Category Archives: Tools

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Tools, Tools, Tools

Stanley No. 6 Type 11 Fore Plane

Yes folks, I’m talking Hand Tools. Hand Tools are one of my favorite topics. If you live in the South East like I do, then you are privileged to have some wonderful tool resources to draw on to add metal pieces of industrial art to add to your toolbox.

There are several places I search for these treasures of yesteryear. Two of my favorites are Craigslist and Marketplace. Sometimes they advertise rusty stuff other people just pass over, with patience, a keen eye and if you really look closely you can find some great deals.

Yard Sales are another place to find some really nice deals. People are generally unaware of the value of their old tools collecting dust in their garages. Also, most people are willing to negotiate price, so haggling is part of the fun.

Flea Markets, I love Flea Markets! But beware, dealers often know the eBay price of most of their items and have them priced pretty high. Look for the non-dealers and people that have boxes of rusty tools under the tables, that is where you’ll find a lot of great tool deals. That being said, if a dealer has a tool that you cannot find after lots of searching and it’s a reasonable price, it’s ok to pull the trigger and buy it. No guilt trip here.

Estate Sales, Estate sales are awesome and dangerous as you can get caught up and buy lots of stuff you don’t need. Go check out some near you and you will be rewarded by some really nice tools sometimes, and not have to pay lots of cash for them.

Thrift Shops are a good place to find tools. I found the plane pictured above at my local Habitat ReStore for $15. Yes, $15 although it was covered in rust and needed more work that I have ever had to do to any plane to get it in the pictured condition. Now, it’s a very nice tool and a valued addition to my tool inventory. Click here to see a picture of it before I cleaned it up.

The places I have mentioned up to now are really great and you can add lots of tools to your tool box from these sources without breaking the bank. As you get more experience and start to know what to look for in old tools, you’ll start seeing tools you may already have or do not use or need. That’s ok, because you can go ahead a buy them if they are a good deal, then resale them on eBay (tools sell really well on eBay) to help pay for you hobby, vocation, avocation or tool addiction. Keep in mind some of these tools may need some work if you plan to use them yourself, but a little effort will be rewarded by a lifetime of faithful service by these vintage beauties. I find that in getting them ready for use, you also learn a lot more about them and enhance your understanding and experience. I also consider it fun to see them emerge from the rust to become wonderful tools.

MWTCA or Mid West Tool Collectors Association. If you want to see a lot of tools, go to a local MWTCA tool meet. They have lots of vendors and regular tool owners selling (and buying) tools. You can learn a lot about tools from these vendors and the prices are usually pretty reasonable. They sometimes have estate sales at the tools meets and you can get some real bargains at those.

Last but not by any stretch least is Ed’s Tool Store over Roy Underhill’s Woodwright’s School in Pittsboro NC. A better collection of reasonably priced vintage hand tools will not be found anywhere in the South East. Do yourself a favor and Email Ed Lebetkin to find out when he is open and plan a trip to Pittsboro to see this store. You can thank me later.

Now that you have a full set of tools, go ahead and make yourself a tool box https://lostartpress.com/products/the-anarchists-tool-chest I can’t recommend this book enough. Chris Schwarz is an excellent writer and your whole concept of Hand Tools will be reset after reading this book. Just buy it! Get both the Hardbound and the PDF version if you can afford it. If not, At least get the Hardbound edition.

What tools do you need to start woodworking? Look here at a PDF I wrote to get a list of the tools I consider to be first in any beginners tool box.

May your shavings be thin and your joy abundant

-Aaron

Tool Chest Dump

Full Dutch Tool Chest Dump

It’s that time of year when the weather gets cooler and a young man’s thoughts turn to tools. Yes that’s right tools. I have been thinking a lot about tools lately.¬† But wait, you might say as you read this and possibly know how old I am, Aaron, your not a young man! Well everything has perspective and in the woodworking world, I am considered a young man ūüôā¬† Any who, I have been thinking about tools for a few reasons;
1) I had a dear friend pass away not long ago and I have been helping his widow get the most value out of them by selling locally, online and at a recent vintage tool sale. (this is still ongoing and is likely going to take a few months to finish)
2) I have a very small shop, so I am very choosy about what tools go in there, so I have to sell tools all the time to keep from becoming a tool hoarder and being crushed by a falling stack of wooden planes or being sliced to death by improperly stored panel saws.
3) My dear long suffering wife has had to put up with my “hobbies” (too many to name here, it is a looooong list) and the attendant mess that comes along with said hobbies. I need to reorganize so that means optimizing the space I take up ( this is currently 2 complete rooms and part of our bedroom and part of our living room :-/ .)

