Today, we’re featuring two more woodworkers for Follow Friday and they are Don Schneider (Carving) and Paul Bucca (Woodturning).
Carving: Don Schneider
Don Schneider is a woodworker living in the northern woods of Havana, FL. He first got interested in carving after he used only an exacto knife and two wood files to carve a claw and ball foot, and was able to teach himself all of the carving techniques he needed to turn it into a regular hobby.
Don’s main focus in woodcarving is bas-relief carving, which he often does in a surrealist style. Another one of his carving interests is ornate masks. You can see several of his pieces below.
Woodturning: Paul Bucca
Paul Bucca is a former Oceanographer who now enjoys creating segmented bowl turnings. Over the past 9 years that he has been turning, his segmented bowls have been getting more and more elaborate as he has gained skills in marquetry, and better tools.
One of his biggest pieces was featured in the Show Us Your Woodturning section of our February issue of The Highland Woodturner. The turning consists of 685 pieces making up two hemispheres that were finished and mated together to create a beautiful and elaborate porthole bowl seen below:
Fridays on the Highland Woodworking Blog are dedicated to #FollowFriday, where we use this space to further highlight a woodworker or turner who we have featured in our monthly e-publications Wood News and The Highland Woodturner. Would you like for your shop or woodworking to appear in our publications? We invite you to SEND US PHOTOS of your shop or work 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.
The post Follow Friday: Carving and Woodturning with Don Schneider and Paul Bucca appeared first on Woodworking Blog.
I’ve had a link available at the top of the homepage to this project from the minds at the Steel City Tool Works blog but just in case you haven’t seen it yet here’s an opportunity for you to check it out.
I had heard a while ago that Callum had been working on something for dust collection at the drill press but I assumed it would be another version of a dust port built into a fence on the table top.
Instead, it turns out to be a full down-draft table top. A great idea for a whole bunch of reasons, especially those that have to do with just wanting to get chips and sawdust out of the way for better drilling.
When you have a moment check it out, I’m sure there’s plenty of ideas that can be used for other projects elsewhere in the shop.
Roald Renmælmo posted this photo today on Norsk Skottbenk Union, and graciously allowed me to re-use it. Roald and his associates are doing great research into traditional work methods from Northern Europe, especially Norway. His post describes the skottbenk as a Jointing Bench, Shooting Bench or Sticking Board. Ah! The light went off in my head – Sticking board! That immediately explains it’s use to anyone coming from the English-American tradition. It is one big sticking board. I’m surprised that these benches were not commonly used in the U.S., especially in the Upper Midwest, in the large Scandinavian American Communities. Maybe they were and there simply isn’t much about them in current woodworking literature. If anyone can enlighten me, I’d appreciate it.
Roald and his associates also provide more general information about workholding methods at Hyvelbenk.Wordpress.com. I’m looking forward to following their research. And I’ll try to get Roald to share more information about the specialized “two man” planes used in his part of the world. Thanks for the Internet, so we can learn more about the past. How ironic.
I almost titled this post ‘Pardon My French’ in dedication of a recent hair-pulling project I completed. This French bergere was a bugger to get right. The client has a local upholsterer they were going to have recover this chair. Knowing it was very loose, they called me to reglue the frame first. Deupholster and reglue. Easy enough, right? Wowie. I wish.
Sometimes the seemingly simplest projects end up with the most unforeseen issues and complicated looking ones turn out really straightforward. I can’t even tell you what was so frustrating but it did revolve around three issues: 1. The seat rails are not perpendicular to one another, making clamping AND spreading a difficulty. 2. I believe the last person to work on this chair used something other than hide glue. 3. The “joinery” was delicate little dowels. Needless to say, some dowels needed to be replaced and the chair was assembled in stages. This brings me to my point...
|These tenons were not part of the bergere. I wish they had been.|
Hide glue. It has dawned on me that my level of satisfaction and feeling that all is well in the studio is directly proportional to the amount of hide glue I encounter. When a piece has been glued with hide glue and I am regluing with hide glue, things generally go very smooth. The working properties, clean-up, self-clamping, and lack of toxins in the glue all make me a happy camper.
So without further ado, let me persuade you to use hide glue in your furniture. Here’s a quick, off-the-cuff list of reasons for you to consider. For sake of the next guy to work on it, please dump the synthetic glues and convert to collagen.
1. It’s reversible.
This is critical to safe repair in the future. Adhesives that are insoluble after drying present great danger to joinery when a piece needs to be disassembled for treatment later on down the road. All adhesives fail after a while. So if you want this piece to last longer than twenty years, use hide glue.
