Sunday 30 September 2012

Japanese chisels Tuning & Refurbishing

Here are the three Japanese chisels I bought from one of the traders at the David Stanley Auction. You can see how big the slick is, the handle isn't even in shot!

Two of the three had been used through to the hollow which required attention. I have often heard this as a concern,voiced by woodworkers at shows, which has prevented them from ever experiencing the pleasures of owning and using Japanese chisels. The traditional method is to 'tap' the bevel side until this causes a bulge in the backside which then allows the hollow to retreat when ground. However this method requires skill and the danger of cracking the hard steel is great. It is much easier to simply work the back on a course diamond stone or similar until the edge is reformed. This work would be necessary anyway to get through all the pitting on the back of these chisels

Before starting I like to grind a little hollow in the neck to make sure that the chisel doesn't ride up the neck which would give very inconsistent results. This is a good idea on all new Japanese chisels as well.

After about 15 minutes work the pitting is remove and 1/4" of fresh edge is revealed, what a difference!

Here is the 2 1/8" wide chisel and its multiple scoops looking much happier.

If, as with these, the edges aren't straight it is much better to carefully straighten them before attempting to sharpen the bevel, this gives you a nice straight edge to work to. I'm using a disc sander, don't abrade any further than you need to.

Here are the two smaller chisels flattened and polished on an 8,000 grit stone with the obligatory print refection.

I used gun blue to darken the relief in the neck to make it blend in with the patination of the rest of the metal.

Finally the handles were cleaned with orange oil and 0000 wire wool before being given 3 coats of laqueur, cut back with 600 grit and coated in wax. All in all a pleasing 1 1 /2" hours work. I might save the monster slick for another day!!

Friday 28 September 2012

Bill Carter Planes, David Stanley Tool Auction

I visited the David Stanley tool auction today and Bill Carter was in residence as usual.

He had on display (and of course for sale!) a wide range of his trademark miniature mitre planes. They all have extremely tight mouths and make great user planes as well as being very collectable.

At the other end of the scale Bill has also made some massive jointer planes. This one I'm holding here is 36" long and filled with some of the most beautiful rosewood I have seen. This was made a few years ago and one of 6 planes which are up for sale in the David Stanley international auction which is being held tomorrow.
It is being offered with a guide price of £4 - £6,000 if you have the money and the room!

The preview day is a good one to attend as there are about 25 trade stands with plenty of nice antique tools. these tools tend to be a bit more reasonably priced than the auction and of course don't have the additional 18% auction premium to pay.

Here is a very nice dealer with an even nicer old Japanese slick. He came all the way from Holland and had some very interesting tools on his stand. After buying a few tools at other stands I was drawn back to this one and purchased the slick along with two other old but well looked after Japanese chisels.
With the small scale of work I tend to prefer, I don't know what I'm going to use it for but it had such a lovely feel and beautiful patina I couldn't resist!

The picture above shows a fine selection of Spiers planes which will be auctioned tomorrow. The picture below shows a table full of Norris planes, nearly 50 in all. There are some fine and rare models there, my favourite was probably a small size Norris A16 with a 1 3/4" wide blade. If anyone wants to bid at the auction they are taking on line bidding from the start at 9.30 am.
For me, I think I've spent enough today already!!

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Monster Moulding Plane!

I've never seen anything like this before. It is a cornice plane made by Philipson around 1750 and it's a valuable thing. Although made in England it would almost certainly have been made for the US market as all the English cornices were made of plaster and not wood.

Here is the profile of the blade which must be 4 to 5" wide.

Amazingly the plane is still in working order, the owner Richard Arnold is the one doing the pushing and Richard Maguire is pulling, this is definitely a two man job. Richard believes they would have relieved some of the profile first with smaller moulding planes leaving the monster to clean up the overall profile.

The wonderful brown oak bench mentioned in my previous post can be seen in the background, my apologies for not having taken a better shot, maybe better shots will turn up on the Maguire blog which is well worth looking at.

Here is the finished softwood profile which was remarkably crisp and even. Richard (Arnold) and his wife freely gave up their weekend to bring a fine selection of antique planes for the benefit of the show goers. Although he had stiff competition from Veritas and Lie Nielsen as well as my own stand, I think the prize for the biggest pile of shavings at the end of the show had to go to Richard........ and all done with 200 year old planes!

Sunday 23 September 2012

Tom Lie Nielsen at the European Woodworking Show

The European woodworking show was a great success and I had some well known visitors to my stand. Here is Tom Lie Nielsen using one of my 9" smoothers.

Here's my jointing plane in full swing.

My high angle spokeshave being used to shape some rippled walnut.
Toms UK visit obviously had the desired effect as I saw plenty of people wandering around with Lie Nielsen boxes in their hands.

Now here's a man who knows a thing or two about using hand planes, bench maker Richard Maguire. His benches are hand made and hand planed and he is dedicated to the use of hand tools in both his bench making as well as his furniture. He had a number of benches on show but the real beauty was a bench of brown oak and I'll show this bench in action with a massive cornice plane on my next post. Richards website and blog are well worth visiting.

