Sunday 30 June 2013

New Batch of Jointers.

About 10 days ago I started on a batch of 10 jointers, I've never done that many in one go before but stocks are low (ie my last one went to Australia last week!).
The picture above shows the blanks with the dowel and cross pin holes drilled and the sides cut off on the band saw.
I decided to make two left handed planes for stock, I find it disrupts my work flow when I have to make a left handed one.

The woods I'm using are Bubinga and Indian Rosewood and this shows the planes with the bed, escapement and chipbreaker screw recess cut.

These are the cross pins, I cut them all to length and then form the shoulders of the round tenons on the table saw. Each pin needs 8 cuts which is boring work but I have to concentrate as my fingers are never far from an unguarded blade. I made plenty of extras this time so they'll already be done when I make the batch.

Here's my attachment for forming the tenons, an 8 mm plug cutter. Once centred this goes quickly, I don't know what I would do without my Flip Stop system!

Here's the batch glued up and shaped on my smaller band saw. It takes less than 5 minutes to turn each rectangular block into a plane shape, however the work needed to get each plane ready for finishing (below) takes a great deal longer!

Two of the rosewood planes had lovely lighter coloured streaks running through and I was dying to see how this would finish, very nice.

Three planes with their first coat of finish, the dark handsome rosewood at the front is the more usual colour of the Indian variety.

I have stopped adding Lignum Vitae soles to my longer planes, the very dry climate found in some parts of the US is not suitable for combining different wood, so each each jointer is made from one block.
To make up for not having the super hard Lignum on the sole, the Rosewood planes feature a brass wear insert which is dovetailed and glued with epoxy.
These jointers always take longer than I think, the price will be going up in the Autumn.

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Dovetail Competition Results AWR Magazine.

Back in February I posted on the Australian Wood Review competition 'So You Think You Can Dovetail?'
I didn't win anything, which is no surprise when you see the quality of some of the entries, but they did do a very nice write up on my work.

This was a good issue including an article on hinge fitting which pretty much describes the method I use, even down to the make of trim router! This magazine is well worth subscribing to, it only has 4 issues a year, which seems to allow them to keep the content quality high.

There was also a good article on Konrad Sauer showing some of his wonderful planes.
I apologise for the water damage you can see on the pages, I will be asking for another copy.

The mitre plane has an infill of desert iron wood which looks a wonderful timber.

And below, this has to be the nicest looking plane of all time, his K13. Can anyone think of a sexier looking plane than this?

Sunday 23 June 2013

Antique Woodworking Vice

I have always been intrigued by the single arm vices I'd seen on old work benches, I'd always assumed they had a very course thread which allowed them to move a long way with the minimum of turn. Of course I am wrong.
This J Buck advert came from a 1914 magazine, almost 100 years ago.

It wasn't until I spotted one in The Tool Shop in Bosham (an Aladdins cave) that I realised just what a good vice it was. According to the very knowledgeable owner (on all tool matters) this was the earliest form of quick release vice dating from late Victorian times.

To operate the lever is turned to vertical and the jaw slides easily in and out. Once the item to be clamped has been closed down, a third of a turn downwards clamps it tight by virtue of a cam mechanism. It has no thread but works very well and it's big advantage is that it is completely one handed. Apparently Barnsley Workshops have two of these with extended jaws which they use for carving due to their easy operation. This one has a 9" jaw and a 12" opening which was about the largest size made. It weighs about 35 kg (75 lbs). I'll have to give some thought to how and where I use this vice.


 Here's a shot from underneath, the only name I can see is Steel Rack, it has most of the original blue paint and no rust, it should clean up really nicely.

Here are some shots of the Macassar Ebony knives, I wasn't going to make any yet but a customer from Finland wanted one.

The colour is quite subtle, almost regal. I really like them.

Thursday 20 June 2013

Fine Work Benches on E Bay

I was looking through E Bay (as you do!) and came across a couple of fine looking workbenches for sale for anyone who may be interested
This first one has a good solid 60mm top with no tool well (my preference) and is a bargain at £185 'Buy it Now' they will deliver anywhere in the UK for £30

The second one is of a more traditional style with a very nice tail vice (if you like them) and again will probably go at a very reasonably price
If anyone reading this buys one of these benches please let me know and good luck!

Work Bench 1
Work Bench 2

Sunday 16 June 2013

Turning Handles.

My friend Jim has always done my turning both for furniture as well as tools. He is too good and too quick for me to ever to have learned how to turn, which is a shame although now I wouldn't be able to keep up with demand, so I'm very grateful to have his help.
Here are 85 knife handles in African Blackwood, curly madrone and Macasser ebony.

