When he sees this, Roy’s heart breaks just a little…
When he sees this, Roy’s heart breaks just a little…
I spent some time in Cincinnati earlier this year, first at Popular Woodworking in America and then a week-long class with the boys at 360 Woodworking. I am neutral. My friends call me Switzerland. If you’re not sure what I’m talking about here, be thankful.
Not being a drinking person, I anticipated having some serious time to kill in my hotel rooms at night. Not that many antiques malls stay open past 6:00 PM. For situations like this I have been trying to find some sort of woodworking project. Chip carving might work but the group scheduled their class while I was away. I was driving so I could have brought my midi lathe. Dust collection might a problem.
What I did have was a 1607 7-Drawer Kit Chest from Gerstner & Sons. I had picked this up at a Stewart-MacDonald clearance sale. Not full-fledged woodworking but woodworking lite. Sanding, gluing and clamping. It’s something.
Reading over the directions, I realized I could use another small combination square. I had one packed with the tools for the 360 Woodworking class but I didn’t want to breakup the kit. I have a marginal memory and figured I would end up leaving it behind at some point inconveniencing me. I don’t like being inconvenienced especially by me.
I remembered that my dear friend Patrick Leach of The Superior Works would be there at Woodworking in America selling pre-owned tools at prices that are high enough to make you stop and consider but not high enough to make you walk away.
Patrick had a nice 6″ Brown & Sharpe combination Imperial/Metric square priced higher than I wanted to pay. But with his big smile and winning ways, I couldn’t say no. I bought it.
It did what I needed it to do while in the area. Last week I was using it at home for some relatively precise, tight layout work and something seemed wrong. Things just weren’t adding up and everything was just slightly off. Things worked correctly when I retrieved my Starrett 6″ combination square. The Brown & Sharpe, not so much.
After about a half hour of stumbling about the shop I grabbed my dial caliper and solved the mystery. I thought I bought a 6″ combination square when in fact I bought a 150 millimeter combination square. 150 mm is 5.90551 inches. 0.09449 might not seem signficant but a tenth of an inch can really muck things up when working below 1/2″.
Two lessons come from this episode:
1.Know what you bought, it helps
2.Work from the origin, the 0 end of a rule. Who knows where it ends.
Or at least it did based on all the workbenches and tool chests I saw at a Cincinnati antique mall.
I recently spent a week in the Cincinnati area for Woodworking in America and then a pier table class at 360 Woodworking. Through strategic planning and determination I managed to carve out some time to explore Ohio’s past. The largest antique mall in the area stays open until 9:00 PM making this much easier.
First bench I came across is this large conventional bench:
A bit down the same row is this bench of the same type but with a more formal presentation:
Not everyone needs the 8′ dreadnought workbench and there is bench for them as well.
Let us not ignore the tinker or casual user:
A view of the top show an odd row of dog holes and the ever controversial tool tray:
Even lighter is this small, metal framed bench:
This one qualifies more as a work table than a bench but still supports work:
Most interesting of all is this English pattern workbench:
There was also a large selection of tool boxes and chest:
Or this one in the ever popular orange:
The big problem with looking at tool chests at antique malls is that they tend to be buried under stuff. They provide horizontal surfaces on which to pile more stuff. Dealers really like to stuff their booths with stuff. It requires more patience than I have to check out the interiors because of all the stuff you need to move. If I needed a tool chest or were a better documentarian, I would do what must be done. But neither is the case.
Occasionally the chest is buried beneath something more interesting, like this Pocket Instamatic:
Tons of tools there. Wooden bodied planes. Metal planes. Frame saws of all types and sizes. Too many to bother taking pictures. We’ve seen them all before. There was one tool that I’m not sure if is commercial or improvised:
Once you have the tools, the chest and bench, you need wood and fasteners. For wood you have to look elsewhere but they do have fasteners.
Go check out some antiques while they’re still there. Mid-century modern is coming. And collectibles. Chalk paint and other abominations.
I just got back from the launch party for Crucible Tool at the Lost Art Press, Covington campus. For those not paying attention, Crucible Tool, LLC is a venture by John Hoffman, Raney Nelson and Chris Schwarz to design and domestically manufacture high-quality, hand tools for building furniture. They perceive a niche that they need fill.
Interesting event. It looked something like this:
We all knew about their holdfast:
I liked the look, feel and size. My only reservation is that these holdfasts require you to bore and fit a 1″ hole in your bench. With several of the Gramercy holdfasts and one from blacksmith supreme Peter Ross, I am deeply invested in the 3/4″ world for now. I do have some 22 mm. holes for Festool holding devices but I will wait until I build my new bench before considering the bigger holdfasts.
