Sunday, December 19, 2010

Old chisel

This chisel, found during a visit to a flea market, captured my attention by the handle  shape and a short
blade.I thought it was a "butt chisel", particularly suitable for cut   hinge mortices, as well as for job in  restricted spaces or when more control is required, since the handle sits perfectly in the palm of the hand. I saw that, however, usually, these chisels have sides chamfered (bevelled edges) not square as in this case.
The chisel is long ca. 15 cm, the blade is 25mm wide. This was probably a firmer chisel ,adapted for this purpose, a hypothesis also sustained by brand position that would be less close to the edge in the case of an original butt chisel. However, given also good quality blade, marked "Kirschenwerk" (Two Cherries), I decided to try a restore for reuse it after years of dust and rust. I first separate the blade from the handle. The old ferrule was clearly ruined and I took the opportunity to change it with a  brass new one. The source was a hydraulic brass pipe from which I cut a piece of appropriate measures. I gave support to the ferrule inserting  a wooden rod into the handle. It  also serves to redo the hole for the pyramidal tang. I drilled it using decreasing diameter drill bit.

The bit diameters must be between the minimum and maximum diagonal found in the tang section. Between the blade and the ferrule I put a hydraulic seal  that will serve to absorb the shots of a mallet.
The blade is hardly pitted, fortunately, mainly  on the bevel side, while the back appeared to be in good conditions, so that the flattening was quick and easy. After a over night vinegar bath, a  25° bevel °has been regrinded. To maintain a vintage look I gave a coat of  "antique walnut " varnish  and finished with two coats of wax.
The result satisfied me, and certainly this chisel will still have something to add to its long history.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

December 8: time for Nativity Crib

The Nativity Crib (presepe) for Neapolitan people is a real must and in these gray days for our city, it's nice to find some serenity and optimism in the continuing traditions full of  religious and family meaning. Yes, because the presepe as well as tells the Nativity, is a joy moment to share with our Family and especially with our children. I remember with great emotion the days of childhood, when my father invited me to look carefully at the presepe construction scheme, so that one day I might do it for my children.
The characters (called  generically "pastors") are still those of the time, jealously preserved for all these years (about 40) and that the December 8 begin to live  their annual glory moment, until Epiphany, when traditionally, the presepe is disposed and retained for the  next year.Wood, cork, glue and nails are the simple ingredients to build a traditional Nativity scene, but clearly there are no limits to our fantasy. Become a big play for us to try to make the scene as real as possible. The characters are all there, from the Roman soldier to the camel drivers, the pipers, shepherds with their sheep, the Archangel Gabriel announcing the forthcoming Jesus birth, the Magi Kings who come on their camels to bring gifts to the humanity Savior.
Of course the scene lacks of the main character, Baby Jesus, which cannot be placed in the manger before midnight on December 24.

Merry Christmas to you!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Record "Testa Rossa"

When I decided to change this Record 4 1 / 2 into a "super" plane, immediately I associated it with a racing car and the comparison with a "Ferrari" and therefore the choice of the red color were the natural consequences.

It is equipped with an old wooden plane blade which thickness is considerably higher (ca. 4 mm) than the original one and it has a 10°back bevel* and then a 55°cutting angle, very good for "difficult" grain.
It significantly increases the performance and justifies the time spent for it. 

* Using the plane I found it very hard to push so I decided of decreasing back bevel value to 10° instead of 15°. This last is good for a narrower plane as a #4.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Lesson in carving

We knew Salvatore Mastrangelo at one of the many pleasant meetings we organize in the shop of our friend Daniele (left in the first pic). Salvatore is a really pleasant and exclusive person,  full of life experiences. A true professional, filled with an uncontrollable passion for everything is related to woodworking. 

He expresses with great skill most of all his outstanding artistic vein  in the art of carving. 
This time we have "forced" him to teach us some good rule to acquire the best practice in this work and, under his leadership, we have tried to do some exercise. The quality of carving tools and their sharpness are fundamental prerequisites for best results.

