Full Chisel Blog

August 31, 2010

Curly Maple Spinning Wheel 5

I thought that this would be my last post, however when I put the wheel together today I noticed it was missing a pitman.  Well it will not work with out one so I turned one up.  I measured from the treadle up to the crank at bottom dead center and subtracted an inch to keep the treadle off the floor. 

After it is turned, I got it wet with water to raise the grain and allowed it to dry before scraping off the raised grain and burnishing the surface on the lathe with shavings.

Using a wide chisel I made the upper part flat on both sides, so it would fit on the iron crank.  I drilled the holes from both sides, a large 1/2″ hole for the button on the end of the crank and a smaller one for the shaft of the crank 3/8″.  I need to drill one more hole on the other end for the leather strap that connects the bottom of the pitman to the foot treadle.

Still need to finish the hooks on the flyer, but did get the whorl working, had to re-line the inside of the pulley with some very thin leather glued on with fish glue.  The shaft of the mandrel was not threaded but friction fit, interesting, so the leather was necessary to make the pulley hold tight.

I have an old pioneer wool walking wheel in the queue and have already made one part but trying to decide the tension mechanism.


August 30, 2010

Handle for Blacksmith Tool

I needed to handle up a hot cutter, a tool used by blacksmiths to cut pieces while they are hot.  This is an unusual shape in that it has a curved blade.  The head can be reversed on the long handle and the tool is struck with a hammer to make the cut, in this case curved.  It could have other purposes.

I started with a split of hickory and with my mallet and froe, I split the wood down to the thickness I needed.

I then used my Ft. Meigs axe to take off the sharp edges and smooth down the top to fit in the head.  The curved blades allows me to hew the side of the split of hickory.

I used bot a rasp to get of the real rough stuff and a card scraper to smooth off the handle, but I held it in a different manner that allowed me to exert a lot of pressure making the work go quickly.

I also used another grip for the finer finishing work on the hard hickory handle.  I held the end against the bench hook.

Here is a picture of the head of the hot cutter.

And another view of the handle and hot cutter head.

And the other side.

Before I put any finish on the handle, I do as I do with all pieces made of wood, I raise the grain with water and smooth them off.  This insures that in the future when the wood gets wet it won’t swell again.

I will scrape it off and apply a coat of walnut oil, followed by a coat of linseed oil.


August 26, 2010

Friends are concerned…

Filed under: Drilling,Finishing,Historical Material,Of Interest,Proper Tools,Turning,Wood — Stephen Shepherd @ 6:05 am

that my focus lately on making weapons is out of character.  I am basically a non violent person, I think killing is wrong and I have never been in a physical fight.  Although I have no problem assailing people verbally I never take it to the next level.  However I do seem to have and make a lot of personal protection devices.

So after a friend told me of a cudgel enhanced with hob nails, I decided to put a few to good use.  Turned of hard maple, I had to pre-drill the holes for the hobnails.  It is finished with a coat of linseed oil/turpentine.

No more mollycoddling those sensitive types.


August 24, 2010

Tool Handles

I got some nice curly maple and decided to make up some more tool handles.  I make square/octagonal tapered handles and all of my shop tool handles match, including a broom handle.

I used the pistol grip saw that I just made to rip the square into 4 sections.  I added the clamp to help hold the piece while I ripped to depth.

I also used the saw to crosscut the pieces to length.

I shaped them on a bench hook with a small smoothing plane.  I planed them square with a bit of taper, then knocked off the corners and brought it to octagonal and with the proper taper.  I used a scraper to smooth, then got them wet to raise the grain, then scraped them again.

I also did a ‘repair’ on an iron bed I am restoring for a client.  The bed had been painted with many layers including some sponged on bright colors, so I had it sandblasted.  There was a cast piece missing when it was brought in.

So I shaped a piece of pine to fill in the missing.  I cleaned the iron with alcohol applied liquid hide glue to glue the replacement piece in place.  I will fill it when it dries and the bedstead will be painted with white oil paint.

Also got a few more things done today, so it has been a couple of productive days in the shop.


August 20, 2010

New Toothing Plane – finished

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.


August 18, 2010

Pistol Grip Hand Saw 2

Well I finally got it finished, had problems with punching the holes in the blade.  The steel proved too difficult so after sharpening a twist drill bit, I used a gear drill to make the holes for the rivets.  I upset some barbs on the edge of the tapered tang with a cold chisel.  These will grip into the handle, I also used liquid hide glue to glue the tang into the square mortise. 

The saw is a bit 18th century, a bit Dutch with a little American thrown in.

