It’s lookin’ a lot like Christmas!
Friday, March 22, 2013
Well, down here in partly sunny Sussex this Friday it seems fine but up north there’s trouble brewing in the shape of what surely must be the last heavy dump of snow this spring? Please say it is? Anyway, I due at the NEC Birmingham tomorrow to do photography at the Miniatura Show and it’s not looking goo... When I get up at 4.30am tomorrow a check on the news and weather I will decide on the roll of the dice and whether or not to start the trek!
In the meantime, I’ve been taking advantage of my new Woodworking Plans and Projects workshop setting to do a first article using only hand tools – shock horror. It’s an interesting experience getting back to my roots. The key thing is that to do everything well, all your tools need to be in tip-top condition. No feeding machines here, just pure hand-eye coordination and clean, sharp – truly sharp – cutting edges properly set. It’s great to do, but undoubtedly there is more involved at least at first, it will get a bit quicker as I regularly work this way and find out which tools and methods work best and most efficiently. For instance my recently restored Record No.T5 Technical Jack Plane with its sole now properly flatted is nice to use but the blade keeps ‘tramlining’ on tough timber which suggests the steel isn’t in good condition. By comparison my late 19c Stanley Sweetheart No.4.1/2 smoother despite its weight and slightly ungainly width and deliberately left in ‘grunge’ condition, slices end grain like – well not like butter, unless frozen of course! More like slicing salami, to continue the food metaphor. In other words, good edge metal, so I think the T5 may yet get a blade upgrade if it still fails to hold an edge properly. And of course there is the opportunity to contrast and compare different things, for instance nowadays we can opt for Japanese saws over Western handsaws and very good they are too, but not for all jobs though.
Leading on from that, the workshop aids needed to make so many tasks possible with hand tools such as a shooting board or bench hook. This is fun in its own right, making the gadgets that make, making possible – if you see what I mean. Birch ply and beech timber are perfect candidates although they cost a bit more, MDF is firmly banished to the machine shop, thank you! So keep an eye out for the magazine on the newsstand and see what I’ve managed to produce, I’m certainly intrigued to find out, I’ll only know when its finished...
The newly restored Record T5 looks good but the blade is weak...
... while the Stanley smoother in â?as founddâ? condition with a fresh edge, cuts sweetly