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What have I done in the workshop today?

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Post by mr_sfstk8d on 21st November 2011, 8:05 pm

Help! Seen and ad on Craigslist for a Stanley No. 80 spokeshave in GREAT shape for only $20 (roughly a tenner UK?). Please tell me not to buy it, as I can't even do woodworking all winter in the apartment!

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Post by Chilli-head on 21st November 2011, 9:02 pm

mr_sfstk8d wrote:Help! Seen and ad on Craigslist for a Stanley No. 80 spokeshave in GREAT shape for only $20 (roughly a tenner UK?). Please tell me not to buy it, as I can't even do woodworking all winter in the apartment!

Don't buy it. You really don't need it. Repeat to yourself "I really don't need one".

Post the weblink though, because I'm currently shopping for a Record or Stanley #80 cabinet scraper Wink. Or a Veritas scraper plane if I can find a way to justify it to myself (and the Mrs !)
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Post by Chilli-head on 15th December 2011, 10:46 am

Phew, it's getting a bit dusty down here.

It being that time of year for the annual festival of consumerism, it seems like a bad time to start major projects, so mostly odds and end, and tool fettling going on.

My "client" for the candlestick repair (above) now seems to think I can fix anything, and here is the latest challenge he set me:



... but when it arrived it had two of it's finials missing (the middle one is original), and a broken foot. And it was rather dirtier.

My first inclination was to glue a couple of wooden chess pieces on and call it job jobbed Very Happy But, looking in the back, I discovered a rather nicely preserved label bearing "Uhrenfabrik Teutonia" and that it was made by Philip Haas und Sohne, of St. Georgen in 1897. So perhaps it deserved a bit more respect ... Looking at photos of similar clocks it seems likely that the outer two steeples were of the same design, or slightly subordinate to, the central one, so I decided to aim for that. The twiddly bits seem to be made from mahogany, but the main body of the case is "mahoganised" - i.e., cunningly finished to look like mahogany, but from the inside looks suspiciously like old wine cases. Who said recycling was a new idea !

It came to me accompanied by a broken mahogany table leg of a similar colour to the clock, which made a good turning blank with a bit of work with plane and spokeshave. I had to custom re-grind some of my Silverline carving chisels (a bit cheap and thus sacrificial !) to do the details. I still don't have a proper lathe, so an improved version of the drill/stand rig I used for the candlestick had to do again.

Finished wih many coats of shellac, and a bit of careful staining to emulate the patina of the rest of the clock. I hope it will be good for the next hundred years.

Fee for this job - one bottle of brandy ....
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Post by freebird on 15th December 2011, 12:44 pm

Why so cheap, Chilli-head? It sounds as if they, or you, don't place enough value on your work. Looks a superb job from where I'm sitting.
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Post by Chilli-head on 15th December 2011, 2:29 pm

Special family rate with senior citizen discount ... the client is my FIL Laughing Seriously, I wouldn't do this for the money - far too tricky. It took me three goes and quite a bit of patience to get two good ones.
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Post by freebird on 15th December 2011, 5:35 pm

Ah right, that explains it. Know what you mean. There are some jobs that you just do for love, or not at all.
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Post by Chilli-head on 30th March 2012, 1:45 pm

Phew, seems like a whiole since I posted an update down here.

The current WIP (work in progress, that is) is a serving hatch for FIL - to replace an old one made from mahogany veneered chipboard, he wants something made of solid, lighter wood. Starting point is two boards of rough sawn oak, which I've planed to size by hand. This is made much easier by my birthday present to myself - a new bench. Helps quite a lot, once the cupboards are loaded up with some nice heavy tools, my effort can go into pushing the plane over the wood, rather than shoving the bench across the workshop !

FIL tells me that this is the last job on his list, so after that I can get on with the 2 tables, cabinet and set of shelves I've got on my "to do" list !

I may also get chance to have a play with one of my other birthday presents - one of these:
Flexcut carving jack - looks great, and is scarily sharp. Looks just the thing for a camping trip.
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Post by Chilli-head on 20th May 2012, 9:34 pm

My workshop was finally silent again today - the serving hatch is done and fitted this afternoon, it fitted the hole in the wall perfectly, which was a huge relief...

