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Shopmade Cutting Gauge

July 10, 2017 Leave a comment

The current issue of Fine Woodworking Magazine featured the article “Shopmade Cutting Gauge” by Bob Van Dyke. I decided to try my hand at building one.

For the fence, I had my choice of black limba or mahogany, both left over cutoffs from previous electric guitar builds.  After cutting the block to the appropriate length and width I jointed the faces. Thickness was around 1 3/4″ so I made no adjustments even though suggested thickness was 1 5/8″.  Two holes were drilled, the first was on the face to house the beam and a second smaller hole from the side for accept a threaded insert. The insert accepts a thumbscrew used for locking the beam.

Shopmade cutting gauge fence prep.

Next two 1/2″ strips of brass plate were inlayed on the face. The brass strips were cut from a sheet. First the sheet was scored with an Exacto knife then cut with a Jig Saw and metal-cutting blade. The edges were trued using sand paper on a flat surface. Using flat bar stock would have been simpler but I used what I had on hand. Individually placing each bar on the face, I scored the wood before taking the fence to router table. Using a 12″ straight bit, I cut the recess for each bar. The bars were slightly wider than the 1/2″ bit so I used a chisel to pare to the line and fit each piece.  The bars were then glued in place using 5 minute epoxy.

Brass inlay was expoied to the fence face.

The strips were initially held in place using binding tape then clamped in a vise to set up. A special caul was made using two thin strips of wood attached to block with double stick tape. I considered using hot glue but the  tape was faster.

Once the epoxy had set I continued work on the face by cutting a mortise to accept the 1/4″ pressure plate. I used a hand screw to steady the piece first drilling a 1/4″ hole, then squaring the edges by chisel.

Cutting the mortise for the pressure plate.

The plan called for a brass bar but once again, I didn’t feel like ordering a special part. Instead I used an ebony scrap, from a finger board. It was already 1/4″ thick so cut it to length and shaped it with chisel and sandpaper.

Fitting the ebony retaining key to the mortise.

I decided the beam would be made from a flame maple scrap but to use it, I was going to have to make a dowel from flat stock and I was going to have to do it without a lathe. This was by far the most time-consuming part of the build. I made a cradle and added sandpaper which helped to round the flat stock. Once it was roughly round, I used a round scraper just the right diameter to continue shaping. The scraper cut well removing a fair amount of wood easily but unfortunately, it was all too easy to make long deep scratches on an adjacent surface. A lathe would have been the proper tool for making a spindle.

The article suggested purchasing and modifying a Hock Tools marking knife for the cutter but I decided to make one from an old Jig Saw blade. I realize this is like comparing apples to oranges but I wanted to give it a try anyway. The jig saw blade cutter will work, I just need to figure out how to sharpen it.

The final task was to make the mortise for the blade and shape a wedge. I used hard maple for the wedge which came from, you guessed it, a hard maple finger board scrap.

Black limba and maple marking gauge.

As with all projects, some parts went together very well and others proved more challenging. I am very happy with the way the fence came together both in form and in function. The maple beam was challenging to shape and didn’t come out perfectly although the fit is good enough to be quite serviceable. Cutting the mortise to accept the blade and wedge didn’t come out the way I wanted and is sloppy. Que será, será, just keep making!

Thank-you for stopping by the shop

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A couple more rehabed hands tools

February 22, 2016 Leave a comment

I am by no means a hand tool restoration expert. Come to think of it, I’m really not an expert at anything but at least I have a reasonably keen mind and like to learn and tinker. Once I finally got around to cleaning up some of these old tools I actually learned a lesson or two. At the most basic level, by taking things apart you can see how they are built. By cleaning them up, tweaking and honing them I actually learned that a tool doesn’t have to cost 10 times as much to function. Sometimes you just have to slow down and quit reading the forums.

Bailey Spokeshave

When I purchased this guy the screw holding the blade was frozen and the shave had a nice black patina. A bit of soaking and scrubbing and tool ended up quite serviceable. I’m not sure how much life is left on the blade but with my limited use I’m sure it will be in the years range.

