Life in the Village and beyond, based around the interests of my life.

Life in the Village and beyond, based around the interests of my life. Sunset at Telegraph Point.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

An Elegant Jelly Cabinet - Construction Part 3 - Making the Back Panel

The back panel is going to be not-quite frame and panel construction.  It won't be quite a frame - only a pair of stiles.  These will be rebated to house the panel, which will be loose, and will slide in from the top.
In this way, the panel will be free to move with the seasons as the timber shrinks and expands.
The stiles need to be ready for when I make the carcass, as they will be attached to the sides.

I am going to use handplanes once again - a little Record 043 grooving plane, and my Stanley 289 skew rebate plane.

The little grooving plane will define the rebate.

Before that, I need to add an auxiliary fence so that it will register on the side of the timber - well along from the end.

This will assist in keeping the plane straight for the cut.

Here is the modified groover - ready for action:

I want the rebate to be 1/4 inch deep and 3/4 inch wide.

Cutting the groove first, establishes the boundaries of the cut for fashioning the rebate.  Once this is done, the remainder can be removed as waste.

I always start at the far end and work my way back to the near end - seems to work best with plough planes and little grooving planes.  These tight curlies are typical of this narrow cut - around 1/8 inch.

 Here is the finished groove - crisp and clean.  You can see why these planes are sought after for groove cutting for drawers,  and many other tasks in box making as well.

Once the rebate has been defined, the waste can be removed.  My trusty Stanley 289 fillister is a perfect choice for this, but any rebate (rabbet) plane will serve. Stanley 78's are the most commonly used in this situation.  The existing groove gives a constant check for the correct depth.

Here is the finished rebate.  Two stiles like this one will house the back panel, whose edges will be chamfered to fit the rebate.  These rebates won't be seen, but if they were I would give them a final smoothing with a shoulder plane with a nice tight mouth.
I'll cut this back panel after the carcass is assembled, to ensure a good fit.

More to come later.

Happy woodworking to all .........

Sunday, February 26, 2012

An Elegant Jelly Cabinet - Construction Part 2 - Making Mouldings

Artisans Expo on Friday, Camden Haven Show yesterday, Sunday chores and family time .......
So where am I up to?
Components need to be cut and sized - and if not square, made so.

Several parts - the sides, top, bottom and back panel are all wider than the stock that I have available, so some edge jointing and gluing are called for.  I'll use biscuits again, as they are convenient, strong and quick.

While the glued up panels are drying, I'll get the remainder cut out, and make a start on the mouldings for the crown and the base.  I am going to make my own mouldings from the offcuts of the New Guinea Rosewood.  Should be fun.

Here is the moulding plane that I have chosen for cutting this particular moulding.

It was made of beech by J Creagh in Cincinati, Ohio - probably in the late 1800's or perhaps the early 1900's.

It is boxed and sprung.
It has an inlaid boxwood wear strip down the left - as seen here - hence boxed.

As a sprung plane, it has two spring lines scribed on the front. These indicate that the plane has to be tilted to its left as it is used, to give the correct orientation to the cutter as it is presented to the timber.

The squared section on the right side of the sole as seen in this picture, is the fence that abuts the edge of the timber.  Keep all these things in mind when using moulding planes like this.

Look closely at this front shot of the plane and you will see the faint spring lines - parallel to the red arrows that I have drawn to show the orientation of the springing.
The fence abutting the edge of the timber can also be clearly seen on the right.  I have just started this, and already a groove is beginning to appear.

The plane will stop cutting when the built in depth stop reaches the level of the surface.  As can be seen here, there is a long way to go yet.

 As I cut deeper, the boxwood strip starts to contact the surface and the second groove begins to take shape.

It usually starts at the far end of the workpiece, and slowly extends along the full length.

Special care must be taken to even out the cutting depth as soon as the groove is the full length.  If left too long, there will be too much to remove at the start end of the board, and it will be awkward to adjust afterwards.

Best results in cutting mouldings like this are in straight grained timber.  There are a couple of curly bits in the timber I am using, and these will require remediation later.

Mouldings like this can be cut with a router, but will require a router table and multiple passes of the machine.

This creates mountains of dust and chips, and if not done carefully, runs the risk of burning the timber from the speed of the router bit.

With a moulding plane, there are mounds of shavings, but no dust.

They save on power and give a workout at the same time - win, win!

The finished mouldings fit the profile of the plane perfectly.  I'll trim them to width later when I decide what looks best on the finished cupboard.

I have been trying to discover the correct term for this profile.

Two possibilities are a quirked cyma reversa  and a grecian ogee with fillet.
Perhaps even a quirked grecian ogee.

If you know, please leave a comment.

Did someone mention shavings!

OK, the pieces are coming together.

Won't be long before there will be some serious joinery.

I have noticed that my reference lines are becoming faint, so I will re-mark those before going any further.

I am going to start with the sides, top and bottom, and then build the back panel to suit the size of the carcass.

The front will have a face frame to house the door, which will be of frame and panel construction.

I'll make the door last so that it will be a snug fit.
Not sure how far I'll get this week, as there are a few other items needing attention around the place.
We'll see ...........

Happy woodworking to all ...........

Friday, February 24, 2012

Interlude - Artisans' Expo at Mondrook

It is always a pleasure to attend workshops and demonstrations no matter where they are held.  This weekend there is a superb Expo being held at the Artisans' Retreat - Tinonee Road Mondrook - near Taree, and I was lucky enough to attend the opening day today.

Peter Calabria, the owner of Artisans' Retreat, was on hand to show off his new Cougar Lathe, and to demonstrate his ultra thin walled technique in bowl turning.  He will be workshopping over the next two days. He was kind enough to include all of the following artisans in the expo.

Alan Williams is one of Australia's finest makers of beautifully sculptured bandsawn boxes.
Apart from seeing his expertise on the bandsaw, we had the opportunity to talk hand tools - in particular the old hand tool makers.

His planes repertoire consisted of a Stanley number 5 jack plane, but fettled for smoothing, and a venerable Stanley 65 low angle plane.  Both of these were set with a Japanese laminated blade and a tight mouth for fine results.

We both agreed on the quality of the old Ward and Payne laminated blades from Sheffield England.

Speaking of quality hand tools, Colin Clenton was there with his superb selection of measuring and marking hand tools.

He also carried with him a wide selection of hand planes from Terry Gordon.  These need no introduction and are highly regarded world wide.

Not bad for a couple of local boys!

One little snippet that I got from Colin was this piece of tool making history trivia that made me laugh.  One of the well known brands of quality marking gauges had a brilliant reputation for tolerances and quality control, but left the labelling of their product until the end of the assembly process.

Having produced a splendid product, they then stamped their logo on the blade - this distorted all of the built in tight tolerances by around eight thousands of an inch - negating much of the work already done.  Doh!

Howard Archbold is a traditional bodger, making magnificent chairs from black locust - a timber that he works green.  The pieces here were only cut from the living tree the day before.  They have straight, even grain and are impervious to termite.
His bentback and windsor chairs are a work of art.

All of his work is done with hand tools - drawknives, a pole lathe, scorps and compass plane, as well as a bow saw - and the world's largest mallet - are part of his tool kit.
Fantastic to watch him in action.

Doug Moseley, used to be the blacksmith at Timbertown in Wauchope many moons ago.

He is an artist with iron and steel, and is now one of the few itinerant blacksmiths in the whole of Australia.

You will note the portable forge on the right background of this picture.

He makes the working of this most utilitarian of metals look so easy.

Furthermore, all of his work is bespoke - no mass production here - every piece a work of the blacksmith's art.

Doug not only crafts iron, but he also offers classes to any aspiring blacksmiths who want to get started in the dark arts of  metal magic.

Here, the love of my life has found a couple of items that really interested her.

Whatever has she got in mind!

Madame Lash indeed!

Peter Minson is a third generation glass blower who combines science with art in his creativity and his designs.

We were drawn to his demos like moths to a flame.  He will offer a full day workshop on Monday. Stunning work.

Finally, for me anyway, there was Warren Targett - Luthier.

