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.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Woodworking - Feel the Burn!

Any woodworker who has been pursuing their craft for a long time can reach a point when things seem repetitive or boring.  This feeling is, of course, not restricted to woodworking - but it is in this context that I write.
I have seen passionate woodworkers lose their muse from time to time, and drift off into a kind of woodworking limbo where both inspiration and motivation begin to flag.
This kind of malaise is seldom found among members of groups who share their interests with each other. 

As a member of the Hastings Woodworkers Guild,  I see - every day - the benefits of belonging to a  community of like minded souls.   Techniques are shared, efforts are encouraged, successes are acknowledged, ways to improve are suggested.
Moreover there is available in the collective wisdom of the group, answers to problems and different ways of approaching thorny assignments.

Members with expertise often give of their time to demonstrate and teach technique.

Here, John demonstrates how easy it is to cut and re-join bandsaw blades.
These blades are cast offs from the local butcher shop.  They are discarded when they no longer are able to cut bone.  Interestingly, they are still sharp enough to easily slice through timber, and we get more than 6 months out of a re-sized throw-away blade before it needs replacing.
The re-sizing is necessary to reduce the blade in length to fit our standard 14 inch bandsaws.

Groups like ours often hold "Show and Tell" times where members' work can be displayed.

Most importantly, members are acknowledged, their work valued, and their presence appreciated.

And then, of course, there are the conundrums........................

................. the impossible dovetail ..........................
 and ..........
 ................... the impossible housing joint ................

On top of this, the icing on the cake is the sense of community and belonging that members feel, as well as friendships that grow through contact and shared experiences.

If you ever find your woodworking spirits starting to sag, and your inspiration beginning to shrink - maybe a group like this one, can turn things around.

Happy trails pardners.................

Monday, June 3, 2013

Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder

I have been away for the last month or so, and in traveling the outback, there isn't much in the way of internet coverage.
It was a wonderful trip in the company of my sister, her friend Judy and the LOML.

Woodworking has had to take a back seat for the immediate past, but I am thrilled to be back.

The trip home again from Brisbane mandated another visit to Bangalow, and Heath's Old Wares.

Yes - I know - I'm weak.
I dug around the saws bin again for another bargain, and came up with two saws that were exceptional.

One was a little 10 point Disston panel saw in rusting condition, but otherwise excellent.  The handle was superb.  Sadly, when I tried to buy it, I was given the third degree on where did I find it ............
Turns out it was Heath's own saw, that his wife had mistakenly "put away" in the sales bin. Ho-hum.
No sale there - lucky for Heath and unlucky for me....................

Sandvik Hand Saws - Woodworking's Best Kept Secret
.................the other saw is a lovely little Sandvik.

While woodworkers all value Disston, Atkins, Simmonds, Tyzack, Spear & Jackson and other well known hand saw marques, few acknowledge the excellence of the Sandvik offerings.

This one is a 23 inch 8PPI panel saw, cross cut of course.
Sandviks also come with a blue handle, and they are often dismissed as not as good as other handsaws because they are judged on their handles alone.  For this reason, they are almost always cheap - really cheap for what they are.

I am not a fan of plastic handles as they can become slippery when sweated upon, in the course of cutting, and they don't accommodate my three fingered grip very well - but this one is at least tolerable in its ergonomics.
What Sandviks miss out on in the handle department, is more than made up for everywhere else.

It's Sandvik's blades that make them special.  The steel is exceptional, and they cut like a hot knife through butter.
This one is breasted - the slight convex curve that runs the length of the cutting edge.  The rust is only on the surface, with no pitting to contend with.
This saw will clean up beautifully, and make a great general-purpose cross cut saw for small projects.  It will also be a suitable stable mate to its bigger brother - used in the last post (see below).

Sandvik Saws were made in Sweden and the blades are taper ground.  They are renowned for their edge keeping qualities among those who know of their worth.

Prior to rust removal here is a comparison of sizes with my current X-cut saw:

First step - remove the handle:

One obvious sign of the quality of these saws is the use of heavy duty brass handle screws.  It is easy to dismiss these saws on first appearance because of their plastic handle.  It's only when we look a little deeper that the quality appears.

Easy to see here what the original saw blade looked like, and the accuracy of the mating holes in the saw plate.

When I rust-clean, I use a wire brush on my old Makita grinder.  It doesn't hurt the sawplate - the steel is much too hard for that.  I do it outside, as there is a fair bit of rust-dust generated, and it is a dirty job.

Once the steel has had its rust and grime removed, it's time to wipe off the black detritus generated by the cleaning process.  I oil the blade at the same time with camelia tea oil.  The old rag shows how dirty the remaining residue can be.

Next step will be off to the saw doc to have the teeth sharpened and set.
The teeth need setting only at the point and not from the base - there is an etch from a Sandvik saw here that explains it.
The steel in these old Sandviks is harder than the Disstons that I am used to, and the teeth are prone to snapping unless the blade is warmed first before setting. I'll leave that step to Dr. John.

Here are the two saws together. Nice couple aren't they.
Can't wait to use them again.
So if you ever see one of these in the wild, and you don't mind using a saw with one of these handles, you will be rewarded with the joy of a premium tool for  the price of McValue meal.
They really are that good.

For now - it's just so good to be back........ 
Adios Amigos................