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.
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.
On an English style Joyner’s bench by an American with a Japanese chisel. Have I covered all the bases? I was in need of a large 1 inch square mortise in my workbench to accommodate my new anvil. After a discussion over at WoodCentral I decided to chop the mortise near the support leg of my workbench using the manner of Roubo pictured here.
Everything from the grip of the mallet to the grip on the chisel is how I did the mortise. And while the stance pictured in the illustration may be good for shooting a rifle, it just doesn’t work for mortising. I tried and I just didn’t have any balance, so I just widened my stance to the width of my shoulders and pounded away. I laid out the mortise with a pencil and chopped it with my modified Japanese chisel and it took 15 minutes.
It was square, right next to the leg with blow out on the bottom. But I didn’t take a picture of that because no one will ever see it anyway. I think I will have to reevaluate the old engravings with a better eye as everything may not be correct.
I am making this for a friend and with the help of George Merrill, I got it done in record time. Here is a picture of the quilting frame bench. You can see the frame here, and the gears in an early stage here.
Constructed of knotty alder, the legs are mortised and tenoned into the seat and held with wedges, all construction is glued with hide glue. It is finished with Moses T’s St. John’s Oil.
Here are the gears and pawls, I will drill, countersink and install a stand off washer of leather. The gears have to be timed or clocked so they match up on both sides, I will mark them so they can be installed in the proper position when set up.
The gears come off for storage, so it is important they go back on the the proper position. Need to make arrangements for the cloth to be tacked on both axles and it is ready for delivery.
If anyone is in need of a traditional wooden quilting frame, please let me know.
Sure you have heard of dovetail chisels, how about a fish tail chisel? I became aware of this tool when I was an apprentice. I had asked my master about the large European hinges I had seen on old armoires and other large cabinet work. He said that they were called ‘fiche eisen’ or fish iron not for the hinge but for the tool to make the hinge.
On my recent visit to New Orleans and the Historic New Orleans Collection I saw many examples of this hinge and the reason for the name ‘fiche’ was that it was French for pin. I then related my story about the name of the hinge and it was well received.
This type of chisel makes the long narrow mortises necessary to install this type of hinge. Once it is secured in the mortise it is held nails or screws. When using this type of chisel, frequently the inside backs of the case would have blow out where the chisel emerged. This damage doesn’t show [not on the money side] and is evident when you examine a number of old pieces.
The chisel would be pounded straight into the work and the waste is forced to the middle. Small pilot holes were sometimes drilled to give relief for the chips. A slight wiggle of the chisel and another blow with the hammer and it continues to cut the narrow mortise hole for the hinge leaf. For longer mortises, the chisel would be positioned to cut any length mortise for larger leafs on the hinge.
A long day today but I finished the Roubo Workbench, I have yet to put a ‘finish’ on the bench tomorrow, Moses T’s St. John’s Oil, a coat or two. I finished the dovetailed drawer, half blind on the front and through on the back, in pine. The bottom is a single piece of maple, feathered on the edges and inserted in the groove on the sides and front.
As I said before all of my material was to dimension before I started, hence the speed with which I finished this project. All joints, dovetail mortise and tenon were glued with Fish Glue. Here is a picture of all of the parts for this project.
Grueling work, big pieces and I had to bend over a lot. But I am happy to get the job done. I will now put it up for sale. Here is the finished bench.
And I should be done. However I have been distracted several times so I am behind schedule.
The top is completed with the square catch hole [made the wooden part of the catch] and all holdfast holes are drilled. The legs are all joined with dovetail and rectangular tenons on the top and the 2″ by 4″ mortises on the legs to receive the stretchers. I also drilled the holes in the front legs for holdfasts. The stretchers are 4″ by 4″ with a 1″ by 3″ rabbit on the inside to accept the boards for the storage shelf. The ends of the stretchers are tenoned off and all dry fit up.
I made the chisel rack, will finish up the crochet, the iron for the catch and grease cup today and will try and finish the drawer as well, but no guarantees on that one.
