Tuesday, 10 May 2016

A new jointing plane - 24" version


I had thought my jointing plane making days were over... glad they weren’t!

This was a rather large undertaking. A new size with a few alterations. The first order of business was adjusting the design to a 24" plane. It is not as simple as adding 3/4" to each end of a 22-1/2" plane. Everything needs to be scaled accordingly. ‘Accordingly’ is code for ‘make it look right’. I use a rough mathematical approach, but for the most part, I rely on my eyes to evaluate things.







The front bun is pushed forward which allows it to be lowered at the same time. Forward by about 3/8". Not very much, but it allows for an interesting addition to the plane. It extends the size of the cove at the back of the upper portion of the bun - you can see it above. This provides an additional location to place ones thumb for doing edge jointing. I am a big fan of a pinch grip when edge jointing - placing your thumb on the top and then using your index finger as a fence along the edge of the board below. Lowering the bun also helps, and is just low enough that I can get a good functional pinch grip even with my smallish hands.

One technical challenge of this plane was the fact that the cove on the sides of the top portion of the bun are lower than cove at the back of the bun. This made for an interesting shaping approach, but I think the effect was well worth the effort and the detail has become a favourite of mine.  The goal is always nice visually crisp work that is also touchable and tactile.









The infill is Honduran Rosewood, the sides and sole are 01 tool steel, the lever cap and screw are bronze as is the knurled end of the adjuster. The 2-5/8" blade is high carbon steel, bedded at 47.5 degrees. It weighs 11.75lbs - exactly the same as my 22-1/2" bronze sided, African Blackwood filled jointing plane. Interesting to see the effects of changing materials.
 






Packaging these large, heavy planes is best done in a custom fitted block of 3" foam. I use a jig saw to cut out the opening and use a comic book storage box to contain it (yes, I was an avid comic book reader, and still have a box of comics lovingly bagged and stored away). 




7 Comments:

Blogger Chris Bame said...

Hi Konrad,
Sweet plane as always! Noticed your bench in the last shots. Very Nice. I just sorta finished my bench this fall. I have to say the combination of Benchcrafted vices and your plane is tops!!! My favorite tools to work with in my shop.
Cheers
Chris

12 May 2016 at 16:19  
Blogger John said...

Makes me want to see a k-24

14 May 2016 at 00:36  
Blogger John said...

Question: how many of Konrad's friends would like to see him A: making a combination of tradition designs along with his on K series plans, or B. sticking to his guns on making K planes of his own design, which, to my mind, exceed in the beauty of their lines and ease of use any and all planes that have come before them?

14 May 2016 at 23:53  
Blogger Owen Crane said...

This might be a new favourite for me.
Well done as always!

15 May 2016 at 02:53  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks for the kind comments Chris.

Interestingly, one of the first tasks of the jointing plane was to flatten the new owners workbench. I have been toying with the idea of building yet another bench just so I can install a Benchcrafted leg vise... how crazy is that!?

cheers,
konrad

25 May 2016 at 06:51  
Blogger Konrad said...

Yeah, me too John. Although I think a K22 will be first.

Interesting question in your second part - I would be curious to hear how people answer it.

cheers,
konrad

25 May 2016 at 06:52  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Owen.

25 May 2016 at 06:53  

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Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Re-handling a pair Japanese hammers

 

My day finished up a little early yesterday, and I knew exactly what I would do with my ‘free’ time. 

I have been building up the courage to remove the Boxwood handle from the larger of these two hammers. As I was preparing for it, I realized I have undone very little of my own work. I am not sure if that is a good thing or not, but did recognize how strange it felt. 

I cut the handle off just below the head - the painful part was over. I carefully drilled three holes from the top down - about 3/4" of the way through. I placed a punch in the middle hole thinking I could just pound the waste out. 

I think the Boxwood actually laughed at me. It did not budge. As much as I tried, I could not break it free. I was secretly happy to be honest - this suggested that I had done a pretty good job of handling it in the first place. I drilled all the way through and then grabbed a piece of Sugar Maple to use as a chisel and bashed the waste out. Even this was tough work, but the Boxwood finally gave.

