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Yesterday morning Robell, Mike, and I met at the studio to pick up where we left off on the bench build. We had just begun fitting stretcher tenons into their mortises at the end of day one so we picked back up there in the morning. When we cut the tenons, we followed Mike’s mantra “When in pine, leave the line” as pine is so great at compressing when joinery is assembled. Because we intentionally left them a hair thick, they almost all needed some paring to slide home.
Then we began laying out the bridle joints for the rails joining the top of the legs. We cut out the stock to length and transferred the exact shoulder-to-shoulder width from the stretchers below. The easiest way to lay this out is to choose your tenon width based on your stock size and then mark all the tenons with a marking gauge off the reference face. With the tenons scribed, set the rail on the leg to determine the reveal that looks nice to your eye. Holding the rail in that place, transfer the two tenon gauge lines onto the leg stock with knife stabs. Then reset the gauge fence to these knife marks and scribe the mortise placement on all the mortises.
Because these bridle tenon cheeks were approximately 3.5” x 4.5”, I decided to use my 4 tpi rip saw. It was pretty incredible. The saw was so aggressive and sharp that I actually felt like I had to slow down and hold back. With careful attention, it made sawing this large joinery speedy and enjoyable. Once the two walls of the bridle mortise were sawn, we bored a hole at the baseline halfway from each side. That technique severed 95% of the waste in less than a minute. From there, it was simply a matter of cleaning up the mortise bottom with a chisel. We made sure to slightly undercut the bottom of the mortise from both sides to make fitting easier.
It was interesting to find that during this process, we found ourselves all either sitting on the low “Roman” bench on kneeling on the work on the floor. There was no conscious decision to do this but we all found ourselves gravitating toward these postures. It wasn’t until we took a photo of all three of us working on these boring and chopping tasks that it became obvious. It was kind of ironic to see three guys sitting on their work down low surrounded by empty tall workbenches. After realizing this, we all talked about how certain operations like chopping, boring, and some sawing are such that you want to be able to get your body directly over the work. When boring at a tall bench, I always feel like I want to climb up on top of the bench and lean down onto the brace (i.e. breast auger). It was an interesting revelation to us. I will definitely be more conscious of this from now on.
Once we fit the bridle joints, we bored the ½” drawbore holes and rived and pared the oak pins. At the end of this second day, we reached the most fun part: drawboring! We heated up the hot hide glue and assembled one joint at a time. Once the glue was applied on both tenon cheeks and their mating mortise walls, we slid the tenons in and drove the pins. There are many satisfying moments in woodworking but near the top of that list is the moment the shoulder cinches tight with a subtle glue squeeze out as you drive the massive pins into the joint. It doesn’t get much better than that.
We trimmed the pins, and pared them flush before sweeping up and putting tools away at the end of the day. We also took an opportunity to clamp a sideboard on the legs and lay the 2” thick near top board on to mock up the final proportions. These benches are going to be massive and awesome. It is fun dreaming about all the work that is going to happen at these benches over the years.
We’ll be putting these bench parts in storage until the new shop goes up in September. Then we’ll build them right into the walls. We all felt great about our progress on this project and had such a blast working, conversing, and laughing together. Mike and I are looking forward to Robell’s next trip to Maine. (We’ve already begun planning that next project together.) A big thank you goes out to Robell for his enthusiasm, hard work, and careful craftsmanship. We couldn’t have gotten this far without you, Robell. Thank you so much!
What a way to spend these two days!
Every summer Gero and the Darmstatdt crew organize and host the woodworking meeting. Usually there is a game with prizes. This year Matthias Fenner gave sume file handles as prizes, to. SO come and join us! New faces are allways welcome!
Shaving horses are in the wind it seems. On the wind, maybe. That’s how Jennie Alexander used to refer to her book Make a Chair from a Tree. “The chair was in the wind…” meaning if she didn’t write the book, someone was going to.
The wind is carrying shaving horse ideas a bit lately. A year or so ago, I shot a video with Lie-Nielsen on making my (simple) shaving horse. To be released sometime in the semi-near future.An old one of me & Daniel shaving white cedar
Recently, Tim Manney had an excellent shaving horse article in Fine Woodworking, accompanied by Curtis Buchanan’s piece on how to use one. It makes me want to build a new shaving horse! Tim’s also selling detailed plans for building his, http://timmanneychairmaker.blogspot.com/2017/05/shaving-horse-plans.html
Sean Hellman, a green woodworker over in the UK, has a new book out about shaving horses, Shaving Horses, Lap Shaves and other Woodland Vices: A Book of Plans and Techniques for the Green Woodworker.