2. It adheres well to old glue.
Because the glue softens when introduced to warm water, a fresh application of hide glue will soften the old for proper adhesion. This is important when regluing something because glue penetrate the surface of the wood and if an incompatible glue has “sealed” the surface, you will have a hard time getting full adhesion.
3. It’s easy to modify/manipulate working properties.
Hot Hide Glue (totally unmodified), when heated to 140* and ready for use can have a very short open time. We’re talking a minute or two. Because the glue gels before drying, everything needs to be set in short order. There are so many factors that change hide glue’s working properties. Ambient temperature helps (the hotter your room, the longer you got), preheating the adherends with a hairdryer or heat gun helps, adding canning salt or urea to your mix can slow it down to give you 30 – 60 minutes of working time, glycerin reduces fracturability of the glue, alum makes it water proof, etc. The list goes on.
4. It’s inexpensive.
I bought 50 lbs of granules from Eugene Thordahl for $5.00 a pound. I am able to mix it fresh whenever I need it and this should last me at least twenty years working professionally.
5. It is self-clamping.
As the glue dries, it actually draws the adherends together making clamping unnecessary in some cases. This is very handy with small bits that need to be repaired (ie. veneer chips, carvings, etc.) This is how boards were edge glued in days past. They would plane the edges straight and square, apply the hide glue to both sides and rub them together for a few moments until the gel action set in. They would then just set these pieces aside to let it self-clamp. I do this occasionally. It’s amazing.
6. It is easy to clean up after it dries.
Glue covered fingers, glue splattered pants, and drops and drips on your shoes are easily taken care of even after it dried. Know how? You guessed it: warm water. (Or saliva!) I think the value of this property is way underestimated.
7. It’s incredibly strong.
Depending on your mixture and gram strength, hide glue is one of the strongest glues, very close to epoxy.
8. It’s not too strong.
You don’t want glue in joinery too strong because if something crashes down and is going to break, you want it to be the glue line and not the tenon snapping off. Please ignore all marketing claims of glue being “stronger than wood”. That’s not what you want in antique furniture joinery. Hide glue is just the right amount of strength for fine and antique furniture.
9. It’s a renewable resource.
Cows always make more cows. That ain’t changing anytime soon.
10. It’s safe for your health.
Cow protein is safe for human consumption. I’ve tasted it. A little weird but when the set time is depressed with salt it really brings out the complexity of the flavors. (wink.) Bovine collagen + h2o = safe for people.
11. It’s historically accurate.
This stuff has been used in the furniture of Egyptian tombs (30 centuries ago) and it was standard “glue” until the advent of synthetic glues (mid 20th century). Used all over the world for most of recorded history, I’d say it’s got historic street cred.
|Projects like this bergere necessitate a 'clear your head' walk no matter what the weather.|
I'm interested in giving Japanese saws a try. I know next to nothing about them. What saws (type and quantity) should I consider purchasing for typical hand tool situations such as ripping, crosscutting, and joinery work? Thanks!
If you’re starting out, I like the combination of a 210 mm ryoba, which will cover most furniture scale joinery tasks (dovetails, tenons), and a 270mm saw for making bigger cuts. I wrote a post a while ago explaining why here.
Yesterday Phil finished his workbench stool and it looks very nice now he’s done. I was just about to finish the last of five bookshelves as a medley of useful shelves scaleable as options for people to build and John hinged the lid to the tool chest he has been building. All of this was yesterday and all of this is to say completion is critical to our wellbeing and its something Henry Ford deprived his workforce of as he introduced methods of production line manufacturing that destroyed the reward of being skilled and honest engineers, farmers and craftsmen. This all happened exactly 10o years ago. I know the ten million model T Fords that became possible from his conveyor belt mechanics meant “about everyone (would) have one.”; it remains to be evaluated whether we or our children will pay far more than we ever though possible for four wheels and a box, but for the factory mechanics he employed as wage slaves, their skills had to be dumbed down to an assembly line moving at six feet per minute so that they were specialised for speed assembly. That’s what everything you own right now is based on and that’s why people pursue fulfillment outside of work. Conveyor belts reign in every walk of life today. Hospital beds and bus queues, carpenters in construction and check out counters and checkers, Big Mac stuff and everything else is about quantity and down time so we can live cheap in cheapened life, but, in tiny clusters around the globe, are individuals who stopped, ask themselves a handful of questions, pushed the red emergency stop button and reevaluated what they felt was important enough to push, stop and get off.