The promised tool announced last night was a set of 5.75″ calipers. These are based on some vintage/historic patterns and manufactured using modern technology:
They are a very nicely built, useful tool. Considering the price, would I buy a pair? If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I am not very bright, I am very suggestible and I love Kool-Aid.
They had eight in stock at the launch with more coming soon. I don’t think any of the eight will make it to the Marketplace at Woodworking in America. But there will be more and all orders will be filled in time.
I believe that there is more going on than they are willing/able to let on. On the trip to Covington, I stopped at Black Dog Salvage in Roanoke, VA and saw this:
With my extensive knowledge of industrial history, I believe the next product is going to be relatively small steam engine to power the line shaft of a small to medium production shop. Like this:
I could be wrong…
I first met Roy Underhill at a UCLA chapter meeting of the Trilateral Commission. (That’s the Upper Chatham, Lower Alamance Counties chapter.) He was on the steering committee. I was the bartender. You might think it odd for a non-drinker to be the bartender but it’s not. Trilat’s, as we call them, like their drinks the way they like their members, neat and powerful. Ice is provided if accompanied by a look of scorn and derision. Water is available in the men’s room. Or women’s room. A member was once banned for life for ordering an umbrella drink. On appeal, it was reduced to a six-month ban, a fine and three years probation.
Since then, Roy and I have become close friends. We are now to the point that he allows me to take classes at the Woodwright’s School if there’s room and I pay list.
While I was in Louisville in March for the opening of the expanded Speed Museum, I made some time to visit a few local antiques dealers. It’s not often I get a chance to look at antiques. In Louisville. I was last there in September of 2013 when the Speed Museum closed. I remembered a large, multi-level shop in an old meatpacking facility on the east side of town. It was still there. I went.
Among the amazing things there was this device, The American Sash Trimmer:
It says so right here on the nameplate:
Knowing that Mr. Underhill has a fondness for foot powered tools and now teaches a window sash making class, I sent him some pictures and asked if I should pick it up for him. My belief was that I would be well on my way home before he got back to me.
On opening weekend, the Speed Museum was open for 30 continuous hours. There were two curator led tours I wanted to attend. One was at noon in the Kentucky Gallery discussing the furniture collection. The other one was at midnight by the same curator in the restored English Renaissance Room. I stayed there taking more pictures thinking there would be fewer patrons there at midnight. I was wrong. Families had been replaced by serious party people. Most were gone by 2:00 AM. I went back to my hotel room around 3:00 AM having lost the will to photograph.
At 6:30, my technology informed me I had e-mail. I looked. It was Roy and he wanted it. He must have been online all night researching it. He was quite excited at the prospect of owning it. I should have slept for a few more hours but I just lay in bed trying to figure out how to get this thing into my Hyundai Sonata. The problem was that the long dimension of the head is perpendicular to the foot pedal.
I waited until the shop opened at 10:00 AM and drove over to start the process. Turns out it was on sale for a mere $125 plus tax. When I went to claim it, I was joined by three shop employees all conservatively in their seventies. I mentioned I might need to find a Lowes Depot to get a wrench or socket set when I was assured they could find appropriate tools. As they started rummaging for tools, we were joined by a fourth geezer. They found a ratchet in one toolbox and some sockets in a second. The third toolbox yielded an adjustable wrench.
Now there were five old men (me included) each with his own absolutely foolproof way to remove the base. One of the gents won by virtue of the fact he had the ratchet and socket and refused to give them up. His system was not as good as mine but it worked well enough.
We then turned our attention to getting it in the car. I brought my car into the loading dock and the Fantastic Four started a debate as how it gets in the trunk. I explained my theory and they reluctantly agreed. We had to place the trimmer into the truck flat until the head passed through the folded down backseat then rotate it 90° so the pedal was laying flat. It looked like this:
On Monday, I got down to the Woodwright’s School just before class started. This meant that there was a good supply of younger, rested hands eager to help Roy with his new toy. Quickly, the trimmer was out of my trunk, in the school and reunited with its base. Other than opening the trunk, all without my assistance.
Here is Master Underhill examining his new tool and briefly ignoring his class:
Here is another view of the head showing all its adjustable presets:
A reverse view of the head:
And finally, two picture of Roy. One pose is his choice. The other is one that was kinda sorta as I wanted him to pose:
Today, I was on the receiving end of some cranky phone calls from disgruntled interior design professionals representing the two national interior design/decorating trade organizations. They were upset about my post concerning the polishing plane. They felt it mocked and diminished their profession.
It seems that in 2011 both organizations independently voted to replace the antique bicycle horn with the wooden jack plane as the decorative item to be artistically placed on a stack of slightly worn copies of either Garden & Gun Magazine or Architectural Digest depending on the client’s age, region and party affiliation.
