Monday, December 29, 2008

Toolcase Part 3

For the carcass, I just dovetailed the four pieces together. Since I am definitely not an expert in dovetailing I will not write about my method, because that would be silly. Also the grooves for the panel are done, all I have to do now is make the mortises and tenons, and make the specific tool holders that will be screwed onto the back panel. For Christmas I received a old Stanley 31 transitional. I flattened the sole, and tuned it up. Unfortunately, the blade is almost completely used up. It's fun to use, except that because of its weight and size(24" long), it's a little clunky to use on my "bench", which is just more motivation to build a new bench. Also another downside is that someone clearly filed the yoke down so the plane's backlash is unbelievable. It appears that someone filed the slot for the chipbreaker larger increasing the problem. Other than the tote being chipped, the blade old, and the frog modified, the plane is in very good shape, with almost all its jappanning intact, only having a few chips here and there. The only other bad news is there's no way it's going to fit in the toolcase!

Bookmark of the Week

Here are two sites that have the same idea, but can be used together.

Patrick's Blood and Gore

Stanley by the Numbers- Hans Brunner

Friday, December 19, 2008

Plough Plane: Part 2

As I left off, the fence, lever cap, and body were all not finished. the body is just a three piece lamination. During the glue-up, try to keep the skates flat with each other, though it is good to also lap them after the glue has dried. For the lever cap, I cut a notch less than halfway across a piece of aluminum 1/4" thick and about 3/4" wide. I then drilled and tapped a hole at the end without the notch. For the retaining bar, I used scrap 1/4" diameter steel bar. For the fence I glued two pieces of wood at 90 degrees and then another larger piece onto the "L". For the fence adjustment system, I sawed and chiseled a dado that was just a little undersized for the arm. I then took out a little material from the upper half of the groove. That way I could put the arm in the desired position and press it down in the groove for a tight fit. Then after everything is dry, assemble the plane and set the blade for a light cut, and take it away.

Trouble shooting:
Make sure the blade is tapered so that it's bottom is slightly wider than the top.
Make sure the skate is totally flat.
Make sure the blade is sharp.
Make sure the blade is not set too deeply or too far in.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

In Defense of Cheap Hand Planes

I do not own nor have ever tried a high end plane, and therefore I am biased against something I have never experienced.

I currently own a Groz #4 plane. It sells for about $38. Not dirt cheap, but not expensive at all for a new tool. What's the difference between this and a high end tool? Not-so good finish, sole/back of blade not being too flat, inferior castings, and more backlash in the adjustment system. All those problems can be fixed with work(except for the finish + casting).

The performance of a tool relies heavily, but not solely, on the skill of the user, in sharpening and in use. Now I'm definitely not an expert on hand planing, but my results improved much more after practice(including sharpening) than after fettling.

Now you might think: should I buy the really nice plane? Yes, just keep in mind there are alternatives. Nice tools help out in, but don't automatically make, good work. Also for those who are thinking of buying more hand tools so they can incorporate them more into their work, go ahead, it's hard to do this with a $1000 tablesaw.
My final words; this plane works for me and it will probably work for you.

Now on a less serious note, I was part-swapping between my miller falls jack plane and my Groz #4, and I discovered that the jack's frog fits my #4, also the adjustment screw is interchangeable, they have the same thread.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Making a Plough Plane: Part 1

To make the groove in the rails and stiles of the frame and panel door I needed have the means to make the groove. I would have considered doing it freehand, except the panel is thinner than my thinnest chisel. So I decided to make a quick and dirty plane. For the blade I used the same metal that was used in the blade for my Stanley 78. To make the bevel, I screwed the stock onto a scrap piece of wood. I then went to work with coarse sandpaper on glass. For the body I first made a rabbet 1/2" wide and 1/8" deep. This works since the body will be a three piece lamination, and the cutter is 3/16" wide. The skate is 1/16" thick, so that leaves the blade standing 1/6" out on each side. Simply screw the skate on. The skate extends 1/2" below the plane, but I might trim that down a bit.

Stay tuned for the exciting Part 2.

Bookmark of the Week

Amazing planes by Jim Leamy.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Toolcase Part 2

For the top/sides/bottom of the case, the back sits in a rabbet, so when the case is seen from the side, the sides of the back will not be visible. To make the rabbet, I built a "t" shaped fixture. On one side a peice of 1/2 ply is nailed and a 1/4 ply is on the other side. I simply clamped the fixture to my stock and planed away. When I had established about a 1/16" of shoulder I chiseled out the waste until there was about 1/8" left. I then finished up with the rabbet plane.

