Monday, January 20, 2014

Moldings in Practice: The DVD

Lost Art Press published my book, Mouldings in Practice, a year and a half ago. The purpose of the book is to introduce hollows and rounds to a broader audience by showing off the capabilities of the tools while explaining the most basic topics of their use. The book shows you how to create mouldings by hand while explaining the relevance of the tools in my shop, and possibly yours.

The book accomplishes this goal. However, there are some things that are easier watched than read. The book explains and illustrates how to execute a moulding. But it doesn't show mouldings being executed. Same with sharpening, maintenance, ergonomics, setting an iron, etc.

With that said, I am proud to announce the release of my dvd, Moldings in Practice, through Lie-Nielsen Toolworks. This project will be a good supplement to my book (or vice versa) but, like the book, it was created to stand alone. The video includes the information needed for somebody who knows nothing to be able to produce a predetermined profile--your predetermined profile, not mine and certainly not Freud's.

The information in both will give you a simple series of steps to follow in creating moulding profiles to fit your needs or your desires, regardless of size or shape. Both assume you know nothing about the tools. You only need to be interested in working safer, quieter, with your hands instead of a push stick or having more options than your local Woodcraft.

As a side note, Poor Old Shine, a local bluegrass/americana band that is young, energetic, and some of the nicest guys you'll ever meet recorded the music for the disc. (You'll have to buy the dvd to hear the instrumental or their new album to hear it the way they want you to.) I bring this up because the group is in possession of a Lie-Nielsen saw that is featured in this cover of Ain't No More Cane below.


I just thought you might be interested because the same three parties are involved in very different manners.

This was recorded live so you'll have to excuse the clatter of children in the background, one of which is ringing a bell. 

Here they are in a little more professional setting:


Check out their new album. Check out their show. Ask them to see the saw, it's pretty sweet and unlike yours.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Bible box

Here are a couple pictures of a bible box I made as a gift. I had some scrap lying around and wanted to try a little carving like Peter Follansbee.



I don't know how he'll feel about the mahogany, dovetails, the carving being inset, the bead, the stamp being filed onto an allen wrench, the shellac, etc. I thought about his work the entire time and I did nail the bottom on (They weren't cut nails.)

I had a little more scrap so I made one that is quite different. This one only had the single carved face.


Monday, November 18, 2013

A Product of Handworks

I was pleasantly reminded of my trip to Handworks in Amana, IA this week when I received an email from a man I met there, Doug.

I spoke with Doug for a while during the show. He had never used the type of tool that I make. He didn't know what they could do. In short order, he saw what he would be able to accomplish and was intrigued. Later, he won the door prize that I offered: a pair of #6s and a rabbet plane. He was very excited.

I was also happy because I knew the tools were going to a person that was interested in them and would use them.

Flash forward to this week--I received an email from doug with the following pictures:

Doug has completed a half set of hollows and rounds, a pair of snipes bills and a pair of side rounds.

Well done!  (I bet his antique side bead and reverse ogee work great and were made to do so with only his newly acquired experience.)

Doug did it and you can too.

Thank you Larry and Lie-Nielsen.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

M. S. Bickford & Son, LLC

Well, it's not quite "& Son" yet. The kid can't even make it through a simple morning of packing. Worthless.

Maybe he will last through this weekend's Lie-Nielsen Handtool Event and CVSW Open House in Manchester, CT. I will be one of many demonstrators. Have you seen the list of the other demonstrators?

Charlie Watson - Demontrating antique handplanes.
Mickey Callahan - Founder of SAPFM, CVSW Instructor
Will Neptune - CVSW Instructor
Steve Branam - Representing SAPFM
Peter Galbert - Windsor Chairs
Tom Jannke - Broken Screw Extractors
Greg Massicotte - Behlen / Mohawk Finishing Supplies
Walt Scadden - Lead Blacksmith on building of the Amistad, CVSW Instructor
Warren Blessing - Connecticut WoodCarvers
Jeff Noden - Adjusta Bench and Inlay Razor
Parkerville Woodworking - Manchester, Connecticut Hardwood Lumber Dealer
Catharine Kennedy - Custom Engraved Tools
Mike Danchak - Custom Furniture Maker
Mike Pekovich - Fine Woodworking Magazine
Ben Gammell - Connecticut Historical Society
Scott Dixon - US Guitar Kits

Saturday Only: Antique Dealers will be attending this Event. The Dealers for this Event are:

Walt - Brass City Records
Jim Taylor
Warren Charrette
Craig Jensen - Antique Tools
Randy Nelson
David Niles
Steve Christoffers - 3D Printer
The house will be open, it will be full and it will be fun! The kid, however, may be in the car with the windows up.


