Full Chisel Blog

November 12, 2008

Completed Wall Clock

Filed under: Furniture,Historical Material,Of Interest,Techniques,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 2:49 pm

I got the clock dial finished, the minute marks, circle and Roman Numerals are all done with Iron Gall Ink.  I used the same liner that I did on the glass for the gold stripe.  I have a compass that holds a liner (inker) and used that for the circumscribe.

Clock Dial

I carefully located the dial by taking a square off the center of the clock hands on the movement.  I transferred these marks to the sides and top and bottom.  I carefully positioned the new dial in its proper orientation, marked the two struts and screwed it into place.  I then shut the door to take a look.

Well, I screwed up.  I didn’t notice that the entire movement and dial were mounted too high in the clock case.  Fortunately I had added an extension to the pendulum that was about an inch long.  I had done this to put the pendulum down further in the case.  Well there goes that idea.  So I merely lowered the entire movement, it only had two screws, the gong, it had one screw and the two small brass screws that hold the face.

Clock, screw up

It took about 20 minutes to correct the problem.  I had all the holes located vertically in their correct location it was the horizontal position that was off by 3/4″.  So I set the calipers to three quarters of an inch and removed the dial, movement and gong.  I then used a square to line things up and with the calipers transferred the hole straight down 3/4″.  I then put it back in place, added the rest of the screws, two extra in the movement and two more in the gong.

Completed Wall Clock

I had to adjust the pendulum down, I had plenty of room on the adjustment and have the clock keeping good time.  I will check it tomorrow but I am sure it is fairly close to being ‘on time’.


Sticking without a Sticking Board

Filed under: Hand Planing,Of Interest,Restoration,Techniques,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 7:29 am

I was just too lazy to make a sticking board, I should make one some day but I so seldom do sash moldings.  However I need some, so I had to make it.

I set it up on the edge of my workbench, having removed the crochet from the front edge as it interfered with the fence on the rabbit plane.  The three holdfasts are holding the ‘clips’ I made on scraps of wood that hold the stick on the very edge of my workbench.


I used a mortise gauge to mark the rabbit as well as the front to mark the narrow front edge of the sash molding.  The molding in the middle of the bench by the shavings is the finished profile.  What I noticed when I was planing both the rabbit and the front is that the score lines produced a bit of fuzz as the plane gets down to the line.  Interesting method of telling when you are done.

Stick fuzz

I made a couple of ‘clips’ to hold the molding by the rabbit once it was shot.  I also discovered that the clips hold the molding from the other side once it is formed, but there isn’t any reason to, unless the rabbits need to be worked on again.

Stick clip

I started out with a nail stop as the regular planing stop doesn’t work on the edge of my bench.  The nail was alright but bent and then was in the way.  So I removed it drilled a hole, made a countersink and inserted the screw.  It worked alright but the stick would occasionally not catch.  So I put some decorative notches around the top with a triangular file.  The end result was much better.  And when it is not in use it is screwed down to below the bench surface.  But handy, just unscrew to any height and it is ready to go.

Stick stop

While I usually don’t use metal planes, I did use this Stanley No. 289 to do the rabbits.  I also used a skew rabbit plane.  The wooden skew worked great but it needs to be reground as it has a nasty secondary bevel that just looks bad.


I am still unsure where my I. GREEN moving fillister plane is, it is in one of those boxes I have yet to unpack, or I would have used it instead of the Stanley.  But the Stanley does a good job.  One thing I did notice is that the nicker needs to be in the safe position so it doesn’t nick the board, as it is with the grain so not necessarily.  I started with the nicker out and found that it road over knots, the nicker lifting the plane at the hard spots.  Once the nicker was out of the way the plane worked just fine.



November 10, 2008

Child’s Chair repair

Here are a series of photographs to show the nature of this small repair.  The birch Dutchman had been fit and glued into place and allowed to dry overnight.

Repair shaped

The next day with the clamp still in place I began to shape the wood down to match the original turnings.  I did the top first which was a problem as the handle of the chisel was too long and the seat of the chair interfered with some of the work.  I also used a small chip carving chisel to remove the excess.

