Thursday, 21 June 2018
I've a few planes for sale on E Bay finishing this Sunday. This is a very nice Norris No 2 in great undamaged condition and a super tight mouth, it would make an excellent user plane.
This Norris A13 is a bit more collectable but still another great user with a tight mouth and original blade.
I have a couple of Norris bullnose planes, this one a gunmetal No 27.
And finally below a tiny wooden smoother made by Bill Carter.
Saturday, 16 June 2018
I've tried various techniques for making bridle joints (open mortice and tenon), the band saw, the router table and by hand. But this method I've found to be the most accurate by using the table saw. You can buy tenoning jigs which ride in the mitre slot but the one I tried was so poorly made it was a waste of time and money. The picture above shows a piece being clamped vertically to the Flip Stop on my cross cut sled, it requires removal of the guard and while it may look dangerous, it allows you to stand well out of the firing line when the cuts are being made.
This shows the 7 pieces that make up the panelled lid on the box, everything can be dry fitted and marked with dots prior to glue up. I didn't reply on the table saw to cut right to the base line, instead I used a cutting gauge and sharp chisels to make the final cuts for a perfect gap free result.
Another technique to ensure the centre rail is perfectly aligned with the end rails is to start with the three pieces exactly the same length and make the same shoulder mark with the cutting gauge. The over long tenon for the centre piece can then be trimmed back to length and you'll know that all three pieces will snug up perfectly.
Bridle joints require a multitude of clamps to make everything is gap free.
I like to use leather bumpers on the base of my boxes to reduce movement and stops scratches. Shop bought ones tend to be in felt and are too thick as well as expensive, so I simply choose some leather, apply double sided tape and use whatever sized punch I please.
A nice discrete finish to suit the colour and size of the box.
Tuesday, 12 June 2018
With the clamp removed and everything sanded and blended here is the naked result. You can see the black lines of the wonderful Rio rosewood which will sadly be obscured when the stain is applied.
After two coats of stained oil, numerous quick coats of diluted shellac and a rub down with 0000 wire wool and carnauba wax here is the result.
Restored to its former glory it looks a treat and feels very nice in the hand.
I had intended to antique the woodwork by trying to replicate the bumps and knock of 120 years of life but it looks just fine as it is.
The blade and chip breaker that came with the plane were the wrong size and certainly the wrong type, so I treated it to a parallel Sorby blade and matching chip breaker. In all about 5 hours satisfying work.
Saturday, 9 June 2018
I bought this rare Norris No 17 on E Bay recently, it has a few issues but was a bargain.
I've refurbished lots of planes over the years so I've learnt what I'm capable of repairing and also roughly how long it will take.
The first issue was the front bun which had been crudely repaired and not shaped accurately, as you can see alongside an No 2 which shows the correct profile.
The spur had also been replaced, again the repair was clearly visible and the shape was incorrect.
The big advantage of both these repairs was that they were too big so I was hopeful that they could just be re shaped and refinished.
First job was to make a plywood template of the front, I've no doubt that the craftsman at Norris also used templates in their day for a repeatable profile.
I applied masking tape to make the shaping easy to see.
I removed a chunk of wood carefully on the band saw to get a perfectly flat reference on top.
It was here I was relieved to find the repair had been done with rosewood rather than a stained hardwood.
Rasps made fast work of the shaping followed by sanding through to 320 grit. I was reminded of why rosewood got its name, not the colour but the smell given off when it's worked.
To darken down the rosewood to match the original, I used powdered spirit stains (lamp black and burnt umber) in a small amount of penetrating oil. This would get the final finish later.
I used the same method to mark out the spur for re shaping. However once I started using the rasps it was clear that the hair crack in the handle needed some attention first, as I could feel movement. Thankfully the crack hadn't been glued in the past so I was able to push in some epoxy resin (also with stain added) and firmly clamp the handle together. This will give a very strong repair and hopefully an invisible one. I need to leave well alone until tomorrow.
Thursday, 7 June 2018
I've just completed this box for storing knitting needles, it's amazing what uses there are for boxes!
It has a lift out tray and is lined with black leather.
It's made from quarter sawn English cherry and figured claro walnut. English cherry has a much milder colour to that of the American variety and doesn't darken down much with sunlight.
Bridle joints for the lid and dovetails for the sides, I never get tired of these joints.
Here's a shot of the book matched claro walnut panels and below hit with sunlight which brings out the redness to match the cherry nicely. A project on this box will appear in F&C magazine in due course.
Monday, 4 June 2018
West's Country Wood Fair (North of Chichester) is on Friday 8th Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th June. The weather forecast is currently showing it's going to be warm with very little chance of rain.
The are 66 exhibitors as well as 8 food and drink stalls and live music. Last year was the busiest ever and this year is expected to be even better.
Friday, 1 June 2018
The level of accuracy required at every stage is crazy and I made tons of mistakes making this one. I made mine from rippled olive ash and the tray from ordinary ash with a pig suede lining. The panels in the top are made from spalted beech. The box mitres were reinforced with dovetailed dominos. The hinges are from Andrew Crawford. They fitted well but my router set up was not accurate enough which resulted in the lid being slightly skewed from the main box.
Rippled ash and olive ash are now my favourite woods to use when making boxes or cabinets. It really looks well when the finish is applied. For my box I used 3 coats Osmo Polyx oil (clear matt) cut back with 320 grit sandpaper. I had resawn the ash board in order to get a continuous look around the box as well
I managed to get a piston fit on the tray so it lowers on a cushion of air and the lid closes silently, after easing the from edge of the tray (as per your YouTube videos 😃)
Sunday, 27 May 2018
We're down in West Bay for the Bank Holiday weekend and I spotted this old bench concreted into the quayside. It just goes to show how the size of a bench can vary depending on the task it's made for. This one has an oak top just 7" wide x 7' long.
The old metal vice is mounted above the work surface and has a very powerful set of sprung loaded jaws. Despite years of exposure to the salty air it still works just fine, although it did make me want to return and give it a good spray of lubricating oil!
On the bench surface, at the far end, was this memorial plaque. It looks like Johnnie worked when it suited him and did what he loved and how many of us have a view like this while working at our bench?
Friday, 25 May 2018
I'm planning on doing some short courses towards the end of the year at my workshop in Southampton. One of the projects will be on dovetailing, making this very useful alignment board.
Stage one is to shoot an edge and then carefully trim to width on the band saw, before shooting the other edge.
The board I've chosen is some lovely quarter sawn oak for stability and the cut was made using my sled on the table saw.
The cut needs to be exactly square so I lined the two pieces on a dead flat surface with no gap, as you would expect. By reversing one of the pieces if there is any deviation from square it will be doubled and immediately visible. Of course you can only use this technique if you've taken care to make sure the board was exactly the same width all the way along.
Again no gap so all is well.
Using my 1:6 magnetic guide and 372 saw the tails were cut and then chiselled out.
With the pins marked out and cut it all went together straight from the saw and was cleaned up with a smoother.
The dovetails don't really show until the first coat of finish is applied, in this case some Osmo hard wax oil. The board looks a treat and is ready for the side fences.