Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How To Glue In Boxing On Moulding Planes

When it comes to making certain moulding profiles you have to take into consideration how the sole of the plane will hold up to heavy wear. If the profile focuses a lot of friction on a relatively small area then it will likely not hold up very long.

A very good example is the quirk of a beading plane. You simple don't see beading planes without boxing. The quirk would very quickly wear away without it. 

There are other places that you would see boxing used in profiles and even boxing for fences. I talk more in-depth about boxing in a post here.

I thought it would be interesting to share my approach to installing boxing via a video. The process is essentially to make strips of boxing. It is not easily described how I rough out the boxing strips but it involves a slot cutter. All the strips are roughed out over size and then individually fitted to the groove cut in the plane body. I cut this groove at the table saw. 

The process is involved but when done right it can be glued in with hide glue and just tapped into place with a hammer and that is it. I do not use any clamps to secure the boxing while it drys. Even without the glue the boxing would be difficult to remove just on the friction needed to tap it into place. 

This is an approach I learned while fitting mortice and tenon joints in chairmaking. If you could push the tenon in about half way and it stops without using more force (hammer) then you have a perfect fit that glue only adds a bit more confidence in the joint withstanding stresses in use. The hide glue also acts as a lubricant to make tight joints slide together, unlike a PVA which would bind and lock up in this situation.

You'll notice that the video ends suddenly since my memory ran out right at the end but you get the gist of the process from this video. :) 

I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

No New Pre-Orders On Ovolo Planes- Thank You!

Again, I appreciate everyones enthusiasm for these traditional planes. I am at this time (12/7/2014 9:34est) putting a hold on taking any new orders on the square ovolo planes. 

I really look forward to getting these planes into the hands of people. I enjoy using them and exploring places to put them to use in my work. I think you all will too.

Thanks Again!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Square Ovolo - Now Taking Pre-Orders!

UPDATE: As of 12/7/2014- 9:34 est- no more new pre-orders on this plane until next time. Thank you for your enthusiasm! UPDATE

I am now taking pre-orders on 1/4" and 3/8" square ovolos. If you didn't see my previous post discussing these essential planes, read it here.

Below is a video demonstrating the 1/4" ovolo in use.  

The prices are as follows:

1/4" square ovolo: $285.00 + shipping
3/8" square ovolo: $295.00 + shipping

Shipping is $10 for one plane or $15 for two within the US. If you are outside the US, the actual shipping rate will be calculated. 

Please email your order to calebjames(at)me(dot)com with your complete name and ship to address. You will receive an invoice over the next day. Payment can be made via Paypal or by check sent to the address provided. If you do not receive an invoice, check your spam folder and/or contact me after 24 hours.

The estimated start time for these planes will be around the end of Januray. That is the start time, not when planes will be ready for shipping. Once I close orders, I will update the blog and provide an estimate of the lead time. If you want a specific time frame for your plane I can do my best to give you an individual estimate if you email me directly. 

It could take me a couple weeks to get a good estimate after I inventory my billet stock and contact Lie-Nielsen regarding blade inventory. I appreciate your patience.

I understand that ordering a plane with me is not a simple process. I sincerely appreciate everyone's enthusiasm for the traditional planes that I make and your patience, as well. I hope to have a smoother method of ordering in the future. Until then, please subscribe to the blog for future updates on pre-orders. This is the way that everyone will be notified in the future. I do not keep a "list" of ones that want to buy a plane for future pre-orders. I wish I could do that but it is just too messy and isn't really fair to everyone.

As a side note, I do, on occasion, have "extra" or "one-off" planes around the shop that I offer for sale. I put these up on Instagram occasionally so, if you are interested in that sort of thing, then follow me there on your smart phone or tablet by searching for @calebjamesblog on the Instagram app.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Square Ovolo - Essentials of a Cabinetmakers Tool Kit

When it comes to choosing the right moulding plane profiles for a basic tool kit it can seem confusing, especially for someone new to using them. There are the traditional hollows and rounds that everyone seems to talk about. However, where to start with those can be even more overwhelming for the novice. I don't blame anyone for thinking that maybe they shouldn't even start down this path at all.