Plymouth CRAFT ordered a few copies of Sean’s book to sell at Greenwood Fest, but they arrived the day the Fest ended. They are up on the website now, so for US orders it’s an easy way to get Sean’s book. It’s 130 pages, showing a multitude of different shaving horse designs; the dumbhead style, English style, spoon mules, and methods of use, some riving brakes, and other “woodland vices.” Large format, 8 1/4” x 11 3/4”.
Here’s the link to Plymouth CRAFT’s shop, selling a few odds and ends leftover from the Fest. https://www.plymouthcraft.org/online-store
|bottom half of the iron box|
|cap is barely wide enough|
|it is straight and square to the bottom part|
|major mind fart|
|new lid coming|
|leaving them overhanging|
|the two outside strips aren't that wide|
|how I am gluing the lid together|
|last check before gluing the other half of the sandwich on|
|cherry for the lid trim|
|found some wide walnut strips|
|hard to measure this angle|
|this is the only way I have to measure the angle|
|same two pieces I mitered on thursday|
What was the first gold machine struck English coin?
answer - the Guinea and it originally was worth one pound
I talked to one of the staff quite some time ago, and she asked if I ever had any small scraps of wood, because they had a small workbench, and the children liked to saw and hammer on something.
So a couple of times I have driven by them to drop of a load of small scraps of wood.
For some time I have been toying with an idea that perhaps I should make X number of sets of wood that could be assembled into small ships.
Nothing fancy, just a hull, a superstructure, a funnel and perhaps two masts.
I am well aware that most ships today don't have masts, but I know that children think they belong on a ship, and who am I to argue with that?
It won't be an immediate project, because the stock that I have in mind are scraps of the roof boards used on the small barn. I will order a bunch more of those for finishing the inside of the barn too, and I know that I will be getting a lot of leftovers from that.
The wood is spruce which is a lot easier to nail than larch, and given the age of the children that will be an advantage.
If I drill pilot holes in the superstructure and in the funnel, It should be easier to drive the small nails home, and that will definitely be an advantage. Also they can still rearrange those pieces as they wish on the hull.
The hull itself I plan on making complete with a bow and two holes for a mast to be inserted.
Then I'll just have to purchase a bunch of dowels and cut those into fitting lengths of masts.
A small ship like that could be painted when complete, and unless things have changed a lot, children usually like to paint stuff.
Of course I need to check with the kindergarten if they are at all interested in receiving such a set of kits first before I make them, and I also need to start on the interior of the barn to get some stock for the eventual project.
May is, of course, peak box turtles-crossing-the-road month. Here’s one that managed to evade Chris’s car:
This individual is of the “eastern” subspecies of common box turtle (Terrapene carolina).
I mentioned last month that I wasn’t able to find a good example of a black maple (Acer nigrum). Naturally, I came across a perfect example the very next day. Unfortunately, that tree was inaccessible; I would have had to climb down a steep slope into a swamp to be able to collect a leaf. I did eventually find another one:
Notice that it looks a bit like a seriously overweight sugar maple; the lobes are broad, the sinuses between lobes are very shallow, and the two outermost lobes have all but disappeared.
I also mentioned last month that the leaf of the boxelder (A. negundo) is disturbingly similar to that of eastern poison ivy (Toxicodendron radicans). I came across this tableau in Ottawa County, along Lake Erie in northern Ohio:
The leaf circled on the left is poison ivy; the one on the right is boxelder.
A common maple lookalike of a different sort is American sycamore (Platanus occidentalis):
In the UK, what we call sycamore is called plane or planetree, and what they call sycamore is a maple, A. pseudoplatanus. And this is why I always give the scientific names </rant>.
Even with the scientific names, it can be a puzzle. Note the sycamore maple’s scientific name, Acer pseudoplatanus: “maple that is a fake plane.” London plane is a common ornamental tree in the UK that is hybrid between American sycamore and oriental planetree (P. orientalis). It is sometimes given the scientific name Platanus orientalis var. acerifolia (“eastern plane with maple-like foliage”). No wonder people get confused.
Several Ohio trees bloom in May. The northern catalpa (Catalpa speciosa) is uncommon in the wild around here, but frequently planted for its abundant showy flowers:
The native range of northern catalpa is uncertain. It was once thought to be native only to a small area of the Mississippi River drainage, between Arkansas and southwestern Indiana, but recently discovered archeological evidence from West Virginia suggests that it was present in the Ohio River drainage near here prior to European settlement.