Bailey Spokeshave 2016-02-09 06.43.23

I can’t quite figure out the exact model of this guy which is not all that surprising considering how many variations of this device have been produced over the ages. The closest I found was a listing on eBay for a shave the seller thought was a Bailey No. 8. which he states would be like the Stanley 58. True enough on the blade and cap but this model has raised handles and from the pictures I saw the Stanley 58 had straight.

Granddaddy’s Chisel

As I mentioned in my last post, Granddad Phillip really used his tools so many showed signs of great wear. This was the only chisel I recovered and it appeared to be in pitiful shape. The handle and blade were covered in blue and white paint. You can’t see it in this picture but the handle is also missing the back half, apparently from being hammered. Once I cleaned it up I found it manufacturer’s mark to read Rockford Greenlee. My first impression was that I was going to have to replace the handle then it occurred to me that I could just sand it down and remove all the rough edges. I put about three coats of boiled linseed oil on it and sharpened it. I now keep it with my Lie-Nielsen chisels set for when I need a 1″ chisel.

Rockford Greenville 1" Bench Chisel

Uncle’s Citrus Knife

I am named after my Great Uncle, Arthur M. Clarke. My father always referred to him simply as “Uncle”. Uncle owned citrus and he agreed to help my Dad attend the University of Florida after the war (WWII) as long as Dad majored in ….. citrus. Ultimately my father became a school teacher and principal retiring after 32 yrs of service but before this he graduated from UF with a degree in horticulture and worked in citrus. It was in the orange groves that I first saw my Dad pull out one of these long bladed pocket knives and expertly remove the peel from an orange in one long sliver. It was typical for these knives to have plastic pearloid scales, sometimes with a logo on the side. The knife I found was made in Germany, rusted with the scales broken and falling off. The plastic material was simply at the end of its life and crumbling. Once again, I have no idea what I’m doing but I did it anyway. My attempt at forming new scales from some scrap sapele.

Citrus Knife with new Scales 2016-02-19 18.48.34

First I removed the old scales then soaked and removed as much rust off the case as possible. I then cut some sapele scrap and discovered that I didn’t really know what I was doing. Short of removing the old rivets, I attempted to make a pattern and drill holes in the wood so the scales could be glued to the case. This worked…. sort of. Well I just winged it, shaping the scales on the belt sander and generally making a mess of things. After this I took some wood filler (Timbermate) and added a drop of red mahogany dye to darken it and used it to fill the pores. Once leveled I put several coats of BLO and I felt that it came out OK. I’ll make no claims to have done a professional job however I had fun with it. If you think about it, I started with something that was useless as it was and made it into something that can be used and enjoyed for years to come. I think it was worth the journey.

Thanks for peeking in on the Turtlecovebrewer’s Workshop…..

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I have no doubt “tools” will be involved….

February 12, 2016 Leave a comment

My wife’s great comeback when joking with me about my woodworking abilities. She was intimating of course that I WAS the tool in question. I love to laugh and it is her great sense of humor that I find is my most favorite thing.

It has been several weeks now since I’ve found the time to work in my shop and I’m starting to go just a little bit crazy. I have managed to read a bit and also to work on cleaning up and servicing the rest of the tools I collected on our Georgia trip a year ago this Christmas.

Hand Saw

I picked up two Disston handsaws, the saw pictured below and another which I haven’t worked on yet. I don’t expect this saw carries with it very much important as a collectible but it is a Disston and it is now mine. As appears to be common, the upper spur was damaged from use and there was a fair amount of paint splatters on the handle. I gently sanded to remove paint and grime and rounded off the broken spur.

Diston Crosscut Saw

I sanded off rust from the blade and soaked the saw bolts in vinegar and salt to remove the dirt, rust and grime. When I polished them up they appeared to be more like copper than brass which I found very attractive. I understand that more bolts in the handle reflects higher quality and for the life of me I can’t find a Disston saw with only 3 bolts attaching the handle. All that I have seen online have 4 or 5 but the medallion clearly reads Disston * Phila so go figure. One posting I saw on eBay indicates this style having been used between 1917 and 1940. This coupled with the fewer bolts says to me this is a later made saw. Wikipedia states that Disston was bought out in 1954 so that would likely be the last year hand saws were produced. If anyone reading this knows more please feel free to comment.

Disston Medallion

Once reassembled I was pleasantly surprised that the saw was relatively sharp.

