finish displays considerable depth and a charm all of its own, it can’t compete with the chatoyance of the girandole’s finish. It’s quite mesmerising and virtually impossible to describe in words or portray in pictures. In the early morning sunlight, the deep scarlet flickers to searing yellow with the merest shift of the body.
The frame and looking glass have been sympathetically aged and I’m just awaiting the arrival of the candle arm castings to complete the girandole.
 HUTH, Hans, Lacquer of the West – The History of a Craft and an Industry 1550-1950, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1971, pp. 111-112.
 JONES, Yvonne, Japanned Papier Mâché and Tinware c.1740-1940, Antique Collectors’ Club, 2012, p. 43.
Filed under: Mirrors & Girandoles Tagged: asphaltum, foil, girandole, Joachim Becher, John Baskerville, pitch, tar, Thomas Algood, tortoiseshell