Archive for the ‘Hand tools’ Category

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.

Saw Rehab – Stanley 26″ Rip Saw

Saturday, January 12th, 2013

This one is not a refurbish project. It’s simpler, a rehab, if you please. As can be seen by the handle, this is not a priceless antique. It is one that I purchased new at some big orange home center, maybe in the 1980s. It clearly dates to the era when handles sank to their ugliest just before Buck Rogers style plastic handles. The saw has a 26 inch plate and is filed rip, 7 TPI. … and the hang hole in the tip was drilled by the manufacturer, not me.

I once picked this saw up during my earlier boat building days, and just as quickly set it aside. It didn’t cut well and had a noticeable kink about midway along the tooth line. If memory serves, the most previous abuse was cutting sheetrock or some other kind of rock.

Removing the kink

Read enough around the Internet and you’ll think you need a blacksmith’s anvil and planishing hammers to take the kink out of a saw blade. TRY THIS FIRST: I removed the handle, just to make it easier to mount the handle end of the plate in a vise. Once about an inch of the plate was tightly clamped, I curled the saw first one way, then the other. Don’t be bashful. FIRMLY grab the toe end, pull it around toward the handle end. Once you reach a “U” shape, keep on going, running the curl up and down the length of the plate. Repeat a few times to both sides. Like magic, the kink was relieved and smoothed away.

photo of saw cutting woodSharpening

No magic. The teeth were not really in bad shape, just dull. Sighting along the line, I saw that all were even enough to not even warrant a flattening filing. I simple hit each tooth with a couple of swipes of the file and then tested. Tops: 20 minutes.

The first job for this “new again” saw (OK. it really needs to have the plate cleaned) was resawing a length of 1×4 poplar. I was very pleased to find the saw working straight and true, and running easily.

Saw Restoration – Richardson Backsaw

Friday, January 11th, 2013

The eBay seller warned that hand saws were not part of her expertise. So, I didn’t ask for details. The photos were good enough to think it worth bidding.

Richardson, later Richardson Brothers, was a saw manufacturer in Newark New Jersey, about 20 miles down the road from where we live. From what I’ve learned, Richardson made highly respected products. They had one of the early patents for taper grinds on full length saws. Long story short, it seems they were also a very strong competitor to Disston. One contention is that around 1890 Disston manged to “do away” with some of its competitors by buying them and throwing them into a conglomerate known as “National Saw” which died in 1906.

This particular saw has a medallion that carries the 1867 patent indication placing it later than that date, and before the company started marking their products with a “Richardson Brothers” brand in the late 1870s. The stamping on the spine is an arched “Richardson” with “Newark NJ” below the arch, “Cast Steel” to the left, and “Warranted” to the right. The blade measures 14 inches long and has a depth under the back of  3 and 3/8 inches. It is 0.029″ thick.

4 photos of the saw as I received itThis saw did not lead as sheltered a life as the Disston #4 I restored a couple of weeks ago. Whoever owned this Richardson used it hard,  probably never sharpened it, and then left it where it gathered a good bit of rust and pitting and lost most of the finish on the handle. The area of the handle where one grips still had a little varnish and several kinds of “donor paint.” The end where it meets the plate was bare, dry, and heavily stained. The upper horn has a bit split off the underside and presents a ragged edge to the web of the hand that holds it. The plate has no dents and is absolutely straight, as is the spine. It was filed 12 TPI, rip, and arrived in my hands with absolutely no set.

4 phots of the restored sawI restored this blade the same way I did the Disston, with a (very long) bath in Evapo-Rust and then lots and lots of sanding. There is still a good bit of pitting and maybe a long session with a belt sander could solve that, but my belt sander has yet to be purchased. I sanded off what little finish remained on the handle and sanded some of the stains away. There’s no need to reshape this handle because it was already of the era when they made them nice and comfortable. As for the split out area on the upper horn, I voted against splicing in a repair and simply carved that area to a new smooth profile. I’m unsure, but think the handle material to be apple which was very prevalent at the time. Finish is 3 coats of clear shellac ending with wax rubbed in with steel wool.

My sharpening required reducing the teeth down to about 50% of their original height before I got a nice row of flat spots to work from. Then I sharpened the toe end with relaxed rake for a couple of inches with the rest sharpened at near zero rake, all on the original 12 TPI. I now have two very nice back saws and might opt for a third for smaller dovetail work.


Bring It a Little Closer

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

In a comment on the post about refurbishing the Disston saw, Ralph mentioned he had trouble focusing on things that small. I’m not sure whether “focus” meant a real vision problem, or interest that wanders away. If a vision problem, this might help…

photo of block and lampI’m shamelessly stealing the idea from Megan Fitzpatrick who recently wrote about updating her bench. She included pictures of how a ubiquitous magnifying lamp was adapted for use on the workbench. The lamp stands on a column 1/2 inch in diameter. My bench as a whole bunch of 3/4 inch holes for holdfasts. I took a block of scrap 2 by something. drilled a 1/2″ hole all the way through, flipped it over and drilled a 3/4″ hole most of the way through, and glued a 3/4″ piece of dowel in that hole. Now, I can locate that magnifying lamp almost anywhere.