Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Some great visitors and tools.

Last weekend we received some great visitors. My parents came to from Europe to visit us for a month. Fortunate as I am, my father did not miss the opportunity to bring me some more interesting vintage tools, the list is quite long!

  • A nice vintage hand brace. I will need to clean it as it appears to be a bit rusty but it is still functioning properly.
A vintage hand brace.

  • A bunch of old gimlets. These will need to be sharpened and I guess it will be something tricky to do.
A bunch of gimlets.

  • A complete Record 050 combination plane in very good condition, a bit dusty though.
A Record 050 combination plane.

  • An old hand drill that was owned and used by my father for a very long time. It is in pristine condition. This one has 2 speed set by setting the handle on one side or the other.
My father hand drill.

  • A bunch of Stanley chisel, not antique ones but they still are something like 30 years old.
Some not so old Stanley chisels.

  • A gigantic bung hole auger, the handle is almost 2 feet wide.
A gigantic hole auger.

  • A hand wheel grinder. The picture is showing only the body but it is complete and in perfect working condition. This one is made by Peugeot Freres and is quite old (not sure about the date though)
Peugeot Freres hand grinder body.

  • A small plane, made in St Etienne in France. I am not able to read the maker yet but will try to find out while restoring it.
Small plane, maker not yet identified.

  • Another plane, from Germany this time, made by Goldenberg.
Goldenberg german plane.

  • Another plane, made by Peugeot Freres and in very nice condition. Note the use of the long screw in the iron. The wood used to make it is Cormier.
A nice Peugeot Freres bench plane made in Cormier.

Peugeot Freres stamp.

  • A small size block plane made by Narex that was once owned by my grand father.
Small Narex #102 block plane.

  • A small axe. It will need a bit of cleaning and sharpening but the handle is very comfortable and the way it is locked to the iron is not common for me.
An old axe. The handle is locked to the iron using a metal plate
going through the iron.

  • An old wood level that was owned by my grand father.
My grand father level.

  • Finally a mallet that my father made for me!
A custom made mallet. The handle is locked to the head with a dovel.

There will be a lot of fun (and work) to come to restored all these and put them back to use!

Monday, May 13, 2019

Workbench legs

After having spent too much time away from my shop to tackle some other tasks, it is time to get back to my workbench project. I ended my last wood butchering session with a bunch of legs cut to length.

These legs have been cut from square cedar post, well so I thought...

Not so square...

So after a good workout session using my Bailey #5 I finally got really square legs.

Better now.
I started to work on the front legs. Each of these will have 3 mortises on 3 faces, only the front facing will be plain. I started to mark the post center line and the mortise position.

Top mortise marked.
This is the first time I plan to do all these mortises by hand. For the first section of my workbench, as fool as I was, I used a power router thinking it was quicker. How much ignorant I was! I could not have been more wrong.

First I used my hand brace with a 1/2 auger bit to make a hole at each mortise end.

Hole drilled at each end of the mortise.

Then using the same bit I made holes all along the mortise length, taking great care to put the bit tip right on the center line.

Hole drilled all along.
Finally a short session with a sharp chisel and the waste was removed.

Using a chisel to remove the waste.
The whole process took me less than 10 minutes per mortise. This was almost the same time I needed to only properly set each leg into the jig I used with my power router. Power tools 0 / Hand tools 1!

Brief moment of satisfaction looking at my work. 

Now that my first 3 mortises are done on one leg, I still have 33 of them to make for the 4 front legs I need, some more upcoming pleasure!

Friday, May 3, 2019

Onto my next project...

Now that my first drawer is done and in place, and that I am back from some great vacation under the warm sun of Martinique, I have no excuse not to continue with building my workbench.
Currently I only have a small part done and I need to continue to build the side part where my Stanley 246 miter box will find its spot as well as some other tools.
That side part will be made exactly the same way as I did the first part. The two middle sections will receive a drawer like the one I just made and a shelf below the drawer, while the two extremity will be made of a shelve and cabinet below.

Overall workbench design.

The legs are made with 4"x4" cedar posts, jointed together using 2"x4" cedar lumber assembled with tenons and mortises. Each section between legs is 31" wide and will be assembled as shown below. The workbench frame is 31"5/8 high (without the top).

Legs mortises and section assembly.

I started by measuring and cutting the posts to the correct length. For this I ensured the post end was square cut and marked the cut length. 
I used my Stanley 246 miter box to cut a kerf all around the post so to guide the saw.

Using the miter saw to mark a kerf all around the post.

I finished the cut using my Disston D8 crosscut. 

Finishing the cut with my Disston D8.

It was quick and easy to do and the cut was perfectly square.

Square cut.

After some measure/kerf/cut sessions I ended with a bunch of legs cut to length and ready to be marked and mortised.

A pile of workbench legs.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

A good deal... or not

Being on vacation (well deserved believe me) these days I am away from my shop so I won't be able to write much about my projects. However I found a good subject in my sense: buying from EBay.
To be clear from the start, I am not bashing on EBay, I bought a lot of tools from EBay and for me EBay is a great tool that allows all of us to open our horizon about vintage tools. Some day you can find some real steal, some days you may feel some regrets to get some too much expensive tools at auction, but all in all this is a good tool to find what you are looking for if you are a bit cautious.
But everybody can confess that Ebay is also the place where you an find some ridiculous things, real scams.
To illustrate this, here is something I came across while browsing for vintage tools.
A guy ( I am sure he is a great guy anyway) is selling a maple slab, and he is honest, it is a wormy one. You can take a look at it here.
Luckily the seller ask the buyer to understand before bidding, we are all safe!
The slab was 150 years old when it was milled and it has been dried for 100 years more, must be really dry.
The slab is 6'4"x20"x3" and is for sale for the very low price of 1499USD plus the extra 1000USD for delivery up here in Canada. Of course, a slab priceless like this one must be delivered by secured convoy, can you imagine if some get a hand on it to light a BBQ!
If my maths are still good this slab is selling at a great price just shy of 47USD a board feet (not considering shipping price).
But as specified in the description, for this price you can have a piece of history to make your bed (well a 20" by 6'4" bed, may fit your size, not mine).
All this to say that people need to be careful on EBay. Just looking at the slab and having quite a lot of maple around I can say without much doubt that I am pretty sure this one is totally rubbish and the price is just a scam.
But at the same time, the same seller is offering an unopened Coca Cola bottle for just 6000USD, a pre 19 or 20th century god carved thing for 205000USD, or if you want to give a really wonderful gift to your beloved one, he also offer an Italian Ferdinando Ambrosino painting for just 300 000USD. 
I am pretty sure that if you take all you will be able to get a good price for the lot.

To be serious, just be cautious...

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Vintage tools: Hand brace bits

I recently found a lot of hand brace bits at a very good price that were looking interesting and in good condition. That lot contained an assortment of different bits but I was mainly interested by the center bit set. I already have some of them but wanted to complete my set as I like these bits.

The brace bits lot I received.
When I received the package I was surprised to see that the center bits are in very good condition. The cutting edge and center point are sharp and the bits ready to be used.
Beyond these center bits, this lot contained some interesting items. The following picture is what I think to be a very old variable size bit, or maybe a washer cutter, I am not sure.

Is is a variable size drill bit or a washer cutter?
The next picture shows two other unusual bits that I believe are used to enlarge existing holes.

Bits to enlarge holes?
If anybody has some input regarding these two, please raise your voice!

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Workbench drawers - Finally!

Finally, after the power outage adventure, I am back to my drawer with the hope to put it behind and move onto my next project.
After having cut and rabbeted most of the bottom boards (see my previous post) I need to do the same with the last boards after having cut them to correct depth.
I did a quick dry fit to ensure that the drawer bottom was well inserting in the grove cut on back board.

A quick dry fit to check the last boards assembly...

... I may be a bit anal on dry fit...

Next I cut a bead on each bottom board to make a nicer join. This time instead of using my venerable wooden plane I used my Stanley 45 combination plane to cut the beads. I never tried the Stanley 45 for beading yet so it was the perfect occasion. 
I fitted a 3/8 beading iron that I set to cut thin shavings. The Stanley 45 manual specify to use the beading gauge but in my case it was not possible or I would not have been able to plane to the correct depth. I removed the left skate and attached the fence so it rides on the edge of the board. 
Something I learned is that for the cut to be smooth and easy, I really need to set the blade to a very thin shaving. When each side of the blade start to bite in the wood everything goes easily but while going deeper, as the blade will progressively cut on all its width, the cut becomes also more difficult so making more frequent pass with thinner shaving makes the cut easier and smoother.
When all beads were done I reassembled the drawer.

All the beads cut, time for another dry fit...

...with the back board fitted...

...looking from another angle to be sure.

I applied a coat of 50/50 mix of boiled linseed oil and turpentine to the drawer interior, left it to dry overnight and then applied 3 coats of blonde shellac.
I left the shellac to dry for half a day and made the final assembly by gluing the back board.

Gluing the back board

After few hours the glue was dry enough to check the final result.

The whole drawer finally assembled...

... interior close up...

... stepping back to admire the work!

It is not perfect but I am pretty satisfied for a first try that will reside in my workshop.
To finalize the drawer I need to install the handles and add dowels to the box joins. As I do not have ebony to make these dowels I used what I have handy and dipped the dowels in dark gel stain. These dowels are more for the look than for the strength as the joins are already glued and solid enough for this drawer.
I used my hand brace to bore 5/16" holes in the join tenons and set the dowels.

Boring holes for the dowels with my hand brace.

After having set the first dowel I took a step back to have a look, well I like it! 
I know that these are not square dowels like for the traditional design from Greene & Greene, but like said before this is just an inspiration to me.

First preview of the dowels.

I am also using the same dowels on the two handles, but first I have to glue them in place.

Gluing the handles in place, my Stanley #7 is
perfect to add weight.

When the glue has dried, I bored holes to the drawer side tenons and added dowels.

Dowels on the side too.

I then bored the same size holes on each side of the handles and added the dowels.

First handle with dowels fitted.

Here is some pictures of the final result. The drawer found its way to its final spot.

The drawer in its spot.

Close up view for the pleasure to see it.

Showing the side dowels for my satisfaction.
I am not really happy with the drawer handles. They look too bulky to my eyes.
For the final finish I think I will use simple boiled linseed oil, not sure yet.
Any advice on the finish?

Vintage tools: The mystery saws.

Now that the outage is over and we got back power I will be able to finally pursue on my woodworking project. But before going there I will try to solve a mystery using your knowledge about saws.
I got two small vintage saws and try to discover who was the maker of these two. Here is a picture of the saws.

The two mystery saws.

I first got the one at the bottom. It is a 8 inches saw, the blade is very thin and when I tried it, even if not sharp enough yet, I just loved it.
The blade shows a partial etch where I am able to read "W & TOOLS MAKER".

The blade shows a partial etch.

I guess that this means "SAW & TOOLS MAKER" but this does not provide much information about the name of the maker.
There is not much marking except this partial etch. The handle is showing a medallion that is quite common on this type of saws.

The handle medallion only showing Warranted Superior.

As I like this saw very much, when I found a similar one on EBay I jumped on it. That one is a 10 inches saw, also showing a partial etch with the same marking.

Same type of blade etch but brass backed.

Beyond the size, the difference is that this one is brass backed instead of steel backed. The medallion is also similar.

Same medallion.

I really would like to find out who was the maker of these two saws but to this day I was not able to find much information. I asked the sellers if they had any but they were not able to do so.

If any one has some information please send me a comment so I can solve this mystery!