As woodworkers we are constantly surprised and delighted by the quality of the work produced by our colleagues, and others who work in wood.

Warren's guitars are a sight for any woodie's eyes.

Here is one is for frequent fliers, and it folds up to store in an airline overhead locker.  When the headstock is right next to the bridge, you know that the guitar is going to be different.  This one is finished and is not a work in progress - what the ...............?

The Artisan's Expo was an absolute joy for me today, not just in meeting such wonderful craftsmen, but also in catching up with woodies that I correspond with but seldom meet.
Here is a full listing of the caftsmen and craftswomen presenting:
Alan Williams
Anne Mitchell, Peter Minson
Doug Moseley, Howard Archbold, Warren Targett, Colen Clenton, Adrian Clark
Michael Mogy, Grant Calvin, Donna Carrier, Christine Calabria
Peter Calabria
Daryl Lattimore, Warwick Mitchell, Erna Dykshoorn, Vivienne Scott

It was wonderful to see so many people seizing the day!

Special congratulations to Peter Calabria and Artisans' Retreat for creating and sharing this fantastic event.

Happy woodworking to all ..............

Sunday, February 19, 2012

An Elegant Jelly Cabinet - Construction Part 1 - Layout

Traditionally, this style of cupboard would have been made with pine, as it was designed to be useful, and not necessarily beautiful.  I'd like mine to be a little bit special, so I have chosen to build it from New Guinea Rosewood - with a feature door panel made from Australian Rosewood - sometimes called Australian Rose Mahogany.

I am lucky enough to know where each of these originated.  The New Guinea Rosewood came from the Solomon Islands, and the Australian Rosewood from around Killarney in Queensland.

It is important to lay out the timber so that grain direction can be studied, and any defects noted.

I use sidewalk chalk for my initial layout, as it is easy to see, is easily removed if I change my mind, and it doesn't leave permanent marks or indentations in the timber.

None of these boards is quite wide enough for a panel without gluing an extra strip of timber, so that has to be planned for.   Trying to match the grain in the glued pieces can be an exercise in concentration and frustration.

The Australian Rosewood door panel is the only one that will be able to be done in one piece.

These boards are quite long - between 2.4 and 3 metres, so will need to be cut down to a manageable length before jointing.  Ideally, the longer the better in jointing the edges, but I will be too cramped for space if I leave them as is.  So a little surgery is called for.

A panel saw is the usual tool for this procedure.  Mine is a Disston number 7 with 6-1/2 TPI filed cross cut.  It is an oldie - still has its front nib on the upside of the toe.  Cuts like a dream.

Once the boards have been roughly dimensioned, it is time to create the reference edge and face.  These boards have already been surfaced but the edges are a bit how-ya-goin'.
I usually joint any concave edges first, and use these as the reference edge on each board for dimensioning.  This edge needs labelling - as in the following picture.

 The edge jointing can be done with a jointer plane.  This one is a Union X-8 - thick blade and fixed frog make this ideal for quick wood removal.

When hand jointing, the edge needs to be checked for square.  Once square, the edge becomes the reference edge - and is so marked.

Of course, hand planing all those edges can be time consuming.  If you have access to a powered jointer, it will make short work of the task.  The reference edge still needs to be marked.  All work on each board will now take place from these reference edges.

In Part 2, I'll use these reference edges in cutting the parts to length and ensuring that the edges are not only square but parallel.

Can't wait.

Happy woodworking to all............

Monday, February 13, 2012

An Elegant Jelly Cabinet

What the .........?????

Who stores jellies in specially made cabinets these days?  Maybe the Amish, the Mennonites or any would-be-Shakers, but - apart from them ...... well?

Fortunately this cabinet won't be storing jellies, (we call them jams in Australia), but will be utilitarian enough to be turned to many purposes.

I have been looking at numerous styles of antiques for the kind of cabinet that I want to build.  Unfortunately, none of them hits the mark, but between them - all the pieces of the cabinet puzzle are present.

Let me explain.

The cabinet will be narrow in proportion to its height - like this one.  However, it won't be so tall - only around four feet high.

It will have one door - not two.

