Sunday, January 30, 2011

wash, rinse, repeat

How to go from this to this in three easy steps:




Seriously, I don't care how many fine tools you own, all glittery and sharp, or patinaed and worn, if you don't use them, well, you know.

No amount of book reading, magazine subscriptions, sacrifices to a pagan god (though they do work great for me) web sites, chat rooms, blogs, or Tweets will ever get you a fine, smooth, properly dimensioned board like practice. Maybe you'll get lucky once, or have an easy grained piece, but to get consistent, equally dimensional (at least as far as need be) results, you need to spend hours a day, days a week and every damn moment you can squeeze in.

You already know the process.

grab the lowest tpi saws you have and cut that stuff, remember to add a quarter inch on every side

get one good edge and cut another piece

joint that mother to the first

and wait for glue to dry

(or in my case, bring them inside, wait to let them warm up, wait for the glue to set, bring them back outside)

find a good face, whatever planes you need to get there

make the other face good

mark, cut and plane your ends

mark, cut and plane your last edge

now do it how ever many times you have to to get it right!

Saturday, January 29, 2011


I've begun to delve into the abyss of a new piece

derived solely from this one slab of wood

and actually that piece of wood turned up a most pleasent surprise. Like digging in the back of the fridge and finding some lone exotic beer hibernating behind the month old lettuce, this piece revealed its true face when I simply began flattening the back (which is now the front) Hidden beneath that saw marked, mouse crap crusted, weathered wrinkled warped disaster, heaven lurked, OH CRAP if this face had been planed before, it never would have been around long enough for me to find it. I feel a bit of nervous guilt finding such a treasure.

Finding a fine piece of wood is just as important as using it properly, an incredible lesson I've only begun to discover, why did it take me so long, maybe because I never found wood like this before, but then again, here's what transpired before Xmas.

All found pieces, gift pieces and hoarded treasures, meant to be given away.

Three of these planes were created specifically for individual people...

and this adjustable book stand had a home even before its design

and in return a surprise for me, my brother found this at an antiques market and thought I should acquire it, rather boring... ha ha

but seriously, what a nice gift, I have no idea when I'll build a timber frame building, and I haven't yet found a home for it in the shop, but it sure it cool to look at and play with! Thanks, little brother!

having that out of the way it's on to my next rant: the perils of hand work

Damn that's some wicked tear-out, which direction does this run? Is there a direction, is there an f-ing plane that will even smooth this stuff? Hold on... if I plane a little this way and a little that, hey, it might just work! Yea and a troup of rabid monkeys mights fly out of the tailpipe of my truck and gnaw the wood into shape. Low and behold, a tool I almost forgot... my Lie Nielsen large scraper, I put a hook on the end after buying it and found it chattering like a college freshman, so I put it on a shelf and just gazed at it lecherously. Until now...

It may take a while, can't hog off more than a tissue at a time, but it goes where no other plane will.

Why is this so much work, why can't I joint one simple friggin piece, why does it always lean to the left and end to the right? Maybe it's the style of plane, low angle planes are also low center of gravity, it'll roll like a canoe in the rapids. My personal Krenov inspired jack responds to the waver with gusto, I can feel perfectly when it's true, but it tends to cup along the length, so it's back to the low angle to flatten the ends and give one true shave. (yea I know, but the jointer is just too damn big for these boards)

why can't I clamp two pieces together to the bench and joint the two at once, you'd think I'd figure this one out, my bench sucks plain and simple, yea it's heavy as a tank and doesn't move even when I run my truck into it and I got plenty of holes and hold downs and two vices, and...oh crap...that's leg vice, gonna have to fix that some day. Also, don't use pine for the top, it moves way too much, the number of times I've flattened it, squared up the edges and fixed a sagging vice, someday I'll find some maple to redo the top.

So this next project is gonna be a doozie, lots of different joinery approaches, contrast of material thicknesses, and some stuff I've not yet had the guts to figure out, I'll try to keep up with the posts, if only to document its progress, but maybe someone of you will learn or teach and this will all be worth the voyage.