Full Chisel Blog

February 27, 2012

Montana {Norwegian} Spinning Wheel – completed & finished

And after I don’t know how I have finally completed the repairs, touch-ups and a finish.  I used shellac with brunt umber pigment to match the old stain and patina, then treated the entire wheel with Moses T’s Reviver.  I put the Reviver on with an old toothbrush to get into all of the details of the turnings, allowed it to sit for 10 minutes and wiped off the excess.  Disposing of my oily rags properly.

I assembled all the parts and used hemp cord for the power belt and a strip of leather for the transition between the foot treadle and the pitman.  After the crank was straightened it works fine without hitting the wheel support or the pitman.

Fun project, now on to something entirely different.



February 26, 2012

French Polish – Cotton vs Wool in the Fad

I have used a variety of fillers [such as rolled up cotton cloth, tow, cotton string] for the fad, pad, or rubber for applying shellac in the French polish process.  Mostly I have used raw cotton balls, they are readily available and terribly inexpensive.  After my research for Shellac, Linseed Oil, & Paint – Traditional 19th Century Woodwork Finishes, I wanted to give raw wool a try.

I acquired some raw wool from a friend Tracy Mudder a fine seamstress and spinner and washed it twice to remove any remaining lanolin.  I tried this stuff during the WestPac convention of the Piano Technicians Guild held last week in Salt Lake.  I was at Jurgen Goehring’s booth Piano Forte Supply from Canada.  I did a private [sort of, others were watching] workshop on French Polish.

Mixed up the seedlac and Everclear a couple of hours before I did the impromptu demonstration and lesson.  I prepared the linen cloth with Moses T’s St. John’s Oil and a bit of rottenstone.  I dipped a wad of raw wool into the shellac/alcohol mixture then wrapped it up in the linen and proceeded with the demonstration.  I then turned it over to Jurgen.








The piece of wood is a sample of spruce piano sounding board, the only piece of wood we could find to do the demonstration with.

Adjusting the pad before proceeding again.








He picked up the technique and learned what the ‘feel’ is like when the resistance starts and the surfaces goes to gloss.

My old pad with cotton on the left and my new favorite raw wool on the right.  Get some raw wool, wash it thoroughly, let it dry and use it for your pad.  The stuff looks like it will last a long time, I always threw away the cotton after one use.


February 21, 2012

Twin bill hardy hole anvil

I posted about making the pattern for this anvil here.  It was from a design by Mark Schramm, master blacksmith and we finally got them from the foundry today.  This is how they look before Mr. Schramm spent a bit of time smoothing them out.

The anvils weigh 6 pounds, are cast steel, and hardened to RC52.  After some time on his grinders, the anvils look like this.

And here is a view of the face of the anvil.

We will be offering these for sale.  Not only are they useful to a blacksmith as the 1″ square tang will fit in a hardy hole, but handy for woodworkers, will fit in a dog hole or can be mounted on a piece of wood for an easy and convenient place to straighten hardware or a bent nail.



February 17, 2012

Montana [Norwegian] Spinning Wheel IV

After soaking and cursing the modern glue used for this ‘butcher repair’ on the spinning wheel it was time to glue it back together with hot hide glue [192 double grams Bloom from Tools for Working Wood].  A joint was loose and had been ‘glued’ improperly, first the wrong glue then not aligned properly as was the split off piece of the rim of the wheel.  I clamped it back together with my rope clamp, this tool comes in very handy for just such clamping needs.

Because the repair to the rim was so bad, I couldn’t tell that there was some wood missing, until I started to put it back together.  I ended up gluing in the existing piece then infilling with wood [pine to match the original] into the crack, not an easy task.  I used Lee Valley Fish Glue for this repair.

There were also some dent marks on only one side of the wheel, not sure what caused them, not a dog or animal as they are just on one side?  There is also a previous repair that was done properly.

