Full Chisel Blog

November 27, 2011

Roubo Workbench – For Sale

Because of space restrictions in my shop I don’t have room for this bench so I am offering it for sale.  Just in time for the gift giving season.  This is a fairly faithful copy of an original bench from 18th century France made with American hardwoods, red birch top, maple legs stretchers, storage shelf boards, and the  drawer is constructed of pine with a maple bottom.

Measures 32″ wide, 96″ long, and 36″ tall according to my scale.  All joinery techniques are examples of the original and it is glued together with Fish Glue.  Is fully assembled and comes with chisel rack, crochet, iron hook in wooden dog, holdfast, grease cup [with screw/nail grease {beeswax & tallow}], and dovetailed drawer.

I did speculate as to how the drawer was hung from the bench and I used a method I had done on an earlier bench I made, it is a full extension drawer.  Keyhole and half mortise lock plate.

Price $400.00 US, F.O.B. Salt Lake City, Utah.

Shipping to any United States destination estimated to be $11.00 Medium Flat Rate Box.


November 26, 2011

Great ‘new’ Catalogue from Tools for Working Wood

Joel and the folks at Tools for Working Wood in Brooklyn New York have come out with the finest catalogue I have seen recently.  Based on traditional design and implementation it is a joy to receive in the mail and a pleasure to read.

Nice to see old traditions preserved, Thanks.  Most catalogues when they are out of date go into the recycle bin, this one will go in the bookcase.


November 25, 2011

Roubo Workbench build day four, finished except for the finish

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.



November 23, 2011

Roubo Workbench build day three.

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.


November 20, 2011

Roubo Workbench

Well with everyone building a Roubo workbench, I thought I would make one.  I started today and finished the top, solid slab of birch 32″ wide, 96″ long and 6″ thick.  The legs are maple 6 by 6 inches and just under 36″ tall with a dovetail and rectangular tenon on the ends.  I fit up one leg today and should finish most of the bench tomorrow.

I still have to rebate the stretchers, tenon them off and mortise them into the legs.  Then some leg holes, holdfast holes, crochet, grease cup, drawer and chisel rack.  No vise on this one.

Kind of fun, and a fair amount of work.


November 16, 2011

Pistol Grip Handsaw – Rip

Having made a copy of this saw in cross-cut [original pictured in Ancient Carpenter’s Tools by Henry Mercer] and enjoying the feel of this saw, together with some old saw blades I have, lent itself to another saw, this one in rip.

I had Mark Schramm make me another hand forged tang to make another saw, he made the first tang.  Using some of the same cherry I shaped the handle using my original cross cut pistol grip saw to make the rough cuts.

While I was cutting the straight parts at the tang, I wished I had the rip saw finished to be able to finish the cuts.  I did all the other parts with the pistol grip cross-cut.  I then found some brass for the ferrule and cut it to length.  I used spokeshaves and rasps and files to shape the handle.  I then used a small oval card scraper to smooth the surface.

I made the square tapered hole in the end-grain using gimblet bits and small chisels to worry out the end-grain until the tang fit properly.  I then used a cold chisel to upset barbs on the tang to hold the tang in the cherry wood handle.  I punched two holes in the cast steel saw blade and fixed the tang to the blade with two soft rivets.  I applied Fish Glue before driving the tang home.

The cherry handle has some suntan on its sides and will eventually turn dark like the first saw.  I used Moses T’s St. John’s Oil to finish and it will be used to maintain the finish of the wood.  I also had to join, set, sharpen and whet the teeth to rip and there are 7 teeth per inch.  I will have to make a new tooth guard for my new rip saw.

If you like this kind of saw and have an old blade [many can be easily cut with sheet metal shears] you can make your own pistol grip hand saw with a hand forged tang, available now at the Store, go to the Tool Section.



November 15, 2011

Not my best hardware moment

Filed under: Hardware,Historical Material,Of Interest,Techniques,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 6:03 pm

I have installed a large number of mortise locks and probably a half a dozen of this type of lock but I have never done this before.  After carefully chopping the mortise for the lock and plate and securing it with screws, I was on to the strike plate.

I had built this writing desk ‘slope’ several years ago and decided to finish the project.  It is pine and will be painted and grained to look like mahogany or rosewood.  The new lock fit just fine, compensating for the slight angle caused by the angle of the slope, the mortise was also angled.  Because of the hinges I wanted this to line up properly, the reason I chose this type of lock.

After positioning the lid in the proper place I marked the pin and the lock hook and cut a mortise to receive them.  I then carefully lined things up and marked for the strike plate.  I scored around the plate then mortised out the shallow recess for the strike plate.

Next I used a brad awl to make the holes as I had done on the lock plate, then with some beeswax/tallow on the screw tip I drove home the screws.  And yes the slots in the screws are lined up.

With everything looking good, I confidently closed the writing desk and it locked snugly in the correct position.  Now If I had only cut the keyhole.  This was not my finest moment.

I was able to carve out the keyhole to fit the key, a little more trouble than doing it the proper way, don’t think I will do that again.


November 13, 2011

Nineteenth Century Pill Making Machine and…

a 12 gang large candle mold are what I picked up at an antique store, I was looking for a vintage cocktail shaker.  I went with a friend lets call him George Stapleford and I spotted the new candle mold, marked $39.00 on sale for $19.00, much less than I paid for a 6 gang mold.

