Friday, April 29, 2005

Cherry ripe

Possibly a record, but I've started on the initial stock prep for the side tables; and the timber only got delivered last Thursday! Okay, so only the 2" stuff for the legs - I've yet to tackle the 1", which will require more careful selection of where to cut for figure and so forth. And I don't actually have a finished drawing to work from yet either, but that's just a minor detail... Of course I got so immersed in what I was doing, I forgot to take pics except for this really interesting one... D'oh!

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Hear ye, the word of the Bevel Up Plane

What's all this bevel up stuff anyway?

Grrrr... I blame all together too many vicars and ministers in my ancestry. Why must I feel this compulsion to convert everyone? So what if they don't "get" bevel up planes. No skin off my nose. Not me missing out on a Good Thing. But it gets to me. Especially when people say they're Not Especially Good Actually, without declaring if they've tried one. Or not... And especially if they haven't tried a higher angle blade in one when that's one of the main advantages. Okay, so up until, what? Six months ago? I wasn't at all convinced either. But I didn't go round telling other people they were part of a craze - simply because I hadn't tried what they had. Don't get me started on comparing apples with kumquats whatever you do...

Rant over. I imagine, if anyone ever actually reads this, I can expect comments.

Thursday, April 21, 2005


Cherry for the side tables for August, some beech and walnut to play with. Mmmmmmmm. Bloomin' hard work stowing it though, and more work to come. And guess who still hasn't sharpened their planer blades... Ooops.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Is it me, or is FWW slipping?

Is it me, or is FWW slipping?

Hmm, good question, and one that seems to be getting asked more and more often; which kind of suggests the answer is "yes", doesn't it? I must say I've taken a sneaky peek at the new issue on their site (my copy has yet to make it across The Pond) and my heart sank. Router jigs, forsooth?! Glue ups - again?! The only "real" project is the rocker, for heaven's sakes. Talk about taking the "Fine" out of Fine Woodworking. It used to be that I bought FWW to be inspired, and a little awed. It was an aspirational thing. Only one project in 20 would I ever think myself even remotely capable of making, but I still learnt lots and had something to aim for. Now? Hah. Half the stuff in there, even if I could make it, I just wouldn't want to bother - you only need so many router tables and jigs... The sooner they leave the more basic stuff to the other mags and get back to being elitist the happier I shall be. Thank goodness for Popular Woodworking - when it turns up...

Okay, rant over. As you were. :~)

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Only a chick...

I had cause to do a little in-depth forum searching today, and by chance came across a reference to my plane reviews on the Aussie forum. A chick! Hah! That's hilarious. No-one's ever referred to me as a "chick" before. I'll take that as a compliment. Gotta love those real neanderthals down under, eh? If he'd just left off the "only"... Anyway, for the record, it was the low angle smoother that had limited room between the iron and the rear tote and the latter's going to be moved back in future castings to solve the problem. So there :~P The issue of the tote though; I stand behind that 100%. Yesterday I spent a couple of hours flattening the old aircraft carrier. Er, that is the workbench. Funny how it's always too small when you're using it, but expands when it comes to planing the top of it... Anyway I used the BUPP* with the slightly modified Mk2 rear tote.

It needs more modification.

The web area of my right hand was red and sore, and it's still sore today (along with every other muscle in my body, apparently...) No way will I ever be persuaded those handles are comfortable. Shame too, 'cos the plane itself is the bee's knees. Found I had to sharpen the iron quite a bit though. Funny, the longer it took, the quicker it seemed to get harder to push and the more frequently I felt the need to stop and hone... A few perspiration-in-progress pics if you click on the pic:

I've also largely finished mucking about shuffling the workshop around, but a proper tour will have to wait a bit until I can stand up straight again. Oh, and the delivery from British Hardwoods is definitely maybe coming on Thursday. Huzzah!

Ah yes, and it's been brought to my attention that non-UK readers may have been mildly puzzled by yesterday's post. There's some sort of election thingy going on here in Blighty; should all be over bar the shouting on May 5th - can't wait...

*Bevel Up Panel Plane. What Lee Valley will insist on calling a low angle jack plane. Tsk, these colonials, eh?

Monday, April 18, 2005

Vote? Or review?

Oh dear. I had hoped it wouldn't happen, but no such luck. There's a "Veritas" candidate standing in our constituency... You can see the situation all too clearly, can't you? In I go, into the polling booth. Half an hour later people are starting to show alarm and concern. Fear not, she's just writing a review of the ballot paper...

Thursday, April 14, 2005

The Woodworker's Role in Human Existance

The whole gamut of life has been in the news the last couple of weeks, hasn't it? First off the Pope finally goes off to the Boss's office, and woodworkers everywhere were struck by the workmanship of his coffin... Cypress wood apparently. Personally I thought the dovetails were very poor, but as it then got popped into a Lead, or maybe Zinc, second coffin and then finally an Oak, or perhaps Elm, outer box I don't suppose it matters. They want to make jolly sure he doesn't get out again, don't they...

Then of course there was The Wedding. Honestly, if you'd written it as a novel all right-thinking persons would have said "come off it, this is worse than a really bad Mills & Boon", and that was before all the changes and hiccups to do with the day itself. Still it went very well I thought; loved the planted boxes in the chapel - the flowers in them, that is. Extensive searching eventually found the details (the PofW's own site had it - pretty good site, actually. Quick to load and so forth) and the additional information that the boxes themselves were made at Highgrove by the estate's carpenters. Nice job chaps, and I do think it's nice to cut costs a litte by doing things "in house", don't you? ;~)

Finally some red-headed Scots bloke's missus had a sprog. Who cares? There was no woodworking connection at all.

And in local news, the small bandsaw and lathe are now in the old man's w'shop, and his bench will soon follow. Now theoretically that means I should be knee-deep in empty space. Funny how it doesn't feel like that. Anyway, some cherry is en route to Alf Towers for the side tables I rashly promised for August, so I need to finish up this mucking about in the w'shop and get it ready for use again. Who'd have thought the old place had so much dust in it? (apologies to The Bard). Anyway, Spot the Difference...

Friday, April 08, 2005

The Nine Circles of Hell - Neanderthal Style

Having cause to refresh my memory of Signor Alighieri's expedition to Hell, it struck me a hand tool user's likely reasons for being in any particular circle might be a little different:
  • Circle One (Those in limbo) - Well I don't know; do I need a hand plane?
  • Circle Two (The Lustful) - Oooo, have you seen that infill on *bay...?
  • Circle Three (The Gluttonous) - Seven different smoothing planes is simply not enough.
  • Circle Four (The Hoarders) - Okay, so I don't need 5 jointer planes now, but you never know what may happen tomorrow...
  • Circle Five (The Wrathful) - I just bought a low angle smoother, and now they're bringing out another one?!
  • Circle Six (The Heretics) - You only really need one good bench plane.
  • Circle Seven (The violent) - If you don't give me that plane right now, I'll punch you on the nose!
  • Circle Eight (The Fraudulent) - This is the last plane I shall ever need, dear.
  • Circle Nine (Traitors) - Norm was good last night, wasn't he...?