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We all know the old saw about measuring twice and cutting once. I’ve even gone one better in my world: Measure three times. Nonetheless, I still occasionally find that I’ve made a door or a drawer the wrong size. (I once made an entire cabinet, complete with four drawers, that was an inch too wide for the opening where it was intended to go…oh, the pain.) Over the years, I’ve […]
I have used snap-to-line templates for my work for a number of years now and no other method of making templates comes close. They are accurate and long lasting too. We made a quick video to help you understand the techniques and I am sure you will enjoy this. Here is the video for my …
|I see you|
|this is very tasty|
|the tedious phase commences|
|I missed drilling two holes|
|the frame stock|
|second coat on|
|2nd coat definitely looks better|
|primer on the entire bookcase|
|making one edge flat, square and straight|
|the frame (oversized)|
|front ledger for the shelves|
|bottom side of the shelf|
|final rabbet work|
|first one glued up and cooking away|
|first top coat|
|made a big mistake|
|flushing the front|
|figured my reveal just right|
|not done yet|
|primer coat today, top coat tomorrow|
|I had to cover them|
|had to cut one down|
|bottom fat one and the thin one for the top|
|cut and fitted|
|very easy to cut and fit|
Who was Robert Abplanalp?
answer - the inventor of the aerosol valve in 1949
The second chair went together pretty much as the first.
The next bit of fabrication was the back panels that will eventually be upholstered. These are simple squares of ply that will be secured with bolts and “T”-nuts. A little shaping should make for better comfort.
With that done it was time to make a final decision as to the finish. You know I’m an oil and wax kind of guy, but plywood needs a little something more. I thought about some sort of paint. Maybe a bold color to make my wacky design even more over the top? Maybe a traditional color of milk paint? In the end I went a somewhat conservative route and decided to dye them.
Before committing to the dye, however, I broke out the wood burner (don’t act surprised, you knew I would). I did show great restraint and limited myself to burning the front and rear corners. For the dye, I chose to use Transtint’s Dark Vintage Maple. I’ve used this product before in a different color (dark walnut) on a few tables.
Transtint comes as a concentrate and needs to be mixed with a carrier. Water or denatured alcohol are the choices and I chose to use alcohol. The alcohol dries fast and doesn’t raise the grain, although water may offer deeper penetration. So mix the dye per the instructions and apply. I rag the mixture on and work as fast as I can so as not to lose the wet edge. The open grain of the red oak and birch ply absorbed more dye than I wanted resulting in a slightly darker shade, but I can live with it.
Since the dye/alcohol mix dries quickly, I was able to follow up with a first coat of Tried & True Original just a few minutes after applying the dye. Today I applied the second coat of Tried & True.
While waiting on the finish to do its thing, I tackled the last bit of construction. The wedge pins that secure the backs. These are simply dowel pins shaved to a wedge shape. To create the dowel pins I prepared two red oak billets. One billet would generate two pins.
The last task was to upholster the two small back panels. I completely missed taking any photos of the upholstery operation though. They are really simple. One inch foam covered with sage green vinyl (the same vinyl that I used on the footstools) and stapled in place.
That is pretty much it. A final buff with a soft cloth and the backs wedged in place.
So that concludes my crazy chair experiment and my entry in Brian’s “June Chair Build“. This design works, but is best suited to power tools because of the use of plywood. Shaping the outside edges of plywood with hand tools is doable (requires frequent sharpening). Shaping the inside edges (mortises/handle) is possible, but best suited to the use of an electric router. One note about the stretchers. Structurally they are not required, although they do add quite a bit of strength. The legs and their tenons are more than strong enough on their own. I simply prefer the visual of having the stretchers.
All in all I think I accomplished my original goal. A simple chair that required no special tools or steam bending. A chair that could be built from readily available materials. Maybe even a chair that took an age-old construction method and updated it to a modern aesthetic. The degree of my success is in the eye of the beholder and will most likely run the gamut of the scale.
Part 3 Greg Merritt
…but What the Wood Does to the Boy! On Saturday morning Hannah completed another box. I thought it was perfect. She didn’t. Not until it was done that is. Then she liked what she’d done. What makes the box as near perfect as possible in my consideration of the whole in not so much the …
I travel for work once or twice a year. This summer it’s a week-long stay in a hotel, and I have evenings pretty much to myself. In such situations, I never want to be without my spoon carving tools and a few blocks of wood. Here’s my work-station:
The tools fit into a small bag. I bring along a couple sloyd knives, a couple other knives, a hook knife, a spokeshave, and card scrapers, along with an Arkansas stone and a strop. I also bring an old bed sheet to spread on the floor to catch shavings. It catches most of them. At the end of the night, I roll up the sheet and either take it outside and shake it (I find an area covered with wood mulch), or I carefully put them into the room’s trash can.
Here are a few I’ve made recently:
I’m using mostly black walnut, which carves pretty easily even when dry. The lighter wood is the walnut sapwood, which actually is a little tougher than the heartwood. Softer hardwoods like poplar also carve pretty well while dry. I do prep my blanks beforehand, cutting them to length and shaping one face with the drawknife or hatchet. Everything else is knife work.
At some hotels, I’ve been able to carve outside on the deck. I try to select an out-of-the way place, but people sometimes stop to watch anyway. If they do, I often have a pleasant conversation about woodwork or handicrafts. If they don’t, I get spoons made.
Either way, it sure beats watching TV all evening.
Tagged: hotel, hotel room, sloyd, sloyd knife, spoon making, spoons, travel, wood spoon, wooden spoon, wooden spoons
Eric Brown, a Dayton-area tool collector and woodworker, has been conducting further investigating and experimentation into curious corner joinery (read his “log cabin dovetail” piece by clicking on the link). Yesterday, he stopped by while I was minding the Lost Art Press shop to show me his latest: what he’s calling the “Arrowhead Joint.” The procedure is similar to the log cabin tails linked above, but he added a new angle – 45° to be exact. […]
“A craftsman may have an excellent knowledge of the standard measurements for all ordinary articles of furniture and yet fail to produce beauty in his work because of the lack of that artistic perception which we call a sense of proportion.”
— “A Matter of Proportion,” Charles Hayward, Good Woodworking magazine, 1937
Filed under: Honest Labour, Uncategorized
|looks awful and good at the same time|
|first of many dry fit ups|
|I am going to need two thinking caps here|
|marked and ready to chop|
|my grungy looking 073|
|1/2 of the waste is gone|
|still have a gap|
|the top is fitting good|
|sides are tight fitting too|
|second round of trimming done|
|bottom fitting now as good as the other sides|
|one last trimming to do|
|last dry fir|
|glue and nailing the sides together with 2" finish nails|
|staples for the plywood back|
|cooking away until tomorrow|
|1/2 way through it|
What is a doodlebug?
answer - the larva of the ant lion
Some of the most beautiful and refined furniture ever made, displaying the highest level of artistic and technical ability, was created in Paris during the eighteenth century. Much admired by an international clientele, it was used to furnish residences all over Europe and also influenced fashions of cabinetmaking outside France.
Furniture-Making Guild (Corporation des Menuisiers)
French furniture of this period was the collaborative effort of various artists and craftsmen who worked according to strictly enforced guild regulations. Established during the Middle Ages, the guild system continued with little change until being dissolved in 1791 during the French Revolution. The Parisian guild to which the furniture makers belonged was called the Corporation des Menuisiers. It had great influence on the education of furniture makers by requiring at least six years of training that led to a high degree of technical specialization and ensured a high standard of work. First an apprentice spent three years or more in the workshop of a master furniture maker, followed by at least as many years as a journeyman. In order to become a master, a journeyman had to prove his competence by making a chef-d’oeuvre, or masterpiece. Once that was successfully completed, he could open his own workshop only if a vacancy existed (the number of masters allowed to practice at one time was strictly controlled by the guild, as was the size of their workshops) and he had paid the necessary fees. The dues were lower for the sons of master cabinetmakers than for people from outside Paris who had no relatives in the guild. From 1743 onward, it became the rule to stamp every piece of furniture that was offered for sale with the maker’s name. An additional stamp, JME (for jurande des menuisiers-ébénistes), would be added once a committee, made up of elected guild members who inspected the workshops four times a year, had approved the quality. Any furniture that failed to meet the required standards of craftsmanship was confiscated.
Menuisiers and ébénistes
The Corporation des Menuisiers was divided into two distinct trades, that of the woodworkers who made paneling (boiserie) for buildings and coaches, and that of the actual furniture makers. The latter can be subdivided into menuisiers (joiners), responsible for the making of solid wood furniture such as console tables, beds, and chairs, and the ébénistes, from the word ébéne (ebony), makers of veneered case pieces. Most of the menuisiers were French born, often members of well-known dynasties of chairmakers, and were located in or near the rue de Cléry in Paris. By contrast, a large number of Parisian ébénistes were foreign born, many of whom worked in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine. Although not forbidden, it was rare to combine the professions of a menuisier and an ébéniste.
In addition, there were two other groups of furniture makers active in Paris, working outside the framework of the guild. The so-called royal cabinetmakers, who were given special privileges and workshops either at the Louvre palace, at the Manufacture Royale des Meubles de la Couronne at the Gobelins, or in other buildings owned by the crown. Royal cabinetmakers were free from guild regulations. The second group consisted of the so-called artisans libres, or independent craftsmen, many of them foreigners who sought refuge in certain “free” districts of Paris outside the guild’s jurisdiction.
Boy would I love to confiscate many furniture made today.
I have sort of reached a conclusion as to why it is so, there are a couple of reasons and why they might not make sense to all, they are nonetheless the fact in my case:
-I prefer building to blogging.
This could be true to a lot of woodworkers. If blogging was the goal itself, then it is unlikely that woodworking would be the theme of a blog.
-I find it exhausting to take a picture of my current project and have it uploaded to the computer.
This is technically ridiculous, since taking a picture isn't hard. All I have to do is to find the camera (most likely it will be in Gustavs room), take a picture, plug in a cable and get it onto the blog. But for some in explainable reason I see this as a major obstacle. I procrastinate if I have to find the camera and often I end up completing a project without taking any pictures, and then it is sort of too late (in my mind).
-I don't like to spend time behind the computer screen while at home.
I feel like I am at work if I have to turn on the computer, so even checking my email account is likely only done every 10 days or so.
This is also the reason why I very seldom comment on anything during my home periods.
-Some of the stuff I do at home is not really interesting blogging material for this blog.
While I do try to spend a great deal of time in my shop while at home, there are also loads of regular tasks that simply aren't interesting to blog about. Stuff like changing the injection pump on our car, changing 37 individual pieces of thermo glass in various windows, mowing the lawn, fixing the lawn mower, re establish the correct air cushion in the hydrophore tank, fixing the horse trailer, treating the porch with a protective varnish, walking the dog etc.
The funny thing is that if I manage to pull myself together and do blog while I am at home, I really enjoy it. The problem is that I am really good at procrastinate when it is "required" and the blog is what suffers from it.
Whenever I get back to sea I suddenly find that I should have blogged about this and that etc. But it is too late at that time, especially since I haven't got any pictures of the projects.
In honor of Chris’s sojourn in the land of beer and sausages, as Derek Jones recently called it, here’s a post on sausage making.
I published my latest book in March. Publishing it myself was the last thing I originally had in mind. I’m well aware of the stigma attached to self-publishing. Chris Schwarz puts it as starkly as anyone ever has: “In the media world, publishing your own book is akin to marrying your sister. Most self-published books are about encounters with aliens that involve wax paper and Wesson oil, or Klingon wildlife poetry, or recipes for curing cancer with celery salt.”
She’s the one without the fake smile.
The book was a longstanding thorn in my side, albeit a thorn of my own placing. I started working on it a dozen years ago, fitting the writing in around the edges of my daily work. The book would respond to two of my professional peeves: (1) the widespread public ignorance of what it costs to make things when you’re doing so for…
View original post 1,191 more words
Filed under: Uncategorized
Joe sent me these pictures of his latest project, a very lovely, delicate walnut console table.
The plugs were shaped by hand on an inverted jointer held in the vice.
Carefully trimming the plugs.
I really like the tapered legs, it looks very light on its feet.
Hand cut dovetails for the drawers.
Shown with a matching pair of bedside tables made earlier.
It seems that no other shop resource is treated with such obliviousness as sandpaper. Although sandpaper is responsible for the last steps of shaping much of our work, it doesn’t receive the same heed as hand tools, or even portable tools. And, for obvious reasons, it doesn’t have the same sex-appeal as a hand tool. It is also disposable and cheap. Still, I tell my students: although it may seem […]
While I’ve known about the surviving Roman workbenches at Saalburg Museum since reading W.L. Goodman’s classic “The History of Woodworking Tools” (1964) many years ago, I never thought I’d get to examine the benches in detail.
On Thursday, archaeologist Rüdiger Schwarz unlocked the warren of climate-controlled chambers under one of the buildings of the reconstructed Roman fort and led me, Görge Jonuschat and Bengt Nilsson past thousands of Roman artifacts organized on shelves, in drawers and in boxes.
And then there they were. Black from their time buried in well No. 49 outside the walls of the fort. Distorted from their return to the atmosphere after they were excavated in 1901. But solid oak workbenches, nonetheless. (We should all look so good after 1,839 years, give or take.)
Rüdiger, a trained furniture maker, graciously allowed us as much time as we needed to examine the benches, take photographs and write down measurements. For me, what was most shocking is how completely familiar the low benches seemed, especially now that I have a low bench in my shop. The legs were exactly where I would put them. The mortise for the planing stop – ditto. And the width (varying from 11” to 12”) was just right for me to straddle.
Both of the benches had split across the middle of their lengths – perhaps from their time in the well or when they were put down the well. One bench has been repaired since recovery; the other left as-is. The legs on both of the benches were added sometime after they were recovered from the well.
There is a lot that we don’t know about the benches. Why were they put in the well in the first place? There are a few theories – perhaps to protect them during an attack. Perhaps to hide them so they were not cut up and used to build defenses during the decline and eventual abandonment of the fort about 260.
What were the odd notches on one edge of one of the benches used for – if anything? What did the planing stop look like? Exactly how long were the legs?
These questions (and more) are going to be addressed in detail in my forthcoming book on Roman workbenches. I took enough measurements that I’ll be able to build a fairly close reproduction – copying the leg placement, plus the overall size and shape of the top.
I doubt that a reproduction will give us a lot of definite answers. But it should confirm again that this style of bench is part of a long and still-living woodworking tradition.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Roman Workbenches, Uncategorized
Needless to say, I didn't get much shop time. I had to decompress a little and then I shut the lights out to go watch him.
I had checked on the camera status again at lunchtime and Amazon had 7 Red TG-5s for sale. I think it's going to be a wait and see for me. Amazon hasn't taken the money for the camera yet so I'll be checking my bank as my indication the camera is on it's way to me.
|frog is done|
|port side view|
|too small or too big|
I had to make a pit stop at Wally World to get a 9V battery for the smoke detector. While I was there I picked up a few other things but I forgot to get regular Coke for the son-in-law. I picked up some paint and artist brushes though.
|cheap bag artist brushes|
|just noticed this holiday|
|this is next|
|my current iron|
|5 1/2 takes a 2 1/4" wide iron|
US regulations state what percentage of peanuts must be in peanut butter?
answer - 90%
In a recent blog, we discussed chests that had in common a vertical hinged panel that, when locked, prevented access to the drawers and/or doors. This posting is about chests with the same basic notion only smaller.
First up is this desk:
Looking at one of the drawer towers, you see this:
Low and behold, it is also sidelocked:
The tower drawers are dovetailed:
Another smaller sidelock example is this antique silver chest:
The columns are held in place by brass plates on top of the columns:
The chest has a unique hinge:
There is a lock as well:
I will continue to look for more examples and bring them to you as I find them.
It’s what I do.