Here Is the Proof

I mentioned earlier that shellac will harden (fully cure) within 10-13 days before the product can be shipped. Some expressed scepticism, whilst others shrugged it off as mere fictitious jargon, but here is the proof.

Whilst this is thankfully only a sample piece for an upcoming project, I am grateful it happened so I can help you not make the mistake I did so long ago. You may wonder what caused this, well, I placed it in my vice not clamping hard at all to plane the edges. I wanted to figure out just how to French polish small pieces as I intend to do so on small jewellery boxes.

Why shellac when there are so many cheaper and faster alternatives? Because no other finish in my opinion can give me the clarity, depth and glass like finish that shellac can and oh almost forgot; longevity. Museums are full of antiques coated with shellac that still don’t need re-coating. Shellac has stood the tests of time whilst modern day products such as lacquer and polyurethane will never outbid shellac, neither in longevity and most definitely in appearance. I understand that there is a need for modern finishes as they come with many benefits such as ease of application, shorter drying times, ready to go out of the can etc, but shellac will always be my most go to finish. It doesn’t mean I don’t use other finishes it means that I use shellac more often than not.

Steel Wool

By Fix it club

Steel wool is a bundle of thin metal fibers spun into a pad. It can be used to remove paints and varnishes, or for polishing and finishing. The softness of steel wool permits its use on surfaces like glass and marble.

Steel wool comes in many grades of coarseness. Always apply the correct grade of steel wool to the work you have at hand, as detailed in the chart below.

SELECTING STEEL WOOL
Coarse 3Paint and varnish removal; removing paint spots from resilient floors.

Medium 1 Rust removal; cleaning glazed tiles; removing marks from wood floors; with paint and varnish remover, removing finishes.

Medium coarse 2 Removing scratches from brass; removing paint spots from ceramic tile; rubbing floors between finish coats.

Medium fine 0 Brass finishing; cleaning tile; with paint and varnish remover, removing stubborn finishes.

Fine 00 With linseed oil, satinizing high-gloss finishes.

Extra fine 000 Removing paint spots or stains from wood; cleaning polished metals; rubbing between finish coats.

Super fine 0000 Final rubbing of finish; stain removal

I want to finish off by saying I wish you all a happy new year, a safer and prosperous new year.

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.

Veritas Grinder Tool Rest

The Veritas tool rest is possibly one of the best after market tool rests I’ve bought. But without a doubt there are more sturdier ones that I’ve seen fellow woodturners use and that are absolutely over kill for sharpening your irons. If you have one all the more power to you, but if you don’t and you do find it difficult to grind your irons dead square free hand then consider watching this video and saving it to your archive so you can refer back to it when you decide to purchase one yourself. I also recommend the Rikon 8″ slow speed grinder. I’ve had 6″ grinders for years till I decided to bugger one up and then upgraded to the 8″. I’ve not regretted it one bit and God willing she will last as long as I do.

Grinder Wheel Alignment

I recently bought a slow speed grinder as I’ve grown beyond weary sharpening A2 steel entirely by hand. If my plane irons were thin Stanley O1 blades, then I would never need a grinder even if the blade was nicked. However, it is what it is and life goes on.

With every new grinder or with every new wheel replacement, you will need to balance or align the wheels. You also may have to periodically balance the wheels throughout the life of the wheel due to dressing, wear and profiling. The balancing of grinding wheels is essential despite dressing them! Skipping this step may cause chatter marks, excessive wheel wear and spindle head wear to name but a few.

When you start the grinder, you may notice that the wheel has a slight wobble. This can be due to the large flange washers not running true. Fixing this isn’t as difficult or time consuming as you may think.

First turn the machine on and look at the wheel to see if there is a wobble. The chances are high that there will be. If there is, turn the machine off, unplug it from the wall, wait for the wheels to stop turning and take the covers off.

Make a reference mark on each flange washer and the wheel to record their original location.

Next, loosen the shaft nut and rotate the flange washer clockwise and the other wheel counter clockwise by ½”.

Tip: If the wheel is new, you may notice the flange washer won’t rotate due to it being stuck to the paper. I used the tip of a flat blade screwdriver to strike the flange washer, a light tap is all that is needed to unstick it from the paper.

Tighten the shaft nut by hand and rotate the wheel by hand. If you don’t feel confident that you will observe any change, then tighten the shaft nut and turn the machine on. If there is still wobble in the wheel, turn it another ½”. Keep doing this until you’re satisfied. You could spend an eternity finding that sweet spot, but at some point you will have to stop and say it’s good enough for my purpose. A small amount of wobble is fine.

The final step is to dress the wheel. The centre bushings “roughly” centre the wheel on the shaft. Inaccuracies in the manufacturing process may cause fluctuation in the wheel and to address this, a wheel dresser can be used to make the wheel run true.

