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This is an excerpt from “Grandpa’s Workshop” by Maurice Pommier.
The darkest corner of Pépère’s shop both fascinates and frightens me. It is full of spiderwebs and dust. It is there that Pépère keeps the tools he doesn’t use anymore.
It’s also the place he keeps the odds and ends of things he calls his “couldcomeinhandy’s.”
He says it would be a terrible idea to clean the corner, because the elves would be furious. Grandma says he should be ashamed it is such a mess, and that he could easily clean up that shambles. Pépère just chuckles.
Today I came in earlier than usual. I brought a flashlight to look through the jumble of things in the corner while Pépère had gone to break his bread. I discovered a big blue chest. When Pépère came back into the shop, I tugged on his sleeve and asked him what it was.
— It’s Pépé Clothaire’s tool chest, he said, tapping his finger on the chest.
— Tool Chest?!?
— Pépé Clothaire’s chest was handed down from his grandfather, and certainly from the grandfather of his grandfather!
Pépère wrinkles his nose a bit, and he tugs on his mustache.
— Wow! It must be incredibly old! Open it! Show me what is inside!
Pépère goes to the keyboard on the wall and picks up a little key among the many hanging on nails there, and he makes a little space around the chest. He turns on the light and with a broom sweeps the dust off the top of the chest. The key goes cric-crac in the lock.
When he opens the chest, Pépère’s eyes shine. He shows me the underside of the top where the big English saw had been stored. Then he pulls out the tools and arranges them on the floor of the shop, and he teaches me the names of them all:
— Wow, Pépère, they are a little rusty…
— Yes, and they are covered with dust that tickles your nose. You see, here are almost all of your Pépé Clothaire’s tools, all that he needed to build the roof structures of churches, of castles, and of houses. But there is one missing…Wait a second, I think that it is over here, it was too long to fit in the chest.
He wipes his nose and rummages around in the corner of the woodshop. He returns, peeling oily rags off a long, strange tool.
— Is is the besaiguë of Pépé Clothaire, Pépère tells me before I can ask him what it is. The ends of the tool are protected by leather sheaths. He takes them off to show me:
— On one end you have a big chisel, like a slick, and on the other a mortise chisel. To cut a mortise, the carpenter would drill a series of holes into a beam , and then use the besaiguë to finish the square hole in the wood. He also used it to shape the pegs used to pin the joints, and when he wanted to show off, he would even use it to sharpen his pencil!
Pépère shows me how he can use the besaiguë to shape a peg from a scrap of oak.
— Pépère, who did the besaiguë belong to, before Pépé Clothaire?
Pépère’s face falls a little, and he says he will tell me about that later. Because he needs to put the tools away, because he has some work to do, and he isn’t going to do it alone. I help him put Clothaire’s tools back away in the chest. Pépère takes the angel’s head and looks at it, frowning, and stuffs it down deep into the chest.
— Meghan Bates
Filed under: Grandpa's Workshop
As a professional teacher, I own a lot of dress slacks. Until recently, I had them hanging on a variety of different hangers, most of which sagged and left unsightly wrinkles on each leg. There are a lot of effective ways to hang up a pair of slacks without wrinkling them, but most good hangers are expensive and hog valuable space on the rack. My new pants hangers each cost approximately 75 cents took under five minutes to make.
Making them requires only a few simple woodworking tools and almost no skill. Here’s how I did it.
I began with some old wire hangers that came from the dry cleaner. Such hangers are easy to find. These are have a cardboard tube that each end of the wire sticks into.
I had most of my slacks hanging on hangers like these. They worked for a while, until the cardboard began to sag and finally break in the middle.
I had a lot of them.
You could use regular wire coat hangers for this project just as easily, but I had these ready to hand.
The first step is to use wire cutters to snip off the lower wire close to each end. I cut the wire about 3/4″ from each end, but the exact length isn’t critical.
I also clipped the wire at an angle so as to leave a sharp point. That will be very helpful later when it comes time to assemble these. Be careful, though, as cut wire IS very sharp.
The next step is to cut the new wooden rod to length. I used 1/2″ diameter poplar dowels from the home center. They’re often labeled “hardwood dowels,” and the wood often has a slightly green color. They should run you less than $2 apiece. I got mine for $1.69 each.
At the store, take some time selecting the straightest dowels you can find. To test straightness, just sight down the length of each dowel rod. If they look straight, they are straight enough. But if you don’t trust your eye, roll them on the floor. A bent dowel will wobble a lot. A straight one will roll pretty evenly.
Cut your dowels to 16 inches long. If you bought 48-inch dowels, you can get exactly three hangers out of each dowel with no waste! I cut them with a small hand saw and a bench hook–that’s the handy holding device pictured above. (See the end of this post for more details on making a bench hook.)
Next, drill a small hole into each end of the dowel. You can eyeball the approximate center. Go as straight as you can, but don’t sweat a crooked or off-center hole. The hanger will work fine even if your drilling is off a little bit.
I like to stand my stock up in a bench vise, but if you don’t have a vise, you can brace one end of the dowel on something solid, hold the dowel in your hand, and carefully drill the end. I braced mine onto my bench hook, and it worked great. Just don’t slip!
Poplar is a fairly soft wood, so use a smaller diameter drill bit than your hanger wire. I used a 1/16″ bit, but you could go one size bigger without trouble. The exact depth of the hole is not crucial. I just drilled to the depth of the drill bit’s flutes.
The dowels come from the store sanded smooth–which is great if you want them like that. However, I don’t like my slacks slipping off the hanger and onto the floor at the slightest touch–as they will if the rod is too slick. So I used a piece of 80-grit sandpaper to roughen the rods a little. I just swiped the sandpaper down the length of the rod once, turned it slightly, and did it again, until the whole rod was just a little coarse. Just remember to clean off any sawdust before you hang your slacks on these things.
While you’ve got the sandpaper in your hand, also sand off any ragged fibers that the saw left at each end.
Now it’s time to assemble your new hanger. With your fingers, press each cut end of the wire into the holes in each end of the dowel rod as far as you can.
If you feel they haven’t gone in far enough, a few taps on each end with a hammer will seat the wire firmly. If the wire doesn’t seem secure, you can always add a dab of strong glue, such as E6000 glue or even hot glue, to each hole. But that probably won’t be necessary.
And that’s all there is to it! Hang up your slacks on your new hanger.
I didn’t use any kind of stain or finish on the wood because (a) I didn’t want to wait for a finish to cure, and (b) I don’t want any smelly or sticky stuff on my clothes. These are going in my closet anyway, and I really don’t care what color they are.
I made up a dozen of these in under an hour. It’s probably the easiest woodworking project I’ve done in years–and I’ll use the hangers I made for years to come.
Bonus: The Bench Hook
I use my bench hook all the time. I actually have two of them, and for cutting up long stock it’s nice to have a pair. But for small stock, one works just fine all by itself.
A bench hook is simple to make, and almost as simple to use. Each one consists of three pieces of wood. The base is a wide-ish board 3/4″ thick. Mine is about 8″ wide and 12″ long, but exact dimensions aren’t critical. You could easily build this with smaller pieces–whatever you have on hand.
The other two pieces are they cleats. They are narrower bits of wood, almost as long as the base. They can be screwed, nailed, or glued to the base, as you see above. Mine are glued on. If you’re right-handed, the smaller piece should go almost to the right-hand end of the base but not quite. Leave between 1″ and 1/2″ of the base protruding past the cleats.
To use the bench hook, the lower cleat hooks over the top of a workbench or table. You hold your stock against the upper cleat with your off-hand, and you saw with your dominant hand. I have two sawing spots in this bench hook–one on the end and the other in the middle. The one in the middle is best for very small pieces that need to be supported on both sides of the saw. I use the spot on the end for everything else.
When one side of the bench hook gets too chewed up to use–which will take quite a long time–you can flip the whole bench hook over and use the other side. This essentially doubles the working life if the jig.
The saw I’m using is a cheap dovetail saw made by crown, which I think retails for about $25. But any normal, sharp saw with relatively small teeth can be used effectively on a bench hook. With practice, you can hold a workpiece firmly and saw a clean, straight line with ease–no clamping required.
If you do much craft work at all, I highly recommend investing the fifteen minutes it will take you to make one or two bench hooks.