I mostly steamed them out using a clothes iron and wet cloth, but some remained but were taken care of in the filling process.  A mixture of calcium carbonate [whiting], linseed oil and burnt umber and black iron oxide pigment.  It will take a couple of days to dry, but looks great.

I also cut two new leather bearings for the maidens after removing the original.  It was held by the small pointed wedge from an angle, most unusual method to secure the leather bearings.

I will be able to put a coat of shellac on the wheel later today, then put the thing back together.  This has been a fun project, although I took way too long.


February 13, 2012

Turning on a Fiddle [Bow] Lathe

I haven’t got my current treadle lathe finished yet and I needed to turn a small decorative turning for the Montana Spinning Wheel that I have been working on for way too long.  I turned to my fiddle lathe or bow lathe or clockmaker’s lathe which I showed in detail earlier.

Here is a short video on turning on the fiddle lathe, I started with a gouge and finished off with a skew.  The gouge is a small carving chisel and the skew [and flat chisel] are ones I made.  The material is birch to match the original.

fiddle lathe  You have to click on this, for some reason that is the only way I can get it to work?

The video is short because the leather strap was stretching and had to be adjusted.  Then the leather strap broke.  I have tried several types of leather for this purpose, going to have to try some braided hemp, too bad I can’t get cello gut strings, they should work.

I did manage to get the turning finished, it took about a half an hour, the tool rest is quite small and had to be adjusted frequently.  It does take a few minutes to get use to turning with one hand while the other works the bow.


February 8, 2012

Ten Real Reasons even Liquid Hide Glue is better for furniture than modern glues.

Filed under: Alchemy,Hide Glue,Historical Material,Of Interest,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 2:37 pm

1.  It is all natural and not made from petroleum derivatives, safe to use around children and on toys.

2. It is Reversible, so if you make a mistake you can heat up the joint to 145° [F], introduce water and vinegar to soften or apply alcohol to desiccate the glue allowing the joint to be taken apart.

3. Makes further repairs much easier, no need to clean old hide glue from joints as the introduction of fresh glue will reconstitute the old hide glue.

4. It is transparent to stains and finishes, can be made flexible with glycerin and waterproof with alum.

5. It can be cleaned up immediately with a wet rag, or in a couple of hours after the glue has gelled, or next week or next year.

6. It washes out of clothes, rags, glue brushes, etc., even when dry.

7. Does not clog sandpaper with swarf.

8. Doesn’t dull tools like modern glues.

9. Both wood and hide glue are hydroscopic and adjust together to changes in temperature, and humidity.

10. Liquid Hide Glue shrinks when it dries and doesn’t suffer from ‘Creep’.


February 6, 2012

‘What the hell is 192 grams Bloom?’

Filed under: Alchemy,Hide Glue,Historical Material,Of Interest,Publications,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 10:22 am

That was a question asked me by a friend that is starting down the short sticky slope of hot hide glue.  He had asked what to order and I told him ‘192 grams Bloom’, to which he gave the above response.

I then explained to him about how the strength of hide glue was determined using a [Oscar] Bloom Gelometer to establish the strength [molecular weight] of a sample of hide glue.  A mixture of 12-½ wt. % protein solution (known as standard concentration) of hide glue is prepared by heating the hide glue and water for 18 hours at 50° Fahrenheit and tested in the following manner.  A plunger ½” in diameter, with a flat bottom (1/32″radius on the lower edge) is pressed about 3/16” (4 mm) into the solution.  The English/European system differs slightly.

Glue comes in strengths from 12 to 529 double Bloom grams, the highest coming from the first extraction of hide glue during the manufacturing process and divided into several grades.  The numbers given like 192 is the midrange; between 178-206 considered the best for general woodworking.

I then told him to read all about it in Hide Glue – Historical & Practical Applications and to order some 192 from Joel at Tools for Working Wood.  He sent in the order for 5 pounds and gave me a pound, good thing as I am down to my last half pound.


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