Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The WoodWhisperer showcases my bathroom vanity project

I submitted my bathroom vanity project to the WoodWhisperer website last year and it is showcased on today's webpage (28/01/2013)
I'd forgotten that I'd submitted it.
Check it out here

Friday, 25 January 2013

Axminster AW106PT2 Planer/Thicknesser (Jointer/Planer) Combo review

I decided when I designed the new shop that I could no longer put up with a deafening bench-top jointer and made a space in my machinery nook for a bigger trade rated jointer. In the UK and Australia a jointer is known as a planer. Just to add confusion to this a planer is known as a thicknesser!!!
Have a look at the wikipedia articles for the jointer here and the planer here.

So for the purposes of this review I shall refer to the machine as a planer/thicknesser.

WARNING! THIS IS A LONG REVIEW so click the read more button.


The machine arrived early January and is one of the last of the "White" series of AW106PT2 machines and I got it considerably cheaper than the "newer" Trade Series. In fact the only difference I can see is a different label on the outside and the specifications say the cutter head spins slightly faster.

You don't really want to see a picture of a packing case
DO YOU??? Well here it is!
The machine arrived on the back of the Axminster truck and the driver, known as "Farmer" (as that is what he used to do before becoming a delivery driver) from Somerset, used his pump fork truck to wheel it off the truck and straight into my shop. It was in a large packing case made from particle board and was securely nailed together. I extricated it from the case and found everything inside was safe and secure. There were no parts missing and it was 95% built.
The fence is still wrapped in plastic here

The inner workings

Now mobile but fence not fitted yet

I had to clean a light layer of oil from the cast iron faces and built it using the comprehensive instructions.

Then I built a mobile base and, using the principles of the ancient Egyptians, moved the heavy cast iron structure from its pallet onto some temporary wooden blocks.

I positioned the mobile base and gently moved the machine onto it then removed the blocks. The machine then became fully mobile.

Thursday, 24 January 2013

Sharpening station

One of the problems woodworkers have is blunt tools. How many times have you tried cutting something to find that the chisel/plane has lost its edge? You can't be bothered to get the sharpening stones out and carry on regardless. Your work may suffer as a consequence.

TMcWoodworks solution

When I designed my new shop I put in a space for a permanent sharpening station where I could go when any of the aforementioned tools were losing their edges.
I had a set of Japanese water stones, a water pond and a 6" dry stone grinder. So I just built a folding table with a cutout for the water pond and mounted it on the wall at about 36" from the ground. This I found was an ideal height for me either standing or sat on the shop stool.

Using the Veritas MKII honing guide system with flat roller, cambered roller and offset skew gauge I am able to quickly put an edge back on a chisel or plane iron and get back to work. I also can grind any of the lathe tools on the dry stone using a shop made guide.
I put all the tools into an open mesh storage bin underneath the table and have quick access to any of these peripherals. There is also a flattening stone that can be used to flatten the waterstones when the inevitable furrow is ploughed.
The pond is fixed into the table using three quick release clips so I can empty it of water. Then when the table is folded down flat to the wall it doesn't fall out.
Sketchup design concept
Sharpening station
(It looks very similar to the design!)

In the view you can also see the storage system I have in use. The three cabinets above the station are the widely available Danish RAACO 150 system.
I have the RAACO 16, 24 and 48 DRAWER 150 SERIES CABINET versions.
These comprise a dark blue painted steel cabinet with polypropylene drawers.

It is so much easier to find a woodscrew now as I have labelled the drawer fronts. No more searching around in cookie jars!                          
Now to sharpen all these chisels in my tool rack!
Tool rack design will follow in a future post.

Monday, 14 January 2013

Combo bench-hook/shooting board

I was having a look around the internet earlier and stumbled upon the excellent feed from Blair Glenn. Here he shows you how to use a combined bench-hook/shooting board in this video from his Facebook feed.
He has many videos and is an arborist by trade and some of the videos reflect upon a pretty awesome profession.

Groz SP-4 boat anchor smoothing plane
(not in my case as I was lucky!)
I'm off to the shop to make one. I can then dedicate one of the cheaper planes I have to the task. I have a very cheap Groz number SP-4 smoother (a copy of the Stanley #4 bedrock) that is actually very good, once it was tuned up, having square sides relative to the sole plate (some planes are not square) so will be great for use on the shooting board. I must have got lucky as the Groz planes don't receive many favourable reviews.
I tend to use Japanese pull saws and they don't work that well on bench hooks. I shall have to look how the Japanese woodworkers have an equivalent to a bench-hook  I doubt it as they sit down on the floor when they work wood.