Willow flowers aren’t showy, but there are enough of them that, from a distance, they give the trees an overall yellow fuzzy appearance. Here are some black willow (Salix nigra) flowers:
In North America, most legumes (family Fabaceae) are non-woody herbs. In the tropics, however, legumes are often trees, and some of the most highly prized tropical hardwoods, such as the rosewoods (Dalbergia), are in fact legumes. There are a few North American legumes that reach tree size, but only the mesquites (Prosopis) are traded commercially to any significant extent. Legumes often have showy flowers, and the North American species with perhaps the showiest is the black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia):
The bark of the black locust is pale gray with a greenish tint, arranged in thick, vertical ropes:
Most legumes have compound leaves of one sort or another. The leaves of the black locust are pinnate, having a central axis (the rachis), with elliptical leaflets along either side:
The other North American tree called locust, honey locust (Gleditsia triacanthos), is actually not all that closely related to the black locust. It is most easily recognized by its formidable thorns:
(You can also see a flower bud near the center of the photo; in contrast to the black locust, the honey locust’s flower doesn’t get much bigger than what you see here.)
The bark is much smoother than that of the honey locust, but the thorns give it away:
(Note that there are thornless cultivars that are planted as ornamentals, so a tree that looks like a honey locust but doesn’t have any thorns is probably one of these.)
The leaves are bipinnate, meaning that the leaves are pinnate, and the leaflets are as well:
Although it’s not too common in Ohio, the Kentucky coffeetree (Gymnocladus dioicus) is also a legume, with enormous bipinnate leaves, up to three feet long. I know where there are some Kentucky coffeetrees nearby, but none with leaves close enough to the ground for me to reach, and in any case I don’t have a gray card big enough to lay one on.
There is an American legume with significant commercial value, but it’s not a North American tree:
This is the koa (Acacia koa) of Hawaiʻi. What appears to be a leaf is actually a structure that emerges as a swelling from the petiole (leaf stem), called a phyllode. Most mature koas have no true leaves at all, but in younger trees, you can usually find a few leaves in the interior of the tree, and they have the familiar legume appearance:
(I took these photos on Kauaʻi several years ago.) The closest relative of koa is Australian blackwood (A. melanoxylon), which also has phyllodes.
The eastern redbud (Cercis canadensis), which we first encountered back in March, also has attractive flowers. Those are long gone by May, but the seed pods are ripening:
It is said that the young pods can be cooked and eaten whole, like snow peas, but I have never tried them. Every year, by the time I think of it, they’ve gotten too old.
Unusual for a legume, the redbud has simple, heart-shaped leaves:
Another tree of the local forests with heart-shaped leaves is American basswood (Tilia americana):
If you look closely, you can see that the leaf is somewhat asymmetrical near the base, with one side reaching further back than the other. I don’t know why this is, and not all of the leaves are like this, but it’s a feature that is shared by several other unrelated trees.
Elms have asymmetrical leaves, too. Here is a slippery elm (Ulmus rubra):
(It’s a little hard to see the asymmetry in this one.)
And an American elm (U. americana):
The leaves of the slippery elm are densely covered with fine, stiff hairs. If you place one on a tabletop and press the palm of your hand flat against it, it will stick to your hand like Velcro. American elm leaves are usually much less hairy, but can sometimes look almost identical to slippery elm leaves. The easiest way to distinguish the two is to look at the stem between the leaves. In slippery elm, this stem is hairy:
In American elm, it’s smooth:
Another tree whose leaves have this same kind of asymmetry is the common hackberry (Celtis occidentalis):
Hackberry trees are easy to identify from their bark, covered with warty protuberances:
Unfortunately, the emerald ash borer has reached Athens County. I would estimate that over half of the larger ash trees are already dead or nearly so; the smaller ones seem to be hanging on a bit longer. Here’s a dead white ash in Ottawa County; you can see how the beetle larvae eat through the cambium in such a way as to cut off the tree’s nutrient supply:
The more common species here is green ash (Fraxinius pennsylvanica). The leaves are pinnate, usually with seven leaflets:
The leaves of white ash (F. americana) are very similar:
With a leaf in hand, however, there is a simple way to tell the two apart. If you look closely at the base of the petiole, where the leaf attaches to the branch, the cross section of the green ash’s leaf is roughly circular, with a small cutout on top:
While the white ash’s petiole has a much deeper groove:
Rare in Athens County, but more common to the north, the leaves of the black ash (F. nigra) usually have nine leaflets (sometimes more), rather than seven. There is a large tree on our land in Meigs County that I think is a black ash, but the tree is so tall that I can’t get a decent look at the leaves, even through binoculars.
