28 November 2010

Medieval carpentry - 3

Third posting in a series about medieval carpentry.  This time Hôtel-Dieu de Beaune ,  it opened its doors in 1452,  and with 1453 a possible closing year for the middle ages it could qualify as medieval. They have a collection of old chests on display, post medieval in date if not in style, the oldest pieces are from the second half of the fifteenth century.  I was surprised to see that even those old chests are mature examples of frame and panel carpentry,  giving the impression that already in the middle ages carpentry had solid joinery foundations.  Only the carving improves and the sixteenth century chests have a more advanced decoration.
This time again I ran into some illustration problems,   it took months to set my hands on the pictures and the poor shaken quality made me throw half of them away.

09 November 2010

Woodworking course - 9

My project is started, discovered that I am better of bringing something to measure widths when buying wood.  Used a Excel sheet to get most things sorted out.  As I go for small, tapered mortise and tenon joinery,  I am in for a maximum of problems.  Before long I will claim it is a basic prototype of a single unit series,  time will tell.
I started with jointer planer and panel saw and then made a panels with biscuits.  The biscuit jointer is some abused Elu (now Dewalt) model.

As Steve Branam remembered us to Just Say No To Cast Iron Holdfasts,  I checked two older holdfasts still hanging in the clamps rack.   These are part industrial product,  part hand forged.  It is hard to date them but they are certainly not new, the current workbenches don't have any holes for a holdfast.  The bottom is also mushroomed from releasing the holdfast and would not fit a tight hole.

07 November 2010

Sharpening - Frank Klausz

This is the third of a number of posts about sharpening.

Via Taunton press Frank Klausz produced a DVD Hand Tools,  tuning and using chisels planes and saws. 

Off the shelve
Chris Schwarz talked about high end chisels in a recent post Yuppie Tools: A True Accounting.  He makes a case for a new Lie-Nielsen, $55 chisel that is built to last several lifetimes.  For this he relates the cost of a used high-quality (possibly also built to last several lifetimes) Douglass chisel he bought on ebay.  Counting the buying cost, materials and adding the hours spent flattening the flawed back to a 'semi usable' state, the new Lie-Nielson is cheaper.
Of course there are good and poor alternatives to high end tools. If I look at the Lee Valley catalogue I find more mid range Lee Valley, Hirsch (Kirschen) and Narex bevel edge chisels.
Frank Klausz looks at off the shelve chisels.  In his DVD he starts by presenting mid range gents saw, a chisel and a used Stanley plane.  For the chisel the choice is open,  he goes for a Marples blue handled chisel,  similar to his wooden handled chisels.

The chisel is cleaned, (hollow bevel) grinded on a large diameter white wheeled grinder.  And then flattened and sharpened freehand on two waterstones 800-6000. The waterstones holder is made of wood, so he goes on to show how to make a holder with wooden watertight joints. How else,  he is a woodworker.  The waterstones are flattened on a wooden base as glass plates are not necessarily flatter.

The plane is a used Stanley #4.  After cleaning up,  the blade is processed the same way as the chisel,  with more time and attention to the back of the blade.  To finish the sole is flattened on 400 grit sandpaper.

After a test cut with his saw he flattens the teeth and sharpens the teeth in a,  what else,  wooden saw holder.  After that the saw gives a very decent test cut.  To complete he goes on to show how to set saw teeth with a flat screwdriver.

The Story
All in all a good DVD,  contrary to a book I can't quickly check details before going to action,  but Frank Klausz walked me trough every step of the sharpening process.  It is a good start and the expense is limited, this is if I had made the right choices when buying my sharpening material.

Lutz wasserschleifbock
Knowing that Frank Klausz has an European background, I  had hoped that I would get a oilstone explanation or something about a more traditional wet grinder or maybe a word about Belgian slate.  But no, it is all waterstones and grinders.
I bought a more traditional German made waterwheel with a seventies design on the flea market.  Times have changed,  as this is definitely not a Tormek.  I can't read the stone specifications as the description is gone from the stone, but the stone was very wobbly and this is probably from factory, the previous owner didn't bother to true the stone and probably did get disappointed as the stone is nearly unused.  I did solve it with a cheap truing stone,  nearly doubling by this my costs.  A more important problem is that by today's standard the stone is a slow cutter.  This probably explains the success of high speed grinders. I could replace the stone with an expensive modern stone,  but that would not solve the tool holder problem.  So I have to look around until I find a better idea.