Thursday, July 20, 2017

How To Use Hollows and Rounds: Steps 1

Hollows and rounds have no fence and no depth stop. The lack of these two features is what allows for their flexibility. No fence and no depth stop means that there is no predetermined angle, location or orientation that each plane must be held. With no fence and no depth stop the idea of infinity is introduced.

Hollows and rounds are extremely versatile and seemingly very difficult to steer. If you hold the concave edge of hollow upon a square corner you will be able to make a convex surface.

The likelihood of the beginning equaling the middle, equaling the end, and equaling what you want is slim to none.

Balancing a hollow on a square corner is possible. Now try it with a round. (I will recommend backing the iron off into the plane body. You'll see why.)

Again, hollows and rounds have neither a fence nor a depth stop and that's good. We just need a way to steer these tools.

In the last few posts I fired through laying out a complex profile and then quickly rifled through the creation of what I laid out. You certainly noticed that these two blog posts focused on rabbets with no mention of actually using profiled planes. Rabbets and chamfers dictate the final result and are the key to all of the above obstacles.

Rabbets and chamfers will serve as a fence. Rabbets and chamfers will serve as a depth gauge. Additionally, rabbets and chamfers will remove the bulk of material with an edge that is easier to maintain.

Balancing the convex sole of a round on a single, square point is nearly impossible. Adding a rabbet will give the plane two points upon which to register instead of just one. The rabbet will act as a chute for the plane to ride in and will thus serve as a fence.
Note that the vertex of the rabbet (the inside corner) nearly falls upon the finished profile. This vertex, along with the surrounding vertical and horizontal surfaces, is your depth gauge. If a rabbet is uniform then you shall make it regress uniformly as you progress into your profile.

Let us quickly move to the hollow. We must give this plane two points to register upon in the same fashion we did with the rabbet for the round. Here we are going to add a chamfer.
The plane will register upon the outside edges of the chamfer. Changing the angle of this chamfer will change the angle at which the plane is presented into the wood, which will change your final profile.

The bulk of the steering and manipulation of these tools is done with rabbets and chamfers. Every time you use a hollow start with a chamfer. Every time that you use a round start with a rabbet.

This looks easy, right? Now try it with the appropriately sized planes to make the framing in the previous bedstead illustrated in E. J. Warne's Furniture Mouldings.
We will be using a #2 hollow and round, which cut a radius of 2/16". Good luck!

These tiny profiles are not the easiest place to start. Of course, we didn't start here so go back and read some old posts if you are interested. 

Creating Basic Shapes With A #6 Hollow

All profiles are a series of convex, concave and flat surfaces. Hollows and rounds create exactly this. These profiles are made with the same basic series of steps. You just need to learn the steps. 1, 2, 3...

When you learn the steps with appropriately functioning tools you will be able to decorate your furniture in the manner you see fit, never relying upon either your limited selection of router bits or Woodcraft's. You will never have to let these selections determine your next project or how it appears in low light or with poor photography.
Of course, if you have the shaper knives for one of the profiles above and don't see the difference between the two, that's also fine. Keep making things.

In just a few more posts I will convince you to buy my book or DVD.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Making Moulding By Hand: eBedstead Part II

There are two distinct sets of woodworkers that I tend to disappoint. One of these groups is the Hand Tool Only crowd. I guess it is often assumed that since I make and sell moulding planes ( then I must be a hand tool-only guy. I am not.

I became aware of hollows and rounds as a means to an end: the ability to create an infinite number of options. I was attracted first to the ability to make what I may want, unbridled from my selection of router bits or Woodcraft's.

This beadstead that I am highlighting hopefully illustrates this idea.

I do not intend to make this piece. However, I am no longer limited by my tooling to make it exactly if I choose. By introducing hollows and rounds into my work I possess the option to make small or large changes. These changes will be those that I may want to make, never being forced into a close interpretation or being good enough.

Hollows, rounds and the accompanying few planes offer you, the end-user, infinity. They offer you choice and they offer speed for short lengths. They never inspired me, however, to get rid of my machinery because machines can speed up the process.

Last we left this moulding we had transferred the layout lines onto our block of wood.

From here I move to machines. First, the bandsaw:

The next step is to create a series of rabbets. As discussed previously on this blog, rabbets serve three purposes: removing the bulk of material with the edge that easiest to maintain, creating a series of chutes for the plane to ride in while serving as a substitute for a fence, and creating a series of depth gauges. (More on these in the past and in the future.)

I added most of my rabbets with a tablesaw. In this case I added the large chamfer on the bandsaw at 45 degrees, so I tipped my tablesaw blade over to 45.

I don't spend time being too perfect here. I just get it really close and then clean it up with a rabbet plane. 

Making these rabbets with a snipes bill and rabbet plane is, of course, a straight forward process for you idealistic hand tool only guys. Lord nows I've made plenty myself. I just prefer the tablesaw here. 

(Note: if you rely upon the fence and depth stop of a moving fillester or other similar plane than you will not be able to make this series of rabbets. You will eventually lose the surfaces upon which the fence and/or depth stop register.)

We have yet to use a profile plane, but we are nearly done. Getting to the above product I often estimate as being 70-80% or the work. 

Do you see? It's that quick

It's done!

Again, the final product:

The final resting place: 

And a hint at the options and final solutions for you Hand Tool Never guys:

Enjoy sacrificing, sanding and/or waiting weeks for delivery!