Then I focused my attention to getting the bottom side of the bead shaped.  This was easier as I was able to get full use of the chisel.  But under the arm it was tricky and I used a combination of the chisel and the knife to get it to shape.

 It was useful to look down the length of the turning and see the protruding new wood as after I had it first shaped and looking good, by sighting down the turning I saw that my bead was too fat.  It also looks bigger when it is white and smaller after it is finished, it is an optical thing.

Repair smoothed and filled

I did some minor filling with hot shellac stick, then sanded and gave it a coat of liquid shellac.  I then started with the pigmented shellac to darken the color.

Repair first coat of umber

I started with burnt umber then followed with black iron oxide.  I then shot on a couple coats of shellac, followed by some vigorous brushing and it was done.  Well I thought, upon inspection I noticed two small holes that I must have missed when using the hot stick.  Instead of firing up the alcohol torch, I went to the grease pot and scraped out a bit of beeswax/tallow mix and pressed it in the holes.  A touch of black iron oxide, another shot of shellac and it was done.

Finished repair


P.S. the is my 200th post since starting my blog!

November 9, 2008

Making a Wall Clock Hanger

Filed under: Furniture,Hardware,Historical Material,Of Interest — Stephen Shepherd @ 10:56 am

Sometimes as woodworkers we are required to fashion things out of metal.  That is the case with the hanger for this clock.  It is not an off the shelf item and most old examples appear to be shop made, there may be factory versions but I haven’t seen any.

Making a clock hanger

These are the tools I used to make the iron (probably mild steel) wall clock hanger.  I do use shears to make cuts, but I don’t drill.  Instead I punch the holes, again most examples of sheet iron work, the holes appear to be punched which is much faster than if it were drilled.  I would pound the iron flat as it is distorted when punched.  I used two fine round files to smooth up the edges.

The rectangular ‘green’ block is actually an off-cut of maple that I use to back up the punch.  You can see the little plugs of metal embedded in the end grain of the block of wood.

 Clock hanger

 I used this harness vise (Gary from Toolemera straightened me out on this ‘saw vise) to hold the piece while I made the slot with the small round file.  After the slot was punched and cut with a cold chisel and flattened, I shaped the inside holes.  The two holes for the screws were punched then I used a metal countersink and brace to counter-sink the holes to accept the heads of the wood screw.

 Finished Wall Clock Hanger

I used the small shears to rough cut the outside profile then using the large round and flat file to get the metal to the final shape.


November 8, 2008

Child’s Chair, repair again

Filed under: Furniture,Historical Material,Of Interest,Restoration,Techniques,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 7:03 am

I have repaired this chair before and it was broken again at the site of the original damage.  It wasn’t that the repair didn’t hold it was that an adult fell on the chair and broke it in a slightly different place from the original damage and subsequent repair.

Childs Chair

I squared out a space at the location of the lacuna and fashioned a piece of birch, matching the original and glued it into place.  It is at the arm socket, so the Dutchman needed to have a space for the hole.  It didn’t take too long to make the replacement piece.

Childs chair repair

I use the classic rope and toggle to make a tourniquet to clamp the pieces together while the glue dries.

After the glue dries, I will shape it to match the turnings and give it a coat of pigmented shellac to match the original.  The chair is birch and I don’t have much of that wood around, so I used part of the whorl on the old spinning wheel and it was just big enough to make the patch.


November 7, 2008

Overcoming an Old Problem

This is something I have been wrestling with for quite a period of time and for some reason this morning I had an epiphany.  When putting stripes on furniture or glass in this case, there is always a problem with starting and stopping the line.  Even using brushes it is the same problem, but it is more common using the liner and a straight edge.

The first thing is that the straight edge be slightly elevated above the surface so as not to cause the paint/ink/varnish to wick under and bleed out on the surface where it is not wanted.  Now I have learned a lot of tricks over the years and have even used tape to mask, but it may suffer from the wicking problem.

A friend of mine that painted bill boards uses tape then talcum powder to dust the tape, then brushes it completely away.  It gets caught up on the adhesive of the tape and helps make a dam to prevent the paint from bleeding under the tape.

Well the problem I have is that when starting and stopping, there is always a large blob before the line gets good.  Generally, I just let it dry then using a sharp knife I cut it back to its proper line, usually not a problem but it does take some time.

 Clock Door Glass strip

As you can see the line on the left has big blobs where it starts and stops.  And on the right you can see that I have started beyond the starting place and finished beyond the finish point, putting the blobs outside of the area of interest.  Nice thing about glass is that I can just scrape off any problems which is what I did with the entire line on the left.  I then re-did the line going beyond the starting and stopping points.

Clock Door

Here is the finished clock door with the gold stripe.  It is painted on the back side, reverse glass painting and needed to be cleaned up at the corners.  I used a sharp wide blade chisel to remove the excess paint.  Any residue remaining was easily removed with alcohol.  The paint is an oil based gold paint.  I also used the chisel to straighten up a couple of crooked parts of the lines.  I just pushed it up and left it, from the front it looks almost perfect.

 Tomorrow I am going to try to use tape on the starting and stopping points on a painted surface to see if I can eliminate the problem I have when I paint stripes on painted furniture, which I do a lot.  The ‘blobbing’ problem doesn’t seem as bad on painted surfaces, but I must remember the chisel trick.  I think the glass is so smooth that it causes the blobs to spread more than a painted surface.



November 6, 2008

Little Repair on an Olive Wood Candlestick

Filed under: Drilling,Of Interest,Restoration,Techniques — Stephen Shepherd @ 2:22 pm

I have had this for a while and finally got around to doing the repair.  It is a candle stick made of Olive Wood from the Holy Lands and has sentimental value to the owners.  There wasn’t much to work with as it broke at its thinnest and weakest point.

Olive Wood Candle Stick, before

Notice the tiny dowel on the gnomon, made of a birch dowel which I recycled from some rock sugar candy, that I am fond of and save the sticks as they make fine small dowels.  I did have to shape this one down a bit to fit into the tiny holes.

Because of the fracture, there wasn’t a flat enough place to start drilling and the very hard nature of the wood and the very small neck I had to get the hole right in the center.  A conventional bit wouldn’t work, so I had an idea.  Sometimes that is a good thing. 

I took a small sharp square point awl and worried a hole in the center of the neck on both pieces and gently reamed a hole.  The advantage of this is that starting with a little hole, it is possible to ream it to the center if it drifts a bit.  This is a slow initial process until the hole is centered and enlarged to a certain diameter.

That diameter is the outside diameter of one of my brad awls with a double beveled chisel point.  I keep these sharp so I grabbed one the proper diameter, it was one of my smaller brad awls and begin to make the hole deeper.  But as you can see by the dowel, the holes are not that deep, so it didn’t take that long.

Using the brad awl produced a hole that was straight as it only cuts on the tip and doesn’t enlarge the hole, as it is getting deeper.  I then applied an ample amount of hide glue to all surfaces, took less than a big drop.  I then placed it together, the break almost disappeared.

Olive Wood Candle Stick, after

Using hide glue gave me the option of not clamping this until the glue dries.  Hide glue will shrink as it dries and the joint is very tight to start with and clamping needs to be perfect and this was a bit too delicate.  I thought about tape but dispensed with that idea and just let it sit, it will be ready on the morrow.

I put a coat of paint on the tin clock face today, it was flake white artist oil color paint thinned with turpentine.  Now, this paint is illegal today, and old enough that I had to use a scrap of wood to dig it out of the tube.  But it blended up nicely and put a good opaque coat of white on the tin dial.

I also cut the glass for the clock case today.  It was salvaged from an old window sash and it is old glass, a few nice ripples.  I do have an older piece, more seeds, real wavy, but too thick, therefore too heavy for a clock case door.  I will save that one for a larger project.  I removed the putty from the sash and was able to save the zinc triangle glazing points, which I will use to hold the glass in the door.  I will not putty the glass as it is not an exterior application.

I have been told to clean the glass before I cut it which I did, I thought.  I cut the glass while it was laying on a piece of slate from a pool table (I wanted a flat surface), made the marks and adjusted the straight to the offset of the glass cutter.  I use an old diamond point cutter and put a drop of oil on before each cut.  I made the first cut then when I lifted up the glass, I noticed it had paint speckles on it and it still cut just fine.  I made the other cut then scraped off the paint and putty on two edges.  I cleaned it with turpentine, then alcohol, then water.