This gave me a chance to weigh the head - something I did not do when I received it. The larger head weighs 17.2oz or 487.6g and the smaller head weighs 10.2oz or 289g


I have been stressing about what to use for the handles for the last week. I could go traditional and use White Oak or Boxwood again. I have seen fruit woods used as well - or I could use Ebony or Rosewood, but for some reason, those do not really appeal to me. I was taking some photos on the balcony when I noticed two lengths of Lilac that have been sitting out there for years. We have a 100 year old Lilac that was likely planted when our house was built. I have been pruning it over the years and have always saved any good sized usable sections. Lilac is certainly not a traditional wood to use for handles, but it struck me that it has many of the same tactile qualities to Boxwood, so I decided to see if I could coax a handle out of each section. Plus the idea of using something that grew on our yard is pretty darn cool.




There was much carnage. 

Lots of checks, voids and other areas to work around, but there was a graceful natural curve to both sections, and as luck would have it, the more solid sections followed this curve.



I roughed out the blanks very oversized, anticipating that they will shrink and deform a bit as they dry in the shop. I used some old glue on the end grain to help slow down moisture loss and keep end checks at bay. 


I tapered them as well, thinking that getting close to the final shape will help speed up the drying process. This is going to be the toughest part... the waiting.



A few shots of the two hammer heads. 




I am not sure how long I will have to wait before I can start handling them, but I will certainly post when it happens. 

7 Comments:

Blogger Owen Crane said...

They look great! I was wondering how long they would take to acclimatize. I can't remember whether you have mentioned it or not - do you have a dehumidifier kiln? If you don't, (or do) how much would you use it? I know you're not one to rush seasoning!

12 April 2016 at 09:06  
Blogger Ethan said...

Those are beautiful, Konrad. And to find one in the wild like that? Oooh man, you must have some good Karma built up!

Can't wait to see the next step. But... I suppose we'll have to wait a bit, won't we?

Ah, well.

12 April 2016 at 09:58  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Owen,

I do have a dehumidification kiln, but have not used it in some time. I really prefer to just give things time. And, at the rate that I go... things seem to get more than enough time to dry all on their own. That being said, they are pretty small pieces now and (fingers crossed) should dry fairly quick.

cheers,
konrad

12 April 2016 at 17:08  
Blogger Konrad said...

Yeah Ethan - we are going to have to wait. I think I drained the Karma reserve for this one... I can't believe I found it... and that nobody else bought it before I did.

cheers,
konrad

12 April 2016 at 17:09  
Blogger Kevin Brehon said...

This feels like a stupid question, but what are these hammers used for? It would seem that by using a curved handle one end of the head is being taken out of use. Are they reversible?

12 April 2016 at 22:27  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Kevin,

Not a stupid question. I used the larger hammer for all sorts of tasks. I used it to install my herringbone floor, I have used it when tapping furniture parts together, I have used it with a chisel. The curve I have roughed out is a little more extreme than I hope the final shape will be - but a gentle curve is nice. The boxwood handle was curved as well and the curve told me which face was facing which direction. One end of the hammer head is flat, the other is domed.

cheers,
konrad

12 April 2016 at 22:34  
Blogger John said...

Nice job, wood polisher. Quick question: will these hammers work with corded nails?

14 April 2016 at 22:49  

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Thursday, 7 April 2016

Tools of the Trade & a spare XSNo.4

This past weekend, Joe Steiner and I traveled to Pickering Ontario for the spring Tools of the Trade show. This is the first time in at least 10 years that we did not set up as vendors but rather just as attendees. I have to say - it was a lot of fun! I am always overwhelmed by the sea of antique tools and no matter how hard I try to concentrate, I miss stuff. This year was a little different, and I wonder if it is because I had my camera with me and could ‘see’ through a different lens so to speak. Regardless of why it was different - it was, and I had a lot of fun seeing more and catching up with old friends.




