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Archive for December 2013

  • Rewind

    Monday 23rd December 2013

    Wooden Vice Screw

    Just when I thought my bench build was finished this little delight turned up on my doorstep. I had not wanted to venture into the world of wooden screw making during the build (there are only so many rabbit holes you can disappear down) so a metal screw was the choice I made. The screw shown here is a "second" and "not fit for sale" from The English Woodworker. Now if this thing is a second I can only imagine how awesome the "first quality" examples are. What is really pleasing is that I can now create a look very close to the original Nicholson examples, if you copy and paste this link http://youtu.be/fx5QzadVKaY?t=7m33s into youtube you can see how my bench should look with the wooden screw fitted. I will be sure to share how I get on with this new addition just as soon as it is fitted.

    Wooden Vice Screw Kit

    Some of the few visitors to this blog may have noticed a pause in posting articles. This is due to one main factor and that is improving my video content. The experiments I have done thus far on my mobile phone have taught me a great deal, namely I need to improve. To that end my new video content will take two main forms, a "Quick Tips" & "Project Format". The quick tips will be short vids, limited to no more than 10mins at the very most and the project will be 20min(ish) segment to go with a blog article separated over a period of time. That should make watching easier to digest, avoiding the epic oilstone vid I did!

    Narex 8105

    You might recall I bought a set of the narex 8105 shown above, in short they are really really good but I decided to pause on a review. I thought it best to take photos and notes to do a long term test on these. As I mentioned I will be giving away my set of Faithfull brand chisels and now a metal vice screw too, so stay posted for some free stuff.

  • Oilstones

    Saturday 14th December 2013

    With the next few articles I will be unable to contribute anything that has not be said or written before so forgive me for that. That aside I still want share my take on things. Firstly, all sharpening mediums work, wether it be a natural waterstone or a door step. The trick is finding a medium that works for you. Also don't assume I'm down on other mediums or methods, I have used some of them but I prefer my oilstones.

    Portable Oilstone

    I like the fact the system is portable. I carry a cheap silicone carbide combination stone in my tool box that travels from job to job with a small amount of honing oil, it's always at hand when needed and for the world away from the bench it gets an appropriate edge quickly. The typical oilstones required for most work are also very affordable. My site box oilstone cost around about £10.00, my go to bench stone costs around £35>40.00. Although cheap they are very very durable. There is no risk of low temperatures fracturing the stones as no water is used and they also wear very well indeed. Oilstones will hollow in time, I find once an month is more than adequate to keep it flat and fresh. The fact I'm using a honing oil means my tools don't rust as they are regularly wiped down with an oily rag.

    India Oilstone

    Should you try them? If you already have a system you are happy with, absolutely not (unless you are curious). Sharpening is about the end result and getting back to work quickly, if you have a system that does that stick with it! If you don't have a system then sure, take a look. It's not a big investment if you find you don't like it, it's almost cheaper than the sandpaper you would need for scary sharp. My advice would be purchase an India Combination Stone with a "Fine" and "Coarse" side, a cheap side clamping honing jig,some honing oil (I find baby oil to be great value and ideal for sharpening), and maybe a strop with some metal polish.

    Baby Oil Sharpening

    With this modest set up you will be able to create sharp edges on just about all of your woodworking tools. You might find in time you want to further refine the edges of you tools for some of those special challenges we inevitably face from time to time. The next step would be using natural oilstones such as Arkansas or vintage options (which include Arkansas) such as Charnley Forest or Turkey stones. The most straight forward step up would most likely be to buy hard Arkansas. As it is a natural stone quality varies and if buying in the UK your options are very low when buying new. So much so it will be worth you while paying a $30.00 or so shipping charge direct from the USA, be prepared for a step up in your investment though. But as I have alluded to already, start with an India and see how it goes.

  • Making Oilstone Boxes

    Friday 6th December 2013

    With my Narex chisels here and ready for use I'm eager to find out just how they perform. To find out how good or bad they are they will inevitably need honing. But before all that I wanted to give my favoured sharpening medium a pleasing new home. I saw this type of design within the pages of Vol 1 of "Carpentry & Joinery" from the New Era Publishing Co 1931.

    Baby Oil Honing

    Hopefully my video at the top of the page will help give a good overview on how I went about making the oilstone boxes. Here's a rundown with pictures and notes too. First thing you will need if some offcuts of a nice hardwood. Anything will do really but dense wood would be helpful. I went for sapele which I hope will mellow into a darker and richer colour over time. The stone I am inserting here is the versatile Norton India combination stone.

    Norton India Stone

    To set out the mortice simply center the stone and draw around it in pencil, then reinforce those lines with a marking gauge with the grain and a cutting gauge across the grain.

    Marking Gauge

    If like me you like to chop then grab a general purpose chisel or a mortice chisel and go to work! In the video I cut two long 18mm wide mortices. I level the base of the mortices with a router plane. With that established the waste in the center can then be removed. Whenever possible I like to have my work on the bench and over the bench leg for morticing work. I find this offers the best support.

    Morticing Oilstone Box

    Then apply a template of your chosen shape (mine is a kind of double ogee) and draw the outline. I then saw across the waste that needs to be removed to form the profile.

    Saw Cut

    By cutting the waste into small portions removal is made easier. Initial waste removal is done rough and ready with a chisel. Once the bulk is removed a more gentle approach is needed, making sure you avoid lifting the grain. Working across the wood or downhill will avoid lifting chucks of grain out. I used an inside ground gouge to refine the hollow section. Please do use whatever tool you have at hand to create this shape, cabinet rasps, moulding planes, files, block planes will all offer something that gets the job done. Once the shape is good it's scraping and sandpaper.

    Oilstone Box

    Check your stone for a snug fit. I it's a combination stone make sure it's a snug fit but still easy to remove. Then you're making the roof! Cut your mortice first using the same method used on the base. Take a bit longer refining the base of this chop out, mine are not perfect but clean and tidy enough not to bug me when I lift off the lid. Then mark out the roof which in carpentry terms is a hipped roof. Mark a center line length ways and then square it across. Check out the video for how to remove the waste, use a saw across the grain first, then work along the length of the lid removing the bulk with a jack plane, finishing up with a smoother. To finish I rubbed on some honing oil which gave the timber some warmth.

    Hardwood Oilstone Box