The seeds of both local ashes are encased in samaras that remind me of surfboards:
By May, the forest floor is pretty dark, so there’s not that much going on as far as wildflowers are concerned. Some species occur around forest edges, where there’s more light. One of the common May wildflowers in my yard (but strangely absent in other places that would seem to be appropriate for them) is foxglove beardtongue (Penstemon digitalis):
The flowers that we usually think of as roses are all Asian imports, but there are a few native species, like this Carolina rose (Rosa carolina):
Venturing a bit deeper into the shade, we can find touch-me-nots, especially common along roadside ditches. This one is a pale touch-me-not (Impatiens pallida):
The name comes from the fact that the ripe seed pods are spring-loaded. If you squeeze one, it explodes, shooting seeds in all directions. (It’s a good practical joke when you’re out in the woods with someone who isn’t familiar with the flora: “Here, squeeze this between your fingers.”)
This one is limestone bittercress (Cardamine douglassii):
It also goes by the name “purple cress,” but there are a gazillion other flowers that also go by that name.
In the deepest shade, we can find Canadian wildginger (Asarum canadense, unrelated to culinary ginger):
You have to get down on your knees to see the flowers, though; they’re hidden below the leaves and practically buried in the leaf litter:
One of the most attractive spring/summer ferns is the northern maidenhair (Adiantum pedatum):
There is also a more southerly species called common maidenhair, which looks quite different, but I wasn’t able to find one. Maybe later this year.
When you’re walking in the woods, it pays to look down, and not only for wildflowers and ferns. I almost stepped on this (Odocoileus virginianus) when I went to fill the bird feeders in my backyard a few weeks ago:
Filed under: Uncategorized
Sometimes the animals in our house get tired of being asked to pose with wax or stickers (hmmm, we still haven’t asked Skeletor the Undying Frog). So it should come as no surprise that Wally shot lasers out of his eyes today when showed a jar of Katy’s Soft Wax.
Yes, Katy has a batch of soft wax up in the store that is available for immediate shipment. You can order it on her etsy.com store.
Note that cats are not necessarily stupid. After he was told he would get a cookie, Wally instantly changed to “marketing genius” (see below).
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Personal Favorites, Uncategorized
Following the visit to John's fine house he did a talk the next day to a packed audience. The main purpose of the talk was to launch his new book detailing the work and careers of the people that passed through Parnham. It reads like a 'who's who' of the furniture making world, although many of the students branched out into other disciplines such as architecture. I haven't read the whole thing yet but it's a truly fascinating book, and I highly recommend buying a copy on it's imminent release. John very kindly signed my copy, a true gentleman.
Amy received her MFA in Creative Writing from San Francisco State University. She is the staff writer at Highland Woodworking. In 2015 she and her dad co-founded Coywolf Woodworks, their hobby shop in North Florida.
The post My 2017 Summer Woodworking Reading List – Amy Herschleb appeared first on Woodworking Blog.
Journal entry Thursday 8th June 2017 Election day Nope! Not political choices, electing to do what you feel called to do with your life. I preach my own words to myself most days, “It’s not what you make but how!” I could write a book on this sentence alone. Perhaps no one would read it. …
A Few Tools I’ll Be Testing
This week I’m really just trying to get my wits about me after being out of town for a week. But I wanted to tease you with a few new tools that have come into my shop that I’ll be testing in the coming months.
Brian over at BearKatWood sent me a tiny dovetail saw that I have really enjoyed playing with on some recent overlay half blind dovetails. I’m looking forward to using it more in the future and will report back on how it stacks up.
Shawn at Wortheffort Woodworking sent me the prototype of his convenient sharpening appliance and I’m really excited about this, well, convenient sharpening set up. It uses 2 fine grits of sandpaper and a leather strop on a dead flat aluminum base. Very cool fit and finish and perfect for me this summer as I’ll be heading backto Maine in August and it will be great to take along such a simple and all inclusive honing tool.
Take a look at Shawn’s introductory video on this appliance
RWW Live is Next WeekBe there next Thursday night, 7/6, at 9 PM EDT where I’ll fire up the live stream and be answering questions. I haven’t done an entirely open format Q&A so who knows what will happen. Maybe we will end up talking about Charles Ives and what a truly visionary composer he was, or perhaps we can discuss the merits of click bait in your B2B marketing campaign, or maybe some woodworking stuff too!