Grand Daddy’s Tools

My wife’s Grandmother is 95 and still doing well in Winter Haven, Florida. On a visit last year Susan’s uncle took us by her house to see if there was anything we wanted and I was shown the workbench. Granddad Phillip liked to make things and a few (very few) of his tools remained, most of which were considered “junk”. I never-the-less found some old Great Neck wooden handled screwdrivers and scarfed them up. They showed signs of great use, with splatters of paint, split handles and some rusting. Most had been used with a hammer at some point in their lives. These were tools, not heirlooms.

Eventually I took the time to clean them up with a light sanding and applied a coat of shellac to the well-worn handles. The handle on the smallest screwdriver was split down the center so I glued and clamped it together. As you can see I wound up with 3 Phillips and 2 small standard drivers as well as a pretty (fat) punch.

Great Neck Screwdrivers

I have one more to restore which I forgot about because it was hanging on my pegboard. This was a large standard screwdriver that Granddaddy Phillip modified to use as a gasket puller or so I believe.

Vintage (Modified) Screwdriver

I know Phillip did a lot of hammering with his screwdrivers but I’m thinking this one he modified on purpose. My plan is to clean it up and use it in its modified state. It might be possible to straighten the blade but at this point, I have little interest in do so.

Hand Drill

So far this is the only tool that I purchased in Georgia that is missing parts. The drill itself seems fine but the chuck is incomplete. I didn’t know how they worked at first so it took me experimenting with it a couple of times to realize that the chuck was indeed broken. I have the inner 3 jaw pieces but not the platen and spring that make it all work together.

Eggbeater Hand Drill

I oiled the pinion and shellacked the handles but this tool is on hold until a replacement chuck or chuck parts can be scrounged. So I have the outer chuck casing and the 3 jaws but according to this picture I need the springs and the conical (platen) thingy. Perhaps I can find said items on the cheap somewhere.

Chuck Innerds

I’m certainly no hand tool connoisseur but I like the idea of having a hand drill around for those times when you want to put a plastic shield in drywall or other simple tasks. Of course if I get this thing working I might actually use it on projects, why not? No luck so far however and all I’ve managed to do is to get the palm of my hand caught in the gears, ouch 😦

I also cleaned up and sharpened a Bailey spoke shave but I’ll have to post the pictures another time.

I hope to get back into the shop soon, if not I think my head will explode!!!

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Christmas in Georgia

January 29, 2015 1 comment

The University where I work closes between Christmas and New Year’s so Susan and I took the opportunity to put together one last “whole family” vacation to the mountains. She normally favors North Carolina but while hunting for a cabin to rent she ran across a good value in Hiawassee, Georgia which turns out to be several hours closer to us. It is always a massive effort to get all the planning and packing together but even more so this time as we were leaving on Christmas Eve to celebrate Christmas day in the mountains. Thus we were not only packing but we were handling the normal last-minute gift wrapping, etc. Madness I say!

Once we made it safely through the bands of severe weather on the trip up, everything turned out very nice and Christmas was a success. For entertainment we went for walks, drove around sight-seeing nearby towns and shopped in antique stores. I’m not sure what it is about Florida but you just don’t see a tradition of woodworking or find very many antique shops around. They exist I know but not to the extent we found on our trip. The fun thing about antiquing is that there were interesting finds for the entire family, ranging from tea cups, clothes and hand tools. The purchases we made were strictly recreational and we even learned that if you wanted something but felt the price was too high, you could make an offer and they would often work with you.

I came home with two Disston handsaws, two braces, a spoke shave with iron, a Dietzgen bow compass, an eggbeater hand drill and small metal plane (No. 3 smoother).

IMG_6953 IMG_6952

I found a number of wooden planes of various types and in various states of disrepair. No doubt one or two of them would have been a worthy addition to the shop but truthfully, I just don’t know that much about what I would have been buying. Most needed some work and many didn’t have irons. I decided to just enjoy the shopping and held off from purchasing. I’m definitely not a collector, just having fun on vacation and learning a little something about the function of these tools.

I also enjoyed looking at all the old furniture pieces in the antique malls. The lovely wood species, how their made and how they function. I think the entire family had fun!