Saturday, May 18, 2013

Ulmia miter saw

Planing all that aceraga of wallnut does become a little bit tedious, so I decided to treat myself to a new tool. A real Ulmia 352 miter saw. These things have been made since 1877 and are still being made. High quality stuff. I found one for just 55 euro overhere in The Netherlands.

Just a shame mine has probably been  dropped to the floor. The handle was bend to the left and the sawblade wasn't perpendicular to the table anymore.

Luckily only the long tube was bend and crumpled at the handle end. It wasn't difficult to straighten it again with a hammer and an machinst vise. I wasn't really happy with the sawblades that came with this saw. Most of them were dull, and then there was a laser hardened one with very agressive teeth. Sawing with these was very jerky, as if the teeth would bite at random in the wood. So today I sharpened the unhardened 10 tpi blade. Originally it came with a rip tooth configuration which isn't optimal for a crosscut saw. So I filed the saw crosscut with about 15 degrees rake and 20 degrees fleam. Then set the teeth about 0.15 mm.

Now the saw works like it should be! It is absolutely square in the horizontal direction and 99% in the vertical direction. Good enough for woodworking and better then I can saw with a handsaw. There is also minimal splintering at the far side of the cut. I made a short video to show how a saw like this works and should work.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Nr. 2

And that's slab number two.

You probably won't hear much from me for a while now, because I won't be doing anything new.....

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Live edge and the endgrain

The live edge of this board was a bit too "baroque" for my taste. So I had to remove a lot of material in order to shape it more to my liking. First I wanted to do this with the drawknife, but it was just too much material. I think in older times the local carpenter would have used an axe for such a job. But because I don't even have an axe I had to find another solution. A simple, crude but fast method of stock removal on the edge of a board is crosscuts and splitting the material in between with a big chisel. Then, with the amount of work in managable limits again, I shaped it with the drawknife.

And because I have never used a drawknife in earnest before in my life, the result needed a bit of smoothing with a spokeshave and a scraper. Overall this was a fun job. Freeshaping instead of carefull working to a line or so.

Last job on this board were the ends. Planing endgrain is never easy, especially not on such large boards. Added complexity was the length of the board, so I couldn't clamp it upright to the bench. Ceiling too low! Instead I clamped it slanted to the front of the bench, this seemed to be the most comfortable position. I used a wooden plane, because a heavy one is very tiring being used like that. A sharp, sharp, sharp blade made it all possible.

Well, that was slab nr 1. On to the next, as soon as my sore muscles had some rest.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Marking the live edge.

I was having troubles to see how thick the slab was going to be on the live edge side. It is not posisble to mark this with a marking gauge, because the pin is just too short. So first I deviced this method, sawing curves down to the proper depth. I meassured the depth with a combination square, marking a tick with a chisel. Then I would cut down into the edge with a saw.

While helpfull, this was not precise enough, especially not in between the lines. And it was difficult to see while planing,how deep I was going to be. So, I decided to make a special marking gauge. A block of wood, cut out at the desired depth with an old planer blade on top for a marking knife.

I could even move the blade for two different reach settings. Shorter reach is more precise of course, because the blade tends to curve under pressure. But despite this shortcomming it works pretty well.

I have now planed this slab mostly flat. I removed any twist, and it is flat across the width. It is slightly bowed in length, but I would have to remove too much wood at the ends to make it really straight. I hope the bow is slight enough, so it will easilly be clamped down to the undercarriage. Before I do any more planing I'll give it a try. On this underside I only used the scrubplane and the foreplane, so the finish is rather coarse. There is just no point in smoothing it any further.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The scrub plane

Agressive little beast it is, this small but not so humble German scrub plane. To thickness the board to desired size I need to remove a lot of wood. Just the thought of doing this with a jack plane wears me out. With the scrub it is no problem at all. You just push it, no need to put much pressure on it. It takes a deep bite. Use it across the grain (slightly diagonally feels easier to me). Build up a rythm, don't try to force it. Just stop for a bit after a while to catch your breath again, check how deep you are allready and continue. The scrub work on this board was done in about half an hour. But it leaves a terrible surface of course and the real work, flatening and straightening is yet to begin.

I shot a short video to illustrate the proces.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

After Croatia, work again.

We had a wonderful week in Croatia. We saw nice villages, great nature and spend some time on the islands. Actually we did a lot in just 6 days. Having a rental care really helps in that respect. Plitvice, with the famous lakes and waterfalls, was unbelievable, and what I didn't really expect, it is all in the middle of a very nice beech forest. I immediately wanted to start making beech planes, plenty of stock around here.

Well, I am back home again, which means planing the table top. First I filled the knotholes with epoxy. Then I finished smooting the visible surface and scraping to get rid of all little imperfections. I am not very happy with the color of the epoxy in the knotholes. It's quite ugly in fact. But the area around the knots is quite atractive. Maybe I will remove some epoxy and fill them with a dark colored epoxy or hideglue. In the picture you can see some imperfections still, but I was "lucky". Just in time I remembered that I hadn't checked for wind in the board, and indeed, more wood needed to be removed here.

Then it was time to straighten the edge. We had some discussions about this on So I took it as an opportunity to give my very best on this job. Trying to get a glue worthy edge, allthough I am not going to glue it. In fact, it wasn't so difficult after all. On such a large surface (210cm long and about 4,5cm wide) it is easy to balance your plane. After jointing the edge I marked how much needs to be removed from the other side to get a uniformly thick table top. The thinest part of the board is 3.7cm now, so that's what it's going to be. A lot of work (sigh!).