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D_W

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It's a big pain to find numbers from the same year, but here's what I found for 1916 for Pittsburgh.

Union carpenter wage (I'm guessing qualified apprentices were probably 2/3rds this rate after they were trained into the union - unless something is changed. You have site time at the union center here if you want to be an apprentice, still).

Anyway, hourly pay for a journeyman carpenter - 62.5 cents an hour in 1916 (up to 71 cents the following year). $27.50 for a work week - 44 hours for the standard work week.

Cost of a brand new stanley bailey #7 from montgomery ward's catalog - $2.70.

Not sure what the tax burden was back then, but would be surprised if it was 10% total as the government at that point preferred indirect taxes (tariffs, duties, etc). It wasn't until WWII that the tax rates really went bonkers.

So, figure a journeyman could buy 10 planes before taxes, and an apprentice could probably have a jointer bought in a day. There is no cabinetmaker journeyman rate published for that time because that was all factory work by then. I have a feeling that it was less than carpenter/bricklayer/plasterer which were all in the same ballpark. There are printers/typesetters, etc, for newspapers, so it's not all just rates for heavy labor.

Wooden jointer in the same catalog from Ohio was $1.10 (but keep in mind, they were junk by then and may have already been benefiting from prison labor). Even though the planes generally don't have all parts good at once, some if the nicest beech billets that I've seen (after cutting the planes apart when something is fatally wrong with them so as to repurpose the beech for handles or wedges) are from later planes that aren't that great. It's the irons that aren't very good. I have no idea why they're not - they're crumbly and chippy without being hard, which is puzzling. I've had no luck rehardening them to be something good, so it's probably a steel quality issue.
 

D_W

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closed throat router plane $1.15 and open $1.45. If only they'd have known that paul sellers would eventually make that a $150 item.

23 cents for a spare stanley iron for that #7

Stanley 55 with cutters, $11.65 (!!!!!!)

Bedrock 607c (Square side by then) - $3

#51 plane and metal chute board - $8.40

Full size langdon miter box (28 inch saw) - $10.75

Full sized maple cabinetmaker's bench - $9.85
 

Jacob

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Thank you David,

I have a lot of beech wood to plane for my workbench now. I probably will not be able to do it accurately enough by hand, but I can at least flatten first face + edge and then run the other side and edge through the thicknesser. I would like to use cherry as a front board on the top and the front board on the front legs, and cherry as far as I know planes nicely.
If you can do face and edge by hand there is no problem doing the other sides by hand too, if you really want to! You start by marking the width of the piece, the 2nd edge, with a marking gauge, and plane to the line checking for square with the face. You then mark the thickness on the edges and plane down to those two lines. Don't forget to mark best face and edge or you may forget where you are.
Best marking gauges are the trad wooden ones with a pin. Much nicer to use than those expensive metal versions. It's always best to have half a dozen or so as you often need to keep some on hand at different settings.
PS Two details are essential if you intend to do a lot of hand planing, a cambered blade and freehand sharpening - you need to freshen the edge a little and often. These much quicker and easier with a Bailey plane and freehand sharpening
 
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tibi

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It's a big pain to find numbers from the same year, but here's what I found for 1916 for Pittsburgh.

Union carpenter wage (I'm guessing qualified apprentices were probably 2/3rds this rate after they were trained into the union - unless something is changed. You have site time at the union center here if you want to be an apprentice, still).

Anyway, hourly pay for a journeyman carpenter - 62.5 cents an hour in 1916 (up to 71 cents the following year). $27.50 for a work week - 44 hours for the standard work week.

Cost of a brand new stanley bailey #7 from montgomery ward's catalog - $2.70.

Not sure what the tax burden was back then, but would be surprised if it was 10% total as the government at that point preferred indirect taxes (tariffs, duties, etc). It wasn't until WWII that the tax rates really went bonkers.

So, figure a journeyman could buy 10 planes before taxes, and an apprentice could probably have a jointer bought in a day. There is no cabinetmaker journeyman rate published for that time because that was all factory work by then. I have a feeling that it was less than carpenter/bricklayer/plasterer which were all in the same ballpark. There are printers/typesetters, etc, for newspapers, so it's not all just rates for heavy labor.

