Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Ogee And Reverse Ogee Moulding Planes Up for Pre-Sale

Hey all! I am sure you've been wondering where I have been off to for so long. Yep, you guessed it - making a load of 1/2" ogee and reverse ogee moulding planes.

If you have been wanting one, here is your chance. It has been a long haul on this run of planes and I am almost done with them. I am doing something different this time around. This time, instead of taking pre-orders before I even start and making you wait for months, you can place your order just a couple weeks before they are ready to go. There are limited quantities. (Do I even need to say that?)

You can place your pre-orders here in the shop on my new website (...that is only partially completed, Sorry!). If you are on my wait list for a specialty wood ogee plane I will be emailing you directly.

Ogee Moulding Plane

I should tell you that quite a lot of research has gone into these planes. First off, I had to establish what is and was traditionally the most used size of ogee plane. Consulting with the likes of Chris Schwarz helped me zero in on my size choices based on his knowledge of tool inventories from probate records. Then I spent time with Bill Anderson crawling through his collection of Ogee planes to find some beautiful examples. Thanks you two! I appreciate how this community shares its knowledge. Lots of givers out there.

Oh and here's an interesting factoid: All of these planes (and many to come) were made from a stash of quarter sawn beech that I purchased from Tom Lie-Nielsen. Story is he, at one time, was going to make moulding planes. Plans changed and I scored some wood that had seasoned for many years.

Reverse Ogee Moulding Plane

I also researched the plethora of ogee and reverse ogee plane profiles offered over the many years that they were made to settle on the proportion, angle, degrees of a circle for the cyma, etc. for just the right profile for furniture work.   

In short, I didn't want to make this plane until I felt completely comfortable that it was going to be really sweet. I feel good about these planes and I hope you do too.

Here is a peek at the planes in use in these YouTube videos. Enjoy!

Monday, March 9, 2015

Racing with Roy Underhill

A few weeks back I was guest demonstrating at the Lie-Nielsen tool event in Raleigh, NC. It was a nice venue and since it was in Roy Underhill's neck of the woods he came on over as well. The show went well and there was lots of time to try out planes of all sorts and Roy even brought along a couple of shave horses and a pole lathe for attendees to try out. I gave the pole lathe a go myself.

Anyhow, it seemed that there was going to have to be a race at some point. I mean when you get all those hand tool users in one place the egos really get going. I mean Roy got to talking about how he once cut a dovetail "this big" and I couldn't just stand by and listen to that. I jumped in and started talking about how my great granddad learned how to cut dovetails from Peter Nicholson. Next thing you knew Michelle Myers said she was related to Peter Nicholson. It was on. Time for a dovetail race.

To warm up though we started at the shave horses to size each other up on speed and agility.

I was determined to be the fastest, even thought the race wasn't even officially on yet, but even so it ended in a tie. The competition was fierce and those lining up to show their stuff was extensive.

Look at these guys go. Roy pulled some underhanded stuff and would distract the competitors just so they wouldn't qualify for the finals. That dirty dog.

First up for the dovetail race was Michelle Myers (Lie-Nielsen show staff) and Roy.

They started with the through dovetail joint. I can't say what happened fully but an "accidental" mix up in how many tails vs. pins to be cut somehow ended up in Roy's favor so he moved on to the next round.

Next up was Roy and I. I knew this would challenge all my chairmaking abilities to the full (seeing as the only dovetails cut by a chairmaker are on that little drawer under the desk and seat of a windsor writing arm chair). It was on!

This short video below shows the intensity.

So how did it end? I'll let you decide. One joint was prettier and one was faster.

Those watching called it a tie but a race is all about speed so Roy took the prize. Don't rub it in too much Roy!

With patch over one eye, half blind Roy shows off his finished half blind dovetail.

Here I am still working away while Roy is already done. This picture makes me laugh every time I see it. Classic Roy!

Ok as you can see this was all in good fun. I hope we meet again and I get a second chance to test my skills against the legendary man himself. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Watch Peter Galbert Make A Windsor Chair In 30 Minutes!

Some of you are aware that Peter Galbert made a windsor chair with Tommy Mac on his show Rough Cut. I, like many of you, asked Peter where you can see this online. He didn't know. Funny how these thing go, right.

Well as it sometimes (always) goes around my house. I can't find something and I ask my wife where it is then two seconds later she has found it! Really?!?! Same thing happened here. I swear she catalogs the internet in her sleep. Google should hire her. She can find anything online that I can't. Enough about that. The point is, if you wanted to see this episode and couldn't find it... here it is.