These doors are solid, and even though they are not made out of plywood, they look as though they could be. Not a pretty look.

This cupboard is useful, but it lacks elegance, and scores poorly aesthetically.

Here is a wall mounted cupboard with only one door.

The proportions are again wrong, but the door is similar to what I want mine to look like.  I won't paint mine.

Frame and panel construction for the door, looks so much nicer than the slabby appearance of the former cupboard shown above.

I don't like the way that this door has been framed by the front of the cupboard.

The top and sides are OK, but the bottom looks unfinished, and the door seems to hang in the air (which, of course this one does - but you know what I mean).

The framing of the door needs a bottom rail.  This will serve two purposes - beauty and practicality - ie it will look good, and add strength to the construction.

Now this is better.

The door is wrong, but it is at least framed, and looks better from that perspective.

The bottom stile is too narrow, and doesn't match the top stile in any way.

 Sitting flat on the floor like this, also makes this cupboard look squat.

The addition of some short legs will make a huge difference to the appearance.  They will also be practical - allowing airflow underneath.

After all the wet weather we have been having, improved airflow will be a big plus.

Here's a good example of the leg height I am after.  Pity about the cabinet.

Some antiques have well and truly lost their beauty along the way.  The years have not been kind to this one.

Now, none of these cabinets have the grace that I am after, and they are all too wide for their height.  I shall have to remedy that in my design.

What each of them does have, is one ingredient that will be utilised in my final cupboard.  I just have to put them all together, and hope that the finished result matches the idea in my mind.
Sounds like fun doesn't it.

Next step will be to find some timber, then .......
..............let the games begin!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

On Any Sunday .........

Across the country, Sundays are market days in villages, towns and regional centres. Our local area has several markets - spread between Saturdays and Sundays, but it is the Sunday markets that I most enjoy.

Country cooking, preserves, fresh fruit and vegetables, plants and seedlings, bric-a-brac, and all importantly - old tools, are the temptations that keep me coming back most weeks.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of any community market, is the community that it represents and serves.  We often run into our friends here, or organise to meet, and have come to know the vendors very well over the years.

There's Will, the banana and avocado man - here every Sunday come rain or shine.  One really wet weekend that washed out everyone else, Will's van was the only stall - surrounded by water - and his regular customers all turned up as usual.

Jack is an amateur woodworker who spends his week constructing, and Sunday selling.  A bit of everything on Jack's stall.

The military men have everything from militaria to old coins and collectors cards.

What would a market be without the purveyors of fine junk.  Treasures are there to be found - you sometimes have to dig for them though.

Then there's my old mate Ross, who started these markets 25 years ago and hasn't missed one yet.  The tools here are well priced, and it is sometimes hard to find a bargain - but not always.  However ..... if you want a particular tool, there is no one more likely to have it.  If he hasn't got one, he'll have one for you next week.
He never writes it down - and he never forgets.

Markets folk are the salt of the earth, with a little bit of pepper - just to make things interesting.  People, whose word is their bond, are more common here than almost anywhere else.  The world is a better place because of them.
Sunday mornings - markets, a coffee with loved ones and friends, a spot of shopping, and if lucky - catch up with family and grandkids............
Does it get any better than this!
 Happy days ..............

Monday, February 6, 2012

A Simple Utility Tray Project Part 3

 Who'd a thought  -  a tray in three parts!
My kids are always commenting on how long it takes me to do things .... now I know what they mean.
OK here we go.

I have decided to prepare the boards for the bottom of the tray so that they snug into each other with a ship-lap joint. This will eliminate gaps in the timber. The  boards could just as easily been edge joined, but I prefer this.

Any rebate plane with a fence will do.  This is a Stanley 289 with a skewed blade.

The side boards need some dressing as well.  To round over the top edge of these two boards, I am using an old wooden beading plane. Easy as pie to use, and gets the job done in super quick time as well.

These old planes can be found around the markets very cheaply - most people prefer to use an electric router these days.  Beaders like these have the advantage of being carbon neutral, and cordless!  Furthermore, there is no noise and no dust.

They work best in softwoods, and this oregon is a piece of cake to work.   The rounded edge is technically a nosing, but the beading plane does the job well enough.