Other planes were approved for specific situations. Coffin smoothers are to be used with smaller hardcover books.
Jointer planes are to be used with stacks of coffee table books.
Obscure or foreign books require similar obscure, foreign planes.
The felt on the bottom of the plane is meant to preserve the cover of the chosen magazine in the event the client chooses to have them bound into annual volumes.
This seldom happens but the pretext of preservation is important.
If that blog offended you, I apologize.
I said I was going to The Woodworking Show in Baltimore (Timonium, actually). I bought a ticket. I drove north. I went. The blog is my reflections and opinions on attending said show.
On Saturday, The Show opened at 10:00 AM. I arrived at around 10:10 expecting an empty parking lot at the Maryland State Fairgrounds. To my annoyance, the lot was close to 70% full. Most people were not there for the children’s toy and clothing sale in the FH/Home Arts building. Most seemed to be heading to the Cow Palace, weekend venue of The Woodworking Show.
I don’t like crowds but I had come too far to turn back. I trundled on. Like other woodworking events, the attendees are closer to Medicare than college. Trundling is an appropriate description for how we all moved.
Arriving at the Cow Palace, the vendor area seems about the same size as the vendor area at Woodworking In America, my only frame of reference for woodworking shows. The area was the same but the vendor mix was different. Lee Valley/Veritas represented the high-end of the hand tool world. No Lie-Nielsen or Scott Meeks Woodworks or Bad Axe Toolworks or Vesper Tools. Or Stumpy Nubs Woodworking!? Or Lost Arts Press.
There were more local clubs and flea market tool vendors. Oddly there were people selling kitchen and bath remodels, gutter guards, basement waterproofing and food services.
Also there were the good people from 360 Woodworking. They were there giving instructional seminars (free) and promoting their site and memberships there of. All people giving free seminars were there educating and promoting their company. This might explain why this show was $10 and WIA is over $400.
360 Woodworking’s sessions were all about building a simple wall mounted cabinet one hour at a time. 45 minutes at a time if you back out self-promotion. Here are the
boys men at work:
They have some unique approaches to common woodworking tasks. Here is Chuck with an improvised router table:
The image is a bit fuzzy due to me using the digital zoom on my iPhone. I didn’t want to get too close.
The 690 has two flat spot on the shell that house the motor’s brushes. This is how he clamps it in the vise.
Only vaguely troubling artifact of The Show was Miss Makita, an attractive woman in a midriff revealing shirt. There is also a Señorita Makita who must have been revealing her midriff elsewhere. Collectively, they are referred to as the Makita Girls.
I was curious to see who responds to this type of display, so I stood there for a few hours to observe. Not true. With my ADD, anything over 5 minutes would be impossible to believe. The few times I did walk by, the only people I saw leering were two male vendors from an adjacent booth. Either we have evolved beyond it or we are better at leering covertly.
If The Woodworking Show comes to a Cow Palace near you, you should go. I you have $400 and some free time in September, go to Woodworking In America. All the cool geezers do.
I’m not a tool collector. I know I’ve said it before, but I’m not. I believe it goes to intent. I do not go out with the intent of acquiring tools. It’s an organic process. It just happens. I see something that might be considered a tool, it speaks to me and then follows me home.
Such is the case with my latest purchase. I was recently sentenced to Las Vegas for a week. It was for business or more importantly for the check. And the per diem. I had some free time and did a tour of the usual antiques shop. Nothing great but it is more interesting than sitting around the hotel. I saw a saw that looked interesting, took a few pictures, put it back and walked away. I couldn’t quite make out the logo or manufacturer’s name on the blade.
I went back to the hotel and did some research. Within a few minutes I discovered the saw maker and the pedigree of the saw. I was hooked. When I knew nothing about the saw, it didn’t matter. Once I knew its history, I was sunk. It was over. I was out $41.00 less 15% (sale) plus 8.1% state sales tax. $37.67 or so.
Here is the saw:
The blade moves:
And you can take the blade out:
The blade has teeth on three edges. 12 ppi on one long edge, 8 ppi on the other.
The handle has a lever to set tension on the blade and lock it in:
When I got the saw back to my room I did more research and confirmed what I though.
This saw’s intent was to be two saws in one. For instance, a rip and a crosscut. Just flip the blade over, what could be easier? One could also set depth of cut by moving the blade up and down. Having played with the saw a bit, I think two saws would have been a better use of their money.
Lee Valley/Veritas has an article about the Bishop’s Patent Saw in their newsletter. Only four short pages, a quick read.