Don't forget, I am hosting Peter in my shop to teach chairmaking classes this springThe class is 6 days. The first class starts April 20th for the fan back and May 4th for the ballon back. These are the two chairs that are featured in his new book from Lost Art Press. They are the foundation in your future in chairmaking. 

There is only one space left in the ballon back and a couple still left in the fan back. Don't miss the boat. It is going to be a great time! See the full details on the classes and how to register in this previous post.

Enjoy the video!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Fan Back Windsor Chair Plans by Curtis Buchanan - Now Available!

New windsor chair plans are now available from Curtis Buchanan for his fan back side chair. This is a beautiful side chair that is well suited to learning the craft of chairmaking as it is within the grasp of novice chairmakers.

Curtis has included double bobbin or bamboo style turnings in the plans and a simplified crest to compliment these turnings. There are also the baluster turnings and carved chest patterns for the more traditional look.

The double bobbin turnings make the construction of the chair fit a more modern home interior as well as minimize the high level of skill needed to turn the baluster legs. They are also more easily turned in stock that is not green, which is easier for most of us to find.

Below is a video of Curtis explaining what is included in the plans.

To buy the plans visit his website here. They are $55.

Curtis and I have been producing plans for his windsor chair designs over the past few years. However, I have been so busy with my work that we decided to get the help of an illustrator that worked for Fine Homebuilding for many years and is well qualified. The plans just keep getting better and Chuck had some nice things to add to the drawings from his years of experience illustrating plans for magazine readers.

In the future I won't be at the helm producing the drawings but I will be offering assistance to the illustrator along the way. I hope to see Curtis continue putting his life's work down on paper. It would be a shame to see all his great work not be shared with everyone. So I encourage you to support him so that they can continue to be produced.

Happy chairmaking. Enjoy!

By the way. Peter Galbert's new book covers building a chair in this style so grab that too if you need the best advice out there on how to produce one of these chairs. Some really exciting things are happening for chairmakers - finally!!!!! :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

How To Accurately Size A Round Tenon And Do It Consistently

Following the discussion from my prior post, you might be wondering how to get those tenons to fit nice and tight - and do that consistently. It's not magic, but there is a method and tools that make it seem like it.

Here are the tools I use. The first is a beading tool that Henry Taylor makes. Its 3/8" across. On this beading tool goes a Sorby sizing tool. With proper use it will give you repeatable turned diameters without using a separate caliper.

The other tool is a dial caliper, and it is a real must in my book. You'll want to measure the tenon as you test it and adjust your beading/sizing tool to tweak the fit until everything is just right. It can be just a few thousandths that make a difference in a perfect fit so this tool will save you lots of time.

Using these tools allows me to adjust my fit for each kind of wood I use. Also, since different styles of drill bits leave a slightly different size hole, despite being the same diameter, this will allow me to adjust my fit for each unique set up and drilling bit I use.

Hope this gives you a little extra help in the shop for that next project!

By the way, these tools can be found at Lee Valley.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

What A Well Fitted Post And Rung Chair Joint Looks Like

An important part of chairmaking is knowing how tight to make a joint in order to get a proper fit. How tight I make a joint will depend somewhat on the type of wood used but, essentially, I want it as tight as possible without splitting the joint - and having to use a little force to bring it together is not necessarily a bad thing.

A good rule of thumb for testing a windsor chairmaking mortise and tenon joint is if you can put the joint about half way together with only hand pressure then you are about perfect. Then during assembly you can force it togther with a few hammer blows.

In windsor chairmaking, you are not often putting multiple joints together at once so a tight fit like this is possible without complicating a smooth assembly. On the other hand, with a post and rung assembly, I will back it off just a hair so I can have a bit more control on an assembly. When you add up a lot of joints that have to come together at the same time on one of these chairs then the extra give can be the difference between success and a struggle or failure.

Here is a short (and very out of focus) video of how tight I try to make the joints for a post and rung chair joint.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Glue Up Of A Post And Rung Chair / Stool Assembly

I wanted to give a little sample of a glue up of a post and rung assembly. This is not the entire process but my hope is to share some little details about applying the glue and how to clean it up as you go along. These things are not often discussed in books but it is helpful to see how it is done so that your process goes cleanly and smoothly.

