Archive for the ‘Hand tools’ Category

Kerfing Plane – a Little Carving

Monday, October 20th, 2014

“Hey, aren’t you done with that thing yet?” You know I can’t make something without a carving decoration.  So…

photo of carving on the fenceHere’s the harder one first. Carving straight lines along the grain line is harder than carving curves. While I’m never satisfied with a carving, this one is done enough to set aside and wait for its partner.

It’s all Shannon’s fault. During his review of a Bontz saw, he mentioned an Art Deco feature in how the saw’s back was shaped. That sparked an old interest and I was off to re-explore the genre and come up with a couple of designs.

The curvy one is next. And yes, I’ll cut a saw plate some day.

Kerfing Plane – the Fence

Saturday, October 11th, 2014

So, what are those threaded holes for? Threaded rods, of course. And the adjustable fence.


The fence itself is pretty simple, two pieces glued together with holes drilled to allow sliding along the threaded rods. Tom Fidgen planed off the bottom piece at an angle, providing a way of resting the plane at an angle which keeps the blade off the bench. I liked the idea and did the same.

Now, the threading… I’ve read good and bad (too often more bad than good) about the quality wood threading kits. I was almost tempted to use metal parts (Hello McMaster-Carr), but decide to give the Woodcraft 3/4″ threading kit a try. It’s worked out very well! No problems, no horror stories. The cutters are plenty sharp enough for producing good results on cherry. I was careful to chamfer entry points, to lube the tap with BLO, and to soak the dowels overnight in BLO before threading.

The dowels are right on 3/4″ diameter, ripped from 4/4 stock and then turned on the treadle lathe.

The nuts too are turned. I stacked four 4/4 blocks together with double sided tape, sawed off the corners and turned on the lathe. Each was then drilled with a 5/8″ auger and tapped. Easy-peasy. I left them round, rather than putting flats on the sides, because they are easy enough to grip and don’t need much torque to do their job.

It comes together very nicely, allowing the fence to be adjusted right up against the blade. I’ll cut the threaded rods down some after I decide how far I might really want to extend the fence.

Kerfing Plane

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

photo of kerfing plane being builtResawing lumber is a part of many projects, from big long boards for the hulls of boats, to fine hardwood boards for boxes. It’s time to take resawing accuracy to the next stage. I follow the usual technique of sawing from all 4 corners and flipping frequently to stay on track, or for a very long board, still flipping frequently side to side. Even so, going astray a little bit and recovering often produces the dreaded “X” in the middle of a board. That’s sometimes a hump, with matching divot in the other piece. I’ve never had an error of that sort serious enough to ruin a project, but I would like to spend less time “cleaning up.”

No, don’t blame it on my saws. They are terrific and I keep them wicked sharp. It’s the guy pushing the saw.

Tom Fidgen published his solution, a “kerfing plane,” on his blog and in his recent book Unplugged Workshop. The idea is to produce a kerf of reasonable depth on all edges of a piece of lumber, and then use that kerf to guide the saw. We’ll see if it makes a difference.

Tom started with a fixed fence version and converted to an adjustable fence version. I’m going straight to the adjustable version. Here’s a start at the main body, in cherry. The “stains” near the upper holes are from linseed oil used to lubricate a tap for threaded holes (more on that later). The blade, needing teeth, is from an old Disston. The saw nuts are from Issac Smith’s Blackburn Tools.


Fun with Small Dadoes

Sunday, March 9th, 2014

photo of dividers, end piece with dadoes and toolsA small box I’m making wants interior dividers. This is the first time I’ve tried making them, so it is a learning experience. The idea is 3 lengthwise dividers organized by two end pieces. The end pieces need dadoes. The scale of the project is such that the interior pieces are only 1/8 inch thick. I don’t have a 1/8 inch chisel and didn’t want to order one and wait. I do have an “Old Woman’s Tooth” router. So, off to the scrounge bin of Allen keys … some time with the hand cranked grinder … and some more time with the stones. The result is a 1/8″ router made in about a half hour.

photo of divider gripped in a good dadoThe material shown here is a sub-optimal choice, but it will do. It is cedar which is quite soft and crumbles in fear when a chisel comes near. Slicing is the key to success, and that little knife is kept razor sharp for marking, and now for slicing cedar.