This blog is about the completion most people rarely find but can have in some measure if they pursue it
I have never wholly understood what it is about the words, “It is finished.” that I always say at the end of a project, and that seems such a reward in and of itself, but somehow there comes with it a sense of joy-filled completion when nothing is to be added to it or taken away from it. It’s that quality completion you feel when you have put all of your efforts into the work and the final effort stands in bright light before you.
Fixing your mistakes
Many people say to me that the art of being a craftsman is “knowing how to fix your mistakes.” That’s not true, yet it’s common enough that I think many find comfort not being on their own in their mistakes. So, if it consoles them, let it be. Of course we all do make mistakes, but the art in being a craftsman is to learn from earlier mistakes and not repeat them. the art of being a craftsman is to anticipate what might go wrong, think critically throughout the work and conclude the work well.
When I work on a piece things do happen that go wrong. You plane a piece of wood and the grain tears even though you were indeed careful to look at the grain direction, followed the “cathedral lines” and such. Life is like wood, it comes with knots in it. Wood splits unintentionally and in the wrong direction, again not a mistake. Woodworking is more about fixing natural occurrences and knowing wood well enough to anticipate happenings that can impair the quality of what we are making. I think that the art of being a craftsman is working through critical problems and knowing what to do with a material that changes as you are working it. It’s about constraining it, reducing it and minimizing its ability to distort after the project is completed. It’s not about resorting to using materials like MDF and engineered boards that substitute for that which makes wood wood.
Phil has many other responsibilities as well as woodworking, but it is critical his wellbeing to make and complete all that he does. We do not mass-make anything in our workshop. That means sanity and enjoyment, peace and fulfillment. As he pulled his stool to the bench and sat to work on his computer yesterday I sensed his sense of fulfillment as he smiled across the shop floor at me sitting on my workbench stool. John was fitting his lid to the tool chest ready for the hinge recessing he was about to do. He set his new I Sorby plane carefully to level the box rims. There too was another completion in that his plane was fully restored and functioning. All of these completions mean wellbeing and fulfillment as we banter back and forth throughout the day. For me it was snugging up the last back panel with the vee-jointed T&G boards installed within the framework and turning the last twist on the clamp before I left the shop. I glanced back as we turned off the lights and caught a quick glimpse of the panel in the evening light from the castle workshop window. I wanted to take picture of what I felt, but I knew it couldn’t capture that swell of completion in my chest. Imagine feeling that way after fifty years of making things out of wood!
Probably few of our readers have any idea of the number and scope of the questions that continually pour in upon us, or of the labor involved in satisfactorily disposing of them. We certainly do not answer them all, and for at least two very good reasons, one of which is that we do not know enough. This is of course, very much to be regretted, both by ourselves and by those who apply to us.
Our second reason is also one to be regarded with little satisfaction, and that is, that we really have not sufficient time which we can properly spare from other duties to look up matters with sufficient thoroughness to enable us to shape unassailable answers. We risk our infallibility continually to preserve friendship, but, as a preservative process, it is not to be commended.
We might offer a third reason—and often the best reason of all—and that is, that in many cases it would be no kindness and little help to the questioner to answer his questions. It has seemed sometimes that we would be actually doing an injury by giving a direct and explicit answer to a simple question. We can say this freely, notwithstanding that we believe fully in not merely the propriety, but the absolute necessity of continual questioning.
We have no respect for the man, and no hope for the future of the man, who does not ask questions. The habit and the art of questioning are essential to all progress and success. The art is vastly important, and, unfortunately, does not go with the habit. All depends upon how and when the questions are asked. No man can carry all knowledge, or even more than a small portion of it; but many men know where and how to find what they want, and when they want it. They have the art of questioning, as far as it applies to knowledge already formulated or recorded.
But knowledge so communicated adds nothing directly to the store of the world. The most successful and productive questions are not those which are propounded by spoken or written word by one individual to another. It is the questions that are asked of things rather than of persons, of Nature rather than of man, usually in the guise of investigations or experiments, that bring the answers that enrich the race.
It is well for every man to employ as fully as possible the best and most reliable of all help, which is self-help. In the matter of getting information, independence is much more than the avoidance of reciprocal obligation. Going direct to the common sources of information is quicker and cheaper than any other way.
We wish to encourage rather than to discourage intelligent questioning, but we wish also to suggest some thought as to what it is proper to ask of us. A foundry foreman has written to us to know the weight of a cubic foot of molding sand. As he had the sand and the scales beside him, the question would have been a very proper one for us to ask of him; but going in the other direction, it does not pay the freight. It is not necessary just now to give another instance; we trust that our readers will be able to catch the idea.