I first fit up the yellow brass ferrule to the handle by using a slitting gauge to score the shoulder, then going cross grain removed the extra wood, then a float to make it round.  Once the brass ferrule was fit, I scraped down the cherry handle to make it fit smoothly.  I then used a gimblet bit in a brace to drill the hole for the tang.  I used a 1/8″ chisel to square up the square tapered hole.

I used the saw to rip a maple wedge for a toothing plane I am working on.  I tried two different grips, the first with the index [trigger] finger pointing forward.

This seemed awkward to me so because I had made the handle large enough for four fingers, this grip, which was much more comfortable and I felt I had more control over the saw.

I should have cleaned my nails before this photograph.


August 16, 2010

Why laminated [laid] blades are better.

Let me make one thing perfectly clear, I am not commenting on the quality of the steel used then and now. I am not saying that the old steel was better than the new steel, I have no idea and for this discussion, I really don’t care. That is not the point. For the quality of steel is only one small, I repeat small portion of the overall equation.

By laminated blades, be it chisels or plane irons; I mean tools made largely of wrought iron with a thin veneer of steel forge welded to the cutting edge. Now I would like to take to task those who say that this was done because of economy; steel is more expensive than wrought iron. In the nineteenth century steel costs 5 times that of iron and the steel on these old tools is usually less than 10% of the blade. Then there is the two or three heats it takes to forge weld the steel to the wrought iron. There is no economy, it would have been cheaper to make them of solid steel, but they didn’t and here is why.

First steel will hold an edge longer than the softer wrought iron and the iron could not be hardened like steel. The steel had to be reduced by forging to the thin veneer before it is forge welded to the wrought iron. This forging, both in making the thin slips of steel but the forge welding to the iron as well, compacts the grain of the steel. It even happens today following the same process, and the tight grain in the steel produces a higher quality steel.

However the most important result of this process is that the completed forge welded laminated [laid] steel blade can be hardened by quenching in brine, producing a very hard and brittle steel. If it were made of solid steel then it would need to be tempered in order to remove some of the hardness or the tool would break as the solid steel with be too brittle. Made largely of wrought iron, which can’t be hardened, the steel can be hardened much harder than a solid tool. And because it is supported and protected by the soft iron, the steel can be left very hard from the brine quench.

Some say the older tools have better steel, I am not sure the steel was any better but the process did leave the thin veneer of steel very hard, holding an edge longer. And when grinding and sharpening only a small amount of the hard steel is ground/sharpened while the bulk of the tool made of wrought iron is easy to remove.

So let me say it once again, it is the combination of iron and steel that makes for a better blade, probably reduces chatter [as opposed to a solid steel blade], puts the center of gravity toward the cutting edge of tapered plane irons and can be made much harder because of its unique structure.


August 15, 2010

Pistol Grip Hand Saw

Filed under: Historical Material,Of Interest,Proper Tools,Sawing,Techniques,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 7:34 am

I made one of these saws back in the 1970’s while working at Conner Prairie Pioneer Settlement.  Sold it some years later and always wanted to make another, so I did.  I had the blade, the end of an old saw that had been made into other things.  The blade was kinked and broken, so saving it was out of the question, but salvage was not.

Mark Schramm, the blacksmith at This is the Place Heritage Park, made the tang and provided the rivets.  I will punch the holes in the saw blade, punching is much quicker than drilling the steel blade.  I will also put a few barbs on the tang before inserting it into the pistol grip shape handle.

It will look something like the saw pictured above.

Now I just have to make the handle.  I will use cherry to match my other saw handles and put a ferrule on to prevent splitting.


August 13, 2010

Curly Maple Spinning Wheel 4

The broken leg also had some damage and missing wood on the foot, so I made a couple of cuts to square off the damage and used the remaining part I cut off the top repair tenon to replace the missing wood.  Because it was too difficult to clamp, I relied on the fact that hide glue shrinks as it dries.

Having good mating surfaces between the old and the new was essential, I toothed the surface to help with adhesion and let the hide glue do the rest.

I also worried out the leg that was stuck in the base.  This is a traveling wheel, so it is made to take apart and move.  I introduced alcohol by pouring it onto the spatula then touching it to the joint.  This was in case it has some remnants of hide glue remaining, but it was just a tight fit, but the alcohol did help in the successful removal of the leg.

I also decided to add one small peg/dowel to help strengthen the splice to the top of the leg that makes the new tenon.  I drilled it in through the old wood and into the new.  This will help with the shear force on the joint.

I still have to finish the whorl, but almost done.


August 10, 2010

New Toothing Plane

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.


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