Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Guild Night in Haddam Neck (Continued Preparations for NWA 2013)

Last night was guild night in Haddam Neck. Don and Chris Boule are slightly ahead of me. We'll (hopefully) all be ready for our annual trip to the Northeastern Woodworkers' Assoc. 2013 Showcase in March.

After getting shut out for ribbons last year we have all decided to step it up a notch.

Don is making a "Dunlap" inspired highboy.

Chris is making a "Chris" inspired lowboy.

I am making a pie-crust tea table, which has lately taken a back seat to a bed, which has taken a back seat to class preparations. This last picture will give you an idea of the size of Chris' piece.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Rabbets with a Rabbet Plane.

One of my greatest pleasures is seeing woodworkers use a rabbet plane for the first time. I have witnessed a few hundred people go through the process and I love being present. It's so simple.

Brian Eve of Toolerable is no different. He recently reconditioned an old rabbet plane and took a video of his first attempt. Check it out! I doubt he'll ever crave a fence for this task again.

If you don't get it right on the first attempt, you will be fully confident that you'll get it on the second.


On a side note, I'll take this opportunity to reiterate a point about antique planes: they can (usually) be made to perform as well as the planes I sell. Please do not think that you need my planes or those from Old Street Tool to get in this game.

Start with antiques. We all did.

If you feel like you're blindly fighting these tools I'll recommend that you make just one pair from scratch. The first time you have to fit YOUR wedge, bed YOUR iron or make your iron match YOUR sole you will work to a whole new level of tolerances. You will quickly learn about the significant amount of technology that is present in two pieces of wood and steel.

Get in this game. Take control.

(the first planes I made)

"Old" Mouldings vs. New

I was in Newport, RI the last few days for a Lie-Nielsen Handtool Event. When I am at these shows I'm often asked about the relevance of the tools that I make in today's shops. The answers always seem clear to me. I'll take this opportunity to show you.

A chest of drawers without the moulding is just, well, a chest of drawers. By adding the profiled shapes around the edges we are able to manipulate that rectangular chest into a piece of work that commands attention from the other side of the room. Why do we let today's router bit manufacturers dictate what those edges are going to be? After all, we don't do that with dovetails anymore and they're hidden.

With the planes on my bench I can make everything that occurs along a straight surface, regardless of shape. A moulding, any moulding, is just a combination of convex, concave and flat edges. That's exactly what these planes make. These planes allow you to make what you want, not what you have.

This weekend I was asked the sharp follow up question: "So I can make everything I see in Home Depot?" I shyly responded that I actually couldn't make the new profiles you often see because they've been flattened out to fit in thinner material. The ogees have been squashed. The curves have been reduced. The elegance has been withdrawn.

"Can you show me what you mean?"

Here I go.

I made this moulding during the slower times at my bench throughout the show.

Here are the steps:

Rabbet Plane

#10 hollow followed by #6 hollow.

Here is the present day equivalent (the bottom portion) that I cannot make with my planes. I found this in my hotel room Thursday night.

You'll notice that there are significantly fewer shadows.

(The paper may have been hung upside down, but I'm no expert.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lie-Nielsen Handtool Event in Newport

I will be attending a Lie-Nielsen Handtool Event this Friday and Saturday at the International Yacht Restoration School in Newport, RI.

You must attend one of these shows if you're interested in working with your hands. This show in Newport is the perfect location because there is a ton of other attractions in the immediate area. If you come for a day you'll wish you could stay for the second.

Use these shows to get yourself out of your comfort zone.

Additional Class at The Acanthus Workshop

I was at The Acanthus Workshop for a two day class on making mouldings with moulding planes.

This was followed by a one day class on carving mouldings.

I've had a few of these classes recently and, due to interest, have added another class at The Acanthus Workshop on October 6th and 7th with an optional 3rd day on the 8th. There are two spots available.

Here are a couple videos from my class at Lie-Nielsen in July to give you an idea of the class.

Step 1.

Step 2.

Bring some walking shoes if you come.

I will be at the Lie-Nielsen Handtool Event at Hearne Hardwoods on October 5th. If you can't make it to one, go to the other.