Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Panel raising or Badger planes?

Also called Panel Raising or Fielding planes (same).
They look like an oversize rabbet plane and to be called panel raising or badger they must have a few distinctive characteristics.

Can you spot the differences?
Rudy's badger (well I suppose it's a Hedgehog :-)
represent the smallest size of Panel raiser to be found, the size of a smoother (8-9 inch).

The Rabbet plane (sometimes skewed blade), the Panel Raising planes and the Badger planes (always skewed) all are capable of cutting a similar looking rabbet.
Whereas the panel raiser and the badger were designed for much wider rabbet than the Rabbet plane.
The "rabbet" is also canted (the list) or sloping toward the outer edge of the panel as the plane is canted in use.

Using a skewed blade, they are designed to cut on both the long grain and end grain sides resulting in a rabbet all around the "Panel" piece. This rabbet's edge (flat or listing) is designed to slip the panel edges into a suitable groove on a frame (Frame and panel assembly) and if a deep rabbet delineated the field (the often sloped part of the rabbet) it is said to "raise" the panel.

The various parts of a frame panel.
Fielding the panel means cutting a bevel edge (field) all the way to the top surface.
Raising a panel means sinking the top of that bevel edge (the field) inside a rabbet, resulting in the top part of the panel looking raised above the field.

Sometimes the panel edges are left slanted to fit into the frame grooves, but often a small flat cut is made at the bottom to fit deeper into the groove.  In making them, the thickness of the edge is test fitted in a Mullet gauge.  It is usually cut from a longer frame piece, having its groove part cut by the same tool. They are usually discarded after.  Need a new one ? Machine a longer rail or stile and cut a piece off.  That way exact measurements are redundant.  It is used as a Go-No Go gauge

The frame and panel concept was developed to get around the problem of expansion and contraction of large wood surfaces.  The panel being free to move inside the captured grooves.

This is what happened if you don't give the panel enough room to expand.
It will expand... with a bang. 
 My basement shop gets much more humid than the woodshop on the base.
In case you wondered, I always stain my inner edges before assembling my frame and panels.
It avoid tell tale white strips when the panel contract.
The frame was done with a cope and stick router bit in a shaper table. Not as strong as a proper mortise and tenon frame. 

So how much room should you give that panel room to grow??
Depends on the coefficient of expansion of the wood you are using, the size of the panel.  Hint large areas on case furniture are often broken down into 2 or 3 smaller panels. The goal is to capture all the movement inside the groove, without the panel being too loose in dry surroundings.  A new fangled technique is to used Space balls (Tm) or Panel barrels to keep the panel snug while still allowing expansion.  Me? Id rather figured out my panels at the risk of having the odd one blow out.
Live and learn, I say!

What blown panels? Haven't seen any...in years :-)
BTW Corona is Jean beer, not mine... Girly beer, real man drink stronger beer :-)

Which came first, the Panel or the Badger?

The Badger animal was undoubtedly the first :-), but in plane's parlance, Panel raising, or Fielding plane is believed to be the first.  Its limitation is that it is only capable of cutting a fix field size, due to the built in depth stop (the rebate on one side of the sole, usually on the RHS). The Badger plane is believe to get its name from a Charles Badger who worked as a planemaker in Scotland 1863 (RA Salaman).
The Badger form then, originated in Scotland long after the Panel raising plane.

Top one is a craftsman build Panel Raising plane.  Notice the open rabbet on one side of the sole
The bottom one is the simpler Badger.  No rabbet (no depth stop), no spur cutter, always a tote

Being of a fixed size, the field can be cut to specialized forms, such as in Cove and Ovolo Raising planes.  They can also cut a flat portion at the end of the field edge to engage deeper into the frame grooves.

See Bill Anderson shows you how to tackle that detail while sharpening the beast.

Some Raising plane have an adjustable fence with is attached to the bottom sole with two elongated screw holes. Such as in a Filletster plane. But since the plane is canted in use, some of those with the fence will have their sole inclined (spring).

Most have no cutter up front to score the rabbet wall, necessitating the use of a marking gauge or panel gauge to score the grain, especially on the end grain edges.

Lets look at my find

Panel raising plane

NO makers or owners stamp or marking anywhere.  The rough finish in places, such as the throat opening and the frog surface, screams I'm rough and tough but functional.
Definitively craftsman made, not a commercial object.  Remember commercial plane making is not documented until the 1700s, in London.  Prior to this date, joiners made their own tools.
Some traditions last longer than others, due to geography, isolation and etc.
Even during the Zenith of commercial wooden plane making, late 1800s- early 1900s, some traditions continued and craftsman still made their own, for whatever reasons.

Most models are in bench planes sizes (Smoother, Jack, Try) 8-1/2 inch to 18 inch.
The smaller sizes, smoother size 8 to 9 inch) were used to field the panels in cupboard doors and have no tote.
A rebate in one edge expose the side of the cutter.  Most have a depth stop (fixed or adj)
A fence, often affixed to the bottom of the plane and often adjustable (like a Filletster ), is found mostly on the smoother to Jack sizes.

Where the panel was raised as well as fielded, the body of the plane is canted over (Sprung) in use or the sole is canted.

The main blade edge is in line with the spur cutter up front.
The top of the rabbet is the fixed depth stop.

At nearly 22 -1/4 inch long, it is massive.
Must had been for big panel. A plane for a house joiner?

4 inch wide, its a beast.

And about 2-3/4 in thick.  

The tote is offset and the blade is skewed and rotated, as it should.

Quite a large blade, single iron, no makers marks and obviously hand forged.
Look at the rough top edge which was cleaved or sheared off. 
Was it broken off after it was made? I don't think so judging by the broken edge???
If it was broken off later it was a long time ago...

The cutting blade is about 1/8 in thick at the cutting edge.

Shape of cutter.
Obviously blacksmith made.
At first I thought it was a recycled plough iron, but it is not.  Just rough forging.

The tote offset is quite pronounced, reminiscing of 18th century bench planes.
I'm guessing this offset put the hand pressure closer to the depth stop, the small rabbet 
on one edge of the sole.  Practical versus traditions perhaps ?

Badger plane

This one came from its originator's land of origin; Scotland.
Alexander Marshall planemaker at 301 Argyle St Glasgow 1883-1904 (WL Goodman)

Badger planes are technically the biggest Rabbet plane and always have a tote.  Either an open tote (cheaper) or close tote (more expensive)
The better quality ones were boxed.  The best ones were dovetail boxes.
This one has no boxing.

They are roughly Jack plane size.  This one measuring 16-1/2 inch long by 3 inch wide

Alex r Marshall

Badger and panel raising planes must have the side of the blade sticking out on one side
Not sure what the damages were caused from.
NO shavings escape from the side opening, they eject on top like a bench plane.

As seen from the sole.

The wedge shape is quite specific to its form.
No danger of mixing the wedges !! 

Being skewed and rotated slightly, the mortising for the mouth is quite finicky.
Much better executed than my Craftsman made Panel raiser.

A comparison of both sizes.

Have you seen my toy Dad??  I seems to be missing one...
Yes, its chilly at time lately.

Bob, slowly going thru his new pile.  Researching, documenting, assessing, cleaning etc, etc..
Awaiting to pick up Rudy at the groomer, for his summer do.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

A new toy

Yes, it IS a toy ! :-)

This Week End in our travels spotted this old Erector construction set, at first glance it looks like it is mostly complete.

Oh and also picked up a Panel raising plane and another BBM bit.
And yes, there were chocolate involved :-)

When I was growing up in the 60s, Meccano was, bar none, my all time favorite toy.  The possibilities were endless and I could powered up my contraptions!  For years that was my combined birthday and Christmas present.  I was born near Christmas, so I could combine and get a bigger set :-)

Never thought much of Erector, to me they were simply an imitation of the real McCoy, Meccano.
But turns out there is more to that story.

No idea if there are, most likely, missing parts...yet.
One big part is obviously missing, the electric motor. 

 Researching my new toy, found out that Erector was the most popular construction toy on this side of the pond.  Well, in America, here in Canada, Meccano reign supreme, being of British Commonwealth origins.

Both Meccano and Erector are construction set using metal parts and models are assembled with nuts and screws.  They both resemble each other at first glance, but there is a patented notable difference.

Meccano (see video) first came out in Liverpool, England in 1898, invented by Frank Hornby.
It uses flat stock, panels, girders frame piece etc are all flat, except a few angle connector and etc.
It uses small 8-32 slot screws and square nuts.

Meccano was also on the US market
Some of the flat panel sheets could be bend around shapes.
They uses thin metal, an early plastic (brittle), Mica and more modern plastic in later years

Erector,(see video) came out in 1913, invented by AC Gilbert in New Haven Conn USA.
It uses similar pieces to Meccano, but the patent difference lays in the girder's construction.  For more stiffness, they are stamped with an interlocking depression in the back.  It allows to make strong beam structures.

The stamped girders makes for stronger and lighter beams structures than Meccano

Both makes uses of pulley, gears and etc and you could powered your creations by using a steam engine (Meccano) then electrical motors on both Meccano and Erector. Earlier versions used 110 Volts electrical (mains) later used a lower voltage DC motor (18, then 3V battery power).

Both makes had a variety of size kits to makes various models, lets identify my set to find out what it is supposed to contain.

Turns out, my set is the No 8-1/2 (All Electric) and is the first set to have the whistle.  Its not really a whistle, it drags on a rotating shaft and makes sounds  like a whistle of some sort.  Mine is MIA.

Typical of both sets, the so call assembly instructions are very sketchy.  Basically a picture of assembled model with perhaps a few close up drawing of sub assemblies.  The rest you were supposed to figured it out.  And that was half the fun :-)

Here are some of the models you could build with this set Instruction manual 

Empty box and inventory what we have.
Then armed with this guide, figured out what parts are what and we can also dated them.

I am obviously missing the blue cardboard cut outs for both layers.  They help store and protect the pieces and you can see at a glance what is missing.  Also MIA besides the whistle and manual, are one other box of parts (mostly nuts and screws), one flange wheel (Z), the sheave pulley (AQ), one small baseplate (MC) one light bulb holder (NH) (and both 1-1/2 volts bulbs, NI).  And of course the motor (A49).  Wow, impressive, that most parts are still present.  No doubts because many of the same parts were bolted together.  That sure helped a lot...

Found out that I could download hi res copies of the missing sticker on top of the box, and others small characters (parachutist, merry go round horses etc)  Also of course a copy of the manual, and interesting enough, even a downloadable template to make my own replacement cut out.  Very cool.  By now, if you are thinking, these Erectors sets must be collectible? Short answer Hell Yes! :-)

Armed with a pictorial of what the top and bottom layers are lay out and which parts and qty, it was easy to reassemble my parts as they would had been and visualize the missing ones.

Bottom layer

Top layer

The stickers inside the box are in good shape.
First set with the whistle.  And I bet mine was not the first one loosing it...

Alright, enough playing, recreation is over kids.

Bob, reminiscing about all the stuff I made with my Meccanos thru the years.  Wonder what ever happened to my sets :-(

Thursday, July 11, 2019

The other Yankee screwdrivers...

When you think Yankee screwdrivers, the first thing that come to mind is probably the ubiquitous Yankee automatic spiral screwdrivers.

But North Bros originated all kinds of other fastening tools, including a wide variety of ratchet screwdrivers.

Lets have a look at some I came across lately.

Yankee No 3400 small offset ratchet slot screwdriver

Was available in a few other blade tips under similar series Numbers

No 3400 had 2 different sizes slot screwdriver tips,
No 3412 had 2 Phillips bits, No 1 and 2
No 3422 had a Phillips No 2 and a Reed & prince No 2
No 3423 had a Phillips No 2 and No 3

Never seen the other ones, but the No 3400 comes up often on various online sites and in person...

Yankee Stanley, that makes it post 1946

Two different blade width on it.
The larger one is 3/8, the smaller 1/4 inch wide

Lets have a closer look at patent

Patent No 2058855
DATAMP screen shot

The original patent drawing, 1936

After Stanley took over , in 1946, they continued North Bros tools at their factory in Phila and they were stamped
Later on they will gradually shift all production lines to New Britain Conn and shut down the original North Bros factory.  From there on (30 Jun 1958) ALL North Bros/Stanley tools are now simply stamped Yankee, Stanley, such as my example.

Mine is probably a mid 50s to late 50s version since it still has the 1936 pat date on it.  Patent being good for about 20 years, say possibly 1936-1956 before they removed the Pat date.

Ad from Popular Mechanic magazine of Mar 1951.
Still shows Philadelphia address

There is a similar sized version made by General Hardware Mfg Co, I do not know if it featured the same long ago expired patent design.  Instead of a series of various tools with different fixed bits, that one uses simple 1/4 inch hex bits inserts.

The General version.
Pic from Amazon

The Stubby ratchet screwdriver No 2H Handyman

A small 4 inch overall long ratchet screwdriver.  Like all North Bros products, it has a very smooth operating and rugged mechanism.  It is a delight to use.  Blade tip is 5/32 inch wide

Ad in Sep 1939 Popular Science

Besides the handy ratchet mechanism, a great advantage of these two small screwdrivers is that they both featured a proper slot screwdriver for woodworker, parallel tips.

They are both roughly 4 inches long

Great find, great tools.  If you ever come across some of North Bros products, unless it had a rough ride and put away wet, you will find that they are great tools and are smooth operators.

Bob, barely scratching the surface of his new pile of tools.  Rudy and I are back under adult supervision :-)