Friday, March 17, 2017

The return of the Honey Do list...

These past weeks, my girlfriend has been moving in, that meant some re-arranging and small projects around the house to accommodate her stuff...
I may have lost a closet(s) but I gained so much more :-)

This move will save untold amount of gas for our vehicles and help save the planet... You're welcome :-)

It was the calm before the storm...
Well this last one was a bust really, 
was not even worth getting the snowblower out!
The Grand peanuts are checking my Blog on my IPad while Rudy is looking for trouble :-)

Part of this re-organization throughout the house, meant I had to round up tools stashed everywhere. Some I knew, some I forgot I put away.

Took the opportunity between coats of paint drying, to update my files about these tools. Took pics, round up whatever documentation and history I found so far about them and re-stashed my stash somewhere else... Temporarily...

Stash-O-Tool Tm

 My hand tools shop downstairs is a disaster zone. Maybe if I declared it as such, I could get the military to help? humm probably not, their occupied elsewhere ...

Yes, that is an antique Rip frame saw I recently found :-)

As more stuff is pushed into the garage, it is a good time as any to get a head start on this year Spring cleanup, so may as well, besides I so need the space right now! :-)

So for the short little while, that is what I will be doing, so my blog will remain quiet for a short while.

Heh, do you mind...Trying to sleep over here

Catch you all on the flip side... and keep your stick on the ice, Heh!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Sash planes and window making

Lately I came across two such planes, used to make the sash bars on a classic 3X2 single or double hung windows.

There are a few specialised planes to make windows, the ones I found are called Adjustable Sash planes (an American invention I believed), since the space between the decorative cut and the glass rabbet is variable, adjusted by screwing or unscrewing the two part of the body apart.

My two new acquisition for my herd

Window sash making, the making of the glass window frame, was a specialized trade at one time. Even after the division of labour between the carpenters (framers) and the house joiners (finish carpentry, trim work)  Window making quickly became a speciality... and for good reason. It demand an attention to details, the ability to craft good work precisely and specialised tools.
Traditionally, before the window maker became a trade, such work was reserved for their best housewright (Finish carpenter, joiners)

Some of the tools of the trade:
From Top L-R CW
Sash Scribing plane (it really is a table top plane but posing as)
Recessed screw adjustable Sash plane (with appropriate screwdriver)
Wood screw Adjustable Sash plane
Reverse Ovolo moulding plane
Sash Filletster plane
Stanley No 45 Combination plane (could cut the rabbet and the decorative cut (ovolo etc)
Two sash mortise chisel besides a typical English regular Pigsticker chisel (for comparison)
Typical joiner mallet
Sash Backsaw
Missing are the templets, the Sash gouge and the sticking board.

The windows frames themselves were not that difficult to make, but you have to ensure a square rigid assembly using solid joinery, no glue. The glue available in those days would be quickly rendered useless outside in the elements.
Mortise and tenon drawbored or dovetailed (often pinned) would be the joinery of choices for the window sashes. Oh and make sure to uses a wood species that is straight grained and decay resistant, one side being exposed to the outside. Yes, they often used pine back in the days, but it was old growth, tight grained wood, unlike today fast growing pine stock found at the lumberyards. Larch was also used.

The difficulties come from the delicate looking, graceful muntin bars that divided the window opening in 6 smaller openings. In the classic 3X2 window sash (6 panes per sash).

Lead cased diamond pattern windows, sometimes called Tudor windows.
What was previously used before the advent of the sash windows. 

Ham house situated besides the river Thames in Ham south of Richmond in London, built in 1610. It has the classic 3X2 window sashes 

Prior to that, the lead cased diamond pattern window was prominent. The sash window first appeared in the late 17th century and even today, double hung sash windows are still popular and come in aluminum or PVC, besides traditional wood sash.

Classic 3X2 PVC Double hungs windows that I put in my house.
Low to none maintenance.

In the earliest windows up to 1740, the size (width) of the muntin was 1-1/2 to even 2 inch. Making joinery in bars of this size was easier and did not required specialised tools, commonly used joiner tools did the job.
A plow or rabbet plane could cut the glazing rabbet and a simple molding plane could cut the ovolo.
The size of these bars was gradually reduced for aesthetic reasons, reaching 3/4 in by the end of the 18th century, and about 5/8 by the beginning of the19th century. Such small pieces of wood created a demand for specialised tools to be able to work efficiently.

The reason of course why the windows of the days had to used numerous smaller panes of glass to cover the opening was simply because the limitation was how big a pane of glass they could make... Only smaller ones. Gradually the size of the glass panes increased to larger ones, enabling the uses of less panes of glass until finally conquering the size limitations,. Today we can make very large panes of glass of all sorts.

