30 January 2008


I've now finished Dan's marking knife and will get it off in the post tomorrow. I've made this one from some English Walnut with a slightly different style of handle...hope he likes it. Dan very kindly sent me some very nice 65mm brass hinges which were to big for the Elm Cabinet II so I'm hoping that he'll exchange them for a smaller pair of 50mm.
Packing is under way for the trip next week...I'm expecting the 'call-forward' phone call from the Falklands airhead at some time on Friday, so will be eagerly standing to attention by the 'fone. Once I get it, I have 48hrs to organise myself and get over to RAF Brize Norton ready for the flight at 23.59 on Sunday night. Can't say I looking forward to the flight very much as it's a hell of a long way to go and takes about 15hrs with a stop over at Ascension Island for refuelling...must remember to take plenty of reading material.

27 January 2008

Thin Ice

Things have moved on a little from yesterday as I'm making one of these little knives for Dan Tovey who hails from 'oop north'. Dan was kind enough to let me have a couple of highly polished brass but hinges for my Elm Cabinet, so this little knife will be a way of returning the favour. I've sorted out a variety of timbers and just need to find out what Dan's preferences are for the handle.
The Elm Cabinet carcase was glued up sucessfully the other day. I gave all internal parts four coats of matt Osmo Poly-X and then cut it back with 'oooo' grade steel wool and wax...the finish has turned out beautifully, matt with a hint of a lustre from the wax. I'm trying at the moment to source some more elm for the back panel as owing to a very slight re-think on the design, the bit I had earmarked is a bit on the short side now. Anyway, I've put out one or three feelers and hopefully something will come of it quite soon.
I'm starting to gather a few bits and pieces toghether for the trip next week, the main thing I need to do is get some stuff for Alyson from Boots for her hair which I daren't forget...that would be skating on extremely thin ice. Not nice.

26 January 2008

Refined...and counting down.

I had another go at the 'scary sharp' method of chisel back flattening and and this time I used a bit of float glass which was about half as wide as the chisel blade. The idea is to keep about 50% of the blade back off the paper at any one time. The result is that the front bit is only flattened every other stroke or so, the result being that the blade will eventually become very slightly hollow, or concave in its length. I did my two skews and the Blue Chip with excellent results so I only have to do the LN's which are pretty flat to start with.

I had a quick perusal at Alfs webpage the other day and was intrigued by the little knife she made in the style of those lovely, but hideously expensive objects of desire that can be found here so I thought I'd have a little go at making one myself. The result was quite nice, if not a little chunky for my taste...could have made the handle about 20mm longer which would have made it look better. Still, it's a very pleasant little tool which I've now sold to a good pal, so it's going to a very good home.

Now I can hear you chuntering to yourself that Woodbloke's really lost the plot this time...counting down to what exactly? Well courtesy of 'crab air', flying out of RAF Brize Norton I shall be making the long and arduous flight to the Falkland Islands next Sunday night to see Alyson for a couple of weeks. She's got a pretty action packed schedule for me that includes a lot of wildlife watching, a couple of decent battlefield tours and I daresay I'll be able to explore the bars and fleshpots of Stanley....and do the odd spot of fishing which I hear tell from someone that knows, is one of the best spots on earth for sea trout. It's going to be a tough couple of weeks, but I'll manage!

22 January 2008

Scary sharpe?

The workshop is drying out nicely now and I've started to put it all back together inside...as long as it's under the tarp it'll continue to dry out, so best guess is that Pete and I will tackle the exterior at some time in May when the weather is set to get a bit warmer. I've bought the DPM, galvanised nails, some decent quality silicone and some expensive (£6 a tube!) acrylic sealant that can be used on a damp surface, so eventually I'll replace all the sealant with this stuff. I need to order the marine ply (9mm) later on next month.
I had a go at using the 'Scary sharp' method to flatten the back of an old chisel the other day with moderately good results. It's very, very hard to prevent 'drubbing' ie: lift the handle just the merest fraction and the front has been rounded over on the supposedly flat back. I'm going to have another go soon and use the David Charlesworth method of keeping only 5o% of the blade back on the medium. I've got hold of a piece of 6mm float glass which is 60mm wide so that this shouldn't be too hard to do. This also has the added advantage that the chisel back ought to become very slightly concave, good job it's only a Marples Blue Chip that cost me the grand sum of £1 and not a rather tasty brand new 25mm LN!

