Full Chisel Blog

June 29, 2009

Hide Glue – Historical & Practical Applications, more reviews

Filed under: Hide Glue,Moxon,Of Interest,Publications,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 6:06 am

Hide Glue - Historical & Practical Applications

Gary Roberts over at Toolemera has read the book and offers a review of my new book. And I am not embarrassed.

Leif Hansen at Norse Woodsmith also did a review and was more critical.  I should have included an illustration of a ‘clamp extender’, which in the spirit of Moxon, I illustrated in Shepherds’ Compleat Early Nineteenth Century Woodworker.

Just found another review on Larry’s Wood’n Bits Workshop.

I am pleased with all the reviews, thank you gentlemen.  And while both books are listed as ‘out of stock’ on Joel’s web site, he will have more copies of both books this week.


June 28, 2009

Hand Planes, big and small

Well the scanner seems to be working quite nicely, although the Hazard Knowles plane pic was too big to upload so I had to compress it to fit.  Nice handle it matches the bench top.

Knowles Pattent Plane

This was in the collection of Ray Wilson in Indianapolis and I shot this slide in 1979.

I was invited to an invitation only tool show in northern Indiana in 1978 and shot the following two slides.  The first one is a group of small planes, I think they are luthier planes as the following slide shows other tools.  They are exhibited on a 12 inch square marquetry floor tile and there are over two dozen planes.

Small Planes

These are tools and forms used by a musical instrument maker. (Ken, I think I have mentioned these photographs to you before).

Luthier tools

At this show I was taken into a back room and shown a couple of illegal trip guns, one was disguised as a window sash lock.  I wasn’t allowed to take pictures of those.


Public Works Great Salt Lake City 1856

Filed under: Historical Material,Of Interest,The Trade,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 9:16 am

This is the stencil on the underside of Chairs made at the Public Works in Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory in that year.  It is from the underside of a Gondola Chair that had been made for Brigham Young.  There are many examples of these chairs including 26 I have made.  My reproductions have a stencil that is 15% smaller than the original, in order to tell the difference.

public works2

Here is another scan of the 35 mm slide that I did with the dust and scratch removal feature on my new Film Scanner.  This is the first in what will be thousands of slides and negatives that I will be able to preserve digitally.  I am very pleased with the results and this scan is not anywhere near the maximum resolution of the scanner.

public works1

The flare at the top is from the original slide, a few of these occur because I typically didn’t advance the film as far as recommended in order to squeeze out an extra frame or two.


June 26, 2009

Utah Hand Tool Group

Yes and it has quite a few members.  I had done a presentation for them years ago and was invited back.  Brian Clark hosted the gathering and cooked up some fine food that was served up prior to the meeting.  I was one of two who talked for an hour.  This was on Thursday evening, Chris Gochnour was also in attendance and gave me a ride home.

I also met another professional woodworker Chris Timm who has a business making furniture.  I must go visit his shop.

The first was Matt, and I don’t know his last name from Gabardi & Sons who makes fine infills.  Another member Jim Yehle  also makes excellent infill planes.  Matt does this for a living, a full time plane-maker way out here in the Wild West, go figure.

I was invited to discuss hand scrapers, some had seen my article in Fine Woodworking on making the ‘winged cabinet scraper’ and a couple had built them from the article.  I had various examples including my toothing scraper, travisher scraper and Jarvis scraper.  I also had several card scrapers and the luthier scrapers and talked of using scrapers with two burrs, the bevel and single burr and no burr at all.  I also mentioned using glass as a scraper, apparently vindicating one of the members who uses glass to the disbelief of the others.  It was a fun discussion.

But then for some reason the conversation turned to Hide Glue.  It was a lively discussion, answering questions and referring them to the latest publication on the subject.  Most questions were about Hot Hide Glue but there was also questions about liquid hide glue.  It was exciting to discuss the topic with fellow woodworkers and their inquiries and comments were relevant, instead of ‘why would you write a book about hide glue?’

I unfortunately or fortunately only had 4 copies of the Hide Glue book left and they went quick, with several more wanting copies, which I have already ordered from the printers.


Hide Glue – Historical & Practical Applications, first review!

Hide Glue

Well the first review of Hide Glue – Historical & Practical Application has been posted on Chris Schwarz Blog and it is a good one.   Joel had written up some comments on his web site, but this was the first review.  One always holds ones breath at moments like these.  I can now breath easy.


June 24, 2009

Scrapers again

Filed under: Historical Material,Of Interest,Scrapers,Techniques,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 5:59 pm

I have more to say about scrapers.  The mere act of cutting the blades and grinding them changes the edge characteristics of the metal and adds to work hardening.  I also suspect filing and even stoning add somewhat to the work hardening of the steel above its original hardness.  And old saws aren’t that hard which is fine, they don’t snap when kinked.

The Stradivarius scrapers are made of a particularly pitted old saw that I have cut down to make another pattern makers saw.  I don’t care about pits on the saw blade but it can cause problems on a scraper.  So all of the edges have been ground somewhat, the knife blade shapes are sharpened like knives.  The others are sharpened with a 45 degree bevel and capable of only a single burr.  But they don’t necessarily need a burr.  A rough grind will quickly scrape a surface, albeit rough.

 sharp Strad scrapers

Sometimes the best metal is under the handle and toward the heel which usually has less rust.

good steel

I am going to make a couple of 45 degree luthier scrapers and a square card scraper from the ones on the left.  The small one on the right has already seen good service.

 I also have a couple of original scrapers, the upper one is from a nineteenth century English tool chest and the other is marked OSBORNE, which are known for their leather working tools.

original scrapers

The rounding of corners is the condition that I found them.

And if it is too pitted you can always make a glue comb from the blade.  This is discussed in Hide Glue – Historical & Practical Applications on page 42.  Used for a uniform coat of hide glue on all glue joint surfaces, especially for veneer work.

Glue Comb



June 23, 2009


Filed under: Historical Material,Of Interest,Proper Tools,Scrapers,Sharpening,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 7:16 pm

Lately I have been fiddling around with some scrapers, especially those used by luthiers.  I made a set of scrapers based on those in the Stradivarius Museum and have finally put a shape and edge to them.

 I was invited to the Utah Hand Tool Group to give a presentation on Thursday June 25,2009.  I was surprised they were still around, they use to meet at the local Woodcraft but I had not seen any mention since the store moved to the south end of the valley.  I had given a lecture and demonstration for them 5 or 6 years ago and was pleased they were still around.

They have about 30 members so it is growing and that is good.  I will talk a bit about Hide Glue (and sell a few books) but for the most part the discussion will be scrapers.  I will take a couple of my winged hand scrapers and a fist full of card scrapers.  I am going to tell them some things they probably haven’t heard, because I haven’t told anybody yet.

While cabinet scrapers (those with bodies) and rectangular card scrapers are for flat surfaces and I will touch on those subjects, I am much more interested in talking about using scrapers on curved surfaces.  I also spent my free time at work today making 6 pair of knitting needles.  I have a bunch of square blanks of curly maple and shaped then with a knife, to form the knob and sharpen the point, a small pattern-makers bronze spokeshave for rough shaping, a very small one and an oval card scraper.

Rough sawn curly maple square blanks measuring just under 3/32″ and ending up round is a challenge.  The telegraphing of the saw cuts and the curly wood was common and it required that I hold the scraper at a very skew angle to insure the rough cut and natural curl didn’t interfere with getting the knitting needles very smooth.  Then there is the fact that the blanks were 10″ long so it was not possible to apply a lot of pressure.

Now if I would have had a bench it would have been easier but all I had was my leg to support the thin pieces of wood.  But then I needed to frequently check the progress by sighting down the wood as I was working it, so moving it to my leg every time was not practical.  Then I started treating them like thin spindles on a lathe and supported them with my fingers  I am developing calluses on the insides of my fingers.

 I had also used the unusual narrow scrapers (ground to 45 degrees) in the set to work the inside of the opening in the pitman in the previous post.  And I did all of the scraping with a rough ground scrapers.  Parts of the scrapers didn’t have a burr and others did and I found that without a burr and this sharpening that I could get good curl by pushing the bevel edge scrapers.

This seems to go against all I was taught and most of what I had seen.  But then I realized that I had seen scrapers used like that before by a gunsmith, but didn’t understand how he did it at the time.  The bevel edge doesn’t even need a burr.  I removed the burr from a couple of bevel edge scrapers, actually double beveled, more like a knife blade.  They still scrape well under the proper conditions.



June 21, 2009

Spinning Wheel part 3

Filed under: Historical Material,Of Interest,Restoration,Spinning Wheel,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 3:44 pm

Or is it part 4?  Using white birch, I turned the pitman, the connection between the foot treadle and the crank on the wheel.


After I flattened off the top by slabbing some off both sides with a rip saw, I drill a half inch hole to accept the knob on the end of the wheel crank and a 1/4 inch hole at the other end where the shaft of the offset crank axle.  I connect the two holes using a pad saw with a couple of inches of blade exposed.


I then used a file and scrapers to smooth out the inside slot.  I ground up and sharpened the Stradivarius Scrapers I made and used a thin one to work the inside until it fit over the axle.  I will post on these scrapers later.


I worried the small hole for the leather strap at the bottom with a brad awl.  This will be the loose connection between foot treadle and pitman to prevent binding during the spinning process.  All that is left is to stain it up to match.

wheel nut2

The pitch of the threads required me to hand carve them as they didn’t match.  I as usual made them too big and had to whittle the threads down to fit.

I have made the large flyer bearing and still need to make or have made two large washers to fit under each wheel nut to help secure and stabilize the shaft of the wheel.



June 17, 2009

More History

Filed under: Historical Material,Of Interest,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 5:15 pm

Another United States Presidential Dollar is on the market.  Tippecanoe and Tyler Too had served shortly and John Tyler took over after Old Tippecanoe took that dirt nap.  Well now here is an interesting President.

 John Tyler

The Government is also getting into the economic pinch as the images are much smaller.

Tyler was the 10th President of the United States and served from 1841 to 1845.  Had Joseph Smith Jr. not been assassinated by a mob in Carthage Missouri (Illinois, my mistake) on June 25, 1844, he would have been in the election of 1844.

There are scholars that suggest he might have been a formidable candidate for the office with a prison reform platform that was popular as well as his popularity in the Burned Over District and ability to take many Western states, it would have been an interesting election.

Another interesting fact about Mr. Tyler is that he sided with the South during the American Civil War and his popularity declined.


June 14, 2009

Moxon is available in the original tongue.

Filed under: Historical Material,Moxon,Of Interest,Publications,The Trade,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 12:54 pm

Gary Roberts over at Toolemera now has a Moxon facsimile available for the first time.





And all of this for $22.40 and that includes shipping.  I have read this version and I am grateful for Gary to offer Moxon as originally published and with all the other sections.  Blacksmithing, Bricklaying, Turning, Carpentry, Joinery and Sun Dial making.

It is important to read it all because Moxon was clever to not include all information in each of the individual pamphlets, but made references to other sections requiring the craftsmen to purchase all of the sections.  Clever idea, and there is a great deal of information relating to woodworking in all the other sections.

Moxon must be read in its entirety to get the most out of this remarkable publication.


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