Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Jointers finished

After a few diversions the latest batch of jointers is finished. This one is for left handed use and is on its way to California. The fence is shaped and fitted to the right hand side of the plane.
As the Indian Rosewood was so dark I decided to make the knob and cross pin from Concalo Alves to give a nice contrast. The wedge is oak which has good spring for firmly gripping the blade.

The rosewood came up very nicely with 4 coats of Melamine Lacquer, an oil finish would have lost the definition of the grain.

Here is one in Bubinga, the heaviest plane in this batch. It's pictured with the fence attached ready for work.

Bubinga has a strong tendency to blotch with an oil finish, this is avoided if the wood is sealed with shellac or lacquer as I've done here.

The last wood I used was Concalo Alves and this turned out nicely as well. This responds very well to an oil finish and came up with a nice soft sheen.
It has a streak of brown so typical with this wood.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Weekend in London

This weekend we went to London to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We walked through Sloane Square and came across the showroom of David Linley. The furniture on display was very nice but all veneered, not my cup of tea. The humidor top left was £16,500, that's a good enough reason to give up smoking!!

A few doors along there was a posh antique shop with a pair of these massur birch cabinets.

In the next window of the same shop was a Nakashima armchair. The shop was closed so I couldn't go in and have a closer look, shame.

On the road to Buckingham Palace we saw the guards on parade, it was a lovely day.

Outside Buckingham Palace, the flag shows the Queen was in residence, but we didn't see her!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Website Upgrade

My website has been updated to include my popular mini smoothing planes as well as jack plane which is a really good all-round size.
I've updated my courses at West Dean college with one coming up in November and another in May.
My new DVD has also been added and the the shows I'll be doing have been revised..
Please visit  http://www.davidbarronfurniture.co.uk/david_barron_tools.htm
Mini Smoother
I should update my website more often but it's costly, that's the beauty of having a blog, it's free!!
Jack Plane

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Spiers plane

I combined my visit to Cheltenham with picking up this plane I had bought on E Bay. It is made by Spiers and is from their later period probably in the 1920's which was at a time they were producing cheaper planes to try and compete with Stanley. This one however is still dovetailed in construction with the only concession to cost cutting being the Mahogany handles in lieu of rosewood. It is 15 1/2" long with a 2 1/2" wide blade.

It is in fine condition and looks as if it has had very little use.

The original blade was a good length and is correctly stamped as is the chip breaker. There are also matching numbers on all parts.

This is the stamp on the lever cap, which is of the later design.

the front bun is stamped Spiers Ayr 25 and the metal toe is also stamped 'dovetailed'

The handle is a fine elegant shape and is unusually undamaged.

The mouth opening is incredibly fine, this plane will work very well!

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Celebration of Craftsmanship exhibition

I paid a visit to the Celebration of Craftsmanship exhibition in Cheltenham today. This annual show is recognised as the premier furniture show in the UK. Photography is not allowed but with a bit of persuasion  Jason Heap the organiser let me take these pictures on my mobile. The show was bigger than ever this year and there was some very fine furniture. My photos really do not do it justice.

This was one of my favourite pieces by Adrian McCurdy, it was a small piece and had a certain rightness.
It was hand hewn and still bore the tool marks of the adze.

This sideboard came from the Barnsley Workshops and was a magnificent piece. The oak and brown oak were feathered in layers so that when the shaping was done it produced this unusual striped effect. The drawers fitted absolutely perfectly with no wobble detectable at all. Some of the other makers on show had drawers which fell a long way short of this perfection, which was a shame. The compound curves fitted perfectly and must have been a real challenge. This piece was on sale for £78,000 and had already sold!
I entered five pieces in last years show, unfortunately  I ran out of time  to make any for this year, I'm  spending too much time making tools! This was one of the pieces I entered last year which was made from wood bought from the workshop of the late Alan Peters. It is one of the nicest pieces I have made.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Smoothers and Jointers continued

Here's my set up for routing the slot for the chip breaker screw, I nearly forgot to do this before gluing up, not a good idea!!
This is not necessary on the high angle smoother as has a single 1/4" thick blade with no chip breaker.

Here are the jointers after initial shaping on the band saw, this only takes about 3 minutes for each plane but transforms them.

The next shaping stage is on the bobbin sander which refines the shape and removes all the band saw marks.

The ridges left by the bobbin sander are then smoothed over with a random orbit sander.

The final stage is with the Kirjes pneumatic sander working through 120, 150 and 220 grits. This leaves a silky smooth surface with no bumps and I can highly recommend this machine to anyone who does curved work.

