Thursday, 28 February 2013

Dates for your diary

Lie Nielson event at Axminster Tool Centres, Warrington in the UK

Axminster are always hosting woodworking events in the UK. One local to me at the Warrington store has a Lie-Nielsen hand tools event with Deneb Puchalski. Dates/times are Friday 15th (12 noon - 4.30pm) & Saturday 16th March (10am - 4pm) 2013.
I hopefully will be attending as I have a question that I need to pose to him about sharpening my cabinet makers router plane (it's not easy!).

For more details have a look at Axminsters website

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Highland Woodworking Episode 5 - Alf Sharp

In this episode Popular Woodworking helmsman Matthew Teague (he steps down quite soon) shows you how to sharpen using the scary sharp method. It isn't mentioned by name but that's what it is.
Also have a look at Alf Sharp the furniture maker who makes museum quality furniture out of his Tennessee shop. He was awarded the 2008 Cartouche Award from the Society of American Period Furnituremakers.

The video concentrates on the Lie Nielsen event at HWW in Georgia showing bits with Chris Swartz and the brilliant Scott Meeks.
Scott makes fantastic custom wood bodied hand planes . I can't afford them but when I win the lottery I might buy one!

If you don't mind the commercials and adverts it's worthwhile watching the video just for Alf. Charles Brock is superb too as host. His flat caps have a life of their own.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

On the Bench - A Display Cabinet

As mentioned in a previous post I had to buy a new jointer plane because the old one broke during a jointing operation. I was actually making boards up for this project.
A customer has an existing commercial European white oak cabinet with 4 drawers and a sliding door. The front of the cabinet, including the drawers and door, has a gentle curve. The client wants a matching display cabinet to go on top of the existing cabinet.
The cabinet had to follow the curve of the front and have 4 open shelves separated by a vertical divider.

Existing cabinet
Existing cabinet in situ
 I used Sketchup to come up with a number of designs and came up with this.
Sketchup visualization

Upper Cabinet

The new cabinet is to be made from 25mm (1") thick boards on the top and bottom. The sides and centre divider are made from boards 22mm (7/8") thick. The shelves are made from boards 14mm (9/16") thick.

In the design I have made the base about 10mm (3/8") from the front and side edges. The rear of the base lines up with the existing lower cabinet. The sides will be fixed to the top and bottom using mortise and tenon joints. The rear of the cabinet will have oak ply panels. The orientation of the grain will be left right instead of the usual up down direction. This is because the existing cabinet has its drawers and sliding door with a left right grain orientation.

Top and Bottom

I have milled the top and bottom boards already and cut them to size.

  • Bottom is 1020 x 450 x 25 thick (40" x 17-3/4" x 1" ). Made from two 10" wide x 5/4 white oak boards.
  • Top is 1020 x 250 x 25 thick (40" x 10" x 1"). Made from one 10" wide x 5/4 white oak board.
They are now awaiting routing for the mortises.
I am using a metric 8mm routing cutter with an 8mm shank that I bought to cut the mortises. However I don't have an 8mm collet for my router. Amazon to the rescue again and the collet is on its way to me as I type. All my routers are 1/4" or 1/2". I can't remember why I ordered a router cutter with an odd 8mm shank! It must have been a senior moment.
The top and bottom front edges will be angled to match the curve of the sides. This will give a pleasing transition between cabinets. 

Sides and Centre

I have already glued up the boards making the sides. They are now awaiting being cut down to size.
A template for the curve has been made and will be used to rough cut with the band saw and then routed to the pattern.


The shelves are made from some 6/4 oak. I'd actually ordered 5/4 but it came thicker which was beneficial.
My bandsaw only has a 6" capacity and the boards are 10" wide. I cut them to 5" boards and then resawed these boards down the thickness making bookmatched boards of around 3/4" (19mm) thick rough sawn.

The shelves are to be able to be repositioned by the client and they have specified a socket and flattened pin system.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

New jointer plane - Veritas Bevel Up Jointer

My Stanley clone type number 7 jointer plane broke during a crucial jointing operation. The build of the display cabinet for a customer is currently on hold while the postman delivers my new jointer plane.