Why do we bother with the decorative element on the outside part of the muntin (sash bars, glazing bars)?
Because, being on the inside, and in plain sight it makes the size of the bars appears lighter.
Besides the simple bevel profile, numerous others were used, some using Ogee, Ovolo and etc.

Early on, the sash bars were machined using separate moulding plane for the decorative cut, and a sash Fillister plane for the glazing rabbet.

Pic from Ralph
He cut the two side of the decorative cut with a moulding plane. Next if he was to rip the molding and then cut the glazier rabbet on both side, he would had made a sash bar... 

Looking at that shape you would probably been wondering how you would hold the narrow piece for the rabbeting operation on both sides?

The answer of course is by using a Stick Moulding board, one adapted to our typical mouldings. There were a few variations, depending on the types and number of cuts required. In the example above, using Ralph picture, that would had been the 2 planes, 4 cut method.

First cut in the first position on the sticking board, cutting the rabbet using a Sash Filletster plane 

Flip board over then cut other side of rabbet as above

The third and fourth cut are done in the second position of the sticking board using a moulding plane such as Ovolo etc.

Another form of specialized Sticking board for sash bars

Sash ovolo pairs with matching templet

The typical planes used to form the sash bars, or muntin, sometimes came as a matched pairs.
One cut the side profiles on the length of the bars (Sash plane) and another cut the matching coping profile on the end of the bars, called Sash Scribing planes . Such planes are rarely found as a match pairs, having long been separated since birth....

How the Sash Scribing plane was used

Another form of Sash scribing plane

Today windows sash are cut by shaper cutters, much like the rail and style molding set used in raised panel door making.

And technically, we can of course cut the matching coping profile using chisel and gouge.
This is one use were the in-cannel gouge (meaning the bevel or bezel is on the inside of the gouge) is better, having a straight curve profile on the outside enabling us to pare precisely up and down to an outside line. Hint, some text books referred to such gouges a paring gouge.  You can of course used the more plentiful out-cannel gouge, but the outside curve would be bevelled hence you cannot pare straight down.

Scribe templet with specialised sash gouge. It has a built in depth stop

For repeatability and precision, such gouge and chisel work was often executed using a templet (template).  There would be such templet used to pare the 45 degrees and coping the end of the bars.
Such templet often came with the mirror profile of the sash bars to nest it securely inside in the correct orientation.

Using a Miter templet

Another plane that was sometime used was the Sash Filletster plane, often mistaken for a plow plane, being very similar. Like any Filletster planes, the fence would slide under the stock of the plane, whereas the plow plane fence does not.

18th century Sash Fillister plane 
(iron removed in storage, one stem wedge missing)

Ever wondered why the Stanley No 45 Combination plane has two holes, one on top of each other on the fence to attach it to the bars? The bottom hole position is for regular plowing, while the top hole allow the fence to slide under the skate (essentially the sole) making it a Filletster plane.

Bottom hole location for regular Plow operation

Top hole location for Filletster operation

Using the Stanley No 45 it is possible to cut all operations on our sash bars with only one plane (except the scribing part).

The next evolution was to make specialised sash moulding planes which could cut both side of the  profile at once with the board held on the edge on a bench vise. Still two planes method, but only three cuts

Finally the Adjustable Sash plane, cut the whole thing with only one plane and two cuts. These are the ones I just found

The one on the left is adjusted by loosening the locking collar then adjust the screw, then re-lock. it is also fully boxed. The other one has no boxing and is adjusted by turning a wood screw in and out. Yes the steel screws in the brass collar were frozen, Liquid Wrench took care of that. The English pattern Cabinet maker screwdriver shown is the correct size to fit the screw.

In this Sandusky catalog illustration you can see how the two cutters cut each part, one the rabbet, the other the decorative cut.

Can you make up the profile?
Shown both closed


Opened. It varies the length of the flat part on the decorative cut side

The screw adjust one, opened. 
They both have dowel to ensure they stay true

And you may have guessed that using this type of planes, required yet a slightly different type of sticking board than shown previously.

The horizontal sash bars (rails) are mortised into the vertical sash bars (stiles) using, you guessed it, a sash mortise chisel.... :-)

Two proper sash mortise chisels beside the regular 
English Pigsticker mortise chisel for size comparison

The sash mortise chisel is smaller and thinner than the regular mortise chisel such as the traditional English pigsticker (I know, not the proper name, but colloquially referred to as such since...whenever)

The rip saw would have riped the sash bars to size first, then finally the sash backsaw would have performed all the cross cut operations involved.
The saw bench and the bench hook, a mitre block would had been used in those cuts.

