Posts by date

Luthier wooden clamps, ever have enough?

Posted by is9582 on January 30, 2015 with No Commentsas , , , , ,

I’ve recently picked up a few parts and pieces from my local Home Depot, with which to make some of the mentioned clamps. I know I could stroll down to my local WoodCraft or other similar store, or order some online, but I’m trying to be a bit more frugal with my monies. Heck, besides that, I find it enjoyable to make tools that I need, if they are within my reach.

I drew out a rough sketch of my clamp bodies yesterday, and then transferred that to some 1/8″ hardboard scrap. Now I have some templates from which to work, and it’ll keep my clamps “looking” like they came from the same maker.

I have some alternate ideas relating to a couple of aspects, which I may test out while making the first couple of clamps. I’m thinking it’ll end up making a quicker build, but I’ll have to test it (like always, when vetting your ideas) to find out for sure.

The parts I’ve picked up will make between 4-10 clamps, and without including the wood I intend to use (off-cuts, which is probably no big surprise to my readers), tallies up to just under $25. So, it’ll be interesting to see how far that will go, and see my final ACPC (average cost per clamp, just made that up, so no surprise you didn’t recognize the acronym).

I’ll post some photos and further information as progress is made on the clamps. Thanks for checking in and let me know what you think.

Lee Laird

Hand Saw sharpening – followup

Posted by is9582 on January 28, 2015 with 2 Commentsas , , , , , , ,

After a day or so, I like to go back and re-read my articles, and there are times that I find I’m wanting/needing to add some more detail. On the saw sharpening article, I think it might be useful to show some of the tools I used and hopefully a tip or two.

If you’ve ever attempted to sharpen a saw, you likely recognize how it can be a struggle to adequately hold the plate, so you can do your work. A number of years ago I made a vise specifically for holding the saws, while I sharpened them. All it took was a couple of small pieces of plywood, two small strips of leather, 12 screws, two small strips of hardwood scrap and some glue.

Purpose made saw sharpening vise.

Purpose made saw sharpening vise.

Vise from the side, open slightly to see the hardwood strips at the edge (kinda).

Vise from the side, open slightly to see the hardwood strips at the edge (kinda).

When working with the small teeth on hand saws, I find it extremely necessary for me to have good magnification, to see what the heck I’m doing. I have a Magni-Focus with two different lenses, so I can swap them out depending on what I’m working.

Magni-Focus adjusts to fit almost anyone, and you can obtain different lenses, depending on how much magnifications is necessary.

Magni-Focus adjusts to fit almost anyone, and you can obtain different lenses, depending on how much magnifications is necessary.

The other tools I use are a 6″ extra-slim triangular file (the one in the photo is a nice one from Grobet, and is large enough that when the file is fully seated in the gullet between teeth, the tooth is no more than half way up the file’s face), a flat medium file (used to joint the tops of the teeth), a saw tooth set (this is used to move the teeth out away from the centerline, alternating so the first goes left, the second right and so on, but isn’t needed if you already have enough set), a digital caliper (which is used to determine how much set is actually on the teeth), and an old sharpening stone (which I use if I need to lessen the effects of the current set, if there is too much, and as it can groove the stone I wouldn’t use the stones on which I sharpen my chisels and plane irons).

Triangular file, medium flat file and digital calipers. Forgot to include the tooth setting tool.

Triangular file, medium flat file and digital calipers. Forgot to include the tooth setting tool.

I usually place my saw vise into my Moxon vise’s jaws, and let the Moxon apply the pressure up close to the top of the saw vise. This translates to pressure from the hardwood strips, onto the saw plate. Since I am currently rebuilding my Moxon, I used the face vise on my workbench, to hold the saw vise. As you can see in the photo below (sorry for such a fuzzy photo), the jaws on my face vise are well below the top of the saw vise, which only applies a portion of the vise’s force onto the saw plate.

Terrible photo of saw in vise. I'm rebuilding my Moxon vise at present, so this vise doesn't let the wooden vise sit down far enough so the pressure translates to the saw plate.

Terrible photo of saw in vise. I’m rebuilding my Moxon vise at present, so this vise doesn’t let the wooden vise sit down far enough so the pressure translates to the saw plate.

To help resolve the vise problem, I used a clamp that has a wide throat, to apply pressure to the section of the saw vise (see photo below) that was most important at any given time. I just shifted the clamp down the edge of the saw vise, when I’d get to the point that it was in my way.

I used an extra clamp to keep the saw plate static while I filed. I'd just shift it along as was needed.

I used an extra clamp to keep the saw plate static while I filed. I’d just shift it along as was needed.

In the next photo, I have a strip of plywood laying below my hand, that has marks on it that relate to 15-degrees off of perpendicular to the saw tooth’s edge. Also, in the photo, I only have one hand on the file. I work with both hands on the file, but just needed the other to take the photo.

Below my hand you can see a scrap with angled lines. This is an aid to help stay consistent with the angle on cross-cut saws.

Below my hand you can see a scrap with angled lines. This is an aid to help stay consistent with the angle on cross-cut saws.

