Sunday, September 28, 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.

Thursday, September 18, 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....

Sunday, September 14, 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:

Friday, September 12, 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.

Thursday, September 11, 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...