Full Chisel Blog

June 29, 2013

Rinder, or if you prefer Reamer

Filed under: Drilling,Historical Material,Of Interest,Proper Tools,Techniques,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 9:18 am

rindersI however like to use the old term and rinder is the obscure traditional name.  My collection of rinders doubled with a recent trade.  The top two are square tapered and works great on wood, although it does work on soft metal.


The lower two have 5 sides instead of the 4 on the square rinders.  The larger 5 sided rinder is stamped P.S. Stubs.  All of my rinders fit in a brace, even the odd square tang can be held in my all metal Fray & Pigg, Spafford pattern coach maker’s brace.


June 24, 2013

Restoring a Coach-maker’s Brace

I have a few coachmaker’s braces, those with wooden knobs and handles and iron bodies, I also have one all metal Fray&Pigg brace, they are called coachmaker’s braces as they don’t break when you step on them.  Frequently coach shops floors were covered with shavings and stepping on a wooden brace hidden in the shavings would indeed break.  That is the story, sounds good to me.

This particular brace is made of iron and cherry, there is a brass bearing between the head and the iron body.  It has seen enough use that the inside of the handle had been rind out making it fit poorly on the metal body.


I used a fine blade in a jeweler’s fret saw to cut the glue joint and unfortunately one of the iron pins added for additional strength to the split handle.  It is necessary for the center handle to be split in order to attach it to the iron drill body.  The center section had some rust and pitting and was quite rough.  I used a file and some emery cloth to remove the rust and smooth out the metal to prevent it from further rinding out the wooden handle.


Using a sharp gouge, rasp, file and small tombstone scraper I smoothed out the center that had been rind out in order to make the replacement wood fit properly so it could be glued into place.  Holding an egg shaped object in the hand while using sharp gouges was a dangerous operation, I paid close attention.  When using the round rasp I did manage to rasp myself.


Making the replacement part I had a couple of failures; my first was that the drill drifted following the grain of the cherry.  The next one split the minute the pilot screw entered the wood.  I then double clamped a piece and got a good hole through the end grain of the new piece of cherry.


Once I had it apart I had to use my small prick to excavate the iron pins, one from one side the end and the other pin from the through pin.  I then had to add material into the excavation, I chose to make a small square mortise on one side and after that tedious process I did the other side with a round bung plug.







I then had to cut the new bearing in half in order to glue it into the two halves of the handle.  I used a clear plastic block and a wooden clamp to get them in the correct position and allowed the Fish Glue to dry overnight.  The next day I used a toothing plane to smooth the surfaces flat prior to gluing it back together.


With a round rasp and round file I made the wood fit the metal then glued it together and clamped the egg shaped handle with an upholstery spring clamp and allowed to dry overnight.  I then made new iron pins, flattening them out on the end like the original.



A coat of Moses T’s Gunstocker’s finish and a bit of black iron oxide dry powdered pigment I got the filing marks that smoothed the wood to match the un-filed surface.




June 17, 2013

Blow Pipe Bellows

This has been on my list for a while and now I can cross it off.  It is based on a traditional design and is a typical two chambered bellows powered by a foot treadle.  I over thought the design and got retentive about vortices and valve placement, but was told not to worry about those things by a physicist.

I had some 1″+ thick pine, I used one piece of full thickness for the center board then had my apprentice re-saw the other board into two 1/2″ boards, one for each chamber.  Also had him hand plane the surfaces smooth [again worried about the smoothness and air currents].

blowpipe bellows1

The leather for the bellows is oak tanned and quite thin, the pattern for the bellows needs to be offset to account for the fact that when it is open the moving boards are shorter than when closed, typical of bellows construction.

blowpipe bellows6

I used the same leather for the main hinge and for the internal valves.  The center valve is inset in a rectangular shallow mortise to give more room in the upper chamber.  The entrance valve is mounted flush as the board is only 1/2″ thick.

blowpipe bellows5

I used an old piece of flat spring steel that I fashioned into a spring to push the lower chamber back open after the foot pedal is pressed.  The weight of the lower board will also help open the chamber as the leather softens up a bit after use.  In my too-much-attention-to-detail, I inadvertently mortised the space for the spring on the wrong side, fortunately the center board was thick enough to accommodate the mortise on the correct side.