After sculpting the backrest of this dugout chair with a chainsaw, I noticed two things. One, the chair is about half the weight when I started. I can move this thing around by myself with some grunting. Two: It’s now a rocking stump. Yup, after removing a lot of waste from the front of the chair, the stump began to tip backward on its own, rocking nicely on the meat […]
Next Saturday, Sept. 9, is our regularly scheduled open day for Lost Art Press. We’ll have our complete line of books plus a good number of slightly damaged books at 50 percent of retail (cash only). And T-shirts. Coffee. Stickers.
I also have been informed that we will have a handful of Crucible dividers there that are cosmetic seconds (100 percent fully bang-on functional). Those also will be 50 percent of retail (cash only).
To reinforce the “Sharpen This” series of blog posts, I will offer free sharpening lessons all day. If you want to learn basic sharpening or get into more advanced topics, come on down. I don’t know everything about sharpening, but I’ll be happy to share what I do know.
(Note: Let’s not make this day about me rehabbing your old or damaged tools. If you’d like to bring in a tool to discuss, great. I’ll show you how to sharpen it, but you will do the grinding and honing. One guy brought in a box of old planes for me to fix for him once – that service is $60/hour plus materials.)
If you struggle with any aspect of sharpening, put your ego aside and come ask for guidance. If you don’t know how to sharpen curved blades (travishers or scorps), we can cover that. Scrapers? Yup. Grinding V-tools? Nope (those drive me nuts).
Our storefront is at 837 Willard St. in Covington, Ky., 41011. The hours on Saturday are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
— Christopher Schwarz, christophermschwarz.com
Filed under: Lost Art Press Storefront, Sharpen This, Uncategorized
This video from the Victoria and Albert Museum shows lacquer craftsman Lee Kwang-Woong using traditional Korean techniques to create a lacquer box with an inlaid shell decoration. There are many parallels between the techniques used in this video and the western traditions of marquetry and animal glues, not to mention the fine abrasives used for the final result. One thing that is underplayed in this video is the perfect surface needed on the box itself prior to the application of the lacquer. Any imperfection in the box surface will telegraph through the lacquer.
The other thing that strikes me is that the work area looks more like a laboratory than a workshop. I can see why, however, as the smallest stray bit of dust would telegraph through the lacquer finish on the box as well.
(Thanks to the Sturdy Butterfly for the link.)
In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking as the Labor Day Weekend holiday approaches and we plan time with our families, I decided to revisit an “Around the Shop” podcast that discussed backboards. It’s solid woodworking information with an eye toward historically accurate work.
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.
|both have cathedral grain I will use|
|sawn to rough length but not the width|
|I want to center the width on the point of the cathedral between the sides of the box|
|the haste, waste, and mistake part|
|repeated the cathedral thing with the second lid|
|labeled the front so I won't get it mixed up(on both faces)|
|left the front long|
|planing the rabbets|
|a teeny bit of a slope on the entry end|
|none on the exit end|
|pretty even on the gauge line too|
|I'll plane to this gauge line after I fit the rabbets|
|about 80% on the second try|
|right front - loose on the side and at the top|
|left front - loose on the side and tight at the top|
|the back right|
|the left side is a close repeat of the right|
|I could probably close it but I' wasn't sure that I could open it again|
|finally got it|
|marked the lid and planed it to the line - left it a frog hair proud|
|planing a chamfer on the front end|
|1/2" astragal batted next|
|grain reversed on this end|
|layout for the thumb catch|
|don't know what I want here|
|it's 1700 and quitting time|
What is an anglophone?
answer - someone who speaks english
I laid out the shape of my my dugout chair in chalk. Then it rained. The next day I laid out the shape of my dugout chair in lumber crayon. Referring to my CAD drawing (below), I drew in the seat at 17” from the ground. Then decided to put the arms 8” above the seat and have them slope back about 1/2” or so. The depth of the seat […]
Over the last year, we have featured a wide variety shops in Wood News. We recently collected a few from the archives, including Scott Wilson’s spacious home shop, Tony Rumball’s shop options (he has access to 3 different woodworking shops!) and more.
Take a look at these workshops for ideas and inspiration, or just for fun.
And to read about even more shops, click to check out our Shops Gallery.
If you would like to submit your shop, just SEND US PHOTOS of your woodworking shop along with captions and a brief history and description of your woodworking. (Email photos at 800 x 600 resolution.) Receive a $50 store credit redeemable towards merchandise if we show your shop in a future issue.
The post Show Us Your Shop: Peek Inside These Woodworkers’ Shops! appeared first on Woodworking Blog.