In this regard, it is very useful to have a sharpening stone on the bench for honing more frequently the cutting edge of most commonly used tools. In the picture it shows a concave shaped oil stone that best fits the profile of some edges.   Unfortunately the time available is never enough, but we memorized some good advice on strategies of work, the importance of a good initial design and  the respect of plans on which the various details are located, in order to obtain a perspective effect.

Finally we add a couple of pictures that illustrate the Salvatore's work. I think they comment themselves. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stanley 78 vs Record 778. Our impression

During a visit to a friend of mine, Michele, owner of a Record 778 plane, we enjoyed to compare it with my Stanley 78 in order to verify technical differences and performances.
Both planes are suitable for cutting rebates up to about 3 cm wide.
Looking to two planes, leaps to the eye the difference between parallel guides. That of Stanley (left ) is supported by only one circular bar , unlike the Record that provides two circular bars support.
In both planes there is  a stop on the right side for rebate depth adjusting.
Another difference  regards the depth adjustment system: The Record 778 has a comfortable wheel for finest regulation,
while in Stanley 78 the task is
provided by a coarser lever, easy to  move downward accidentally during the pushing action , compromising the blade adjustment. The blade sits on the bed with a double contact, on the top and on a machined
area just above the mouth. We measured the extension of this area, important for the good stability of the cutting edge. For Stanley 78 this portion was about twice than the the Record one . If we look  at the two parallel guides more closely, we see that the Record guide has three holes useful for adding an auxiliary  wood fence, important to increase the plane stability while planing .
Unfortunately, both guides were out of square (more for Stanley 78)  but for Record 778 the gap can be easily correct,
adapting the auxiliary hard wood fence.
Both planes also have a spur just before of the mouth, for  cutting cross grain  rebates (but we have not tried to). We then sharpened blades with  25 ° bevel and 30 ° microbevel and tried the  planes  on a well flat and square pine board (Michele in the pic).  We not  found very different performances (we even tried to exchange blades to highlight any differences in steel quality ) .
The Record 778 seemed to us better prepared in technical solutions , especially for the two supporting bars, the possibility to add a larger hard wood fence and the more accurate 
and easy to operate cutting depth adjusting system. However its cost in online auctions significantly exceeds that of  a Stanley 78.

Monday, June 28, 2010

First video on Woodworking by Hand!

Here's a first movie! As an actor I am a beginner but I hope to improve quickly! As subject I chose just the tool I was working today: the plough plane.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Abrasive paper and double-side tape: together for flattening

The abrasive paper attached to a plan surface is a good way to flatten soles of metal planes for significantly improving their performances. Usually I use spray glue that allows a valid bur reversible bonding so you can easily replace the abrasive when it is exhausted. The only drawback is the glue residue left on the glass plate that has to be cleaned with alcohol every time . An alternative way is to use double-sided adhesive tape which provides excellent grip and when removed leaves no residue on glass and results in faster replacement operations .
If you can't find a full sheet of sandpaper wide enough then you could join two narrow strips togheter.
. The tape thickness is minimal and does not affect the flatness degree useful to obtain a good levelled surface.

Repairing a damaged plane body

Old wood planes are tools often challenging the century, continuing today to give satisfaction to those who use them. When accidentally  a damage occurs, who causes it feels very guilty for having interrupted a century-old life . The only partial relief could be a good repair. The accidental fall of a cast iron  plane often results in a lesion at the point of greatest weakness: on the sides, near to the mouth. This happened to my Stanley # 3. After listening to other suggestions, I developed this system to repair this lesion type, which was particularly simple and effective. After appropriately clamping the  plane body to avoid unwanted movements we can drill 4 mm holes (slightly larger than electrodes that measure approximately 3.5 mm) along the lesion.

At this point,  cast iron is properly heated with a torch or any fire, and the arc welding is carried out. I used a small inverter welder with specific cast iron electrodes. In fact it is easier fill the holes than a concave groove, which instead requires some experience. ( In the pics I forgot to take a shot just after soldering) .
I then proceeded to flatten the sole and sides, which were however almost completely aligned. And here it  is returned to its former glory (or almost) and produce the usual thin shavings.