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.

The Lost Scrolls of HANDWORK December Issue VI is OUT NOW

Many great new articles, featuring Ron Aylor our contributing author “An Ambitious Endeavour.” I want to thank Ron for his contribution and would like to extend my invitation to you our readers to contribute articles towards the magazine.

Old hand tools for our readers only is offering a 10% discount on all their tools. This will be valid from 14 Dec. 2018 – 12 Jan. 2019. You must enter LOSTSCROLLS10 as the voucher code in the box at checkout. This discount does not include shipping.

To help with the running costs of this free magazine, I have set up a shop on Etsy and a PayPal donation button on the front page of this blog. The material costs in Australia is excessively high. So to help purchase woods and other materials for projects and articles that will feature in this magazine, I need financial help. So please support the shop if you can and donate if you can.

Download your free copy of Issue VI here.

ISSUE VI

Amatuer lifestyle woodworking

I’m not alone using my hands to make a rich and more meaningful life, in the last few years I’ve noticed an increase in the interest of hand tool woodworking.    I guess in essence people are just looking for a way to slow down, to unwind, to discover that Zen.   Woodworking helps to get in touch with our genetic past, after all it’s what we’ve been doing for thousands of years; building things with our hands.  This has only stopped ever since machinery replaced our hands in the last 70 years or so.  By making things with your hands you get deeply involved that requires processes of knowledge, skill building, critical thinking, risk taking, and creativity.   The things you do, the way you work, the things you make changes you profoundly, we are defined by what we do.

When you’re sitting behind a screen manipulating numbers all day or you’re sitting behind the wheel of your truck, taxi, delivery van whatever a feeling of vague uneasiness grows inside of you, but when you’re using your hands making something that uneasiness subsides.  You feel like you actually did something, you enjoy the build process because you’re contemplating the possibilities of each step of the process and your being fully immersed and engaged in your project.  You could have taken an extra shift and earned enough money to buy instead of making it, but you didn’t build that chair or side table to save time or money, slowing down was the point.  So it doesn’t surprise me that this increase in resurgence of hand tool woodworking has had an incredible hit.  People are choosing hand tools over machinery even though the machinist marketers are uneasy about it all.   Machinery represents the mass productive society we are all trying to evade even if it be for an hour or two in a day.  Being a hand tool woodworker or carver, turner, marqueter etc. it’s an experience that serves its own reward.

As an amateur maker you study the objects and the materials that are made, reproduction furniture makers study the antiques till it’s imprinted into their minds.  You gain an insight into how things were made and you get to see what the original maker could not see if the construction methods he chose would stand up in time.   Being an amateur maker you no longer desire to go to Target, Ikea, Kmart or Super Amart.  You tend to keep things and fix it if it gets broken instead of replacing it and, if you do need to buy something you will look for an item that will last a long time.  You’ve freed yourself from consumerism of a throwaway society, you have broken the shackles, the stranglehold of the marketers.  Your truly free and you have more money left in your pocket because of it for your next project you have lined up.

In almost all walks of varied life amateurs have the freedom to experiment, to expand their knowledge and progress.  We have the luxury of time while professionals don’t, ever wonder why a long time serving amateur hobbyist seems to know more than a professional? Well now you know why.  Professionals build what the market dictates, they use the products that were sold to them by sales reps, they never dare to venture off to experiment or even learn to cook their own varnish.  Most shops don’t even own a hand plane and most shops won’t use anything else other than particleboard and MDF.  I once worked for a furniture factory and we were making reproduction Chippendale furniture out of MDF!!!! Even the cabriole legs were out of ridiculously soft material that was Balsa wood.  Are you kidding me Balsa wood!  We decked out 400 rooms with MDF reproductions and Balsa wood I bet they charged top dollar for crap.