This brings me to to the topic of todays blog. “Tool Chest Dump

After a few years of using the Dutch Tools Chest, I love it even more today than when I finished it. It has stood the test of time and keeps my beloved tools safe and secure from dust and the ravages of the shop environment.  While usable I have not actually finished it. In my enthusiasm and need for the storage at the time, after paining it, I promptly loaded it with tools and and it has been there working every day but not yet complete. That changes now. That means I have to dump out the contents (read carefully place the contents on my bench) to proceed with the project below.

I have been mulling over the finishing touches and some upgrades and adding some features to my Dutch Tools Chest¬†. I have never trimmed off the bolts that hold my handles and this makes me nervous when I moving my No. 4 in and out as it could damage the tote handle.¬† I would also like to install a holster for my nice block plane. I have added some additional tools to the chest and I would like to find or create a better solutions for them, namely some mortising chisels and a 1 1/4″ Firmer chisel. All the other tools have a “home” and are quite happy there.

First the block plane holster

Chris Schwarz put this one in his chest and I am going to do the same thing in mine.¬†My block plane is very nice and I don’t need it knocking around the chest, but instead safe and sound in it’s own home. I have some scrap leather and it should not be an issue to create a holster.

Handle bolts

These are a bit trickier. I do not have a Dremel tool and cutting them with a hack saw is not ideal as there are 8 of them and I dislike using a hack saw. I believe I will use my grinder to grind down 1 bolt to see if that works. I need to remove about 3/16″ from each bolt and I can quench them in water to keep them from loosing their temper.¬† After shortening the bolts, I will recess the inside bolt holes to make the nuts more flush and then nail some light 1-2 lb. leather to cover it.

Additional Chisel Storage

I’ll have to get back to you later on this one. This chest is pretty packed as it is and I will really have to get creative. It can be done but it will take some soaking time to come up with a usable and practical solution.

The Dutch Tools Chest after 4 Years Use

The chest is in amazing shape. It has been rock solid and has survived a couple of trips to the Woodwright’s School. One aspect I love is the breadboard top. It was made to allow for the seasonal expansion and contraction of the large poplar board that makes up the bulk of the top. You can see in the winter that it contracts about 3/32″ and the side rail protrudes while the poplar board contracts and then in the summer (when I made the chest) it comes right back to flush. Wood movement in action boys and girls is a cool thing as long as you plan for it ūüôā

-Aaron

P.S. If you have any questions about the tools listed in the top picture or anything else in this blog, just click the “CONTACT US” link in the menu and I will be glad to help you out.

Cabinet Refinishing Project

 

 

Cabinet Before Painting

Sometimes a project just screams “You must complete me now!”. Well, that is what my latest project was saying to me. I was lucky and picked up a nice pine standing cabinet from Freecycle.org a while back and it looked like it only had one coat of polyurethane on it and the cabinet looked to be 15 or 20 years old. I knew it wold make a great addition to my shop as a paint and adhesives storage cabinet.

 

 

 

J.E. Moser’s¬†Milk Paint

 

 

I removed all the hardware and sanded it with 280 grit sandpaper. My plan was to use Lexington Green milk paint from J.E. Moser’s¬†as this is one of my favorite colors. But when I checked I only had enough for a small project. I did have quite a bit of the Salem Red.

Fortunately whoever originally finished this piece did not put many coats so the sanding went pretty smoothly. There were some dings and I had to set a few finish nails, but nothing major.

 

Cabinet with one coat of milk paint

I have to say, I am really starting to love milk paint. It is non-toxic, has no fumes, dries quickly, water soluble and it looks great.  Here is a good site with lots of information about milk paint if you have never used it before. The first and second coats do not usually look very good, but the third and fourth are really nice. This piece was an exception, It took the milk paint like it had been waiting for it. This piece has been an absolute pleasure to paint! New wood sometimes resists milk paint especially if it still has some moisture in it, but this cabinet is very dry and been really fun to paint. 