However, the good news is that, with a few dedicated profile moulding planes, you can cut most all of the mouldings that are used day in and day out in the shop. These planes are also nice, in that they have an integral fence and depth stop, unlike hollows and rounds, so their use is very straight forward. 

Beading planes are the first place to start. They were, no question, the most commonly made dedicated profile plane. Once your tool chest had a few of those in it, the next would likely be an ovolo, closely followed by an ogee. The shape of the profile might vary somewhat, depending on the time period of the tool, but you could never go wrong with a square ovolo.

With that in mind, I will be offering square ovolos in both the 1/4" and 3/8" sizes soon. If I had to choose only one it would probably be the 1/4" since it is surprising where you will find a use for it.

So where would you likely use an ovolo? One of the most common uses for any ovolo would be on the plinth or base of a piece of case work. The photo below is an example of an ovolo profile on a six board chest. It is approximately 1/4" in size. How do I know? Well, I actually had the chance to study the very Mathieson plane that made this profile. Chris Schwarz offered to lend it to me for part of my research in making planes appropriate to cabinetmaking. Interestingly the plane was stamped 3/8" on the heel but it was so worn down from years of use that it measured about 1/4" square.

Six board chest

Close up of C. Schwarz ovolo plane profile from six board chest

I look forward to offering these planes very soon. I will provide details regarding pre-orders on these planes in a forthcoming post. Thanks for your patience!

P.S. For you planemakers out there, I do plan to share the details of Chris's Mathieson plane so, if you'd like, you can make one for yourself. It might take me a while to get the information compiled in a blog post, so please be patient with me. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Beading Plane Review By Chris Schwarz

I wanted to share a review of my beading planes by Chris Schwarz. He posted this on his blog recently so you may have seen it already.

Essentially this is the gist of the review "They are outstanding. Beyond outstanding, really." He rounds things out by saying "When your beading planes arrive, you’ll want to put a bead on everything. Even your dog."

Click here to read the entire post.

From left to right; Clark & Willaims 3/16", Caleb James 1/4" and 1/8" beading planes

Monday, November 17, 2014

Breaking The Silence

It has seriously been too long since I last blogged. You would think I had nothing good to talk about or show off, but that would not be true. I have, in fact, been so busy that the days just seem to whiz by.

I blame it on two things. One is that I started posting pictures of shop stuff on Instagram and that seems to give me an outlet for my desire to share happenings in the shop. Honestly, it is pretty superficial in that regard, though. I like the meat, the deeper stuff. That only takes place here at the blog, so I need to get my butt back in the chair and out of the shop on occasion.

Second, since I have been full on switching the shop from chairmaking to planemaking, I have had a blast of new inspiration going on. It has kept my head going so much that to stop and put it into words has escaped me. Subjects are there but only half formed. Prototype planes are in the works but only half completed or nearly completed. I have hardware and other things being designed and out sourced on their way to me. And, in all that, I have made a load of beading planes and communicated with a load of customers.

On that note, I am getting used to working with what looks to be a few hundred customers a year as opposed to doing 15-20 big furniture projects a year as before. And, as far as furniture goes, I recently finished up my last furniture project that I had on the books. It's all feeling pretty strange to me but I'm really loving the transition and excited to see how the next year progresses as a full on planemaker.

That all said, I still have several projects for Danish furniture that I will be doing as a personal project. More on that to come. I first have to get my daily work lined out, and it seems to be coming together beautifully.

I have a list of topics for blog posts that I think everyone will find interesting. You chairmakers and planemakers out there will be sure to find some educational stuff in there. Several short videos I have shot on subjects like glue up and a brief one on weaving. One on putting in boxing for planes and making mother planes and the list goes on. So stay tuned I am going to try and catch up.

In the meantime enjoy a few photos of the stacks of beading planes that I have been making.

Take care all!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Making Traditional Wooden Planes by John M. Whelan

I am excited to share this news... John M. Whelan's book on Making Traditional Wooden Planes is finally being reprinted. I had called the publisher a couple of years ago and pleaded with them to reprint this book and pointed there attention to the crazy prices on Amazon. It got there attention, I think. 