In my shop I always took the time to learn new methods, to experiment with different finishes and this is still ongoing in fact I am in conversation with Bob Flexner about a discovery I made hopefully more on that in another post but none of it impeded on my daily work.  It’s called time management and if you don’t have time you simply work over time to make that time otherwise you will end up clueless like the rest of them.  You see misleading labels on products everyday like Danish Oil, Danish who, what have the Danes got to do with it, and Tung oil finish there’s no Tung in it except their own lying tongues unless it reads 100% pure tung oil you can safely discard anything else, and what about Liquid Hide Glue by Titebond is it really hide glue, I don’t know I truly don’t know it sure acts like it, looks like hide glue even has a similar smell but is it real animal protein glue? As far as I know animal protein glue is made from, well; animals but Titebond liquid hide lists cyanoguanidine (used in the manufacture of plastics and pharmaceutical) and ammonium thiocyanate and this I got eventually from the horse’s mouth their tech team two years ago.  Geez what a mouthful. Not even sure what all that means, is it a fancy way of saying made from animals? Hmm probably I forgot to ask that bit.

tung oil finish minwax$_57

Tung oil finish or furniture polish that nourishes your timber.  Please give me a break.  Please note this word used on that minwax can ‘vitality’ the English definition from the dictionary is ‘the power giving continuance of life, present in all living things:’   I’m sorry to say but that timber died when it got cut down.  There are no branches growing out of it just because it expands and contracts doesn’t mean you need to slap on some oil of Ulan to nourish its dry ‘skin’.  It’s not like a whole tree will form out of it in your living room and what about the feed-n-wax  what’s next baby food for timber for all its nourishing needs, but marketers assume we’re all stupid and the less savvy ones fall for it and a whole new market has just been created.

But that’s marketing for you and they haven’t given up on you yet, just because you gave up on them, they are out there doing their best to destroy that peaceful Zen you have created in your new amateur creative world.  They see this new movement on the rise a new market potential so they tease you with shiny new tools and machinery with words” like repeatable accurate cuts every time”  They prey on your weaknesses in dovetailing and offer you jigs and throw in new words of “speed and efficiency” “professional quality joints” “amaze your friends” “work like a pro” They manipulate the government into passing new laws by replacing all table saws with saw stops  because they are genuinely concerned about your safety, now aren’t they such nice care bears.

But you’re a hand tool woodworker you don’t need tablesaws, you have a beautiful antique Disston, you don’t need a jointer you have hand planes, what about a thickness planer well even I have to admit to that one, it sure does come in handy when your sciatica plays up.  But generally all your hand tools are either vintage or antique so there’s nothing that they can tempt you with at least not until the tool makers start replicating antique hand tools but it’s ok because when you see their prices the desire to own one just dwindled away into the mist until it’s a faded distant memory.  Every now and then though from time to time when you’re reminded with a new catalogue you just received so generously free of charge  in your letterbox and as you’re drinking your coffee sifting through the pages of Lie Nielson or some other top tool maker a single tear forms in the corner of your eye and you are gently reminded of how beautiful this tool would look in your cabinet.  toolcab-openedBut when you pick up your pre WWII Stanley or your wooden jointer you seem to miraculously forget that shiny new tool of $700 or that beautiful looking rabbet plane of $1500 or even that kerfing plane of $1735 because your plane works just as good or dare I say better.   Besides, if the antiques were good enough for the old timers well it’s good enough for me right.  I’m not really mocking tool makers just their prices, I know there are labour costs involved and boy do I know about that but I also know somewhere in there is a markup price and that could be as low as 20% – 300% and that’s something we will never know which one it is.

So as amateur woodworkers we achieve more of self-reliance therefore we are more free, free from marketing exploits, free from the throw away mentality, free from the “norms” of society, that is what is considered the “norm” today.  Your new amateur lifestyle has boosted your confidence, things you would have shied from prior to entering the craft.  You have gained a new self-confidence with new skills and have a more positive outlook on life, you meet with likeminded people and share your experiences with them including your projects enticing others to make as well and to share with you what they have made. You start learning from each other and from your own mistakes.   It’s a whole new and very closely tight knitted friendly and supportive community you’ve just entered.