There was a pretty cool infill with a particularly contemporary front bun. The traditional form of the front bun does not stray too much, so seeing examples like this is a real treat. Sadly, it did not strike me as an overly comfortable plane - I wish there would have been a bench to try it out. Things are different when you stand there holding a plane vs place it on a piece of wood. I have made that mistake in the past, and have learned not to pass judgement until I can actually try it.







A striking lever cap.





Frank Flynn had a pair of typesetters planes. These took me back to my previous life as a graphic designer. These are planes for re-surfacing wood type. What was new to me was seeing one of them outfitted with a Disston file for working endgrain type.  I was tempted, but held off, and I am glad I did - the real prize of the show was just around the corner.







Both planes ride in a track to ensure consistency of thickness. Examples of wood type below.







I had a chance to catch up with Darryl Gent as well. He is a planemaker from Welland Ontario and showed me this sweet spalted European Beech smoother. He has soaked it in oil which has added to the weight. Really nice work.










I also had a chance to catch up with my friend Anson. He had a table full of Japanese tools - mainly hammers and saws.



There was one hammer in particular that caught my attention right away. I couldn't believe it - a little brother to a hammer from years ago.  I immediately picked it up and did not put it down until I had decided. Needless to say, it came home with me, and I think I will re-handle both of them at the same time. The other handle has a small crack right below the head. I keep a close eye on it, but don't want it breaking off when I am working.  The hard part will be deciding on the handle material. Suggestions?



Can you guess which one it is?



I also have a spare XSNo.4. I just completed these 2 planes. The one in the back is spoken for - it was the original commission. There were 2 matching sets on the shelf so I decided to make both of them. I am working on a 24" jointing plane right now, and working on these 2 much smaller planes has been a nice break from such an intense plane.

The plane is 5-1/2" long, has  52.5 degree bed angle, bronze sides, lever cap and screw. The infill is an unknown Rosewood - I suspect a close relative of Cocobolo, but I am not 100% sure. The blade is high carbon steel from Ron Hock. The top photo is more accurate for color - it is pouring rain right now so the balcony ledge is unavailable. A Versailles pattern parquetry floor panel will have to do.








The price is $1,750.00 Cdn + actual shipping cost and insurance if desired. Send me an email if you are interested. konrad@sauerandsteiner.com

15 Comments:

Blogger nielscosman said...

That lever cap though!

7 April 2016 at 13:33  
Blogger Richard Wile said...

I am guessing the hammer is the Damascus with forge welded faces in hard steel. Looks very close to one I recently saw (bought)...

Do I win the prize?

7 April 2016 at 20:09  
Blogger Owen Crane said...

Chris Hall seemed to think quite highly of "gumi" for japanese hammer handles. I tend to take his opinion on all matters japanese about how I do yours on infills and exotic woods. Which is to say quite highly. I assume you're familiar, but if not have a look or let me know and I'll see if I can find the article... I think it's some sort of japanese boxwood.

7 April 2016 at 21:47  
Blogger Konrad said...

Yeah Niels - that was a pretty cool lever cap. I have never seen one like it. I suspect it is not rare or anything - but pretty cool nonetheless.

cheers,
konrad

7 April 2016 at 22:01  
Blogger Konrad said...

You get the prize Richard... but I suppose the real prize arrives next week eh? :)

cheers,
konrad

7 April 2016 at 22:01  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Owen,

I have heard of Gumi before - but I have not seen any. If you can dig up the article, I would be most grateful. I have some Asian boxwood - but I don't know the country of origin - I supsect the seller didn't either. White Oak is somewhat appealing... which surprises me a bit. I also have some English brown oak... which might be an interesting east meets west thing... who knows. Thanks for your thoughts.

cheers,
konrad

7 April 2016 at 22:04  
Blogger Owen Crane said...

Bah, my mistake Konrad - I got my late night rabbit hole research mixed up. He does say Gumi is his favourite 'tool handle wood', however it was in an article about chisels. I believe that led me to some other articles about gumi (god knows where now) which were more focused on hammer handles, which I think is why I got them confused.