American Machinist – May 6th, 1897
Filed under: Historical Images
Workmen in almost all trades can be separated into two classes, and pattern makers are no exception to this rule, for everywhere we find on one hand the careless workman and on the other the ambitious man who looks ahead. The indifferent pattern maker still abounds and seems to have no ambition at all, or rather none except one which is all absorbing and has for its goal six o’clock and pay day.
For the sake of contrast let us first look at the distinguishing features of this individual. He is usually discontented; a “kicker,” as we say, and constantly laments his misfortune in ever having taken up the trade, claiming it is getting worse and worse every year, and comparing it now with what he seems to believe it was in days gone by. He never expects, however, to command more than the average rate of wages, but at the same time is unmindful of the fact that he is a member of a class which can never hope to see the standard raised, owing to the fact that they never bend their energies to endeavor to become masters of their trade.
The indifferent man takes but little interest in either the quality or quantity of his tools. He can’t tell for the life of him how his fellow workman at the same bench, who has a large and carefully selected kit besides having a family to support, can possibly afford to keep up with the times and buy so many newly-patented tools.
In getting out stock to glue upon a big job he saws and planes up all the lumber, fits the hand clamps, and is just ready for the glue, when he happens to think he forgot to mix up a new lot and get it to cooking. When a chuck or face plate gets stuck on the spindle, as it occasionally will, he grabs a hammer or else a monkey wrench and bangs away, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he is mutilating what belongs to another.
In altering over an old pattern he is about sure to run into a nail on some of the machine tools, and thanks his stars that it wasn’t one of his own tools which received the blunt edge or gap, for now the boss or else some man who has it for his part will do the sharpening. He does not think it desirable to at least learn the theory of the best forms of different saw teeth and cutters for he never expects to have them to keep in order. Such characteristics might be extended indefinitely if time and space would allow.
The ambitious man on the other hand desires to succeed and realizes that success, if it comes at all, must come through his own efforts and a careful attention to details. There is no royal road to pattern making. No one stands ready to push a person who has no aim or desire. This reminds me of the following which I once saw in print and which contains more real food for reflection than many longer poems can ever hope to lay claim to:
“The man who is too devoid of aim
To make the least advance,
Is sure to be the first to claim
He never had a chance.”
The wide-awake man will think first and act afterwards. His glue is ready when his stock is. His tools are sharp and he knows where to lay his hands on them. He constructs his pattern in the best manner for the purpose it is to fulfill, and can explain the why and wherefore of so doing, and is in a word self reliant.
Furthermore, he tries to keep abreast of the times in regard to the best pattern shop practice in every way he can, such as carefully reading a good trade paper, visiting other shops whenever the opportunity offers, sending for catalogues of the best tools and appliances of interest to him, and asking questions about every point of which he is in doubt, and finally from all information received, “sifting the wheat from the chaff.”
I will now mention a few points which may at least prove helpful to the young pattern maker. First remember it is paying attention to little things that tells in this trade as well as any other.
Do not be misled when the indifferent workman tells you it is all bosh to take pains and finish up a pattern carefully, and that just as good castings are obtained by the use of rough patterns as by good ones, and that care in varnishing is simply a waste of time. It is true that nice castings can be produced by the use of coarse and poorly constructed and varnished patterns, by the molder taking extra time and pains, which on the other hand would be unnecessary, but the point comes just here.
Any one can turn out a coarse rough job in a short space of time, but it is not every workman by any means who can make fine, accurate and nicely finished patterns, put together in the best possible manner, no matter how long a time he spends on them, and the man who can do this class of work will have an easier time and receive more pay than will the careless workman in almost every instance.
Filling nail holes with bees-wax, and mixing and applying shellac varnish may seem very easy to many, but for all that it takes care and practice to force in the wax in a neat manner so that after a pattern has been varnished and held in the right light it will not show a slight cavity or else a raised daub to act as tell-tale for the nail hole, and also to lay the varnish so that it will show an even surface and in addition not have a surplus laid along in ridges on the edges and parting line.
In mixing black shellac first stir the lampblack and alcohol together till they are of the consistency of cream and free from all lumps, before adding the yellow shellac, and then stir the whole mixture thoroughly together. A yard of cheese cloth costs but five cents, and if cut up into squares makes an excellent strainer, using only a piece at a time and then throwing it away.