After I finish the painting, I will take some brown grocery bag and crumple it up and really give it a good buffing. this will burnish the surface and get it ready for the paste wax top coat.

Check back tomorrow to see how it turned out ūüôā

Shop Cat helping paint dry

“Happy Shavings”
-Aaron

P.S. If you have not seen my YouTube channel click => Here to check it out or click on the YouTube link on the sidebar.

Just Plane Fun

Aaron_and_the_wooden_joiner_planeOne of the things I love to do in the shop is make tools.  I have made saws, tool boxes, knives, mallets, hammers and other assorted useful items.  One thing I always wanted to make but was hesitant to, was a plane.  Any plane would do, a jack, molding or  scrub plane would be great. One of the reasons I have hesitated is because planes are different.  They do take some skill and experience to set the blade and the wedge at the right angles where they actuality cut wood and eject the shavings.  The history of planes goes back for centuries and they have been made by hand for that long but these things take skill to make and get right.

With that in mind,¬† I had been keeping an eye on Bill Anderson’s plane classes at the Woodwright’s School for some time. Recently (a year ago), I got my chance, I was on the wait list for a joiner plane class and got the call at the last minute. Let me tell you, I was excited.¬† In this class you built a 28″ long 19th century joiner plane complete with a vintage iron.¬† This was a three-day class and I loved every minute of it.¬† I finished all the major parts in the class.¬† All that was needed was to widen the mouth for the iron a bit, as it was a little too snug, make the front and back buttons and make a knob.

The buttons and the knob were afterthoughts, but the more I looked at it, the more I thought it needed a little color.¬† I added the cocobolo buttons, cocobolo being a very hard wood will protect the plane ends when I adjust the iron with blows from my wooden mallet.¬† The knob was also a last minute item where I had a hardwood button to put in the top, but I wanted more.¬† I put a 4″ long dowel in the hole already drilled for the top button and I liked the way it felt when I used the plane.¬† Excitedly, I went to the lathe and turned a nice cocobolo knob.

I was going around and around in my head on how to fasten this knob to the plane body and then an old technique came to mind.  I would use a foxtail wedge.  Basically an exposed wedge is one you do after sawing a slot and inserting a dowel or spindle in a hole and driving the wedge home.  A foxtail wedge is the same, but you do not have access to the wedge to drive the wedge with the mallet, so the bottom of the hole acts as a stop. You have to widen the bottom of the hole into the end grain and put the wedge in the sawn slot and insert the knob in the hole, and with a mallet, you drive the knob to the bottom forcing the wedge to widen the bottom of the knob locking it in place. At that point, you have a glue-free solidly fixed knob. Click here to see a picture and description of how a foxtail wedge works.

A little sanding and a few adjustments here and there and the plane was ready for the finish.  Planes are usually just finished with some type of oil and wax.  I put 3 coats of Danish Oil on and then some wax and she is ready to go to work.

2015-03-11 14.24.42This was a great project and it still was a bit difficult, but Bill is such a great teacher, I was able to do all the complicated work in the class, under his guidance.¬† If you get a chance, go take a class at the Woodwright’s School, you’ll be glad you did ūüôā

-Aaron

Brass Hammer

You might not know it, but I have been looking for a brass hammer for some time now. I need a brass hammer to tap my wooden plane’s irons to set them at just the right cutting depth.

You see, brass hammers are preferable to steel hammers as the brass is softer than the plane iron and will not damage it where the steel hammer will “mushroom” the steel and that is bad.

brass_hammer1I went to the MWTCA tool meet yesterday and I happened across this nice little beauty in the rough for $5.00.  A real bargain, as these babys can cost a lot of dough new. It had a brass head and brass handle with a duct tape grip.

I could have just left well enough alone and used it happily, but I just had to make it better.

I had to get that duct tape off of there because it was pretty nasty and really old so it was breaking down.  This came off with a knife and the brass rod handle was in good shape.  I was really struggling on how to properly put a wooden handle of the brass rod.  This decision was made for me, as I was cleaning the head the brass rod came right out of the head.

The high end tool manufacturer Lie-Nielson used to make a really nice cross-peen hammer and I liked the handle shape, so  I decided to mimic that shape.

I had to re-drill and enlarge the hole in the hammer head so it would accommodate a wooden handle. I drilled half way through on the top of the head with the next larger size bit so when I wedged the handle it would not would not come off.

I had a nice piece of cherry that was perfect for the job. So 30 minutes on the lathe and I had me a new handle.  The Lie-Nielson cross-peen hammers have a more slender handle than what I made for my handle.  I made my handle a little thicker to accommodate the heavier head on my hammer.  The hardest part of this whole project was fitting the cylindrical head to the cylindrical handle and getting it to fit.

Brass Hammer

This is what I ended up with. Quite a change from the hammer I brought home yesterday!  I am really happy with this and I hope it gives me many years of good service.

-Aaron

 

 

 

 

Brass Hammer Head

Brass Hammer Top

A Turn for the Better

The competed machine - What a beauty!

The completed machine – what a beauty!

You may recall from my previous post, that my half-finished spring pole lathe had become a temporary “bookshelf” due to an injury. ¬†Now, oh happy day, it has been repurposed into a functioning ¬†lathe! ¬†This project, by far, was one of the most difficult I have undertaken. ¬†I don’t mean technically difficult, but physically difficult. ¬†But let me say up front that it did not have to be this way. ¬†Sometimes, we work against ourselves and are our own worst enemy.

I believe improper bench height was to blame for my injury which snowballed into the delay of my lathe project, my absence from a week-long, much-anticipated class at Roy Underhill’s Woodwright’s School, and the ill temperament of my wife. ¬†When I purchased my bench, I was not aware of the proper bench height. ¬†I have since read and learned more about benches and I determined that by cutting off 4″ it would be the perfect height for most of the work I do.

For me, it was a hard lesson learned. ¬†I say to you: ¬†Make sure the surface you’re working on is at the approbate height for the activity you are engaging in. ¬†You do not have to have two or three benches to do all your work, just build appliances to add to your bench or to use on the floor to keep the work at the correct height. ¬†Use a knee-height saw bench to do ripping and crosscut sawing. ¬†Use a “Moxon Vise” (this is my next appliance) attached to your bench to do dovetail work higher up. ¬†Do chopping and planing work at normal bench height.

Even with the injury, I have loved making this lathe!  It is a joy to use and is a wonder of engineering.  This design was created by Roy Underhill, adapting a centuries-old spring pole tradition and modifying it to his need to have a portable lathe to take to shows and demonstrations to create interest.

I made several modifications to the design for my own use. ¬†For one, I used copper wire to connect the pole to the short side of the rocker arm; I used what I had on hand – just 12-gauge electrical wire. ¬†I also used it to fasten the 3/8″ leather strap to the long end of the rocker and the foot board. ¬†I used a leather belt to connect the two spring poles. ¬†The original design used a flattened piece of copper pipe, I was hoping the leather would give me some “lively” action and it does. ¬†Plus, if it breaks while I’m away from home, I have an awl and can punch a new hole in the belt I am wearing at the time and be back in business in two minutes!

I was going to use weaving loom shuttle points for my centers, but I did not have an easy way to fasten them in a way that gives me room to work between the piece being turned and the tail or head stock. ¬†So I opted for a 1/2″ 13 x 1′ steel rod which I ground into two pieces (one 7″, the other 4 1/2″), then ground and polished the ends to a point. ¬†I also ordered some weld nuts, 1/2″-13. ¬†These allowed me to fasten the threaded rod to the head and tail stock.

lathe_headstock

lathe_tailstock

Notice the “Plain Finish Malleable Iron Handles, 1/2″-13 Threaded with Through Hole.” These were installed to operate the screw in and out on the tail stock and also to tighten the poppet on the tool rest. ¬†I also bought a bar of brass (3/16″ thick, 3/4″ width, 1′) to use on top of the tool rest. ¬†I was thinking the brass would not mar my tools but would protect the wood from tool damage and is replaceable if it wears out. ¬†After using this for a little while, it has become evident that brass is not going to work the way I had intended. ¬†Brass is so soft that my tools are catching and digging into it and keeps the tools from “skating” along the tool rest. ¬†I will be replacing the brass with steel soon.

Here are but a few of the many things I want to make with the lathe:  Spinning top, a three legged camp stool, handles for my long suffering chisels and files, blanks for wooden screws, a new pump drill, and new handles for my turning saw.

