29 July 2011

Vagnmakeri på Söder

Lost and found again: Vagnmakeri på Söder.  After seeing an old school, by 1932 standards, Swedish wheelwright, I lost track of the link to the video. Looking now at the title it is not really a surprise.  Thanks to Kari Hultman link page I found it back.

Seeing the movie for a second time,  I discovered many interesting details. The use of a frame saw.  Also the live use of compasses to mark sixth and twelfth of the circumference.  Tenon and mortise technique ....

Another video on the list showed  a clog maker.  A former clog shop down the street, with stylised clogs on a red and green tyles facade (30's or 60's no cue) is now getting replaced by a taller building. Described that way, way way up the street (immer gerade aus) is the House of Parliament facing the Royal Palace.
My regret here is that I never bought clogs when it still was possible.  The only clogs I see have a Dutch (Swedish?) design.  And I can't imagine myself wearing these. ... Saved again.  Looking for a picture of clogs I found that the Gilles of Binche, clog wearing dancing straw men, living 80 km south-west, made it to the Unesco list. So not all is lost as they must have a supply line available. On the drawing details of the clog are hidden by over-clogs,  but the typical leather band is visible.

And now something completely different, a song linking clogs and queens on music attributed to Orlande de Lassus who was born (1532) and raised in Mons, that's way down the road (16 km immer gerade aus) to Binche.

Ils m'ont appelée "Vilaine", avec mes sabots
Ils m'ont appelée "Vilaine", avec mes sabots
Je ne suis pas si vilaine, avec mes sabots dondaine
Oh, oh, oh ! avec mes sabots
S'il fleurit, je serai reine

They called  me common with my clogs
I am not that ugly wearing clogs ...

18 July 2011

Open toolboxes - 2

This post is part of a series about toolboxes.

I was trying to solve a router problem by looking at Router Tips & Techniques by Robert Wearing, I halted on an  image of his unique workshop presented in the introduction.  As it looks so small and by having the walls fully covered by tools, I got the impression he is working from inside a toolbox.
The tools can be found back in his other books The essential woodworker or Hand tools for woodworkers.

Being back on the toolboxes taught train and supported by sleepless time,  I can as well continue my open toolbox tinkering. A place to be for looking at toolboxes is The toolbox book by Jim Tolpin. Interesting is a picture of an old toolbox.  The box is opened up through a removable front and has also a tilted lid to give a better access to the top tool racks.

To evaluate a toolbox it is best to differentiate the toolbox real estate locations. I see at the effort at grabbing a tool.  On the workbench it is just grabbing,  ... when the surface is clear.  The toolbox top:  one step followed by grabbing.  The lower shelves are,  depending of the health of my back, one deep step followed by grabbing,  or a full taboo zone.  If I deepen the box, the back of the lower shelves are nearly unreachable. That's why I mostly favor drawers over deep lower shelves. But it's a bigger effort to catch the front tools as it is now step - open  - grab (probably a two handed operation). It's possible to combine both with sliding shelves, giving an open shelve in the front and more drawer like access for the back.

As for optimal packing density, shelves seem perfect for planes (deep enough shelves). For chisels, saws and the like,  top racks can give a high tool density.

Implementing a toolbox adds maybe focus to the tools used .   It allows to think about what tools are used and needed.  My handyman toolbox is in constant evolution but when I take it along I am pretty certain I can handle most jobs without searching any further.  Another evolutionary step today, as I used it and missed a saw for a straight and a rounded cut.  I solved it with a 2 hp sabre saw,  did I say straight?  But I probably need some Japanese foldable thing.

My take today on a woodworker's workshop toolbox would be to make a narrow, wheeled column (less than 20" by 20") as high as a workbench. Narrow to keep it close without getting too much in the way.  With racks at the back half of the top, the saw rack being completely at the back (right on the drawing).  The front of the top a free landing zone.  Under it a half deep shelve for planes and using drawers or sliding shelves for ease of access to the lower shelves.
An extra could be to make the chisel rack free standing making it possible to bring a group of chisels as a whole to the workbench.