See! I haven't forgotten about the blog.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Stamping Planes

The most intimidating part of making my first planes was the heat treating. When I started this hobby I never anticipated being bent over a pile of fire bricks in my driveway at dusk with a blowtorch in my hand and a pot of peanut oil at my side. That wasn't my intention, but it's where the hobby lead. (Check out Larry Williams' Dvd and, though the step may be intimidating, it's simple with the process he describes. But, I digress...)

The hardest part of making this type of tool is stamping the plane. Seriously. It's the only part that, after making a few dozen of these tools, I wasn't confident in the outcome.



Simply put, I never acquired the skill of swinging a 3 lb. sledge at my fingers with the force demanded to stamp my name on the end of a tall, thin piece of wood I spent 5 hours making and could ruin with one glancing blow (not to mention the ER trip if the blow should glance in the other direction). I didn't have the confidence.

I still remember practicing with my stamp until my shoulder was exhausted, trying again in an hour, and then, again, the next day. The only thing that kept me going was the fact that I was sent an example of what the stamp should look like when done correctly.

Let this video be a demonstration of using a maker's stamp and how I use it to this day. It will hopefully save you a lot of effort trying to execute under false pretenses (i.e. you have one swing).



Take note of the following:

1. I don't even try to mark the wood with a single blow. The first swing is focused on indenting the stamp enough on one end to give it something to register in for the second, third or eighth.

2. I have clamps on the vises so I don't destroy them (I wouldn't know how to match the pink paint on my face vice if I needed to replace it.) This process would be easier with a solid backer like a stump or anvil? OK, but this works fine.


3. You must be listening to music that has the proper punch.


Remember, a heavy hammer (sledge) is necessary. The purpose is to "damage" the wood, but with control. There is no reason to be displeased if you practice. There is no reason to post about your displeasure if you haven't.

Now I need to get back to the most intimidating part of this job, sharpening the remaining 50+ planes on my bench and getting them out the door.



Mitch, you're next! I promise, I haven't forgotten.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Furniture Project at the 2013 New England Home Show

The Haddam Neck Woodworkers' Guild will be well represented at The Furniture Project, an annual show feature of The New England Home Show. Chris Boule was one of several makers accepted to display their work.


If you are one of the many to attend this show make sure you stop by and see his work. It will be worth your time. I'm going Thursday.

The entire demo schedule was just posted here.





Tuesday, February 19, 2013

2013 Class Schedule (with a couple surprises)

Connecticut- Check.
New York- Check.
New Jersey- Check.
Pennsylvania- Check.
Maine- Check.
Iowa?- Check
Washington?- Check, Check.

Using Hollows and Rounds- Check.
MAKING HOLLOWS AND ROUNDS?- CHECK!


I have finalized my schedule for 2013...finally. It is posted on my website.


Upcoming Shows

Peters Valley Craft Center
Layton, NJ
April 26-27

Saratoga Springs City Center
Saratoga Springs, NY
March 23-24

Festhalle Barn
Amana, IA
May 24-25

East Haddam Library
East Haddam, CT
June 12, 7:30-8:30




Upcoming Classes

Using Hollows and Rounds

Manchester, CT
February 23rd and 24th

Lie-Nielsen Toolworks
Warren, ME
April 6th and 7th

Lie-Nielsen Toolworks
Warren, ME
August 10th and 11th


Port Townsend, WA
8/1-8/2

Port Townsend, WA
8/3-8/4

Pottstown, PA
10/12-13, with optional 3rd day on 10/14



Make a Pair of Hollows and Rounds

Pottstown, PA
11/18-22

With the blessing of Larry Williams and permission of Lie-Nielsen Toolworks, I will be teaching this final class about making a pair of hollow/round planes. The process that Larry illustrates in his dvd will be heavily relied upon, but not used exclusively. As a result, much of the material in the class is copywritten and used with permission.

I am increasingly anxious for this week. Due to the small size of the class, 6 total (which is always the case at The Acanthus Workshop), the process may go quicker than has been indicated. In short, I don't know if it is a 5 day class or only a 2.5 day class.

I will be bringing extra material for any students that finish early to make a rabbet plane or fill in the gaps with my usual instruction with your new planes.

The class my be shorter in the future, but it will not likely be more available. A class of 6 people appears to be the perfect setting for this class.

I hope to see a few of you at one of the benches in these classes or at my bench at one of the shows. Check your schedules.