Friday, October 2, 2009

New Gets

I picked up some shop stuff today.

A nice Billings peen.

A sweet keyhole saw.

A nice pair of carts.

Those made me pretty happy, especially because of this.

I posted about these at the Old Woodworking Machines Forum.

Jeff Joslin, the historian there, had this response: "Very cool! The P. E. Shantz Foundry dates back to the 1870s, when they made farm equipment. That business went through consolidation that left them unable to complete, so they started specializing in those carts from about 1908. They changed their name to Shantz Foundry Ltd. in the early '60s (if I recall correctly), then went under in 1969. Their factory, at the base of Shantz Hill on Highway 8, was torn down at that time. I lived in Preston from '64 to '70 and I can just barely remember the grey stone building there. I was only five or six years old when it was demolished."

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Five Minute Bench 1

A while back in a Fine Woodworking article Gary Rogowski recommend the "Five Minute Dovetail", a daily joinery exercise meant to hone skills. I couldn't agree more with the principle, but I'm not fond of the idea of cutting joinery only to throw it away. I figure that if I'm going through the effort, it better be for something useful.

A better bench, five minutes at a time:

By the way, those are Staedtler Rally pencils. Great pencil, excellent eraser


I've got a thing for tiny dividers, french fit drawers, and organization. I also have an unhealthy amount of love for my tools, so I decided to make a chisel till.

Because it's only fun if you do it the hard way, I decided to angle the top rail to match the graduated length of my set of chisels. I wanted to dovetail the corners, so to help wrap my head around the joinery I drew a full size pattern on a piece of mdf.

I transfered the intersections to my stock, and used that to lay out the angled joinery. Other than the odd layout, these corners are sawn and chopped just like the standard through dovetail. I do it just like this.

A blurry image meant to show how the piece follows the pattern, taken before I worked out the divider spacing:

The 85° corner:

I decided that the dividers should also be dovetailed. Because the top and bottom rails aren't parallel, I needed to haunch the joinery to make it work.

I started by making a jig for the shaper. It consists of two parts, a backer and a ramp, attached to a mitre gauge. The ramp angle was taken from my full scale drawing.

I cut the haunches first. I used a 3/8" upcut spiral, the width of my parts, set so the whole bit width was just barely used. I used a scrap to mark my jig with the bit centre mark, and aligned this mark with one on my stock taken directly from my pattern.

I don't like ploughing a full cut with dovetail bits, it's hard on the sharp little corners. I switched for a 1/8" upcut bit to hog out most of the waste.

With the 1/8" bit still chucked up, I did the bottom rail. I clamped a backer to my jig, drew a reference line, and removed the bulk of the waste.

Then I switched to the dovetail bit. Up until this point I had been holding the stock with my hands. When you follow one bit with another it tends to grab at the sides and it makes a mess of your stock. A clamp is necessary at this point.

The top rail is dovetailed the same way, except it's cut sittng up on the ramp.

Assembly starts by glueing up the four corners. Then the dividers are glued and slid into place, locking the whole thing together.

Assembled and oiled, and as luck would have it I photographed the corner that split. I got a little greedy looking for a tight fit:

In use:

Yes, it's kind of fancy for a set of Blue Chips, the Ford Tarus of the chisel world, but I don't have a complete set of Bergs. Or Nielsens. Yet.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Getting a Handle on Things

I had a few hours to play in the shop today, so I decided to rehandle an Empire Warrington hammer that was given to me by my wifes grandfather.

I started by dimensioning a piece of Hickory a little on the big side. I used my edge sander to shape the tenon, then I drew an hourglass shape and roughed it out with my shave.

The curly hickory fought my cutting edge, so I had to turn to the rasp a little early.

From there I went to the bastard file:

Then to the smooth:

I filed away the marks from the previous tool, then drawfiled untill those marks were gone.

I then pushed the head on, wiggled it, and pulled it off again. I filed off the rub marks, pushed the head back on, wiggled it again, filed off the rub marks. I repeated this untill I was satisfied with the fit.

From there I sanded 120, 150, and then 180 grit:

I docked the end at an angle, for style points:

Then I drilled a hole and kerfed for the wedge:

I mounted the head, burned my initials into the heel, oiled and waxed it:

The finished product, sitting on the rest of the billet, with the old handle for comparison:

Proportionally it's a little big in relation to the head, but it fits my mitt pretty well.

Normally I dislike working hickory. I've made 6/4 top dining tables out of the stuff, it's backbreakingly heavy, it doesn't respond well to my edge tools, and it's so hard it just wears out sandpaper. All the reasons that make it perfect for tool handles make it hard to work. This project was nice as it is small, light, and fun to rasp.

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I'm a woodworker on the Canadian prairie.