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....

UPDATED 1st May 2018

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 (Stanley steel Siegley) on cast iron planes, StS (Stanley tapered Siegley) on Transitional wood bottom planes, some models of cast metal plane and finally SbS (Stanley block Siegley)

The Stanley steel Siegley blade such as found on Ralph's iron, was indeed manufactured by Stanley and is an otherwise identical item as regular Stanley irons, with the exception that Stanley never changed the hole location down, as per their 1895 patent.

The Stanley tapered Siegley 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. They did put them in a near copy of the cast ones by simply opening the mouth to accommodate the tapered iron. These new tapered irons always came with the hole location on the blade down as per current Stanley production

Siegley (made by Stanley) No 5 made in New Britain Ct or Roxton Pond Qc

The usual checkering pattern on the tote.
By now (Patents expired), the typical Bailey depth adjuster mechanism 
(brass wheel and yoke pivot) Exact copy of then current Stanley production

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 used corrugated soles before Stanley.
Non corrugated soles were available but are much rarer

Siegley (only) Stamped on blade. A clue to its Stanley manufactured
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

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Slow day in between storms

We really got clobbered with snow Tuesday... Anywhere between 55.7 to 61 cm here in Greenwood depending on the source. And I think that all of that snow got dumped in my driveway!!!

This is beginning to look like winter 2015 all over again... snow storms after snow storms every 3 days or so...

Friday Feb 10th...snow day

Monday 13 Feb... snow day

Well... Could be worse :-)

There is at least 4 ft of snow up front, we had about 60cm dumped.
Tuesday 14th everyone was still recovering from the storm plus blowing snow throughout the day...Snow day

Wednesday the 15th school were open, then today Thursday 16th, another snow day, another 30cm coming down throughout the day, and Friday?  Well for the first time in 125 years the teachers are going on strike for the day to protest the legislation being drafted to settled the dispute going on for a while (contract expired)

So yesterday, in between digging ourselves out, and making room for more snow...

Had to clear the deck in prevision for today snow fall, 
way too much heavy snow load on it

Rudy checking out my progress from his stool by the door

OK done for now, I am exhausted...

The other day, while doing her driveway to get the school bus out, the snow chute on her snow blower broke off... She has no snow bank cutters on her snowblower and the side load from the high snow banks crashing down on it were too much.

Mac Gyver to the rescue ... :-)

Forget trying to get parts, and the local repair shops were quite busy trying to keep up with everyone's else snowblowers in the shop.

There are three (3) semi circular tabs around the bottom to hold the rotating snow chute, one is broken off.  The lip is missing.

That is how it is supposed to look like.

No parts? No problems. Adapt and overcome!

Cut a piece of flat iron to length, drilled holes to lined up 
the part and trace top profile

Top part done

After shaping the bottom curve with flat and rat tail files,
installed new part with stainless steel hardware . I had a bitch of a time removing the rusted one, busted two (2)

Once repaired we were able to finished off digging out 
the bus from its snow tomb, in time for its only run of the week, Wednesday! 

 I wanted to put on snow bank cutters on her, like mine, but they already got the summer stuff out at the hardware stores (Canadian Tire) Really!!!! We are just starting winter around here....

Next it was time to look at my own snow blower, the speed shifter cable came loose, somehow...

Luckily she is stuck in third gear

Looking at my service manual, I am not sure how in the world it is 
suppose to re-connect... Something missing????
I am still scratching my butt on this one...

The snow load on the roof is slowly sliding down

I was not going to do anything about it, but then, our oldest grand daughters, Meadow,  came for an overnite stay, so that got me spurred into action before she arrived...
Safety first ... :-)

Today as I sit at my keyboard, gotta get ready for another round of snow clearing... Thank god for snow blowers, I would have no room to put it aside if I was shoveling... Driving around town (thank you Positrack in my AWD car ) you can really get a sense of how much snow we just got, all since Sunday nite...

Jean, Rudy and Meadow...
I guess that leave me to do the driveway by myself :-)

Bob, doing warming up exercise before going out and doing his driveway. I joked with Meadow, telling her that there is no school today, but she will have to shovel my driveway...
Her face expression was priceless.. You are kidding right? He he yes, go back to bed...