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 files, cutter bent and 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!

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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!

Chairmaking Diversions: Making a Tapered Reamer

To make basic stick chairs (and other stick-based projects), one needs a small set of task-specific tools. Not sure where this kick is going to lead me but the tool hunt is definitely ON, and started with the making of a tapered reamer. I have a stickered stack of apple splits that provided an excellent reamer blank; is there one in there?

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A bit of planing with the cambered jack got me far enough along that I could mark center on one end and prep the piece for lathe work.

A ‘tool-overflow’ drawer in the assembly bench held several compass saws, one with a shop-made handle shaped from plywood. That made the ideal candidate for a reamer blade. Armed with that AND the only turning caliper thingy I own (see pic above), time to turn.

Cut the widest blade area, then took a measure at the middle, the one at the smallest end, connecting each as I worked the piece from left to right. Third pic shows the size and shape roughly matched to the donor compass blade. It took about 30 minutes to have the shape I was after, so over to the bench for the next few steps.

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Cutting the slot to accept the reamer cutter was a perfect task for the Summerfield table saw.

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With the cutter set in place, a few high spots needed attention with the #52 spokeshave (first ‘project’ use for that tool!). Chiseled a back bevel at the leading edge of the cutter, then turned a burr on the cutter’s edge. Finally, jointed the saw teeth to dull them a bit before cutting a hole for a dowel handle. From there it was ‘trial run’ time.

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Does it work? Yes, actually. Here’s a profile pic attempting to show the cutter extending every-so-slightly beyond the reamer’s main body; this is the stuff that does the cutting. Note that I’ve since filed the teeth down a bit, which in turn improved performance noticeably.

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More tuning required, but I was out of time to dedicate today. I’m happy with the build and will have this reamer doing what I need it to do soon enough. That’s all for today, thanks for looking!