First page of the Chris Schwarz archive.

Wall storage – continuation

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

Ok, so in the last storage article, I left you with four of my bench planes securely stored on the plywood that I will mount above my work bench. I started looking at the tools I use regularly, to see what I wanted to go on the board, and where.

On the lowest portion of the board, just to the left of the mentioned bench planes, I decided to create some storage for some of my block planes. Three of the four selected are Lie-Nielsen (LN) tools, which are always a joy to use. I chose to include my LN 60 1/2, LN 60 1/2R, LN 102 and an old Stanley #60 1/2 I modified into a #18. I used some of the same mahogany in the horizontal plane, with a strip of pine below it, to cause the upper material to contact the planes as needed. I planned to include some narrow wooden strips in between each plane, in the toe region, so they wouldn’t accidentally make contact with each other, as well as an alignment aid. During the layout process of the planes, I included the extra dimension for these strips, so the spacing didn’t get too tight. On most of these block planes, the iron’s adjuster stands proud, so I cut a relief where this would fit. The rear of these planes, and their rear side rails, also slid under the raised horizontal section. This kept them very secure, yet it required very little effort to remove and replace each plane. The horizontal strips, as well as the positional strips, were attached with self-tapping screws. Pre-drilling the holes in strategic locations allowed me to pre-load a screw into each hole just enough so the tip was barely proud, and with them in the desired location, give each screw a sharp “tap”. This made keeping the strips where I wanted them, much easier, as the tips of the screws each had a “home”.

Notches cut for the #18 (blue), 60 1/2R (red), and 60 1/2 (red). Notch for #102 has yet to be cut.

Notches cut for the #18 (blue), 60 1/2R (red), and 60 1/2 (red). Notch for #102 has yet to be cut.

On the Stanley #18, the rear structure is a bit different, having an adjustment disc that lays horizontally, as well a lateral adjust lever. The adjustment disc sticks almost the same amount as the other adjusters, but it is a bit more wide than the other adjusters. This block plane was just as easy as the first two. The LN 102 is a bit different, even though it’s smaller size adds a new wrinkle, where the iron also engages the horizontal board. This required the layout to also include space for the rear of the iron to fit down into the mahogany strip. This was easy enough to accomplish, but just required taking a good look at how the plane would interact, and making modifications to accommodate.

Closeup of four block planes, and the #102 (far left) has a red arrow for the cutout around the iron, and the blue for the deeper cutout for the adjuster.

Closeup of four block planes, and the #102 (far left) has a red arrow for the cutout around the iron, and the blue for the deeper cutout for the adjuster.

Above the block planes, I decided to make storage for my LN 4 1/2, and two old Stanley #3 planes. You might wonder why I’d use the space for two of the same type of plane, but one has an iron that has a very slight camber, while the other’s camber is more pronounced. The #3 is an easy plane to fall in love with, as it can get into areas that most other easy-to-hold planes (Ok, I’ll hold out judgement until I can get my hands on Chris Schwarz’ #2) might struggle. Similarly to the way I handled the block plane storage, I used the same horizontal Mahogany strip material, but instead of making room for the iron adjuster, it required space for the rear of the plane and tote. I again used the strip of pine to elevate the Mahogany, to better integrate with the planes (or so I thought; more later).

Getting started for the smoothing planes. Hand drawing the upcoming cutout for the 4 1/2.

Getting started for the smoothing planes. Hand drawing the upcoming cutout for the 4 1/2.

All three tote cutouts drawn, and cut down slightly with the LN crosscut saw, to have a good start for the Knew Concepts.

All three tote cutouts drawn, and cut down slightly with the LN crosscut saw, to have a good start for the Knew Concepts.

Sections removed after finishing the cuts, and rasps used to finalize shapes.

Sections removed after finishing the cuts, and rasps used to finalize shapes.

Earlier board with smoothing planes added.

Earlier board with smoothing planes added.

I also decided I wanted to use some like-sized material as separations/alignment between the toe regions of the planes, but I’d already used up the length of pre-dimensioned material I had, on the earlier planes. I only need four small sections, to help protect and retain these three planes, so I chose a piece of Maple I had in the shop. It was easy to take my fingers and pencil to the earlier used material, to get the width dimension, and then transfer it to the Maple using it like a fence. Since the Maple board was somewhat small, and not too thick, I decided to rip out the small strip with my Ryobi (Japanese two sided saw). I held the board in my face vise, with a small portion projecting above my bench, so there would be less vibration. I slid the board out a few times, again working down close to the bench, and repeat. When I’d just passed the half-way point on the board, I flipped it over so the already cut portion was held in the bench vise, and repeated the sawing procedure until the cuts met.

Maple board I used to create the narrow separations for smooth planes.

Maple board I used to create the narrow separations for smooth planes.

I followed this sawing with my shallow cambered #3, just to remove the saw marks and have a smooth surface. When it is so easy and quick, to remove the saw marks and make it flat, why not? Even if this isn’t a final storage solution, or a piece you’re making for a customer, I believe it is a good habit to form. After this quick planing, I cut the strip of Maple into four equal length sections, and then pre-drilled for the mounting screws. I am using self-tapping screws, but some woods still work better with these screws, and if you don’t pre-drill there are times that the attached piece(s) won’t ever completely seat against the base wood. This latter scenario is often related to screws that have threads the full length of their shanks, but it is good to know potential pitfalls.

The narrow maple separations added between the toe sections of each smoothing plane.

The narrow maple separations added between the toe sections of each smoothing plane.