I just finished carving the 8th & final panel for the bedstead I have underway. There’s 4 patterns I used, each one repeats twice. most of them are patterns I made up, but drawn from a large body of work I have covered here a few times. The carvings that are the inspiration come from Devon, England and Ipswich, Massachusetts. I love these designs because they are so lively, and have so much variety.
Lately I’ve been trying to draw the designs – to try to learn how to talk about them – the parts, components and how they get combined. When I first saw these panels, I thought they must be the most involved carvings – but really they’re just busy…there’s very little background removed. Most of the impact is from the “horror vacuui” effect of covering every blessed surface with something. (This next one was a mistake – the board was 10″ wide, too narrow for the bedstead.)Narrow panel
These patterns have a few common elements/motifs – most have an arch across the top of the panel. there are a few exceptions, but generally I carve the arch-top versions. All of these have an urn/vase/flowerpot just above the bottom/center of the panel. Then some leafy bits/leaves/flowers coming up and spreading out from this urn. I tend to think of the designs being broken into thirds – though not necessarily even thirds.
Some wind up from the urn through the middle of the panel, then wind outward and reverse direction into the arch. Mostly these also bend downward, looping back toward the middle of the panel. In this case, there’s 3 tulip shapes inside this arc, then the big leafy bit that fills the bottom corner:
This pattern is easiest on wide stock, at least 10″ of carving space-width. This one, a chest I have copied a few times, the panel is 12 3/4″ wide x 15″ tall. Compare it to the narrow version above – I think it works better on the wide stock.
On this panel from the bedstead a single flower replaces the 3 tulips, same leaf at the bottom though:
Sometimes from the urn you get large shapes flowing almost horizontally out from the middle. these often have double-volute-ish scrolls where they hit the edges of the panel The one heading down then flows into a leaf shape that bends right against the bottom of the urn. This one is from the extra-wide muntin of the same chest –
Here’s the front of that chest – I copied the proportions and all the vertical bits from 2 examples I’ve seen in person, one other I know from a photograph. All were initialed & dated on the muntin; 1666, 1669 & 1682 for the dates. I substituted different (related) designs on the horizontal rails; and in this case added brackets underneath the bottom rail.
These carving often employ a three-part leaf, which is standard in the related S-scrolls – (seen here on a period box from Ipswich)
and on the panels this form is used again & again, inside spaces, between elements – it can be like this:
Or along the side of the panel:
Hard to see it upside down, here it is from a period piece, the shape I’m thinking of is between the bottom of the arch and blends into the margin just above the large bottom leaves:
The bits flowing up from the urn that then turn down to the bottom corners can take several forms as well. The one I used at the top of this post is simple, big fat leafy shapes bending up then down. They split into three parts at the bottom – one to the corner, one to the feet/urn junction, and one between. Fill the spaces with gouge-cuts, and call it done.
as a drawing:
I could go on forever, but this post has taken long enough. A few more panels of my work:
This one hangs in our kitchen, done in Alaska yellow cedar:
This oak panel was an experiment, I mostly like it, but rejected it for the bedstead:
This one took its place:
A couple weeks ago I ventured into the barbarous climes of Mordor to deliver the workbench to the Library of Congress Book Conservation group. If the traffic and multitude of high-dollar construction projects are any indication, the travails of the provinces are not being felt in the capital city. In fact it looks like a boom town that has four trillion of our dollars at its disposal every year. And since we apparently are not motivated enough to demand that they stop spending those four trillion dollars every year on us, that trend line will remain unchanged.
The logistics of getting into a secured facility (and in Mordor virtually every facility is secured) is a challenge. It turned out that the most efficient way to get the workbench into LC was for me to drop it off at the curb in front, with LC staff taking delivery of it there. Once I parked and rejoined them we were able to get through the security checkpoint and proceed to the conservation lab. Admittedly, I felt under dressed with my Victorinox Spirit muti-tool sitting in the van outside.
The path to the final home for the workbench was uneventful, and the crew there was delighted to get their new tool. Particularly pleased were the petite members of the staff, many of whom wrote me a “Thank You” note for taking their physiques into consideration when fabricating the variable height configuration of the bench.
The bench fit perfectly into the tiny Tool Room space they have, and after I spent a little time explaining its features it was given some tryouts almost immediately.
