Judging by the damage that appears on old wooden planes, patience soon runs out when we handle things that are not operated by a switch! Sometimes this damage is terminal but often with a little care and lots of determination the wooden plane will work again. This video shows the basics of how to handle moulding planes. There is a lot more to investigate and much of that is to do with sharpening, especially when the moulding plane is complex. It’s hard to know how much interest ...
I closed the shed in October last year and took the toolbox inside as I had no intention of working through the winter on this project – even though it was near completion. The cold damp air is not good for the wooden tools and they deserve better at this stage in their lives even if they have withstood worse in the past….. So Christmas passed, then January, February, March; finally in mid-April, I re -installed the toolbox and started work again. The frame of the chair was already glu...
The Non-Electric Chair #14: Making the Chair (The back frame gets glued up and the chair comes together)
There are some jobs that must be done as you go along; they will be very difficult to do once the back frame is glued up.Unfortunately, I am one of those people who must see results and can’t wait indefinitely to see a frame going together. Apart from the fact that I think someone said “A decision deferred is a decision well made” I have two excuses for this less than grown up behaviour.a) Sanding every square millimetre can be pointless if it turns out that there is a final curve or detai...
I wish I knew more about mushrooms and toadstools; Inkcaps appear from time to time, and rubbery, orange or brown alien things are there in the short grass some mornings and gone a few days later. Wrens are bobbing about outside the window today looking for insects in the bushes, maybe it’s the “flying school” wrens – they’ll be around all winter as they don’t migrate, and in the spring (RSPB website) the males will build several nests and the female will choose the nest she likes best. “W...
I have to “rough cut” the curved pieces of the chair now and, to come back to the jig-saw question, you can’t use a jigsaw to cut a curve in 90mm beech. Admittedly it’s not very easy with a bowsaw but it is possible. What if you halved the piece of 90mm wood, cut it with a jigsaw, and glued it back together again? – Yes, you could do that; but there isn’t a jigsaw in Mr Wake’s box, nor is there a power point in the shed. End of discussion. The other alternative, if you remain uninspired...
The timber is still moist to the touch and heavy, probably about 28% moisture, but it will be easier to cut in this condition and will dry quickly with a smaller cross-section. It is time to rough-cut the components. You may remember that I have already selected and prepared pieces for the main members – the back legs. All this hand-work makes you think of efficiency in a way that you may never have thought of it before. If you have ever cycled around the countryside and taken a wrong t...
Leaving the tool chest for a moment; we go back a few years to the Domesday Book and 1086 and an interesting fact – 13 saws were recorded in the kingdom, bowsaws were common at the time so what kind of saws were these? Probably not sawmills; mills are mentioned aplenty and millponds too but they were agricultural mills. These are probably pitsaws, a gruelling job for two men; one of them in the pit and the other steering the two-handed saw and balancing on the level tree-trunk as they r...
You can’t do a project like this without being impressed by the beauty and brevity of the names of the tools. No fancy Roman or Greek words, they’re all earthy old Anglo Saxon or old French: Adze, axe, awl, wedge, mallet, froe, to say nothing of scorp or felloe – I could go on and on, but as we are coming to “saws” and “planes” and “braces”, I thought this was a good time to bring this matter up. The age of these words indicates the venerable history of these tools. I looked a few of th...
“Maybe he was a pattern maker”. Alexander, my oldest son, is an engineer and was looking at the collection of gouge chisels as I put their tray back in the chest. I was wondering why Mr Wake had so many gouge chisels and whether that was a clue to his job. All the tools in this chest are marked “C Wake” but I know nothing else about him, except for what I can guess from the chest and its contents. “You just want to show off your collection of tools, that’s why you’re doing these arti...
In some ways I would be proud to have “Bodger” on my CV. The gentlemen who made chair spindles in the beech woods in and around Buckinghamshire when Charles Dickens was writing were called Bodgers. It’s hard to see where the connection with “botching a job” comes from but there probably isn’t one, apart from the fact that they come from the same, older, root. Bodgers were not “botchers” or “butchers” or “cowboys” even, they were skilled woodsmen who cleaved beech wood and then turned the...
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