18 January 2008

Final Delivery

Got the last bits and pieces from the postie the other day, the 25mm bevel edge and the 6mm LN mortice chisel and very nice they are too.
I've been playing around today with lapping the back of my Marples Blue Chip with reasonable success, I just need to refine the process and will make another entry later when I sorted out all the hick-ups, then I'll have to finish off the LN set and skews and get them polished to a mirror finish.
The shop is now drying out quite quickly and it won't be long before the floor can go back in place so that I can carry on as normal inside. All the while the exterior is under the tarp it's drying out so I'll have to wait a few more days until it's completely dry before Pete and I can tackle it. Need to order some marine ply and get hold of some galvanised nails before we can start so will do that the next time I'm in town.

15 January 2008

Dracula Spectacula

It's been blowing more than half a gale overnight with driving rain. Guess what's been completely ripped out the ground?
All the bloody tent pegs.
The tarp itself is is position 'cos it's been held by all the lovely strong rope lashing it down but the bit on the corner's been flapping around like a spinnaker gone berserk. So I was out in the shop this morning at 7am making a few nice chunky stakes about a foot long to replace the tent pegs...so far everything is holding. Some rain managed to get in so it's a bit worse than it was yesterday, just take a bit longer to dry out, that's all. Looking on the bright side, this has to be a good test of the tarp...if it will hold in this, it'll hold in anything 'cos the bloody weather's not going to get any worse!
Christopher Lee, look out...I'm armed and dangerous!

14 January 2008

Nursres Corners

Having had the Force 6 blow die out overnight I managed to get the tarp up and over the 'shop, took about an hour to do, so the corner that needs some work doing on it now has a chance to dry out.

Next thing to do is to let it dry out for a period so I can organise some materials...sheet of 6mm marine ply, galvanised nails and a few tubes of silicone.

13 January 2008

Activities Curtailed

I've had a little bit of a leak in the shop and have been putting black goop on the outside to try and seal it which hasn't done a lot of good as the seal breaks with the movement of the timber so letting in the wet stuff. Pete's been round this morning and together we've worked out how to sort it out and make it water tight, which basically involves trapping a skirt of DPM underneath the marine ply joining strips on the outside such that it will bridge the installed DPM and so prevent the ingress of water...that's the plan, hopefully.
You can see that we cut away a little bit of the internal wall and it's very clear that the water is coming in by capillary action between the base and the panel wall. Next job will be to get a rather large tarp over this end of the workshop so that I can get a good circulation of air but still keep off the driving rain. Can't put up the tarp at the moment tho' as it's blowing about Force 6 here at the moment so it'll have to wait for another day.

10 January 2008

Termite Holes!

At long last I've received my LA BU Veritas smoother, and what a beauty it is too. Honed the blade on the Spyderco 10000g, slight camber, set it very fine and was taking off .001 thou shavings with no bother at all...fabulous!

I put it straight to use in cleaning up the panels for the Elm Cabinet. It was taking off such a fine shaving that I only needed to lightly sand with 240g and then 320g. Biscuit slots were then masked off and all four bits were ready for polishing. I'm going to use three coats of matt Osmo Poly-X followed by a good application of wax applied with some 1000g steel wool. I'm doing a test piece at the same time so I'm quite interested to see how the steel wool cuts back the Osmo...should work quite well. The little holes down the side of the two panels (looks like a very orderly attack of termites) are the shelf support peg holes for some 4mm ebony dowels that I'm going to make with my newly acquired LN dowel plate.

Just waiting now for the final delivery from CHT, which is the LN 25mm bevel edge and the 6mm mortice chisel.

