Friday, April 29, 2016

Understanding Type study's

Hand tools, unlike most power tools, do not have any serial numbers or other distinctive markings to help dated a tool

Among collectors, in an effort to help date or more correctly narrow down to a more specific time period a given tool, for years now, they have come up with Type studies.


They are the results of examining numerous examples in order to group various distinctive changes or features into categories (Type) then trying to attach specific dates as to when such changes or features took place in the tool long history of production.


Most of the current type study we see today were developed before a little thing like EBay came into being.  Suddenly, as numerous examples came to the front it had a ripple effect on type studies, price list, rarity and etc.
Some tools that were thought to be rare became more common once the collecting of tools started to become more trendy in the last decade or so and more of them became available thru sites like EBay.

Along with the larger quantity of tools being available, new features and changes became apparent Type studies had to be updated to reflect this.

Adding to the confusion is the fact that relying on catalog and advertising copies in magazines and such is often misleading because companies recycled their "wood cut" (carved block, inked to print tools outlines and such) throughout numerous years. Millers Falls for one was notorious for that, but so was Stanley and al...

You also have to realized that at the time all these tools were produced, their manufacturers had no idea that someone would be trying to pin point a date of manufacture by the various features down the road.  In addition they would used up their inventory of parts as they went. Therefore not all the tools came out with the same parts during the in-between time periods.

And then we have a more modern phenomena, since a lot of these tools are now being restored to be users, some parts are replaced to make them functional or replace missing parts and etc. The cutter blades being used up eventually are often found replaced for example.

In addition since tool collecting has become quite popular, with an increase in prices (they are after all in a limited supply) Some unscrupulous vendors will change parts or modify them to pass as more collectible and rare "types".

One of the most commonly referred Type study is probably the one covering the Stanley bench plane No 4.
It is often used indiscriminately across the whole bench planes models No 1 to 8

There are of course some caveat to doing this:
The No 1 was in short lived production and because of its diminutive size, did not had all the "new features". For example they never had corrugated sole.
It does have its own Type study BTW

The No 2 to 8, similarly, did not had all the features of the No 4, and to add confusion to the unwary, it was based strictly on the Made in USA models.

Stanley also produced most of these bench planes in Canada, England,  Australia and possibly Germany (?)
Again, not all of these will "fit" the American type studies.
All that to say, Type studies should be used with a grain of salt and not as the absolute definitive answers.

Are they still relevant? YES, as long as their limitations and usage is understood.

I will share with you my own Type studies features that I compiled thru the years with pictures (mostly collected off EBay) whenever time permits.

I did this years ago to make sense of all the sometimes confusing descriptions of the features in question.

First I must dig them out of my computer backups then clean them and "massage" them as time permit

I am currently pretty well on full time nurse duty right now.
But not to worry I have lots of support at home, from the palliative care nurses, doctors, home support workers and of course our numerous friends.

Stay tuned.

Bob, dusting his old files while waiting for Rudy to finish his "beautification program" (doggy grooming :-)

Friday, April 22, 2016

Care package from thoughtful friends

We recently had visits from the Ottawa region's friends.
Wendy came for a week in the valley visiting family and friends and later her husband Claude came last weekend, from Halifax where he was working for the Navy.

During both visits, they mentioned that they had a couple planes they want to bring me, but forgot.
Received a package in the mail the other day containing both and a thoughtful note from Wendy
Thank you guys... Love you.

Rudy trying to help ???

Interesting specimen, never seen those before.
A small palm block plane and a No 4 smooth plane that has a strong European look, judging by the shape of the front knob.

What really surprised me is the form of that No 4, it has lots of the characteristics of an older Stanley design... (Stanley types dates shown are for the introduction of a given features)

Good old flat surface frog bedding area, my favorites

Adjust. nut has a recess (Stanley type 3, 1872-1873) 

Flat frog bottom (Stanley Type 4, 1874-1884)

Why you should always remove the frog on an older plane.
I always find wood chips etc which if left alone will cause rust. 

Cleaned up we can clearly see the frog receiver machined area.
These will need to be touched up lightly with a file

The four major change to the frog receiver on Stanleys

My frog look like something in between the second and third from the left on the above picture. The flat receiver came in 1874 then modified in 1888 by casting two ribs (like I have) The next big changes came in 1902, even less machining and a central rib to keep  the frog centered when adjusting with a screw in the back. At that time according to Patrick, the patents covering the earlier frog design had just expired and Stanley needed something else to distinguished themselves from the competition. 

