Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Custom canvas tool roll

Last year I bought a set of English plough irons that happened to come in an old tool roll. As it was busted, I thought about making a new roll for the irons.

A quick cleanup with 400 grit sandpaper and mineral spirits to clean the irons.

A high-level, not proportional, plan of how the roll will be made. The entire thing will be made from 2 layers of antique canvas my wife stashed away ages ago. The roll proper will be 25cm by 25cm, with a 14cm flap covering the tangs and a 7cm side flap.

 The fun begins... cutting the fabric panels to size. As it's a very large roll of fabric, I was able to cut the components as continuous panels. The main body and tang flap became an 80cm by 27cm panel (24+14+2 times two), the side flap became a 16cm by 27cm panel and the tool holder became a 30cm by 27cm panel)

Main body and side flap cut to size (I actually made the side flap too small and redid it)

 Side flap with seams penciled in
 The tool packet panel with 8 equal pockets... geometry is your friend. There was a mistake here too and I should have allowed some space on the sides as the fabric is quite thick
 Tool pocket stitched to the main body
 Let's dry test the fit of a plough iron
 The new side flap, at the correct size.

The side flap stitched to the main body

 The closure mechanism in place, can you spot the error? Now it's time to stitch the seam all the way around, leaving a 10cm opening to turn the tool roll inside out.
 Tool roll turned out, pressed and fully loaded.
 Tool roll almost finished... the next part of the project is to treat the outside of the tool roll to make it water proof. A similar process to Filson's famous "tin cloth". This will come in a follow-up post.

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Christmas in August?

Today a couple of heavy parcels were waiting on my desk in the office :)

The first parcel is a mixed set of plough irons from good british manufacturers I bought on for pocket change... it contains a few J Howarth, Sorby, Marples, Varvil. J Howarth is quickly becoming a favourite tool maker of mine. I now have 2 infill planes (a smoothing plane and a shoulder plane) with his irons and they are really nice to use. The plough iron set has duplicates (1,2,9) and is missing a #6. Fortunately I had a #6 from IL&S that came with a wooden plough I bought years ago. I got lucky and the entire set does fit in one of the two wooden ploughs I bought in Germany years ago. The tool roll is quite tired, but it will serve as a pattern to make its replacement. I've ordered a 1m x 1m60  length of heavy canvas for that purpose.

I will sharpen them shortly on my Scheppach Tiger 3000 VS (a cheap German clone of Tormek I bought a couple of months back). I will first need to make a jig to ensure that the business end is square to the wheel surface as the tangs are tapering on both axis. This means I can't rely on the built-in square of the tool holder.

The next parcel is a present from my friend Brian at Toolerable. It was a heavy parcel, just shy of 10 pounds.

I had to wait until I got home at the end of the day to have a better look at the inside of the parcel:

It's a set of German-engineered dowel plates, covering from 3mm to 20mm. This is awesome as I was looking at crafting my own for round tenons. I've already tested it by knocking in a bit of 8mm dowel I bought from a big box shop and it quickly adjusted it to true 8mm diameter. I will need to try it further with various bits of straight-grain wood. Here's a video of Elia Bizzarri showing how dowel plates are used for tenon work.

Thanks a million Brian! They'll be put to good use!

Sunday, 1 July 2018

Even more tools

This morning we did a quick check of a small flea market a few minutes from the house. It's not a huge flea market, but I always seem to find hand planes there. Today was no exception, I ended up spending 3€ on a pair of planes: a round plane and a panel-raising plane.

Here they are, as found.

5 minutes on the stones brought back the round iron to working sharpness (400 - 1000 - 4000 - 8000, CrO strop).

I then cleaned up and oiled the plane body, buffed it and took it for a test drive.

Cleaning up the panel-raising plane was pretty much the same work... clean up the contact point between the iron and the chip breaker, flatten the back and bring the bevel up to 8000 grits on the stone, followed up with a quick trip to a CrO strop.