With the rabbets cut, I could proceed on to the final length dimensioning. First I cut off as little as possible on one end, with a miter box, or freehand. I then shoot the board with my new shooting board(it's hard to think now how I did without it) until the edge is nice and square. I then mark the desired length cut, and shoot, until the exact length is reached. If the waste is too little to cut, but too much to shoot, you can pare away the waste with a chisel, and then shoot. The length has been reached!

Now, not to gloat too much, but the shooting board really does "walk the talk". This board's edge that is in the foreground was at the exit side of the plane in the shooting board. I did not chamfer or relieve the edge in any way. There is no tearout.

Bookmark of the Week

Here is the website of Philly, the maker of the the blog Phillsville:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Saw: Done!

My handle for the patternmaker's saw is now done. It looks awesome, and fits my hand perfectly. It also cuts pretty well, but because of its length and weight(very light), it won't be replacing my dovetail saw. To tighten the split-nuts, I fashioned a screwdriver out of a washer, and fit it to the nuts. Maybe later I will take some more glamorous pictures.
When looking at my workbench design, I realized that my plan isn't really like the roubo bench that Christopher Schwarz popularized in his book Workbenches: From Design And Theory To Construction And Use as mine will lack the leg vise, and the crochet. So from now on I will refer to my design as "The Bench".

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bookmark of the Week

Here is a wonderful site, not to be confused with The New Yankee Workshop. (I also like the leaves.)

The New Chinky Workshop

Mini roubo style bench

I've been wanting to have a decent workbench for a long time. My chance finally came when I was browsing Craig's List, and happened upon an ad for wood on the cheap from an old barn someone was dismantling. The wood was pine, and from planing down a little bit, it looked tightly grained, and yellow. Apparently, the barn was built around 1820, and the beams are hewn. What was left of the barn was quite striking. I bought two 6" by 6" by 7' pieces. This will be enough for a 3" 18" x 6' top, plus some stretchers. I will later return, and buy more wood for the legs.

I am going to build my bench in the style of the roubo, just scaled down, since I really don't need that big of a bench. Instead of a crochet, I will install my small vise. I will also use a wagon vise.

Most likely, I will bring my lumber to a big shop where I can rough mill my lumber.

Now my only problem with this is what do I do when I go to college, perhaps I can make some room in my dorm...

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tool Case: Hand-Sawing

My intention with this project is to document the process of building a small project completely from hand tools. Since my wood supplier sells wood in fairly dry, straight, and smooth, I will not go into how to straighten out boards with hand planes.

Here is how I cut pieces from a board:
After the layout lines are made, I made them easier to see by tracing over them with white pencil. To start sawing, place your thumbnail next to the blade to guide it, and pull the teeth across the wood at a fairly low angle. After the kerf is well established, hold the saw at a steeper angle. Make sure that your dominant arm is in line with the cut, if your arm is not pushing directly forward, if it is not directly lined up with your shoulder, the cut will not be perpendicular. Be sure to not the hand grip as well, I find it to be the most comfortable and efficient.For beginning hand-sawyers, I would recommend cutting about an 1/8" from the line to leave room for mistakes. This excess material can then be scrub planed off later. To correct for wandering, lay the saw down at a lower angle to the wood than normal. This makes the saw go into the already long established cut, and puts it on the right track. Also, if the saw habitually seems to lean to one side of the cut, lightly pass an oil stone across the side that the saw leans to. A properly sharpened and tuned saw will cut quickly, and should produce coarse shavings(on the right in the photo), not fine dust. In my opinion, burning some calories and building my muscles is way better than listening to the racket of my saber saw. A handsaw will make a very enjoyable sound when sharp, and still allow me to listen to my radio.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


As the Holiday season approaches, woodworkers have the ability to give pretty nice gifts, that are cheap and easy to make. here is my prototype for a letter opener. From this prototype, I learned not to use white oak for this type of carving, and also that if I hold my chisels perpendicular to the work, I can use them as scrapers.

In the future, I intend to make at least two more for gifts out of walnut and in a slightly different design.

Bookmark of the Week

I think this is an appropriate link for today.

Show me your tool cabniet

Walnut and Poplar

This morning I got out to my hard wood supplier to buy the materials I need for my tool case, which I'm almost finished drawing. I bought 4/4 low-quality walnut that was cut from trees by our local lake, and 4/4 popular. Neither boards are very wide, but it doesn't matter. As I was coming home, I realized I forgot to buy wood for the panel in the frame and panel door.
(I'm sorry about the picture being sideways, I don't quite know how to flip it.)