It is better to do the mixing in a different vessel than the one used to varnish from, such as an old tin pail, etc., then strain through the cloth into the regular pot from which the brush is used. Shellac carefully mixed and applied makes a wonderful difference in the appearance of a completed pattern in contrast to one carelessly finished, and at the same time adds to the workman’s reputation.
The secret of rounding corners on patterns whether they are large or small consists in having them so that one can see neither beginning nor ending to the curve; that is, have the curve a true arc and avoid having it show a line where it comes tangent to any straight side. To do this well requires care and practice, but one feels repaid for it when the pattern is finished, and besides a poorly rounded corner is one trade-mark of careless work.
John M. Richardson
Scientific Machinist – August 1, 1892
Bonus Photo – The Pattern Making Shop at Westinghouse Electric Plant
South Philadelphia – November 27, 1920
Filed under: Historical Images
Part of a conversation that I overheard on a construction site.
I'm on a bit of a deadline.
I go back to my day job as a historic preservation carpenter in one month and I just got an order for a seven string flamenco guitar.
I've got 2 guitars in the works, I want to get them all done by the middle of this summer while working a full time job.
A long time ago, I used a pore filler on an early guitar thinking that it was "the way to go!" in finishing that guitar. All I remember is the endless sanding down to the wood only to find that I needed to fill the pores again.
This week I succumbed to what I thought might be quick, easy and high quality, I got some drywall compound and stained it black.
I filled the pores, wiped off as much of the compound as I could (I went through a lot of shop paper towels!), let the compound dry for a couple of hours and then sanded the back and sides. Hmm, sort of worked and decided to fill the whole thing again, I let it dry over night.
I started sanding this morning, using 320 grit paper, according to the instructions, and I ended up getting out a card scraper so I could see the wood. Again, hmph! I scraped and sanded and then blew off all the dust with my compressor and air nozzle. While I was blowing the wood I could actually see pieces of drywall compound being lifted out of the pores.
The last time I try using that technique of pore filling!
I got out some dark blonde shellac, EverClear, 4F pumice, olive oil and the French polish pads. I soaked the wood as much as I could with shellac and then I cheated - I began applying pumice with alcohol, shellac and olive oil. I wanted to fill the pores as quick as I could.
And it worked.
I will go back and level sand the finish, but first I want to seal the rosewood as best as I can. I am using ebony to bind this guitar and the binding laminate will be curly maple. The last thing I want is for the maple to become pink from the rosewood dust, I figure that sealing the rosewood before I cut the binding ledges and install the binding will save me some grief.
I really want to say that using that drywall compound was a waste of my time, I can't because it taught me that the really old tried and true methods can be the best.
This beautiful cherry cabinet can "hold it's liquor" in Federal high-style
John bought some chisels from the car boot sale last week. Pennies go a long way in scrap tool bins here and for a pound or two you can walk away with a bag full of tools. There can be no doubt William Marples of old was the single most productive tool maker in Sheffield and when you see the Shamrock logo stamped, embossed or print labeled on old tools you can buy with confidence knowing that it will be a lifetime tool. I own four or five sets of bevel-edged chisels rising in 1/8” increments from 1/8” to 1” and then on up 1/4” intervals up to 2”. I use the lesser sizes every day. I posted on a chisel the other day in the one about brass and steel and boxwood. What makes a good chisel depends on the work type. I’d like to look at expectations. I know that many woodworkers believe massive mortise chisels are the best way to go for mortising holes in woods like pine and oak and mahogany. They were indeed designed for that purpose in a period when mortises were chopped out by bench joiners and cabinet makers (UK for furniture maker) using only hand methods. Where the chisel types cross over is not always definitive. Mortise chisels weigh in at three to four times that of a bevel-edged chisel. The handles are twice to three times the size and the steel massively increases by four to five times the bulk in comparing the same two chisel types. Why do I generally not use the different types? Well, mostly it isn’t so much to do with much more than practicalities. Yes, I do cut all of my joinery by hand as a common rule. If I am at my bench I use the well with a tray of about ten chisels in in the everyday of life and that takes space. Were I to add in other chisel types I would soon be catering to more tools than I really care to. That translates into tool maintenance too. Time and space are at a premium around the workbench so I choose the most practical set that have other uses too. I can chop, pare and do other things with the bevel-edged chisels throughout my day. When I have a larger amount of deeper mortises to cut, I will bring in a heavier gauge chisel. Usually a mortise chisel.
These are some of my accumulated chisels. About a third of what I have I think. In general, everyday use I rely on about half a dozen bevelled-edge chisels with boxwood handles.
