Brown Maple in the House!

This tree, what I’ve called a Soft Maple, was in the way of a driveway-to-be and had to go.

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A few months later, after the trunk spent some time at Reform School, some slabbed lumber came to the shop!

About 80 board feet, all will finish roughly 10″ wide and over 8′ long. Rough cut to a full 4/4 thickness. Lumber in the shop, stickered and air drying, is always a good thing. Some splalting adds character as well. Wonder what these boards turn into a few years from now?

Just a Bench In Use

Had some very productive hours in the shop tonight and took a couple of pictures. Much was accomplished, a little more to do for a complete project. It’s the journey, right?

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That’s a mix of old and new. Old, because the tool tote features parts from one my grandad made years and years ago. Here’s that box prior to deconstruction:

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The stickers that are visible at each end are from his business; I wanted to save that history by re-purposing parts of his plywood tote in my shop.

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It’s not done, but the intent is clear. This tool tote is sized to fit just right in my toolchest, for those times I take some tools on the road (or across the yard, into the house for a task or two). It’s unused space otherwise, and the chest is on the small side to begin with.

More later, thanks for looking!

“Now THAT’S A Brace!”

The title is an overreach of course, but I picked up a brace today. No big deal, I have more than a couple of them already. But this was a real $2 pick-me-up for sure. I knew it had a wide sweep (Capt. Obvious, right?) but didn’t see a measure or model number at the flea market. But with a little elbow grease at the bench, this came through:

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Wow, that’s a huge sweep! Cool, anxious to give it a try! But sorry, no money shots in this installment. Just a slightly cleaned up, but oiled and free-moving, 14″ sweep brace. Oh, and the other great news? The chuck is stamped “Stanley Rule and Level”. So it fits in nicely with the rest of my ‘old arn’… That’s all for now!

Unloved Side Rabbets

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Until very recently, that is. A recent build needed tailored dado cuts, and after some pretty severe fettling, each of these Stanley side rabbet planes are at the ready. I’d not really even attempted to use them, with good reason as it turned out: The #99 needed the mouth filed a bit, the cutter bent into useable shape and the cutter’s edge re-bevelled. Never would have worked the way it was; no wonder it’s in such good shape!

The (missing) fence for the #98 has now been replaced, so both are complete. Huzzah for tools that work!

Sharper with Time

Long story short, I was doing final smoothing on a top tonight and reached for the #2 for some very local tear-out. The plane chattered and skipped across the piece… What the ??

So out came the DMTs and strop. Back wasn’t flat, edge not good at all. Who sharpened it last? I did, and near as I can tell it was back in 2010 (I took the plane to a class and remember sharpening all my tools then; this one isn’t used often.

It’s sharp now, so maybe I’ll reach for it more.  My sharpening skills have really progressed, too. A very good thing. Oh, and the pic shows the #2 next to Heft and Hubris incarnate, the #8C.

As always, thanks for looking!

Chairmaking Diversion: Making a Staked Stool

The first thing I must do in this blog is give kudos to those that have gone before me (and done better posts, too). Specifically here.

So after seeing how staked furniture ought to be made, let’s go into the process I used to make my first piece. What’s the point of the build? Well, not a long time ago, I decided to make a four-sided box using hand-cut dovetails. It was hardly a show piece, but it held together and I was amazed at the idea I could build something strong without nails, screws or glue. This stool build is like that.

I started with a 5/4” piece of what I believe to be hickory. Toughest wood I’ve ever worked with. Drilling four holes in a hickory plank, aside from making the 5/8” auger bit smoke, was all just about all I could muster. Some basic layout was done with a compass, and a sliding bevel set a consistent angle for the holes to be drilled.

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Straight holes weren’t the object of the exercise, though. So here’s where the tapered reamer made it’s first appearance. The reamer doesn’t eject shavings, but rather collects them in the bevel near the hooked edge. Tough going, but completed four very inexact reamings in about 10 minutes’ work.

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Wait, where did those sticks come from? Well, how about a picture?

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To work the legs, I went grabbed a drawknife and headed over to the shaving horse. Yeah, really. I found the horse in a run-down antique mart a couple of years ago and ‘had to have it.’ It’s been taking up space ever since, so there’s no way it was going to stand idly by when there are spokes to shave!

I have a source of very-straight-grained pine that was ripped it to four even sides before heading to the shaving horse. Once clamped in, the drawknife took four sided material and made it more like a leg’d shape; not eight sided, and certainly not anything that could be mistaken for round as that wasn’t the object. Just take them back from square.

From there it was over to the bench, where two separate tools were at the ready: a tenon cutter and a hollow auger cutter. The tennon cutter was set to the 5/8” setting…

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And the hollow auger carried that size down about 3/4″…

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A picture of the hollow auger cutter:

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Then it was back to the shaving horse, this time with drawknife and the #52 Stanley spokeshave. After a bit of tapering (to match the work done by the reamer, duh!), I was ready to drive everything home. The ends were sliced cross-grain to take shims…

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then the mallet came out.

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Drove in the (ugly)shims then cut off the excess  with the Gent’s saw.

And then I realized something: The stinking system worked! I have a very, very sturdy stick stool!

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Like the dovetail box many years before, I’m happy with this build as a proof of concept. I’ve now broken the ice, I’ve made staked furniture. Bigger and better things will certainly follow. That’s all for today, thanks for looking!