Sunday, October 22, 2017

Guest on the Protractor Podcast

One of my favorite podcast titled the "Protractor Podcast" kindly invited me to be a guest. If you are interested in listening than subscribe and listen here:


Monday, October 9, 2017

T-shirts For Sale

Many people have requested for me to have t-shirts for sale. Well here they are. In stock and ready for sale. I have L and XL currently. But if you are interested in any other size please let me know. I am selling the shirts for $10 plus shipping.

Stripping furniture.

Stripping furniture doesn't always involve using strong toxic chemicals like methylene. Often if the piece has shellac or lacquer as a top coat you could use solvents to strip the piece. But first you will need to know the solvent binder in the finish you are trying to remove. For example the image above is a table top with 2 drop leafs. The finish on the piece has been determined to be shellac. How did I determine the finish? I used a cotton q-tip dipped in solvent to see if the finish would react to a particular solvent.

As we all know denatured alcohol or grain alcohol melts/softens shellac. So I took t-shirt rags spread them across the top and pored alcohol on them. I let the rags sit for 5 mins or so and checked the progress. Upon inspection I take notice of the finish and see if it appears gummy. If you ever used chemical strippers than you know exactly what I mean by the gummy appearance. If and when the surface is ready I would wipe the surface down with the rag soaked in alcohol.  Often it takes two rounds of ragging. This process can be used on shellac and lacquer, I have to test it on another finishes. Always remember to dispose or air out the rags properly.

After the finish has been removed sand lightly and top coat the piece once again.

Happy solvent stripping.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Clamps are my weakness....

What can I say I am addicted to buying quality clamps. Many of us already know the options or lack thereof when buying clamps. Sadly manufactures like Wetzler, Hartford, Hargrave, Cincinnati Tool Company, and most recently Jorgensen have all closed their doors. So where does that leave us? There is Ebay which lets be real can be a little crazy when it comes to prices. But if you want to buy "new" than the only options you have these days are Bessey and Piher.  I am not saying you are not going to find a bargain on vintage clamps but it's getting harder. 

This leads me to my recent Ebay purchase that lead me to New York. I was lucky to purchase 13 Hartford clamps for a great price. While speaking with the seller he kindly and smartly mentioned he had more clamps he was going to sell.  Since I was planning to drive 3 hours each way why not buy everything I can. 

Well below you find the recent load of clamps. Lets just say I am pretty darn happy and excited. Now  I don't buy clamps just randomly. There are a certain sizes I use the most. The most common clamps I use range in the 12-30 inch clamping capacity. 

This post isn't me bragging but rather buy what you can when you see it. Its getting tough out there. 

Happy hunting. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Many trades come together to restore an entry of a Brownstone

Just recently I had the great opportunity to help Ryaan Tuttle from RJT Carpentry and Tile to restore this pair of amazing entry doors.  It was amazing to see all the trades coming together and restoring this entryway with so much age and history. The crafts are alive and we the few are working hard to save, conserve, and restore the old, vintage, and quality from the masters before us. 

Selfish plug of a new Podcast

Well folks a new podcast has hit the airways and I wanted to share it with you.  You can find the Against The Grain podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, Soundcloud, and the website Please give it a listen and let us know what you think. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Turned beaded moulding.

 I needed to make a beaded moulding for a clock I am restoring.  But before I spend the 10 mins of joy making the beaded moulding there is a list of things that must get done first.

The beaded moulding that is attached to the back of the clock door needs to match this exactly. I was able to trace the profile and match the diameter with one of my chainsaw files.

But before I can turn the bead I need to create a mounting plate and two wooden rings that are oversized in diameter.

The first step is to layout center and scribe the desired circle on a piece of plywood and mahogany. Pay attention to the grain direction in the mahogany to ensure it matches.  Once the circles are scribed I cut them out on the bandsaw. Again everything is over sized.

 After the plywood and mahogany are cut I than make a paper joint glued with hide glue. The reason for adding American kraft paper is for ease of removing the moulding from the plywood. The glue up sequence went baltic birch plywood, kraft paper, mahogany. I also used Old Brown Hide Glue for its  open time. With the glue spread I clamped everything together and added wax paper just in case any glue squeeze occurs.

Clamping even inch I could to ensure everything is clamped properly. The last thing you need is the wood to fly off. 

Getting ready for gluing. Often I span my glue ups between the jaws of my vise. This allows proper support as I clamp.

Next came the grinding of the cutter necessary to make the bead. The tool of choice is the tip of an old file. This is a common technique in the restoration world and one that should be remembered. 

Here I am filing the tip of the file to match the moulding. The file I used was a 1/8 diameter chainsaw file. Hand files are made from mild steel so modifying them is quite easy. 

The tip of the file shaped. 

This is the view of the first beveling on he bottom of the cutter. 

After the primary grind has been establish I than use a a chainsaw file, or a small grinding wheel, or dremel to grind as much metal away. I often compare this to a complex moulding plane iron. By removing as much metal as possible I can than hone the cutter with slipstones to ensure a quality cut. 

Once everything has dried and the cutter has been made its time to turn. But first I need to bore a center hole in the plywood so I can screw it to the treaded center of the Carey lathe. Side note: The  W. W. Carey lathe was made in the end of the 19th century in Lowell, MA and an amazing lathe to say the least. 

The screw center. 

Center bored
Before I can start turning the bead I must first remove the necessary material to ensure the lathe and the turning are true and balanced. This is the reasoning for leaving everything over sized. Once everything is close to true, I can than turn the thickness and width down to size. I used a parting tool to do all the lathe work necessary before introducing the customer cutter.

I tested the cutter before reaching final thickness. I wanted to make sure I understood how the tool would cut. 

Where I engaged the the tool to the wood. 

Here you can see I am reaching final width and depth. 

The turning wasn't 100% balanced and true but it was close enough. 

The end result was a success.

There was a lot work involved just to get ready to turn. But boy those 10 mins of turning was fun.

I hope you found this interesting and remember in case you need to make a custom cutter someday.