Watch this video to see it all come together...

Darn if I can find my sticking board, I would have to make a new one I guess... Another post :-)

Bob, with a few tools MIA around him

Monday, February 27, 2017

So....You want to learn about woodworking!?

If you want to give this a real try, then there are two fundamental areas you must learn first.

The first one being about the wood itself.  How the tree grew influenced its characteristics, understanding the make up of the wood itself, how to read the grain. The differences between hardwoods and softwoods. How the way wood is processed affect greatly its look and its working properties.

Knowing how the wood is made, how it moves and why, its strength and weakness, allows you to built confidently and properly a piece that will outlast us all.

Second being the tools used and how to keep them sharp and serviceable.
There are a Bazillions of choices out there, awaiting the unwary buyer. Which ones do you really need? How do you tell the good ones versus the crappola?

How to use them properly so that they don't wear you out or hurt you, which ones when?
And perhaps most critical, you need to know how to look after and sharpen them properly.
Understanding the concepts of Coarse, Medium, and Fine in tools selection and usage.
Knowing which ones and how to keep them working in top notch conditions will save you a boatload of money...

Unless and until you gain some good knowledge about the above, you could only progress so much as a woodworker and never reach proficiency. That you want to stick to power tools or hand tools, makes absolutely no differences in this regard.

Once you gain this knowledge, you can then better understand the uses of the various joinery methods at our disposal. How best to join wood for its intended use, is critical to sound construction.
And you can learn various methods to execute them, using either or both power and hand tools.

Having learned about wood properties, will help you navigate and understand the bewildering world of adhesives and finishing products for wood. When to use the right one for specific applications.

Woodworking spaces, considerations
Depending on your own circumstances:
- Level of interest, budget and space available
- Power or hand tools have different requirements
- Noises and dust control
- Lighting and access

Some essential shop fixtures and jigs
Power or hand tools?

Branching off
Depending on your interests, there are a myriads of woodworking specialties, each ones requiring a different skill and tool set.
Some examples:
- Luthiery (the making of musical instruments)
- Woodturning
- Woodcarving
- Chair making
- Furniture making
Etc, etc. The possibilities are endless..... Limited only by your imagination.

And above all, for lots of us, woodworking is a gateway to relaxation. A place where time stand still and evaporate along with the worries of our daily grinds. A place in time where you are solely concentrating on the immediacy of the task at hand. Keeping track of where that sharp tool edge is on the wood and the position of your hands in relation to it, is all that matter in the moment.
Forget either and chances are pretty high that you will cut yourself... just saying :-)

And that is why it can provides you, not only a distraction and an outlet for exploring your creativity, but also a chance to unwind and smell the wood (not the sawdust!)

So where am I going with this?
Well, I have pretty well finished my son's tool kits, now I need to make them some sort of curriculum and figured out how to deliver it to them.
That and they will need some sort of tool storage... Portable, so I can deliver it myself :-)

How my bright ideas usually start :-)

Bob, the long range planer.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Why did the screw hole location changed on Stanley type irons?

Part 2 of my answer to Ralph of the Accidental woodworker 

You know the "hole" the one that used to be located near the top of the iron

Pretty well all used up Adam & Co blade showing typical hole at the top
Found inside an American Arrowmammett work plane

That hole was first introduced to facilitate removing and installing the new fangled cap iron making the blade a double iron. Such double iron first appears around 1760. That long slot is required in order to re-adjust the cap iron as the blade get used up by repeated sharpenings.

At first the cap iron was secured by a captive nut welded to the main blade

Typical British blade arrangements. Found on a British C NURSE plane starting in 1840. 181-183 Walworth Rd address making it between 1909-1937

Then around 1892 it moved to the bottom, first introduced by Stanley.... and for good reasons...

But as you can see above,  well after Stanley moved the hole location down in 1892, the traditional hole on top remained for a while. That was a patented feature from Stanley so no one else could do that without paying them royalties.
Yet many sources stated that the hole on the top indicated a blade made prior to 1895 (or 2), that would be not quite true, but some sort of indicator.

But why did Stanley made the move?

Because starting with the TYPE 5 1885-88 a new feature appears on the Bailey design, the Lateral lever.

Then at TYPE 6A 1891-92, the new feature was the relocation of the hole at the bottom of the blade near the cutting edge.

The raised lip at the end of the original lateral lever was soon replaced by a small disk, its job is to engage the slot on the blade and allow side movement (lateral) by skewing the blade left and right.
The problem that was soon discovered was, as the blade is used up by repeated sharpening, the big hole on top falls in the spot were the lateral lever engage the slot, negating its proper usage.

Solution? Move the hole at the bottom and problem solved.
You can now used that blade to its last inch of its life...

Of course that problem only appears on planes with the Stanley type lateral lever, other design do not need that "fix", that and the feature was patented, so no one else could claim it.

So how did Stanley explained that newly introduced feature?
If you were to believe their tool propaganda in the literature, they claimed it was for ease of installing/removing the blade from the cap iron.

QUOTE " The improved form of this plane iron renders it unnecessary to detach the cap iron from the blade, at any time, as the connecting screw will  slide back to the extreme end of the slot in the plane iron, without the danger of falling out. The screw may then be tightened, by a turn with thumb and finger, and the cap iron will serve as a convenient handle, or rest, in whetting the cutting edge of the plane iron." UNQUOTE

Hum and how does that work in practice? Never found that to be a problem or hindrance or even a plus, to have to hole located on top or bottom while sharpening, and I always separate both.

As far as the argument that you can slide the sharp edge without rubbing it along most of the blade while re-installing, that too was never a problem in my book. Regardless of how and were you re-install the blade on the iron, you have to be careful to protect that sharp edge anyway...

Original Patent by Edmund Schade assigned to Stanley
No 473,087 Apr 19 1892. 
─┐ook carefully the dotted top hole location were it would had fallen 
if not relocated.

In the original Stanley's patent the following claims were made:
My invention relates to improvements in plane iron's; and the objects of my improvement are to facilitate the manufacture of the plane iron, to improve its quality when made, and to make the iron capable of being worn down farther than the old style of iron used in conjunction with certain planes...

We also have annectorial evidence from court testimony of Stanley employees during a patent infringement case against the Ohio Tool company (to be later purchased by Stanley) .

The OHIO Tool Company, one of Stanley competitor who produced almost identical copies of Stanley Bailey design, had of course the same problem with theirs. Their solution was to make the hole at the bottom but made it shaped like an hexagon instead of circular, in a bid to avoid patent infringements.

OHIO clever improvement upon Stanley :-)

Too obvious of course so Stanley took them to court... and lost.

On May 16 1902, the judge citing that QUOTE " Schade device may be an improvement upon the previous devices, but it is only so in degree. The problem is so simple and may be solved in so many different ways that invention cannot be predicated by its solution in one particular way. The court is unable to resist the conclusion that Schade's achievement was only what might be expected from a clever mechanic, and that no new results, such as contemplated by the patent law, was attained thereby. The bill is dismissed" UNQUOTE.

Stanley would appealed the case on Oct 3 1903, and the ruling was upheld and Stanley ordered to pay the court cost of Ohio Tool Co.
Judging by the amount of time and money Stanley spend fighting Ohio, it would appears almost vindictive...

And what about the claims about the quality improvements of the irons by relocating the hole at the bottom ??

QUOTE "By making the circular enlargement at the end of the slot, which is nearest the cutting edge, I am enabled to make the plane irons by pressing them out from sheet steel, and to harden and temper them to a point, so that fewer irons are lost in hardening and tempering, and are less liable to become cracked or broken at said point after they are put to use. This is because there are no angular notches at the lower end of the slot from which a crack will start." UNQUOTE

Well, I have never ran into a blade with its hole on top cracking in use, mind you all the ones I ever saw had a rounded end to the slot, not a square end...
Although, if you were to press them from sheet steel versus hand forging them, perhaps it would have been a different story??

And then we have Stanley manufactured blades in the early 20th century with the hole still on top for their Siegley copies, such as found by Ralph. Humm so much for their claims of better blades quality with the hole at the bottom...
In manufacture, they simply reverse the blade at punch time.

So there you have it, the reasons the hole moved was to enable the blade being used up to the last inch of its life on a Bailey type lateral lever plane AND ease the manufacture of cheaper blades by stamping them prior to hardening.
Clever perhaps, but no where near the claimed reasons in their tool propaganda literature...

And that is what history has recorded about it

Bob, the tool detective

Monday, February 20, 2017

S s S or Stanley? And the differences would be....

I was going to respond to my friend Ralph of the Accidental Woodworker about questions he had on a recent find he got, a Stanley iron stamped SsS. What gives? And what about the hole location moving on Stanley irons, then followed by everyone else... Why?

Pic of "new" blade acquired by Ralph.
Notice the hole position on the top also.
Pic from Ralph

Then I thought my response was getting too long, better save it as a blog entry...

