Archive for the ‘Woodworking’ Category

Kerfing Plane – More carving

Saturday, October 25th, 2014

photo of leaf like carving…and here’s the curvy side.

Next up: cut the saw plate…

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.


Green Woodworking

Tuesday, May 27th, 2014

Not the green wood of a freshly cut tree, but the green of freshly pressure treated, the stuff that warns “do not touch, eat, or sit upon.”

busted up mail box sitting atop a stack of plastic binsThe first picture shows what happens when you buy a home center mailbox and post. After not very long, it slowly “degrades.”

We’re replacing ours because of that new wall in front of the house. The new mail box and post will be strategically placed to keep people from driving into the steps. While making one, I decided to make two. The other is for the neighbor with the ragged exemplar.

There’s no woodworking magic in these, other than being severely over built. The cross piece is joined to the post with a half-lap joint and zinc coated lag bolts. The lower pieces are also lag bolted in place. Hand sawn, hand planed, hand bored with brace and bit. The work was straightforward and since the wood is very wet, it was easy to work … even if the saw slobbered dripping moisture as it cut.

two newly constructed mail boxes and postsEvery tool that touched the stuff accumulated “gunk” and got a good cleaning and oiling. Lots of hand washing too. And no, I didn’t sit on it.

Dragging the assemblies down to where they need to be planted will take three men and a little boy, but maybe they’ll dry some and get lighter while we wait for construction in the neighborhood to calm down. Every street around is being torn up to bring this pre-American Revolution village up to late 19th century sanitary standards; sewers are being installed.

Taming the Rabbet

Wednesday, May 7th, 2014

My work with rabbets has always been haphazard with lousy results. Few projects required rabbets, so I never learned to do them well. Now, for the clock project I want to learn to do moldings well and the method I am following uses a lot of rabbets … accurate rabbets.

In his book, “Mouldings in Practice,” Matthew Bickford teaches how to steer rounds on the corners of a rabbet and how to steer hollows on the corners of a chamfer. So, I must first learn to make rabbets accurately and reliably.

A few hours of practice and plane fetteling have resulted in notable progress.

First, the planes. For some reason I don’t remember, I purchased an ancient wooden rabbet plane that has a skewed iron (nice) and is 1.5 inches wide. FWIW, it dates to the late 1890s and is marked “D. Malloch & Son, Perth.” In this case, Perth is in Scotland, not Australia. The iron carries the same mark. The plane body is beech.

When it arrived, I discovered the iron was ground to a very low angle, about 12 degrees, and the most important corner fractured off (no pictures). I’m almost certain the fracture was due the shallow angle. Other things were more interesting at the time, and I set the plane aside, neglecting it for a couple of years.

Wanting to use it now, I reground the iron and sharpened it. It’s still a bit off, with the trailing edge protruding a few thousandths more than the leading edge, but functional enough for me to gain some practice with the plane. … It was enough practice to realize that the bottom sides of the plane body, right at the edge with the sole, have worn quite a bit. The long edges that are critical to tracking are rounded quite a bit. Once again, I set the plane aside.

photo of Sergeant #79 planeI turned next to a Sergeant #79, another rehabilitated plane. It is a metal “moving filletster and rabbeting” plane. When I have attempted using it with the side fence and the depth fence, the results have been almost usable. OK, actually lousy if we want to be truthful. I removed the fences from the #79 and used it as simple rabbeting plane following the techniques Matthew describes in his book, pp 42-47.

He shows taking two passes with the plane tilted into toward the scribe line at 45 degrees. These passes provides the logical equivalent of the “knife wall” that Paul Sellers teaches for accurate sawing. This little “v” groove establishes the reference for accurate rabbeting. From there, the plane can be put back perpendicular and within 2 passes be tracking neatly along the line. Voila! Such a little point that makes such a big difference. THANKS Matthew!

photo of leaning over at 45 degreesMy practice led me to three important points. (2 of the 3 mentioned in Matthew’s book)

The edge of the iron needs to protrude ever so slightly from the plane body to ensure cutting a perpendicular wall.

The edge of the iron must not cut, or it will cut into and move the wall. I rounded over the edges of the iron, above the bevel, to minimize this problem.

Scribe the line with a marking gauge. (I use gauges with pins, nit knives.) The tilted metal plane will track to the scribe line. It won’t track to a pencil line. :) This is where I discovered the wooden plane is too worn for this technique. The vertical wall does move inward a very slight amount, to the other edge of the “v” produced by the scribe pin. Keep this in mind and compensate if needed.

Half a dozen practice rabbets showed improvement with each attempt.

photo of wooden rabbet planeWith that success, I looked at the wooden plane again. It is sooooooo much easier on the hands than the #79. In the vise it went! I planed down each side until I got very crisp and square corners at the sole. Yes, that sacrificed a fraction of an inch of width, but most rabbets are going to be much narrower anyway. The alteration also made the iron a bit easier to adjust. Before removing material from the body the iron was right at the point of barely reaching the right edge. That might be due to the tang being a bit mangled; it has seen some use. Now, it can be adjusted for that extra thousandth, or so, as mentioned in point 1 above.

Using the wooden plane, I can make a rebate of exactly the same quality (still not perfect, but very much better) as with the #79 and it’s a lot more comfortable on the hands.

I’m now a much happier rabbeteer!