Mortise chisels are robustly strong with features designed for easier registration and alignment whereby the thickness and wideness of the chisel chops ever deeper into the mortise holes and the walls keep the chisel well aligned as the deepening process of chopping continues to depth. The significance of chisel thickness becomes more evident as the deepening holes require more leverage and generally it’s here that I make a delineation between work types and woodworker types. Joinery became more specialised and separated from general carpentry when the two crafts, joinery and cabinet making (furniture making and not American box building for kitchens) emerged as greater speciality crafts demanding more refined levels of workmanship. Joiners in general joinery making staircases, doors, window frames and so on tended to use mortise chisels, firmer chisels and registered chisels. All heavier, squarer chisel types than the bevel-edged chisels we tend to see more commonly and prefer today. You should not dismiss the positioning of the thicker bevel ‘knee’ in relation to the long axis of the mortise chisels. This chief fulcrum of the mortise chisel is what we use for leveraging out the waste wood from mortises. No other chisel works quite the same and especially is this so when we work on deep mortises more than one, two and three spits deep. A spit is the distance from the chisel tip to the ‘knee’ of the bevel. Usually about 30mm.
On mortise chisels of the type shown here it’s easy to think that the heavy handle was purely for striking with a heavy mallet. Wheres there is truth in that, that wasn’t so much the reason as was the grip needed for levering the waste from the deeper mortises. and the need for the oval handle. As mortise chisels were best designed with oval handles., the oval required more wood mass and so the handle was larger to accomadate that. The bolster of this type of chisel was larger to absorb the pressure of heavy mallet blows and so the large handles stood their ground even until today when Ashley Iles as far as I know are the only supplier of UK-made mortise chisels of this type in the world. The sole supplier in the US is here:
These square edged more lightly made carpentry chisels are rarely made today. Few joiners work with hand tools and carpenters too rely on machine cuts and the ripping claw of a hammer to beat out any needed recesses. Slewing the skilsaw from side to side finishes off the cut and the chisel remains in the tool pouch as much as possible.
When I was a joiner’s apprentice, many firmer chisels lay on the bench in the usual sizes. The common use was chopping mortises and fitting tenons. The half inch was good for filling holes and flaws like that with wood filler and then leveling off with the side corner of the chisel edge. Most of the joiners I knew kept a couple f firmer chisels for that. The firmer chisel was also preferred by school woodworking classes of the day. The added corners reduced the risk of bending and breaking by insensitive 13 year old boys proving their strength. But in the long term I think it was as much the square corners that felt awkward and clunky that saw off the firmer chisel. I don’t know that I ever used one for very long. I always reached for the bevel edged chisels over any and all others.
Large Registered Sash Mortise chisels were used in English joinery and especially so for window and door making, frames and so on.
Try to remember that joiners made mostly windows and doors and then frames to house them. Sliding sash windows and casements had many a dozen mortise joints in one frame or sash, often small and compact mortise and tenons made from moulded sash stock. The larger mortise chisels were impractical for some of this work and so we used firmer and registered sash chisels that were better suited to this type of work. I made hundreds of window frames each few months as an apprentice. Much of the work was machined, but some of the work was quicker by hand and that’s when we used square edged chisels like firmer and sash mortise chisels.
Bevel-edged chisels do deserve respect. These are some of mine.
Furniture makers tended more toward the bevel-edged chisel across the width range to usually 1 1/2”. In fact, I rarely saw any other type used by furniture makers making their living from their work. I am speaking of people using the chisels regularly and include myself and those I have trained through the decades. I don’t believe this is copycat influence so much as the lightweight streamlining demanded by more fine and exacting work, whether that be joinery and furniture making or fine instrument making for musical instruments. Remember too that early woodworking provided some fairly complex wooden projects such as storage and carrying and display cases, stands for measuring instruments, tripods, telescopes, silverware and flatware cases and a million other pieces of treenware. There was a real demand for fine work revolving around the bevelled edge chisel, which with its extremely slender tapered bevels could slide into narrow spaces and between wood grain like no other. These cutting edges along the long side bevels of the chisel felt only minimal resistance. The internal corners of joints were accessed to allow precisely cut corners and to pare back the end- and face grain of all joints. Paring surfaces becomes clearly traceable with a bevel-edged chisel and this makes the work operation highly sensitive and pleasant. I have chopped mortises with bevel-edged chisels for 50 years. I have also enjoyed mortise chisels for this too – and firmer chisels.
I hasten to add a note here regarding the stupid fashions created by tool manufacturers for the construction trades to beat on with waffle head hammers. Most of the original plastic handle chisels were indeed indestructible. Carpentry had a respectable name and carpenters building homes were regarded as careful workers. As fashion encroached into the building trades to create fashion clothing and tools and equipment for the building trades. we saw a decline in the quality and refinements that no longer represent the tool of the craftsman at all.
I generally use different makers of bevel edged chisels – several of them
I once used the older, British-made Record-Marples blue-chip chisels when they first came out in the 1960’s, as well as the two-tone yellow and red models of the same era. I still use them for general carpentry work around the house and in the shop but prefer not to promote them because people confuse them with the current Irwin Marples models that are not UK made. The old models were very robust and stout alternatives to wooden handled models and less expensive on an apprentices wage back then. You can still get secondhand sets and individual chisels on eBay at reasonable prices but don’t be conned by look-alikes sold on eBay as new chisels under the Irwin-Record banner. These sellers use the old model images to sell Irwin’s Asian models. I liked the more squarish handles of these old Record Marples chisels. I think they enable good registration and adjustability and they don’t roll away from me or onto the floor.
Aldi bevel-edged chisels as an options
I have blogged on the Aldi chisels too many times now I suppose, but the reason I have is that I think they solve a cost issue for new, young and or impoverished woodworkers without compromising quality and functionality. Yes, I suppose they could be more refined, but this is more aesthetic to function than functional entirety itself. Fact is you can refine them yourself by changing the ferrules, refining the handles and polishing out the steel. The handle shapes are very practical and offer the same functionality you get with squarish plastic handles and they enable the same good registration and adjustments as the blue ones I mentioned. These chisels parallel the Two Cherries brand of chisels in terms of handle shape, length ratios etc but at a small fraction of the price.
Older Marples models of bevel-edged chisels
Marples chisels, the boxwood bevelled edge ones, are and will always be my favourites I think. There are several other makers you can buy besides these that are also excellent makers of the same era, but the prolific manufacturing of marples means they are the most readily available secondhand chisels from outlets like eBay. Why do I like them so much? Well, it’s not so much that they are perfected. They are not. I do like the handles even though round handles are not necessarily the very best. I love boxwood though and that’s a definite plus for me. With care, no steel or indeed metal hammers of any type, they will last a lifetime and then plus some. In terms of worth, they are worth about £30 each really, but you can often buy them for a fraction of this. I just bought two on ebay for £8.90 plus £3 shipping. Not too much really. The thing I like the most about the steel is not refinement of the surfaces but the slender length and thinness near to the cutting edge. They enter the wood readily and trim my joinery with and across the grain with ease.
I prefer to use cut nails in reproduction work because they hold better and look right to my eye. But when it comes to cut headless brads, which are used to hold moulding in place while the glue dries, I don’t think these nails are the right choice for me. While cut nails are always more expensive than the equivalent wire nail, cut headless brads are crazy expensive. A 1 […]
The annual PATINA auction is one of the largest and best old tool events around, and for the second consecutive year, the saw elves and I will make the short trek to set up and sell some of our tools.
I am the least of the attractions, however.
If the weather cooperates, tailgating starts at 0-dark-thirty (seriously, it starts well before any sane person is up), and continues into the early afternoon. There are dozens of sellers set up, and many bargains to be found. Do make sure to bring a flashlight, though, or you may never find them.
Early entry into the hall begins at eight (for a $15 fee), and opens to all at nine (no charge). Inside are scores of dealers and sellers, with tools ranging from affordable users to the rare and collectible.
Finally, the auction begins at 2 pm, and goes until all 291 lots have been sold.
And if you need any further incentive, the elves have been hard at work baking cookies. They will have their shop set up during tailgating and inside the hall, with some of the best homemade cookies and hot chocolate around.
Saturday, 15 March
The design for this desk was strongly influenced by Stickley designs I have seen. They have a cabinet that sits along the back of the desk composed of drawers and cubbyholes, like you see on a roll top desk but smaller. If you do a search for images of "Stickley writing desk," you will get an idea of the many variants of this concept that have been built. This is why the writing surface only covers the front 16" of the base; the back 12" is reserved for a cabinet assembly. 16" was not chosen at random: it is the same as the writing surface on my roll-top desk, a depth I found completely adequate.
This picture, which I used to get an idea about dimensions, will give you the basic idea:
When I first described this to my client (i.e. son), he liked it but wanted it to be easily detachable for moving. I didn't think this was necessary because the desk will go through a door upright but he insisted, so I started thinking about the best way to accomplish it and had a brainstorm. What if I built the cabinet to attach with table leaf hardware to the front writing surface? The hardware would hold it level to the writing surface and tight against it but make the cabinet extremely easy to remove. When I shared this idea with an expert professional woodworker he responded that I should try it first on scrap material, which I think is rather ominous, but I have decided to forge ahead. I can always blame my son.
I've thought about all sorts of ways to implement this idea and decided on a simple modular one. I am going to build two boxes each roughly a foot wide and then attach them to a top and bottom piece that is 12"x48" to run the width of the desk. With setbacks from the sides of the desk and allowance for vertical supports, it will leave a space 18" wide in the center, so the writing surface in the center of the desk will actually be 28" deep. There are a variety of uses for this extra depth in the center but the main one is to accommodate a large laptop computer. My roll-top desk has a similar arrangement and I liked using it that way very much. You just slide the laptop forward if you are doing a lot of typing.
I had to decide how tall to make the cabinet. Most of the traditional designs appear to be quite short but I need to create a lot of space in two 12" wide boxes and also allow for comfortable viewing of a laptop, so I want them to be taller. The golden ratio suggests a height of around 18" and that is what I settled on.
One thing I learned from using my roll-top desk was that the arrangement was upside down. You want the drawers to be on the bottom and the cubbyholes to be on the top. Otherwise you have to stand up to get in the drawers. It is easy to reach up and get something out of a cubbyhole, normally papers or books.
Here is what I came up with. I apologize for the hard to read image of a hand drawn plan but using SketchUp for a hand tool project is just wrong. :-)
When I went back to the lumberyard to buy the material, there wasn't any wide enough, so I have to glue-up every single piece. Looking at this pile is somewhat daunting:
NOTE: More color-corrected image added above.
This morning we completed testing the dies for the debossing on the cover of “Campaign Furniture.” In general, I dislike using metallic foils on covers, but I made an exception this time.
The deboss is supposed to represent metal hardware, so it made sense.
Metallic foils are a pain to photograph. Because they are so reflective, they look either too dull or too bright in a photo compared to what they look like when the book is in your hand. The snapshot above accurately represents the color of the cloth cover, but the foil in the photo isn’t quite on the mark. Oh well, I’m happy.
This cover test is the final step before the book goes on the press. Our printer informed me the book is scheduled to ship to us (and our retailers) on March 6. If that date holds, then we will begin taking orders and fulfilling them sometime the week of March 10.
The book will be $33, and we will offer free domestic shipping for the first 30 days the book is in the Lost Art Press store.
The following retailers have agreed to carry the book.
• Lee Valley Tools
• Lie-Nielsen Toolworks
• Tools for Working Wood
• Highland Woodworking
• Great Britain: Classic Hand Tools, www.classichandtools.co.uk
• Australia, Henry Eckert, www.henryeckert.com.au
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Campaign Furniture
När tapparna sågades på underslån, som är för lång att såga rättuppstående, la jag stycket på bänken och spännde fast det med en hållhake. Ett uttryck för detta sätt att såga är att “såga för fot”. I Svensk litteratur har jag stött på uttrycket i “J M Bong Byggnadssnickaren på landet, då i samband med sinkning och i C Larsson Sju hantverk, vid klysågning.
Det flyttbara stödet är inpassat mellan underslån och en list i bänkskivans undersida. Listen är rekonstruerad och vi vet inte med säkerhet hur den sett ut eller hur den har varit fäst i skivan.
I ändarna på stödet är urtag gjorda för att hålla det på plats. På änden som är vänd nedåt på stödet är urttaget i slitet i en kant. Foto: Roald Renmælmo
På den längsgående slån är övre ytterkanten rundad, förmodligen har det uppkommit av något slags slitage. Detta gör att stödet inte är fast i bänken. På insidan av slån är det en fals, förmodligen har det varit det på utsidan. Om stödet haft samma utformning på undre änden som den övre, har det hållts på plats i bänken.
Jag valde att hyvla en fals på slåns överkant, både på in- och utsida. Senare kommer jag att göra urttag på stödets båda ändar som passar mot slån och listen i skivans undersida. Falsningen gjordes med en sponthyvel, simshyvel och en falshyvel.
Bong, J M (1883). Byggnadssnickaren på landet.
Larsson, C (1955). Sju hantverk.
Arkivert under:3,0-3,2 meter, Tomas snikrar høvelbenk, modell Vasaskipet