What's in a name, Siegley

Jacob "Jake" Siegley of Wilkes-Barre Pa,
If the name sounds somewhat familiar, it may be because of his Combination planes No 1 and No 2

From Carpentry and Building , Vol 6, December 1884

Siegley No 2 Combination plane. 
See a resemblance with Stanley No 45? It is no coincidences...

Jacob Siegley filed a patent for his first bench plane model on May 21st 1892.  Patent No 510,096 was granted  Dec 5 1893.

DATAMP Screen shot

He manufactured planes: The Siegley combination plane No 1 and No 2
Bench planes in iron or wood bottom version and Block planes from the early 1880s until being taken over by Stanley in 1901 who continued to manufactured some of his designs until 1927 still using the Siegley name and the appellations: SsS (Siegley Stanley Steel) on cast iron planes, StS (Siegley Tapered Steel) on Transitional wood bottom planes and finally SbS (Siegley Block Steel)

The Siegley Stanley Steel blade such as found on Ralph's iron, was indeed manufactured by Stanley and is an otherwise identical item as regular Stanley irons.

The Siegley Tapered Steel irons on the other hand are tapered in thickness from the cutting edge to the upper portion. These would not be an easy retrofit into a Bailey design. They were designed for the Transitional, wood bottom planes.

Siegley (Pre Stanley) No 5 made in Wilke-Barre Pa

The usual checkering pattern on the tote.
By now (Patents expired), the typical Bailey depth adjuster mechanism 
(brass wheel and yoke pivot) 

The yoke is made of two separate stamped pieces and the grooves cut in the back
rest inside the matching pawls made at the end of the yoke blade advance mechanism

Grooves for the blade advances and offset slot for the lateral adjuster.
And in case you wondered, YES that blade is sharp and this tool is a good user

Most are found with corrugated sole (!?)

Siegley (only) Stamped on blade.
Notice offset location of lateral adjuster slot

They could not be exactly like Stanley, this is a patented model, hence different. Look at the strange lateral adjuster mechanism, which made the offset location of the blade's slot a necessity. It also utilized the age old screw on lever cap, pivoting on a fix pin on the bed casting 

The lever cap is unique also in having two adjustable preset screws, one on each side. It fine tune the position of the lever cap near the blade edge, since this is a single iron blade, it act as the chip breaker.

The two screws are resting against the metal bar upon 
which the lever cap is wedged under, and stop the cap edge to a preset location

How the screws are adjusted.

Notice the slight sliver of blade sticking out under the lever cap?

And since both screws adjust independently, you can offset a smidge to compensate for a less than perfect square blade's edge

How the Siegley No 5 compare to a run of the mill Stanley No 5
In the background? Hoh, standard Canadian winter's preparation survival pack...

Pretty close size wise, but I did noticed for the first time a big difference...

Hard to tell in this pic but the Siegley, in the back, as a lower bed angle than the Stanley which as its frog bedded at 45 degrees.

So using a very sophisticated methodology, 
the latest state of the art and a few beers

Stanley No 5 measured at 45 degrees, no surprise there

But the Siegley measured lower...

Here you can clearly see the differences.
Turns out Siegley bed is 5 degrees lower, sitting at 40 degrees.
It uses a single iron bevel down blade, hence its angle of attack is at 40 degrees.
More of a slicing than scraping action.

The frog cast piece is pinned fixed, to the bed piece sides by two pins 
(Red arrows) and the lever cap wedging bar is similarly pinned on both sides (Blue arrow)

And to add to the confusion, there are actually three "Pedigrees variations" of these planes, the original's Siegley made in Wilkes-Barre Pa then Stanley made from 1901-1927 in New-Britain Ct, and Edwin Hahn planes made at the Keystone Tool works in Wilkes-Barre Pa, from 1901 and upward. Hahn bought the remaining inventory from Siegley when they got sold to Stanley. Of course when Hahn bought the remaining stock they could not make the same patented features on them such as the two adjust screws for the cap iron, said patent now belonging to Stanley, so they had to changed it somewhat in order to retain the adjustability of the lever cap come chip breaker. That was done using a small adjustable plate at the end of it, held in place by two screws.

Note the lack of the set screws resting on the bar, replaced by 
the adjustable plate at the edge

Blade is also stamped 
 MAN'FR (Manufacturer) 
Wilkes-Barre PA
Last two pics from fellow Canadian blogger Time Tested Tools 

 If you intend on collecting these, there are about 12 different TYPEs that have been noted.  Years of fun collecting them all :-)

This post is getting a bit long, I will answer the next question about the hole location on blades in a later post.

Bob, the tool historian