I will put the gold strips on the inside of the glass tomorrow, I would have done that today, but forgot my liner.


November 5, 2008

Shellac, the unfiltered Truth

Filed under: Finishing,Historical Material,Of Interest,Techniques,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 2:54 pm

As you may well know shellac is bug poop, the exudation of a bug called Lacca lucifera that lives and dies on the twigs of fig trees.  It was introduced into Europe in the 1600’s or earlier with some confusion to Oriental Lacquer, hence its name.

Well it is collected and processed and we get it in all forms from ready made to its most basic form seed-lac, well stick-lac is cruder but it is difficult to acquire.  Seed-lac contains bug parts, parts of the fig tree, hair and other stuff and is shellac in its purest form.

While it is popular to filter or ‘de-wax’ shellac in an attempt to improve it, I think this is largely a waste of time and a waste of part of the properties of shellac.  Why de-wax?  It is not like it is beeswax or paraffin or carnauba that will interfere with gluing and finishing, it is a different kind of wax.


A square of cheesecloth, several layers thick is layed out and a small quantity of seed-lac is placed in the center.

 Cheescloth Bag

The four corners are brought up together and trussed up with a piece of jute twine and secured with a couple of overhand knots.  This is all the filtering I need, it keeps out the twigs and bug parts.  And this will be disposed of when finished, it can go into the garden, be composted or burned.

 A few minutes in alcohol

After just a few minutes in alcohol the essence starts to go into decoction, producing a rich color.  Shellac was originally used as a dyestuff for its red amber color.  It was then adapted as a finish and soon someone found out how to French Polish with the stuff.  It was also the first ‘hairspray’ and is used in food as ‘confectioners glaze’, food grade of course.

Soaking overnight

Notice the thick and creamy stuff on the bottom.  This is what it looks like after it has had a chance to sit and precipitate, overnight.  I stir the stuff up prior to using, but I do not ever filter this wonderful stuff out.

There are a variety of ways to apply shellac, brush, pad, fad but here is one that works great and is quite traditional.  It is a mouth atomizer and it allows me to spray the shellac onto my work.

Mouth Atomizer


November 4, 2008

Vote WHIG, don’t blame me, I voted for Fremont!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 7:52 am

Exercise your right to vote or not.  Vote early, vote often.

 Political poster

The background is a copy of an original political poster of the mid nineteenth century.


November 3, 2008

The Catch

Filed under: Dovetails,Historical Material,Of Interest,Sawing,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 3:23 pm

Here is the catch, or planing stop based on the Moxon illustration.  I found an old broken wrought iron nail that was just the right size for forging up a board catch.  The catch is then inserted into my wooden planing stop.  I can remove it when not in use.  My intentions is to make another wooden stop without a hole and keep these together, as the little iron catch could be easily lost.


I heated it up to a bright red heat and forged it to shape.  I used a cold chisel to make the splits then used a triangular file to work in between.  It took 5 or six heats to get it right, then I worked it over with a file to remove any sharp edges.  I also sharpened the teeth to engage the wood.

The first piece I planed was a piece with a miter cut on one end.  The catch held the square end fine and I was pleased that it also held the piece by the miter on the end.  I tried it all directions and I am glad I finally made one.

It is important to make it from wrought iron as it is soft and will cause much less damage than if it were made out of steel.  Steel, even mild steel can be hardened but it is impossible to harden the wrought iron like steel.  I did heat the whole catch up to cherry red heat and allowed it to cool slowly, insuring it is as soft as it can be.

 I also managed to make the mortises in both the clock case and the door of the clock.  I then give them a coat of paint.  I will grain it to imitate mahogany .  I still have to paint and number the dial, find some old glass and give the works a good cleaning.

Clock Case painted

I also had the help of Mike Moore Jr. who shot this video.  After looking at it I realized I should tighten the toggle tension another half a turn to avoid the blade jumping at the start.

Cranked Dovetail Bow Saw  



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