Monday, July 17, 2006

That old Chestnut

Despite hitting no less than three possible rust spots over the weekend, I came away with very little. Not that there weren't any tools at all, just that most things were either too far gone, too expensive - or both. However two things took my eye. First a craftsman-made marking gauge using the cam principle, the instructions for the making of same I've had on the Tuit list for some years now. Secondly, a London pattern Shoe Hammer (no, don't say "cobblers"; it's not nice...) Wanted one of these for adjusting wooden planes ever since I read Mike Dunbar's Restoring, Tuning & Using..., but this is the first I've seen with the head in reasonable condition. Loose on the handle, of course, so another learning curve of hammer handle replacement awaits me. But hey, at half a quid, it's worth the effort.

The amazing hot weather continues so the workshop is No Place To Be after about 10am. I finally bit the bullet and dived in for an hour in order to shove some stock through the planer thicknesser so it's ready for use before breakfast without resulting in irrate neighbours hammering on the door. Nothing exciting; just scrap stuff for that long-overdue article I keep putting off... But while I was at it I took the opportunity to put a short length of the local air-dried chestnut through as well; the stuff I got back in April. It was pretty wet when I stored it but a test now shows it's very dry indeed. In fact I worry just a tiny bit, but there don't seem to be any ill effects. The planed surface reveals glorious figure with a hint of pink, which I've done my best to get in the photo but failed rather. However it's a pretty busy piece of wood; if it's all like that it'll be a case of chestnut accents off-set with something plain or else it might be a bit overwhelming...


  1. Well, if all the Chestnut is like that--beautiful it is--then perhaps some Walnut would look good for the plainer bits? Tis nice looking wood in the picture.

    Gotta confess, that hammer looks difficult to use for adjustment of irons and wedges. The marking gauge looks interesting. Which reminds me I never took pics of the one from the Seaton chest...

    Take care, Mike

  2. Our house n Italy is surrounded by Chestnut forest (Hence the Chestnut roasting out house in the garden) and everything there is made from it, it make stunning tables I must admit, albeit the chairs from it break too easy it is reported locally

  3. Mike, walnut huh? Hmm, not a bad idea... Tha hammer, well it'll save the bodies a bit at any rate. And yes, I'd forgotten about that gauge...

    Andy, you have a chestnut roasting out house? Coo, fancy.

  4. It's in the garden of our Italian House, (with blackened beams and walls from the roasting and lot of wooden shovels to boot.

    It's going to be a B&B as we need to supplement my income as I've jacked in the day job and doing some independant consulting, which is all a bit scary as we have a 3yr old and a 6yr old to feed and cloth.

    But we are out of the rat race which was the plan


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