My beeswax/tallow candles burn for 12 hours with proper attention to the wick.

But the real find was this ‘slicer’ or that is what the sticker said.  Then it got confusing it looked like it was marked $14.00 and that was marked through and 7.– was marked.  I took it to the counter and asked the price, $7.00 it was and after I paid I told them it wasn’t a slicer.

As I was paying George pointed out the name on the end WIRZ, sounded famaliar, could it be Dr. Henry Wirz the commandant of Andersonville?

On the top edge is is marked 3 Gr., and 346 [the top roller bar is also stamped 346] with 4 stars and then the letters WIRZ.  Made of mahogany and brass with iron screws this 24 gang pill making machine is 19th century, there are hand planing marks and plane blade chatter marks on the tool.

Have to look into the association with Wirz.


November 9, 2011

Putty is your buddy.

With all the talk of nailed furniture, you will need something to fill those nail holes plus any cracks, voids, knots and other irregularities.  And the traditional method of making putty is very simple: boiled linseed oil and whiting [calcium carbonate or chalk] mixed to the consistency of putty.
I use stand oil or sun thickened linseed oil together with some regular boiled linseed oil to help things dry quicker, see Shellac, Linseed Oil, & Paint – Traditional 19th Century Woodwork Finishes for more details.  I will sometimes mix the calcium carbonate with Moses T’s St. John’s Oil which has turpentine that helps in the drying.

This is some putty I mixed up for the exterior woodwork for the Fairbanks Homestead [1850’s building] as well as on the patterns I have been recently working on.
This works great as putty for an oil paint finish, you can carefully paint over it right away and it will dry under the oil paint.  Other surface finishes require that the putty dries which can take from a day to a week depending on the conditions of temperature and humidity.  It eventually becomes very hard yet remains flexible for wood movement.  It does not shrink when it dries.

Another putty can be made with thinned Hide Glue and wood flour, saw dust or calcium carbonate and it acts like the water based putty but is a bit stickier and adheres better to smooth surfaces.  See Hide Glue – Historical & Practical Applications for more details.
If you can’t wait for the oil/chalk to dry then you can use calcium sulphate [gypsum or plaster of Paris] and water to the consistency of putty.  I also add some whiting to thicken or sometimes wood flour [very fine sawdust] if the holes are large.  Repeated applications are required as it will shrink as it dries, but once dry is very stable.  Also a drop or two of glycerin will keep it flexible if necessary.
The application for each is slightly different, the oil based putty can be applied using a putty knife then smoothed with the fingers, the stuff is quite magical when you work with it for a while, and you’ll see how nicely it behaves.  The water based putty needs to be worked with a putty knife quickly before it sets up; its open time [before it sets] is short and needs to be smoothed before it dries.
With each of these putties, dry powdered pigments can be added to color the putty to match the color of the surface of the work.  The oil/whiting putty can be colored with artist’s oil colors and the water/plaster of Paris can be colored with artist’s water colors, I prefer the dry powdered pigments because they are dirt cheap.  Oh wait they are dirt.
The oil based colored putty will dry the color it is when mixed up, the water based colored putty will dry a lighter color than when mixed up, so some experimentation might be required.  I try to get the putty a slightly lighter value of the color as it doesn’t stand out as much as if the putty is too dark.
Putty is nothing new in woodworking some sarcophagi from ancient Egypt show the early use of putty.  Fill the lacuna.

November 7, 2011

Patternmaking is not that easy.

Filed under: Documentation,Finishing,Historical Material,Of Interest,Proper Tools,Techniques — Stephen Shepherd @ 10:02 am

I have made a couple of small patterns for casting in silver and one in brass but this is my first patterns for casting steel.  Steel shrinks 1/4″ per foot when it is cast, these are built to the exact size of the drawings, and because they are small there will be little shrinkage.

The pattern on the right is a leaf forming tool and the tang fits in the hardy hole of a blacksmith’s anvil and was a straight forward job of just copying the original and the full size drawing.  The top part is pine and the tang is aspen, because it was the right thickness.

The one on the left is a German style pattern to fit in a hardy hole of an anvil, however it would also be a very handy anvil for any woodworker and a square hole in the bench like a bench dog hole could accommodate.  I am getting one of the first ones.  It is made with basswood for the top and pine the base and aspen for the square tang.

I had a problem with the anvil, well I had two problems; first the round horn, I copied the drawing [my mistake, it was drawn incorrectly], so I had to add to the bottom of the round horn to make it round.  The second problem was mine, in that the square horn was off by several degrees on the angles.

My solution was to cut it most of the way through, clamp it, cut it again and again until I could bend it so the angles matched.  I then glued it with Fish Glue, clamped it and allowed it to dry overnight.  Then a bit of filling, a coat of Moses T’s St. John’s Oil and a couple of coats of shellac.

I then gave them several coats of white oil based paint, lightly sanding between coats.

When taken to the foundry it was determined that the anvil needed to be cut in half, so I did.

To compensate for the saw kerf, I glued a piece of Spanish Cedar veneer to each side of the pattern and allowed to dry.  I cut off the excess, repeated the finish schedule and they are ready for the foundry this afternoon.

Fun project, now I have to make a pattern for a bridging tool.



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