Haunched dividers and stopped dadoes: a success, and fun learning how to make snug. (Yes, each fits snugly enough to support the end piece.)

A Pair of Shopmade Grooving Planes

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

So, what happened to the wood that sparked a party?

photo of grooving plane partsTime in the shop is sparse in the summertime. Yet, I have found time to make a pair of grooving planes. These are destined for making grooves that hold the bottom panels of boxes. Those grooves are always the same width and the same distance from the edge of their boards. Making two planes, provides one for each grain direction.

The idea and plans came from Fine Woodworking’s Matt Kenny.  FW has the article online here.  photo of planes in progressLie-Nielsen also offers an article with plans (PDF) at no charge. That’s because Lie-Nielsen makes and sells irons for these planes.  Whoa there, back up and hit that link. The only negative thing I’ve ever had to say about Lie-Nielsen is their web site has no search function. Shopping for something specific in their online catalog is like Where’s Waldo. The irons arrive fully sharpened and ready to use. But, I polished them some more.

photo of finished pair of grooving planesThe plane is made as a 3 layer sandwich, Krenov style. The outer layers of my planes are beech from Woodworkers Source, the people who threw a party when they packed and shipped my $32 order. I ordered sample blocks (3″ x 6″ x 1/2″) because they were very close to the sizes needed. They took only a little resawing and sizing to match the plans. I used some Cherry I already had for the 1/8″ thick inner layer and wedges. That inner layer serves as the skate and projects to the desired groove depth of 1/8″.

closeup photo of a grooving planeI didn’t take step-by-step photos, but you can get those from the article. Unlike Kenny’s, all of my construction was with hand tools and not at all difficult. If you make a pair, don’t fret too much with extreme accuracy.  Make the rebate for the fence very accurate and the rest works itself out. After assembly, you’ll be paring or sanding the skate for smooth, but not sloppy, travel in the groove.  My planes are marked “A” and “B” only to pair the respective wedges with their intended plane. Made by hand, the throats vary enough that the wedges aren’t interchangeable. Such a little nit.

photo of the grooving plane twinsWhat a joy to use. Pick ‘em up. register and push. Smooth! And these irons cut much cleaner than those in my vintage Record 044.

Lastly, there’s also a lot of joy in dealing with a company like Woodworkers Source. Yes, the humorous shipping notice is a clever marketing ploy from a firm that has a great sense of humor. It doesn’t end there either. A follow up email from the company owner, “Craig Haggarton and The 107 Good Looking Lumber Pickers,” asks if everything arrived, was OK, post a review, etc.  Yes, I’m a geek who does a lot of web development work and I know these things are a SMOP, but not every firm behaves this way. Good for them!

SMOP – Simple Matter Of Programming

Saw Clamp

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

photo of saw clamp in useUntil now, my infrequent saw filing has been assisted by holding the blade between a pair of 1x2s placed carefully in my bench’s leg clamp. It had two problems. One, it took two men, a little boy, and a monkey to hold all the parts “just so” and get it clamped. Two, oh my aching back bending over it.

The activity is not frequent enough to warrant buying a fine metal clamp, but does warrant a bit of DIY time and about $6 worth of oak. I side view of saw clampfound drawings on a blog post by Paul Sellers and got to work. Straightforward … until I noticed the rounded hinge. Hey, a simpler square edge hinge, not housed, would work just as well.  No, that’s the wimpy way out. Carve that hinge, and if it really fails, square off the mess into the simpler version. It worked.

The hinge pin is a piece of brass tubing that I had on hand. That’s a carriage bolt and wing nut that tighten the jaw.

The clamp works beyond expectations, perfectly well for as often as I need it.