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By Jacob
#1271626
MikeG. wrote:
Jacob wrote:........To be honest I'm more interested in "country" than the posh stuff. It's all made to a budget, high or low, but the low end stuff is often ingenious in the way corners are cut (or not!) and has more in common with the modern movement - plain, simple, utilitarian, optimum use of materials etc


Yep. Me too. Tells you more about social history than the fancy stuff ever does. In the same way I am much more interested in country cottages, farms, ancient industrial buildings, and agricultural outbuildings than I am in stately homes.
And you can see what they've been up to - pit saw or adze marks on the backs of boards, over cut and irregular DTs where they've been in a hurry, faint plane marks even on the best faces, gauge and pencil marks, all interesting stuff!
And repairs - my favourite are the very surgical bits of wrought iron formed into purpose made brackets etc around breaks. Sometimes finely feathered off so you would hardly notice they were there.
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By toolsntat
#1271631
For speed without finess the use of extended saw kerfs could be considered as in this study of John Head's workshop circa 1735/1736. It does look very unsightly but the aim was to give a strong efficient joint without interference to the look of the drawer front. Unless the drawer was pulled out it would largely go unnoticed.
https://cstorb.wordpress.com/2018/10/22 ... h-drawers/
Cheers Andy
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By Jacob
#1271641
Interesting free DT shapes. I've seen over cuts but never as much as that! Either way, pin holes or sockets, it makes it easier to remove waste.
Nailed on bottoms a good idea too. No messing about and plenty of surface area to wear. I've got an old Welsh table with an oak drawer made like that but nailed all round - no DTs at all. It's stronger - the weight of the contents is taken direct to the runners and not via a tapered edge narrowly inserted into a slot or slip.
I do like stuff like that it's like a breath of fresh air compared to some over fussy and over perfect work.
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By Sheffield Tony
#1271654
toolsntat wrote:For speed without finess the use of extended saw kerfs could be considered as in this study of John Head's workshop circa 1735/1736. It does look very unsightly but the aim was to give a strong efficient joint without interference to the look of the drawer front. Unless the drawer was pulled out it would largely go unnoticed.
https://cstorb.wordpress.com/2018/10/22 ... h-drawers/


That is what I was meaning by overcut half blind dovetails in my earlier post. I thought Jacob might try that way. It is ugly though.
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By Jacob
#1271656
Sheffield Tony wrote:
toolsntat wrote:For speed without finess the use of extended saw kerfs could be considered as in this study of John Head's workshop circa 1735/1736. It does look very unsightly but the aim was to give a strong efficient joint without interference to the look of the drawer front. Unless the drawer was pulled out it would largely go unnoticed.
https://cstorb.wordpress.com/2018/10/22 ... h-drawers/


That is what I was meaning by overcut half blind dovetails in my earlier post. I thought Jacob might try that way. It is ugly though.
Once the drawer is full of underpants and T shirts you wouldn't notice. Do you look at the sides of the drawer every time you open one? :lol:
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By Jacob
#1281395
Getting speedier! Believe it or not!
Missed a lot out - it's more work doing forum than the actual woodwork! Hoping to get it all on my new website one day so it's good practice.
Target is “to be as fast as possible and consistently just good enough”. This means there is scope for improvement - in fact it should come automatically with practice.
Pins holes all cut freehand. No need for angle markers, bevel etc. Could be spaced out with dividers if you want to be very neat. No need for coping saw - as you chisel any waste jammed in the hole you just poke out when the cut is through. Larger holes leave a bigger waste piece sticking out - tap it back in and it falls out. Marking up for pin holes requires some thought - the lowest tail needs to cover the slot in the front piece but the details are different at the back, which ends on top of the bottom board and is usually cut shorter than the sides so it doesn’t get snagged if the drawer is pulled right out.
DTs freehand but all other marking out must be spot on. Face and edge marks so that you get the pieces orientated the right way around.
Shoulder lines with cutting gauge as all across the grain. Two needed as fronts are usually thicker than backs. Just yer ordinary wooden ones - a pleasure to use and often dirt cheap on eBay. The line must be fairly deep so that you can actually just drop your chisel in (and feel it) for the last chisel cut. This ensures a clean cut visible edge in a straight line, even if the face of the cut is undercut or has spelched out - as it does with soft pine.