Anyhow this was the chisel article.

http://thecarpentryway.blogspot.ca/2016/01/an-embarrassment-of-riches.html?m=1

Also I should note that he clarifies it is not actually 'japanese boxwood' despite a lot of people calling it that. Maybe your piece is gumi afterall? I think white or the brown oak could be cool - do you have anything that's specifically branch wood with pith? I believe that was said to be desirable in the mystery article which I am quoting, although we've already established my credibility is a little suspect. I wish I could find that article - it had a really in depth description of handle fitting - very slowly over the course of days/weeks I think?

Ah well, I'm sure it'll be great either way, look forward to seeing it!

Owen

8 April 2016 at 03:13  
Blogger Richard Wile said...

Yes Konrad, the real prize is enroute.

Regarding the hammer, mine came with straight grained ebony as the handle which increases the overall mass tremendously (and looks bloody awesome as well). I have seen this hammer in a few pictures online and in blogs and it has the same ebony handle every time - for what it's worth. I'm also sure you got a much better deal than I did, is it signed on the top?

8 April 2016 at 05:07  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks for the link Owen. I do not have any branch wood, although I do have a very old lilac tree that needs to come down - that might be an interesting choice. It will take a long time to season though... not sure I can wait that long:) I will take a look at the Asian boxwood I have - and the rest of the boxwood for that matter. Ah... just too many dang choices really? What I am intrigued by is the shaping of the handles. There are some really sweet curved handles out there that I am hoping to borrow from.

cheers,
konrad

8 April 2016 at 18:48  
Blogger Owen Crane said...

Damn! The lilac would be super cool! Can't say I'd wait either though... you'll just have to buy a couple more hammer heads a few years after the tree comes down!

8 April 2016 at 19:02  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Owen,

I think I will take a look at our firewood pile. There may be a few lilac branches in there and they should be fairly well seasoned - enough to bring into the shop anyway. I will keep you posted.

cheers

8 April 2016 at 22:42  
Blogger John said...

How about Lignum handles?

10 April 2016 at 23:27  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks John - now that would be interesting. I suspect the weight of the wood and the oiliness would be an issue though. I have 2 pieces of English Brown oak on the bench right now and if I have some time this afternoon, I may mess about a bit. It will be sad to bash out the old boxwood handle from the first hammer.

cheers,
konrad

11 April 2016 at 12:22  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Owen,

A bit of an update - I tore into the firewood pile and came up empty handed... but then, when out on the balcony to take some photos, I spied 2 sections of Lilac that have been drying on the balcony for years. Joy! They were several inches longer than I needed - but they each had solid sections in each of them that might work. I brought them in and started exploring on the bandsaw. I roughed out 2 very oversized handles, put some old white glue on the ends and will wait and see how things go. Fingers crossed!

11 April 2016 at 15:50  
Blogger Owen Crane said...

Wow! That's a helluva surprise, very cool - keep us posted on here or instagram, I look forward to seeing it! (Btw that front bun is looking great).

12 April 2016 at 01:53  

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Thursday, 3 March 2016

I am not a chair maker...

... but that doesn’t mean I cannot fall in love with chair making tools!

At HandWorks last may, I had a chance to visit more with Claire Minihan. She had a stunning Ebony travisher at her booth, and I asked what prompted her to try Ebony and how she liked it. She commented that the extra weight of the Ebony greatly improved the function of the travisher. And lets face it - what is not to love about an Ebony travisher? We continued talking and the wheels were turning. We started talking about other heavy wood species that might be appropriate for travishers - and which ones were ‘traditional’ tool making woods . The usual suspects came up - African Blackwood, Honduran Rosewood, Boxwood, Verrawood and Lignum Vitae.

We decided to go for the less typical option - Claire was keen to try something off the charts weight wise. In that spirit - there was only one option. Lignum.

