20 November 2011


After looking at a 50 year old tool-chest in a previous post,  I was unable to situate one tool.

Not so much the wooden paring helper,  it's there for paring mitered profiles,  like the one on the following image.  In this case the joint is tight but the profile has a gap.

It's rather what could be an angled pinch dog to be seen at the top.  Maybe it's used to hold and tighten the joint while it's drawbored.  For nailing it would be only usable for the first two joints.  I add two pictures, one of a pinch dog, the other of a clam clamp both to hold while gluing.

As a last thing, the toolbox is missing one major tool.  I expect the former owner to have a combination machine for cutting, planing, moulding, mortise. And the tenons?  Maybe they are done with a handsaw.  The picture does not show the more impressive pre-war cast iron machine, but it gives 4 operations in one shot.  In modern variations shaper and saw both use a sliding table (solving at the same time the tenoning problem) and share a fence with the planer.

19 November 2011


Reading Chris Schwarz's blog where he is Rethinking the Traditional Tool Chest and asserting that, by birthright, chests keeps rust out.  I thought,  no way.  Without feet the bottom will rot within a year - at least in a traditional shop in these climate. The first add, for an old tool chest with tools, will show me right and display predictably a fifty year old collection of rusted tools.

After a five seconds search I found these, without feet and spotless!  And for 400€ it's yours.  My guess is that modern heated cellars-garages do the trick,  don't try that in my late 18th century vaulted cellar.  Ok ok, Chris Schwarz is right, by birthright etc ... Anyway, it's a display of a lifetime of professional involvement.

The layout is also interesting.  The drawer is set at the bottom to optimize space and for ease of access. It leaves at the sides and back enough space for the full height chisel racks.

12 November 2011

Open toolboxes - 3

Another part in a toolbox series triggered by Chris Schwarz attention for toolboxes in The anarchist Toolchest.

I found a few weeks back Roy Underhill's 1940's Carpenter's Toolbox drawing.  Looking at it probably triggered it's dismissal, as the link is broken,  and there is nothing left on-line about that toolbox. The carpenter toolbox is interesting as it aims for portability and it tries to do something useful with the lid.  But that comes with a price, to keep access to the bottom of the box, the sides must be low and once opened the lid more than doubles the footprint of the box, unless the box is set at the edge of a table.

Luckily the concept is still alive, Homestead Heritage School Of Woodworking has a six days course to make one of these.

Looking for alternatives to the design, one possibility is to open the lid upwards.  In this case the moving lid needs a recess to leave room for the handle or a clever alternative.  A possible problem is that the box becomes too high once opened and falls over.  A last alternative is to make a detachable lid that could be fixed at the back of the box.  I have never seen this so it is probably not the right idea.

After searching the whole internet I remembered to look in FWW: #24 - A Joiner's Tool Case with interesting details like lengthened drawer runners and a smaller bottom drawer to give a better access to the bottom compartment.  Also present in Jim Tolpin's Toolbox book in many variations and labelled lidded totes.

A more modern take on a finish carpenter's tool tote comes from Gary Katz.  It's a fixed top model.   The drawer has moved to the bottom of the box.  The top is there to sit and stand and has even recesses to hold screws.  The round holes are for holding cordless power drills. An external rack is there for the chisels. The whole fits into a milk crate.

01 November 2011

Compound angle mortice and tenon joint - 2

Thanks to Kari Hultman, who refers on her blog to a French Woodworking Video from 1912 of the Ina: La fabrication d'un siège à l'école Boulle, I saw a manual method for making compound angle tenons.

The video shows many interesting details in the making of a Louis XV style seat,  that has by its form only angled joints. Early in the video a wooden leg vise is presented standing proud of the surface of the workbench

[edit] Through a post of the Part Time Woodworker I discovered an image of the same leg mobile vise (étau) in a Chris Schwarz post displayed in a catalogue from La Forge Royale

When it comes to cut a tenon a square frame-vise is attached to the vise.  The top surface of the frame is used as a reference plane for cutting the tenon as it stands square to that surface and the shoulders are set parallel to the top surface.
The tenon shoulder height is set above the frame top to leave room for saws and sawing.  Then a template is used to mark the tenon.

Sawing the shoulders is done with a plane like block saw,  with a horizontal blade on it side,  resting on the horizontal frame-vise. The block saw seems to have symmetrical handles to work on both sides and has most probably symmetrical teeth.
After that a frame saw is used for the vertical cut. Just straight down,  and not a safer three step method with reclamping as proposed by for example Robert Wearing.

During the whole tenon cutting process the piece is attached only once and that's even before most of the markings. After seeing mainly router solutions for compound angle tenons,  I was happy to find at last a hand tool method.