Saturday, August 13, 2016

Shop Tour - VIDEO

A couple years back, when I built my bench in Christopher Schwarz's class, he actually helped load the bench into the SUV, and he helped unload it, too. He was intrigued by my tiny shop and posted a video about it on his blog. You can check out that post here.

My shop has changed a little since then, so enjoy.
While you're here, check out the tools on my For Sale tab as I am trying to thin the herd.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Tools For Sale!

This is completely embarrassing.

I am not a collector.

Really.

Somehow, a collection has appeared out of thin air in my shop, and I need to get rid of some of these really great tools before I move to Spain in two weeks. For Pete's sake, I now have four #8 sized jointers! FOUR! No one needs four number 8 jointers, let alone three number 7's!

I seem to have had a fixation with Ohio Tools bench planes, as I have collected a lot over the last six months. These tools should be used. They are fantastic, and were made with amazing thick, tapered irons and massive chipbreakers that make them a joy to use.

Keep an eye on this blog. I have a new page, which only has items for sale on it.

Right now there are some great smoothing planes, and there soon should be plenty of others.

I might also get rid of some other great tools that just aren't pulling their weight in my shop.

My preference is to ship them within Europe. This is an opportunity, because Ohio planes don't tend to come up that often here. However, I can ship to the US using USPS domestically for another couple days.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Alicante, Spain!

It is true I have been quiet here and on other social media lately. Also, sadly I have been doing very little woodwork.

My chair is still in the same state as last posted: waiting to really be started.

There is a good reason, though, and that is the Frau got a new job in Alicante, Spain, and we will soon be moving there. We will keep our place in Munich, as she will come back to her old job in two to six years.

Alicante 2008
Photo courtesy ND Strupler.

Neither of us are currently completely satisfied with our professional situations, and we decided to make this change together.

For the past few weeks we have been organizing the move. I will end my career with the US Army after 19 years either active duty or Army civilian. I will miss it.

It is worth it, though.  One gets to travel through this life only once.

We have an apartment there already. Unfortunately, the Frau got to pick it out without me, so it doesn't sound like I will have all of the luxurious space for a woodshop that I currently enjoy. It will be interesting to see what kind of woodworking I will be able to do. It might just wind up to be spoon carving on a park bench.

But, that is OK. I will still have my shop in Munich that I will come back to. I will get to practice minimalist woodworking, and learn to be thankful for the space that I have. And, I bet I'll learn something.

Keep an eye out on this blog and on Instagram for news of our exciting adventure, and to see what kind of woodworking I'll get up to (although I predict it will be a bit slow for a couple months).

My apologies for abandoning my June Chair Build. Well, it's not so much abandoning, but postponing. Or, perhaps I could look at it as having started next year's June chair early!

If you are still working on your June chair, or by some miracle have finished it already, make sure to send me a note and a photo and I'll put it up! God knows, I'll need some material!

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

2nd Annual June Chair Build Progress - Day Seven

It appears the first week of the internationally renowned June Chair Build is done. Here is the progress that I know of so far.

First, mine:
Nice zebrano chair blanks. I must be crazy.
To get ready for this build, I had to glue up a couple of chair blanks. So far I haven't done anything else, other than bring up a nice 8/4 walnut board I forgot I had for the rest of the chair parts.

There are a couple issues that might actually prevent me from finishing these chairs this month, though. One is a personal issue that I'll be ready to share soon. Nothing bad, in fact, something very, very good! The other reason is The Frau thinks about the last piece of furniture we need right now is another weird chair or two. She is insistent that I build a little console table out of the remainder of the zebrano before I do anything else. Maybe I can slap together that table at the same time as building these chairs.

All part of the fun and the challenge of the June Chair Build!

I plan to make a couple of side chairs, one of which actually might become an arm chair. I really don't want to do too much planning, I'll let the wood guide me similar to how last year's build went. Only, I have a better idea of what to do with leg splay this time.

Jeremy seems to be going at this build with gusto! Here is a still shot from a video he had on Instagram.
Jeremy's model.
He was looking for some feedback on his design. Instagram is great for requests like this, there are some real thoughtful opinions that were posted. We'll have to see if he listens. :o)

Next up, Aymeric is building his version of this Erich Dieckmann chair:
Aymeric learned Sketchup just for this project!
It will be fun to watch him build this chair! He has some nice 8/4 walnut he is processing by hand. I bet that will be the most work of the whole project!

And last, I got a note from Ray yesterday along with a photo:

Brian,
I have made the trek to my favorite lumber mill in Indiana in search of the perfect material for my build. I found it!  It's half way back and 3/4 of the way from the top of the stack in the photo.

A fine piece of rift sawn 6/4 hard maple 12' long. My chair is going to be a huge departure from what I normally do. It is a chair I have been wanting to make for quite awhile.

I will send more when I have it. Hope all is well with you and your family.

Cheers,
Ray
Ray's stick is in there somewhere.
Keep up the good work, guys! June 31st will be here before you know it!

Send me a photo of your June Chair, or post it on Instagram with the hashtag, #junechairbuild and I will share it on this blog.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

I Made a Marking Knife


I like it.
After screwing up my latest attempt at the Henning Noorgaard table, I thought I would need a quick and easy project to boost my woodworking self-esteem. I happened to have a Hock marking knife blank rolling around, and determined this was the perfect time to finish it.
Materials for this build, a marking knife blank and a hunk of wood.
I had a piece of ebony that has been rolling around for a while. Probably about three to four inches wide, and about ten inches long, and around 3/8 or 1/2 inches thick or so.
A closer look.

Even closer. Wow. It looks like there are a couple worm holes. I hope those were there before.
I really don't need another knife, as I have a perfect one already. A Blue Spruce with a curly maple handle. I can't say enough about this knife, other than it is perfect and I love it.
Blue Spruce.
I think that the plan will be to get my knife to feel as much like the Blue Spruce as possible. That is, without a lathe.

