22 March 2010

Stanley 13-050 Combination Plane

I was hunting for the Record 043 plough plane based on the description of the Cornish Workshop "The #043 is one of those planes that everyone who tries it loves immediately".  But after seeing the #043 come and go through my ceiling on ebay UK,  I finally got a bottom price hit on my parallel track: a Stanley 13-050 Combination Plane.
For the Stanley 13-050 the description is "A modern abomination ... , but apparently can work rather well.", but no complaints, compared to a plough plane, it has more blades and can do more.

 As I expected, the Stanley 13-050, being a last generation model combination plane, has nearly everything covered and is well thought over.
  • The handle of the plane is in plastic (that's the abomination part of the plane): lighter and warmer than metal, more resilient than wood and allows for a better price on ebay
  • Symmetrical: the depth gauge and the fence can be placed on both sides and the spur is also on both sides
  • The spurs are just depth adjustable knives, in my case rounded (for safety?)
  • Depth gauge and fence are held with two rods,  increasing the stability of the setup. 
  • The extra beading fence (I first thought it was a faulty depth gauge,  as it can't pass the skate, being too large) allows to make a clean beading on a tongue side of a tongue and groove
  • ... 
To make it more complete, a picture of beaded tongue and groove joints used in a front door.  In this case the door was made with a standard router.

Fitting plough cutters under 6 mm seemed impossible,  but after (reading the manual and) removing the sliding section the smallest plough cutters ( 1/8", 4mm and 3/16") can be set on a single skate.
I have also found my next challenge: clamping, as I need to clamp a workpiece with 2 full length surfaces standing free to accept the skates and the fence.

Receiving my 13-050 I was surprised to see it was made of cast iron.  Most probably I had seen pictures of the 12-050 model sold on some second hand list,  and that model looked like made of plate iron,  but maybe it is the combination of square lines and a fully finished surface.  I tried to confirm this by checking on internet,  but no luck yet the internet seems empty regarding that model.  If confirmed, you can't call that model a boat anchor as it must be much lighter.
What I did find, was an example of a Stanley 13-030 plough plane on ebay that looks as if  the body and the fence of the plane is made with extruded light metal profiles.

I also found a different model packaged in the same 13-050 box with a light brown handle on the cover.  This was an unused model, looking like it was produced a few months ago,  with a dark brown handle, still in plastic but with a more natural touch.

18 March 2010

Finish Carpenter Toolset

On the JLC forum Kreg McMahon shows his (fes)tool set used to build a bookcase on site.  As I had already listed (under Minimal Toolset - 2) a finish carpenter toolset of the fifties,  it is nice to have a more updated version.
  • cordless drill(s)
  • two sanders
  • two routers
  • Festool Domino 
  • two jigsaws
  • a miter saw on table
  • a plunge saw 
  • two mft 3 workbenches with guide rail set square
  • clamps 
  • a Kreg pocket hole machine
  • a vacuum cleaner
  • a leaf blower  
  • two tape measures + folding ruler
  • combination square
  • pin hole jig (off-site)
  •  ...
the toolset

 the bookcases
Surprisingly or not,  this toolset is very similar to the popular woodworking I Can Do That basic tools I documented earlier.  The major difference is the presence of a router.  The Festool Domino used here is also different but it is close to a biscuit joiner,  although some dowelling equipment could cover the need for sturdier joints.

14 March 2010


Looking at the latest video of the Woodwhisperer where Marc demonstrates the DowelMax, I thought about all the dowelling possibilities and jigs.

Dowelmax is interesting as it brings dowelling to heavy frame constructions where tenon and mortices are normally used.  Dowelmax helps with high density dowelling with there (multiple) allingnments of closely placed holes.  The only problems are the price and dowelling on larger length as the jig needs to be repositioned and the appearance of cumulative alignment errors .

Dowelmax makes strength tests and came out as a winner out of its own tests. So yes, five 5/8" dowels are much stronger than a single 1/6" number 20 biscuit   Of course things can be different once the tests are made by a third party (in this case FWW).  I think that the main difference between both tests is that standard routed mortice and tenon joints are deeper (2") than the standard  1" (25,4mm) dowel depths.  With limited depth the Dowelmax falls for FWW in the same category as biscuits, festool dominos and pocket joints where the wood of a L joint will easily split at the shallow depth of the holding element.  At Dowelmax they redid the tests with 2" dowel depth greatly improving the results.  I agree with them, my first impression of the FWW results for dowelling, biscuits and pocket holes is that strength can be improved by working on depth.  More on this another time,  as I already made a few joint tests with my own set up.

As Marc correctly mentions James Krenov was a dowelling adept.  His jig, as decribed in  'The fine art of cabinetmaking' and probably FWW isues, is a long piece of hardwood with predrilled holes. "The whole secret of doweling, and it is somewhat of a secret because of lack of common knowledge, is accuracy. You must be absolutely accurate. J.K." This indicates one advantage of biscuits and dominos over dowels,  the alignment is less strict.  In the case of long pieces the advantage of this jig is that it is only positioned one time.  Krenov uses his horizontal mortiser for drilling,  improving with this the alignment of the drill.

Wolfcraft offers different dowelling jigs.

The first is a cheap self centring  hand-held device for the classic 6-8-10 mm dowels.  This gives you one hand for the jig and one for the drill as not much is foreseen to fix the jig (there goes my insight gained by reading James Krenov).  As I bought a cheap copy of this one, I should maybe add a water-level to my drill to achieve the necessary accuracy.  Added to that the centring part does not work at the border of the wood, and of course multiple rows are impossible. The second hole is done aligning the jig on a a dowel in the first hole.
The second works with (6-8-10 mm) drilling bushes and has predefined drilling heights.  The holes are directly set on both sides, avoiding realignment problems. Works for I, L, and T panel joints
The last jig is more for shelving with a standard 32 mm spacing between dowels and 5-6-8-10 mm drilling bushes

07 March 2010

Medieval carpentry

Visiting Bouillon I was curious for any trace of medieval carpentry.  The castle-citadel was build from the 11th century on and demilitarized at the end of the 19th century,  as newer and better forts became available.  By this it is now in an undamaged state, what can't be said of the newer forts (Loncin 1914, now a cemetery, Big Bertha did it).

Missing 1:  The original early medieval wooden castle stood higher on the hill.  But of course it is long gone

Missing 2:  The water mill,  originally constructed in the 11th century it must have been a piece of medieval high tech.  Only the dam feeding the mill is still there.

A tread mill,  standing on top of the 57 meter deep well.  As the region had miners    long before the castle was there,  the original tread mill can be as old as the original castle.  My first reaction to the mill was to look how it was made,  to avoid it fell apart when used.  As the picture shows it is a problem when you simply nail the planks at the outside as they fall to easily out.

Missing 3:  The only piece of medieval carpentry I saw.  The remnants of a large wooden cross (looks like the real cross to me,  but then it would be Roman) originally hidden, and now displayed in a glass casing, in the floor of the main medieval hall and discovered 50 years ago.  As the castle is strongly linked to the first crusade it is a mystery what it represents.  Missing,  as my wife cleaned out the pictures before I could save the more 'interesting' ones

This is the first posting in what became a series about medieval carpentry.