Fixing the bottom in place requires a bit of trial and error fitting, until the boards are just right all the way around.

Once happy with the fitting, they can be trimmed to size and laid out for nailing.

I left the middle two in place, and scribed a line to mark where they touched the bottom of the sides .  Important step this - as you can't see through the timber.

Put the two outside timbers back, and continue the line onto them as well.

The nails are flat headed and these have been bronzed.  Makes them look back-counrty authentic, and in keeping with the style of the tray.

All of the joints are glued as well as nailed.

The ship-lap of the base is clearly visible here.

Make a feature of the row of nails that hold the handle in place at each end.

And - here it is.

One utility tray.

Might be a little large for the kitchen, but would not look out of place collecting vegetables from the garden.

It can also be used in the potting shed, in the workshop as a tool tote - ala Roy Underhill, or even as a toy tray for kids or the family pet.  Great for soft toys or lego blocks.

If you'd like to make one of these, go right ahead.  Add to it, or change it to suit yourself, and have fun doing it.

Happy woodworking to all ....

A Simple Utility Tray Project Part 2

Once the outline of the first of the ends has been defined and cleaned up, the shape can be copied to the other end - and the process repeated to make both matching end pieces.  Don't worry about the tapered sides just yet - we'll get to them later.

The centre handle, that was glued up from two pieces, has dried - and is ready to be shaped and have the handle hole cut.

I use a drill to give me a starting place, and cut again with the coping saw.

Of course it would be much faster with a powered saw.  A jigsaw or a scroll saw would work, as they can be inserted through the holes.

For the curves across the top, all of these saws will work well - perhaps a bandsaw with a narrow blade, best of all.
Since this project is one that youngsters might be making, I'll stick to hand tools.

The handle shape is my own design, worked out with the pair of compasses shown.

You can design it to be as simple or as fancy as you like.

This shape has turned out quite well and pleases me.  I took the trouble to make a template from it on a piece of scrap MDF.  I'll save this, and use the design again for other projects in the future.

The curves all need finishing, and the harsh edges softened.

I like to use a spokeshave, but sandpaper can also be used - along with rasps and files if you have them.

Time to set out the dadoes - which will be cut into the insides of both ends to house the handles.

To be accurate, the thickness of the centre handle piece needs to be measured first.

I find it easiest to mark the centre line of the ends, and measure half the thickness of the handle on either side of this centre line. This keeps things nicely middled.

These are cut to form the dado in the next step.

My trusty Spear & Jackson does the honours, being careful to cut inside the marked lines.

The left side cut has been completed,  and the second cut on the right is nearly there.

This waste has now got to be removed.  I use a chisel, and to prevent tear out at the ends, I chisel from each end towards the middle.

For this step the workpiece needs to be held firmly in place.

A couple of clamps with scraps for padding work well enough.  These stop the clamps from marking the face of the timber.

The bottom of the dado needs smoothing, and this can be done in a few different ways.

Once again I have chosen a chisel - a long handled paring chisel this time.  A hand router, like a Stanley 71, would work even better than this.

The sides of the dado need trimming as well, so that the handle will be a snug fit.

Side rebate planes are made for this job, and excel at it.

Side rebate planes come in a variety of different designs, and are still produced by several plane manufacturers today.

Mine is a right handed plane, that was made by an unknown craftsman years ago.
It has a rosewood body and a steel skate that houses the blade.

It is an absolute joy to use - my only regret is that I don't have the left handed version to go with it.  This is sometimes needed when the grain runs in the other direction.

The angle at which the handle engages the ends, is one of personal choice.

The picture of the antique tray in the first post, shows a much shallower angle than I would like.

I decided this angle by trial and error, until it struck a line that I liked.

I locked in this angle on the skew bevel, so that it could be used on the other end, and to create the slope on the two end pieces as well.

With all these pieces cut, and the dadoes snugging up to the handle, it was time for a trial fitting.

Not much further to go now.  The two side pieces will be cut to match, and then the bottom will be attached.

These will appear in part 3.

Starting to look pretty nice I think.

Happy woodworking to all .......