The finish on the lathe will be just 3 coats of boiled linseed oil (boiled means it has additives so that the oil dries and hardens).  I believe this lathe will be around for a long time.  One great advantage of building a machines like this is that if it ever breaks you know how to fix it.  Using a tool you make yourself gives you great satisfaction and really energizes you for the next project.

This type of lathe lends itself to green woodworking.  A lot of chair legs and spindles are made with green wood.  Some turners turn the parts most of the way and then either kiln-dry the parts or wait for nature to do it for them and the turn them one last time to the finished size to remove the oval shape that comes when wood dries.

Roy said in his book, “The Woodwright’s Guide: Working Wood with Wedge and Edge,” ¬†– “I want you to make this lathe.” ¬†Well, I did and I glad I did. ¬†This tool is a real pleasure to use and does good work. ¬†It is not loud and and allows me to enjoy yet another dimension of my favorite hobby/obsession/therapy.

– Aaron

P.S. All steel and brass hardware was purchased from McMaster-Carr¬†and the 3/8″ leather belting can be obtained from Universal Sewing Supply.

The wooden tightening nut

The wooden tightening nut

Toolrest sans the wooden nut

Toolrest sans the wooden nut

Toolrest adjustment lever

Toolrest adjustment lever

Spring Pole Bookshelf?

2013-05-26 20.53.36¬†A few weeks ago, I posted some pictures of my spring pole lathe and the great progress I was making.¬† Well, as always, life happens, and manages to alter the best laid plans of men.¬† The lathe was to a point where it was looking really good.¬† After chopping out the mortises, I noticed a bit of stiffness in my arm.¬† I stopped working for the day and rested for the night.¬† My arm was very swollen and I could not fully flex it.¬† Where does the “Spring Pole Bookshelf” come in you may ask?¬† Please bear with me and I will explain.

I rested my arm for a week, and took anti-inflammatories, and it was feeling better, although still a little swollen.¬† Then, I made the mistake of using it again to install a storm door that was a Mother’s Day gift for my very patient wife.¬† It re-injured my elbow so badly that I had to do the unthinkable; I had to cancel my Moravian Workbench class at Roy’s Woodwright’s School.¬† I cannot tell you how disappointed I was when I realized I would not be able to physically stand up to a solid week of punishing mortise chopping, but I contacted Roy and let him know I was not going to be able to make the class.

Fast forward a couple of weeks to this past weekend, and after going to the Doctor and getting some stronger medication and a new arm brace, my injury was doing better.  I decided to take it slow and do some limited work.  I did some plane refurbishing, which amounted to some sanding of the sole of the plane and blade sharpening.  I took frequent rests and iced my elbow after each session.  I was not feeling any pain afterwards, and I could tell it was healing.

After doing some deep thinking about my predicament, I surmised that the root cause of the problem was the height of my workbench.¬† I have not discussed my workbench a lot as it is a commercial bench I bought from Grizzly before I knew any better.¬† It’s funny, for what I paid for this bench, I could have purchased the material for a really nice bench.¬† I have made do with this light-weight, thin-topped, crappy-vised bench-shaped object for almost 3 years now, and I have never adjusted the height.¬† That all changed.¬† I reduced the height of my bench by 4 inches.¬† I must tell you, this really made a huge difference.¬† Planing is easier and so is sawing.

Now we get to the “Spring Pole Bookshelf” part:¬† As I was piddling around the shop this weekend, I was cleaning, and I placed s few books on my lathe.¬† They fit nicely on the bed and it got me thinkin’….If I cut a board the same shape as the tail stock, I could use it for a sliding bookend.¬† This was just the small project I felt I could tackle with my limited elbow capacity.

I sawed out the block of wood and drilled a hole for a 1/2″ dowel rod and inserted the rod after placing the bookend on the lathe bed.¬† I put my woodworking books on the lathe bed and adjusted the new bookend.¬† I cut a wedge to set the bookend in place and it worked great; who needs a lathe when you have such a nice bookshelf!¬† I took a few pics and then went to rest my arm and elbow on some ice.

2013-05-26 20.54.41

I like this design concept and I will probably make a bookshelf similar to this after I complete the spring pole lathe.  Yes, I plan to finish the lathe.  This bookshelf was only a side-diversion to entertain me until I am physically able to continue the lathe project.

