100 year old Process for the Ebonising of Wood

By H. C. Standage

Boil 1 pound of logwood chips 1 hour in 2 quarts of water. Brush the hot liquor over the work and lay it aside to dry. When dry, give another coat, still using hot. When the second coat is dry, brush the following liquor over the work: 1 oz. of green copperas to 1 quart of water, to be used when the copperas is all dissolved. For staining, the work must not be dried before the fire, but in the sunshine. If in a warm room then away from the fire.

Polishing the Work

To polish this work, first give a coating of very fine glue size, and when dry smooth off very lightly with No. 180 paper, only just enough to render smooth, but not to remove the black stain. Then make a rubber of wadding about the size of a walnut, moisten the rubber with French polish, cover the whole tightly with a linen rag, put one drop of oil on the surface and rub the work with a circular motion. When the work has received one coat, set it aside to dry for about an hour. After the first coat is laid on and thoroughly dry, it should be partly papered off with No. 180 paper. This brings the surface even and at the same time fills up the grain. Now give a second coat as before. Allow 24 hours to elapse, again smooth off and give a final coat as before. Now comes spiriting off; great care must be used here, or the work will be dull instead of bright. A clean rubber must be made as previously described, but instead of being moistened with polish, must be wetted with 90 per cent alcohol, placed in a linen rag screwed into a tight even-surface ball, just touched on the face with a drop of oil, and then rubbed lightly and quickly in circular sweeps all over the work, from top to bottom. For the fine ebony black stain, apple, pear and hazel woods are the best wood: to use. When stained black they are the most complete imitations of the natural ebony. For the stain take gall-apple 14 oz., rasped logwood 3 1/2 oz., vitriol 3 1/4 oz. For the second coating a mixture of iron filings 3 oz. dissolved in strong wine vinegar 1 1/2 pints is warmed, and when cool, the wood already blackened, is coated with it 2 or 3 times, allowing it to dry after each coating. A strong lye is now put into a suitable pot to which is added coarsely bruised gall-apples and blue Brazil shavings, and exposed for the same as the former to the gentle heat of an oven which will yield a good liquid.

Staining the Woods

The woods are now laid in the first named stain, boiled for a few hours, and left in it for 3 days. They are then placed in the second stain and treated as in the first. If the articles are not thoroughly saturated, they must be once more placed in the first bath and then in the second. The polish used for wood: that is stained black should be white (colourless), to which a little finely ground Prussian blue should be added.

How to Replace a Battery Powered Movement

I’ve had this clock for a while that my daughter bought for my birthday some years ago. The movement died and since I have many movements left from my previous clock making days; I thought it would be a great opportunity to demonstrate on how to replace a battery powered movement.

Remove pin

This is the pin that holds the hands on the movement. Not all clocks have pins some are nuts (open and closed). Pull this out with your fingers to remove the hands.

Remove nut

This is the nut that holds the movement on the face. It is only finger tight. Unscrew the nut and pop the movement out.

Movement

The movement I’m replacing is a cheap Chinese-made movement. They cost around 0.30cents to buy in bulk from alibaba and only last about 3 years. They are good if you want to build a reputation for producing rubbish. For battery powered movements you need to buy the best there is, and Takane movements are it. They are made in the USA and come with a warranty of 10 years, even though they can last longer than that. They cost around $22 each, which is significantly higher than the Chinese model, but you get what you pay for.

Insert the shaft through the hole, replace the washer and screw on the nut using finger tight pressure only.

The plastic shaft on the movement which holds the hour hand isn’t the same diameter as the hole in the hour hand, I have to make some adjustments to reduce its diameter. I will hammer the outer walls of the hole inwards.

Hammer the outer wall of the hole inwards to reduce its diameter.

Reinsert the hands and screw on the nut. Discard the pin that came with the previous movement.

I discarded the metal hands altogether and make some new ones from wood I had left over from the jewellery box project I made for my niece.

Have you ever wondered why many clocks for sale read 1:50? It’s an old psychological trick that sellers still use to make their clocks seem more attractive. It’s a smile and meant to make you feel good when you look at the clock in the shop’s window. You’ll never see a clock reading 8:20 as that represents a frowning face.

How to re-handle axes

If an axe breaks, it is almost always the shaft/handle that is the culprit. A poor quality or damaged shaft is a major safety risk. However, if the head is still in good condition, you can re-use your tool by fitting a new shaft.

When fitting a new shaft to your tool, it’s important to ensure that the shaft is dry. If it’s not and dries after the head as been fitted, there is a danger that the head will come loose. This also applies to the wedge if you fit a new shaft using a wooden wedge.

To fit a new shaft to your axe, do the following:

  1. Cut off the existing shaft just below the head.
  2. Drill a number of holes in the eye.
  3. Tap out what is left and clean the eye.
  4. Press and tap the head onto the new shaft, firmly but carefully. Cut off the protruding part of the shaft.
  5. Fit the steel wedge so that the end of the shaft fills the eye. If the steel wedge is not sufficient, you should fit a wooden wedge before the steel wedge. You can make this by cutting a wedge from a dry piece of hard timber. Then split the end of the shaft using a chisel. Apply some wood glue, tap in the wooden wedge and then cut off the excess.
  6. Tap the steel wedge out so that it locks the wooden wedge in position. Then apply oil to the end of the shaft to protect it against moisture.

How to sharpen, store and use an axe

Sharpening

  1. Use a convex edge for applications such as delimbing, felling and splitting.
  2. Use a straight edge for hacking.
  3. An axe that has been sharpened at an angle is dangerous to use as it can easily slip!
  4. A concave edge entails a high risk of the axe splintering.

You can sharpen your axe edge using sandpaper or a bench grinder. The safest way to sharpen is using a wet grinder, but sometimes it may be necessary to first grind out burrs or other damage using a different method, e.g. a bench grinder.

NB: It is very important that you take care when sharpening and ensure that the axe is not affected by heat! If any part of the axe turns a blue colour, it signals that its tempered zone has disappeared in that part of the axe and it is no longer as resistant to wear.

Storage

Never store your axe in excessively dry places, e.g. in boiler rooms or leaning against a heater. You then risk the shaft drying out and the axe head coming loose whilst being used.

Use

Never strike the neck of the axe with another tool. Never use the axe as a sledge. Only sledge axes can withstand being used as a sledge.

Tip of the day – Gang chute

Have you ever had several pieces to shoot and was annoyed that some where slightly overshot? Well this little tip will  make every shooting experience a pleasing one.

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Gang all your pieces together and flush one end as best you can then clamp them so that there’s no slippage and shoot.

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It’s a no brainer, 100% accurate perfectly flush ends.

The worst case scenario if you over shot, then you’ll have four pieces to cry over, not just one.