The Macasser ebony looks really nice and a wood I've not used before, I look forward to seeing these finished.

Some bubinga knobs for my jointer planes, arriving just in time as I'm working on a batch of jointers at the moment.

A pile of chisel hammer handles, 104 in all. The wood is beautifully rippled and will look stunning when it's finished.

Thursday 13 June 2013

Sauer and Steiner Plane.

Six years ago I met Konrad Sauer at the Westonbirt wood show and he was kind enough to let me try some of his fine planes. I must have looked interested enough as he gave me one of his catalogues, which as you can see has been well thumbed!
Amongst the planes he had on display was a small infill, made for his son, which felt really nice in the hand. This must have impressed others as he started producing them fairly soon after.

I continued to lust after his planes until I saw this one on his blog
The infill is stunning black and white ebony and I had to have it.

It arrived last week and it is perfectly made. The dovetails are invisible, the wood is flawlessly finished and the lever cap requires the minimum of pressure to hold the blade firmly and evenly.
It also works rather well!

The high carbon Hock iron came properly prepared and razor sharp and I'm glad he has stuck with these fine blades. I use them in my planes as well.

Th rounded rear and low iron make it very comfortable and a pleasure to use (as you can see).

Woodworkers sometimes get carried away with the shavings, rather than the surface it leaves. Here you can see some curly walnut which was brought to a fine finish straight from the plane.

Just to give a sense of scale here it is next to a full size smoother.
It may have taken me 6 years to get round to the purchase but it was well worth the wait.

Monday 10 June 2013

Barr Quarton Chisels, Special Offer For Fathers Day

If you seen my You Tube video, Hand Cut Dovetails Made Easy you will have seen these wonderful chisels in action. They are hand made and not cheap, but until the 16th June they on special offer at 15% discount
Happy Fathers Day!!

Sunday 9 June 2013

Marking Gauges

I'm making a batch of 48 marking gauges, these have been selling very well recently.
I've always made them of Macassar Ebony which I buy from Bob at Timberline. This is just about the most expensive timber he sells and the wood for each guide costs £5, which is a lot when you consider how small they are. I try to choose quarter sawn stock for stability as well as a fine stripe to the grain.
Macassar Ebony is very dense (it won't float) which gives it a nice weight in the hand. It is also very pretty as you can see from these resawn boards.

The first job is to cut the slot for the sliding bar, I use a piece of wood to set the stops equi distance from the router cutter so that I can flip the bars and rout from both sides to avoid tearout. It takes 6 passes, three from each side, to complete the cut in the 18mm thick stock. This wood is very brittle as well as hard and Bob laughed when I told him what I was using it for.

Anyway all went well and the bars emerged nice and clean with no break out.

The heads were next and these were cut so the the grain is in the same direction as the bar, preventing the fit becoming loose over time. The 2mm groove was cut on the router table, coming from both sides so it was exactly central. These were then cut to size on the table saw.

Next was drilling the hole for the threaded insert which needed to be perfectly central and in the right position for the bar to slide all the way down to the face. By making all the heads identical I could set the drill press up to make quick work of the batch. The excellent Flip Stop system earned it's keep yet again.
The head in the foreground is shown with the inset glued in with epoxy resin.

Time to round the back of the heads. I used a perspex template to mark out the shape of the head and then cut very close to the mark on my smaller Mini Max band saw.  Even with my extractor hooked up I still needed to wear a dust mask as this stuff really makes my nose run.

Here's all the parts waiting for the knurled screws and the blades, I'll put them to one side to settle before final finishing.
In the mean time I'll get another batch of dovetail guides done, it doesn't take long to run short of these.
Notice the spacing between them, you need to treat these strong magnets with respect!

Thursday 6 June 2013

Interesting Woodworking Books.

This is a great little book! Although it takes you through the making of a wooden hand plane with some interesting techniques, it's main attraction lies in the way it's written and the reminiscences of days gone by.
Here is a shot of some of his smoothers made from Cocobolo, Black Mango (a swamp wood) and lignum Vitae.
The picture below shows boat builders using cabinet scrapers to finish off the outside, taking shavings that floated down lighter than a feather.
The book was written in 1992 when Cecil E Pierce was 86, an inspiration to us all. He also wrote a book on dovetails which is on order from Amazon as we speak.

This is another book packed with remarkable photography by Darius Kinsey taken between 1890 and 1925. It is well narrated and a wonderful insight into the world before chain saws and JCB's.

All these giant trees were cut down with hand saws and hauled out of the woods by horses and cattle, incredible! They were certainly efficient as the great woods have all gone.

Both these books are available on Amazon and well worth reading.