Yesterday was a blast. Mike and I met Robell yesterday morning at the shop and after visiting over coffee, we discussed the chicken scratch and doodles we called “plans” and pawed through the rough lumber we’d set aside for this project. The benches are designed around the material I had stacked and stickered in my yard so it took Mike and I a bit the other day to choose just the right pieces.
Mike and Robell cut the legs to length while I ripped out and planed the stretcher stock. We then planed the best face and two sides of the 4x6 legs and choose the orientation and position of the legs that looked best while avoiding placing mortises on knots. Because the tenons are 1” thick, we bored the waste with auger bits to final depth and then cleaned up the walls with chisels. Most of the mortising went smooth with the exception of a few surprise pin knots and a broken off screw inside one of Mike’s mortises. That’s the downside of using reclaimed lumber. He put a nice chip in his edge and then spent at least 15 minutes digging to pry the screw out out. Not the end of the world but definitely a nuisance.
We had two guys chopping mortises while the other cut the tenons on the stretchers. We all took turns at each task in order to keep it fresh. That is usually a risky idea because it’s easy to mix things up with all that changing around but we made it through without any mistakes.
Before Mike headed home, we were fitting the tenons into the mortises. I got one pair of legs fit before Robell and I called it quits for the day. The first day of a build is always a bit slow because of all the planning that needs to happen. Once things are in motion, though, it’s all smooth sailing. Today we’ll cut bridle joints at the top of the legs and glue and drawbore the leg units. Then we’ll look at fitting the side and top boards. At that point they’ll start to looking like workbenches!
Because they’re going to be built-ins, we aren’t going to do final assembly on these now. This means the pressure is off as we don’t have any specific goal for today. All the final assembly and fitting will happen later when they’re installed in the new shop. These two days with Robell are just about getting a really good head start on the project. After showing up this morning at the shop, everyone is enthusiastic and ready to go. It looks like it’s going to be another awesome day.
This week’s book giveaway celebrates the release of a new book on building tiny houses and backyard buildings (from sheds to studios to recreational retreats). “Building Small” is written by David & Jeanie Stiles, who have authored numerous bestselling books on building sheds, cabins, workshops and other small structures. The book is a bit of an outlier for our category, but it’s filled with great fundamental building instructions that cover everything […]
|the sandwich sans the glue|
|the last steps|
|the top cap part|
|my reference corner|
|first two strips laid on the reference corner|
|setting the spacers|
|small bead down the middle|
|first part done|
|transferring the edge of the strip to the bottom|
|did the same for the top of the spacers|
|I will use these marks to saw the box out|
|something doesn't look right|
|my first iron box|
|the trim keeps the lid in place|
|removed the long ones just before glue fully set|
|planed a bit off|
|why I shaved a wee bit off|
|measuring for the inside of the lid X marks the spot with no glue|
|a bit of gap|
|sandwich glued and cooking|
If you have ameliorated something what have you done?
answer - made it better
He cuts the slabs on a chainsaw mill on steroids: 23 hp and a 6' cutting width.
Finally, I found the one I wanted, 3" thick, 37" wide and 11' long.
Problem was, my pickup bed is only 6' long, just over 7' with the tailgate down and we had to go home on an interstate, but what the heck. I hadn't really thought through what we would do when we got home with an approximately 300 lb. slab, so here's what we did. We backed right up to my workbench:
Then we rolled if off on dowels:
I cut off 3' so the tabletop will be 8' long. Never having tried to flatten anything anywhere near this big, I started with a scrub plane but it was just way too much for me, so I turned to some power tools:
This picture doesn't convey how massive the slab is, so remember that you are looking at 24 sq. ft.! It also doesn't reveal all the swirling grain around the knots, which is really beautiful. I removed 3/8" of material, partly because it took me a while to figure out what I should be doing, so I am thinking that the final table top will end up around 2 3/8" thick. It's not perfectly flat, but is within 1/32". This is what I hope is the bottom of the table, but I don't know for sure because the slab is so heavy I can't turn it over to find out. For that I am going to have to round up the neighbors. Barely noticeable in the picture is that I sealed the end grain with paraffin by melting it and painting it on, which seems to be working.
This slab had been drying for over a year and feels quite dry, but it has a ways to go. My plan is to flatten both sides and then let it dry in the garage for the summer months before resuming work on it in the fall. That probably means I will have to do some more flattening but I have plenty of material. I just felt like doing some work on it now.
