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AndyT

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I can't spend all my time worrying about the state of the world and the uncertain future ahead of us.
So, instead of that I have spent some time applying my old tools to the various bits of wood lying around waiting to come in useful.

Yesterday I started on a bread bin. It will use up some sweet chestnut boards left over from when I made a garden chair, and some bits of oak that have been there so long I have no idea where they were salvaged from.

Trouble is, the chestnut is an inch thick. That would look far too clumsy, it needs to be thinner. Reading through some of the many threads on here about electric planer/thicknessers has convinced me that I don't have room for one, and I certainly don't have room for a big extraction system.

So this is how I went about it instead.

The story starts here.



Rip off the sapwood and bark



Mark about an eighth off the face, clamp the board and attack it with a proper jack plane.





Nice thick diagonal shavings soon get the thickness down and provide exercise with no need to leave the house.



Some strokes with the grain, then swap to a nice jointer for smooth curls and a flat surface





with optional appearances from a panel plane



and a smoother



Gauge the thickness, with a bit of fat left for later as these will be cut up and edge jointed, and repeat on the other side.

Pause to sweep up.



I did a similar job on a longer, wider board



which I then cut in half, so I could make it shorter and twice the width. Just for fun I thought I'd use a tongue and groove joint. One way to cut this is to get a matched pair of planes that have been together for some time, through at least two previous owners.







Then I glued these together



More soon, with optional digressions about the tools if wanted.
 

Phlebas

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Good stuff, AndyT.

I suppose you'll never give up wood working wondering if there might have been another plane that might have been useful...

At least you have some decent wood. I've spent two days 'processing' bent, warped and twisted pine battens from laundry cupboards to make a pantry. I don't think I have the gall to document that.
 

AndyT

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Thanks all.

Mike, I expect yours would have bog oak accents and a sheaf of wheat carved on top, all done with just one penknife!

Phlebas, you've got me sussed. I do like to understand what old tools were like in use and what were the reasons for differences. I do sometimes find myself with too many different options... But it's also true to say that the more planes you have, the more you are aware of how many more you don't have. And I wanted to major on some of the wooden planes rather than their metal equivalents.

Ben, I want to see how it works as well. I have an idea, some rough diagrams and a partial drawing, but I will share design thoughts as I go along.

And Steve, I think your physique has more to do with your superior culinary skills than your collection of power tools!
 

AndyT

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Quick update, featuring some more naked tools to keep Greg happy!

I cut up the narrow board into five pieces using this nice old Sheffield made saw.



I straightened all the edges using the standard technique of planing them in pairs



followed by some fiddling and fudging till they looked like this



Then it was into one of the scrapwood clamps again.



I like these - they are cheap, simple and also give you a nice flat surface which is useful if you want to get one side lined up properly. (Strips of parcel tape under the joins mean that nothing will stick where it shouldn't.)

To hold the five bits down flat, I added some MFC and held it all in place with these two magnificent old cramps. They are French, imported and sold by Parry in London, made by Gautier and Lemaitre "Aux Mines de Suede"









It was nice to find an excuse to use them!



Full catalogue here https://archive.org/details/auxminesdes ... 2/mode/1up
 

gwaithcoed

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I do so admire all you hand tool only users. The only hand tool that I can handle with any accuracy is a hammer. Can't wait to see the end result
Alan
 

Andy Kev.

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I do like that clamping method. It's one that I'll bear in mind.
 

AndyT

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Well, maybe I spoke too soon - I took the bits out of the clamp only to find that I'd got one bit not lined up properly.



At least the tape stopped the squeezed out glue from sticking where it shouldn't.



I could try softening the glue with heat - I have managed to do that on a dovetailed drawer, using a steam iron. But it might be simpler just to saw through the joint, plane smooth and re-glue. There is enough width to spare, but not enough thickness.

I also started sorting out some wood for the rest of the build, but before I get on to that I probably ought to explain a bit more about the design.

I have some very rough sketches and this full size drawing of one end, which I did to work out the size of the door.



So far I have prepared a rectangle of chestnut for the base and another for the two angled ends. For economy, I am making one wide board which I will cut in two at the angle shown.

The breadbin will have a loose front which is shown in both positions. When closed, it follows the slope of the ends. When open, it lifts up and slides back horizontal. To constrain its movement, a pair of short dowels runs in curved grooves in the ends and a pair of little wheels hold it up in place. I hope that makes sense - it does in my head.

I don't have enough chestnut for the whole thing so will make the rest in oak.

I planned on using this for the top and front:



so started cutting it up - I can just avoid the holes and still get the 16" I need.
My bench doesn't have any space round its ends so for this sort of job it's back to the Workmate.



It's worth taking off any fuzz on the edges of pieces like this before getting splinters and a little lightweight wooden plane is ideal. I think this might be in the old catalogues as a toy - but it works ok for this job, and it's another one for the plane spotters to tick off!





I spent some time trying to plane away the old varnish and damage from the oak without reducing the thickness too much. The planing wasn't my best and even after some scraping the wood still looks disappointing. Frankly, it would be better painted, and used for something else. I will have a rummage and a re-think.







