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29 July 2011

Don't forget your fellow craftsmen.

This post is about screwing.

So, do you remember my last post about my new 144 year old moving fillister?  Since the last time I showed her to you I've been a bad owner.  I let her take a tumble from bench height, all the way to the concrete floor of the garage. With baited breath, I picked her up and examined for damage.  I'll hand it to her, she's a tough old bird.  The only wounds I saw were some cracking in the fence, which was worn thin from years of use anyway.  I applied the liquid of life, glue in this case, and put a bandage of quarter sawn white oak over her weak section.  For a few minutes it was touch and go, but she pulled through alright.  I prescribed shelf rest for a couple of weeks whilst I was at work in England, and came home to find her good as new, or so I thought.

While I was gone, I bought this beauty off eBay.

All the original parts are present and accounted for, and now sharp and rust free.  So when one gets a new toy, it is only fitting that they should play with it.  After making grooves, dados, rabbets, and a match joint, I thought I would try a bead.  The ole #45 did it's job admirably, and I was left with a nice bead, sunk into the material.  I wanted to get a better look at the sides of the bead.  I could have set the #45 up for a rabbet, and planed down the edges of the board that way, but my eye caught sight of my beautiful maiden fresh from rest on the shelf.  I took her down, set the fence, which had mended well, and began to set the depth stop.  That's when it happened.  Under the pressure of the screw driver, the head of her adjustment screw split, undoubtedly weakened from the fall she had taken earlier.

After inspecting what remained of the screw, I was flabbergasted.  Where was I going to find a suitable match for a 144 year old cast iron screw?  The threads were deep and coarse.  The head was made in a way not normally available on wood screws. I was screwed.  I thought of welding the head, but knew that wouldn't last.  I thought of finding a screw with the appropriate head shape, drilling out the current thread, plugging the hole and re-cutting the threads.  This seemed like my only option, until I remembered something.

There are other craftsmen out there, who do what we do to wood, in other mediums.  There are blacksmiths, machinist, glass makers, blowers and glaziers,  weavers, seamstress, upholsterers, leather smiths, the list goes on and on.

I think in today's throw away society, we forget that we don't always have to fix what is broken or by an off the shelf replacement.  There are hard working men and women, just like me and you, ready and willing to do the job at hand.  Whether it's to make the fix you couldn't, or to make a custom replacement, they can take you places you could never get yourself.  And maybe, just maybe, they can take you further than you ever realized you could go, all on the expertise they have in their chosen medium, just like you have in wood.

All of this to say, don't forget your fellow craftsmen.  They are working hard to perfect their craft just like you are, and I am sure they would love your business.

Now, as a reader of my blog, I am sure you know that I am on a first name basis with a local machinist.  If not refer to this post.  He is always willing to impart his knowledge to me, and works cheap.  That being said, I'm sure next time he needs a little wood work done, I'll be his first call.  So here are some shots of the work to reproduce my screw in fine brass.  Turns out his lathe didn't have the proper settings for a 9 thread per inch cut, so we used his CNC to get the job done.

And a gratis video of the CNC cutting threads.

As always, feel free to post any questions or comments in the section below. You could always contact me on Facebook or Twitter via the links on this page. 

Until next time...

10 July 2011

eBay Issues

I have a minor problem with eBay. Having just slid down into its grasp, I'm not certain I can fight my way out. I went in search of mortise chisels, since I have yet to locate any around here. I have a 4 set of Marples that I sharpen at 30* for chopping, and a 6 set of Two Cherries that I sharpen at 25* for light chopping and paring. I have an unknown 2" wide 9" long chisel I sharpen at 20* for paring cuts only. I didn't have any pig stickers. Enter eBay purchase number one, the 1/4" English style handle mortise chisel.

I unwrapped her and gave her a quick sharpen, and a light bulb went on, it was the easiest mortise I had ever cut.  Now I just need to find a 3/8" and a 1/2".
While I was on eBay, I decided to have a look at moving fillister and plow planes.  Low and behold, what did I find but this beauty. Here she is straight out of the box.  

A little TLC, a sharpening session, and some polish work on the brass, and she looks and works like this.
I added a strike button to the top for the mallet, but I need to redo it.  The previous owner, as is normal for the time, had his name stamped once on the toe, once on the top, and twice on the heel, but when I took the fence off for cleaning and such, I got another surprise.  There, in pencil, was his name and a date.
Mr. Isaac McPherson owned my new baby in 1867, 144 years ago.  Looking up the maker of the iron confirms this story.  I love to see a tool that is so old, still be fit as a fiddle, and ready for another 150 years of service.

Just so you don't think I forgot about the plow plane, I have a bid in on a Stanley #45.

I also completed the last lesson before the final for The Hand Tool School this week.  And here she is in all her knotty Alder glory.

As always, feel free to post any questions or comments in the section below. You could always contact me on Facebook or Twitter via the links on this page. 

Until next time...

02 July 2011

A Few Odds and Ends

I've been working on a few housekeeping items lately. Firstly, my old woodie Try plane needed a new tote. She was missing hers when I bought her. I spent a couple of hours with a coping saw, files, and sand paper and had her back in top form in no time.

Next, I re-bedded the iron and then I made this great plane adjustment hammer/ mallet. I got the idea from the Logan Cabinet Shoppe podcast. Bob does such a great job of explaining traditional hand tools I highly recommend you follow his blog.

As the end of semester one at The Hand Tool School is drawing to a close for me, I have the big tool chest build looming in my near future. Looking at my tool collection, I really don't want to cut all of the rabbets, dados, and groves with a saw and chisel. Looking at my budget and the market, I can see some rehabs of woodie plows, fillisters, etc in my near future. Since the "Wubby Cubby" is now finished, I only have one project left till I need to tackle the tool chest. Wish me luck.

As always, feel free to post any questions or comments in the section below. You could always contact me on Facebook or Twitter via the links on this page.

Until next time...