25 February 2011

Panel dilemma?

The following couple of pics have been sneakily lifted from a fellow collaborators site and show part of the process in making a 'raised and fielded panel', which by a remarkable coincidence, is the next technical piece that I need to do for F&C.

The perpetrator in question is using a dedicated plane for the job...something that I won't have, but as you can see from the second pic...

...the edge of the panel is 'wedged' shaped. In other words, the bevel of the panel is flat, which I suppose is the traditional way that they've always been made.

However, this leaves me with somewhat of a dilemma.

When this wedged shaped panel is fitted into the corresponding square sectioned groove in the frame two things will happen.

First and foremost, if the panel expands (in the width) the wedge will tighten against the upper surface of the groove. Second and foremost, if it shrinks (in the width) a gap is going to develop 'twixt the upper surface and the frame groove and the result will be...

... a rattle! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeek!!

A little of delving around the Axminster site showed a panel raising cutter with a flat profile where the panel fits into the frame, so allowing it to expand and contract easily. From the perspective of making a better, rattle free panel this is clearly the best way of making the it.

My problem is, I've got to replicate this by hand...

...I think?

23 February 2011


My new shiny toy arrived the other evening, nicley packed with giant sized bubble wrap so as soon as I saw that, I knew where it had come from...Axminster. After tea, I went out into the 'shop and spent a couple of pleasant hours playing around with it.

Having had some very dubious Veritas products in the past, I can honestly say that the Plough Plane is a winner...very well made and does exactly what it says on the tin. I get the feeling that Rob Lee and his gremlins beaver away producing new and innovative hand tools, which is commendable, but sometimes they go badly off the rails. The little scraper plane is a really pleasant and quite sexy tool to use...until that is, you come to sharpen and hone the blade. The oh-so-clever, smart arse design of this little tool means that the blade is tiny, miniscule thing...the result is that it's well nigh impossible to hold in any sort of honing jig to get the required 45deg.

It's about as much use as a chocolate bloody tea pot!

Although it pains me deeply to compare it to the equally and truly appalling Eurovision Song Contest...nil points!

21 February 2011


Someone once said that the 'best laid plans' (verse 7) etc etc and it's no exageration to say that mine did over the last few days...I didn't even get a Blog entry done over the weekend! Lots of small, non-woody events conspired over the last few days (and I even had Thurs and Friday off) to keep me out of the 'shop, but I did manage to veneer the base for this little box ( burr elm and birds eye maple) The inside of the box was also cleaned up and given a couple of coats of Hard Wax Oil, so the next job will be to glue the four main pieces together.

I also honed new O1 steel blades for my Veritas LA jack and BU smoother. The difference is subtle but noticable...a perceptable improvement in the quality of the edge that I can obtain with the result of better performance of the planes.

I've ordered the first of the Axminster umeki-nomi Japanese dovetial chisels and I'm expecting that in the post anytime soon. I'm also being sent a new shiny toy, free and gratis, to play around with so I can do the next technical article for F&C.

Occaisionally, life is very hard, but I struggle through... Here's hoping, fingers crossed, that they don't want it back...

15 February 2011


At last there seems to be a little progress on this project. To date, I wouldn't say it's been particulaly onerous, more a question of just gluing bits of wood together to slowly build up the pattern. The biggest problem to date has been some 'tear out' on the ebony, but some judicious sanding ought to remove it.

I thought that I'd need to use some loose ply tongues to give added strength, but as the core material is 9mm ply and the total thickness is around 14mm I found out that it wasn't really neccessary, so a straight butt glued joint with TBIII sufficed. Had the box been made much larger with 6mm mdf as the core material (as in the original) then some sort of jointing would definitely have been needed, but in my smaller version, I think, hope and pray that I've got away with it...

The first pic shows the little rebate cut at each corner. This is to make the corner posts equal, but it also has the added advantage of locating the sides into the ends...

...so that when all four sides are brought together to make contact it starts to look more like a box. The next job is to clean and polish the inside of the lid and then glue it together.

On a different note, the Ashley Isles dovetail chisels have now been sold and will be replaced with something a little more Oriental. Having had one or two Ice Bear tools from Axminster in the past, they seem to be very good...time will tell.

