30 December 2011

Meta post

As I am finishing this blog second year, this is a post about the blog.  I nearly stopped the blog in march but in the end continued, it's still a wonderfull world and the blog is maybe my way to take some notes about  it.  The excellent millcreek woodworking blogger echoes a taxonomy about wood blogs:  Some .., some ...,  some don’t seem to make any sense at all. That's ok,  according to my grandfater the family motto was ni sous, ni sens  (nor money nor sense)

After using various Bruegel pictures in recent posts,  I add a missing one,  having used a detail for the figure of my blog profile.  I was looking for a carpenter in a Bruegel painting, found one, without his tools but quite liked the head in the shadows in accordance with my intended 'anonymity'.  It's a surprising picture that could be named alone in the crowd.  I see it as a Bruegel self-portrait,  but I could be wrong as I don't know what specialists say. It's tempera on very old cloth so this time no blog fitting description: wooden panel with decorative oil finish.

25 December 2011

Happy People: A Year In The Taiga

Zapping along the channels,  I found Happy People: A Year In The Taiga based on a four hour documentary by Dmitry Vasyukov.  Those people can be very impressive,  certainly as in a different mindset the documentary could be called a year in hell.  It also brings back memories of magic winter holidays I spent in the woods of the Vosges and the Jura on skis.

On a woodworking level it is also very interesting as it shows that the way of the axe is still  alive ... axes and chainsaws... axes, chainsaws and thousand trees to choose from.  I missed the part about wooden hut building and probably also about making boats,  but for making skis and traps an axe is probably enough.

21 December 2011

Wooden planes - a German system

Second post in a series about western wooden planes

Looking for information about wooden planes I found two German companies ECE and Ulmia offering a large range of wooden planes.  Both Ulmia and ECE also offer those planes in very similar (beginners) sets.  The main difference  is the missing frame saws in the Ulmia set as it does not produce any.  Ulmia describes this as Tool assortment contains quality tools - compiled by practical experts in technical training colleges - to address every requirement of modern vocational training.  So I expect that many colleges will propose their  students to use a similar set.  Apart from the large number of squares (150 mm, 250 mm, 350 mm) there is also a large number of same sized planes. What about these?


Kurz-Rauhbankhobel 48 mm (short jointer)
Doppelhobel 48 mm (double iron jack)
Putzhobel 48 mm (smoother)
Schlichthobel 48 mm (single iron jack)
Schropphobel 33 mm (scrub)
Doppel-Simshobel 30 mm ( rabbet)


Luckily my limited understanding of German is covered as Ulmia lists the planes in the set in English
- jointer plane 60 mm 600 mm  ( DIN 7218)
- jack plane 48 mm 240 mm  (DIN 7219)
- smoothing plane 48 mm 220 mm 49° ( DIN 7220)
- bench plane 48 mm 240 mm ( DIN 7311)
- scrub plane 33 mm 240 mm ( DIN 7310)
- rabbet plane w. dbl iron 30 mm   ( DIN 7307)

And gives a description of these planes
Scrub plane Processing of very rough, uneven or contaminated surfaces in preparation for smoothing or levelling (rough planing) the surface of rough sawn or bowed boards.

Bench plane For initial processing of rough sawn or scrub planed surfaces (finishing). Particularly suitable for trimming warped, rough boards at an incline to the grain and also for shaving cross-grained wood. 

Jointer plane For finishing and level planing surfaces, joints and straight edges. Particularly suitable for processing large workpieces with long surfaces and for shaving and jointing.

Jack plane For levelling and smoothing finished surfaces along and also at an incline to the grain. Application similar to the jointer plain, but on smaller workpieces.

Smoothing plane For smoothing solid wood and veneered surfaces and for smoothing and matching in work. When working with knots or alternating spiral grain, it leaves no visible planing joints.

Final remarks.
The DIN numbers show that these planes comply to manufacturing standards,  searching I found these were set in the seventies,  but I could not access them for free.
The narrowness of the scrub plane blade 33 mm looks unusual,  but maybe in practice it is not very different from a standard plane with a strongly cambered blade.  

A different approach to this multi plane set for starters is the start with a do it all #5 jack plane:  Used as it is a bench plane (one), after sharpening sized halfway the jointer and the German jack  (two and three),  a cambered blade to be a scrub plane (four),  a tight mouth and more sharpening gives a smoother (five).

18 December 2011

Wooden planes

This is a first post in what should be a series about wooden planes.  A series because I have too much material in mind too write it down in one session.

After reading mainly American blogs I started by buying metal planes.  But to cut costs I bought wooden jointer planes something like a #7 and a #9, with woodworms and all, cheaply on the second hand market.  As an afterthought I regretted not buying also standard wooden planes. Later on I got back in wooden planes when buying a set of hollow and rounds,  they are more fun to hold than say a Stanley #50.

Searching the web for technical details about modern wooden planes I found The Best Thing strongly supporting wooden planes:  For fine work, the ECE 711 Primus plane will easily outperform Bailey type smoothing planes like the Lie-Nielsen. Only the best antique (or reproduction) British infill planes can match or sometines outperform these ECE Primus planes, and then only on the most difficult woods.

Jim Toplin answers in his book The New Traditional Woodworker the question: Why aren't I showing wood bodied bench planes? with There's nothing wrong with the traditional wood-bodied plane.  In some (if not all) ways they are inherently superior to the metal plane ... ...  but I've never learned to tune and use them ... plus, few students show up with wooden planes.  

Personally I don't see major reasons why wooden planes should be superior,  but they are made of wood and you can set them by hitting them with a mallet and when that goes well it's more satisfying than fusing over setting screws.  So looking for a smoothing plane I dropped in the end the idea of buying a #4 bedrock or the excellent new Veritas Small Bevel-Up Bench Plane and started to look for wooden planes.

16 December 2011

Cart fences

After seeing an analogy between chisel racks and hay cart fences ...  I know, let's say it was beer,  I went on internet to find hay cart pictures.  I found surprisingly few of them,  time and mechanisation have changed the situation since I worked on them. I did find a picture of a small one on a French second hand site.  Char à foin en bois,  appropriately for this blog made of wood,  only the two recovered small truck axles are in metal.

To fully load a cart you may need a fourche à balle  allowing to deliver 20 kg (sometimes 40 kg) straw or hay bales up to 4 m (13') high.  When loading a cart the safety risks are numerous, if you are unlucky you can be stabbed by a pitchfork,  fall, impale yourself on the fence to finish under the wheels of the moving cart, by this tipping it over to get buried under tons of bales where what becomes your last cigarette starts a bonfire.

For the fun of it two Bruegel paintings De oogst and a detail of De hooi oogst (both 1565), with straw and hay carts.

13 December 2011

Open toolboxes - 4

This post is part of a series about open toolboxes.  Popular woodworking published an article of the early (starting out in America) Frank Klausz toolbox  Your First Tool Kit. Searching on-line I found it here.  At first sight it had not much special,  but after being made more aware through Popular Woodworking and Chris Schwarz of more standard toolboxes,  I became attracted by its lay out.  Where a traditional toolbox gives access through its top to a deep box and is partially filled with sliding drawers at the top level.   This box sets the drawer at the bottom and gives a more easily accessible box at the top.   A second aspect clearly shown by the Klausz box is that the bottom drawer does not cover  the whole bottom and leaves room to place larger objects like chisels and planes at the sides.

Here follows three toolboxes,  one from Frank Klausz as presented in his Your First Tool Kit article and two others I found on a second hand site, 2 .

We are now forty years and more later, I can imagine that this design further evolved and that modern metallic toolboxes represent a newer generation of the toolbox with drawers design.