Place the wheel dresser on the tool rest angled upwards with the edge of the wheel dresser facing the wheel. Slowly bring the wheel dresser to the stone until you hear the untrue side touch the dresser. As you apply light pressure, the face of the stone becomes true.

Some things to be aware of:

The left side shaft nut has left-handed threads and so the nut is tightened counter clockwise. The right-side shaft nut has right-handed threads and is tightened by rotating it clockwise.

Do not over tighten the shaft nuts. Doing so can cause damage to the wheel and the flange washers. A light touch is all that is needed. The direction of travel will keep the nuts tight.

When buying a new wheel make sure the R.P.M. rating is greater than the grinder’s motor. The outer diameter of the wheel must be according to the size specification of your grinder. The bore diameter of the wheel must be the same as the original wheel.

Do not remove the labels on the sides of the wheels. They help to spread the holding pressure of the tightened nuts on the grinding wheel flanges.

Applying the entire face of the wheel dresser to the stone without the support of a tool rest may introduce deeper grooves and further untrue the stone.

Troubleshooting as is in the manual

If the adjustment of the flange washers does not make the wheel run without side to side oscillation, then remove the wheel and flange washers and check the shoulder on the motor shaft at the point where the flange washer seats against it. A slight burr on the edge of the shoulder can stop the flange washer from seating properly. The burr can be removed using a file to smooth the edge of the shoulder. Look for any roughness on the surfaces of the flange washers and smooth these spots on sandpaper placed on a flat surface. Then replace the wheel, re-adjust the flange washers, and dress the wheel.

With wheels properly aligned,this is a wonderful machine that serves its purpose in eliminating the drudgery of sharpening A2 plane blades. With the further aid of an after-market tool rest, you’ll have one powerful addition to your sharpening tool kit.

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.

The Best Axe Review

I’ve been on the hunt for an axe, a hewing axe in particular. The prices vary and for a quality hewing axe is quite cost prohibitive, $330 to be exact. So, unless you can afford to part with that sort of money you have to ask yourself how badly do I need one and is there another other work around to achieve the same results.

The type of work I need doing is to hew slabs of varying thicknesses with live edges A drawknife should do the trick, but a broad hewing axe that has a bevel on one side and is flat on the other would do a quicker job. There is an issue of clamping slabs securely whilst working it with the drawnife. This wouldn’t be the case with an axe as I can hold the slab in one hand and work it with the other so, clamping is definitely an issue. Here is a picture of the broad axe I would like to get

https://www.etsy.com/au/listing/670506242/right-handed-carving-axe-carpentry-axe?

It’s hand made in Ukraine and is really quite beautiful isn’t it?. Just by looking at it, the quality of workmanship is just striking and that’s the thing. This is a tool that will last a lifetime and beyond and if one will use that tool consistently then price shouldn’t be the reason not to buy it. But in my case it just may end up being in the tool box more often than not. So I’m conflicted on what to do.

Here is the website as promised that offers good unbiased with no bias preference to country reviews.

https://axethis.com/

Victorian/Art Nouveau inspired woodworking hand saw

by Kevin Mowrer

http://madebyhandtools.blogspot.com/

Being a woodworker and a steampunk illustrator (amongst other things), I really like to have tools that reflect my personal aesthetic. This saw was designed using a modern Disston blade, ground and altered to fit and flow with the custom tiger maple handle I created. It’s crosscut and cuts like a dream with its Japanese style teeth and feels marvelous in the hand.  I don’t mind the few nicks it gets in it over time as it all becomes history on the wood.
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Amazing how sometimes when browsing the net you come across something that blows your mind away.  Just like this guy who made that handle. Not once has it occurred to me to do this. It’s a brilliant idea for those who have saws from the big box store with those ugly-looking handles. Now you can replace those ugly plastic handles by making your own traditional wooden ones, and one that fit’s your hand. One thing you can’t do is sharpen those saws as the teeth are specially hardened teeth. They’re meant to be throw away saws as soon as the teeth get blunt. In Australia they sell for about $30, and in the US I’m sure it will be much less. Anyway, If you don’t want to spend a few hundred dollars on an oldie, then this may end up being a good inexpensive viable option.

The Birth Of A Tool. Part I. Axe Making (by Northmen)

This is a short documentary movie that shows the whole process of how Northmen tools are being hand crafted. “It is a tragedy of the first magnitude that millions of people have ceased to use their hands as hands. Nature has bestowed upon us this great gift which is our hands. If the craze for machinery methods continues, it is highly likely that a time will come when we shall be so incapacitated and weak that we shall begin to curse ourselves for having forgotten the use of the living machines given to us by God.” Mahathma Ghandi Music by Foreign Fields – “Names and Races”. Special thanks to the band Foreign Fields from Nashvile (especially for Clayton Fike) for allowing to use their music as a soundtrack for our movie. foreignfields.bandcamp.com/