Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sightline Rule Refined

I've been all over the map lately, but I am home now for a few months and am excited for all of the new stuff that I have to show. First, I'd like to share the sightline square that Steve First made for me (us) at Kelly Mehlers. It's a beautifully accurate way of creating the sightlines and discovering the drilling angles for laying out legs mortises etc...
He made to versions, a large legal version and one that fits on normal sized paper that requires a bit of cut and pasting but works just the same.
Here are the PDFs (actually JPEGS)


I've also made this video to explain the use of this tool and a bit about rake and splay.



You'll also notice, in the upper right column, that you can subscribe now via email to the blog so that you'll be notified when I post new content! Doesn't life just keep getting easier :)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

A Smooth Back

For year, I resisted the urge to buy an angle grinder. It just seemed like such a crude tool. But then I looked at the mushrooming of my wedges, basically shrapnel in waiting, and decided to take the plunge. Just like with my buffer, I feel foolish for having waited so long. I keep finding great uses for this tool.



A while back, I saw these "Flap" wheels for the angle grinder at the store and thought that they might come in handy. When I was teaching at Kelly's last week, Roger Clark told me that he'd had great luck using these to sharpen his mower blades. Roger brought one in, but the mower had taken it's toll and it didn't work on the hardened steel we were working with. Always willing to take a $5 bet, I picked up a new one yesterday, and the results are fantastic.





I've been using regular grinding and cutting wheels on the angle grinder to knock down high spots on the back of drawknives while flattening, and it's proven to be faster and more controllable than I had expected. But the smooth action of the flap wheels and ease of control is far superior.

I haven't met the craftsman yet who lives for flattening the back of tools, but honestly, I'm having to control myself from wanting to grab all my knives of the rack and make them this lovely. Well done Roger!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Survivor Tool Chest

No, this isn't about a bookmatched, dovetailed toolchest with 50 compartments and inlay in the shape of a drawknife, although I dream of having one!
I have often been asked about the tools required to make a chair, and since I travel so much these days, it's become evident, and imperative that I figure out the necessities in my shop. One of the joys of chairmaking is the limited tool list, and in the cauldron of the classroom, I've refined this list and thought you might like to see it. There are a few things that are specific to my personal techniques, but in general, this list could get you sitting pretty after a shipwreck (on an island with ring porous hardwoods!)
EDIT: Obviously, this isn't a real survivor list, which would be just a few tools, but a list of the tools that come into use in my everyday shop experience, although, all of these tools do basically fit in a toolbag. Now if I could just get Hoadley to publish a version of his book that doubles as a floatation device!

Turning




Roughing Gouge




1 in gouge




Skew




Parting tool




Tenoners ½, 7/16, 3/8,5/8



Tenon jig that sits on lathe bed for sighting tenon angle

Galbert Caliper




Sizing Tool




Spindle gouge




2MT jacobs chuck and key



steady rest




cclamps










Shaving




Drawknives




Spokeshaves




marking guage




Bead Scraper










Books




Hoadley




Alexander




Sloane




Langsner




Underhill




Santori










Carving




Adze




Travisher




Inshave




Gutter carver




Tenon trimming gouges



Flush cut saws




Depth drill










Painting




Filters




Paint




Extra Bond




Brush




Anti Foaming




Scotchbrite




Steel wool




Oil




Gloves
















Splitting










Maul




Froe




Wedges




Brake




Hatchet




Sledges




Chainsaw




Gas




Oil




Wrench




Spark plugs
















Sharpening




Stones




Grinders




Buffer




Holders




bear tex




auger file




Nagura




Drywall screen




Plate glass




Wood Stone Holder with wedge



Strop




Small grinding bits



Green rouge




diamond hones




wheel dresser




pin jig for drawknife grinding



magnet jig for drawknife grinding



diamond paste










Planes




Scrub




#4




#5




#7










Drilling




Drill and charger




Bits




bit and brace




irwin extension bit















Measuring and Marking



Clear Rulers




Protractors




Black rules




Extension rule




Bevel boss




Spindle blocks




Aluminum straight edges



Carpenter pencils




Accuscribe




Assembly




String




Irwin quick grip clamp



Tenon chamferer (carpenter pencil sharpener)


Rubberbands




Reamers




Holding Jigs with v notches for drilling undercarraige


Mirrors




Dead Blow




Hammer




Bevel Squares




Steel plate with holes for sizing tenons


square




target for sighting mortise drilling



tenon taperer




plumber reamer




extra bends
















Misc




Wax




Pencils




Cyanoacrylate




Foil




Gluepot




Measuring spoons



Chip brushes




Spring clamps




Shavehorses




Heat gun




iron




Steamer, pot, reservoir



5/8 dowels




Tape










Scraping




scraper jig




Scrapers




Burnisher




Oil




Files





I'm sure you will have a couple of questions which I can answer in the comments page, plus you can tell me which tools you can't live with out. Cheers!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Another Thought on the Shavehorse


 Greg Pennington showed up to help teach two weeks of chairmaking classes with me at Kelly Mehlers with a lovely new walnut shavehorse based on the plans that I posted earlier on the blog.
He should have known better.


I had spent the entire flight there ruminating on shavehorse design and I immediately proposed chopping it up to try some half formed ideas that I had to improve the adjustability. It took nearly a week and a half of trials, errors and broken parts to arrive at a design that we agreed was worthy of working with.

Here is a graveyard of broken pieces and failed notions!





We ended up with a design that uses a ratcheting head (credit to Brian Boggs for bringing the ratchet and shavehorse together) to make the adjustment flow.


Once we settled on laminating the swing arm and head from three pieces, all sorts of options became possible and the interlocking parts became easy to conceive and create.


The parts you see above are all that is required to transform a standard dumbhead horse into an adjustable one. Below, you can see how, by affixing the plans directly to the wood with spray adhesive, I was able to cut the parts accurately enough on a bandsaw to get a smooth, tight function.


Here is the horse in action!




I'm swamped right now with projects, but I will be refining the design and having it drawn up on the computer for accuracy. Once I get it done, I will share the plans and give instructions on how to get it together.