Full Chisel Blog

August 9, 2013

Wood Turning On the Foot Treadle Lathe

Always a good idea and in 1922 William Fairham published this book of the same title.

wood turning on the foot treadle lathe

And in 2013 Gary Roberts at Toolemera Press has reproduced this fine English volume on turning on a foot treadle lathe.  The book has some great stuff, good illustrations with patterns of all types of turnings including square turnings.  The square turning is of particular interest, must give it a try.

This book also goes well with the plans for the Wooden Treadle Lathe available at the Full Chisel Store.  Get the book from Gary and the plans from me and you are all set.


May 3, 2013

The Complete Cabinet Maker And Upholsterer’s Guide – J. Stokes 1829


Gary Roberts over at Toolemera has done it again and reproduced a fine tome from the nineteenth century.  The book has many full color plates, hand colored engravings and Mr. Roberts has reproduced the entire book in color, so the pages appear as they would in an original edition.

Mr. Stokes has done an excellent job at assembling material from his peers and predecessors, which I won’t call plagiarism as it was common practice.  Some of the engravings have the long f for the s, indicating an earlier time.

The book is however full of very useful information about lay out, perspective, drawing, design and construction of furniture, with an emphasis on finishing, which I found fascinating.  This is a great hardbound edition of an historical work that is a pleasure to hold in ones hand and read about the past and the ways of old.  Add this one to your bibliotheque.


April 23, 2013

L, F & C Cast Iron Glue Pot and Hide Glue Book for Sale

Not to be confused with a cast iron ink well, this is actually a double boiler glue pot from Landers, Frary & Clark.  This particular glue pot is the very one illustrated on Page 30 of Hide Glue – Historical & Practical Applications, a signed and annotated copy of the book which will be included in the purchase price.  One of a kind, so to speak.


I thought I would give people who follow my blog the first chance at this before I list it at an auction site.  The glue pot I am selling does have a missing lifting handle on the lid and some rusting.  I am in the process of cleaning my other one and it is a nightmare which I will discuss later on this blog.

This is a collector’s item, but it is also a usable glue pot that has served me well for several years.

The price is $150.00  plus $15.00 Domestic Shipping or $30.00 International Shipping for the glue pot and book.  Gnomon is for scale only and is not for sale.  If you are interested it will go to the first person sending me an email at stephen@fullchisel.com.


April 13, 2013

It is a Glue Pot, not a Cast Iron Ink Well

Went with a friend yesterday to a local Antique Mall and had not intended to make a purchase.  I did examine a pair of scissor type candle wick trimmer but determined it was plate and had a couple of missing feet, a nice trimmer none the less.  I passed.

I finished going through the booths and was waiting on my friend when I spotted the little lidded cast iron glue pot in a locked glass case.  I couldn’t see the price tag, so I had one of the people open the cabinet.


Still a little old hide glue left in the bottom of the pot.  There is some remnants of tinning on the inside of the glue pot itself.  The water jacket has some surface rust but no pitting.


It was a little pricey, did get 10% off the tagged price, but I couldn’t get any more off even when I told them it wasn’t a ‘cast iron ink well’ as marked.  But this one is the first one I have seen [I have only seen 2 in person and 2 or 3 more photographs] that had its delicate opening handle on the lid.  All I have seen and the one I already own have the handle broken off.


I believe that it is marked L,F & C, although the last letter may be a G.

I do plan on selling my old one, the very one featured in Hide Glue – Historical & Practical Applications I will be offering it for sale with a copy of the book.

The best source of reliable ground hide glue in various gram strengths is Tools for Working Wood.



March 25, 2013

The CIRCLE Of The MECHANICAL ARTS, Thomas Martin 1813

Well it looks like Gary Roberts has done it again, bringing back for our enjoyment another traditional title from the nineteenth century.  Toolemera is offering this large volume of Thomas Martins opus on the trades.  You can order it here at a discount.


Weighing in at over 4 pounds it has many plates reproduced in color of the period.  I have just started to read this tome and it is fascinating.  The stuff on hardening and tempering is excellent as is the information on paint and turning is worth the price of the book.  I strongly recommend you add this to your bibliotech.


