Monday, January 29, 2007

Village Idiot

Did I say "must do better"? Ha hum, If ever there was a case of do as I say, not as I do... Once again terrible blogging inertia struck last week, which is odd 'cos all sorts of things happened I could have blogged about.

On Tuesday I picked up a fascinating book - Amateur Work, Illustrated. Essentially a sort of early Woodworker Annual (1881) except it covers all sorts of things like making and repairing shoes and boots, making telephones, electroplating, all sorts. Extremely galootish and lots of info on "new tools" like the recently introduced Starrett Combination Square! I really must do some scanning and share a few bits.

Then on Saturday everyone but me was out, so I made actual woodworking progress. I know, I could hardly believe it either. Better make the most of it while I can 'cos the old man's getting his other hip joint replaced in a few weeks so I'll be shuttling mum hither and yon for a while which'll cut into the spare time rather severely. Anyway, to overflow my cup of happiness all of said woodworking was 100% honest to goodness hand toolin' goodness. Viz; out came my favourite rebate plane, the red Marples:

Now why that plane is a favourite, I know not. The casting is cracked at the fence rod point, the fence rod isn't original, the spur cutter's still waiting for me to get a new screw to hold it that doesn't foul the side, the sole isn't flat, but nevertheless I always pick it up in preference to either of the other two. And before the cries of "collector!" ring through the comments box, it should be noted that all three are halt and lame in one respect or another so between them they barely make one functioning #78-alike.

Anyway, I also did a little of this:

Gads, but pine is the total pits for getting a clean chisel cut isn't it? And yes, I know that's a saw... I was getting away with murder on supposedly difficult hardwoods in comparison. The bevel angle on the LNs really didn't do at all, so I switched to the plastic-handle Berg I got last year for 20 new pence and that did better. There may be a moral there somewhere, or there may not - I'm not touching that issue with a ten-foot pole myself...

So the pin boards are still waiting for their big moment, but progress of a sort is slowly being made. Of course that's what I should have been doing yesterday, but instead the car boot sale sang it's siren song. Well my excuse was I need the driving practice. You know how I worry to the Nth degree about woodworking projects? Translate that to me behind the wheel of a car. Get the mental picture? Yes, I'm really not one of nature's drivers and have managed to successfully avoid having to do so for some years. But as mentioned above, the transformation of the old man into the Bionic Man ("We have the technology") requires me to step into the breach, so it's common sense to get some practice in while I can. This noble action was not without reward; not only did I finally glean The Tall Scotsman's name (Ian), but I got a spiffy Marples 1/4" sash mortise chisel for a not unreasonable figure.

Easily the nicest looking chisel I've seen for months and months. Of course the reason it was a not unreasonable figure was probably because the seller was hugging himself in secret delight that he'd found some village idiot to take this off his hands:

That's not strictly true. I did apply for village idiot once, but they said I was over-qualified...


  1. Cool drill, Alf!

    I have never found one in the wild. They just look neat.

    I'll be watching for the drillafter.jpg

    Take care, Mike

  2. Dad had one of those. It was destroyed by a Flying Bomb in 1944. At least, I never saw it again.

    I loved the fly wheel thing on the top which automatically wound down a mechanism until the drill bit hit the job.

    Mike of Corsham

  3. I bought a second-hand Marples chisel at the weekend that looks just like yours, except mines a bevel edge. Even got the same sticker on the handle. They seem very nicely made.

    Cheers :)

    Paul Chapman

  4. Very nice drive by on the book.

    Nice drive by on the Marples #78

    I've got a drill like that!! Works well on brass and steel, not so good on wood.

    It was the subject of much confusion in the pages of woodworker back in the 1980's (*)


    (*) That's my driveby

  5. But, like a joke, is it a driveby if one has to explain it [bg]?

    But on the Marples note, the casting appears heavier in the picture compared to a #78 [which I have never really liked using], do any of you know if it is, or just that I need more coffee?

    Take care, Mike


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