Look like my specimen was made post 1902 but could not infringed on Stanley by adding the central rib and screw adjustment. My best guess at this time is from the 1920-30s

The bottom surface is painted  (japanned?) and rusty, paint is bubbling.
Will need a good filing.

Flattened area on top of frog (Stanley type 5, 1885-1888) 

One piece lateral lever (Stanley Type 5, 1885-1888)

Key hole lever cap, recessed back (Stanley type 3, 1872-1873) 
Rectangular spring (Stanley type 2, 1869-1872) 

The finishing before the nickel plating is kinda rough in places.
Not to the usual Stanley standards, but perfectly serviceable.

Cutter nut fit perfectly my LV screwdriver

Good length and not serious rust, will clean easily.

Interestingly, the cap iron (chip breaker) is not as wide as the blade...

Small stained hardwood handle showing signs of proper uses.

Fit my hand with those wear points perfectly

I did not uncovered any markings yet, but until found otherwise, I will assumed that it is from Germany.
I will have to ask them the story or provenance of these two planes.

The other one is a palm block plane, also without any discern able markings (?)

Solid casting, strange looking cap

At first I thought it was made like that to produce three contact points...

But on close inspection, it has obviously had its corner broken 
and a small piece at the top

Strange cover, makes adjusting the plane ...tricky??

The top of the blade shows evidences (filed away) of mushrooming, 
by repeated hit from a metal hammer used to "adjust" it.

Typical block plane frog, only two contact point, the flat band 
at the front of the mouth and in the rear on the post.

The problem often encountered with this design.
Take a good look where the screw is used to secured the blade.
If you screw it down too tight you will bend the blade up at the ends and it will choke quickly... if it still cuts.

In case you were wondering, YES, some of these designs have the screw post co planar with the mouth and rear post, avoiding that problem, but... more complex, more machining, more money and bla bla...

All in all two very interesting specimens of which I never seen before.
The No 4 got me the most excited. It has all the good bones to becomes a very good performer after some fettling.

Thank you Wendy and Claude :-)

And if you are wondering why on earth would I need yet more planes... It's because I'm putting together two kits plus mine remember?
Besides I love studying and researching old tools, you never know what you would encountered...

Bob, getting side tracked, yet again ...Squirrel! :-)

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Yard works

You probably noticed that there isn't much woodworking related posts lately...

I am a full time nurse these days.

Still, with friends help I am able to take care of small stuff around the home.
With the sun getting stronger every day, she has expressed an interest in going out on the back porch to take it in.
That means time to get into the backyard shed....

But before I go in, I need to take care of a broken tree in front of it.
And thankfully Rudy recently graduated from twigs to small branches, so he is rearing to help :-)

Earlier in the year we had freezing ice/snow and high winds damages.
That white birch tree by the porch has recovered... some 

The cherry tree by the backyard shed has lost two trunks.
It need to go before I can get in the shed 

So, Rudy and I went out to cut down the two trunks hanging down in front of the shed.

Notice the accumulation of dirt inside the trunk, 
there was not much solid wood holding these two trunks

You can see where I cut, there was not much wood left holding it.

The two removed trunks.

With these out of the way, I was able to retrieved the deck furniture.

I think this tree will have to come down, I'm not sure
 it would survive much longer with that big scar.

Whenever I cut it down, I will try to salvage some wood to make something out of it. I'm certainly not expecting much board foot out of it, but should be able to get some piece to turn or carve.

When I went in, I noticed that the roof on the right hand side part as sprung a leak. About three years ago I looked into putting on a new roof and siding, but after pricing the work required, decided against it and just fixed it and repainted it, intending to built a new one down the road.  That point is coming soon...

We did not had a bad winter this year, as opposed to the never ending one last year. But the freezing rain and high gusts of wind took their toll on both the shed and deck.  Similarly, 4 years ago, I decided to just fixed the deck instead of replacing it for now.  It too would have to be replaced in the near future...