Claire sent photos of the finished travisher, and posted a few to Instagam. The photos were great, but nothing compared to the real deal. The weight is incredible and the workmanship is impeccable.  It is a hard tool to photograph, but here area bunch to try and show it off.








 







One of my favourite touches is the serial number engraved in the end of the brass - 393.

Thanks again Claire for such fine work. I guess a reamer is next... and then I really don't have any more excuses not to make a chair.

16 Comments:

Blogger Andy said...

That really is beautiful.

3 March 2016 at 10:01  
Blogger Steve Kirincich said...

Hi Konrad,
Is that the Argentine lignum or the stuff that is getting harder and harder to find? I have good size chunks of both kinds and am still looking for the "perfect" use.

Steve

3 March 2016 at 11:42  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Andy - I feel the same way. Gotta get over the hump of trying a chair now.

cheers,
konrad

3 March 2016 at 12:21  
Blogger Konrad said...

Good question Steve.

I am not 100% to be honest. I have a loupe from college, but it may not be significant enough to really get a good view of the endgrain to tell them apart. Color and smell are almost useless - the overlap in color is so close it is not a surefire way to tell them apart. How do you distinguish between them? Are you going by how they were labelled when you bought them or by the reputation of the seller? I suppose it does not really matter much from a weight or technical perspective - all 3 are certainly heavy enough... it just may come down to bragging rights.

cheers,
konrad

3 March 2016 at 12:24  
Blogger Jeremy said...

How high is your "chairmaker" bar that your 6 sculpted dining chairs don't qualify you? Claire's work is impressive, nice to see so many artfully minded folks making beautiful + functional tools.

3 March 2016 at 12:24  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Jeremy. Tim Manney is next on my hit-list - his Rosewood reamers were pretty stunning. I agree - great to see the world of independent toolmakers grow the way it is.

Your question about my chairmaking bar is a really good one actually. I do not consider myself a chair maker. I am a guy who has made 6 chairs. The best way to explain the difference is in planemaking terms. Chair making and plane making are pretty specialized ends of the wedge so to speak. There are lots of people out there who have made their own planes - but I am not sure they would consider themselves plane makers. It took me a few years before I was comfortable calling myself a plane maker. Making something that looks like a plane is not that hard... making something that IS a plane requires a different set of skills (at least, it does in my mind). For me, I needed some pretty intense immersion making planes before I really understood what they were about. This is going to sound cheezy, but I needed to understand the spirit of a plane - how it works and why. There are so many intangibly aspects to making things that are really, really hard to articulate. It is these tricky bits that help make someone a planemaker, or a chair maker. People who are chairmakers understand the basic structure of a chair so thoroughly, that they 'see' the forms and effects of making small changes before they even make them. I know this because the same is true in planemaking. Whe I see people who are so comfortable at their craft, they appear to have Jedi powers - like they are anticipating things long before they even happen. They work in a manner that looks effortless.

You know, this is a really important subject, and one that might need some more thought on my part. I am just spouting off right now:), but there I do feel pretty strongly about it.

Does any of this even make any sense?

thanks for the great question.
cheers,
konrad

3 March 2016 at 12:38  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Jermeny,

This also reminds me of what I like about the blog format vs the hand-held devise format. I can type (and therefore think) way faster on a proper keyboard:)

cheers,
konrad

3 March 2016 at 12:39  
Blogger Lymond Hardy said...

Hello Konrad,

Is making a living at your chosen craft an intrinsic part of being a planemaker, chairmaker and therefor being a professional? a little off topic but in our day many people apply the label artist to the the finer crafting but I believe they are quite separate. I have been informed that astisan from italian friends seems to bridge the gap. Just curious on your thoughts, as I have admired and been inspired by your work for many years, a schoolmate met you and made a infill plane along your methods I believe.

Thanks
lymond

3 March 2016 at 18:45  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hello Lymond,

I don't think they need to be connected, but I suspect that by the time you start to really understand the making of something, the idea of making it for income had already crossed your mind. This has been my personal experience and that of many other tool makers (and luthiers, shoe makers etc).

