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What have I done in the workshop today?

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Post by Chilli-head on 6th November 2013, 10:46 am

I've got distracted from my clock on to making a christmas gift for another woodworker. I'm not going to let the cat out of the bag too much before christmas, but it needed a blade hardened and tempered ... now getting the thing to red heat and quenching in oil is a job for outdoors. But to temper it, the whole thing needs to be heated to a uniform ~210C. Tricky with a blowtorch or charcoal fire. But easy if you decamp to the kitchen, and into the oven with it ! Ten minutes in a hot oven - gas mark 6-7, then let cool.

I did mention that Mrs C-H is remarkably tolerant, didn't I ?

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Post by Mike on 6th November 2013, 1:48 pm

Chilli-head wrote:.......... now getting the thing to red heat and quenching in oil is a job for outdoors.  But to temper it, the whole thing needs to be heated to a uniform ~210C. Tricky with a blowtorch or charcoal fire. ........ But easy if you decamp to the kitchen, and into the oven with it ! Ten minutes in a hot oven - gas mark 6-7, then let cool.
The oil quench, outdoors! But heating to red heat (depending in the temperature needed) depends on size, how good you are at recognizing temp by color, whethe, r you have a wood stove, etc.).

I've annealed small bronze pieces on the top of a gas range and large ones in the coals of a wood stove. Of course only need "dull glowing red" for that (you don't want to get the bronze too hot, 750C* is plenty).

* For those unfamiliar with how this goes, at ~700C the radiation from a hot body is a visible red. At 1000C beginning to get yellower (upper limit for pure copper or silver or gold alloy). My brother worked in sliver (and gold) and I got to watch him work. You have to keep descending in temperature with the solders for the next step or the earlier work comes apart. I couldn't do it like he could (estimate temperature to within about 25 degrees). But I can do it well enough to anneal bronze without risking melting it.

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Post by Chilli-head on 6th November 2013, 2:55 pm

Mike wrote:
The oil quench, outdoors! But heating to red heat (depending in the temperature needed) depends on size, how good you are at recognizing temp by color, whethe, r you have a wood stove, etc.).
The wood stove would get steel to red heat easily with the primary air open a crack, but I could not (safely) do an oil quench close enough to my stove for it not to cool too much - the stove is in the living room ... It is a great way of annealing though - just toss it into the coals, let it hot up by opening the vents, then fish the bits out of the ash when cooled.

I did have some trouble hardening my steel (O1 tool steel) this time - I did not get it hot enough first time so had to have a second go. To remove doubt, I used the magnet test - when the steel is hot enough to harden fully, it is no longer magnetic. Much more foolproof than judging shades of red by eye. Between that trick, and using the oven to temper, most of the need for skill and judgement is avoided.

I do also, if I ask nicely, have access to a Victorian blacksmiths forge. I'm hoping to get a session in there sometime this winter to finish off a drawknife I've started and some more hook tools for bowl turning.
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Post by Chilli-head on 10th November 2013, 8:26 pm

Found some time this afternoon to finish re-handling an axe.  I picked up the head on e-bay; a 4 lb Goldenberg from Alsace in France.  The handle I started at Wimpole the other weekend;  Jim, one of the volunteers at WImpole, felled an ash tree for me to provide a 3' clean straight grained section of trunk, from which I roughed out the handle.  After a few weeks of drying it was ready to finish off and receive the head.   A bit more sharpening, and this century old tool will be ready to go once more !
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Post by Dandelion on 10th November 2013, 10:23 pm

That sounds brilliant.

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Post by Chilli-head on 20th January 2014, 10:06 am

Well, the pieces of what is going to be a clock all fit together and it's clamped up in the workshop at the moment.



Next stage is carving I...XII in Roman numerals around it.  I've decided to do this before glueing up so that if I make a mess of a piece, I can just re-make that one.  Just a few problems with the carving; need some practice (easy), better eyesight (expensive) and a new chisel would help ...  So I got distracted once more making a new fishtail chisel for carving my serifs.  Made the steel tang and a brass ferrule on Saturday, and turned a handle at our green woodworking meet at Wimpole on Sunday.  Not that it was a terribly "green" piece of woodworking, being 25 year old mahogany.  Still, pleased with the result, though I havn't taken a photo yet.
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Post by Chilli-head on 28th January 2014, 5:32 pm

This week's job in the workshop has been helping C-H jnr to make models of the three peaks from a plywood baseboard, chicken wire, an old pillow case and plaster of Paris. Don't you just love school geography homework  Rolling Eyes  We were both quite pleased with the result though !
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Post by Dandelion on 28th January 2014, 10:31 pm

I hope you get an A!!