I will publish a list of my books in a later post.¬† This is a combination of deliberate purchases, books I’ve had for years and lucky finds in the annual library book sale.¬† All of the LAP or Lost Art Press¬†books I own are definitely deliberate purchases.

One side note, I was planning on doing a “The Onion“-esque post with a title like “Traditional Woodworker Injures Self in Freak Strain-Related Accident” but decided I’m not the professional humorist like those that populate “The Onion.”

-Aaron

It’s about time – let’s get this lathe started

Well, it has been too long since my last blog post.  I have had a lot of things going on and have not had a lot of shop time, but that dry spell has ended, and I finally got some time to work on my Spring Pole Lathe (SPL).  Earlier, I completed the short vertical side, but I did not blog that, so this will cover all my SPL efforts to date.

I am making my SPL out of Southern Yellow Pine (SYP). ¬†First, I would like to discuss the condition in which you find SYP. ¬†This stuff comes very heavy with moisture from the the home center, Home Depot, in this case. ¬†The only good board that I found was really dirty. ¬†After I cut it up to rough size, I had to plane it to get the top dirty layer off. ¬†I did not want to use my good vintage jack plane for this, as I did not want to dull it, so I used my crappy late-model Stanley #5 ¬†jack plane (I made it somewhat better by replacing the plastic front knob and the tote – thanks, Ed!). ¬†I used my scrub plane on surfaces that had a lot of material to remove, or were really dirty…I love my scrub plane, it saves me so much work.

After planning the stock, I squared and trued it. ¬†Then, it was time to start laying out the short vertical. ¬†As you can see on the plan here, ¬† (http://www.woodturnersofthevirginias.org/wova_documents/treadle_lathe/spring_pole_lathe.gif) the mortise and tenon are split, and this was a challenge. ¬†I just plunged ahead and drilled 1/2″ holes and chopped out the rest with my new Lie-Nielson 1/2″ mortising chisel. ¬†This chisel is definitely a much nicer chisel than my old one I bought from Lee-Valley on sale for a set of 6 Narex. ¬†The LN chisel cost more than the whole set of the Narex but it’s worth it. ¬†Another example of “don’t cheap out on tools, you’ll just waste your money.”

One note about the feet of the SPL. ¬†I find it very difficult to cut out long straight runs where the saw cannot start the cut, like under the foot in the hollow section. ¬†So I drilled out the curve with a 1″ drill bit and used a keyhole saw to bring the cut around to the straight section. ¬†I went far enough to fit my panel ripsaw in the slot, and proceeded to cut the rest of the way to the far end. ¬†This worked great, and this is how I will do this operation from now on.

The ogee curves on the the feet presented me with a challenge. ¬†Should I saw them out, chisel them, or what? ¬†I decided to do both. ¬†First, I saw cut a tangent that intersected both high points. ¬†Then, I cut out a “V” in the valley of the ogee curve. ¬†This got me close enough to use the chisel to chop away even more; being careful not to go too deep, and always chiseling downhill to the grain. ¬†Then, I followed the chiseling with my rasps; first the course rasp to remove the most material, and then, the fine rasp to clean up after the coarse. ¬†This left a really nice finish, and will require only minor sanding.

I repeated the same process for the tall side, and then it was time to put the ogees on the shoulders and cut out the upper portion on the tall side. ¬†I used a compass to draw 1/2″ arcs of the small ogees on the shoulders, and for the top of the short side, I used 3/4″ arcs. ¬†I then marked out the taper on the upper portion, and cut both sides with my rip saw.

Next, came the two bed rails and the the bottom stretcher.  I trued them up and cut all three pieces to the the same length.  I then aligned all ends, and marked them all at the same time for the tenon locations, with a framing square.  This ensured consistent spacing on all three tenons, and the uprights are parallel.  I cut out the tenons on the bed rails, and the stretcher rail, and then started on the mortises.

Side view getting an idea of the bed rail fit

Side view getting an idea of the bed rail fit

For the bed rails, it is important to have them planed to the same height.  The bed rails have to be level to allow the tail stock to slide freely and not bind.  Likewise, the inside faces need to be planed flat to each other.