David Charlesworth was on the Lie Nielsen stand, he's seen here demonstrating his edge jointing technique with his finger and thumb fence.

Despite Davids serious approach to the hallowed subject of hand planing he's caught here showing it can be good fun as well.

Next to me in the main hall was Windsor chair maker and teacher James Mursell demonstrating his travishers  and spokeshaves. I had a go with them myself and they performed impressively on this tulipwood slab. In fact once I started it was hard to stop!

Denab was demonstrating the range of of tools on the Lie Nielsen stand, he is a seasoned pro and takes everything in a very helpful, relaxed and skilful manor.

On the other side of me were the Veritas boys with a wide range of fine tools. This shot doesn't do them justice as the stand was very busy throughout the show. I tried their dovetail saws and they worked really well, the 20 TPI was particularly nice and very good value.
As usual I didn't get a chance to look round the show properly as it was so busy, which was a shame. My favourite non woodworking stall was the Chinese take away, lovely food, friendly service and good portions, what more could you ask!

Thursday 20 September 2012

Chisel Tray (Blue Spruce)

I've had a request for details on my chisel tray which I've found very useful. I made it when I moved my main bench away from the wall and lost access to my wall mounted tools, although now I wouldn't go back wherever my bench was. It keeps the chisels neat, tidy and safe and right where you want them. you'll notice I've added space for one of may marking knives in African Blackwood to match.
The dimensions are 10 1/2" x 8 1/4" x 1 1/2" high. The birds eye maple is 3/8" and the walnut is 5/8". The width between the chisels at their widest is 1/8".

The walnut insert is grooved to accept each chisel size quite tightly and it has chamfered tops to allow easy entry of the blades. The depth of the grooves allows the blades to sit flat and the base of the handle section is lined with leather to prevent scratching the beautifully finished handles.

When I make another for my recently acquired Tasai chisels I might add a sliding lid to keep the dust out, but then maybe not!

Today I received a gift from a good customer in Canada, it is beautifully weighted and very nicely made, thank you Rich. I will use it for adjusting my planes, brass for the blade and the wood (desert ironwood from Konrad Sauer) for the plane body. It certainly beats the one I've been using!!

Monday 17 September 2012

Shooting Board Plane in Lignum Vitae

I have been thinking about making a dedicated shooting board plane for some time, a plane to be used for long as well as cross grain. The planes above were acquired some time ago from students of James Krenov and the one at the back was particularly comfortable used on its side. It was made from maple and was much lighter than I was looking for, I also wanted it to be higher (or wider when on its side). The blank at the back is solid Lignum Vitae, it doesn't get much heavier than this!

Here is close up of the blank showing the colour change when the lighter coloured surface is protected from the sunlight.

Here are the components of the plane ready for glue up. Polyeurathane glue is the only real choice with this extremely oily wood. I finished and waxed the interior of the plane so that the foaming squeeze out would easily pop off.

The finished shape is a little unusual but I did a lot of experimenting before settling on this. It maximises the width on its side which also adds to the weight for momentum. The cut out allows full access to the blade for adjusting as well as providing a comfortable and natural hand hold.

the Lignum came up very nicely and you can see this piece is bang on quarter sawn which will prevent the base from cupping.

In use it worked like a dream with the immense density taking all I could throw at it.
By the way the bench in the background is not a radical new design, just my demonstrating bench awaiting laoding for the European Woodworking show at the weekend.

Friday 14 September 2012

Norris A4 Refurbishment

I recently bought a rare Norris A4 smoother from a friend. Sorry I didn't take any 'before' photos but it was in need of a tidy up with surface rust and stained lever cap. The wood also needed complete re finishing as the original  lacquer had been badly scratched and scuffed.

 I was very pleased with the way it came up, which was good because I paid a bit more than I wanted to.
Sanding off the lacquer left the wood looking too 'new', so I had to distress it to bring back the appearance of 100 years of use. Equally the metal needed toning down with gun blue after the rust removal. The brass ended up a little brighter than I would have liked but this will also tone down after a few months.
I'm looking forward to the David Stanley international tool auction next week.

Thursday 13 September 2012

International Antique and Collectors Fair at Ardingly

I visited this antiques fair week, you need to be fit it covers approximately 2 square miles and is the biggest show in the South. The pic above was taken on my arrival early in the morning, a little later and it was packed.

Here's a shot of one of the large indoor halls on the site.

this 19th C work bench from France caught my eye, it had a single slab top and was still in working order, he was asking £450.

Here was another old English bench in bits needing some real TLC!

These two benches were a bargain but had already been sold for £150 each, the one with the shoulder vice was particularly nice. They came from France with a French man! He was obviously pricing his wears to go back empty.

A fine wooden book or nipping press had a beautiful and fully functioning wooden screw.

A nice mahogany tool box with fully fitted interior was priced at £150.

It was a hot morning and I raised an eyebrow at leaving all these veneers exposed to the direct sunlight. I saw a number of people wandering around with bundles so I guess they weren't coming to too much harm!
I had hoped to see the usual 2 or 3 specialist tool suppliers but they weren't there this year, which was a shame but it probably saved me some money!