Month: April 2010

I get an antique tool newsletter from Martin Donnelly, an auction house up north, it always has something of interest to me in it and this week he is showcasing ,as each newsletter does, a tool that sold in an earlier auction. A full filemakers kit, I have been curious how would you make a file? especially a rasp, without heavy machines. Do you heat the iron red-hot and hammer the teeth in? that doesn’t seem realistic so I assume you use really hard tools on soft steel then temper and anneal or is it the other way around? (it’s getting late) and what do the tools look like? There is a great description of this picture on the Martin J. Donnelly . The tools look barbaric, as they should.


Old spent files make great hand tools for the do it yourself person, they can be heated in a makeshift forge pounded into the shape of a gouge or a mortise chisel or many other tools, annealed in peanut oil or lime stone dust and let sit in a toaster oven for an hour.Tempered too hard and the cutting edge is brittle and breaks, too soft and it wont hold an edge.Years ago I took a class from Frank Turley in tool making at CW, I still use the gouge,cold chisel, bottle opener and carving knife that I made in that class, it’s fun stuff and when I can come up for air again I’m gonna do some here. I have a ton of files that I bought at auctions, they were in the box with the item I wanted, that’s happened a couple times.

Cedar Bench

This week among other things I worked on the bench from the previous post. I shaped the legs and seat and today I put it together.Here the brace is aligned with the bevel gauge  and by walking to the left of this photo one would sight the square and the bit to make sure the drilling is at a right angle to the sighting line.

I sunk the top of the knee into the bottom of the seat a little and made filler blocks for the back of the leg, the seat is soft so I want some added security.

50/50 or soft  rails, that’s what I was thinking while shaping the seat. Some longboards or “logs” are shaped so the bottom and top of the surf board met in the middle of the rail, that was my inspiration but as many things get interpreted they lose some shape and contrast.

This bench will be at the Fine Furnishings Show          

the first weekend of May.

Bench with cab legs

I started a bench today that I have been wanting to do for a while now, very simple but with cabriolet legs, fancy country ?

I dug out this thick plank, turns out its eastern cedar, something I picked up from friends that had just bought a house. They wanted to take a bunch of trees down, they called me and asked if I wanted them. Cherry, pine and cedar,I took them to my cousin who has a Woodmiser and he milled them in trade for some of it.

I’m leaving this pretty thick like 2 1/2″, this stuff is softer than what I would normally use for seats so I think I’m playing it safe.

Sawed to a rough length, planed and glued up.

I’m not sure of the final dimensions on this one ,the boards play a big roll in determining the end result, I’ll leave it up to them.

I have two cabriolet legs I made a long time ago out of riven white oak and never got around to putting them into play. I wanted two more, I’ve seen pictures of benches with two cabs in the front and draw knifed legs in the back , and I ve seen them with four cabriolet too, I like both but with the potential width this thing could have I want to go all out cab.

So back out to the stickerd stack to see what I could find, I have some 12/4 red oak that my cousin gave me when I picked up the previously mentioned milled stuff.I feel bad because he said I could have “All of this but don’t take this…… I want it to replace a rotted plank on the drive way bridge” sure no problem the chain saw is screaming to get this stuff in the old 4runner and woops what did I just do…yep sorry Murf I shortened you decking unusable. He said no big deal but I feel bad, maybe I can make it up to my self through decorative function.

Again……., plane one edge, plane one face(not always in that order, depends on the stuff) and rip out two, 2 3/4″ square stock for legs.

Trace the profile and saw out, turn the feet and a rough tenon and I have all my legs. even steven.

When I was teaching at Living Classrooms in Balt, east Balt, ever seen the Wire? its similar, and with Hopkins a few blocks away there was still this trash and filth in the alleys, I would tell my students “there is wood every where, pallets, thrown out 2x’s if you look around there is usable stuff wasting away,bring it here or take it home and make something for your mom! The point is just because it’s scuzzy on top doesn’t mean there isn’t something inside, its worth a look.