Wooden jointer in the same catalog from Ohio was $1.10 (but keep in mind, they were junk by then and may have already been benefiting from prison labor). Even though the planes generally don't have all parts good at once, some if the nicest beech billets that I've seen (after cutting the planes apart when something is fatally wrong with them so as to repurpose the beech for handles or wedges) are from later planes that aren't that great. It's the irons that aren't very good. I have no idea why they're not - they're crumbly and chippy without being hard, which is puzzling. I've had no luck rehardening them to be something good, so it's probably a steel quality issue.
Actually, I have found out that for 2021, an average net daily wage in the U.S. is around 170 USD for a married person with 2 children. So for 2 or 3 days of work, Americans can get a premium jointer too. If we take into account that other expenses for an average household skyrocketed in the last 100 years, a premium jointer is not a priority for most of them.
 

tibi

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If you can do face and edge by hand there is no problem doing the other sides by hand too, if you really want to! You start by marking the width of the piece, the 2nd edge, with a marking gauge, and plane to the line checking for square with the face. You then mark the thickness on the edges and plane down to those two lines. Don't forget to mark best face and edge or you may forget where you are.
Best marking gauges are the trad wooden ones with a pin. Much nicer to use than those expensive metal versions. It's always best to have half a dozen or so as you often need to keep some on hand at different settings.
PS Two details are essential if you intend to do a lot of hand planing, a cambered blade and freehand sharpening - you need to freshen the edge a little and often. These much quicker and easier with a Bailey plane and freehand sharpening
Thank you Jacob,

I need to examine how long will it take me to dimension a single 2,2m board by hand and then I will decide if I will do all 4 sides by hand. All the boards must have completely parallel faces as I will laminate them together. I have no.5 jack and no.4 stanleys, so I will use them. I have an old wooden jointer plane, but I need to do some work on it to make it usable.
 

Ttrees

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Depending on your tolerance, a pencil gauge may be a better idea than a marking gauge, that way you can choose the best face afterwards, should you leave them alone for a few days slightly oversize, the good face might not be flat no more.
The cheap pencils snap in an instant, but I manage nevertheless, a pencil parer will do a better job of making sure the line will match after, once you've sharpened it again.
 

tibi

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Depending on your tolerance, a pencil gauge may be a better idea than a marking gauge, that way you can choose the best face afterwards, should you leave them alone for a few days slightly oversize, the good face might not be flat no more.
The cheap pencils snap in an instant, but I manage nevertheless, a pencil parer will do a better job of making sure the line will match after, once you've sharpened it again.
I have made a homemade cutting gauge where on one edge, there is a cutting gauge and on the other edge, there is a hole for my mechanical pencil. Asi I have found out, mechanical pencil graphite breaks a lot, so I will try to use a classic pencil instead. I have also bought a handful of masonry nails, so I will create some marking gauges as well.
 

D_W

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Actually, I have found out that for 2021, an average net daily wage in the U.S. is around 170 USD for a married person with 2 children. So for 2 or 3 days of work, Americans can get a premium jointer too. If we take into account that other expenses for an average household skyrocketed in the last 100 years, a premium jointer is not a priority for most of them.
well, to be fair, if you lived in the US like someone lived in 1916, you'd be retired by 35. Here's some money saving things:
1) no A/C
2) heat the rooms that you're in (heating a whole house all the time was considered wasteful even when I was a kid, though not by all)
3) go to the dr. when you're ill, generally not otherwise (this can lead to consequences that are undesirable, but it's what people did 100 years ago)
4) halve meat consumption (replace some meat with eggs and milk - cheaper)
5) buy inexpensive clothes and not that many. One set of shoes for daily wear, one nice set
6) hang clothes to dry - i'm sitting a room over from the dryer running and it's summer and not raining. That drives me bonkers. My spouse takes the kid to a private pool (OK, no private pool, either) And she says there's nowhere to dry the towels - she really just wants to dry them every time they go, so they're in the washer right now).
7) no private clubs, period - "go to town" once a week, and generally weekly meal out is the cheapest take out you can find or only ice cream after eating at home
8) square footage - in the US, about half of what it is now
9) entertainment - go to the library - it's free (of course, you can get on the internet now - we'll keep that). Want more entertainment? practice a musical instrument
10) kids still need more entertainment? teach them how to run a small business (actually, that's easier now than it's ever been - they don't have enormous value on their time and can outcompete lots of folks)
11) cars - 1. miles driven only when necessary