Whist nattering about matters 'Oriental' I've made email contact with a fellow woodworker in Japan so that over the course of the next year or so a lot of my tool related and general queries about our forthcoming trip in May '12 ought to be resolved. Promising indeed...

13 February 2011

The wood split!

Not a lot done thus far on the Inghamish box this weekend except that all the pieces of ebony have now been glued in place, so that when all four sides are offered up together it does begin to look like a box rather than a collection of oddly shaped squares of timber.

One thing of note did happen though. Each of the corner posts needs to be square in section but the overall thickness of the material is 14mm and the inlay is 13mm, so a small 1mm rebate needed to be machined on the long sides. This also has an unexpected bonus as it will enable the sides to locate more accurately when I eventually cramp them together...with a bit of luck there won't be any slippage when the cramps are applied.

I digress. The set up for the rebate went well and the first three corners were rebated successfully. However unknown to me, the ebony on the last corner piece had a hairline crack in it which I hadn't spotted and under during the machining process, the crack opened significantly...

The fourth corner is being glued back together at the moment...

09 February 2011


A small and relatively heavy parcel awaited my inspection when I got in from work last night. With a little eager anticipation but trying to be fairly cool about it at the same time (a somewhat difficult balancing act) I ripped off the wrapping to find nestled within a couple of O1 carbon steel plane blades.

These form the first part of an ongoing process to replace most of my A2 blades, where feasable. The two blades in question are going into my LV BU smoother together with the BU jack planes and I was pleasantly surprised to see that they were lapped on the back so that the dreaded 'back flattening' of yore will be somewhat relegated...

I ordered these two initially with an ground angle of 25deg and intend to hone them at 30deg, which will give and effective pitch (the angle that the wood sees) of 42deg (12deg being the bed angle on each plane)

I only need to order another for the LV try plane which will then mean that all my Veritas blades are O1 steel, so the original A2 offerings supplied with the planes will be kept for those nasty, abrasive timbers like teak that I'm prone to use occaisionaly.

So far, the plan is going well, but the hitch that I can see at the moment is that there's no O1 blade currently available for the LN block...bugger!

06 February 2011

Coming together...slowly

A little more's been done this weekend on the box. As you can see, it's a fairly slow and methodical process to assemble each piece of the sides in turn as only bit of ebony can be stuck on, then cleaned off...so it does take a time. The pic shows the first of the long sides with the lid section glued to the box.

The narrow 8mm strip in the middle will eventually be sawn through, to make the lid and base. Once it's been planed and fitted, I plan to glue some 3mm ebony back on top to make up the thickness to 12mm, but the four pieces on each half will be mitred so no end grain is going to be seen. Also, the same with the lid.

Sounds complicated?...don't worry, it is! Plenty of time for cock ups then...

Hinging is one of those things that I dread, especially when making something as fiddly as a small box. Help is at hand though as Andrew Crawford has recently introduced some new SmartHinges which although a bit stretchy on the pockets, look to do the job rather well.

Even better, they're claimed to be very easy to fit, which has to be a bonus.

03 February 2011

Bevelled sides...or lack of?

I've fianlly done it. For some time I've had that niggling feeling...(you know the sort of thing, an annoying itch at the back of your brain that you can't scratch) about the Ashley Isles dovetail chisels that I bought from Workshop Heaven last year. At the time I was after a set of decent Japanese d/t chisels but unfortunately couldn't find anything suitable.

So the decision's been made...they're going. There's nothing wrong with them, they take a decent edge and are reasonably pleasant to use but after much 'humming' and 'hahing' with a good measure of 'shall I, shan't I?' I've decided to put them up for sale but the problem now is...

...what to replace them with?

There are three options at the moment, one of which is a set of the umeki-nomi Japanese chisels from Axminster, which are currently in pole position. I've seen and used them some time ago and they're nicely ground along the sides. The thing that's putting me off at the moment is the steel hoop on the ends. For hand use (no tapping) these are a positive menace and past experience has left my hands with nasty red weals in my palm.

However, I may have a cunning plan should they ever materialise in my 'shop.

The second option is a set of O1 carbon steel LN chisels. I had the A2 variants some time ago which were excellent...apart from being made from A2 steel! The final consideration is a set of the shinogi-nomi's from Rutlands but these really are a bit of an unknown quantity and a very big leap of faith...

The Devil you know or a step into the unknown?