blowpipe bellows4

blowpipe bellows3

I glued a small piece of leather on the hinge end to hold things together and eventually with both side leathers become the bellows hinges.

blowpipe bellows2

The first side I glued and tacked on by myself, it was such a gluing frenzy that I ended up with glue in my beard.  I used Lee Valley Fish Glue because of its aggressive tack to glue the leather to the board.  All edges of the boards were smoothed and toothed with a toothing plane, glue applied to both leather and boards.

blowpipe bellows7

The second side I had help from my apprentice and it went much more smoothly and after 226 tacks [total for both chambers] it was complete.  I then went on and made the base which consists of a board for the bottom and three uprights mortised and tenoned into the base and glued in place.  I then began on the treadle.

blowpipe bellows8

Once again I was over-thinking the foot treadle design trying to come up with a mechanism that would push up on the bellows when the foot treadle was pressed.  I looked through 507 Mechanical Movements from Tools for Working Wood for inspiration.  One of those slap my forehead moments when I saw an illustration of a see-saw, teeter totter.  Push down on one side and the other goes up.

blowpipe bellows9

A metal hinge simply would not work for the fulcrum of the treadle so I settled on leather held in place with round head screws and glue.  The end of the treadle that pushes against the bellows, I inserted a wooden wheel in a slot to reduce friction.

I hooked it up to a hose and blow pipe and it works as advertised.  Fun project now to find a buyer.



June 10, 2013

Painted & Grained Furniture at Historic Cove Fort, Utah

On a recent visit to Historic Cove Creek Ranch Fort in central/southern Utah I had an opportunity to photograph a fine collection of original pioneer era painted and grained furniture.  I actually made some of the chairs that are also on exhibit.  Also items from the Blacksmith shop and fences around the barnyard.


Said to be the original bellows from the fort, quite sure it is new leather. Bellows nozzle

Nozzel reinforced with rawhide, a good application. chairs and grained table

Ladder and Arrow back side chairs with mahogany grained table, not black stripes and edge.cochineal overshot quilt and mahogany grained rope bedstead

Croch mahogany rope bedstead with cochineal dyed overshot bed spread, log cabin patchwork quilt on blanket roll.cove fort

Entrance to the fort, the keystone and plaque were probably carved in Great Salt Lake City, Utah Territory. cove fort exterior

Exterior shot of the Fort, made from local volcanic rock, the fort was built for protection against the local Native American Indians. Cove fort exterior wall

The walls are very thick and there is a chimney for each room a total of 12 smokes. Croch mahogany grained bedstead with striping

Another fine croch mahogany rope bedstead.  The blanket roll should be loose, an extra blanket was wound around it and if needed pulled over the top.  The headboard is called a ‘rolling pin’ headboard because of its shape.  Some say because many are loose that it was used to flatten the straw and feather ticks [mattresses], this is a myth, you want the ticks fluffy not flat! curly maple blanket chest

Pine blanket chest grained to simulate curly maple. Detail Iron bracket on blacksmiths forge

Detail of rope holder on blacksmiths bellows. Edible fence

Strangest fence I have ever seen, held together with rawhide.  How many critters and farm animals would make a meal of this?  Silly modern interpretation. Farm yard

Barn yard. Finely grained chest of drawers with glove boxes, grained table and gondola chair

Mahogany painted and grained chest of drawers with glove boxes and black painted split column and handles.  The gondola chair is one of the 25 chairs made for the LDS Museum of Church History and Art back in the 1980’s. indigo overshot quilt

Indigo overshot coverlet on maple grained bedstead. kitchen and questionable clock

A view of the kitchen, the tall clock is suspected by many to be of newer manufacture. kitchen with gondola chairs

Another view of the kitchen area including more of the gondola chairs.  All of the rooms have connecting doors to allow movement around the sides of the fort without having to go outside. Loop hole in Fort wall

One of the view ports [loophole] around the ramparts on the sides of the fort. Mahogany and maple grained bedstead

Pine rope bedstead grained to look like mahogany with maple panels. maple burl game table

Tripod game table made of pine and grained to look like curly maple. maple grained armless spinning wheel rocking chair