My electric jointer is good but the surface finish is not good enough to joint furniture boards together hence the hand plane. I looked on the various tool websites and couldn't decide between a Lie Nielson #7 jointer or a Lee Valley Veritas Bevel-Up Jointer Plane.
Veritas Bevel-up Jointer plane

The Veritas won as it was a bit cheaper and more importantly in stock for next day delivery.
Jointer Fence
It also has a fence that can be used to hold the plane square to the face. As the boards are waiting to be jointed, biscuited (no Domino's here!) and glued up it was a no brainer.

Jointer fence attached to the plane

For those who don't know:

  • The Veritas Bevel Up Jointer plane is 22" long and holds a blade 2-1/4" wide 3/16" thick. 
  • The blade is an A2  tool steel version ground at 25 degrees. 
  • The bed is set at 12 degrees making a total included angle of 37 degrees. This is lower than the Stanley standard 45 degrees and apparently is great for end grain work.
  • There are also other blades available a 38 degree giving the York 50 and a 50 degree giving 62 degrees. The higher angle will give less tearout on difficult woods.

Veritas Bevel-up angles
From Veritas website article

The overall length of the plane is the same as the Stanley #7 but its mouth is in a similar position relative to the toe of a Stanley #8. What this means is that the plane has the registration of a #8 (from the front of the plane) but the distance from the rear of the sole is the same as the #7.

The plane is similar in construction to an existing Veritas plane I already own, the Small Bevel Up Smoother.

Bevel Up Jointer on top
Stanley #7 on bottom
(Image from Derek Cohen's Woodcentral review) 
There is no cap iron and the blade is held in position using a clamp plate. There is a Norris adjuster that controls the projection and lateral adjustment of the blade. There are also some grub screws that hold the location of the iron in its lateral position once you have set it. This enables you to remove the iron for honing and replace it exactly in place.

The tote and front handle are made from rosewood. The front handle doubles up as a toe locking knob on the smaller smoother, but on the jointer there is a separate knurled brass knob controlling the locking of the sliding toe section. Open it wide for hard aggressive cuts, close it for smoother wispy cuts.
Toe Locking detail

The body is made from ductile iron capable (so Veritas say) of being dropped on a concrete floor without cracking or breaking. I will not be trying that deliberately anytime soon!

All I've got to wait for to get back to work is the postman ....

I shall review the plane in future posts.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

What's on the bench? - A straight-edge storage box

I bought a pre-used 24" Veritas straight edge last week. This had seen very little use and will be great for setting up machinery, checking the flatness of hand tools, checking planed stock for flatness etc etc. However it came wrapped in plastic bubble wrap. This is great for transportation but not great for long term storage in a workshop.

The straight edge is made from aluminium and needs protection from being knocked and chipped.

Hanging it on a nail was not an option so I decided to make a simple box for it, no fancy joints, as my start to Get Woodworking Week 2013.

I started out with some 1/4" ply scrap stock I had left over and ripped a 26" long section x 3.11/32" (85mm wide).
I then found some scrap mahogany strips that I had on my shelves and jointed them and planed them to thickness. Then I cut a 1/4" groove down the length of each strip on the router table.

Over to the table saw I cut them to length and mitred each of the ends. Next, in good old Norm fashion, I glued and nailed one the strips to the plywood. Next I placed the straight-edge into position and positioned the other strip into place with a little clearance for wiggle room. The brads and glue came out again.
Finally I cut an end section to length with mitred ends and put that into position.
At the other end I ripped some of the height off the other end piece and put that into position. I trimmed the oversize ply flush with the walls of the box.

I then made a sliding lid from some more 1/4" ply and glued an opening strip made from a mitred piece of mahogany and glued it into position. Then I applied my branding stamp (you really need to get one of these!)

Then it was sanded to 220 grit before finishing with Briwax shellac sanding sealer and 2 coats of General Finishes Arm R Seal wipe on finish.

It literally is on my bench

Finished box