The bark is all there and I have decided to keep it, so it's going to be challenging to figure out a way to finish it. I put spray polyurethane on the bark of the alder coffee table I made and it is holding up, but the bark on this table will have a lot more contact with people and chairs. The good news is that this bark is a lot stronger and more stable than the alder bark. Over the summer I am going to try some experiments on scrap pieces of bark. One thought I had is to thin epoxy and paint it on. I've read that you can heat it up or dilute it with alcohol to thin it.
This is an excerpt from “The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years: Volume II” published by Lost Art Press.
The practical working of wood is largely based upon an extraordinarily simple fact; a fact which every man who goes in for woodwork, even in an elementary way, soon comes to discover for himself. This is that it is easier to take a tool right through than to stop it short—at any rate so far as hand tools are concerned. Men in the past found this out at a very early period, and traditional methods of construction have been based on and developed around this simple truth, but it is rediscovered daily by every man who picks up saw, plane, file, and so on.
Consider the number of times you experience this; how much easier it is to work a through groove than a stopped one; how simple it is to take a saw right across a piece of wood, but what a different proposition when it has to be stopped short as when sawing the sides of a stopped groove; how straightforward it is to plane an edge straight, yet what a nuisance it becomes when it is stopped at one (or both) ends and you cannot use the plane except at the middle (haven’t you been tempted to plane the edge straight and plant on the stops afterwards!); how a simple chamfer can be formed with the plane in a few seconds, but takes probably ten times as long when it is stopped; and so the list might be continued. These points are brought out in Fig. 1.
Of course, it does not follow from this that grooves are never stopped or that chamfers always go right through. Sometimes you cannot help yourself; possibly the one may be a constructional necessity, or the other so attractive a feature that it is worth the trouble involved. But there is no point in work for its own sake; it is much better to go about things in a simple way, especially when the involved method carries with it no corresponding advantage.
It is because of this that it is generally easy to tell whether a design is the work of a practical man; or, to take another aspect of the same thing, why a design by an artist invariably requires the cooperation of an experienced woodworker to convert it into terms of practical working. A simple example came to our notice recently. The sides of a drawer had to be grooved to fit suspension runners attached to the cabinet sides. They were shown stopped at the front as at A, Fig. 2. Surely no practical man would ever have given such a detail to be worked by hand when it would have been just as easy to arrange things as at C in which the plough could be taken right through before assembling the drawer. In fact the arrangement at B could have been followed, so enabling the runner to afford support almost to the extreme front.
This running-through business is of particular interest because it is largely peculiar to wood, and it is partly due to wood being a natural material which must be used in the form in which it is found (we are ignoring here made-up materials such as laminboard, plywood, etc.). Some materials (metal, plastics, etc.) can be cast or moulded, and projections and stops present no more difficulty than flat surfaces. With timber you fell the tree, convert the log, and then think in terms of so many straight pieces of material. Another point affecting the thing is that wood is comparatively soft so that you can set a metal cutter in a stock (that is, make a plane) and take off shavings, the device having the advantage of helping to make the work straight and true. But of course you have to be able to take the tool through without hindrance.
Perhaps a better appreciation of this point is to compare it with the method used by the stone mason. You cannot use a plane on stone; you have to chip it away with chisel and hammer. There is therefore no point in running through. If a mason has to work a moulding around, say, a window opening, he does not form the joint right at the mitre. Instead he carves a special corner stone as in Fig. 3, this having the two joining mouldings carved in it. Thus we see how a fundamental difference in methods of working has evolved a technique peculiar to the material, this basically affecting the design.
This brings us to an interesting point. The carver in wood uses tools and methods of working which are similar to those of the sculptor in stone. He uses gouges and chisels as distinct from the planes and ploughs of the joiner or cabinet maker. Consequently the running-through idea does not apply to him. When therefore a wood carver makes a piece of woodwork he often carves it in the solid rather than joins pieces together, and the mitres of his mouldings are like those of the mason. In fact, the same idea is occasionally carried out in joinery in which a timber framing is used. In Fig. 4, for instance, the joint in the moulding is not on the mitre line, but runs straight across in line with the shoulder of the joint. Clearly the moulding plane could not be used on the uprights, and the corner would have to be cut by the carver. This joint is, in fact, known as the mason’s mitre, and the corresponding joiner’s mitre is given in Fig. 5.
It is an interesting thought that if the technique of woodwork had developed through the wood carver rather than the joiner, the mason’s mitre would probably have become the rule rather than the exception.
— Meghan Bates
Filed under: Charles H. Hayward at The Woodworker