Sunday, July 25, 2010


The astute reader might have noticed that, while this blog is now active again, it's been lacking in what you might describe as an essential ingredient. There are generally four of them in this blog, in no particular order (except, possibly, frequency):
  1. Rust
  2. Indecision
  3. Whinging
  4. Woodworking
The first three have all been present and correct, but actual torture of dead tree? Not one jot. Well I finally decided I'd had enough of Nos.1-3 inclusive and woodworking had to happen, and soon. As it happens I dropped out of the Wunnerful World of Woodworking in the middle of a project. You'll need a long memory for this one - the last meaningful entry on the subject was in January 2008.

Mind you, the first entry on it was in January 2007...

Ha-hum. So putting aside the maturity of said project, have you got it yet? Yes, it's the saw till. What's that? You assumed I'd finished that off during the ensuing years months? How little you know me. Should you need to refresh your memory of The Story So Far, click on the "saw till" tag at the bottom of the post and it'll bring up all the relevant posts for your delectation and delight. Or, in my case, mild horror. Go on, I'll wait.

While we're waiting, I'll show the other reader my new workshop dustpan and brush.

Funky, no? And, amazingly, made in England. I know! Gasp!

Oh, are you back? Right, so up to speed. Frames for the doors made, panels for same glued up in the ever-delightful Plano Clamps. And there they've been ever since, until now. First step - check the workbench is still reasonably flat using the extremely useful Veritas aluminium straight edge. It is. Huzzah. (Oh, and let's keep a tool count going here, just for fun. Thus - 1)

Next step; lose the worst excess of stock to reduce my planing exertions. It's a trifle warm in the w'shop, as ever in the summer months, so this is wise. Strike a knife line across both ends to ensure a clean cut - combination square and marking knife (2 & 3). Then onto the saw horse with it (4) and just for kicks and giggles get out the Wenzloff & Sons half-back (5).

This is me using it in cloaked mode... Look, it's a beautiful saw, you really don't want to ruin the composition with a rather warm woodworker in a galoot hat, trust me.

Now looking back in this blog (which I had to do as I went through it tagging all those saw till posts) I was reminded that I wasn't much grabbed by the half-back when it originally arrived chez Alf. Its looks, I liked; in use, not so much. Well, I must have been in the wrong frame of mind or the burr needed taking off the teeth or something, 'cos I like it just fine now. Just fine. Gerroff,-it's-mine fine. Grrrrrr.

It's going to have to be a really big coffin with all the tools I intend taking with me...

Where was I? Oh, yeah, right. So next we plane. This is a task for a jack, and a dash of ingredient No.3 rears its ugly head. Which jack plane? Oh my, the indecision. I looked at the panel - little bit of a step at the glue line, but nothing major. I rule out the razee jack with the aggressive camber quite early on; that'll just generate more work. Low angle jack then? Well yes, except I think it's currently got the shooting iron in it and I'm not 100% sure I know exactly where the other ones are just at the moment. The Stanley #5 1⁄2 with the 2 1⁄4" iron from the toolchest it is then.

I haven't really looked at this plane for, well, years. I was taken aback a bit; it's really not in terribly great shape. I'd forgotten I'd had the mend the crack in the rear tote, the sides and sole are pitted quite a bit, there's only about 30% of the japanning left and the lateral adjuster is loose and floppy. But it has a Hock replacement iron, that repaired rear tote virtually throws itself into your hand it's so comfortable, and its proportions are just right. I'd actually forgotten how much I love this plane

So sprinkling hearts and flowers to left and right, I fell in love with it all over again. We'll probably be fixing a date soon... Oh, and that's 6.

Look, ma, top of the worl- er, I mean - Shavings!

At this point I found myself greatly comforted, because it all came back to me like I'd never been away. This was by no means guaranteed and I didn't much relish the thought of re-learning it all again. But nope, I overlapped my strokes, I roughly checked the panel was flat across the width with the edge of the plane, I used the flat workbench top to do the rocking test to ascertain where the twist might be. Folks, I even remembered where my winding sticks were! (7)

As an added bonus, in the intervening time of course the wood had changed colour, giving me a ready indication of where the low spots were.

On the other hand, I had to make sure I didn't confuse them with the marks left by the bars of the clamps. A disadvantage of the intervening months...

Enjoying myself as I was, I may have got carried away and finished both sides of one panel with the Quangsheng #3 (It was on the bench - it seemed churlish to spurn it. And that makes 8) and maybe I happened to have some garnet shellac flakes dissolving in some meths, and maybe I might have just wiped a quick coat on for the hell of it, and maybe I offered the panel up to the saw till just to get the vaguest idea of how it might look.

And maybe I stepped back, looked at it, and saw that it was good. Despite all the old screw holes, dowels, etc...

Then I swept up the mess (9, 10 & 11 - broom, dustpan and aforementioned funky brush), dusted off the planes (12 - L-N-a-like dusting brush), sharpened the irons (13 & 14 - two stones, no honing guide) and gave them a wipe with some camellia oil because they'd earned it.

Then I went in for a drink, 'cos I reckon I'd earned that. And no, it wasn't camellia oil.

1 comment:

  1. really been missing your banter Alf
    good to see the blog come alive again



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