Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Knack

I can't help but fear this'll be something of an anti-climax. However...

As you can see, it wasn't exactly a complex moulding, which is probably just as well. But on the debit side, it wasn't exactly a lovely example to work from either... Anyway, being somewhat out of practice in thinking about photographs and such, you're lucky you even got one at this early stage.

As you can see, I used a combination of plough and rebate planes to rough away the bulk - and then got carried away starting to do a bit more shaping before I remembered to take a pic. The extra V-shaped groovelets were courtesy of a rebate plane that wasn't quite as shipshape as I'd hoped, so I switched to the 19mm Purpleheart shoulder plane that Phil Edwards gave me back in 2006 and that was much better. Yes, yes, I dare say for the benefit of posterity I should be keeping the thing in a sealed environment as an early "Philly Plane" but it's too nice not to use. And quite honestly its lower profile suits my size of hand better than a traditional wooden rebate.

As you may observe, the opportunity to justify a wide range of planes was enthusiastically embraced. I may be out of practice in many respects, but some things just come naturally.  I did briefly toy with breaking out the Veritas Skew Rebates, but dealing with unfamiliar tools as well as an unfamiliar task was one ask too many, so they still await their debut. And a review, I know. Mea culpa...

It turned out the smaller round was superfluous, but the non-pair pair of No.6s were ideal. I say non-pair 'cos while one is clearly stamped with a Greenslade mark, the other is silent. I have a feeling they both might have come from the same place, but then again...

Well I'd love to report drama, but the careful selection of the board to provide almost perfect straight grain had the desired effect, and it was painless in the extreme. Some minimal cleaning up with abrasives, and I was able to hand it over to the Old Man with some relief. He's now in the throes of butchering it to his requirements, so I'm just not going to look.

So the workshop floor is once more bedecked with curly shavings (various) and for a brief moment the bench top is once again visible. Has it re-infected me? Not sure. Maybe, but I'd sooner not jinx it... It has revealed a few useful things though; not all of them new, it has to be said: 

a) Having a wide range of tools from which to choose does pay off. So there.
b) Having a wide range of tools from which to choose would be even better if they were all ready to use - as if I didn't know that.
c) I'd be lost without a tail vice and every penny spent on the workbench was worth it. This job would have been hell if the board wasn't held firm and rock steady.
d) Things go more quickly and smoothly when you really know your tools, which arguably partially negates point "a". Shhhh, if you don't tell I won't...
e) Things go more slowly when you have to stop and remember where you keep such commonly used tools as rules and squares because 
i) It's been so long since you did any woodworking you've forgotten where you keep them, and 
ii) You still haven't sorted out a systematic and unified tool storage system yet.

And last but certainly not least, and I thank the gods for it:

f) I haven't totally lost the knack.

If anyone wants me, I'll be the one doing the dance of relieved jubilation about that last one.


  1. Welcome Back!
    You have been missed.

  2. Excellent stuff Alf.

    Some of those knots look so weepy I'd be inclined to drill them out and plug the holes. More tool using opportunities?


  3. That turned out nicely, Alf. Woodwork's a bit like riding a bike, init - you never forget how to do it :-)

    Cheers ;-)

    Paul Chapman

  4. Ah, now let's hope the sawdust will fill your sails again - great news!

  5. She shoots! She scores!!!


  6. Yes!!!!

    And "a" is true, very true...

  7. Great to see ya back in the shop, hope this is a harbinger of more to come.


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