Here is the design almost finished. The large space in the top right hand corner is where my #4 plane will go, I just didn't decide to draw it. Same with the space to the left of my square, it will hold the bevel-up plane(when I'm finished). All the case will be is a shallow box, dovetailed at the corners, with a frame and panel door, and different tool specific holders. The rails, stiles, and holders will be walnut and the rest will be poplar. I'm not quite sure what to do for the back, I'm thinking about using plywood, since the holders will be attached to it, and if the back wood moves, it could mess up the holders.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Shooting Board

I finally decided to make a shooting board after an embarrassingly long time. I used Matt Vanderlast's(of matt's basement workshop) simple, straight-forward design but with a twist. I thought if, for the stop, I could use endgrain instead of face grain, it would reduce chip-out. The only hard parts of this was making the stop perfectly square to the edge, and making the stop's edge perfectly flush with the edge. When I have had more time and experience using this, I will write a 'review' of my board.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Update: Bevel-Up Plane

After the paint is sufficiently dried, I peeled off the tape, and it looks really nice. Right now I'm working on the lever cap, and then I'm almost done.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bookmark of the Week

Here is the site of Bill Carter, professional plane maker. He makes a lot of mitre planes in the old style.

Bill Carter

Update on the saw; both nuts are finished, I'm now waiting to buy wood, as this weekend the guy I usually buy from is out hunting.


This is a non-traditional method of japanning, but it worked for me.
Before japanning lock the screws in with thread lock(the blue stuff), which locks the handle bolster plate in and the bed plate in.
Later, cut off the excess and lap to flatness. In the photo below, I'm not quite done.

First, clean off any place you want the paint to go. Second, tape any place you don't want the paint to go. Than spray the paint and let dry.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Split nuts for the saw

The saw I cut needs nuts for the handle, and as I have no donor saws, I have two options. The first is to buy them, but they are kinda expensive. If they were available locally, I might consider it, but spending $20 on two tiny pieces of hardware is not my cup of tea. So instead, I decided to make them.

For materials, I used a 3/8 stainless steel rod, though I would recommend using a bigger size. Traditionally, brass was used, but this is what I had on hand, and I think the stainless might give the saw a more modern look. I also used two 10-24 machine screws(stainless), and Lock-Tite. Alternately, one can use Leif Hanson's writeup. I didn't because I don't have a suitable soldering set-up. They can also be purchased from Wenzloff and Sons.
What are split nuts?

First cut off about 1/4" of the rod. Then drill into it with a #23 bit, for the tap(it doesn't have to be 10-24 thread, but that's what I used.) Then cut a notch into it, about halfway down. Tap the hole through, making sure that there is plenty of oil. Then, screw the screw into the hole and lock it with thread lock. When that has cured, make the screw flush with the face, and sand to a suitable grit.

Now onto the other half. This part acts as the nut, and is made the same way except there is no shoulder cut. Also there is a slot cut that goes through the tapped hole. Obviously, there is no thread locker involved.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Teeth Cutting

Here is how I cut the teeth in the saw. Before I did anything, I jointed the top of the teeth with a flat file. Then, I taped the template(15 tpi) to the steel. After that, I made a notch, with a triangular file, at each line in the template. After the entire saw is notched, I took a piece of wood and drilled a hole in it. Then, I wedged the file in so that one side is 90 degrees to the edge of the block. This acts as a guide to file consistent teeth, because if you grip the handle of the file with one hand, and the block with your other, it is fairly easy to keep the block parallel with the steel, and thus create perfect teeth. After the notching and file accessorizing, you deepen each tooth so that it is its full size. That is it until final sharpening and the setting of the teeth.To make this easier, darken the tops with black marker.

The reason for all these steps is that the more consistant the teeth are, the smoother the saw will cut.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Patternmaker's saw

I started working on a patternmaker's saw that I've been meaning to make. I first saw one at Leif Hanson's site.
I cut mine from a saw I got at a junk shop.First, I cut out the basic shape; 7 1/2" by 1 1/2". It also has a pointed nose to reach in awkward places. Using the template for 15 tpi,(on the "adding teeth" part of the Backsaw Project) I started cutting small grooves with a saw file. My best advice is to read this entire article, as it has the basic operations illustrated in it.

Later when I am further along on the teeth, I will do a better post on how exactly I did it.

For the handle, I took the provided photo, and scaled it so it was large enough. Make a prototype, and then see if it fits your hand well. Keep in mind when the handle is rounded over, the handle will feel slightly larger. In this photo the prototype is about 1/2' too long.