As long as we are speaking tool, I want to rant about this picture I saw in a magazine recently:
This picture must have been in either Garden and Gun or Field and Stream magazine. No legal team at any respectable woodworking magazine would allow flip-flops to be worn by somebody using power tools any more than they would allow pictures of a table saw being used without a blade guard and riving knife. Technically, he/she is not in the shop, but still…
It looks like the kind of thing you would see in Arkansas but for the fact they look more like mall flip-flops and not the ones you would get at your local dollar store.
The other major safety issue with this picture is missing accessories. There is the following label on every DeWalt DW735 planer:
I don’t see either a dust collector or a dust chute.
Can you image the lawsuit if the improperly protected feet came in contact with the exposed fan?
In a comment on yesterday’s post, Roger Davis wrote:
Both pieces are crozes, a cooper’s tool for cutting the groove where the head of the bucket or cask seats. Being a sawtooth croze, it was pretty certainly built for white cooperage, the making of pails, buckets, tubs, churns, etc. (stuff with straight staves). The tools should be assembled with the teeth toward the curved side of the body/fence. The fence rides on the end of the bucket, etc. and guides the cutter like that of a marking gauge. The surface of the post provides a depth stop for the cut, and the projections on the flat side of the fence are handles for turning the croze inside the bucket. The resulting groove for the head is also called a croze.
I have no problem with people knowing more than I do. It would really bother me to be the smartest person in the room. I recognize my limitations. Some days I seem to celebrate them.
I have no reason to doubt him but wanted to do a bit of research before accepting it. I did a quick Google search on croze and found lots of pictures of Marie-Josée Croze, a Franco-Canadian actress. She won the award for Best Actress at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival for her performance in The Barbarian Invasions. An attractive enough woman but not really relevant to this post.
A search for croze tool proved to be more useful. Seems Mr. Davis was right. I offer the following pictures from Hank Williams at woodbucket.com:
and Rob Gorrell at http://robgorrell.com/:
Here is a picture of another croze at the same shop in South Africa. It cost more and had less “character”.
The blade is aligned as described in the comment. I set up my croze similarly and it didn’t look right:
I don’t have a picture but the beam is about 10° off true when oriented with the blade up. Blade up, the wear from the wedge is on the wrong side, no marks from being driven home:
If the beam and blade are installed with the teeth toward the straight edge, all things align. The beam is true to the face, the wedge and hammer marks are where they should be and the wear on the face works with the edge of the vessel being crozed.
The area I thought had been thinned in yesterday’s post is actually honest wear. I believe somewhere along the way this tool has been reacquainted with wax that covers some of the obvious wear.
It might not have been used as designed but it has been used hard.
The croze from Delaware in yesterdays post had a slicing blade not a toothed blade. I don’t know what that means.
Tomorrow, back to furniture.
It makes sense. I’ve read the Dutch had a presence in South Africa over the years.
I’m really not a tool collect. Occasionally I might see something that is so rare and unique that it needs to be rescued. Then, and only then, will I buy a tool. I would be surprised if this happens more than once a month. Twice, maybe.
Driving down to see the South African penguins near Simon’s Town, we stopped in town to stretch our legs and wander around a bit. Much to my amazement there was an antique shop there. Having lost track of my wife, I went into the shop to see if she was there. While I didn’t find her, I did find this hollow molding plane:
The maker’s stamp indicates this plane was made by J Nooitgedagt of IJlst, Netherlands. Based on the style of the stamp, the plane was most likely made between 1865 and 1945, which narrows things down not at all.
I’m not sure about the owner’s stamp, ZUURDEEG ROTTERDAM, but it could be a furniture company based in Rotterdam.
Compared to an antique John Moseley & Son hollow:
I checked some current manufacturers of hollows and round to compare their planes to the Dutch example I bought. The two I checked were Old Street Tool, Inc. (formerly Clark & Williams) and UK plane maker Philly Planes. Their standard bed angle is 55° for hardwoods with other angles available upon request.
I thought I had read that Old Street Tools hollow and rounds were 10.5″ long but I cannot find that reference now. I could be speaking out of an alternate orifice. Wouldn’t be the first time.
I found some information about J Nooitgedagt of IJlst. It was founded in 1865 as a maker of ice skates and woodworking tools. It was one of the largest skate makers in Netherlands. Starting during the Depression, they started making wooden toys. Skate production stopped in 1965. Toy production stopped in 1975. Management shifted production primarily to chisels and measuring devices. For a while, they were one of the largest makers of chisels in Europe. Then, as often happens, Nooitgedagt was acquired by Record which was acquired by Irwin Tools which was acquired by American Tool Companies which was acquired by Newell Rubbermaid. Would it surprise you to know that Nooitgedagt is now just a memory and museum.