Tuesday 31 July 2012

So time to restore some English planes now.
I have not finished stamping my BN in all of them but the bases are perfectly flat (and slightly Japanese in some cases of course!) with closed off mouths using Lignum Vitae.
Thick 7mm Lignum angled so it has plenty of life and will withstand being re flattened many times.

Please remember these were rusted up, covered in paint, scratches, dents and bashes, found for pennies in the bottom of tool boxes at car boot sales. Un loved and unused, hidden potential. Restored by yours truely.

I like this plane as it was made in Birmingham - where my parents lived and met.
Different horses for different courses.
This is what you call a fine mouth!
Every crack reminds me of a bowling match now....
For a big plane this is also a very fine mouth - but very serviceable.
These 2 planes will take the finest of shavings now.
My tiny smoother has a larger mouth as I want more flexibility in a small one handed plane.
Blocks Only?
Made in Austria would you believe!
Made exclusively for Ward and Payne - with original stamped iron and chipbreaker of course!

My mini smoother's - only restored the one - the others live on a shelf - I have re-used their irons for other planes. But boy are they cute and tiny.
Been away for some sun lately.
Good to get away.

I wonder why I do all this when I get back, I mean we really are a bunch of nerds us woodworkers sometimes. Worried about our tools and wood. Lacking in perspective, an issue of scale as Will Self would say.

So to get back into the swing of things I thought I would do some more plane restoration! The Japanese Kanna just finished (lovely sub 0.1mm shavings floating from it today) got me in the mood.

Lignum Vitae Bowling ball offcuts here, I knew they would come in handy. I have 4 of these 'breast' shaped pieces which were left over from my last carving mallet project. Lovely wood - I imagine all the cracks resulting from the matches as the bashed into each other!


Sunday 22 July 2012

I thought I would talk a little about restoring a Japanese Plane. First buy an old knackered one that no one else really wants.

They are good for a few reasons:

1. No one else wants them (apart from me of course)
2. They are cheaper
3. They require more work to do up, this is proportional to the amount of knowledge you will gain.
4. Now and again you get the beauty hidden under the beast, the sword inside the blade etc.
5. For me - it is the performing of a valuable process, namely the rejuvenating of a worn out tool, I am honouring the craftsmen who made them originally.

This blade had the biggest chips I have ever seen in it - remember I teach in secondary schools so that is saying something! They must have been 2-3mm gouges out - 3 of them, ahhh!!!!
This took days, a little every day of course. Ground all down by hand on my diamond stone. Good hand skills practised. Finished on my waterstone. You can clearly see the hardened steel edge - but the lamination is not good in my opinion, its is not 'clean' but spotty, and porous if that makes sense, not the work of a great blacksmith - although the signature (whatever it says?!) is nice.

If you love planes then this is how you get to know them in my humble opinion, which is why I still restore coffin smoothers occasionally - even tho I don't like them. Really uncomfortable to use if you have bad hands like me.

You could post parcels through this letterbox!
So I am going to fit a new Ebony mouth - it will match nicely the black card I used to raise the bed to tighten the blade. Incidentally the Dai was not made accurately so I have had to re cut and change quite a bit on this plane body - again this is all teaching me lots about how much to take off and where - simple from the outside - little more complicated (but not a lot) when you get into it.

Ebony inserts (I always do spares as I go) ready to have the dovetail sides done - I will do this on my electric sander I think - it will be very accurate and dead quick. Notice I have already angle the moth opening, so lots of angle on this ebony piece as I like a wedge fit for accuracy so the opposite side to the mouth will be angled fractionally in the opposite (or parallel direction)

Anyway more to come on this....
About time I did something with this...

I think it may need to be sliced up and a couple of handles made for my cabinet! Just little ones of course.
Just come out of soaking in oil this weekend.
Nice and happy now. The wood has quenched its thirst. One of my many current restoration projects. I just like turning old crap tools into nice looking and functioning new tools...
Dropped my marking guage off a top shelf and caught it - that was the good news, only a tiny cut (bad news) but I must remember not to catch sharp things when I drop them. I was drunk at a party once and smashed a glass bowl by accident - tried to catch it as it fell - opppss, off to hospital I was, very bad cut, lesson must be remembered.
Students Work.

Well school is out for Summer now, the mad rush at the end to get projects finished is crazy. Other teachers often get a wind down but in my subject it is where it goes into over drive. This piece is a Docking Station made by a year 9 lad (he is 14) and is just well over the top. Loads of people started helping him as they all thought it was so cool and he is quite methodical so might not have got it completed otherwise. Some lunchtimes it was a mass team effort with 4 or so working on it!

It is based on a Japanese Tea House.
Made out of Iroko and Pine.

You cannot have complete control - for example I told him the speakers needed to be central on the sides, an even pine border around them - we went through this a few times and discussed why it was more visually appealing etc. Then I was off sick one day last week with a horrible chest infection (now given it to me 3 year old which brought on acute asthma - so he is VERY ill now) and when I came back in it looked like this - oh well! its still brill....

Friday 20 July 2012

You know I might actually be close to finishing this now.

The problem is when I started it I only had a couple of Kanna, now they don't all fit in...

Thats life tho isn't it.

I never meant to put my Kanna in it.
But they seem to look right I think, better than my previous idea.

Going to fit all my chisels in the doors next, that was the original idea and I'm sticking to it.

Holidays are here.
Much making awaits...

Rare earth Magnets (10mm) with brass caps.
This seems to work well for a 'positive' close.
I will be using this solution again me thinks.

Fitting these dammmmm hinges.
I won't tell you (know) how long these have taken.
Thought it would be easy after using my jig, but I remind myself it has been 20 years since I have made a cabinet so why am I so hard on myself?

Tuesday 17 July 2012

Someone said something this week that got me thinking how we think we know what people are like but really have not got a clue. I designing some robot legs for example. Expanding compact mirrors. ladybird night lights with expanding feet that grip and cling to walls, weird stuff. I don't just make tools, planes and cabinets you know, I get enthused by bugs on the wall, this can lead to months of work. All of these pages here came from one moment - In Athens having a shower looking at the spray head connector that was designed on a ball joint - WOW! EUREKA! and off I went - those design moments where you take the sum total of your experience and apply it in a novel way to a problem inspired by something 'out of the box' are pure joy in the sense they tap into something fundamental about problem solving as a pursuit for the human mind. If there was not this feeling of attainment, pleasure of gratification we would not have anything much around us. People who don't believe in science are not allowed to complain via email - we will only accept complaints be telepathy or smoke signals. i heard that this week, good old Radio 4.