Friday, November 21, 2014

An Improved Leg Vise: Kiefer meets farm vise

A clever fellow, Klaus Kiefer, saw my post on the angle brace leg vise and made incredible improvements. Kiefer ditched the two side brackets in favor of a large center brace and added a quick release. Kiefer's farm vise is simple to build from common materials. Have a look and subscribe to his channel if you like what you see.

Leg Vise - Kiefer Knee Vise

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Another Farm Workbench with angle brace leg vise

This workbench is more primitive but carries the same angle brace leg vise mentioned in my previous blog post. Found in Farm Shop Work: Practical Manual Training, by George M. Brace and D. D. Mayne, 1915.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

19th Century Dust Collection Systems

Many of us tend to think of removing wood dust and shavings as a relatively modern concern but the dangers of fine dust to the woodworker go back to at least the mid-1800's. Here are excerpts from an article in the 1873 book, On the arrangement, care, and operation of wood-working factories and machinery; forming a complete operator's handbook, by J. Richards.
The writer having been personally concerned in the introduction of this system in England and the continent of Europe, and having built pneumatic apparatus, that have been in constant operation since 1862, has no fears in recommending the system as practical and economical, apart from its convenience and its sanitary advantages in getting rid of the fine dust so prejudicial to health, and one of the most objectionable features of operating wood machines. 
The fans must be plain, strong machines, large enough to perform their work easily ; the vanes strong enough to break up sticks that may pass into the fan. The bearings should be outside the casing and pipes...
It is often desirable to have the fine dust separated from the shavings and sawdust; even if they are only to be used for fuel, and the magazine or shavings room should be arranged to allow the dust to pass off at the top, as in Fig. 22. 
I used to think my high school wood shop, built in the 1970's, was progressive for having an industrial size dust collection system but Richards discusses similar systems that existed 100 years before I was born. Initially I believed Richards was talking about just ventilating dust from the air but then he mentions floor sweeps and lines dedicated to machines.
Pneumatic Fan
Floor Sweep
...starting with 5 inches diameter for the smallest size for a main pipe, there should be added at least 10 inches of sectional area for each machine that is connected, except surfacing or dimension planing machines, which will need twice as much. 
Health risks from wood dust have been known for 150+ years and the means and will to remove that dust at least as long. So why do I feel like it has been 'rediscovered' as a new concern over the last several decades, at least by hobbyists? Leave your comments below.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Unusual Early 20th Century Leg Vise

[Updated 11/14/14 with new pictures]
While perusing Google Books I ran across an unusual leg vise arrangement on a Nicholson style bench in Farm Woodwork by Louis Michael Roehl, 1919. The leg vise has two angled braces rather than the usual pin bar. The angled braces, along with the screw, form a triangle that rides underneath the top keeping the chop parallel to the leg. As the vise attempts to rack, the downward force pushes the tail of the bracket into the benchtop keeping it level. The pictures explain better.

Friday, November 7, 2014

T-Shirt for vintage tool collectors

Printing is how I earn a buck and last year I made this shirt to wear during the Midwest Tool Collectors Association meeting in North Carolina. It's a two color print, red & white obviously. The front logo comes from an early 20th century Goodell Pratt advertisement. The back print was inspired by the brass badge on my GP model 125 bench lathe. The sleeve print will be familiar to GP fans, that's Mr. Punch promoting the company's automatic drill. I love the slogan, "1500 Good Tools." No company today would abide such an honest statement. While GP never necessarily made "fine" tools, they were heavy duty, and dependable. Eventually Goodell Pratt was gobbled up by Millers Falls but 85 years later they are still "good tools."

I have more vintage tool designs in the works.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Modern Style Cremation Urn

A cumaru and padauk urn in a modernist style.

I joined two cumaru boards with a visible padauk spline. Never having seen this done I was a little concerned but in theory it should work fine in a box since adjacent sides will support one another. To make the groove I set the fence a tick over 1/8" from the blade and ripped two cuts on either side then reset the fence and removed the center.

The miters were cut on the table saw. (no pics)

My ratchet straps disappeared during shop renovations so I built this simple jig using wedges to clamp the bottom. It worked well. The miter joints have biscuits to prevent sliding around. What appears to be a snake shaped dent in the upper right corner below, is actually an unusual grain pattern, an optical illusion.

After taping the edges of 3/8" plywood squares, I inserted them into the inside groove to keep pieces aligned during glue up. Happily it worked. 

The same jig came in handy for gluing the padauk frame. Tape on the corners keep the miters aligned perfectly. This frame will overlap the inside and support the cumaru cap.

The cumaru cap will float freely inside the frame and is attached with a screw to an inside dust seal made from 1/2" lauan plywood.

Mostly assembled, awaiting the bottom. Here you get an idea of the final monolithic shape, to my eye it's stalwart, masculine. If you've never worked with cumaru, it's very hard but brittle and splintery. Like the board is made from millions of 1/16" long splinters (looks that way too) and I was constantly picking them out of my hands and repairing spots where bits of grain would break off the edges. A block plane or piece of sandpaper to (carefully) chamfer the edges is your friend.

The feet are made from 5/8" thick padauk. The legs are assembled by first gluing the butt joints, then reinforced with 3/16" maple dowels, the angles cut on the miter saw using a jig, and finally the dowel ends are colored with a shop made dye made from soaking padauk chips in lacquer thinner. After sanding, the feet will be glued in place. Two poplar cleats are glued to the sides for fastening the bottom lid.

The completed urn

Finish is oil and wax.

Final size is about 11.25" tall including feet, and 7" wide. Very close to the Golden Ratio by pure coincidence, I didn't plan it that way. Volume is approximately 250 cubic inches.

Thanks for reading my blog.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

More Crank Grinders

This green grinder, no maker mark, was my first, an average but decent quality crank grinder. After a short period I sold it and bought the GP and Prairie grinders. The gear ratio was 9:1. Looks very similar to common 1929 grinder below (red) but is of better quality.

An infamous Dec 29th, 1929 grinder in bright red. A freebie that came with the GP grinder.  If you've been around grinders much you'll know these are common as fleas on a fox. Judging by the wheel it got a lot of use but unfortunately there is no simple way to secure the arbor from turning as you try to loosen the arbor nut. Gear ratio is the common 9:1