I cleaned  off the glue squeeze out from the inside of the mouths with a sharp chisel. I made this little tray for my Blue Spruce chisels and I've found it extremely useful, it can be lifted on and off the bench and keeps things tidy and to hand.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Jointers and Smoothers

Here is the Lignum sole being glued on the base of one of the jointers, I have found many clamps gives a better joint than using a caul. I apply Polyeurathane glue to one side and water to the other. I use demineralised water for all workshop tasks to avoid possible contamination, it is a by product from my dehumidifier.

Here is the marking out for the high angled smoothers, a template with the position of the cross pin, the bed angles and the mouth is helpful. I drill all the locating dowel holes as well as the cross pin hole before removing the sides.

This is my set up for cutting the sides, a home made Mag Switch fence which is dead square and a Mag Switch feather board to prevent any wobbles. The blade is a 3tpi Lennox Trimaster carbide with a 1" width and I proceed at about 1' in 30 seconds. This may seem slow but the trade off is a surface which compares to coming off a planer.

The resulting surface ready to glue up, this saves a lot of time and prevents an unsightly glue line.

Here are some of the smoothers with a trim up freehand on the band saw. It takes just 3 minutes (in skilled hands!) to transform the glued up block into a shaped plane that's surprisingly comfortable. Krenov would have touched these up with a file and left them like that.

Here are the five jointers ready for finishing inside and glue up, not forgetting to insert the cross pin!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Jointers and Smoothers

This order for a jointer, high angled smoother and dovetail guide was posted to Kansas last week. I've had a run on these two planes recently and with shows at Yandles 8-9th September and European Woodworking 21-22nd September I need to top up my stocks.
The smoother below in Indian rosewood had some nice grain.

Saturday was not a good day for me. In the morning I was cleaning off some excess epoxy from the marking knives with a scalpel and you can guess what came next! I'm not going to show you a picture but the gash to the inside of my left index finger required attention.
We had the neighbours round in the evening and I ate something which disagreed with me, sickness and diarrhoea followed in the night and I spent all day Sunday in bed recovering.

Fully recovered I made a start on the planes. Here are the all the blanks for the two planes, the smoothers have had the Lignum bases glued on and trimmed up.

Friday, 10 August 2012

Dovetail Marking Knives

I'm making another batch of dovetail marking knives. Snakewood is by far the best seller despite the higher cost, it is a rare wood and very expensive. I visited Bob at Timberline in Kent to get some more for stock but he said it was unavailable at the moment at any price.

I like to get the blanks turned and leave them to settle for a few months, if I used them straight away there's a risk of the wood shrinking and the ferrule coming loose. I like to keep 100 or so in a box settling down.

The slot for the blade is cut by hand and needs to be in the middle and dead straight, although I make good use of my magnetic dovetail guide I can still saw straight by hand when required!
The dovetail saw was made by 'Hill Late Howell' and the word 'late' was often used during a transition period of a business, from a maker stepping into another's shoes. This helps with dating antique tools and this   saw dates from about 1860. After sharpening the steel cuts very well, but more importantly it has a 0.6mm kerf which fits the blade exactly.
Note the position of the index finger on the handle, this prevents any bias being introduced to the cut by pointing the finger down the blade and was the purpose of this recess. It is interesting to see some modern makers copying the recess but making it too small to be used in this way.

Blades are glued in with epoxy resin and here you see another good used for my Moxon vice to allow the glue to dry. I apply the epoxy liberally so that all gaps are filled having first waxed the handle and the brass ferule to act as a resist. A larger overflow of epoxy is easier to remove than a little so I don't hold back!

Here are some of the finished Snakewood knives showing some great figuring. The recess adds quite a bit of time to the finishing process as the handles can't be finished on the lathe but I won't compromise as the recess is a very important part of using the knife keeping the blade at exactly 90 degrees.

Here it is in African Blackwood, my preferred timber as it has great density and a nice weighty feel in the hand.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

American Mitre plane

 This is one of my other purchases from the David Stanley auction, the catalogue described it as an old mitre plane with an illegible name stamp. I felt sure I could could uncover the name so I took a chance and bid.

The name stamp came up well but it wasn't one I recognised, A J Wilkinson Boston. A trawl through Goodmans British Planemakers yielded nothing so I guessed this was Boston Mass and not Boston Lincs. A quick search on Google confirmed this and I found him to be a tool maker and dealer dating from 1842 until  the 1990's. This plane is definitely from the earlier period with the extended toe and dovetailed construction. This is bourne out by the lack of '&Co' on the name stamp, which appeared on later tools.

The wedge has seen some action but is original, not sure of the wood perhaps oak or elm?

The iron fits tightly with both the wedge and the mouth so is probably original, the square end to the slot is also an early feature. It is stamped Ward and Payne, a famous Sheffield blade maker operating from 1860 to about 1900, so these dates fit. The blade is an odd size at 1 7/8" wide.

The overall styling is quite plain but the front has a nice curve to it. If anyone can shed any more light on this plane I would love to hear from them.