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  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:

vrijdag 12 september 2014

Chipbreakers and high cutting angles

A lot of time went into this research experiment. Here is an abstract. The complete article will be published soon on Steve Elliott's website:

Mechanics of chipbreakers and high cutting angles in woodworking planes.

Kees van der Heiden, The Netherlands, 2014.


When using handplanes, tearout is a typical problem. Two methods to prevent tearout are high cutting angles and chipbreakers set very close to the cutting edge. In previous work it was found that a cutting angle of 60° is equivalent to a chipbreaker setting of 0.1 mm behind the edge when the chipbreaker edge is beveled at 45°. Likewise an angle of 55° is equal to a 0.2 mm setting of the chipbreaker. To compare the two methods a planing machine is used with force transducers to measure the cutting force Fc and the force perpendicular to the wood surface, the normal force Fn. Fc proved to be 30% higher for the plane setups with a high cutting angle, compared to the equivalent chipbreaker settings. Fn is normally negative, pulling the edge into the wood in a standard 45° plane without the chipbreaker. When setting the chipbreaker close to the edge this negative force is slightly reduced, but in high angle planes this is reduced much more and tends towards 0 around a 60° cutting angle, under the circumstances of this experiment. A second experiment has been conducted to measure the forces after a planing distance of 100 meters. The rate of change of Fc is about equal for both methods. The rate of change of Fn is twice as fast for the high cutting angles. The conclusion is that the plane with a chipbreaker is technically more advanced then the plane with a high cutting angle. A hypothesis about how the two methods prevent tearout is proposed in this article too.

donderdag 11 september 2014

More workshop

It's almost done, the shop rebuilt. It's wonderfull to have so much space, the old shop was quite cramped. I still have to throw away some stuff I don't need anymore, but it's almost done.

The new cabinets, now full with planes and stuff. Everything neatly stored, but not french fitted so there is still plenty of space for new stuff.

Plane drawers.

The powertool area. A planer/thicknesser, a tablesaw and a dust collector Everything on wheels so I can pull it forward when necessary.

The bench and the sharpening area. It looks like I have a little bit of a chisel problem...

zondag 24 augustus 2014

Woodworking in Burma, handtools

It's not always easy to scratch your handtool itch while on holliday, but I got lucky a few times. In the first place the wood carvers. This is probably mostly touristic entertainment, but they were quite serious about it. Just a pitty they cover most of it in glittering varnish, gold or black paint.

During one of our trips around Inle lake we encountered a guy making a bunch of simple chairs and tables. Morticing by hand, despite the router in the background. And he also used one of these typical Asian handplanes. This one has a double iron, bedded somewhat steeper then the 45 degrees we usually have overhere. It looks very homemade like. Another regular tool in Asia is the framesaw.

The highlight of handtool working certainly was this small boatyard, also in Inle lake. First time ever I saw pit sawing in real life! Another nice picture is the planing bench, very simple, but effectively enough, I guess.

Ripsawing by hand. Of course, what else?

And finally a picture of handplaning with one of these Asian planes. Good to see how they use these in real life. They probably use them in every possible way imaginable, but this handposition is unique to these kinds of planes.

That's all about the woodworking I've seen in Burma. It is a unique country. Because of its isolation during the last decades, you get a glimpse of the old ways of Asia. But Burma is changing really fast now, so if you want to see it yourself, don't wait too long. One last picture, the famous and unique rowing technique of the fisherman in Inle lake.

Woodworking in Burma, furniture.

Nice furniture was really scarce in Burma. Most houses, temples and monasteries were quite empty inside, and the hotel rooms only had typical cheap and ugly hotel room furniture like you find everywhere. We didn't visit any musea, maybe there are some interesting ones in Yangon?

Anyway, here are some nice ones from the monasteries. these cabinets probably have some religous purpose, but I couldn't find out what purpose. Quality of the pictures isn't great, because these buildings are very dark, and I am not a great photographer anyway. Click on the pictures to see larger images.

And I liked this simple bench. Simple as it is, it looks like a nice project for a garden bench.

Woodworking in Burma, the monasteries

Burma is a very religous country, Budism is the main religion and you see the monks everywhere in large numbers. And they live in monasteries, so there is no shortage of these either. There are a couple of old ones preserved, made of teak wood. All of these with huge timbers, supporting the structure and lots of decorative carving.

The Bagay Kaung in Inwa, close to Mandalay and a former capitol of the country. It is made in 1834 and still in use as a monastery.

In the town of Mandalay there are two very nice ones. The Shwe In Bin Kyaung which had a serene quietness when we arrived. Rich Chinese jade merchants build this one in 1895.

The famous Shwenandaw Kyaung which is the most richly carved monastery with lots of (fading) gilding inside. It was first the royal appartment from King Mindon who died in 1878, but later moved out of the palace walls and converted to a monastery, luckily because the palace was completely ruined in WW2.