Now to start thinking about the table - sketching out a few designs and working out what timber I will need.
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Post by Dandelion on 20th May 2012, 9:43 pm

Well done!

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Post by Chilli-head on 22nd June 2012, 2:34 pm

There was a discussion on another forum I dip into occasionally about what to do with waste from woodworking. This seems an odd question to me - I don't really have any waste ! I make smaller and smaller items from it, and what really is too small can be used for firewood or smoking. Even shavings and sawdust will compost !

Anyway, the serving hatch I made left me with a collection of bits of oak, 20x30mm, spare, which have become one of these :


A hinged photo frame. I first made one of these for some of our wedding photos; I tried for ages to find something like it without much luck. I think they work quite nicely for a pair of portrait shots of a couple; they are nice and stable and stand up without a flappy stand at the back, and they fold away with the glass inwards for safe storage. For the modern marriage, I can even do them with loose pin hinges Wink
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Post by Dandelion on 23rd June 2012, 8:26 pm

It is beautiful! I had to do a term of basic woodwork when I was at art college, and I'm not very good at it at all, so I really appreciate the neat mitres on the edges. Is oak difficult to work with? When we went to see the Globe Theatre being built they said that oak doesn't mature for a couple of hundred years - does that make it easier or more difficult to work with?

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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 freebird on 24th June 2012, 10:01 am

It is very lovely, CH. I always want to feel it, though, and smell it. An important part of enjoying wood, for me.
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Post by Chilli-head on 24th June 2012, 8:21 pm

I don't really know that oak is particularly difficult to work. I guess at the Globe they were using green oak. The board this came from was seasoned for some years already so is fairly stable, but was otherwise a 4m x 220mm x 27mm plank of rough sawn tree, which obviously is sawn straight but warps a bit as it dries. It also has internal stresses, so when you rip saw it into thinner strips, they can bend unexpectedly as you relieve those forces. Getting the parts you need, all straight and planed flat to within a couple of tenths of a millimetre is an art I'm still working on !

I'm working on the mitred corners bit too. I have moved away from stub tenons, and gone for dowels or loose slip tenons, so that all the mitres can be planed to 45 degrees with a simple homemade shooting board, for a thinner glue line.

freebird wrote:It is very lovely, CH. I always want to feel it, though, and smell it. An important part of enjoying wood, for me.

Hmm. The internet is good, but I don't think there is a way to add a link to a smell yet. At the moment, it smells of bees' wax and natural turpentine oil !
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Post by Chilli-head on 2nd August 2012, 10:58 am

Chilli-head wrote:
Now to start thinking about the table - sketching out a few designs and working out what timber I will need.

Well, I have started the table; I've bought a collection of bits of oak including a large waney edged 30mm board to make the top. All rough sawn, and all from trees removed from gardens, as opposed to French forestry product. This sounded an appealingly eco option to me, but as it happens, this has a few ramifications I had not anticipated. There are a lot of species of oak. And in gardens, people do not necessarily plant the native Quercus robur. But, when it is in rough sawn, air dried boards it is hard to tell exactly what you are looking at. After attacking it with my scrub plane though, all becomes clear. Some is English oak, hopefully enough for the legs and rails. There is a bit of what looks like white oak, but as for the the board I meant for the top - I've been sold a Turkey, in more than one sense ! It is a Turkey oak, Quercus cerris, which has a distinctly pink colour, a rough texture and a wide band of sapwood. It is not a great furniture wood, being brittle it splits a lot as it dries, and takes the edge off your tools twice as fast as normal. It was a big board, so I may have enough material to work around the splits and rather unlovely sapwood. Still pondering it. Or maybe I'll save it for less conspicuous uses. Or maybe to keep warm in winter ...

The message is clear. Next time I buy timber, I'll be more wary, and maybe take a block plane with me to see exactly what is under the grime !
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Post by Chilli-head on 27th September 2012, 11:50 pm

Crikey, it's a good job I don't earn my living this way. Nearly two months on, and I've just finished glueing up my table. Just needs a clean up, the top (already made) screwing on, and some Polyx oil to finish. Well, actually the oil will go on before the top is fitted so that the wood is sealed where the cleats attach on the underneath, to help keep the top flat - if the top and underside aren't treated the same way, cupping is quite likely.

More to follow, watch this space !
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Post by Mike on 2nd October 2012, 12:15 am

Finally done and up (framing a picture; from scratch)

At the EF! RRR we got a print of "The True Cost of Coal" figuring we'd find some way to put it up when we got home. Luckily we were able to find a place where it could be hung so all needed was a frame and backing.

Not quite as trivial as it sounds. See, this print is 3x5 feet. Not going to find a frame for something like that in the local stores. So .........

Stop at one of the local lumber mills where they sold milled trim. Picked out something suitable for the front and then some plain for the back rim to hold it in. Managed to find good condition 20x30" foam "display sheets" at Staples so three of those fastened together make 3x5'. Cut the front trim in the mitre box and glued it up. Oh, forgot to say, before going to the rendezvous had found a corner clamp for almost nothing at a tag sale (you call boot sale) and without having that specialized tool probably wouldn't have considered the project or even gotten the print. Then glued the backing strips in a way to reinforce the corners.

Finish was several coats of linseed oil. It wasn't bought as linseed oil but supposedly edible grade flax seed oil. Except spoiled (oxidized badly) so had been set aside in case useful as linseed oil.

Today we cleared the dining room table, flattened the print, put together the three backing sheet and lightly fastened the print to that, then carefully smooshed it into the snug fitting frame (inside the backing strips) and put some duck tape patches on back "just in case". It's a snug enough fit perhaps would have stayed put by itself but with 15 square feet of area a gust could put a lot of force on it.


PS: If you want to look at "The True Cost of Coal" go to http://www.beehivecollective.org/english/coal.htm and select the resolution you want to see it in. Incredible detail and perhaps not obvious but can be folded in such a way as to leave just the natural world there.

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Post by Chilli-head on 1st January 2013, 9:10 pm

-- Not so much today, but over Christmas.

I've finally finished making a right handed crook knife, to match the (unplanned Embarassed ) left handed version. I've set up the pole lathe with a bungee indoors, and turned a big mallet from some offcuts of ash, and a mk3 bangle from cherry. I made a holder for my pole lathe chisels, and today I started on some more oak picture frames.
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Post by Dandelion on 2nd January 2013, 5:43 pm

That sounds like a very productive week! (I've knitted a glove but that's about it!)

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Post by Chilli-head on 7th January 2013, 11:11 am

Well not so much in the workshop, as in the living room ! I picked some bits of metal from a scrap bin last week which were agricultural blades, but looked quite close to being perfect to have a second life as a froe. First step to anneal it so that I can shape it. Easiet way to do that at this time of year is with the woodburner ! Get it nicely cranked and a good bed of coals built up, then pop it in. Open the air vents a tad to get it up to red heat, then leave it in the remains of the fire to get a good soak, and a slow cooling. Fishing it out this morning, it is soft enough to file and saw.

Getting it hard again, now that will be the challenge.
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Post by justin.sanford.9469 on 15th January 2013, 8:54 pm

a couple of spoons i finished today , ive been sat in my workshop with the radio on and a pot of tea on the wood burner.





the top one is carved from hazel and has burled oak inserted,the second is also hazel and has been kolrosed with a traditional sami basket weave pattern.
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Post by Adrian on 15th January 2013, 10:08 pm

quite lovely

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Post by Dandelion on 15th January 2013, 10:14 pm

Wow!!

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Post by freebird on 15th January 2013, 10:25 pm

Ahh man, they're gorgeous! What's 'kolrosed' please?
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Post by justin.sanford.9469 on 16th January 2013, 9:31 am

kolrosing is a means od decorating wood,basicly a pattern is incised with a scalpal and then birch bark dust is rubbed into the cuts,once oiled the design is fixed.
thanks for the possitive comments folks,i make a lot of spoons so you may get bored with then after a bit!
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Post by Chilli-head on 16th January 2013, 9:35 am

Very nice. Lots of questions ! Is the wood carved green or seasoned (or somewhere inbetween !) ? The burr - is it an inlaid veneer, or a thicker solid inset piece going all way through ?

And can you tell us more about the decoration of the second - indeed more about yourself, is there a reason you use the traditional Sami pattern ?


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Post by Chilli-head on 16th January 2013, 9:38 am

Our posts crossed there. I am willing to take the risk of getting bored Wink - do let us see some more of your creations !
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