Transferring marks:
Bright light needed.
Line up edge of end board in vice with nice piece of MDF or anything:
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THEN - the magic trick - shift the MDF back a touch to show a dark shadow line:
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Then lay side board on (make sure it’s the right one and right way around - check the marks). and adjust to make the shadow line just disappear.
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Then mark with a little squared off craft knife - just pressed in - no scoring/slicing etc. Can be done with the side piece just held down with hand pressure, but the slightest twitch and you are off line, so I devised an extremely simple hold down - a coach bolt through the bench top and a short beam with a slot to slide on to the bolt. The longer/heavier the beam the greater the holding power, or just add a weight at the end. I save lead scraps and melt them in empty baked bean tins for general purpose weights.
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Holding set-up takes seconds and means you can tap the marking chisel/knife with a light hammer for a clear mark, without it dislodging the holding set-up.
The beam can be left in place or slid off the bolt.

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The marks! Now to be sawn freehand but keeping just to the side of the mark
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Going OK so far and large numbers of DTs are becoming much less of a tedious challenge.
Target - all 150 or so DTs in one day. Should be possible
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PS am particular pleased with the hold down. Short of having something pneumatic with a push button I can't imagine anything simpler or easier to use. It's a bit like a shave horse holding but works just by weight. Could have a cord and pedal for more pressure on other jobs?
PPS the little hammer is for the marker and also for micro adjusting the boards' positions when held in the vice and hold down.
NB ALL the saw cuts must to be over the line by a gnats - it makes it much easier to chisel out the waste. If you are careful it can be invisible
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By Jacob
#1301538
Instead of hogging Derek's thread I've moved this lot here instead:
Derek Cohen (Perth, Oz) wrote:...... The clamping method could not be easier.
Easier clamping method below
The most important quality in any work - especially as we get older - is not just working to the lines ... it is being able to see the bloody lines! This is a big factor for me here. The reason I can rout so close to the lines is that the method is geared towards visibility. Any bloody fool can work to a line ... but us old farts cannot always tell where they are! :)
Well yes. I need to get close up, without specs, even varifocals not good enough. Luckily I've got good near sight in one eye.

Fact of life - this simple chisel chop is near impossible until the piece is firmly held down, then it's quite easy. Holding vertically in a vice wouldn't do it it'd be too springy - it has to be held down to something solid.Image
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Sharpening has to be done every few minutes. Leave it too long and it takes much longer. Oil stone, oil, magnet to remove swarf, 3m diapad to freshen stone, strop for a bit of a polish, oily rag
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Chopping board. MDF. Stop fixed underneath to bear against back beam of bench
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Movable stop on top (drill more holes for change of position)
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The whole set up. Work piece in place. Big enough to hold the whole side of a chest o drawers so you could do all the DTs on one end in one sitting. Clamp beam slots (removable) on to bolt through bench at right hand end, weighted at left hand end by two bean tins with lead scraps melted in, and a piece of string.
Quick release is the little piece of wood under the beam. Turn it vertical and it lifts the beam and you can take out the workpiece. Turn it back and it returns to the same setting. Change setting by turning the nut - fingers if not loaded, spanner otherwise.
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Vice is still free. Used here to mark up worpiece direct i.e. not from drawer side pin holes as this is just a demo. The ideal tool - a very thin chisel end craft knife. Little tap with hammer. Thin enough to go into single kerf tiny pinholes. Two cutting gauges - stay set throughout the job.
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Scribing lines
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First cut - just a tap in the line to deepen it. Good reason for this - you want the waste to drop out neatly from the line on this first cut then you don't have to touch it again. The rest of the waste will follow pretty well but you can clean it up if necessary without having to rework to the line itself.
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PS - these 4 photos above were my eureka moment on how to cut DT sockets. :lol:
NB just like cutting mortices which I already knew. :roll:

Then clean out corners with 10 and 4mm bevel edge chisels
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Tidy up
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At this point you can trial fit the side piece - no need to remove the workpiece yet, adjustments made in situ. One I did earlier:Image
Release workpiece with quick flip of the wrist
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The whole set up
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With seat and lamp
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PS just noticed I forgot to do any saw cuts. Didn't miss them! Learn something new every day!
The chisel was a little nub end of a 1" firmer. Firmer better for wedging out the waste, like a mortice chisel. Bevel edge only for when you need to get into corners.
Short chisel handy if you are working from a sitting position. If too difficult (Jarrah?) a narrower chisel would be better - a mortice chisel even.
PPS for me the point of this set up is that it is easier and faster than my other ad hoc earlier set ups. This means you have more time to achieve perfection if that's what you want, though 'just good enough' is good enough for me as a rule.
You could use a router by setting the clamp beam at the right spacing to guide the router. I might try that next time, especially for multiple blind DTs along a chest side, but I wanted to get up to speed with hand tools only.
Last edited by Jacob on 15 Sep 2019, 16:14, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
By Jacob
#1301539
Forgot to say - a major point of the beam clamp thing is that you could hold down and do the sides of a chest like these below, in one bash - one clamping set up, turn once end to end but otherwise all started and finished in one sitting. Coud G clamp instead of weights as the quick release not needed so much - quite a long time spent doing one edge at a time.
NB I didn't do these with it as I hadn't invented it at that point!
Would also be perfect for routing with the edge of the clamp as straightedge guide for the router.
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By Jacob
#1301542
Tried the cutting and splitting method. On the face of it it should be efficient but I don't think it is. Took some thought to find out why:
1. Chopping in to the wood at the back of the socket needs much more force for the same depth of cut, compared to chopping at the face, where the waste just falls away, as in photo Image
2 Moving from chop to split is a change of position (there's a lot of these to do so that's a lot of changes)
3 Splitting somewhat unpredictable and untidy, needs more cleaning up.
So I'm happy with all chopping, no splitting, no saw cuts.
Not surprisng really - you get something similar with morticing. There's talk of chopping, splitting, levering, waste removal. But in fact most efficient is just to chop vertically, fast and furious but in little steps. The waste removes itself and nothing needs levering - except for the finishing details of a blind mortice. I've done alot of morticing by hand so I know this very well. DT sockets very similar so I'm back on familiar territory!

So in brief;
1 chopping out with a firmer chisel is fast and neat as long as you do it mortice chisel stile i.e. cross grain, each cut is a thin slice down the face of the previous cut. But you have to do a quick hone at frequent intervals, and quick polish on a strop. Has to be freehand- no messing about with tedious modern sharpening methods.
2 The beam hold-down speeds things up as it is very easy to use and you could even do a whole chest side with it in one sitting. Could also guide a router if set up carefully.
3 Sawing necessary for pin holes only - easy done freehand and then all marks taken from them.
4 Coping saw not necessary. I've always thought this was improbable anyway - I just couldn't imagine those horny-handed old chaps fiddling with a little coping saw when they have shiny chisels and massive mallets to hand. :lol:
5 Craft knife chisel is perfect for marking through pin holes. Thin enough to locate in saw kerf alone.
6 Theres a lot of work to be done so it has to be sustainable i.e. comfortable, repeatable, well lit, with as little fiddling about as possible. From a personal point of view I feel I've turned mass DT ing from a tedious slightly fraught task into something easy and relaxing!
PS Another afterthought - sawing sides of DT sockets seems pointless but I know from looking that it was extensively done. Maybe they sawed so precisely that the sides would not need any cleaning up, or maybe they did sockets first and the saw kerfs would be definitive? Another trial and error line of enquiry to follow!
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By Jacob
#1312163
Finished object.
I wanted some long drawers for turning chisels but turned it into a trad furniture making exercise. All the details are totally traditional and nearly all the wood is recycled (floor boards etc). Top was IKEA shelf lengths saved from firewood heap.
Turned out OK, a few hiccups, am now very confident about hand DTs which is the big issue. Turning improving too.
Big learning curve, mostly rubbish wood.
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Last edited by Jacob on 09 Oct 2019, 20:08, edited 1 time in total.
By John15
#1312208
Many thanks Jacob for posting this WIP. Very interesting to see how a mixture of very old and battered tools can produce such a nice piece of furniture.

John