March 8, 2013

Shepherds’ Compleat Early Nineteenth Century Woodworker, Hide Glue – Historical & Practical Applications, and Shellac, Linseed Oil, & Paint – Traditional 19th Century Woodwork Finishes, three book special

I am now offering my first 3 books together to save over $12.00 Domestic Shipping and save over $20.00 on International Shipping.

three books

You can order Here.


February 27, 2013

The Painter, Gilder, And Varnisher’s Guide – 1850 reprint from Toolemera

Gary Roberts over at Toolemera has reproduced this wonderful work from the mid nineteenth century.  Having decided to redo some of his title covers, he asked me to do a drawing for the cover of this work.

book cover

The first drawing (above) was too busy [he said], so I did another drawing that wasn’t.  I think this is my first book cover on a book I didn’t write.  You can order the book here.

book cover painter and varnisher guide

It is an interesting book, the conversation is in the vernacular and context of the period, so it makes for good reading.  It also contains information that is useful for anyone doing finishing, gold leaf work and decorative painting.  A great addition to the library. (He did misspell my last name in the credits).


January 11, 2013

Shepherds’ Compleat Early Nineteenth Century Woodworker – First Review


This is the first book review of my first book that was originally published in hardbound in 1981.  This review appeared in Smithsonian Magazine April 1982.





I found this while doing research at the University of Nevada, Reno at their excellent library.

Now I need to find the reviews in Workbench Magazine, Soldier of Fortune Magazine and Museum of the Fur Trade Quarterly.

Available at Tools for Working Wood

and The Full Chisel Store or from Amazon.  Amazon also has original hardbound editions for sale.


July 19, 2012

Prices of Wood, Boston March 6, 1856

From the front page of the Boston Post and Press.

BOXWOOD, per ton   60 00 @ 85 00

LIGNUM VITAE, per ton  15 00 @ 20 00

LUMBER, per 1000 feet

East Boards, white pine, No.1  40 00 @ — –

Do, do, No.2   40 00 @ — –

Do, do, No.3   33 00 @ 34 00

Do, coarse, No.3   23 00 @ 24 00

Do, do, No.4   13 00 @ 14 00

Do, Scoots     9 00 @ 10 00

Do, Flooring, southern pine  18 00 @ 20 00

Clapboards, extra   38 00 @ 40 00

Do, clear    33 00 @ 35 00

Do, No.1    17 00 @ 20 00

Shingles, pine, shaved, best   4 25 @  5 00

Do, do, do, 2d qual.    2 25 @  2 50

Do, do, sawn best    3 00 @  3 25

Do, cedar, shaved, best   3 50 @  4 00

Do, do, 2d qual.    2 00 @  2 50

Laths, pine, 1 ½ in.    1 75 @  2 00

Spruce Lumber, at measurement   9 00 @ 11 00

Hemlock do,    8 00 @  9 00

Sugar Box shooks   – 45 @ — 50

Ton Timber, white pine best   6 00 @  8 00

Do, do, ordinary    4 00 @  5 00

Do, do, southern pine   10 00 @ 12 00

MAHOGANY, per foot.

Cuba    – 12 @ — 24

St. Domingo   –   8 @ — 17

Honduras    –   9 @ — 18

[MAHOGANY – At public sale 586 logs Mansanilla at 11 ¾ @38c per foot, 6 mos.]

ROSEWOOD, Rio, per log  20 00 @ 60 00

WOOD, per cord

Eastern hard    6 75 @  7 60

Nova Scotia do    7 00 @ — –

Pitch Pine     6 75 @  7 00

South Shore, hard    7 25 @  7 50

Just to keep things current.




June 14, 2012

One Good Turn, A Natural History of the Screwdriver and Screw

A small book by Witold Rybczynski based on an article for The New York Times about the most important tool of the millenium 1000 to 2000 AD.

A friend lent me a copy which I read immediately, it is a short book and doesn’t take much time to get through.  I did have to check a few facts during the reading as is my want.  And I did notice a couple of minor mistakes.

But it is a good read and the author does make a case for the screwdriver [and the screw] was one of the greatest inventions of that time period.  I always thought the greatest invention was the off switch, but that doesn’t count as a tool.

The book is available on Amazon.


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