Full Chisel Blog

May 29, 2012

Repairing Buddha

A friend of mine brought this to me to do a repair, it is not terribly old, the carving is good but not great and it suffered from a seasoning check.  It may have cracked shortly after being carved, as it is carved from a round log of wood.

It had been ‘repaired’ at least twice, the first time with some sort of colored clay that almost matched the crack.  It had then been worked over with what looks like a wax furniture repair stick, the lighter color.

The crack goes from the toes to the top of the head.  The first repair was almost undetectable, especially under the bright orange wax work.

Using a thin pallet knife and small needle, I removed the previous ‘repairs’.  I also used an old toothbrush to clean off any residue.

I will mix up some Beaumontage with dry powdered pigments and fill the crack.  I choose not to replace the missing with wood as I think the crack will continue and this ‘repair’ can be easily redone in the future.


May 19, 2012

Hickory Handle for a Blacksmith’s Drift

Filed under: Clamping,Hide Glue,Historical Material,Of Interest,Proper Tools,Uncategorized,Wood — Stephen Shepherd @ 11:08 am

I have been using a veneery hammer I borrowed from a friend, because I lent my wooden veneer hammer to another friend.  In the coarse of discussions with Master Blacksmith Mark Schramm it was decided that he should make a traditional wrought iron veneer hammer, based on original designs.

As it was, Mark needed a handle made for a drift in order to make the proper tapered eye in the hammer head to receive the handle.  I have some splits of very dry hickory/pecan [hard to tell the difference some times] to fashion handles.  I used my small froe to split it to the right thickness then used a drawknife, spokeshave, rasp, and card scraper to shape the handle.

I used my pistol handle rip saw to cut the kerf for the wedge, then fashioned a proper wedge from a piece of very hard poplar I have.  I glued it in place with Lee Valley Fish Glue, both the wedge in the kerf and the handle to the head.  I properly etched the inside of the eye with garlic.  With everything in place I hammered the wedge home, washed off the glue [and raised the grain of the wood], then cut off the excess wedge.

After it dried I scraped it down with a card scraper, tomorrow I will put on a coat or two of Moses T’s St. John’s Oil.

Good to do some woodwork for a change.


May 18, 2012

Three original editions of Shepherds’ Compleat Early Nineteenth Century Woodworker

I took a photograph of the three original hardbound 1981 editions of Shepherds’ Compleat Early Nineteenth Century Woodworker, while I had them all together.  Less than 500 were originally printed.  I just sold one to a friend, he got a deal but paid over $100.00.  Here is what is offered on Amazon.

I will be keeping the one that has some wear and one torn page but will be selling the other that is in near perfect condition.  It is signed but not inscribed.  Going price $300.00 and I am in no hurry to sell.

Of course Shepherds’ Compleat Early Nineteenth Century Woodworker is available in paperback from Tools for Working Wood or at the Full Chisel Store.


May 17, 2012

Controlling wildfires is not always a good idea.

Filed under: Historical Material,Of Interest,Trees,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 2:05 pm

Here is what I wrote about the subject in 1981 and it is even more important today.  It is a followup to a previous post ‘An Open Letter to the President…’.

The above text is from Shepherds’ Compleat Early Nineteenth Century Woodworker, 1981, 2012, as is the following cartoon.


May 16, 2012

An Open Letter to the President, and the Congress of the United States of America

Filed under: Of Interest,Restoration,Trees,Uncategorized,Wood — Stephen Shepherd @ 2:56 pm


There is a real problem out here in the West and its solution can benefit the entire country.  There are over 360 million acres of Conifer Forests and over 40 million acres have been killed by the Red Death [bark beetle, pine needle borer] and they are expanding.  We are losing a great national natural resource, and it will get worse if nothing is done.

You and you alone could put hundreds of thousands of people to work to conserve the forests and convert the massive amount of standing dead trees into usable reasonably priced building materials.  The slash could be inexpensive firewood, mulch, and converted to alcohol.  There is also a great resource available from the pitch and sap exuding from both living and dead trees for turpentine and varnish production, not relying on limited fossil fuels.

While the process of removing the dead trees and their conversion to usable materials and stores will have an impact upon the environment, doing nothing is far more egregious.  The process of cleaning up all of the potential fuel will also lessen wild fire danger; making the forest healthy to resist future fires and infestations.

These forests are an important part of the Earth’s biomass that sequesters CO2 and produces oxygen.  They will only be a renewable resource if they survive.  And they are beautiful; please preserve them for future generations to enjoy.

Stephen Arden Shepherd


May 10, 2012

Shellac, Linseed Oil, & Paint – Traditional 19th Century Woodwork Finishes – recent printing

The Shellac, Linseed Oil, & Paint books are being restocked at both Tools for Working Wood and Lee Valley and to a new as yet undisclosed retail outlet.  I also have copies on hand.

The only difference is the ISBN and bar code on the back.


May 9, 2012

Barry & Way – New York 1847-1849 ,1″ Skew Rabbit Plane

I picked this up  recently at a local antique stores, it stood out from a few other later nineteenth century planes, first its low price $16.00 and second it just had a look, the chamfers are a little bolder.  An American plane from this time period is a good find.

It has a W. Butcher laid steel blade and it has been used.  The edge has been sharpened and the tail end appears to be broken off.  The wedge is also damaged.

It is a nice plane, too nice for me so it is for sale, I have another bit newer skew rabbit that I use now.

A previous owner J.KRITTER.

I am not sure what it is worth but I will take offers.


May 5, 2012

Cast Iron Foot Powered Treadle Wheel for a Watchmaker’s Lathe

Filed under: Historical Material,Of Interest,Proper Tools,Turning,Workbench — Stephen Shepherd @ 6:07 pm

I first used one of these when I built my first 1805 Turning Bench* [a foot powered treadle lathe with a bench attached], I had borrowed one of these from a friend and powered the lathe until I finished the wooden wheel, crank, pitman and treadle.

* Plans available from Tools For Working Wood.

Then today a friend called me and said he spotted one in a local antique store.  I have purchased from this guy before and he has fine stuff at a little higher than I like.  My friend described the wheel, I filled in the details to his amazement.  I then talked to the owner and bought the wheel as my friend said he couldn’t afford to buy it right now.

Happy to have one and will build a small bench and mount my watchmaker’s lathe and put it to use.


May 3, 2012

Traditional Workbench – Bench Screws [Vise]

Filed under: Clamping,Historical Material,Of Interest,Techniques,Workbench — Stephen Shepherd @ 12:00 pm

Many traditional woodworking benches are being constructed today by woodworkers worldwide.  And I have seen many of them make the same mistake I did when I built my first wooden vise.  I actually bought an old bench screw and built a vise.  I attached the nut to the bottom of the bench and it worked but not well, it always bound up and was tough to fiddle with.

Then I had an opportunity to see some nice old benches and noticed that the nut was free floating.  I therefore unglued the nut, re-worked my vise and installed it with a free floating nut and it worked great.

The next bench I built at Conner Prairie Pioneer Settlement in Noblesville Indiana in 1977-78, I used an old bench screw and built a proper bench with the bench screw properly installed.

This is how the vise should be constructed, whether a face vise or a leg vise.  This allows the moving chop to be closed when not in use then pulled out and adjusted to the work at hand.  When not in use it slides freely back to the bench out of the way.



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