You’re not afraid of new challenges because you know with perseverance you’ll eventually get it done.   Your so hooked now that you want to devote even more time to your new found hobby but life always seems to get in the way and that’s a blessing in disguise.  When you’re in your shop you will value your time and utilise 100% of it, that’s the blessing I see.

Despite my 5 day a week new job and a day and half of woodworking I have taken the extra step of preparing the next generation of woodworkers when the time comes for my grandkids.  I’m writing my own journal, a full descriptive book on what I have learned throughout the years of working the craft and will continue to write as I further progress within the craft in the hope that it will serve them as a good reference material that will aid them in their pursuit of knowledge of the craft.  I know there are plenty of books out there but this one is from grandad, I wish my grandad left me a book but he sadly died just after the second world war.  He not only worked just with hand tools as it was the norm in some European countries then but he owned a workshop employing over 20 people all working wood with nothing more than hand tools and he still made time to teach it in schools and export his furniture throughout the country and supply other European nations as well.  This was all before the war btw during the war he was at the front  So this is what prompted me in starting a journal.book1book2book4book5  I have written useful things like the type of timbers I have worked with, their strengths and weaknesses and what are hand tool friendly and what are not.  Simple things like working out the linear meterage price of cubic meters and then there’s going to be projects galore a full step by step instructions on every project that will pass through my hands.  How to guide for finishes and how to make your own finish.  As for tools he or she won’t need them as they will have all of mine and that will be a massive savings.  If tools are ridiculously priced now imagine what they will cost in 10 or 20 years from now.  So this is the plan for now, no one gets squat till I kick the bucket till then the tool rules are:

Don’t touch ‘EM

Move ‘EM

Borrow ‘EM

don’t even

Look at ‘EM

Well ok a peep.

As Tom Fidgen say’s “Make everyday a masterpiece.”

ANDRE CHARLES BOULLE – Father of Marquetry

Andre was born in Paris, France in the year 1642 and died at the age of 90 in 1732.  He was a famous cabinet maker who practiced the art of marquetry.  Some call him the father of marquetry even though he didn’t invent the art but he did refine the art to a fine art.

His career began as an architect which only lasted a few years before merging over to cabinetry type work, another words he became a cabinet maker.  Within a few short years his work was so outstanding that at the age of 30 he was awarded the title of Master Cabinet Maker in 1672 by Louis XIV who granted him the royal privilege of lodging in the Palais du Louvre.  In the same year he achieved the title of cabinetmaker and sculptor to the king.    This allowed Boulle many privileges such as practicing two professions simultaneously which the guild through their strict rules prevented craftsmen from doing however, turned a blind eye to Boulle’s favoured position allowed him protected status and exempted him from these requirements.

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Guilds were created to protect the interest of the tradesman and to prevent outsider from entering into competition with them.  More on this in another blog.

Marquetry was originally used in the 16th century by Italian craftsman but Boulle took this craft to another level of artistic flair. Boulle specialised in the inlaying of ebony with exotic woods from India and South America such as mother of pearl. Large areas were covered with tortoiseshell, inlaid with arabesques of gilded brass. He added splendid bas-relief compositions, as well as sculptured rosettes, masks, and acanthus scrolls, all in gilded bronze.  Many of his inspirations came from his personal collections of paintings, drawings and prints which included the works of the Italian artists Raphael, Rubens and Italian engraver Stefano Della Bella.  These inspirations led to some of the world’s finest pieces ever made and all works after his death that were made by other artists that included inlays of copper that were on a black or red ground were known as the Buhl.

BoulleOrnateCommode

Commode, ca. 1710-32
Walnut veneered with ebony and marquetry
of engraved brass and tortoiseshell, gilt-bronze
mounts, verd antique marble top

BoulleOrnateTable

BoulleOrnateTable-Top

Table, c.1680
Oak veneered with ebony, tortoiseshell, pewter, brass,
ivory, horn, various stained and natural woods; gilt bronze mounts

 

Clock With Pedestal (centre picture)
Attributed to André-Charles Boulle
movement by Antoine Gaudron, clockmaker; Paris, c.1690
Oak veneered with tortoiseshell, pewter, brass, ebony,
and ebonized fruitwood; gilt bronze mounts