When I continued to follow up and encouraged others online to do so as well I noticed they started moving in that direction. I talked to the publisher again last year and they had said they were trying to improve the quality of the images etc before moving forward. I started to think that this might be a lot longer than I had hoped. However I got a bit of a surprise when I got this notice. They are taking pre-orders with the expectation that it will be ready in Mid-November! Price is $22.95. Only about a buck more than the original. Buy it/Pre-order it here.

This is the best book on the subject of traditional one piece solid bodied planes out there. It isn't perfect but it is what is available. Maybe someday we can hope Old Street will write a book covering the subject in-depth and we all can learn a bit more on the nuances of the craft. 


Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Nicholson Bench With Holdfast Vice

About six months ago I had a dilemma. I was doing my first Lie Nielsen Hand Tool Event and I needed a bench. Well the thing was I had a bench. I had two benches, in fact. The thing was I needed a bench that one person or well sort of one person could hall around to shows.

I needed a few things from this bench. As I alluded to it needed to be light or a least a lot lighter than my current benches. Second it needed to be something I could take apart. In other words, knockdown designed. Third I really didn't want to drop anymore money on vice hardware considering this would be used only on occasion. 

Nicholson Work Bench

About that time I had seen Mike Siemsen make a no non-sense Nicholson bench from home center materials. It really caught my eye as a simple solution. Now all I needed to do was make the legs removable. I decided to use some barrel nuts or bed bolts. These are cross-locking nut thingamajigs.

Here are some pictures to see the way it assembles/disassembles for transport.

Bottom of knockdown Nicholson bench with four legs on top disassembled

The leg is notched to make it flush with the front of the bench

The leg slides in a dado and the bolt is installed

The legs are dadoed into the front and back boards to stop lateral shifting in heavy use.

Barrel nut

How the bolt functions with out the leg installed just for clarity

Once I had that down I needed to address my last concern. The methods of securing materials to work them. Obviously the faces, edges and ends of boards.

For working the faces a simple holdfast and batten method seemed to be the best option rather than a costly and time consuming instillation of and end vice. This is something Richard over at The English Woodworker resurrected and works incredibly well. I use the sliding lock from my Dutch tool chest as the batten since it travels with me and the bench.

For working the edges of a board I use bench dogs or holdfasts in the holes on the face of the bench to support the board while holding it securely with at least one hold fast. Just that simple.

Since I was on the hold fast kick, up to this, at some point a new fangled face vice contraption just popped into my head. What was the inspiration? Who knows. I have never seen anything like it thought it is so simple I genuinely doubt it could be entirely unique. But I guess it could be. If so I am dubbing it the Jamesfast Vice. Boy thats a little egotistical, don't you think. :) Feel free to call it the Holdfast Vise. That makes more sense anyways.

Jamesfast Vice

Note the supports that hold the holdfasts up when not "clamping"

This is a simple device really. It is just a pair of holdfasts and a board for a vice jaw. Hit them both down to secure. Hit the backs of the fasts to loosen. The key to making it work is to insure that the front jaw has a slot rather than a straight hole for the holdfast to pass through. This allows the holdfast to properly "grab" in the rear jaw while not binding in the front jaw. 

I added a couple of "L" shaped blocks of wood to hold up the ends of the holdfasts while they are not knocked securely in place. 

I will admit this is not a perfect vice. What is, right? Anyway, it works best if the end of the fast lands over some part of the piece that you are holding. If you do, it works just like you would expect. If not then it might not want to really grab, duh!

Heres is one other detail that might help you see how the parts interlock. The top and sides are tongue and grooved. The top is floating and the sides are glued. These are the only "fancy" joints on the bench and I debated doing them. I think the top benefited the most from this.  This is how I did it but I am sure it could be altered without ill effect.

All the cross ribbing was installed with pocket holes and screws but could have been face drilled straight through if one didn't have that gizmo.

Once I was done with the bench I got really excited about what I had just accomplished. I had made a bench for around a hundred bucks (not including holdfasts) that actually worked and worked really well. When I consider how many new woodworkers could have an authentic way to have a serious hand tool woodworking bench without a major chunk of money, that no doubt they have other real world things to spend on, it is pretty cool in my book.

At the event that I first brought this to I was surprising how many people asked me about the bench (rather than my tools). Did I have plans, etc? 