There was still room to the left of the block planes and smoothing planes (4 1/2 & 3), so I decided to make some storage for some of my spoke shaves. I used some Pecan that was just over 2″ thick, around 12″ long and 2 1/2″ wide. I drew my layout onto the front edge, and chose what looked like an appropriate downward slope, to help retain the spoke shaves on the wall. I based my choice of forstner bits, on the width of each needed slot, to allow easy placing and removal of the spoke shaves. With all of the layout complete, I was off to the drill press, to drill all the way through the blank, at each of my design points. Next it was on to the band saw, where I made cuts that followed the slope lines I drew earlier. I cut each end of the blank, so it was square, and left about 2″ extra on each end. I also removed a section from each end,  reducing the thickness so the intended screws would work to mount it to the board. Lastly, I set the fence on the band saw, so the blade was centered on the blank, and cut it lengthwise into two matching pieces. I put each of the two pieces into the face vise of my bench, to hold while I pre-drilled the holes for the screws. Like before, I again pre-fed the screws into the holes, for the “tap”. Once the first side was mounted, I used a block under the second side, to hold it exactly the same height as the first. With it in the correct vertical orientation, I held my spoke shaves up to the openings to determine the optimum spacing between the two segments. Once located, I repeated the screw “tapping” and drove all of the screws home.

Final wall layout, with spoke shaves added.

Final wall layout, with spoke shaves added.

With the board still on the ground in my shop, but leaning against my bench, I could test to see what mounting slope would best keep the tools in position. After measuring the distance from the board, to a vertical reference, I chose two boards to prep. I set my adjustable square to the same angle as the board was resting, so I could transfer to the mounting boards. I planned to mount the storage with two boards that would span across two studs in the wall. I cut and planed both boards, down the the sloped lines I created with the adjustable square. I picked up two heavy-duty Torx stud bolts, for each of the mounting boards, and I pre-drilled for these while also creating a recess for the heads of these bolts. I used my Makita cordless hammer-driver to put these bolts into the studs. This seemed to work so much better than the regular drill-driver.

Lower horizontal mounting board, with lines drawn to show needed shaping. Corner planed away, to one line.

Lower horizontal mounting board, with lines drawn to show needed shaping. Corner planed away, to one line.

After both of the mounting boards were securely in place, I removed all of the tools from the storage board, and drove smaller Torx screws through the storage board, and into the mounting boards. This made for a super strong and secure storage board.

I started putting the tools up onto the board, and monitoring to make sure everything was behaving as expected. All was good until I got to the #3 planes. The horizontal board was a bit too tall to directly interact with the rear edge rails on these planes, even though it was perfect for the 4 1/2. I plan to place some small spacers on the underside edge of this board, so it will contact these rails. Even with the extreme measuring I made, during the process of choosing the slope, it seemed the slope changed just enough to reduce gravity’s function against the storage board. Since the two #3 planes are the only effected tools, I’ll see if the modification I mentioned will suffice. If it doesn’t, I’ll remove the storage board and add some material to the lower of the two mounting boards, in effect, increasing the slope.

Storage board attached to wall, with most tools in place.

Storage board attached to wall, with most tools in place.

Even with this minor snafu, it has been great to have these tools at close reach and not getting all of the shavings covering them. As there is still space on the storage board, I’ll likely look to add at least a few chisels, squares and marking tools. These are some of the most commonly used tools for me.

Thanks for stopping by and checking out the article. As always, please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Lee Laird

Knew Concepts Fret Saws

Posted by is9582 on April 11, 2012 with 2 Commentsas , , , , , , ,

I’ve enjoyed making pieces with hand-cut dovetails for many years. When I first started out, I used my chisels to gradually evacuate the wood between the tails and pins. After using this technique on a couple of pieces, I recognized just how much time I seemed to be wasting. I shifted over to using coping saws, but it was hard to find blades thin enough to readily fit down into the kerf left by my dovetail saw. From there, I moved to a fret saw, as they have blades that easily fit into the kerf, but I had a hard time finding any frames that held the blades rigid enough. After snapping blade after blade, I was wondering if there was anything that would do what I needed.

Enter Knew Concepts Fret Saws. I ordered one of their 5″ Aluminum versions. I used it for a couple of weeks, and it really surprised me just how well it worked. Not a single broken blade. One of my friends, Chris Schwarz, had one of the 5″ Titanium versions, and let me try it, so I could compare the two properly. After using the aluminum version, and with me rating it so high, I didn’t think there could be enough difference to warrant the titanium version. Am I glad Chris let me try his saw. The titanium and aluminum versions were like night and day, relating to rigidity, while the weight was very similar. The titanium version is 5.2oz vs. 4.9oz for the aluminum version.  Oh, and for anyone curious, I now have the titanium version in my kit.

Titanium 5″ Saw
Aluminum 5″ Saw 

It sounds like that would be the end of the story, and I’d have purchased their saws even if there were no additional features, beyond their super rigid frames. But Knew Concepts still have much more to offer. They have a cam-lever that both applies and/or releases the tension on the blade, with a very short throw. Next are the blade clamps, which have three positions: 90 degrees which is oriented like most fret/coping saws, 45 degrees Left and 45 degrees Right. With the 90 degree orientation, a wide board will limit just how far in from the edge it will work, before the distance to the saw frame prevents any further work. The 45 degree orientation allows the blade to cut on the tail shoulder line, while the frame is tilted up enough to prevent it from contacting the board, no matter how wide. With the two different 45 degree settings, it works equally as well for Right-handed as Left-handed woodworkers.

The most recent update is adding exotic wood handles, via Elkhead Tools. They are offering handles made from cocobolo and I have to say they are beautiful. I may just have to add one to my new titanium addition. I guess time will tell.

Cocobolo handle on Aluminum Saw

Let me know if you have any questions.