I use hot hide glue exclusively in chairmaking. Using PVA glues, or just about anything else, is simply madness if you plan to have well fitted joints. PVA glues will bind up in a split second in a really tight joint and will stop it from going together completely. On the other hand, hide glue will actually lubricate a joint making tight fitting ones come together more easily

You'll notice the first tool of the trade here is a good stiff bristle brush for wiping away the excess glue. This is just a cheap natural hair brush from a hardware store with the bristles cut way back near the base. Removing the majority of the glue this way keeps you from smearing it around and then worrying about getting it all wiped off. Also, try to avoid adding any water to the surface as you clean so that you do not dilute the glue and spread it around even more. That said, slightly damp cleaning tools may help lift the glue better.

Your next tool is going to be paper towel for cleaning the joints. This may prick your eco-friendly conscience but a clean surface each time to remove the glue is, in my opinion, the only way to go. Using a wet rag will only spread it around for you to fuss with later before finishing. Plus, a paper towel will pick up the glue off the surface better than a rag.

Lastly, be sure to use something like an old magazine under your work so that you don't damage the side that is on your workbench.

I first learned most of these methods from Peter Galbert. If you have heard about his upcoming book from Lost Arts Press and are wondering what to expect, this is the sort of detail that he covers. It seems nothing is left to guesswork. 

Even though I read and helped edit most of the text early on I can't wait to get my hands on the finished copy. Chris and Megan did a really great job of compiling the book into a super easy to read style that is a hallmark of LAP publications. Plus, Pete went back and reworked a lot of the drawings and I haven't seen all of those yet. Very eager.  Come on Chris, get that thing to the printers!!!!!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

1:2 Scale Beading Plane

Back in the summer I joined Instagram with the aim of sharing more of the things going on in the shop. To my surprise it has been a source of lots of new and I would say fresh things in woodworking to see.

If you are like me and have a hard time pinching your nose as you enter the forums these days then you might like some of the things you see there. Maybe its because a picture requires you to show your work rather than just talk about it. Seeing nice work is inspiring and makes you think about what is actually being made out there. I think what I have seen has effected my work for the better.

Along those lines, I ran across a really talented guy, Marco Terenzi. He makes a lot of 1:4 Scale woodworking tools. It is kinda mind-blowing to see what he is accomplishing. I joked with him about making a miniature plane and of course he encouraged me. We chatted about possibly collaborating on make a 1:4 scale beading plane. The issue with making them so small is the tools, so I would need some 1:4 scale planemaking tools! I know, these things start getting a bit wacky but kinda fun to change things up and see what happens.

Anyhow, we might get there at some point but I decided to modify a small carving chisel I had and make a 1:2 scale beading plane to just give it a go. I used a broken tang of a moulding plane iron for the new 1:2 scale iron and I was off and running.

1:2 Scale Beading Plane and Chisel

Here are a few more photos of the process.

If you follow me on Instagram then you already know the story. I got pulled into the "Giveaways" that some do on there so for fun I gave away the plane in the method others use.

By the way, I on occasion have extra planes that I make or prototype planes that I offer up for sale through Instagram so if you don't follow me there already via your smart phone or tablet Instagram app then you might want to, if you are interested in that sort of thing.

If you are curious, you can see some of my recent posts here.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Come See Me At Lie-Nielsen Handtool Event In Raleigh, NC

OK, OK, OK, Come see Roy Underhill at the Lie-Nielsen hand tool event in Raleigh, NC. I know the real reason why we are all going (including me). Its going to be fun no matter how you spin it. Scott Meeks will be there, as well. Don't miss it!

So, come give a bunch of hand planes of all sorts a go the weekend of January 30-31, 2015; Friday (10am - 6pm) and Saturday (10am - 5pm). It is located at 210 Jensen Drive, Raleigh, NC 27606. The event is hosted by NC State University Crafts Center.

Windsor Chairmaking Classes with Peter Galbert At My Shop

I have been talking about having classes at my shop for a little while now. The wait is over! Peter Galbert is coming to teach two 6 day classes this spring. What's exciting about these classes is that they will feature the two chairs that will appear in Peter's upcoming book.

Each class will have six students and will have the chance to take either the class on the fan back side chair or the ballon back side chair. Don't be disappointed these classes are not on making an armchair. Trust me it will allow for much more in-depth instruction and give you a strong base to build on. The first class starts April 20th for the fan back and May 4th for the ballon back. Classes are $1300 which includes materials.

As many of you already know, Peter is an amazing teacher. I took a class with Pete some years ago and it had a huge impact on my work from there on out. I hope you can come and join us.

Since I am just hosting the classes at my shop you will need to contact Peter to register for the classes. You can contact him at peter@petergalbertchairmaker.com or 978-563-1425 to register or if you have any questions. If they are a success we hope to have more like it in the future.