Small Router Plane Build

I’ve finally settled on a design and finished the build, after much debate within myself and squeezing every ounce of energy out of me it’s finally done.  Working 14 hours a day in my regular job believe me this wasn’t easy, but my passion for the craft is what’s driven to complete it.

I needed to make a new router plane to aid me in completing the moulding planes, the small Veritas router plane I do have doesn’t suffice.  First the blade isn’t long enough to reach a 2 inch depth and the plane isn’t wide enough to comfortably work with it. Lastly the blade is 1/4 inch wide which makes too wide for the mouth opening.  So I decided I needed to make myself one to suit the job at hand.

Initially I started on this one below, I grabbed some scrap Walnut for the base and Rosewood for the handle from a previous clock build I did.  For the blade I used an allen key, bent it the correct angle, flattened the bottom and polished and sharpened the blade.  I also used a screw to lock the blade in it’s position.  Well it worked and to my surprise not only did the allen key sharpen really well but it’s ability to hold to an edge was really surprising.  I researched on what type of metal it is but unfortunately I don’t know because different makers use different metals which are a closely guarded secret.

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I couldn’t stop there, I was now hit with the creativity bug, I needed to make a schmick looking one and it had to resemble a period looking one, so I went cracking at it.

I started drawing it up in autocad and built a prototype.  Drawing it up is one thing but actually building it is completely another kettle of fish.  The dimensions I chose didn’t actually work so I went back to cad to come up with new dimensions.  The problem with drawing on the computer is that your screen isn’t 1:1 ratio so you end up zooming in spacing things apart to what looks good to your eye but ends up being all wrong come time to the actual build.  Even though using software for drawing is awesome especially when you want to find dead centres or mirroring object and especially erasing a line is fantastic as there are no smudges on paper but hand drawing I can definitely see the benefits in that when you draw 1:1.  There are renowned woodworkers who will draw an entire piece 1:1 scale on a sheet of plywood, now I see why they would.

Anyway I went backwards and forwards with it trying to come up with a design that aesthetically looked pleasing to the eye and had that period feel to it and functioned well.

Finally I came up with one I thought would work well, I turned some knobs and did some carving on it but they ended being too small and had a clumsy feel to it.  So I went back to cad and started a new design.  After spending much time on it mostly due to work always getting in the way I finally came up with a design that would work well.

I turned  some knobs with brass inserts, I also turned blade holder and added a nice brass knurled screw.  I added a 1.5mm thick brass plate to the bottom to keep the base indefinitely flat and it looks good as well.  I didn’t use epoxy  because you don’t use epoxy for gluing metal to wood as you see it plastered all over youtube instead, I used loctite 330 which costs horrendously, ridiculously and stupidly expensive for a small tube of it.  I would like to thank Terry Gordon from HNT tools for his advice on this and my dear friend in the US, Tony Konovaloff who wrote the book Chisel, Mallet, Plane and Saw for inspiring me to push myself and to never give up.  Love you bro

The plane measures 3 1/8 x 3 9/16 x 29/32 ( 79.3mm x 90.5mm x 23mm) the iron is O1 tool steel 1/8 inch round and reaches a depth of 2 inches, it’s been heat treated to RC 62.  The body of the plane is Black Walnut with a brass plate, the tool holder for a lack of a better word is Camphor Laurel and the knobs are Beech with brass inserts.  The plate has been ground flat.

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I have one more brass plate left, I will make one more with a 4mm O1 blade and offer it for sale, the first plane I would like to give away all I ask is that you pay the postage of $25 if it’s more I’ll wear the difference,  you can email me the first person that sends it will be the first to get it.  Send me your full address details and payment through paypal.

To send money through paypal follow the descriptions below.

  1.  Log in to your paypal account if you don’t have one then create one
  2. On the top Tab choose “money” and click on it
  3. In the left hand column you will now see “send or request money” click on that
  4. You will now see 5 boxes choose the first box that reads “send money to family or friends” this one is free if you choose the second one to the right they will charge you a fee.
  5. Enter my email address, you already know it because you sent me an email if I post it here I can get spammed.
  6. That’s it.

Almost forgot this iron in this plane reaches a depth of 1.5 inches.

Building myself a tool was a challenge but the end result was great and even though it cost me more to do it myself the experience and knowledge gained was a worthwhile investment, you could say priceless.

 

Stanley Tool Catalogue no.34 – 1958

I am offering for download this tool catalog from Stanley.  There are many vintage tools available on the market today and this catalog will help you identify each tool, it’s use but most importantly its parts.  Many times sellers on eBay either due to lack of knowledge or intentionally mislead their buyers by claiming all the parts are there or that’s in an antique when it’s a vintage.  I have seen a plane listed as vintage when it was actually built in the 90’s.  Unfortunately this particular seller’s response was “boohoo” yes I know it’s hard to believe that such people do exist but they’re out there.  So when you buy, do so with open eyes and arms yourselves to the teeth with knowledge about the product before you do so.

The download is through megasync, it’s my personal account where I backup all my drawings.

Don’t worry there is no copyright issues with this.  If I find anymore I’ll post it.

Stanley catalog no.34 1958

A good sawbench

I used to use a saw horse for all my rip and crosscutting, but a single saw horse isn’t just wide enough to support your material.   So the choice was to make one more, but that also posed some problems.  I have to kneel on the board which meant thinner boards would bend under my weight and the clutter of it eating my shop space didn’t sit well with me either.  There just had to be a better sawbench and so I devoured the net for ideas.

I looked at Chris Schwarz saw bench, then Shannon Rodgers bench and finally at Tom Fidgen sawbench.  Well that definitely was a winner for me, the bench stood 20 1/4″ x 12 7/8″ wide with a split top and 35″ long.  I like the idea of a split top, it meant that I can safely rip not so wide material.  It has dog holes for clamping and a fence for crosscutting. I made holes on both sides so the fence can be used on either side.  What I also like about this design is that one side legs are splayed and the other is square.  What this means is that you can use the square side as a reference while ripping while the splayed side provides great support to stop the bench from tipping.

It was a no brainer so I ordered his book “Hand crafted Project for the home and workshop” this book is great as it has so many other beautiful projects and none of which I ever got around to building and I bought this book probably about 2 or more years ago. Hopefully this will change as work outside my hobby always seems to get in the way.

As I was today continuing with the build of the planter box I thought it would be great if I showed you just how fast ripping with a handsaw can be.  This video isn’t sped up and no edits has been done to it, there’s nothing to sugar coat hand tooling is what it is.  It can be fast or slow it all depends on you, you are the machine, the driving force behind the tool.

The saw I’m using is a Disston 28″ 4 1/2 point  with hooked teeth.  This type of saw is mainly used for carpentry and works well slightly damped wood.  The timber I’m ripping is Radiata pine 3/4″ thick.  True not very thick stuff so ripping is made easier plus it being Radiata and not hoop pine also makes ripping easier but none the less whatever material your ripping,  your stamina and muscle strength is something you’re going to greatly rely on.

In the first video this is the full rip and in the second video I’m ripping probably  just proud of a 1/16″ from the line.  You can see as I got very near to the end I used my foot to clamp down onto the work.  Not sure if this is correct but it works for me.

Btw today was scorcher, sweat poured out of me like a running tap and sadly it landed on the sole of my LN hand plane and immediately rust formed on it.  It broke my heart.

Ancient tools & History of Woodworking

by Tony Morgan

Tools are like windows to the past. They allow us to view the civilisations that created them. Obviously, the more wooden objects a society produces, the more tools it needs and uses.

In some instances, societies advanced slowly or even regressed when it came to the development and use of woodworking tools. For instance, the Roman joiner had a larger tool chest than his medieval counterpart.

Axes and adzes were among the first tools created. Woodworkers used the axe to fell trees, and the adze, whose blade was turned 90 degrees, to dress timber.

The Minoan civilisation of Crete used a combination axe-adze and invented the double-headed axe. The axe-adze was popular with Roman carpenters.

The handsaw was used in Egypt as far back as 1500 B.C. It had a broad blade, some as long as 20 inches, curved wooden handles, and irregular metal teeth. Since the blades were copper, a soft metal, they had to be pulled, not pushed. Because the carpenter could not bear down on the cutting stroke, sawing wood must have been a slow, tedious process.

The Romans improved the handsaw in two ways. They used iron for the blades, making them stiffer, and they set the teeth of the saw to project alternately right and left. This made the saw cut slightly wider than the blade and allowed a smoother movement.

The Romans also invented the frame saw and the stiffened back saw, with s blade that is reinforced at the top to afford straight-through cuts. The frame saw uses a narrow blade held in a wooden frame and is kept taut by tightening a cord. The principle of the frame saw lives on in the modern hacksaw.

Roman builders used the try square (also known as the carpenter’s square), the plumb line, and the chalk line, tools developed by the ancient Egyptians. Egyptian woodworkers also used wooden pegs instead of nails and made the holes with a bow drill, which they moved back and forth.

Since the bow drill is ineffective for heavy drilling and wastes energy, the Romans came up with a better tool: the auger. The auger has a short wooden cross-handle attached to a steel shaft whose tip is a spoon-shaped bit. It enabled the woodworker to apply great rotational force and heavy downward pressure.

Woodworkers in the Middle Ages created a breast auger for drilling deep holes in ships’ timbers. It is topped by a broad pad on which the carpenter rested his entire body weight.

The Romans improved upon the Egyptian’s wooden pegs by inventing forged iron nails. They also created another dual-purpose tool: the hammer.

roman-hammer

In addition, the Romans invented the rule, the smooth plane, and several other types of planes. One historian has called the wood plane “the most important advance in the history of woodworking tools.”

Chisels are more ancient tools. Bronze Age carpenters used them with both integral handles and socketed wooden handles for house and furniture construction.

The first mallets, shaped like bowling pins, were pounded across the grain and didn’t last long. Eventually, a handle was fitted to a separate head. These made a more durable hammering surface.

Because of the vast amount of material to cover related to the history of woodworking, this article will focus on woodworking from ancient times to the Middle Ages, focusing on some of the more prominent civilisations. Woodworking conducted in other civilisations will be omitted – not because they are less important but again, due to the sheer volume of material. We will, however, briefly review some of the more prominent tools woodworkers used throughout history.

Ancient Egyptians (3100 B.C.)

Many ancient Egyptian drawings going back to 2000 B.C. depict wood furnishings such as beds, chairs, stools, tables, beds, and chests. There’s also physical evidence of these wooden objects, as many were found well-preserved in tombs due to the country’s dry climate. Even some sarcophagi (coffins) found in the tombs were crafted from wood.

Ancient Egyptian woodworkers were noted for regularly practising their craft and for developing techniques that advanced the craft for future generations. For instance, they invented the art of veneering, which is the practice of gluing thin slices of wood together.

The earliest examples of veneering are over 5,000 years old, found in the tomb of Semerkhet. Many of the pharaohs were buried with objects that had African ebony veneer and ivory inlays.

According to some scholars, Egyptians were the first to varnish, or “finish” their woodwork, though no one knows the composition of these “finishes”. Finishing is the art of placing some kind of protective sealant on wood materials in order to preserve them.

Ancient Egyptian woodworkers used a variety of tools, including axes, adzes, chisels, pull saws, and bow drills. During the earliest pre-dynastic period (circa 3100 B.C., about the time of the first pharaoh), they also used mortise and tenon joints to join pieces of wood. Pegs, dowels, and leather or cord lashings strengthened these joints. Animal glue was used during the New Kingdom period (1570 – 1069 B.C.).

Egyptologists found the world’s oldest piece of plywood in a third dynasty coffin. It was made of six layers of wood four millimeters thick held together by wooden pegs.

The Egyptians used a variety of wood to build their furniture and other objects. The wood came from native acacias, local sycamore, and tamarisk trees. However, when deforestation occurred in the Nile Valley starting from the Second Dynasty, they began importing cedar, Aleppo pine, boxwood, and oak from various parts of the Middle East. They also imported ebony from Egyptian colonies and used it to construct items that went into tombs such as inlaid wooden chests.

Noah’s Ark

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In the Book of Genesis, we encounter one of the Bible’s first woodworkers – Noah. After God revealed his plan to destroy a corrupt humanity by flooding the earth, He gave Noah a 120-year project – build an ark of cypress wood coated with pitch inside and out.

God furnished him and his three sons with precise instructions and dimensions. The ark was to be 300 cubits long, 50 cubits wide and 30 cubits high. If we convert cubits into feet based on the common cubit of 17.5 inches used by the Hebrews, we get an Ark that is at least 450 feet long, 75 feet wide, and 45 feet tall (about the size of a 4-story building).

The sheer size of the Ark staggers the imagination and seems an impossible task for Noah and his sons. The Scriptures, however, do not suggest that Noah had to build the ark without the help of hired men. After all, the size of the timbers for such a huge vessel would likely have been beyond the powers of four men to handle.

After the flood, the ark came to rest upon the mountains of Ararat. The mountains of Ararat are in present-day Turkey.

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Old Testament Woodworkers

While Noah and his woodworking crew displayed exceptional skills in building the ark, the Hebrew Bible paints a different picture of the Israelite woodworkers during the time of Solomon. As written in Chapter 5 of 1 Kings, Solomon had to import Phoenician artisans from the coastal city of Tyre to build his temple.

The Phoenicians were skilled in intricate woodworking such as making furniture and inlaying them with ivory carvings, but as the years passed, the Israelite’s woodworking skills improved. In Isaiah 44:13, the prophet describes the carpenter and his tools, suggesting that during the era of the kings, the Israelites were becoming more adept and involved in carpentry. In fact, carpenters were among those Israelites exiled to Babylon after the Babylonians captured Jerusalem in 597 B.C.

Lebanese cedar, imported from Lebanon, was one of the most popular building materials used in the Biblical world by ancient woodworkers because of its high quality, pleasant scent, and resistance to both rot and insects. Many temples, palaces, and seagoing vessels were made from this wood, including Solomon’s famed Temple.

This cedar was also used in the construction of the so-called “Jesus Boat” of the first century A.D. In 1986, two brothers discovered the boat in the northwestern shore of the Sea of Galilee after a tremendous drought had lowered the water level. It was similar to the boats Jesus and his disciples would have used to cross and fish the Sea of Galilee.

jesus-boat

Almost 27 feet long and over 7 feet wide, the boat’s types of nails and hull construction placed the boat’s origin between 100 B.C. and 100 A.D. It was the first near-complete boat ever found in the Sea of Galilee.

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720 B.C. Chinese Woodworkers

chinese-furniture-makers

Early Chinese civilisations also promoted the art of woodworking. It’s believed that woodworking mushroomed in that country starting around 720 B.C. When that happened, the Chinese developed many sophisticated applications of woodworking, including precise measurements used for making pots, tables, and other pieces of furniture.

During this time, a well-known carpenter, Lu Ban, was credited as being one of the originators of woodworking in China. It’s believed he brought the plane, chalk line, and other tools to China. Some 1500 years after his death, his teachings were compiled in the book Lu Ban Jing (“Manuscript of Lu Ban”).

This book documented his work as a carpenter and contained descriptions of dimensions for building various objects – such as flower pots, tables, and altars. It also provided specific instructions concerning Feng Shui (wind and water).

Feng Shui is the ancient Chinese practice of geomancy, that is, the positioning of physical objects in strategic locations in the home and in work environments to stimulate optimal wellness, health, and happiness. Ironically, the book says almost nothing of the intricate glue-less and nail-less joinery for which Chinese furniture was so famous.

Ancient Japanese Woodworkers

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Woodworkers today who practice the ancient oriental woodworking techniques take pride in their mastery of the fitted joint and their skill of not using electric equipment, nails or glue to hold their pieces together. Japan is where this style of woodworking primarily originated.

One reason for Japan’s success in such excellent woodworking was that they developed high-carbon steel tools early in their history. Their use of high-quality blades and the engineering of the lathe made ancient Japanese woodworkers leaders in crafting round and curved objects. Cooperage (the making of barrels and casks) and bentwood works (wood that is artificially shaped for use in making furniture) were popular in Japan for everyday household objects.

Japanese woodworkers also made exquisitely-sculpted scenery. Their popularity and the techniques used in the process spread across Southeast Asia.

Another highly skilled form of woodworking was blocked prints – made from inked blocks of wood. Lacquering also was developed in the orient. It is a technique dominant in Japan, China, and Korea.

New Testament Woodworkers

Recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and Mark, we find that Jesus’ adopted father Joseph was a carpenter. In the Jewish culture of that time (1st century), the father was required to teach the son his trade at age 12. Being a good Jew, Joseph would have followed this practice and began teaching Jesus at 12 his carpentry trade.

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Carpenters of the time of Jesus were often called upon to construct or repair ploughs or threshing sleds, or cut a roofing beam or shape a yoke for a new team of oxen. They also met the demands for new doors and door frames, or a storage chest, and made a variety of other repairs.

Sometimes they helped with the construction of larger building projects, such as building a wood balcony, or making doors or stairs for a new synagogue. And, on occasion, a master carpenter would be asked to create a holy object such as a Torah cabinet for the storage of Scripture scrolls.

Hebrew carpenters used a variety of wood species depending on what the job required. They included cypress, oak, ash, sycamore and olive. If it were a special project, they might have to import expensive cedar from Lebanon, or use the stock of vines for small projects.

When a carpenter needed wood, he sawed trees into boards using a large bronze saw with the aid of other workers. He cut thin boards from tree trunks. Trees in that region, however, were not large or straight.

Among the carpenter’s tools mentioned in ancient sources were the saw, mallet, adze, plummet and line, chisel, rule stick, plane, and squares. They also used the bow drill, held in one hand by the handle, which they rapidly set in motion by drawing the attached bow back and forth.

The bow-lathe was a crude primitive tool, yet a skilled woodworker could produce decorative spindles and bowls with it much like today’s wood turners. He turned the wood by pulling a leather strap back and forth like a bow. This motion moved the lathe and enabled the cut to be made in the turning wood.

With these tools at hand, carpenters from Biblical times possessed the skill to create intricately dovetailed, metered and dowelled joints. Combining considerable skill and patience, they often created splendid wood products.

800 B.C. Arabian Woodworkers

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Woodworking in the Middle East goes back for many centuries, even to Biblical times, as evidenced in the descriptions of some items. For instance, the Book of Exodus chronicles the construction of wooden holy items for the Tabernacle of the ancient Hebrews.

The ancient woodworkers of the Near East built great wooden boats out of timber that grew in the Anatolian plateau (the Asian part of Turkey) along the Levantine coast (the Mediterranean coastal lands of modern-day Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon). This wood was so coveted that invading armies often demanded it as a tribute.

Archaeologists found furniture crafted from wood inlaid with bone, ivory or metal that dated as far back as 800 B.C. at Gordion, the alleged home of the mythical King Midas. Near East woodworkers used lathes as well as wedges, mallets, chisels, hammers, drills, plumb bobs, compasses, and other basic tools.

The wooden windows of the early mosques and private houses still seen today in the Arabic culture were crafted at the height of ancient Near East woodcarving. The Muslim woodcarvers of Persia, Syria, Egypt and Spain designed and created exquisite panelling and other decorations for wall linings, ceilings, pulpits, and all kinds of fittings and furniture. Their woodwork was elaborate and minutely delicate.

 

Roman Woodworkers

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The Roman Empire also had its share of skilled woodworkers. Wielding adzes, lathes, files, planes, saws, and drills, including the bow drill, they constructed aqueducts and waterworks using wooden scaffolding, built impressive warships and barges and erected strong and lethal battering rams and catapults for attacking enemy cities.

They also crafted furniture, including tables and chairs that stylistically represented the arms of animals or that were carved to represent mythological creatures.

Archaeologists were delighted to find a furniture shop intact in Pompeii, an ancient resort city destroyed in 79 A.D. when Mt. Vesuvius erupted. They also discovered wooden furniture and decorations, and the methods of building.

Roman woodworkers used a variety of woods for their wooden creations. Wood species included ilex, beech, maple, elm, olive, and ash. The most prized wood in the Roman Empire was the African wood Tthyine, which was believed to have mystical powers. It was used by both the Romans and Greeks to make furniture.

Thyine, from the Cedar family, is a fragrant and beautiful wood the Romans called citrus or citron wood. It comes from a North African tree and was alluded to in Revelation 18:12 as being among the items which would no longer be purchased when Babylon fell.

400 A.D. Middle Ages

The medieval period, also known as the Middle Ages, occurred during the one thousand years between the fall of Rome and the Renaissance, from about 400 A.D. to the 15th century. Since wood was the most common building material in the Middle Ages, carpenters prospered. They also were considered to be among the most skilled craftsmen.

Carpenters, however, had to belong to guilds – groups that were designed to protect the interests of people in certain occupations. They also were required to do apprenticeships with established carpenters. Their tools were much simpler than what we use today, but they had to know how to use them as well as know math and woodworking. This knowledge was necessary in order to create furniture, wagons, and homes for people of that era – even kings and lords.

All buildings used wood in some way. Buildings were sometimes constructed almost entirely out of wood, from the framing for their walls and roofs to their siding and shingles. Even stone buildings required considerable wooden construction. For instance, while being built, wood was needed for scaffolding, ramps and frames to support arches until the mortar hardened. Later, wood was used for doors, window frames, floors, roof beams, and some interior walls.

Although most of the wooden buildings of the Middle Ages have long since vanished, we still have contemporary illustrations of buildings and other wooden structures either completed or under construction.

Woodworkers of the Middle Ages also were skilled in creating wooden figurines and statues, some of which still stand today. These Byzantine or Gothic art pieces showed that woodworkers exhibited extreme patience in their woodworking and their love of this skill.

 

 

Moisture Meters

Moisture meters measure the percentage of moisture or water in wood to determine whether or not the timber is too wet or too dry to be used for furniture making.  If the timber is too dry you will get glue bond failure and if too wet it too will not hold, so using a moisture meter irrespective of whether you’re a hobbyist or professional is essential.

I admit that I haven’t up until recently ever owned a moisture meter and have to a certain degree worked wood successfully without one but I emphasise on that word to a certain degree.  Not every timber I worked was without its problems of cups, warps and bows, this isn’t necessarily attributed to moisture levels as I will describe below in more detail.  Not every timber I planed remained flat the next day.  Had I used a moisture meter prior to working that wood I atleast would have been informed of its moisture content percentage level and would have decided then and there whether or not this timber is workable.  However, not always is the MC level the culprit, as I mentioned in the Kiln drying article if the timber isn’t dried correctly it will form stress and regardless of its moisture content level you will face hard times working that piece.

Pinned versus Pinless

A pinned version consists of two pins that are proud on top of the meter, these two pins are inserted into the timber either face or end grain which is more common to take a reading.  A small electrical current is passed between the points, and the amount of resistance is correlated into a moisture content reading.  Moisture is a good electrical conductor so the wetter the wood the less resistance there is to the current.  The accuracy of a pinned version is affected by the variances in the naturally occurring chemical composition of wood species, but isn’t as affected by the density of species to the other.

A pinless version penetrates deep into the wood by using an electromagnetic wave through the area under the sensor pad.  This creates an electromagnetic field which then the meter produces a moisture content from the signal it reads back.  The real beauty of a pinless version is its non destructive, which means there are no holes bored into your timber and scans a much larger area than the pin styled version.

The debate between the two versions of which is more accurate has been an ongoing debate for years with only ever one outcome, pointing favourably towards the pinned styled version until recently.  With technological advancements, the pinless style is just as accurate with the added benefits of no holes in your timber as described above its non-destructive.  However, it always boils down to the quality of the device and there are many manufacturers out there producing both versions that range in price from $30 to $1000.

All companies regardless of version will make claim that their meter is the best in terms of accuracy.  Research and knowledge will quickly weed out the falsities of these claims and help you determine the accuracy or falsities of their claims.

So how do we know which manufacturer to choose from, well lucky enough for you I have done this research over many months and am providing a link for you www.moisturemeter.com where you can see for yourselves which brand is better than others.  These tests conducted are by experts and the methods they used are described on their website.  I urge you to thoroughly go through all the brands tested so you can make a truly informed unbiased decision, after all money doesn’t grow on trees even though the leaves are the same colour.

After extensive research of many, many brands I have opted to go with a Wagner MMC220.

wagner-mmc220

With this meter, you also receive a clip-on carry case.  Yes, this meter is fragile you cannot exert more than 2-pound pressure and if dropped from 4 feet or more will result in damage to the unit and will need to be sent back for re calibration.  I thought I’d point that out straight off the bat other than that, its accurate and measures moisture in the wood and not on the surface of the wood.  It measures softwoods and hardwoods as well as tropical species. In the manual, you receive they provide a specific gravity list of most commonly used timbers. If your timber isn’t listed they also provide you a link to where you can locate your timber.  I know you’re wondering just what is specific gravity? It’s the weight of a volume of wood divided by the weight of the same volume of water.  The higher the specific gravity the stronger the wood and more difficult it is to work and since we’ve jumped onto this topic, I might as well add four more property terms you will encounter on lumber yards’ website descriptions in different species.

Hardness is the resistance of the wood surface to damage.  For example you will see hard, medium, soft or very soft.  The higher the number the less surface damage it will experience.

Strength will determine how much weight a specific wood can support.

Bending Strength is the ease with which a wood can be bent and how much of its strength in percentage it will retain after it’s bend.

Movement is the woods movement across the grain so the lower the percentage the less movement across the grain there is and the more stable it is.  However, when there is a big difference between tangential and radial movement the wood is prone to cups, twists, bows and warpage.

If this wood movement is between 1 – 3% it should be stable but anything higher than that you will experience the above mentioned.

So here is an example of the descriptions you’ll see.

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Blue Gum

Heartwood dark pink to red brown. Sapwood usually sufficiently paler to be readily distinguished. Texture moderately coarse and even. Grains straight or slightly interlocked. Gum veins common. Also, known as Sydney Blue Gum.

  • Density kg/m3 Dry: 850
  • Specific Gravity: 0.85
  • Modulus of Rupture Mpa Dry: 140
  • Modulus of Elasticity Gpa Dry: 18
  • Radial Shrinkage: 5%
  • Tangential Shrinkage: 9%
  • Hardness (Janka) (kN): 9
  • Finish: Good
  • Stability: Good
  • Durability: Durable
  • Susceptible to Lictus Borer: Yes
  • Machining: Good
  • Split Resistance Nailing: Good
  • Split Resistance Screwing: Good
  • Gluing: Good
  • Growing Region: Australia
  • Availability: Widely

Embolden and underlined are what to look out for, other websites will add further information of its blunting effects on tools, work ability and so forth but as your experience grows by working with various species you will come to know and expect each timber blunting effects, work ability and stability.

According to the information given the average percentage between the radial and tangential shrinkage is 4%.  This website claims stability is good when in fact it’s poor, but they can’t say that otherwise the laymen’s will not buy it.  With this timber, you will experience behavioural problems which means you must work fast to overcome these potential problems.  Basically, once you have it planed flat, by the end of the day your joinery and assembly must be complete.  In this case, you would have to break up your work and be realistic on how much you can complete within that given day.

Let’s look at one more example.

ng-rosewood

Rosewood

Heartwood can be either golden brown or a dark blood red. Sapwood pale yellow. Texture medium. Grain variable. The freshly cut wood has a fragrant odour often highly figured. Also, known as New Guinea Rosewood, Solomon Islands Rosewood.

  • Density kg/m3 Dry: 650
  • Specific Gravity: 0.65
  • Modulus of Rupture Mpa Dry: 95
  • Modulus of Elasticity Gpa Dry:12
  • Radial Shrinkage: 1%
  • Tangential Shrinkage: 2%
  • Hardness (Janka) (kN): 5
  • Finish: Excellent
  • Stability: Excellent
  • Durability: Durable
  • Susceptible to Lictus Borer: No
  • Machining: Excellent
  • Split Resistance Nailing: Good
  • Split Resistance Screwing: Good
  • Gluing: Good
  • Growing Region: Asia Pacific
  • Availability: Available

As an excercise you pick out the points of interest.

You will note that the stability is excellent with only a 1% difference.  This timber is not only attractive but durable and stable but does have reversing grain which isn’t mentioned in the description.  This is one of my most favourite timbers to work with.

It’s amazing how I never stick to the topic at hand but I felt it necessary and important to have added the above lessons as I’m sure not many of you would have known this.

So let’s get back to the unit itself.

The price of this unit in the US is US$395

https://www.wagnermeters.com/shop/mmc220-extended-range-moisture-meter/

In Australia on special for AU$416.90 including GST until March 2017 which it will then be $469.90

http://kevmor.com.au/wagner-moisture-meter-australia/2210-wagner-mmc220-wood-moisture-meter-extended-range.html

Don’t bother with eBay as they are selling it for well above $600 which is usually the case with eBay now a day.  If I see something I like on eBay I will always hunt around on google for a better price and 9 out 10 times I will always get a better price elsewhere.

For my Australian readers, Carba Tec is usually more expensive than items you can buy from England directly either through eBay or their websites which sometimes includes the shipping as well.  Complaints have fallen on deaf ears even though they made a solemn promise it wouldn’t.  With just under 10,000 readers of my blog worldwide and growing weekly I’m sure their hearing will miraculously return.  Praise the Lord.

Final thoughts

Price unfortunately for many of you is a determining factor in which product you’ll buy.  For many of you that is of that mindset usually ends in detriment that produces less than desirable results which, always leads to a disastrous end and possible loss of interest in the craft down the track.  When it comes to tools, quality should never be compromised due to lack of funds.  Hard work, patience and strict budgeting is the key to success. Just setting aside just $20 a week is a saving of $480 in 6 months.  This may seem like a long time but 6 months will go by with or without you budgeting so why not set yourselves goals.

You’re not children and I won’t treat you like ones, you know your own financial circumstances and need to think and act responsibly.  On the same token with some thought and foresight you can own many high quality tools if you move away from the I want it now mindset and learn to be patient and budget well.

I have no financial benefit from the above mentioned websites, nor do I have any financial benefit from you either, nor from this blog.  So there is no need for me to sugar coat anything when I tell you,  being a tight arse will get you nowhere, which reminds me of a video I once watched on YouTube.

A guy making a box, nothing fancy just a box.  He is claiming it only cost him $10 to produce,  which is a false statement as he hasn’t claimed labour, rent, electricity, taxes, packaging, shipping etc. but let’s go with it anyway.  He claims that this box will sell for $40 on the flea market but he’s not willing to pay $40 himself so how does he expect others to pay him the same.  Get the picture?  I hope so, maybe I could have worded this better but we are coming to a close and I really want to get on with my project.

One last point to make,  the Australian dollar is quite low, and the economy is quite weak irrespective of what my weak, irresponsible, dumb, lying government who only gives tax breaks to the wealthy, will say. For the US, this is a great opportunity to get good bargains.  This unit should cost you less if you purchased it from here than in your own home country.  When the Aussie dollar was stronger than the US I took advantage of this and saved hundreds.  So now you too have this opportunity for however long it lasts.   Think smart, budget well and be patient.

Thank you for reading and listening to my blog.

 

 

Brass Glue Pot-Designed by Hank Levin

Above is an audio of the post below

You know my stance on hide glue; you know all the benefits of it; if not read my earlier posts on the topic.

I’ve been using Old brown glue or OBG as it’s known, it’s a liquid hide glue which again you all know what that is, it’s nothing in relation to Titebond’s liquid hide.  I’ve used Titebond Liquid Hide once and never again due to glue failure, OBG is the real deal, its real animal hide glue of 192-gram strength and has never failed not once.  Unfortunately, it’s only available from one seller in Australia and it isn’t cheap.  It costs me about $60 including shipping for a 20-ounce bottle, and if I were to purchase it from the States, add another 15 to $20.  Comparing to PVA which costs only 5 to $6 it’s not what you would call cheap as chips.  However, that doesn’t deter me from using animal hide glue but, I have been looking for a cheaper alternative and that would be making my own.

I would go through a 20-ounce bottle within 3 to 4 months in the past, so the 18 months’ expiry date never bothered me.  Now that I no longer woodwork as a business per say, a 5 ounce bottle would suffice 6 months probably longer.  I have been looking for a cheaper alternative by mixing my own batch, plus the tack time will be quicker.

So I hunted on eBay for a glue pot.  Knowing that antique glue pots if rusted on the inside are worthless, or if dropped can have a hair line crack that isn’t noticeable which, also renders them worthless, and knowing that some antique dealers on eBay are either clueless or just can’t be trusted, is a gamble I just wasn’t willing to take.  Besides I really needed something small that I could mix a small batch and use it all then and there.  No point in making a lot of glue that will end up going off and then throwing it away is just false economy.

By chance after almost giving up on the chase, I stumbled upon this beautiful brass glue pot by Hank Levin from www.musicaravan.com/.   When I saw it I fell in love, literally my heart wanted it and it was the perfect size, much like what Lee Valley is selling however, 1000 times more beautiful and it’s entirely handmade from brass, which means no rust, ever.

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Hank is a Luthier since the 1960’s from New York who specialises in building and repairing musical instruments.  As a Luthier, he doesn’t need a lot of glue, prior to Hank developing this pot, Hank would end up throwing a lot of glue away after a few days of not using it, even though he kept it in the fridge, he couldn’t afford to take the risk of using it for the fear of glue failure.

When you make high class expensive precision instruments, you simply cannot afford the risk of glue failure which forced Hank, to come up with a design that would suit his purpose, hence; the birth of the Brass glue pot.

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The inner sleeve is heavily tapered and for good reason, this you will not find in any other glue pot, it’s sheer brilliance!

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When the glue dries out a shell is formed and when it does, it shrinks. Because of this heavy taper and its smooth surface bottom, this dried shell can be plucked out in tact as Hank calls it with your fingers or using some wooden stick, which means you can use it again if it hasn’t spoiled by crushing it up.

Patrick Edwards has on his website how to dry and store your glue, but since this is such a small amount, you really wouldn’t bother.   Hank also suggest never to use abrasives like steel wool on polishing the brass.  As an optional purchase Hank also offer a warmer, once you heat the pot on the stove to the right temperature you place the pot on the warmer and it will maintain that 140 degrees Fahrenheit for however long you need it too.  A metal brush is also supplied but I like to use my own.

Having dealt with a lot of businesses I have never honestly dealt with a man with such high integrity, and I believe this integrity can only come from a high calibre craftsman.  Craftsmen who take pride in their work reflects in their business dealings with people.

After a couple of weeks into my purchase, I wrote to Hank requesting for a tracking number.  This man called me personally from the States worried because he couldn’t locate a tracking number for me and said, he will send me another pot.  Knowing that it’s only been two weeks I wasn’t perturbed at all and rejected his offer.  However, this touched me, the fact that he called which is something I have not experienced from any other business in the past, be that from the US or from Australia and believe me, Australian businesses have a lot to learn about customer service. The fact that he wanted to send me another pot just proved to me that this level of honesty and due care, can only come from a craftsman artisan.  He didn’t say would you like me to send you one, or, if it doesn’t come in two weeks’ time, I’ll just send you one. He said I’m going to send you another pot.  That is incredible service.!

I love my little glue pot, it’s not only a work of art, but an inspiration to me, because every time I look at it, it reminds me to take extra care in my work.  All that’s left now is to buy the granules from Patrick Edwards, which is directly from Milligan and Higgins.  Currently Patrick is offering 6 pounds on eBay or from http://www.oldbrownglue.com/index.php/store for $50, so you pay for 5 pounds and get 1 pound free.  The shipping on eBay is more than double than it is directly from his website, I’m not sure why.