I do agree that a jointer isn't going to be a priority for most. When the stanley 7 was sold, disposable income was so little that nobody would've had one just for entertainment. I couldn't name anything of monetary value that my grandfather and grandmother did for hobbies (they actually did #10 as adults. Grandfather would cut and split wood from his woods and then when he had a large pile, list it and sell it, or deliver it. Grandmother liked to sew and realized she could make bears and people would buy them, so that's what she did).

More beans, rice and bread. I can remember the media consumption back then - 1/2 hour at night for local news, 1/2 hour for world news and then TV was off again. On the weekends, they watched music shows in the evening if nobody was visiting.

We do have a LOT more things that we think we need to have now. I do, too - not excluded from that. Phone, internet, tools, guitars, vacations.
 

Jacob

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I think the tolerances you would need to successfully laminate large timbers would be difficult to obtain by hand. I'd do best face and edge by hand, then thickness and other edge by machine, but then turn and do best face and edge by machine too, so all 4 faces are machined. Then get them laminated together as quickly as possible with some big clamps, before they start bending again.
PS mark best face and edge with a 2b pencil. If you change your mind you can always rub them out, though they might need washing off with a damp soapy rag.
 

Phil Pascoe

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PS Two details are essential if you intend to do a lot of hand planing, a cambered blade and freehand sharpening - you need to freshen the edge a little and often. These much quicker and easier with a Bailey plane and freehand sharpening
This a well trodden route to go down and it's not time to get the peanuts out, but freehand is not "essential" - this is fallacy. I've never used a guide, so I'm not arguing against it - and indeed it's ideal - but essential it it not.
 

Jacob

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This a well trodden route to go down and it's not time to get the peanuts out, but freehand is not "essential" - this is fallacy. I've never used a guide, so I'm not arguing against it - and indeed it's ideal - but essential it it not.
If you are doing a lot of hand planing you need to be able to flip your blade out, give it a quick hone, put it back in, very frequently. "Ideal" / "essential" is splitting hairs! Let's just say "ideal" then!
But a cambered blade is problematic with honing jigs so maybe "essential" is nearer the mark.
3rd ideal/essential is candle wax squiggle on the sole
 
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tibi

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I think the tolerances you would need to successfully laminate large timbers would be difficult to obtain by hand. I'd do best face and edge by hand, then thickness and other edge by machine, but then turn and do best face and edge by machine too, so all 4 faces are machined. Then get them laminated together as quickly as possible with some big clamps, before they start bending again.
PS mark best face and edge with a 2b pencil. If you change your mind you can always rub them out, though they might need washing off with a damp soapy rag.
Jacob,

you have just exactly described my original procedure that I was intended to do, i.e. to machine the face and edge that was originally planed by hand.
 

Phil Pascoe

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If you are doing a lot of hand planing you need to be able to flip your blade out, give it a quick hone, put it back in, very frequently. "Ideal" / "essential" is splitting hairs! Let's just say "ideal" then!
But a cambered blade is problematic with honing jigs so maybe "essential" is nearer the mark.
3rd ideal/essential is candle wax squiggle on the sole
Fair point on a cambered blade.
 

Jacob

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Jacob,

you have just exactly described my original procedure that I was intended to do, i.e. to machine the face and edge that was originally planed by hand.
In that case ignore my suggestion of planing the convex side first. Do the concave side but just enough to make sure it will sit flat on the bed of the thicknesser and go through straight. Doesn't matter if there are hollows unplaned as long as it will go through without rocking.
PS and the best plane for getting it flat enough would be the longest plane you can find. 26" woody would be good.
5 and 4 not much use, no smoothing involved.
 