14 July 2011

Edge lipping planer

I am not in the face frame tradition when using plywood for a cabinet. Nevertheless I need a strip as a minimal frame to hide the plywood layers. Those thin strips give two critical steps gluing and finishing.  The problem with finishing is a precise finish without touching the plywood surface.  Luckily there are tools for that,  but they come with a price.
The most impressive (certainly in price) is the Lamello Cantex Lipping Machine

Virutex and others offer a lob sided power planer as edge lipping planer

And then the edge trimmers.  Virutex again with a router that can be set from 90° to -1,5°.  Festool offers something similar but with separate 90°, 0° and -1,5° bases.  Others like Bosch only offer a vertical solution

Makita has an edge trimmer with a transparent base with an horizontal option.  Although I can't see any fine adjustments.
Routers can also be used with a kit. I found one for a horizontal setup made by Festool.  It helps that Festool has one handed plunge router, where I am stuck with a two handed router. A two handed router is possibly safer, in this case Festool makes of his router a two handed setup and is much better than my router balanced on the side of a board.  Even here balance is a problem as the edge gets damaged when the pressure of the right hand is released for just one second.

Making my own kit?  I got some ideas from  Robert Wearing's Router Tips & Techniques.  In one example he balances a two handed plunge router with a leveling foot to round an edge. It's not complete for my problem as the router sole must still be raised over the protruding strip to work as a lipping planer. But it seems a good match for my router.  And now I need to find something like the Vanguard Routing Rods used in his setup.

06 July 2011

Open toolboxes

I wanted to write some introduction to the power of two concept, but as it is, it stands on its own.
Chris Schwarz offers us an authoritative work about tools and tool storage with The anarchist toolchest. I checked the availability of his book on this continent at Dictum. No book yet, so I went for a book by Charles Hayward as proposed in a language thread at Lost Art Press. I paid 0.01£ for the book (linen hard cover of course) and then an extra 40200% for transport. The book fitted its 'used' condition as upon reception I discovered one small stain on the cover. As for the Hayward's toolset it's there drawing after drawing.  It's also very well presented by the Cornish Workshop, so it's possible to spare a penny plus charges.

When on the Dictum site, I found that they have a nice example of, an open toolbox for woodworkers. To clarify to people stuck in language sensibilities,  this is not a personalized box, the company switched its name from Dick to Dictum in May and they have some labeling backlog.   The Dick-Werkzeugträger Schreinerei/Innenausbau is a nice compact package of mainly Japanese woodworking tools, only the price keeps me from becoming even more a tool collector. I certainly need that E.C.E wooden block plane, as I don't like the feel and weight of cast iron block planes.
And now the buts.  - As I see it it is maybe a little too big to set it on my smallish workbench.  - Like many tool racks it fits perfectly one set of tools and no other, forcing me to go for the matching tools.  - The technique used to make the box seems to allow a 5 minutes cutting cycle on a nesting cnc machine followed by 30 minutes of assembly. This makes the end price of 170€ for the box + container look high, even if it is cheaper than making it myself using a cnc for free.

My interest for open toolboxes comes from my handyman toolbox. Due to the small size of the box, a 25cm x 25cm (10" by 10") footprint, I can put the box on a chair, the corner of a table or its cover. The open nature of the box allows most tools to go easily out and then back in the box keeping the workspace clean(er) and (more) structured. Lately I bought a spare box for 20€ just to be sure I don't fear losing the first one (call it the power of two).

An American (cowboy style?) alternative to open toolboxes are the larger tool belts. They offer also an open structure to put the most used tools within arms reach.

The E.C.Emmerich catalog is not only there for wooden block planes, it proposes in just one page a number of more or less classic solutions to store handtools within arms reach of a workbench.

The classical tool cabinet
Same tools different setup.  When walls are not used, a tilting drawer for under the workbench

A cross between a cabinet and a small chest with those clever, going over the handle, hinges.

And for those on the move, another version of a dedicated tool tote, the PraXsys.

 All of these very nice.  But I was thinking of something smaller,  just big enough to present and regroup the smaller basic tools, with maybe one or two smaller saws, while working .  The tilted board in the small chest seems a good start.

[edit] In the end this post became the start of a series about open toolboxes