Monday, August 27, 2007

Wonderful Westonbirt

Hi Folks
Spent Saturday at the Festival of the Tree at Westonbirt Arboretum. It was a fantastic day in the most beautiful of surroundings. Needless to say, it has taken top spot for my favorite woodworking show.
There was so much to see - various woodland related demonstrations as well woodturning, crafts, and my favorite - the Classic Hand Tools Marquee! Inside we found a whole lot of good stuff - Martin Brown and Brimarc, John Lloyd, Nick Gibbs, Mike Hancock and at the top end of the tent, the Canadian Invasion. Rob Cosman and Konrad Sauer!!
As usual Rob C was his impressive, inspirational self. His dovetail and M+T demo's were a highlight and I planned to take them both in. But then I met Konrad Sauer, a Gent I'd been looking forward to meeting.
With my interest in planemaking I was eager to have a chat (if possible) . He had a selection of his amazing infill planes with him and was encouraged to try out a couple of smoothers. Effortless, superfine shavings :) I was then able to pick the Man's brain for ages - many thanks for all your advice! I had Waka in tow and needless to say he was hooked. He tried desperately to sneak on home in his pocket . I assume he is at home now, working out how many Norris he needs to sell as we speak.......;)
An extra bonus was Konrad's two hour "Making a Jointer Infill" lesson. Fantastic!!
Needless to say, we left exhausted but enfused. This is THE woodworking show of the year - make sure you note it in your diary for next year. I will be back!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Forging Ahead.....

HI Folks

Got a few exciting things for you!

First up, the "Philly-Forge". I've been quite happy using a Mapp gas gun to heat treat my irons and it works pretty well - as long as you are using 1/8th thick steel. For my mitre plane I've been using 6mm thick steel and the Mapp gun just can't put out enough heat. So I've trawled through my reference books and the Internet and come up with this. It consists of a wok, a piece of pipe and a hairdryer (I got permission from TPTB to use her hairdryer!!). With charcoal as the fuel it works amazingly well, easily putting out enough heat for my purposes. And all for less than £5, including fuel!

Secondly, I have just sent this little beauty on its way to its new owner. A dovetail plane in Santos Rosewood. It was a lot of work but worth it for the smell of the rosewood alone :)

And finally, big announcement!

As regular visitors will know, I've been making a LOT of planes over the past months. And a lot of folks have asked about buying them. So I have launched "Philly Planes" and you can now order a custom plane of your own. Wish me luck!



Wednesday, August 08, 2007

They Call Me Rose.....

I've finally broken down and used a piece of Rosewood that I have been hoarding. That beautiful plank has been sat in the woodpile waiting for a suitable project to materialize. And here I go.......
After ripping it down on the bandsaw it immediately becomes obvious why it is called Rosewood - the sweet, fragrant scent is very reminiscent of roses. Yum!
Planing. First up was my L-N 4 1/2 with 50 degree frog. Nope. Big tear-out, even with a freshly honed iron. So out comes Mr. Problemsolver, the L-V BUS. With an effective pitch of 62.5 degrees the plane cleaned up the timber with no problems, leaving a shimmering, blemish free surface.
Incidently, the iron was ground at 50 degrees. Now that is one tough angle to sharpen at (using a Veritas MK II honing guide) so I ground a wider bevel on the iron with the Tormek to give more surface area to balance on.
Another tool that works this timber real well is the humble scraper. Effectless shavings that leave a clean surface - the right tools make life somewhat easier!!
So what project is the rosewood for??
Let's just say it has a plane-like flavour.......... ;)