I still need to make a replacement nicker and a replacement wedge for the nicker. I have seen two design variations so far... the nicker perpendicular to the planing direction and the nicker parallel to the planing direction. Interestingly enough, the channel for the nicker seems to have been done with a drill as two sides are parallel and the other two sides are rounded. This probably means that the nicker was a later addition to the plane.

This is now my second large panel-raising plane, both with a flat profile but a different slope angle.

The left one has a Ward iron, the hardest plane iron I own so far, skewed with a sharp angled arris on the work side. The right one is the new one

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Quick projects

On a whim, I have decided to redo the top of the Dutch tool chest. For the last few years, it had an ill-fitting bit of plywood attached with plain hinges. I have purchased different hinges and made a new breadboard panel.

I will attach it in the next few days.

For a larger project, I needed something that's been missing from my tool kit for some time already... a panel gauge. I raided the basement stash of old oak and started milling. I forgot to take pictures of the early stages of the project. I also conveniently had some brass left over from a project that had been postponed :)

Headstock roughly milled with a rabbet (21mmx20mm) for the brass and the arm mortise, boom arm (80cm, roughly 31 1/2 in) roughly milled.

I reduced the height of the headstock and carefully planed the arm to slide freely in its mortise. Last picture before I start drilling and countersinking for brass screws.

 The head was drilled and tapped for a M8 bolt... I pre-drilled a 6mm hole then slowly tapped it. The hole was drilled in the middle of the beefier section.
Next time, I will make a 7mmx2.5mm groove in the arm to receive a strip of brass... that should help with locking without damaging the arm.

Still left to be decided:
-keep the headstock flat and square or asymmetrical curve
-point, knife or both?

Monday, 4 June 2018

More tools!

Last week I won a nice Record #50 on, for pocket change. It's almost complete... only missing the long posts (I have spare ones from a Stanley #50 and a Stanley #45) and the beading stop. I'm not sure I'd use the beading stop.

The seller threw in an English Stanley #271 in very nice condition.
I spent a few minutes cleaning up the bevel and it was taking nice shavings across the grain.

This weekend I also visited a flea market in the next village/suburb and made the deal of the century. Two antique French holdfasts for 1 euro each. I went there hoping, against all odds, that there would be a froe or a #113... but no such luck.

We also bought a few chicks from a friend living in that village/suburb and he should have some Muscovy ducklings for us next weekend. I'm currently building the frame for a chicken coop, hoping to fence/clad it by the weekend.

Friday, 1 June 2018

Making dog bone chest lifts

On a whim, I have decided to make dog bone chest lifts for the rabbet and screws ATC I started building before moving. The chest itself is a mix between the traditional ATC and the "in two days" ATC. Rabbet and nails has been used traditionally for tool chests, but I didn't have any proper nails so I settled for screws instead. Anyways, I digress :)

Start with two blocks of oak roughly 30mmx60mmx300mm. Mark out the dog bone shape by tracing shoulders 75mm from the ends, and 15mm from the sides. Saw along the lines.

 Mount on the lathe and start turning the handle. I actually started by turning the ends of the bones where they meet the shoulders, then used the spindle roughing gouge to get a nice round handle.
 Trace a diagonal from the inside corner of the shoulders to the outside corner of the waste. Use dividers to draw a pleasing ogee. Saw as close to the ogee as you dare, then clean up with rasps and files.
 First chest lift done.
 Two coats of BLO and one coat of shellac... both chest lifts done!

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Cleaning up the pinching rods

All that was left to do on the pinching rods was to deburr the metal collars, find a way to hold the fixed part of the collars and bevel the ends of the sticks.

Deburring was done with a few passes on a belt sander, I drilled a 3mm hole through one side of each collar until it just started hitting the wood, drove a nail through the hole and across the fixed end of the stick. This doesn't move anymore.

A few seconds of chiseling later, the pinching rods were finished.

I'll make pinch rods using hardwood next, as this one is just a bit too short for the ATC :)