Saturday, July 30, 2016

Spring steel make the best chisels!

When working with stringing for accenting or accentuating a piece cutting the groove and cleaning out the groove can be difficult.  One of favorite methods for cleaning out the grooves is to make a makeshift chisel from old bandsaw blades, or  badly damage hand saws, or even card scrapers. Having a selection of spring steel in varying thickness is useful to have in the studio. Before starting the chisel be certain that the steel will fit in the groove. The chisel doesn't have to be exactly the same width of the groove but the last thing you want is the need to remove thickness. Trust me!

If using a bandsaw blade like I have shown in the photo, I first grind all the teeth off while being cautious not to over heat the metal. Keep some water near by to help keep the steel cool. Than I hollow grind what will be the chisel end. Grind the side where the teeth once wete. We want to keep the flat square edge or what was the back of the bandsaw blade as the bottom reference of the chisel. The radius of the chisel's tip  doesn't matter. I also don't grind all the to the very edge. The process is no different than grinding a plane iron or chisel.

After grinding I hone the tip like any chisel. The edge doesn't have to be wicked sharp, just sharp enough.  Now you have a chisel ready for all sorts of delicate cuts.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Quote by Herman Hesse on Trees....

“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.

Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.

A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.

A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.

When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.

A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one's suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.

So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Leonardo da Vinci.... Drawing materials.

Recently a great video was shared on with me on the materials Leonardo da Vici used in his period. To see this video please visit Leondaro da Vinci drawing materials.

Friday, July 1, 2016

This is boring, so go screw....

Trying to find quality wood screws today is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Many years ago when I was a student at the Furniture Institute of Massachusetts I noticed Master Lowe had tonnage when it came to vintage slotted wood screws. Phil always lectured me and emphasized a restorer always has the right screw.  Well guess what  I love "SLOTTED" raw steel wood screws.You know the good old MADE IN THE USA wood screw that was made with pride.  There was even a time when screws were made with threads that would cut the skin on the tips of your fingers. Many users would complain about this issue, but really they never understood the reasoning why they were so sharp. Sharp threads gave the "maker" assurance that the two pieces would mechanically bonding together and never loosen.   
Today wood screws are weak, fragile, and begging to be stripped and broken.  Which leads me to the purpose of this blog post, the importance of using the proper countersink and tapered drill when boring holes for screws. Like many products made today finding quality countersinks with a tapered drill can be difficult. I have tested many and broken a ton. But than there is the W.L. Fuller bits made proudly in USA in Providence, RI.  

W.L. Fuller Co Inc. is a family owned, third generation, manufacturer of the best Countersinks, Counterbores, Plug Cutters, Taper Point Drills, Brad Point Drills, and Step Drills. All made 100% in the U.S.A. today. With over 60 years experience manufacturing tools to cut woods, plastics, and metals, we can recommend and supply the tools you need to get the job done while saving you time and money. All of our products carry our “Satisfaction Guarantee”. Most orders are shipped the same day they are received. W.L. Fuller Co Inc. also stocks and distributes woodworking tools from other U.S. Manufacturers.  (Copied and pasted from W.L. Fuller website)

For 15 years I've owned this basic set and it has served me better than any similar product. I have since added bigger sizes to the basic set for wood screw sizes #12, 14, 16, 18, and #20 screws.  But for most of you the set showcased is all you need.   

I am also a little fastidious on having everything looking as perfectly as possible, so I use a stop collar on my countersinks.  The stop collar ensures consistency. If that wasn't bad enough I also clock my screws so they all point the same way.

Lastly if you ever need to make small plugs, than simply remove the tapered drill bit, use a short length of drill rod that fits in the corresponding countersink, tighten the set screws, mount the countersink in drill press and bore away. Endless supply of plugs.