Who was your school mate? Just curious.

Thanks for your question and input.
cheers,
konrad

3 March 2016 at 20:11  
Blogger Malcolm Macpherson said...

Many years ago, in Wales, when as a young man I was taking the first tentative steps towards what would now be called studio furniture making, a nearby retired cabinetmaker invited me to visit him. He had a terminal lung disease, and like many of us, a wood store stuffed with a lifetime of saving nice stuff. Among the wood he gave me were a few pieces of dark green and brown lignum vitae.

Over the years I've used this precious treasure to infill a couple of palm planes, handle knives, floor jigs, and awe workshop visitors. Anyone who has lignum in their shop is a very lucky person.

Malcolm
www.macpherson.co.nz

4 March 2016 at 07:05  
Blogger Chris Bame said...

Hi Konrad,
Great reply to Jeremy's post. The same thought came through my mind. "I could have swore I saw 6 chairs he built on this blog"
Wood is such a great medium for so many avenues of creativity one just has to dabble a bit here and there.

Cheers Chris

4 March 2016 at 10:27  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Chris,

I have been thinking about this more for the last few days, and another way of expressing it is as a design language. Design language is what makes one persons work identifiable from across the room. And it is usually not about any special materials - it is about the way they use shape, form, texture color lines etc. They have established their own language that is a blend of all sorts of other influences and have made it their own. Chair making (and plane making) is like this too. A chair maker understands this language thoroughly and completely and their work is a reflection of this. If I were to guess, most chair makers can tell a Galbert chair from a Buchanan chair. I cannot - I do not know their language well enough to tell them apart. Or a Maloof chair. There are lots and lots of people who make Maloof inspired chairs - myself included. I spent a lot of time looking at them, and as an exercise, I googled 'maloof dining chair'/images. There are pages and pages of images. Go through them and pick out the ones Sam made, and the ones that others made. I was able to get pretty good at it after a while. Sam had is own, very distinct language that even people trying to reproduce exactly have a hard time pulling off.

All this to say, that understanding the design language of a form may be a good way to evaluate if you are a a chairmaker or a guy who made 6 chairs.

Keep in mind, this is a pre-coffee post... :)

cheers,
konrad

6 March 2016 at 08:17  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Malcolm,

Nice to see your name show up here! I remember reading many of your forum posts years ago.

cheers,
konrad

6 March 2016 at 08:19  
Blogger Chris Bame said...

Good Morning Konrad,
What you are saying is so true. If I googled Infill planes I would definitely see your language out of the others. I think we all acquire forms that we are fond of and then try to instill them in our own work.

A mid coffee post!!!
Cheers mate

8 March 2016 at 09:58  
Blogger Jeremy said...

Totally agree re: format (even if I am typing this on a handheld device). I think you articulate the thought well (and always good to have a Star Wars reference) I do also believe "mastery" translates fairly well across specialties. If not completely then it gives you a big leg up. For instance, in your blogs re: chairs you seemed to zoom in on the arm/leg/back transition which as I sketch my designs further, I keep ending up at eventually. Having a mastery of one field (which is also a subset of woodworking) allows you to foresee and shortcut to viable solutions many of the issues that might take a rookie chair maker multiple attempts to figure out.

18 March 2016 at 01:20  
Blogger Jeremy said...

Such good stuff in this part as well. Reminds me of a TED talk on how really innovation is all just "remixing" sampling bits you like into a new form until eventually the original is only barely recognizable. Your planes show this, even in the early days of spiers reproductions, your emphasis on the wood, then the xs single iron unhandled coffins, then the K series, each gets more and more "you" but I suspect even the first few planes are clearly identifiable as S&S. Even if you thought you were just a guy who had made a few planes, you were already a planemaker. I've also combed the internets in search of Maloof chairs... You are already a chair maker whether you ever make another or not. Interesting how Sam always wanted to just be "woodworker"

18 March 2016 at 01:43  

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