Saturday, March 30, 2013

Ary den Hengst

Ary den Hengst was a planemaker in Rotterdam in The Netherlands in the 18th century. He must have been quite productive because you can still find many planes from him. I found a nice set of tongue and groove planes made by him. It is a rather narrow set for boards 3/8" to 1/2" wide. The tongue is just 1/8". The planes have all the marks of Dutch 18th century moulding planes. The details on the toe of the plane, the bedding angle of 50 degrees and the rather thin iron. Planes from Rotterdam often have a remarkable hollow bedding for the iron. I didn't meassure, but I guess it is at least 0.5 mm concave. This is to be sure the wedge puts pressure down at the edge of the blade.

I had to sharpen the blades of course. There was quite some pitting in the tonguing plane so I had to grind a couple of mm from the edge. Luckily there is still plenty of life left in this  iron. It seems these planes didn't see a ton of use. Both bodies are still in perfect shape with just the usual nicks and dents.

The plane making the tongue. Funny to see is the double shaving emitting from the plane.

And the grooving plane.

And this is the very nice planemakers mark. It's not very clear in the picture, but it is a fugure of a man, probably a saint, above the letters ADH.

In use these plane are very easy. Because of the narrow blades they cut quickly. You just push on, back and forth until the plane bottoms out. That gives you perfectly matched tongue and groove panels.

So I am pretty pleased with this new addition to my collection!

Through mortises

The long rails of the table are getting two extra short rails in between for additional support of the table top. These are attached with through mortise and tenon. On assembly time the tenons will be wedged inside the mortices. Because these joints are visible from the outside, care should be taken to cut them properly.

After marking out I first define the outline at the visible face. Cutting though the endgrain fibers with a wide chisel and the chopping out the wood in between. Thus I create a shallow groove.

Repeat at the other side. When both sides of the mortise are defined I drill out most of the waste. After drilling it's a matter of chiseling the rest of the waste. Because everything is angled about 80 degrees, it was somewhat fiddly to get it nice all around. The test result with the tenon inserted doesn't look too bad!


It's been cold for a very long time in The Netherlands, and the heating has been working hard for months now. So it has been pretty dry for a while, and all the wood in the house shrinks like crazy. Wood reacts slowly but inevitably to humidity changes.

The kitchen, finished late May, has been designed with this aspect of wood movement in mind. The doors are  a frame and panel construction, with the panels floating in the grooves of the frame. Everything allright, but the widest panel, from the refrigerator cabinet is now smaller then its space in the frame. A gap is showing. Not much, and it will close again as soon as spring decides to come along. Weird and funny at the same time.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Video, sawing the leg

Just a quick little video of me sawing one of the legs to length. I mark the cut all around with a knife. Then I establish a groove on two sides first and cut out a triangle. Then turn the leg over and cut out the rest. When sawing it is always smart to only cut the lines you can see. As you can see I had a bit of trouble following one of the lines and had to steer the saw with my other hand. Not recommended of course, but what else can you do? You immediately see such a deviation in the result, but just a few swipes with a plane was enough to clean it up.

Tenons and sawing

Cutting the tenons wasn't very eventfull. Mark them with the same setting from the mortise gauge. Cut the shoulderline on a benchhook and then cut the cheeks from two sides. Disadvantage was the length of the long rails, I couldn't clamp them anywhere on the bench for comfortable sawing. So I clamped two pieces of wood to the sides so I could lay it down on the sawbench and cut from above, kneeling down on the rails. Looked like this:

And the result:

I assembled the whole thing loosely to check out all the connections and improve any misfits. It's tight in my little shed, so the picture isn't too clear. You are looking at the undercarriage of the table, seen from the top.

It is a deceptively simple thing. I kind of wonder where all the hours went, making this thing.

Saturday, March 16, 2013


Now the short rails are attached to the legs, it's time to do the same with the long ones. The joint here will be a mortice and tenon joint. Standard procedure, but I must confess not having too much experience with chopping mortises with a chisel. So, let's give it  a try.

First I set it up. Clamp the leg to the bench, with the mortise to be, above one of the bench legs. A piece of scrapwood is wedged in the bridle joint. Everything to get a stout and strong basis.

And then it's just a matter of chopping. I am following the method Paul Sellers demonstrated on his blog.


And one finished. Not really perfect, but servicable.

Because I want to use haunched tenons, I need to cut away a bit from the end, for the haunch. Just sawing and chiseling.

Four mortises have been cut. On to sawing the tenons.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Finished bridle joints

Today I finally got around to finish the bridle joints, connecting the legs to the short rails. I don't know why it takes so much time. Too much other things going on, and sometimes I'm just lazy.

Anyway, when I cut the top of the third leg at the desired angle, I managed to make a mess of it. Sometimes that just happens. So I had to use a sharp plane, set for a very light shaving to correct it. I've never been very good at planing endgrain, but the discussion about sharpening on and the making of video's and all that payed of. I guess my Stanley #4's blade hasn't ever been as sharp as this, and planing the top of the leg to the correct angle proved to be very easy. In the pictures you first see the mangled endgrain surface, and next the correct one with the pile of endgrain shavings in the background.

After marking, sawing, drilling and chopping, this is the result at the moment. I showed one of the leg assemblies in the livingroom, so everyone could admire my work. Slowly the table is taking shape.

Monday, March 4, 2013

The leg part of the bridle joint

After I cut the rails to receive the legs, now I have to cut the legs so they fit the sockets in the rails. I would like them to be a tight fit, because a sloppy fit shows up. In fact, joints like these are hard to cut without any gaps showing. Of course, if I make too much of a mess, I can always fill the gaps with epoxy and wooddust.

After marking out the cut I have to saw to the lines. Always saw the line you can see, so first one side and the top with the board angled in the vise. I cut a triangle in the wood, so to speak.

Then turn the board around, put it vertically and saw down along the line. The saw is now guided by the previous cut, so it will turn out rather precise all the way through.

And then drilling out the waste between the two saw kerfs.

The rest is chisel work. Cutting a flat bottom. And because I aimed for a very tight fit, I will have to pare the surfaces a bit to make it fit.

I forgot to take a picture of the result, so that will have to wait for the next time.

Friday, March 1, 2013


On the Dutch woodworkers forum someone started a thread about making sharpening videos. So here is mine: