Monday, 15 January 2018
When a spent a couple of days with box maker Andrew Crawford a few years ago he highly recommended the head mounted Optivisor for seeing more intricate work. He used the model 5 with a magnification of x 2.5 and a focal length of 8". After buying one I found I needed to go so close to the work it was difficult to use at the same time as working, so I went in a drawer. I finally decided to buy a different lens, the model 3 with a magnification of x 1 3/4 and a focal length of 14" and what a difference! It is ideal for dovetails and allows effortless accuracy.
It had a nicely designed adjustable headband and is very comfortable. It can be worn over existing glasses if needed.
Quality is not cheap, but for anyone struggling to see their baselines clearly or just wanting super accurate results, this is a great aid.
Some sharp tails, this board is just 2" wide.
Sunday, 14 January 2018
I was looking through my tools cabinet today and saw these three Japanese chisels tucked away (I have far too many hand tools!). They have been well used but well looked after with a good patination and no rust.
I had polished up and flattened the backs which were in need of attention and they came up very well, particularly the one with multiple scoops (san mai).
I don't know who the makers are, although I know Oochi makes similar flat tang chisels to the one in the last picture. Can anyone help identify them?
Friday, 12 January 2018
I managed to garb a couple of hours this afternoon on the walnut chest. With the glue up gone well, it was time to start fitting the drawer parts. The sides were cut to length and then individually shot into their openings. The aim is for a fit that neither binds nor rattles.
Next the fronts were shot into their respective openings, this fit needs to be very tight.
Next the backs were knifed from the fronts and these were trimmed to exactly the same size.
I then planed up the inside surfaces with my favourite Bill carter plane and applied two coats of melamine Lacquer. Next time I'll be routing the drawer bottoms and cutting the dovetails and through tenons.
Thursday, 11 January 2018
I've been getting by without a long plane, but the time has come to put that right. A lie Nielsen No 7 jointer arrived from Classic Hand Tools yesterday. This is going to be great for edge jointing longer pieces on my shooting board as well as flattening my work benches.
While I was at the Barnsley Workshops many years ago this was everyone's plane of choice but I remembered that only one of the planes they had up till point had a truly flat sole. It was going to be interesting to check mine.
Here it is against my 2' Starrett straight edge, with a light shining behind, showing a gap to the rear of the mouth opening.
Using my thinnest feeler gauge of .0015", it just slid under. Although this is a tiny amount and probably well within tolerance, I wanted a flatter sole.
I must point out that with the gap behind the mouth, the plane would have performed just fine without any fettling.
I checked the table of my Felder table saw and it was dead flat. I stuck down some 150 grit with spray adhesive and carefully rubbed the plane along in one direction only. I kept the paper clean and then lubricated with WD 40 and after about 5 minutes it was flattened.
Turning to the blade, some initial flattening of the back showed a slight hollow just back from the edge which made flattening much faster. It seemed too even to be just good luck and I'm guessing this was done deliberately to help preparation.
The blade is ground at 25 degrees, so the job of final honing at 30 degrees was easy and quick. You can see a slight curve on the blade which I prefer, even for edge jointing (I will delve into this another day!)
With the back prepared you can still see some of the grind scratches but they are back from the edge. Cleaning up the edge of some rippled sycamore produced a lovely surface and the blade really sang.
I think we are going to be friends.
Wednesday, 10 January 2018
Piotr sent me some pictures of some projects she has made, all by hand.
There are some interesting and skilful joints on this plant stand.
A nice jewellery box and below my favourite, a sushi plate in oak with sliding dovetails for the feet. Paired down simplicity but very pleasing on the eye.
Piotr is looking for an apprenticeship or similar, if anyone can help please let me know.
Monday, 8 January 2018
Time to cut the tails. Rather than holding the board horizontally, I angled it to 1:6 so that the cuts would be made vertically, there was no need to mark in the angles first. This was a tip from the Barnsley Workshops.
Angling the board the other way allowed me to cut the other side, again on the vertical.
I used my wonderfully made 'long stroke' dovetail saw made by Skelton saws. It cut so cleanly and quickly I didn't get a chance to wind it up and make some long strokes!
The fit and finish of the saw is faultless.
With all the dovetails cut and fitted, the final job for the day was to sand and finish all the internal surfaces ready for glue up. I used two coats of hand applied melamine lacquer, cut back with an Abralon 600 pad and finished with a coat of Gilly Stephenson's Cabinet Makers Wax with a high carnauba wax content. The final waxing will act as a resist, making glue squeeze out easy to pop off as well as giving a nice smooth surface for the drawers to run on.
Saturday, 6 January 2018
Even though the parts are quarter sawn I always take the precaution of allowing free air movement on both sides. The time taken to make this board is well worth it, particularly as it may be a few days before I work on this project again.
Here are the grooves cut for the base, drawer runners and rear panel. This looks simple enough but great care was needed and I made up a scrap board to check all the dimension before cutting. The grooves were cut in two passes with a 4 mm router bit.
The top, three drawers supports and base were all cut to identical size on the table saw. Then to ensure a very slight taper (wider at the back) I used three stopped cuts on the shooting board on each edge followed by one through shaving. I marked the boards very carefully as if I got one of the tapers the wrong way it would be disastrous.
I then marked the depth of the tenons on the 3 supports and the base with a wheel marking gauge and used the same setting to mark the baseline for the through dovetails on the top. This ensures that fit of all five horizontal components is perfect. The tenons were cut to a snug fit on the shaper, just shy of the line and this was finished off with a sharp chisel. This was extra work but yields very clean shoulders.
Obviously the tenons were too long and these were trimmed back to just under 4 mm to fit the grooves. Above is the finished tenon.
Next it was time to mark out and cut the dovetails, all 17 of them. I used my double saw blade (see recent post) against a small square to ensure the tails were both square and perfectly even. I'll be cutting these free hand, a job for another day.
For anyone wondering what the finished chest will look like, here is a version I made a couple of years ago.