I forgot to take some pictures at this point. I cut the ebony blank to length, and then plowed a 1/4" groove on either side to a depth a little more than half the thickness of the blade. Next, I ripped both grooved pieces off the ebony blank and kept the offcut.

I mixed up a small batch of epoxy, with a bit of black tint in case there are any gaps.
I slathered epoxy on both halves...

inserted the blade...

and clamped it up.
After a day in the clamps, this is what I got:
Epoxy is cured.
I think this could be done a bit neater with some proper layout. I decided just to taper the handle on opposite sides until it looked right, then taper the other two sides to match.
Wow. I have it clamped in the vise. Neat.

Two square.

Four square.
These are pretty much the only layout marks I used. Some pencil scribbles that really don't show anything.
Precision layout.
Once it was foursquare, I just planed some chamfers on the edges, and rounded the top with a rasp, a file. I sanded the whole thing to 600 grit, pollissoired the crap out of it, and applied Renaissance Wax.
I like the look.
Here are a couple more glamor shots.

It is a little less than perfect, but I love the way it feels in my hand. There is one bug hole that goes all the way through. It can be seen in the last photo. But, I guess that makes it look more like wood and less like plastic.

This is a fun project, and I look forward to using the knife. Being O1 carbon steel, it is easy to sharpen. The big difference between this blade and the Blue Spruce is the Hock is much thicker. I'll let you know if that is an advantage or disadvantage.

So far the big disadvantage with the Hock is the price. It is not much cheaper than buying the Blue Spruce complete! I might be interested in making one from untreated tool steel, as that stuff is only a couple dollars. However if the point is to have a home made tool, I really like this one.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Olav's Flag Pole

I was very happy today when I opened my email and there was a note in there from Olav the Great. I met him while visiting Jonas for the Danish Chair Building Extravaganza two years ago. He is an amazing craftsman - a German cabinetmaker who has lived in Denmark for some time.

Hej Brian,

it’s a long time ago …
but now I have to say: Congratulations to your chair. THe CHair, our chair.
Because I wanted to write you I recently visited your blog just to affirm that you are a man with many faces and curiosities.
After you didn’t show up last year, only because you was busy to travel to Japan or Alaska or such a place at the world’s other side and after a rough storm last winter, I had to remember you. As a matter of fact our flagpole became dismasted in this storm and that is a harsh thing in Denmark. To manufacture a new one I needed a five to five inch timber, 30 feet in length and - what do you think? - a new square- to-eight-side-gauge. To make a long pole short/ thin I took some pictures:

                                          Yours sincerely
                                                                                   Olav 






I am amazed with this piece. I couldn't imagine making an angled 30 foot cut with a circular saw.

Thanks for the note, Olav!  I hope to see you soon.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

2nd Annual June Chair Build - How I Glue Up a Panel

For my chair in the upcoming June Chair Build, I have this crazy idea to do a pair of chairs with zebrano (Microberlinia brazzavillensis) chair blanks. You can read about it in the previous post.

I am collecting materials and prepping wood in order to hopefully get these chairs done by the last day of June. Last year June lasted until the middle of August for me.

The board is 12 inches wide, and I would rather the chair blanks be around 18 inches or more. That means in order to use this board, I will have to glue two pieces or more together.

My first step was to cut the seven foot board down and see if I could get three nice lengths, again around 18 inches long or so.
My three boards.
Unfortunately, the end of the board had two really nasty cracks that made me worry a bit that this piece would actually be appropriate.
Two big cracks in this end board.
I decided to just go for it. The big crack was nearly in the middle, anyway, and the smaller crack was pretty much straight up and down.
If this doesn't work, my chair will be a bit narrower than planned.
The big crack turned out to be no big deal. Runout on the board was my friend, this time. the broken piece peeled off, and I suspect will make no difference in the final look of the chair.
Less work for me later!
The other half turned out to be more of a problem. The good news is while it runs down about 1/3 of the length, it only shows on one side.
This crack is a bit more serious.
I think it will be OK, though. My plan is to inject it with epoxy, then stabilize it with some butterfly keys. Depending on what it looks like, this side can go on the bottom and not be seen.

Moving on to the "how-to" part. The first step in gluing a lamination is to plane the mating surfaces as surgically perfect as possible. I then dry-fit the joint and test for any wobble, gaps, or other signs of a less-than-surgically perfect joint. Also, I hold a straight edge up to one face to make sure we are mostly straight. If not, adjust the angle on one of the joints to match. Straightening here is much easier than flattening a warped glue up later.

Enjoy this photo-essay of my process:
Squirt some glue on one or both of the surfaces.
FYI, I happen to be using fish glue here. I like it's hide glue like properties, plus it has a longer shelf life and a faster set up time.
Spread the glue over the whole surface with a piece of scrap.


Wiggle the top board on the bottom until it sticks. This is a "rub joint."

Now you can breath. Us a wet cloth to clean up the squeeze out.

For extra strength I will clamp the joint tight.
Since this will be a chair seat, I use clamps here. It isn't always needed. I usually clamp my rub joints if I have to move them. I would leave it as is in the vise if not. Here I lightly apply one clamp, then lightly apply the other. Make sure the joint is still flush, then tighten it down.
Two clamps is plenty for this size of panel.

That's it!
Done. If you need to, remove the clamped assembly for storage while the glue dries. I'll leave this over night just to be on the safe side.

I think these panels turned out very nice, and the glue line isn't obvious. We'll see if it stays that way after I carve the seat, but I am hopeful. Normally, I wouldn't recommend a panel with an off-set glue line for a chair seat, but in this case it economizes material, and looks good (so far).