08 January 2008

Jigs and Planes

Pete (Newt) popped over yesterday with a little item he'd run up in some mdf...a prototype of a Donkey's Ear mitre shoot. This one is slightly different as the plane runs normally and the workpiece is tilted at 45deg... have to say that it worked a treat judging by the box that he'd brought along with all the corners absolutely spot on, so I think I'll have a go at knocking one up later on, next time I fancy making a box, which won't be anytime soon.
Pete is also looking at the purchase of his next plane and was debating between the Veritas LA Jack and the Clifton No6. He had another little play around with my LA Jack and was suitably impressed, as am I, even more so when I told him that AHC in Camberley were knocking them out for £142, which is oodles cheaper than CHT or similar. We then had a natter about the most suitable plane for edge jointing longish boards and I said that the LA Jointer was just the thing...and that truthfully and honestly, he ought to get both planes. Now doesn't that remind you of someone (now a pensioner) who delights in getting others to part company with the contents of their wallet, 'specially at Ally Pally time.
So he's ordered a LA Jack!
Still no sign yet of the postie with my LA BU smoother, but then again, haven't seen his van in the road....not that I've been looking you understand, having another peek out of the window.

05 January 2008

Another day, another parcel

The posties' been this morning with yet another parcel with shiny tools in it, this time from Brimarc which felt a little on the light side. Ripping of the packaging yet again, it had the two 'shaves in it...but no BU smoother, even though the Delivery Note said that it had been dispatched. Bugger.
PM'd Martin Brown at Brimarc who was profuse with apologies and said they'd probably missed the order, he'll be sorting on Monday, so my guess is that someone's in the sticky stuff up to their hat band! So... there'll be another parcel to rip open next week, not withstanding the last couple of chisels to come from CHT which I expect later on this month.

04 January 2008

A Close Run Thing...

Having completed the top panels now on the Elm Cabinet, I biscuited them together...only trouble was that I had the machine the wrong way round and stuck a slot where it didn't out to go, about 80mm into the inside of the cabinet, so I had to turn the bottom over and put the slots in the right place. By a huge amount of good fortune, the slot will be exactly covered by one of the bearer rails on the stand, so on this occasion, I've got away with it, and as a man on a horse once said a long time ago...'twas a damn close run thing'
Had one parcel delivered yesterday from CHT which was very pleasant. Ripped off the packaging to reveal a little envelope (the metric dowel plate) and four oblong cardboard boxes, which I assumed contained the LN mortice chisels.
Wrong. Three of the boxes had chisels in them, the fourth had a roll of tightly wrapped tissue paper inside which didn't look anything like a 1/4" mortice chisel! Mystified, I rang Mike Hancock at CHT who very matter-of-factly explained that this wasn't the first time that this sort of thing had happened. Cutting a long story sideways, he said he would sort it asap.
Just waiting today for another delivery with the Veritas plane and 'shaves in it.
The article about 'Wooden Planes' has gone into F&C this week so I'll have to wait and see when that comes out...hopefully, not too long.

01 January 2008

New Year

Well, 2008 has finally arrived...would someone like to tell me how the rest of them have gone so quickly? I was working last night but managed to celebrate the New Year in the appropriate style and so am feeling a little queasy this morning though a nice fried breakfast has certainly helped to redress the balance, much of which I lost last night.
The Elm Cabinet in coming along reasonably well. I had some trouble in lipping the mdf for the top and bottom as I couldn't get the mitres to close so I had to do it again, which was a bit of a pain in the aris but I got it sorted in the end. I had to bandsaw the elm for the veneers which was surprisingly easy to do as I was expecting to make a complete cock-up of it, but it all went very well. Each pair was shot and joined after which they were glued in the AirPress. One pics shows some of the veneers straight from the saw and the other is where I've just started to clean up the surface of the first piece with a very finely set LA jack...fabulous plane.
Eagerly awaiting the postie now as I've got some lovely shiny new toys to play with, one of which will be another new plane, this time the LA BU smoother from Veritas...can't wait!
A very happy and prosperous New Year to all.