And then I escaped before the Dark Eye poisoned my heart any more.
Woodworking projects from the kids at the Hole In The Wall Gang Camp. I think these are terrific examples of the finest of woodworking.
|cut the bottom to width on the tablesaw|
|sawed the length by hand and squared it up|
|set my rabbet plane for the width|
|practice groove from yesterday|
|I'm going to sweeten the fit with the tenon plane|
|self supporting on all four sides|
|self supporting with the box too|
|Houston, we had a brain fart somehow|
|get this width right on the money|
|the first one fits on the length|
|sawed and squared the new bottom|
|ran my gauge lines|
|new bottom done|
|a look at the bottom - rabbet is 3/8 wide to minimize how much shows|
|getting ready to glue it up|
|used the ready made stuff|
|had it square|
|has to be square|
|gaps on the dovetails on the interior|
|I can't complain about this fit|
|the difference in 6 years|
What is a hesperidium?
answer - the fruit of a citrus tree (lemon,oranges,limes....)
Why do you have to remove so much material? A slab like this will almost inevitably twist and cup. Across its width you have vertical grain changing to flat sawn and back to vertical grain. It basically has to cup. The wild grain pattern associated with the huge knots almost guarantees that the slab will be "wonky." That is its beauty. During the course of this project I came to understand that there is an entirely different aesthetic at work here. The cracks and knots are part of the tree's story.
I elected to use Arm-R-Seal to finish the slab, brushing it on the bark and using a cloth on the top. I didn't want the "plasticky" look that you often see, the result of a thick hard finish. Here is the result:
I am very pleased with the result. It is unique and has character. This is about as rustic as you can get short of just using the rough sawn slab as is. It's certainly not for everyone. Welcoming cracks, pitch pockets and knots is kinda weird I admit.
I got the ultimate compliment from the cable guy as I was applying the finish. He admired it and said, "It looks like it belongs in a brewpub." As it happens, I am a big fan of brewpubs and knew exactly what he meant. Douglas-fir is our state tree, it played a central role in our history, it is fundamental to the beauty of our landscape and we like to keep it close. Same with draft beer. You can travel the world but you won't find a beer better than an Oregon IPA made with our own Cascade hops. This table is going to see a lot of it.
In the August 2017 issue of The Highland Woodturner, Curtis addresses a regular topic of discussion among his woodturning students: What kind of finish should they use?
As a new woodturner, I gravitated to products marketed to turners. These were generally shellac and wax based products blended with other chemicals to aid with application and drying. These were very easy to apply with almost instant results. The sheen or polish was dazzling to my eye. I soon learned these were not the best finishes for everything.
Click to read more of Curtis’s thoughts on finishing options for woodturners.
The newest PopWood arrived int he mail recently and it contains my latest article for them. If the topic interests you, I hope you will join me at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking where my workshop on parquetry will revolve around making and using these jigs.
I still have that box and every so often I take it out to look at and compare it to my latest one. I did that tonight. The joints on my first one look like the ones I did tonight. My confidence in myself to whack out a set of dovetails is way higher than then. I saw faster without hesitating and I chop the pin/tail waste out almost nonchalantly now. I'm comfortable doing dovetails whether they are through or half blinds. I still get that feeling now everytime I put a box together off the saw.
|prepping my chisels|
|quick check on the contents fitting|
|one block doing triple duty|
|this is getting better too|
|3 flush and 1 shy on the bottom|
|there was a tiny bit of twist|
|set my distance from the edge and the depth|
|plowed my grooves|
|length for the bottom stick|
|repeat for the short dimension|
What is the country once known as Burma now called?
answer - Myanmar
A few blog posts ago I mentioned Thomas Walker’s wedge design for the moulding plane and that was a slip of tongue as I was writing the first issue of the magazine and I was doing an article on Thomas Walker. Thomas was a clock maker and not a plane maker.
What I meant to say is Thomas Mooney design, so I’ve adding this design in case you prefer to be more period of appropriate.
Please note for Metric users that all my drawings are imperial. My tools are imperial and therefore I match my drawings to the tools I use. I know metric is as simple as counting 1,2,3 but it is what it is. If you really wanted too you could convert all the measurements yourselves. In the machine world I guess it would matter and you may need to redraw everything in metric but in the hand tool we only use measurements as a guide and every other piece is measured against each other if that makes any sense.