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.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Happy Anniversary Day

We call it Australia Day now - but according to Wiki...............

In 1888, all colonial capitals except Adelaide celebrated 'Anniversary Day'. In 1910, South Australia adopted Australia Day,[10] followed by Victoria in 1931.[13] By 1935, all states of Australia were celebrating 26 January as Australia Day (although it was still known as Anniversary Day in New South Wales).[10]

Whatever we call it - it is our 4th of July, our Bastille Day, our national day to celebrate our one-ness as the nation of Australia.  So happy Australia Day to all!

Twelve months ago, I highlighted the debt that we owe to past Australian tool manufacturers and the heritage that they have left us. See Oz Day 2012 

I thought that this year I would focus on one of our current woodworking tool manufacturers, and look a little more closely at his contribution to our craft.

HNT Gordon - Planemaker

Terry Gordon has been making planes in his Alstonville NSW workshop since the early 1990's and commenced trading in 1995.

He has always set for himself the highest of standards, and outlines these in his business principles:

Any plane we  make will be able to plane or scrape any wood without tearout 
We will only use high quality materials with a simple appropriate design to offer customers affordable quality in tools that will make your woodwork better. 
We have done considerable development work to learn how to harvest, dry and stabilise Australian hardwoods (in particular gidgee) to give give us a superior quality wood for plane making that has ever been used before.  In conjunction with this we have learnt how to combine this wood with brass using modern glues to enhance the function and life of some wooden planes.   As a consequence of this work we offer an unconditional guarantee on workmanship and materials without hesitation.
I have been using Terry's planes for many years, and have a fondness for them when using Australian hardwoods especially.
They are well suited to controlling tearout in these timbers, and leave an excellent finish.

Here is an HNT Gordon Trying plane - which is superb on a shooting board and excellent for board jointing.  I prefer it on shorter boards, but on very long boards I still reach for my Stanley Number 8.

Terry makes a range of Block, Jack and Smoothing Planes.  I have found that his work is so exact, that these planes all present with very fine mouths and take the finest of shavings.  To me, this makes them different varieties of smoothing planes, but of differing lengths.

Here is The HNT Gordon A55 Smoothing plane, and traditional Smoothing Plane.  Both are excellent - with wonderful blades and tight mouths to produce the whispiest of gossamer shavings.

This is Terry's Aussie Jack Plane, and it too is beautifully built.  It, too, takes the whispiest of fine shavings, and leaves a smooth finish.  It is, in my eyes, another smoother.  I use jack planes for thick shavings from an open mouth - so that the timber is removed quickly.  My Australian-made Carter number 5 is a great example of this, and far more useful as a Jack plane to me.

It is Terry's Shoulder Planes that really shine.  Here, the precise construction and fine engineering again give consummate control in relieving the shoulders of tenons and truing their faces.

From left to right - 1/2 inch, 3/4 inch, 1 inch and 1-1/4 inches wide shoulder planes.  These are different examples of the same timber - Macassar Ebony.  Below, a side view.

The range of handplanes made by HNT Gordon is extensive, and these have been but a sampling.  All are works of the toolmaker's art and are a pleasure to use.  Here is a broader  illustration of part of the range available from the planemaker's own website:

And in Snakewood:

HNT Gordon also manufacture a variety of specialty planes suited to the cabinetmaker and to the master craftsman.

HNT Gordon Dado planes are a work of art, and contain an adjustable nicker that is as beautiful as it is effective

Add to these, hollows and rounds, snipe bill planes and side rebate planes, and the field is well covered.  Terry is also producing both male and female dovetail planes - coming soon.

The images above courtesy of HNT Gordon

So Happy Australia Day Terry, and on behalf of the woodworking community, thank you for what you have contributed to the world of woodworking, and to Australian woodworking in particular, where you are best known.

For the rest of us there is the singular pleasure of using HNT Gordon planes and other hand tools that enhance our chosen craft.