Making one couldn't be simpler.
Measure the distance from the side of the plane to the blade

  • Cut a piece of 1/2" plywood about 9" x 12". 
  • Cut another piece of 2-1/2" x 1" x 6" hard wood such as rock maple (that's what Blair used on his).
  • Cut a piece of 1-1/4" square x 9" long softwood and glue/pin/screw it to the underside of the board at the end closest to you.
  • Glue the rock maple on the top piece of the board furthest away from you. You can square it up to the edge of the board if you desire (not critical).
  • Measure the distance from the edge of you plane to the edge of the blade distance X in the picture.
  • Find a piece of plywood stock that is around that thickness (normally 3/16"or less thick ) measuring around 6 x 8
  • Square the end of this board relative to the side (this is the critical bit).
  • Glue this piece to the board (or screw it down) so it butts against the rock maple and is in line with the end grain of the maple.
  • You now have a planing guide.
  • Take your favourite cross cut saw and accurately cut a kerf in the maple block that is square to the face. That is now your bench hook guide.

Follow Blair's advice in the video on how to use it.

Friday, 11 January 2013

Highland Woodworker Episode 4 - Craig Nutt

Have a look at this video:
Particularly at the work of master designer, artist and furniture maker Craig Nutt with his organic furniture from 24:00 onward.
His stuff is not every-bodies taste but it is very unique. I like it.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Fine Woodworking Archive 1975 to 2012

I ordered this on DVD from Highland Woodworking back in December 2012 and it came early January 2013. All 230 issues from the first one back in 1975 to the Tools and Shops Winter Edition 2012/2013 are included.
It also came with a collectors edition reprint of the first edition including all the advertisements of the time.
The cover is black and white as is everything inside. I forgot that colour was a recent addition to magazines due to technology changes. Back in those days everything was shades of grey and everybody walked in a strange fast, jerky manner (at least they did on old B&W movies). You would sometimes see colour on the cover, albeit a few colours, and everything else was black and white. How times have changed!

I haven't had chance to read any of the magazines yet but they are installed on the computer and I'll transfer them to my iPad, all 2.8 GB of them, when I get chance.

That'll keep me busy for quite some time.

Friday, 4 January 2013

Stanley #130 blockplane

I recently started building up my collection of hand tools and decided to buy a used Stanley #130 block plane from a website called preloved.co.uk
This is similar to CraigsList in that a seller advertises the product to be sold on the website and then dealing direct with the buyer. Preloved get no commission from the sale and you can pay with cash, cheque(check) or Paypal.
I bought the Stanley #130 for a very modest sum of £18 (about $29 US) + postage.
I wasn't expecting much but I was in for a surprise.

If you don't know the Stanley #130 is a double ended block plane made between 1884-1955 (according to Supertool) it is 8" long by 1 5/8" wide. The blade can be either in the conventional position or re-positioned at the opposite end, almost at the end, to act in a similar way to a bull nose plane.
Blade in regular position

The blade is positioned underneath one of the round steel pins on top of the wedge in the casting bevel side up. The end of the wedge nearest the mouth is machined with two thin webs in the casting extending beyond and the blade back sits directly upon this. A clamping plate is then placed on top of the blade, again underneath the pin, and the integral knob is tightened to secure the blade.
There is no form of lateral or longitudinal adjustment and you have to manually position the blade and I found this very easy to do.
Blade in bullnose position
If you want the plane to act as a bullnose simply remove it with the cap and re-position it under the other steel pin. It couldn't be simpler.

On my example there is a rosewood knob at one end for use when the blade is in the central position.

The plane disassembled - not much to it!
Underside of the main casting
I examined the plane and found that for once the sole of the light iron casting was dead flat with surprisingly little hollowing behind either throat openings (obviously it hadn't been used very much) but a little blackening at the bullnose end and both adjacent faces were dead flat and square to the sole with very little corrosion in the entire casting. The machined wedges have a little pitting but nothing that is more than cosmetic. The castings are finished with the usual black japanning. The cap casting has a Stanley sticker on that is nearly worn off. I'm not sure of the year when this was made but the cap has QX1 C241 cast into the underside.

Underside of cap
The main casting has X1 MADE IN ENG cast into it. Maybe a knowledgeable reader could enlighten us as to its approximate manufacturing date?

I spent a couple of minutes ensuring the face of the blade was flat, it was, and gave the bevel a quick hone with my Veritas MK 2 honing guide.
I gave it a tryout on oak, maple and a piece of cedar softwood. On a light cut on end grain for the oak it was perfect, the hard maple was good too both with no visible chatter. On the cedar end grain it was not so good, however on long grain it was fantastic with no tear out for all 3 samples.
I increased the cut depth as I needed it to remove some stock from the cladding on one of the shop doors. It was removing 1/32" shavings like a hot knife through butter. As the cladding was already on the door I found it difficult to get an ordinary block plane in nearest the floor. I inverted the blade into bullnose position and it removed stock from that too.


This is a fine all round blockplane that can be used for site joinery (it probably was designed for that) and, in my opinion, would also be great for fine furniture.  It's just a pity that it isn't made anymore either by Stanley nor any other manufacturer in a different guise. A great buy for very little outlay. If you see one advertised - snap it up you won't be disappointed.