Anyone not used to my projects may be wondering how it can take me a week to still not even have a kit of parts or a final design, but the point of this for me isn't to turn out a finished product in the shortest possible time. It's about having a long-lasting puzzle to think about when I don't want to think about anything else, which makes use of what I have and might end up useful.

And I might speed up a little bit if the weather stops being so lovely!
 

Phlebas

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AndyT":1ue7huz9 said:
Well, maybe I spoke too soon - I took the bits out of the clamp only to find that I'd got one bit not lined up properly.

I could try softening the glue with heat - I have managed to do that on a dovetailed drawer, using a steam iron. But it might be simpler just to saw through the joint, plane smooth and re-glue. There is enough width to spare, but not enough thickness.
Far be it from me to offer advice, but: a couple of days ago I glued up a box. Differently talented as I am it was a mil or so out of square. Wouldn't normally matter, but there was a sliding box lid of perspex, so it showed rather.

I used Old Brown Glue (which I think is what you use, or a variant thereof). I put a clamp on to persuade it, and stuck the whole thing in the oven at a low heat for about 20 minutes, checking it regularly. At the end I took it out, checked for square, and let it cool with the clamp on it. Came out perfect (well, perfection is only for Allah, but good enough for me).

Might be worth a try - a lot easier than faffing about with steam or heat guns.

But what do I know.
 

MikeG.

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AndyT":wlzg8ip9 said:
.......... a pair of little wheels hold it up in place. .....
I like that design. My aunt had one very much like that many moons ago. Are you sure about the wheels, though? Would't some short largish-diameter dowels do just as well?
 

AndyT

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Ah, Phlebas, I can see through your game. You want me to melt all the joints, including the good ones, and keep this Sisyphean project going for ever... :)

And Mike, I freely confess that the design has not been entirely thought through and whether those wheels revolve or remain as wheels or something else, will all be worked out as I go along.
 

AndyT

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I've corrected my last blunder. It didn't take long.
I cut along the dud join on my little Burgess bandsaw. Not a hand tool but it's the right one for the job and takes a nice narrow kerf. A minimum of planing, then fresh glue, into the clamp and very carefully checked. You can imagine all that, I'm sure.

Today's pictures are to ask for help making up my mind.

As I said, although I'd picked out an old bit of oak for the rest of this, it doesn't look very nice. It was built up in a factory with no regard to grain or colour and it just looks boring.



My first thought was to make a framed panel for the front. These two last bits of chestnut would yield enough for stiles and rails:



and I have an assortment of bits of thin oak to make up a panel of some sort.



I could even try something challenging that I have never done, like a bead and flush or bead and butt panel.

Alternatively, I do have a rather nice chunk of rippled plane wood. I bought it about 6 or 7 years ago. When I visited Custard in his workshop (those were the days!) he kindly re-sawed it on his big bandsaw.



I have these two pieces, 1/4" thick and 6" wide which would make a front.



I only need the front to be 8 1/4" across but the length is right.

And these two 3/4" thick by 4½" wide would make the 7½" top.



What should I do?

A) Stick with the ½ oak I have started on?
B) Make a framed panel for the lid and find some nicer oak for the top?
C) Switch to plane?
 

woodhutt

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Great work Andy. I vote for the plane.
Speaking of planes, I'll need your advice on what plane(s) I should get to fill in the gaps on my plane till.
Pete
 

AJB Temple

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Very nice.

As an aside: having recently got addicted to sourdough bread baking (this predates Covid) I( have taken to keeping all bread in cloth sacks (1 per loaf) as soon as it cools. They are like canvas (available on Amazon). It seems to help keep the bread fresh and moist. As I freeze some as soon as it is cooled, I just stick the bread sacks (full of bread obvs) in the freezer. Recommended!

I have not seen a panel plane before. Now I will have to look that up :shock:
 

AndyT

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woodhutt":77wvhdct said:
Great work Andy. I vote for the plane.
Speaking of planes, I'll need your advice on what plane(s) I should get to fill in the gaps on my plane till.
Pete
Well, how does one of each sort sound? :) How big was your till going to be?

More seriously, and assuming you mean Bailey style metal planes, and are making furniture, I'd say you need a long plane (7 or 8) a jack plane (5 or 5½) and a smoother (4 or 4½). That's enough for bench planes, really.

But it's very easy to add a few more if you get interested in exploring the differences. Since being given my nice new panel plane, I can see the benefit of a sort of 'long smoother' which isn't as big as a try plane. And sometimes I like a little no 3. And everyone likes having at least one block plane. A shoulder plane will make you look like a serious woodworker even if you don't use it. And so it goes on... :wink:
 

AndyT

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AJB Temple":wiivcvf5 said:
Panel planes - jeepers. They are expensive! Some of them are thousands. Why?
I guess they're not making enough antiques any more!

They always were a premium offering, for high class work only. Presumably for makers of good hardwood furniture, or joiners working on banks and hotels. Not needed for an ordinary chippie working on the sort of houses most of us live in.

I don't really know much about what drives the sort of collector who buys the really high priced stuff, but I think it's true to say that planes by named makers such as Norris and Spiers get the top prices, while many infill planes of the period are frustratingly anonymous.
 
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