dinsdag 21 oktober 2014

Not much inspiration

Today I visited the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam with my wife. First visit since, probably, 30 years. The musuem has been completely renovated some two years ago. I enjoyed it a lot, plenty of nice things to see. It is mostly a celebration of the heroic past of The Netherlands, without too much attention to the black pages in that same history.

The Netherlands do have a remarkable past for such a small country. Especially during the 17th century a major part of European trade ran through our markets and towns. A bunch of merchants became incredibly rich. And they liked to show it. Naturaly my attention was drawn to the many furniture exhibits. And I must say, I didn't find inspiration for my own home. Almost everything on display is way over the top. The craftmanship to produce stuff like this is incredible, but when you live in a low budget house made in the fifties, it is hard to imagine how anyone could fit things like this in their homes. So, just for the fun of it, some images. You can also find many pictures on the website from the museum https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/search

Later, in the hall with the medieval stuff I did find some interesting things. Not necessarily for a reproduction, but I like these items.

And of course, let's not forget the tools from the expedition which stranded on Nova Zembla (1596).

maandag 20 oktober 2014

Looking for inspiration

Last week I got a nice board of cherry, and wanted to make another box from it. But I changed my mind. We need a new medicine cupboard for the bathroom, so why not from this board? I really like that 17th century style of carved stuff at the moment, so I looked around for examples of small cupboards. One type is exactly what I am looking for: spice cabinets! At that time, spices were new, hip and expensive. So when you could afford them, you'd like to present them in a favorable manner. That's when the spice cabinet, box or cupboard appeared on the market. A small cupboard, usually with some kind of embellishement like carvings or mouldings. Inside the cupboard you would find small drawers. These cabinets were often very simple, so called boarder furniture. No fancy joinery, just nails. Here are some examples I found on my travels across the internet.

Later, in the 18th century, these cabinets became much more elaborate, just like most furniture. Personally I like the style of the earlier times like in the pictures above. It fits my modest needs a lot better then some miniature high boy:


I am not going to make a direct copy of one of these little cabinets, because the situation demands a slightly different shape and size. I am also not sure about all these drawers, however much I like them, they take up too much space inside the cabinet. So, not quite sure what I am going to make yet, but I am sure that I'll be strongly influenced by this style.

dinsdag 7 oktober 2014

Kistje 1

Making practice boards is fun, but it's even better to make a real project. So, now I have two carved boards, why not make two more and assemble them together to a small chest?

Sorry for my complete inaptitude to make nice pictures. The finish looks patchy, but trust me, it isn't half as bad in real life. With an extra coat of linseed oil, it even turned out better, but it is now dark outside, so no more pictures.

Anyway. The front boards have rabbets, the side boards fit in these rabbets and then some oak pins are driven through the joint, like a nail. It's super simple, but still quite a bit of work. I made a till inside the box. The bottom is also rabetted and nailed. The top is made from some left over maple with a lot of knots. It all comes together quite nicely, if I may say so. On to the next one!

zondag 28 september 2014

Learning a new skill

The work from Peter Follansbee, who works in the tradition of joiners from the 17th century, has always intrueged me. Some parts of his work, like riving fresh oak logs, are a bit beyond my possibilities at the moment, but his carving work looks like fun too. I got the two videos he published, digged some soft maple from the woodpile, sharpened all the gouges I have and set to work.

This is fun. Results still look plenty amateurish, but I have more maple, so no reason not to continue improving my arts. I really love this kind of freehand work.

donderdag 18 september 2014

Video. Making a shooting board. In real time.

In real time. Not quite of course, I don't let you watch how the glue dries in real time. And I cut the parts on the table saw first. Otherwise, this is how you make a shootingboard in 10:40 minutes, without being in a hurry.

The materials. Birch ply wood 18mm (3/4") for the base. The same stuff in 12mm (1/2") for the plateau. An offcut of the 18mm ply is the cleat and a piece of Jatoba I had is the fence, about 3.5 cm square.

I use a few corns of grit in the glue to prevent the fence from slipping around when you tighten the clamps. Otherwise the glue acts as a lubricant and makes it very difficult to precisely position the fence. You can also use some coarse sand, or even coarse salt cristals. Not much, just a pinch. Let the fence stick out into the running surface just a tiny bit, so you can plane it in line with the edge of the plateau after the glue dried. When the fence isn't exactly square after assembly you will have to use a rabet plane or a shoulder plane to correct the error.

The only things critical in a shooting board are the straightness of the fence, the straightness of the edge along the running surface, and the square position of the fence in relation to that edge. The rest can be crooked, doesn't matter. The dimensions don't matter either. Don't finish the board, a rough surface gives grip to the wooden objects to be shooted. A bit of wax on the running surface won't hurt though.

Shooting boards are very simple. When you need one with a 45 degree angle, just make it. No need for fancy adjustable add on fences. A simple fixed board won't go out of allignment in a hurry, and when it needs a tune up that is easilly accomplished with  the rabet plane.

Or maybe skip it all together. Apart from precise miters, a shooting board is mostly a luxury that you can do without in most circumstances.

PS: Sharpen the blade before you make a video. That saves a lot of agravating screeching noises....

zondag 14 september 2014

The article is up now and a video how to set the chipbreaker

Steve Elliott's worked overtime and got the article up on his website, complete with the abstract. A PDF is also available at the bottom for easy printing.


I got some responses about the 0.1 mm setting of the chipbreaker. For me personally that's nothing extraordinary. Usually I have it set a bit further away in my smoother, but when the need arises, there is no problem to set it that close. But I understand it is not easy for everyone. Here is a tip I read on UKworkshop.co.uk  allthough I have seen it before.

I use a piece of softwood, Set the blade upright and push it down into the wood. Then I slide the chipbreaker down and tighten the screw.

The result when looking on the microscope is a very usefull 0.13 mm distance: