Monday, July 17, 2017

Hands versus power tools...

This subject has probably been "Debated' since the advent of the first powered tool... It often centered on speed & efficiency (power) versus reliability & Slow speed (by hands).

To me it always been a mute point, since I uses both in my work and way of thinking.  As much as I love my handplanes, my idea of fun is not to flatten a wide thick board by hand, unless I have to, because it won't fit in the planer :-)

Similarly, I will never relinquish my table saw and Bandsaw, these two, do a lot of the rough dimensioning (no jigs required :-)

But are hand tools really inefficient vis a vis their modern powered counterparts? Only a side by side comparison will tell...

 Part of my landscaping projects is to erect a trellis structure for the vines growing up a tree right now...

Can you see it? 
Look way up for the light green patch

Need something fast, so we went scavenging around our properties to see what we got (resulting in a few more projects for later) and came up with 2 Iron snow fence posts and four bed iron rails.
Great, except that the bed rail pieces need to have the headboard connector taken off at one end, then drill a few holes.

My Dewalt reciprocating saw is Kaput right now, got a Dewalt 4 in grinder, which had a flexible grinding disk on it, and as a back up plan, my Millers Falls No 300 Buck Rogers hack saw....

Cut the first two pieces by hand, and tried to time it by taking pics along the way (meaning stopping to show progress then continue).

Started between 0918 and 0923 AM, 
when these pic was taken and the previous one of the first cut at 0918
So say we start at 0920

0925 AM

0926 AM

0928 AM

0930 AM

And finished by 0932. 
A good 10 minutes to cut one... At my speed :-)

 I was counting on the stamped time that it would gave me a record of the time spent. Yes faster if I had not stopped for pictures, but...

... had to stop anyway to catch my breath  
I am an old man... :-)

Jean found that this was ridiculously slow and ask me for the grinder. She sanded down the two heads of the rivets holding the plate on, then two whack with a mechanic hammer (dad's) and out it came...yeah a lot faster so we finished the last ones like that... :-)

Grounded flush, less than 2 minutes

Two wack of the hammer, done...

Someone would had attempted to cut the bedrails using a band saw or cut thru with a cut off disk.  I think that in this case, using the grinder (power) then the hammer (hand) was more efficient. Not only that, but I had these on hand :-)
 A good example of combining power and hand tool for a task.

The bedrails, of course, have no holes along their lengths, so would need a few holes to attach the metal screening.

Again do we use power or hand. In this case handtools won... here's why

My two choices:
Hand - Stanley two speed Breast drill Model 905
Power - Dewalt 3/8 electric corded drill

Well, in no time, and despite using WD40 as a lubricant, the drill bit quickly lost its sharpness.... and we barely made a dimple in the steel...
Switched bits, used deliberated slow speeds, still made no progress ...

Figured as a lark, I'll used the Stanley and see if it would drill steel, its two speed made it possible.
Lo and behold, it quickly drilled thru without undue efforts on my part.

So you know, I had to try to time making one more hole... :-)

On your mark, get set...Go 1006 AM

1006 AM
Yah, no granularity on the time stamp, using my phone .... :-(
Breast drill in action

1006 AM

1007 AM
Chin drill in action :-)

STOP 1007 AM
So less than a minute, not bad

There you go, and no extension cord required to go fetch, unroll, re-roll, bla bla...
It did the job, silently, efficiently and not too tiring. But of course haven't not used one of these in a while, I would be faster if I did that for a living...:-)

Varying the pressure and speed made a visible difference in the drilling action, you quickly get into a rhythm...

BTW that was thru 1/8 in thick steel, old bed rails, using a 5/32 drill bit in a Stanley No 905 Breast drill, set to low speed.
oh and on the 10th holes, I broke the bit...

Oups! Oh well I was due for a break but was pushing thru instead...
I should know better, and I do, and I broke it anyway :-)

So the posts got erected minus one holes, the vine would never know the difference if you don't tell them... shtttt

Out of 6 possible posts, ended up with 4 with holes 
and only used 3. Room for expansion :-)

Cut the leader branch that was going up the tree and re-routed then all on our treillis, both in the back and front. Within a few years it should cover this treillis pretty good.

Branches cut, area cleaned up

Also prepared a new flower bed around our service pole in my front yard, too long a distance from the road side pole.

Got it all fill back in with the reclaimed soil mixed with sheep shit, peatmoss and the left over top soil I had.
Enough work, I need a cold one...
I'm not sure what is more tiring, hand tool work or landscaping... They both seems a tad demanding :-)

And to all have a happy day and joyful nite

Oh, and one of these June days, the rocking chair project is gonna go in there somewhere...

Bob, getting philosophical when drinking wine :-)

Monday, July 10, 2017

ID on the English infill plane...

After some googling, I think that this plane is a Henry Slater casting, being finished by a workman, circa end of 19th century.
Henry Slater made cast steel plane body for sale to other would be plane makers.
Henry and then his son Benjamin made them from 1869 to 1907. And of course they never identified (no markings nor names) these generic castings they were selling to others.
This article from Jim Hendricks shows the evolution of this form of coffin smoother. Called coffin, because the sides and/or the back are rounded. It is a very comfortable form to push while planing.

The evolution from L-R
Pic from above article

That would explain this unmarked cast body and the construction details found on this plane, more on this in a minute.

The blade could had been any from a number of makers, I don't think that Spear & Jackson made plane per se. Please correct me if I'm wrong...

The vendor identified it as a Spear & Jackson 
Rosewood infill plane
Ca 1890 Sheffield

As is, the plane has some issues, but typical of the form

The Achilles heel of this English design is the juncture of the metal sole with the wood infill. Wood and metal do not expand and contract at the same rate, after a while (a long while perhaps) the wood infill shrink and recess from the thick metal bedding sole. You cannot stop that from happening, but you can minimize it.

You can clearly see how the two wood infills 
have recessed from the metal parts

The recessed area in front does not impair its function, but it does on the rear piece acting as the frog.

The front bun, and the rear infill are now slightly recessed
 from the body due to shrinkage.

Notice also that the front bun has been made with two pieces glued up, the tell tale demarcation of wood grain is a giveaway. I guess no wood was wasted in making this plane... This point out to a craftsman made plane as opposed to a commercial maker.

Of course the frog being no longer co planar, we have some issues with the blade bedding.

See how the wood wedge cannot sit properly against the blade?
There is a noticeable gap, the thickness of the gap 
between the sole and the frog.

Two obvious solutions:
1- File back the metal part until it lays flat with the wood again. Not recommended, or
2- Shim the wood bed part until coplanar. What I will do.

Why not just file it? It would open the mouth and erase a design flaw... temporarily, wood always move. Although that piece of infill is probably pretty dry by now...
Still as much as I intend to put this plane back to work, I do not want to erase its quirks, for historical purpose... I am but the current caretaker of this artifact.

The wedge shows some strange grain directions, then on closer inspection, I realized that the wedge is made up of two parts glued together.

See the glue line on the side of the wedge?

I was wondering about the strange grain directions 
in the back of the wedge... 
See what I meant by not wasting any wood :-)

The blade has plenty of life left, 
unless I grind it on a grinder each time :-)
Note the old style blade, the bottom cut out is nearly square 
to accommodate the solid square nut.

The nut is captive on the cap iron

S&J called it Solid nut

The blade and cap iron have been fettled somewhat.
Cap iron fits pretty tight on the blade, should not required much work to make perfect... Famous last words...

The tapered blade is nearly 1/8 thick at the edge (5/32) and tapered to 1/16 at the heel. A hefty solid blade.

As expected, this plane pack quite a weight for its compact size.

3.054 Pounds

But perhaps surprising was the comparable weight of a similar sized Record No 4 SS...

Which in fact is slightly heavier...
3.149 Pounds
Seen side by side for comparison

Cast Infill is 7-1/2in long X 2-5/16 wide
Blade is 1-15/16 in wide
Record is 9-1/4 long X 2-7/16 wide
Blade is 2 in wide

But what about a similar sized wooden coffin smoother?
Glad you asked :-), here are the comparisons

Typical British Wooden coffin smoother of the same era,
Nurse & Co, Invicta
2.026 pounds.
No surprise there, it is lighter, by a good pound.

This woody is 9 in long X 2-3/4 at the widest, down to 1-3/4 at each ends.
The blade is 2 in wide. These are comparable sized smoother, which were all available at the same time (Bailey Stanley smoother was pat in 1867)

Their various height and weight, and the location of our hands on them make them all behave sensibly different in action. It was and is still, a matter of preference.

Back to our infill...
The sole is in good shape and the mouth area is still crisp.

The only apology to it, is a small chunk missing from the rear infill on the top, but it does not impaired or make it feel uncomfortable to use. I will then probably leave it as is. That area is so worn out smooth  around it, it must have happened a long time ago... Guessing it was from using a metal hammer to adjust the blade.

All in all, it has all the DNA to become a good smoother plane, can't wait to road test it... but, unfortunately, I must make some headway with my new stashes of tools accumulating everywhere...

Somewhere under there, there is a bench, I swear :-)
Both pics are from my man cave were every flat surfaces
  has becomes a magnet for tools

But this is suppose to be vacation time, so it will be slow progress :-)

Bob, who need to kick in his inner OCD :-)