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Cabinetman

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You seem fairly resolute on having a very thick bench, if you want to use holdfasts which I would definitely recommend (Gramercy are excellent) I have heard people say remove some of the thickness around the holes on the underside of the bench, probably best done first, and then come through from the top with the correct size.
I was watching that video of the guy planing his bench top, and he seemed to be making hard work of it and then I realised that the bench was way way too low for him.
Bench heights are very subjective, please think hard before cutting the legs to length, personally I think you should hold a plane in your hands as if about to push and deduct an inch and that is your bench height. I have no doubt that there will be as many different ideas as there are people on here ha ha. Ian
 

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I have made a homemade cutting gauge where on one edge, there is a cutting gauge and on the other edge, there is a hole for my mechanical pencil. Asi I have found out, mechanical pencil graphite breaks a lot, so I will try to use a classic pencil instead. I have also bought a handful of masonry nails, so I will create some marking gauges as well.
For a pencil gauge I find it useful to fasten a mouse tail of leather which drops into the hole and helps keep the pencil tight.
 

tibi

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In that case ignore my suggestion of planing the convex side first. Do the concave side but just enough to make sure it will sit flat on the bed of the thicknesser and go through straight. Doesn't matter if there are hollows unplaned as long as it will go through without rocking.
So If I understand it correctly, the task is to have
For a pencil gauge I find it useful to fasten a mouse tail of leather which drops into the hole and helps keep the pencil tight.
I will try this idea. Nice tip.
 

tibi

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You seem fairly resolute on having a very thick bench, if you want to use holdfasts which I would definitely recommend (Gramercy are excellent) I have heard people say remove some of the thickness around the holes on the underside of the bench, probably best done first, and then come through from the top with the correct size.
I was watching that video of the guy planing his bench top, and he seemed to be making hard work of it and then I realised that the bench was way way too low for him.
Bench heights are very subjective, please think hard before cutting the legs to length, personally I think you should hold a plane in your hands as if about to push and deduct an inch and that is your bench height. I have no doubt that there will be as many different ideas as there are people on here ha ha. Ian
I have settled down to a 4" thick benchtop. The problem is that I have plain sawn boards (They are not doing quarter sawn at our local mill here). All the boards are 25 - 40 cm wide and they have pith and some cracks around the center. I need to cut the pith with cracks out. By this, I will manage to get two 12 - 17 cm boards from one wide board. The boards are just a little more than 3m long.


I will make the top 10cm (4") thick, which should be somewhere around the upper limit for holdfasts. And the legs could be 12x12cm or (5x5")

I will buy one quick release vice and two holdfasts for starters. I have decided for the type below as there is no need for a rear jaw, which will be the front laminated top board. So I dont need to cut any openings for the rear jaw, when I want to have it flush with the front board.
1627312651036.png


I will have many offcuts that will be 5 - 10 cm wide, so I might build another sharpening bench from them afterwards.


I will have no houndstooth dovetails, end caps, holly inlays, etc. as I am not at that level and they are probably not necessary for a good woodworking bench anyway.
 

D_W

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I have a bench top slightly over 4" thick. You won't find any issues with it other than accessories (vises, etc) intended for thinner benches, but you can mortise an area out for them and fill it later with a plug later if you change your mind on something. I use a wood screw leg vise, but this is something more common in america now, I think (to have screws widely available in 2 threads per inch size and 2 1/2" diameters, etc).

For hold fasts, coarse sandpaper turned around the hold fast will greatly improve grip (this is a thing that nobody can give you tips on online, you just experiment with different grip swirls and find what holds well, but not too well).

I've counterbored my dog holes a little bit (1 1/2"?), but not all of them. No special overly neat work counterboring, just a loose spade bit and knock away material - nobody goes under your bench, and I've seen a lot of people make dog hole drilling really hard and fiddly (I did it with two vertical references, each about 90 degrees apart, so that I could move while drilling and make sure the bit shank was vertical to both) freehand with a drill and sharp spade bit.

You will enjoy having a thick top - you can do anything anywhere on the bench.
 

D_W

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I should clarify counterboring above for anyone who chances through here and who is new - the counterbores are 1 1/8" spade bit under 3/4" holes through the top - they're about 1-1 1/2" in depth from the underside on a 4 1/8" ash bench, and not 1 1/2" wide.

I'd have to go measure them to be sure about the diameter - they're not small but not big, just big enough that the bottom of the hold fast doesn't hit them instead of the bottom of the 3/4" top bore.
 

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