At the time we bought the house in 2011, we knew from the inspection that the deck needed some attention. The ledger board was rotting and attached to the house by rusting away spikes. We simply temporarily support it in order to detach it and replaced the ledger board  .

This is how we pulled the deck away from the house, 
while being supported in order to replaced the ledger board.

New pressure treated ledger board installed in two sections, 
lag bolted to the house and flashed

Once that was done, some of the worst damaged or 
rotten deck boards were replaced. 
Additional support added to the understructure.

And a bunch of new parts were made to solidify the railings

The final look in 2013. Safe and sturdy for a few more years
 before being replaced.

That was to buy us a few more years before being replaced, its time is coming soon, it too suffered damages this winter. Not sure yet what I will replaced it with, but the back yard is in need of landscaping, so I will tackle it at the same time. Something bigger for sure and probably multi levels (?)

This morning we had a short visit from her cousin Cathy in New Brunswick, they arrived yesterday. Cathy and her husband Maurice came with their little dog, Mike. As always, it is comforting to have loved ones visiting but the goodbyes take on a different meaning...

Time is marching on inexorably... :-(

Bob, with a lump in his throat

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Small improvement to the Ensuite bathroom

A few years ago when we remodeled the main bathroom we tried one of those new Comfort height also called Right height toilet.
What is the difference? Our standard toilets have the rim of the bowl at a height of 14-1/2 in, the comfort ones stand at 16-1/2 inches height.
By the time you add the toilet seat, you are now seating at a comfortable chair's height.

That 2 inches makes a big difference in ease of seating and getting up after.
Once you get used to it, it feel like the regular ones are much lower...

With Heather mobility getting restricted more and more, it was time to put one in the Ensuite bathroom to help her out.

So guess what I did this Week-End?....

The original toilet.

Out with the old...

In with the new...

From start to finish it only took me half an hour. And that included chasing Rudy to get some parts back. He was banned from the room after :-)
I was pleasantly surprised by the completeness and quality of the components includes in this "All in one" toilet kit from American Standard, nothing else to buy. The instructions even says no tools required... Yes, that is true because they furnish a special plastic nut driver for the tank to bowl connections and also the toilet seat bolts, clever. Everything else is easy to grip for a snug finger tight connections. No leaks on first try, bonus :-)

This is what the Ensuite looked like at purchase time...

As bought. Behind the curtain is a space for the plumbing and storage 
since the shower enclosure is pushed far to the left.

The place was totally gutted to the studs, removed traces of mildew and made the room water and mildew proof by using cement boards for the walls.

The floor redone

The window replaced

New sink and mirror, light fixture

New shower enclosure and relocated to the right

The only thing I was worried when I remodeled this space was the space between the shower enclosure and the toilet. This is a rather small space and it had to fit. I went with a neo shaped enclosure and the door open to the left, and I re-used the original toilet which had a round bowl. I prefer elongated bowl (like in the main bathroom) but was worried about space.

Found a round bowl comfort height toilet so that is what I put in, good thing I did not used an elongated one because I still managed to loose about 1-1/2 in of space, would have been a few more inches if elongated.

The plan at the time was to remodeled this Ensuite bathroom before tackling the main bathroom. 

Original main bathroom

Entry door was relocated to the left. I would have never been able to 
contortioned the big soaker bath into this space if I did not do that first. 
And now it is a lot easier to wheel her in and out of the bathroom also. 

The new one. 61 in walnut vanity, granite counter top with two under mount sinks. New soaker tub, shower fixtures etc. in a tiled enclosure.

New hi efficiency comfort height toilet with electronic bidet, 
its remote is on the countertop.

The floor has a Ditra membrane  and Kerdi membrane on the tiled walls. Everything is sealed and waterproofed, meaning I don't ever expect mold down the road...
Once both were done, I then remodeled the one downstairs in my man cave.

Original man cave bathroom

Remodeled man cave bathroom.
The oval medicine cabinet/mirror in the wall was recycled 
from the Ensuite bathroom

All three bathrooms in the house have been brought into the 21st century, one at a time. Similarly the kitchen was also remodeled extensively. We are pretty well done with all the renovations we had planned into this house. We had contemplated moving one more time, but it is obviously not going to happened anytime soon. And I don't foresee moving after she is gone :-(

Bob, trying to make it easier for Heather.