After I finished filing the teeth (sharpening), I tested the saw in some 8/4 scrap I had close by. The saw cut smoothly, but I could tell it wanted to wander a bit, which indicates there is too much set on the teeth. I measured the teeth and at the tips, it was about .045″, while the saw plate just behind was only .029″. That works out to about .008″ (or 8 thou) on each side, which is a bit much for the type of work this saw will see.

I took an old sharpening stone (220-grit or so) and made two passes down the length of the saw’s teeth, on both sides, and then tested the cut again. This test was better, but felt like it was cutting to the right, which showed in a slight curved pattern to that side. I carefully felt along the teeth and could feel a section that was more pronounced, so I took another pass in just that area, feathering in and out of the adjoining areas. When I tested it again, it seemed like it wanted to follow the square line I’d drawn, so I call this sharpening done. I wiped on a very light coat of Jojoba oil and it’ll be ready for me when it is called into service.

The cut to the right is one straight from the saw after sharpening. The cut to the left is after I lightly stoned the tips of the teeth on both sides of the saw plate. Big difference.

The cut to the right is one straight from the saw after sharpening. The cut to the left is after I lightly stoned the tips of the teeth on both sides of the saw plate. Big difference.

Below are two photos of the Vulcan Toolworks saw of which I spoke in the last two articles. It’s an old saw with lots of character, a nice spring steel plate, and a handle that feels great. I’d love to have a way to see just where this saw has traveled, and who worked with it. Wouldn’t that be cool?

 

A photo of the Vulcan Toolworks saw. What a great feeling handle.

A photo of the Vulcan Toolworks saw. What a great feeling handle.

A close up of the saw handle, with all of it's dings and character.

A close up of the saw handle, with all of it’s dings and character.

Thanks for checking back in and I hope this might have filled in a blank or two. As always, let me know if you have any questions or comments.

 

Lee

Old handsaws just need a little TLC.

Posted by is9582 on January 25, 2015 with No Commentsas , , , , ,

I took my small handsaw with me the other day, so I’d be able to adjust the size of some small boards, while on site. I hadn’t used this particular saw in quite a while, so I was a bit surprised when it seemed quite dull, during use. I finally had some extra time with which to give it a fresh sharpening today. Even though I had some time, I wasn’t sure when it might evaporate, so I completed the sharpening, without getting a single photo. Dang it. I hate it when that happens.

Well, I jointed the saw teeth (for those who may not have heard that term used on saws before, this is where a medium flat file is placed so the file is running the length of the saw, while also being perpendicular to the saw plate), which only took two passes the length of the saw, providing me a bright little flat at the tip of each tooth. This saw is a cross-cut saw, so it just requires paying a little more attention to some details, than a rip saw. On cross-cut saws, the outside portion of each tooth is like a knife, that helps sever the wood fibers. It is up to the user or sharpener, as to how much angle is on the edges of these teeth, which translates to holding the triangular sharpening file off of perpendicular (relative to a rip saw, where the file sharpens at 90-degrees to the front/back of the saw teeth), which works the front edge of one tooth, while working the rear edge of another tooth. Being right-handed, I like to start my filing (with the triangular file), with the first tooth set towards me (at the heel of the saw), on the left side of my file and the next tooth (which is set away from me, and away from the heel) is on the right side of my file. The flats I made earlier, on the top of each tooth, when I jointed, will help me sharpen so all the teeth are the same height. This will help them all work equally, and the sawing will feel very consistent. Since each tooth is filed from two sides (front and back), at different times, it is important to only remove half of the flat on each tooth, during the first pass. The second pass, which places the file angled in the opposite direction, will remove the remaining half of the flat on the last stroke. So, don’t take extra strokes after you see the flat disappear, or you will have made a tooth lower than the rest, and it won’t carry it’s share of the work.

Since the saw is a fairly small handsaw, it doesn’t have huge teeth, but it took me three strokes on each side of the teeth, to end up with no flat. It is amazing how when you just very lightly touch the teeth, they feel like a bunch of little needles, when freshly sharpened, which is probably a good time to mention being safe with sharp tools. Actually, as long as the user knows what part is sharp, and respects that, it is much safer to use sharp tools than dull tools. Some may scratch their heads at this statement, but when a tool starts to dull, it requires more effort to do it’s work, which can lead to injury. When working with a sharp tool, it is easy to let the saw do the cutting with you just moving it back and forth, and chisels can remove wood as if it was butter. Much safer, and easier to control the handling of the tool when sharp. So, stay sharp and be safe with your tools.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out my article. Let me know if you have any question, comments, or would like to know about anything specific.

 

Lee Laird

Who made this Wooden Molding Plane?

Posted by is9582 on January 23, 2015 with 10 Commentsas , , , , , , , , ,

I received a really cool tool from my wife and kids a few years ago. It was an old wooden molding plane. While this in and of itself would have made it cool, the toe end of the plane has a stamp (not sure if it is the maker, or a previous owner) of Laird, […]

A New old Stanley 78

Posted by is9582 on January 19, 2015 with No Commentsas , , , , ,

I got a call from my daughter and son-in-law a few months ago, as they were at a cool little store that happened to have some old/used hand tools, and they wanted to see if any of the tools looked like something I “needed” for my toolkit. My daughter had just sent me a number […]