Friday, July 14, 2017

Poplar eBedstead Circa 1710

Have you ever looked at a potential piece, considered the build and then simply disregarded the project due to an inability to make one certain aspect?

Before I became aware of hollows and rounds I did this quite often. Moulding profiles dictated my choices. The range of options is limitless.

Consider this bedstead...

(It will really tie your bedroom together like no rug can.)

I imagine that this piece is not currently on the 'to do' list for many of us. But can you make it? We could all figure out the turnings, joints, panels, etc. But the mouldings...

(Warne, E. J. Furniture Mouldings. Other bibliographical information...)

It would be sad to let only the mouldings preclude you from making this. It would also be a shame to purchase the specific shaper knives and router bits only to never use them again. (Not to mention the sanding)

With hollows and rounds you can make all of these profiles and, with the same series of tools, create the next.

Let me quickly walk you through the process of making the crown. If you have neither followed my blog before (start from the beginning) nor read my book then the following will appear convoluted. Read the blog posts from the past or stick with me in the future. It will ultimately make sense.

The first step in making this exact crown (above, center) is to transfer the shape from paper onto wood. I do this accurately by first "finding the flats." Define each vertical and horizontal surface by measuring from known edges.
(Once I have the thickness and width, I can use my dividers. Do you see the tool marks on the edges?)

Then, using a circle template, I choose the correct radius and connect the flats.

This first cove was made with a 4/16" and 6/16" concave radius that equates to a #4 and #6 round, respectively. This elliptical shape is more complex than the following and we will touch upon it further at a later date. (There is another post about elliptical/ovular shapes buried in this blog somewhere, but I can't find it now.)

This next convex shape was made with a #6 hollow and is a 6/16" radius. It is 90 degrees of a circle. It's a straight forward operation but not the easiest, just close. On a scale from 1-10 it's a 2. We will (and have) cover(ed) this, too.

Step 3 in laying out the curves? The ogee.

Okay, we have the final shape but hollows and rounds have no fence and no depth stop. The lack of these two features is an absolute advantage of the tool and what grants them their flexibility. We just need a series of rabbets and chamfers to guide these planes that are difficult to steer..  

Why are we drawing the moulding profile in this fashion on the upper left corner of a piece of wood? Easy!

Drawing the profile in this manner allows for a simple transfer of gauge lines. 

The rabbets pretty much define the final profile. Making rabbets accurately should be a straight forward process. So be certain to save this layout piece if there is any chance you'll make the profile again.

Feel free to redraw your actual profile by connecting the flats again.

Come back later...

Friday, June 30, 2017

Skew, Square and A Trip Into the Weeds

As you read please remember that I didn't start this, I just posted a couple pictures on Instagram (@msbickford) showing the difference in shaving between a skewed rabbet plane and a square rabbet plane.

Within a single comment I found myself in a debate regarding the value of skew vs. square when going across the grain and potential for changes in effective cutting angle. Instagram is not a good medium for discussions or explanations, so here we are.

First, skewing an iron in a plane does help performance when working across the grain. Here are a few pictures of a rabbet made going across the grain with a skewed iron and no nicker.


Due to the leading edge of the iron severing the wood fibers at the point that will be the vertex of the rabbet, you get a much cleaner rise (fillet). The fibers of the rabbet's floor are not being lifted prior to them being sheared (detached.)

If correctly skewing the iron does not increase the performance of the plane then it stands to reason that incorrectly skewing the iron (i.e. the trailing edge of the iron contacting the fibers at the vertex) must not decrease the performance, right?

Do you see a difference in the quality of vertical rise? I would have gone deeper but the plane clogged due to poor performance. Fibers are being lifted prior to being sheared, hence tear-out.

Here is an example of a square iron going across the grain.

The quality of the fillet is kind of in the middle, right?

Adding nickers, of course, changes things.

Anyway, the debate was more about bedding angle vs. a perceived change in effective cutting angle due to skewing the iron in the body of the plane. The debate seemed to come to an end after a simile of walking up a mountain in various patterns. This is a correct comparison, but...

"People that speak in [similes] oughta shampoo my crotch."

A skewed plane works better across the grain because the leading edge is on the inside of the rabbet, makes contact and cuts first. The horizontal surface of the rabbet is ultimately cleaner because the vertical fillet is cleaner. The deterioration of the vertical can lead to the same in the horizontal.

The skew of the iron in the plane body does not change or reduce the effective cutting angle of the plane. A square rabbet plane bedded at 50 degrees has the same cutting angle as a skewed plane bedded at 50 degrees.

Thinking that the skew changes the effective cutting angle in the same manner that skewing a square plane reduces the effective cutting angle is not a direct comaparison. You are measuring two different angles. 

To measure the same angles you must measure square to the mouth. 
(Note the lines running perpendicular to the mouth)

I am holding the sliding bevel at the appropriate angle here.

Here I am holding the bevel against the body and you can see the slight difference between the two angles.

So a 15 degree skewed plane bedded at 50 degrees will have an effective cutting angle of about 52 degrees if you skew the plane body so that the iron is perpendicular to the direction in which you are pushing just like a square plane bedded at at 52 degrees will have an effective cutting angle of about 50 if you skew the plane 15 degrees from perpendicular in the direction in which you are working.

Still confused? Maybe all of this can be summed up in a picture, which brings us back to instagram:

 The plane on the left is bedded at 50 and when pushed in the direction of the arrow probably has an effective cutting angle of 48. The plane on the right is bedded at 50 and when pushed up has an effective cutting angle of 50.