Chris Schwarz was at this event as well and we had a short chat about it. After that I went home and stored it away. I am happy that Chris ran with the knockdown aspect of the bench and applied the deep wealth of knowledge on workbenches and really rocked a new design. Read about it here if you haven't seen it already. Or watch this video he posted on it.

My bench looks pretty lame compared to what he put together. But lame or not it works! So good news is that you can make one too. No, I don't have plans. I would love to but at this moment in time I am jam packed with tasks. Please look at the photos and go buy some lumber. It really is as simple as it looks. 


No New Pre-Orders On Beading Planes- Thank You! Oh And I Got A Secretary!

Thats a long title. Anyways I am probably not thinking straight after getting Schwarzed, as so many of my recent customers kidded me about. He probably laughs an evil villain laugh as he hits the publish post button. Muahahahahahaha Muuuahahahahahaha. Then drinks a beer with his feet up. OK OK OK, I kid. (...just fanning the flames.)

Anyhow I must put the breaks on the beading plane orders at this time (8/28/14, 9:14 est). I know, who turns away business these days. Well I would love to make beading planes for the next year but I think for the next 4-5 months is good enough to start with. I have a number of other obligations and personal endeavors in the furniture, planemaking and teaching world that I need to allow room for in my schedule. I hope you understand.

Plus, I am not a big fan of making people hurry up and wait so I prefer to stop for a while and then open up orders again just as soon as I can. I sincerely appreciate everyones enthusiasm for moulding planes. I love them too.

I thought it might be an appropriate time to share a recent family photo. I don't talk a lot about myself here because this blog has always been about the ins and outs of my interest in woodworking and sharing those things in a hope others can benefit from it. But now that my readers also support me and my family then I figure you should see who benefits.

Oh and this leads me to my next exciting announcement. I have an official secretary to help me manage my correspondence and invoicing. Its my wife! Tracy and I worked together in a similar way for about 7 years in the past so we fit like a glove and it feels kinda nostalgic. So, expect her to reply to some of your emails regarding standard inquiry related things. Like notifying you when something is going to ship, etc. I will still be responding to most things as a general rule as I like to get to know my customers. That is important to me.

From left to right: Tracy, Petra, Claire, Caleb

One good thing about this secretary is she makes good coffee. (If only my Dr of Chinese medicine would let me drink it like I want to.)

Tracy making coffee

Oh and she knows how to give me that look that says you have been goofing off on Instagram too much, get back to work. I know some of you will appreciate that. :)

Thanks again ya'll!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Now Taking Pre-Orders on Side Beading Planes!

UPDATE: As of 8/28/14 -9:14 est- no more new pre-orders on this plane until next time. Thank you for your enthusiasm! UPDATE

It is official. I am finally getting around to straightening out my schedule enough to open up to new orders again. As some of you know I stopped taking orders on planes back in the spring to catch up on work and to take an inventory of my beech stock.

In an effort to manage my time as efficiently as possible I am producing planes in batches that align with my carefully dried beech plane stock. I am opening up to beading planes as the first phase and will open up to other planes in the coming weeks and months.

3/16" side beading plane

For the sake of new readers... My planes are made from stock that I cut, dry and season. It is american beech and the planes are made in a traditional 18th century style and construction. These are not four piece planes glued together here. They are solid one piece construction that will last a couple hundred years if you and your grandchildren store them properly. Once the stock is roughed out on the table saw, the making process is done entirely with hand tools. The blades are Lie-Nielsen tapered moulding blanks that I profile and heat treat in house.

Side bead plane

OK, on to the bead planes. I am offering 1/8", 3/16" and 1/4" sizes. These are sizes appropriate for furniture size work. If you have no beading planes then definitely start with the 3/16". It is very versatile. The 1/4" is good for larger scale pieces. Think bead on the apron of a table. 1/8" is good for small scale pieces possibly like a spice or jewelry box.

Here is a short video of the 3/16" plane in use.

As of this post, all these sizes are $285 US each + $10 shipping. International customers please send me your address and I will calculate exact shipping for you.

I hope to get my but in gear so that my web designer can finish up my new website and store so that you can purchase directly but for now you will need to email me at calebjames(at)me(dot)com. I will respond with an emailed invoice that you can pay through and that will include a window of completion date.

I appreciate your interest and patience!