This bench is built on speculation, it will be for sale and I will not be using the bench, my personal bench is a Nicholson, English through and through.
I will post construction pictures and finished pictures on the next post, after the holiday.
I have had this wheel for a while, so it is time to get it finished. It was missing its upright and spindle. The owner wanted an accelerator head for this wheel and after searching around the Internet she found one that I will be able to put in good working order. She also has a distaff that needs a bit of work.
This is how it came into the shop. The shop location has changed and so has the wheel. What was missing is the upright and in the above picture it would be to the left of the small tensioning upright.
I started with a rough piece of white oak from Mike Moore [Mick Moore's Custom Mill], it was a 3 inch square piece that came from some long skids, the stuff was very dry and very hard. I took the edges of with my Ft. Meigs ax to make it acceptable on the lathe.
After it came off the lathe. It is much too long, it will need to be cut down to bring the accelerator’s head down to the proper position.
This is what the upright looks like in position with a temporary threaded tension device, but first I had to saw in the hinge. A saddle, bridle or open mortise and tenon, this hinge joint has many names.
I sawed off the base just over two inches above the bead, then marked the tenon for the saddle/hinge joint. Some tough rip sawing.
I have since drilled a 3/8″ hole through, secured with a maple peg and rounded the ends of the hinge mechanism. It only moves an arc of about 15 degrees, just enough to put tension on and take tension off the power string.
Well I got to spend several hours in the shop on my days off and finished up a hand saw and this toothing plane. I fitted up the blade, then to my horror it stuck out 1/16″ more on one side than the other. I immediately checked the body of the plane and everything was square, so I checked the iron which was out 1/16″. A quick trip to the grindstone and everything was square.
I used the pistol grip hand saw that I made to rip out the maple wedge, then worked over the cut areas with a rasp and float to smooth the surface, then gave it a work over with a card scraper. I then did some more shaping and shot the edges to fit the mortise. A little more work on the throat and bedding of the iron and the piece was ready for a coat of linseed oil/turpentine [50/50].
I made the entire tool by hand, drilling the holes was the most precise work, together with the mortise for the blade and wedge. I drilled from both sides to insure proper alignment. I really need a good throat float, guess I should talk to the Blacksmith.
Also called a Gluing Plane, Veneer Plane, Keying Plane and Truthing Plane. Not only does it work well for preparing the surface for gluing [with hide glue of course] but also for handling troubling grain like burl, curl and knots without tear out.
This is my second toothing plane, I am numbering my planes because I don’t make that many, but this one was fun and I may have to make one for myself, although I own two original toothing planes. This one is for a trade and I have made arrangements to meet with my friend tomorrow to complete the trade. I will post what I get from the trade.
I need to make one of these in order to trade for some materials that I don’t have. It is a toothing plane with the blade set vertically. I based it on the shape of my little English coffin smoother. I marked out the mouth and throat and transferred the marks to all sides with a scratch awl. I then used a 1/4″ twist auger drill to make the throat and escapement hole. I drilled from both sides.
I then used a few chisels to work out the rectangular mortise that is the mouth and escapement for the ‘chips’. The debris, chips created by this tool are real small but can clog the throat and escapement, so it is a good idea to make some sort of relief to allow the throat to be cleared.
Starting to cut the angle for the locking wedge, I got most of the sawing done when I discovered a design flaw in my little throat saw.
I will have to make a new handle that has a bit more wood at the stress points.
While still attacked to the long piece of wood, which makes working on it a lot easier, I fitted up the blade. I then laid out the outline of the plane and used a small un-backed saw to mark out the end of the plane. I also connected the lines from top to bottom on the front end to get the sides to shape.
I used chisels from 1/2″ to 1 1/2″ to shape the sides to the coffin shape. I did a bit of scraping but will need to spend more time putting it in good order. It took me 3 hours to get to this point, a couple more hours and it should be done.