Pine side [armless] rocking chair, low construction for working on a spinning wheel. nice grained set of chairs

Matched side winsor chairs, mahogany with black stripes. nice pair of rope beds

A pair of pine rope bedsteads grained to imitate curly maple. oak grained bedstead

This bedstead is painted to look like quartersawn oak. Ogee clock owned by original occupant of the Fort

Original ogee shelf clock said to belong to the original residents. Ox stantion

Ox shoeing stantion, because cows can’t stand on 3 legs like a horse. polychrome firewood box

Polychrome wood box, even the utilitarian pieces were painted. Proper gutter and downspout in copper

Last time I saw these copper gutters and downspouts they were bright copper, a few years in the weather put on a nice verdigris patina. quilt and clothing

Nice quilt and some original pioneer clothing. Stenciled rocking chair belonging to original owner

Rocking chair said to belong to the original residents, black paint with bronzed stencil work. telegraph office, maple grained table

The desk in the telegraph office is pine painted and grained curly maple.  Note the lead acid battery pile under the desk. Wooden Fort Gates filled with sand

The doors of the fort originally filled with sand for protection of depredations that never happened.  Four Native American braves showed up at the fort, Mr. Hinkley invited them to dinner and there were never any problems.

I recommend a visit but be warned there are some dry cities in Utah, so take along provisions.


June 5, 2013

Not an Oil Stone, not a Water Stone it is a Whetstone

Filed under: Historical Material,Of Interest,Proper Tools,Sharpening,Uncategorized — Stephen Shepherd @ 9:50 am

The reason for that is I don’t use oil or water or any other lubricant when I sharpen, I sharpen dry and only use water with soap to clean my stones after use.  This even applies to old oil stones I acquire; when the need arises I wash them with soap and water.  And there is a very good reason for this, actually a couple of reasons.



A number of years ago back in the mid 1980’s I read an article in either Popular Science or Popular Mechanics Magazine about sharpening on stones.  The article included photomicrographs of the surfaces of both plane irons and chisels.

All samples had the same grind from the wheel and were photographed before any work on the stones.  Then one set [plane iron and chisel] were sharpened in the traditional manner using oil as a lubricant for the process.  The other set [plane iron and chisel] were sharpened using the same stones but with no lubrication on the stone.  The photographs comparing the two were remarkable.

The tools sharpened ‘dry’ had nearly perfect edges while the tools sharpened ‘wet’ showed tiny chips in the cutting edge and these were caused by, according to the article metal particles suspended in the oil.  These metal pieces were floating in the oil and striking the cutting edge causing the chips.

I immediately started using the ‘dry’ process and haven’t gone back.  I use soap and water to clean the stones when they become filled or glazed and the stone is ready for the next sharpening session.  Because it takes a while to fill a stone I don’t wash my stones that often.

Another advantage to this method is that there is little or no mess made while touching up an edge of a tool; no need to wash off the oil or dirty water before going back to work.  Give it a try and see what you think.



June 3, 2013

First time working Cypress

One would think that having done woodworking for over 40 years I would have worked this wood before, but this is the first opportunity to work this particular species of wood.  I got some scrap pieces from a friend, I had told him I had not used the wood before so he gave me some cut off from a bathroom counter top he is making.

soft arkansas2

Needing a new home for my soft Arkansas sharpening stone, I decided to make it from cypress as my others were made of pine.  Having worked a lot of pine, I thought that cypress would behave in a similar manner.  Much to my surprise it worked more like poplar than pine, with little end grain collapse of the softer spring wood.  I liked how it cut under a chisel, the router plane made smooth work of the inside mortise and it stood up well under a hand plane.

soft arkansas3

In making the box I noticed that the stone was not symmetrical, one end was slightly wider than the other.  I fit it tight in the bottom but had to make the top a bit loose in order to fit on the stone in either direction.

soft arkansas1

On the bottom of the sharpening stone box I used a long fine cut headless brad, pounded it in then cut it off with pliers to form small points to prevent it from slipping when in use.

I will not put a finish on the cypress and as you know I never use lubrication when I am sharpening only when I am cleaning the stone.

I generally keep my shavings separate and put them in my compost pile, however not the cypress, it won’t decompose.


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