Happy Australia Day to all................

Sunday, January 20, 2013

20,000 Visitors - Who'd-A-Thunk

When I started The Village Woodworker Blog, I had in mind the goal of presenting in a quiet way, the activities of a very small beer woodworker, who happened to have a yen for old tools and their application.

I have been humbled by the fact that so many of you have found the experience of visiting - to be a positive one.  Thanks for your continued support.

As you can see from The Village Woodworker Blog, I sell nothing and I do not list any advertising.

The Blog is an honest presentation of what happens in my life, in The Village of Telegraph Point and its environs, and this - more often than not - involves woodwork.

If, during your visits here, you have learned a little, or taught me a little, then - all to the good.

I hope that the future holds learning experiences for all of us, and that we are prepared to share them for the good of all.

Mucho Gratias my friends.                                                             Sunrise on a tallowood at Telegraph Point.

Clyde and Dale

Monday, January 14, 2013

Festive Season and Bar Stools - How To Repair a Broken Chair Back

Yes, I know what you are thinking, but no - it wasn't the result of intemperance.  Rather it was the accidental leaning-on-the-kitchen-bench and leaning backwards with the feet by one of the grandkids, that sent the stool crashing to the floor - with tragic consequences for the stool.

The spindles - sometimes known as bannisters - all snapped clean off, level with the seat.
And so ...... off to the workshop, and back to the woodwork.

The obvious solution was to find some matching timber and turn up some new spindles.  The original was made from a light coloured pine-like timber that had been given a golden stain.  I'm sure that I can find something to match from the wood cave.

Remaking The Back Of A Chair
First step is to round off the billet down to just a tad thicker than the widest part of the original.

Set the bead width near the middle and create the bead.

Taper from the bead back towards each end, and we are nearly there. Don't turn to final thickness yet in case the hole drilling goes astray and the holes are oversize.

The holes for the spindles are full of broken spindle ends and need cleaning out.

This tool is as ancient as it is useful.  No workshop should be without a hand brace and a set of augers.  No-one wants them anymore, so they are as cheap as chips at Sunday markets and garage/car boot (car trunk for our US cousins) sales.

They come in a variety of widths of the crank - the throw - the double of which is called the sweep.  This one has a small throw of around 3-1/2 to 4 inches.  So the crank, when wound, describes a circle of 7-8 inches - the sweep.  For tougher jobs there are braces with 10, 12 and even 14 inch sweeps.

These days we all use power drills, but there are times when a slow and precise re-drilling is needed

Re-drill the spindle holes in the seat.
I have chosen an auger bit that is slightly under the size of the original holes.  This leaves a small collar of residual timber that can be easily removed with a gouge.  Why not simply drill out all the waste in one hit - well, the auger bit may wander and the hole end up off centre.

The best gouge to use here is an incannel gouge, where the bevel is on the inside of the gouge and the curved back is straight all the way to the cutting edge.  This allows some precision in the gouge's use.
These two lovely gouges were made in Tasmania by Titan - one of Australia's best known and respected chisel makers from post World War 2.
Above, on the left - Titan incannel gouge, and on the right - Titan outcannel gouge.

Once all the holes in the seat have been cleaned out, it is time to tidy up the cresting rail.

All of the old dried glue has to be removed before the new spindles can be fitted.

The spindles are turned - down to the diameter of the originals - and then cut to length for fitting.

Here they are complete, except for final thicknessing and cutting to length.
The cleaned holes have exhibited some variations in diameter, so the spindles will be custom thicknessed to each hole.

The broken spindles are used as a length guide before final thicknessing and parting off.

I don't part off completely, but finish the job with a small saw.  This is a flush cut saw made by Veritas, but there are others.  It is useful because there is no set of the teeth on the left face of the saw blade, so it doesn't bind when cutting.

Fit the spindles and glue.
A coat of stain and a couple of coats of polyurethane, and we are done.