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Chilli-head on 24th April 2014, 2:37 pm

A request from my dad.



A thingy for making little paper plant pots out of half a sheet of scrap paper. The bit that makes it stay together you can't see - a hollow in the bottom of the former and a bump in the middle of the bottom piece form the bottom of the paper pot to stop  it unrolling.  These are sized for starting off brassica - about 2.5" diameter.  They are just enough to hold the soil together without forming too much of a barrier to the roots.

This one is in walnut (from Wimpole again), finished with some linseed oil.
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Post by freebird on 24th April 2014, 3:22 pm

That's gorgeous. Are you taking orders?
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Post by Chilli-head on 30th April 2014, 9:43 am

Well, I might consider it, if you are not in a hurry !  I currently have a logstore to build for a friend that I need to get on with first though ..

In the meantime - I had a play with AndyM's travisher last month - this is a tool for hollowing out, principally for shaping the seats of Windsor chairs.  Since I'd like to give that a go, I thought I'd like one. They are also a great fun tool to use, very theraputic.  

Andy has one of these, but I didn't want to just buy one, so I took home a few sketches of it and key measurements.  So, to the workshop.  First off the cutting iron, from O1 ground flat stock.  Heated to red heat it is easy to bend the curve using the homemade bending tool I made earlier.  Nearly set fire to my plan offering up the curve to the drawing !



Then that nice block of mahogany - it was a recycled bit of old window frame, and the only bit of hardwood to hand of large enough section.  A bit of sawing, drilling and a while with the spokeshave, and here we go:





Now to make a chair  Very Happy Very Happy
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Post by Dandelion on 30th April 2014, 6:24 pm

I love the fact that the tool is as beautiful as the things you're going to make with it...

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Chilli-head on 26th May 2014, 10:23 pm

The clock has now made it onto the living room wall !  Apologies for the poor lighting - I had been hoping for some arty shafts of sunlight, but the weather is not obliging !



Oak, with hands cut from thin aluminium sheet and sprayed black.  The mechanism is a regular battery powered quartz one, set in the hub.  It is on the limit of the size of hands it can drive, hence the round counterweight on each hand; they are pretty closely balanced.

The thing I enjoyed is the number of homemade tools I used - scrub plane for preparing the timber, marking knife, my bowsaw for the curves, a scratch stock for the circular mouldings, card scraper made from an old saw blade, and a specially made fishtail chisel for carving the numerals.

Some of the glue lines are not quite as close as I would have liked, but I found this to be a very difficult job using just hand tools. I doubt I will be making another to try and perfect the fit ...
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Post by freebird on 27th May 2014, 7:59 am

It's beautiful, Chilli Head, just beautiful. That doesn't seem enough but I can't think of anything else to say!
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Post by Ploshkin on 27th May 2014, 9:14 am

It's such a lovely, simple, unfussy design (not simple to make of course) & I hope you are proud of it every time you need to know the time.
There's nothing for scale - what diameter is it?
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Post by TamaraNicole on 27th May 2014, 10:05 am

Wow it's beautiful!
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Post by Chilli-head on 27th May 2014, 1:35 pm

Thanks for the kind comments. The idea came to me looking at a cast iron flywheel, which would have been a sand casting made to a wooden pattern ... I now realise that the patternmakers of days gone by must have been pretty skilled.

Ploshkin wrote:There's nothing for scale - what diameter is it?

I realised that after I posted - it is 400mm diameter in total, and the lettering is 18mm high. I printed out the Roman numerals in an outline font on the laser printer onto sticky labels, and carved through them. Best way I could think of the keep them consistent.
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Post by freebird on 27th May 2014, 1:42 pm

Chilli-head wrote:  I printed out the Roman numerals in an outline font on the laser printer onto sticky labels, and carved through them.  Best way I could think of the keep them consistent.

If you should need to do something similar, you could consider just printing off the I, V and X at the size you want. Then use tracing paper to 'assemble' the various permutations - by doing this, you can put a slight curve into them to help them fit the space, or make any other adjustments. You can also see through the tracing paper, so can hold the tracings against the item where they are to be carved to see how they look. Once you are happy, use a handwriting grade carbon paper under the tracing to transfer the design to the wood. Or, if you don't want the oiliness of the carbon, use a coloured chalk pastel rubbed on the back of the tracing paper.

That's the procedure I would follow for transferring drawn letting onto slate for cutting.
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Post by Chilli-head on 27th May 2014, 2:06 pm

Thanks for that FB. I tried a number of things on practice pieces - paper and glue stick, clear polycarbonate sheet laser printed and taped on, the toner transfer trick where you print it backwards and turn it over, then iron it to transfer the toner. None were quite satisfactory; the toner transfer was too faint to work with, and taped down clear sheet moved too much. The sticky labels worked the best, but the opaque label obscures the wood grain. The grain of the oak is a bit coarse, and at different orientations for each number, so t is hard to do a good job of the serifs without tearing out little bits of the grain. I made my own fishtail chisel with a fairly shallow grind to get a clean cut, but still had to sharpen it on a fine slate stone before each number. Would be much easier if the wood were not covered up !
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Post by Chilli-head on 3rd June 2014, 8:03 am

Last weekend's job was a lot easier and quicker. A log store for a friend who has just got a stove (it's a Clearview pioneer, so needless to say she is thrilled with itt).

Actually it is more a log store kit at the moment, so that I can take it round by car. The hardest challenge was making one for less money than I could have bought one for - only possible by using reclaimed timber (AKA "skip wood") where not too conspicuous.
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Post by Chilli-head on 25th August 2014, 9:01 pm

I started a new job today - a bookcase in English oak for C-H jnr's room. Much more conventional woodwork than the chair, starting with seasoned timber. Sticking with hand tools though - and trying to think of new uses for wood shavings !
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Post by Chilli-head on 15th September 2014, 10:49 am

My garden fork handle started creaking and splitting whilst digging the last of the maincrop potatoes. It is quite old, and I have never really liked the plastic handle that seems to always scrape the skin off the side of my right hand little finger. "Why don't you just treat yourself to a new one ?" askes DW Rolling Eyes

The forging looks quite decent, and I rather fancy one of those old style wooden handles - and I had a reasonable piece of straight grained ash left over, which has been in a big plastic bag in the garage to keep it damp. Whilst the sun is still shining it seemed like too good an opportunity to miss - got the shavehorse and pole lathe set up in the garden and turned the beginnings of a new handle. Just need to figure out how to do the steam bending to make the fork at the top now.
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Post by freebird on 15th September 2014, 8:22 pm

Pah! What a disappointment. I was waiting patiently for the picture I was sure would arrive - and it turned out to be a yellow face. Looking forward to seeing the finished article.
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Post by Chilli-head on 16th September 2014, 11:43 am

Hum. No photo yet; my first go was a fail Sad Wood started to split as I was clamping it up after steaming.

I shall try again. I know a few things I'll do differently - I'll slot the handle a bit further down and use more gentle curves - the former I used was asking a lot of the wood to bend so much. I'll round off some corners better that caused a bit of a kink. I'll thin down the wood a bit, so that it is more supple. And I'll do it when I'm not in so much of a hurry - I think a bit longer in the steam would be better, and I'll be better prepared with clamps etc - too much faffing let it loose some of the heat.

I may also have a google and see if I can get some pictures of finished handles, to see if their shape holds any clues.
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Post by Chilli-head on 7th October 2014, 11:43 am

I've still not sorted the fork handle.  And all that has been going on in my workshop for the past week or so is not terribly exciting - a new loft hatch made, and loft ladder fitted so that I can get some of the clutter out of the way.

So, here's one I made earlier.  Our forester  friend at Wimpole has been setting us a woodworking chellenge each week, either a particular interesting wood to work with, or a specified thing to make, or maybe both at the same time.  The other weekend we were to make a stool from an Ash log, and a board of local elm.  Here's mine:



It does look rather like I should be milking a cow, I think.  I used a technique I've wanted to try for a while to attach the legs, they are blind wedged tenons - the end of each leg is turned into a round tenon. a slot for a wedge sawn,  The top is drilled with blind holes just deep enough for the tenon.  A small wedge - in this case of hornbeam so that it won't easily split - is put in the slot in the top of the leg, and the leg is driven into the hole in the seat,  with the wedge bottoming out on the bottom of the hole and being driven home as the leg is knocked in.  Done properly, the leg is wedged firmly - and irrremovably - in place.  It is quite important to get the wedge the right thickness for this to work.  The method is also good for concealed fixing of drawer and cupboard door knobs too.

I do like air dried elm as a wood to work.  it takes nice creamy shavings with little dust - a shame it is so hard to come by now.
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Post by Dandelion on 7th October 2014, 7:37 pm

BTW, have we done the 'fork handle' joke yet??

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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