Before putting the mortises in, I trued the uprights. ¬†After cleaning and ensuring both upright-end’s mortise and tenons were tuned, and a good fit to the feet, I used a block plane to shave off the high-side foot, until the upright showed level and square to the floor.

To mark the mortise locations, I used a 3″ spacer between the bed rails, and clamped a support stick on the upright to support the rails while they were being marked on the uprights. ¬†I was very careful in setting this up as to ensure the bed would be level, and consistent, in width along its length. ¬†I really took my time to ensure this step was done precisely.

Round or square wedges?  Well, Roy used round so that is what I chose.

Side view

Side view

Beauty Shot of end of lathe

Beauty shot – end view

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next Entry: I will cut the slot and holes for the poles and finish the tail stock and rocker-arm assembly, and maybe the tool rest.

-Aaron

Up and Down and Round and Round

Pump_Drill

There are times in-between the major projects that I do small side projects just to see if I can get something cool to work.  One of my interests is primitive fire starting techniques.  There is some good overlap with this interest and my traditional woodworking.  Well, a Pump Drill is definitely a project that has both aspects.  It can be used as a drill or a fire starting tool.

First the fire starting.  It is not certain if the Iroquois invented this for fire starting or were culturally contaminated by seeing the pump drill used by the settlers from the Old World.  Either way, it is a very effective fire starter if built right.  I have not used mine for lighting fires yet, as I have not built a proper chuck to house either a drill bit or a piece of fire drill stick.  If you are interested in the fire starting aspects of this tool I am providing below a few links that will give you more information.

Primitive Pump Drill fire starter

Field and Stream Pump Fire Drill

As this is a woodworking blog, I will concentrate on the boring aspects of this tool.  There is really very little information on when this tools was invented, but it is known to have been used as far back as middle ages and evolved from the bow drill.

I have seen this drill used in a few videos and decided to make one of my own.¬† I had the basic components on hand a 7/8″ dowel, a nice heavy piece of hickory, a scrap of walnut and some leather thong strapping from my recent leather work.

pump_drill2

Construction

1) Make the flywheel from the hickory.¬† This took the most time.¬† As my lathe is not built yet, I had to resort to, shall we say, more crude techniques for making a round disk out of a really, really hard piece of wood.¬† I made the disk about 1 1/2″ thick and 3″ in diameter.¬† I could have made it a bit wider, but a too large flywheel will block your view of what you are drilling.¬† I then drilled a 7/8″ hole in the center as true to 90 deg. as I could.

2) Make the shaft.¬† Well I already had the dowel and so I just cut it to length at about 18″ and put it through the hole in the flywheel about 4″ from the bottom tip.¬† I drilled a 1/4″ hole thru the flywheel into the shaft and drove a 1/4 dowel in to secure the flywheel (no glue needed). Then drill a 1/4″ hole in the top end of the shaft for the strapping. ¬†I also, very carefully, drilled a 1/4″ hole in center of the tip of shaft.

3) Make the pump stick.¬† Drill a 7/8″ hole in the center of my walnut scrap that was about 18″X2″X7/8″.¬† Then drill a 1/4″ hole for the strapping in each end about 3/4″ from the ends.¬† To finish I tapered the ends on the shaving horse with my draw knife and spokeshave and beveled the sharp edges with my new LN block plane.

Assembly

This could not be easier, I added some bees wax to the shaft where the pump stick would be sliding up and down.¬† Then slide the pump stick on the shaft and then attach the leather strapping thru the hole in the tip and secure with a small wedge.¬† Next pass the strap through the top hole in the shaft and then back to the other end of the pump stick and secure in the same manner as the other side.¬† You should adjust the pump stick to hang about 1″ – 1 1/2″ from touching the flywheel.

IMG_0724

In the video below, you will see that for demonstration purposes, I added one of my spring pole lathe centers to the tip on the shaft so that it would spin when I pumped it.¬† I did make a trip to ED Lebetkin’s awesome tool store and purchased two drill “spoon” type bits that work really well in these types of drills.¬† Ordinary twist bits will only cut on half of the strokes and are not very efficient.¬† These spoon bits cut on every stroke as they have a cutting edge on each side.

Next Steps: Make a chuck for the square tapered bits and one for the fire starting too.

One final note; once my lathe is finished, I want to make a really nice version of this drill with a polished stone flywheel and turned components in a couple of different sizes.

-Aaron