His work was so popular that it continued to be carried forward on by others to the last half of the 19th century, with the implementation of machinery by then enabling the creation of large quantities of furniture in the Boulle style.  Many of the cheap plastic mold recreations of clocks you see made in China and other Asian countries are based on his early work.  I’m not being a racist for naming Asian countries as producers of low quality productions as I do not blame them for the cheap productions that come out of their countries but the companies in western nations who pay them a pittance to produce such low quality diarrhea as Christopher Schwartz once said.  I am fully aware of the rich history of fine craftsmanship Asia’s talented has provided throughout the ages but as the old saying goes you get what you pay for.

Boulle left his work to be continued by his four sons Jean Philippe, Pierre Benoît, André Charles, and Charles Joseph along with the title of cabinetmaker to the king. Later in 1754 Charles-Joseph hired the brilliant German furniture designer Jean-François Oeben, from whom the Boulle tradition was inherited by Jean-Henri Riesener. His style continued with tremendous success in France during the 18th century and under Napoleon III.

Here are some more examples of this most talented true master craftsman which I hope you can appreciate my dislike of this word “master craftsman” being so careless attributed to many modern day craftsman who do not measure up to the standards of these high level of achievers and I would discourage you all to stop flaunting this word so carelessly and attribute it only to the ones who live up to such standards.

 

 

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To finish this blog here is a video of William Patrick Edwards the founder of OBG and Marqueter employing two methods of Boulle marquetry, première-partie, in which the tortoiseshell serves as the background with inlaid brass, and contre-partie, with tortoiseshell inlaid on a brass ground—and sometimes made complementary pairs of furniture pieces, utilizing each technique.

A new saw added

I met a sawyer at the timber two weeks ago and saw one of his many saws he had on display, one particular saw I favoured was a 12ppi crosscut Simonds.  I have been actually looking for one to get those smoother cuts for a while now, the less time I spend shooting means less work.  Well it turns out that saw wasn’t for sale and out of all his saws the best saw he had was another Simmonds as he is a fan of this brand dated 1916-1923 11ppi.  He’s done some repairs to the horn, general cleaning and sharpened it for me.  The saw cost me $105 + $11 for postage and that I think is a bargain.  These saws on eBay would not sell for less than US$223 which is one more excuse to look else where and not rely on eBay as much.

He doesn’t have a website that I could refer you too as this is only a hobby for him, he does it for the passion more so than the dollars.

Connections are important and the best ways to gain these connections is to get yourself off the computer and out into the real world, attend shows, look at the links in the magazines, join forums and woodworking clubs.  Shows and clubs would be the best viable option to get quality goods at normal to even bargain prices.  Swap meets are good as well.

eBay sellers, antique dealers are running a muck, their prices are high and most of them don’t even understand the tool they are selling.  It bothers me very little on whose toes I tread it’s time to speak up and this I can safely say I learned from Paul.  People fear what magazines and tool makers can do but Paul has shown than in fact these conglomerates  have no power whatsoever infact they can neither increase your business nor take it away.  I can name some prominent woodworkers whose skills are unmatched and have been in magazines but didn’t make it in the real world through their craft but are doing other things to survive.  This is the story of generally most people hence why woodworking or let’s say making what we want to make are generally kept on a hobbyists level.  So as you can see magazines didn’t create work for them, museums they worked also didn’t help so what’s to fear.  Paul came out into the open and opened a can of worms that was controversial and went directly against the preachings of every magazine and tool maker out there.  He’s openly attacked majority of the big name brands and yet his popularity has increased more than any other online teacher.  He has well over 1000,000 viewers and that say’s something, I know I’ve gotten off the track a little as I usually do but it is time to make a stand to bring some normality to this world and lower those prices so people can enjoy this craft whether professionally or as a hobbyist.  Just remember this that magazines have everything to fear from the tool makers as they pay for their advertising another words their wage, but we the craftsmen and women have nothing to fear from them because it is we who pay them their wage; without us they cease to exist.

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