Monday, 27 April 2009

You know you are filthy when...


... you stand in the shower for 5 minutes and the water does not even get through to your scalp! Seriously - I had to wash my hair 3 times before I could even feel my scalp. I think I had 4 lbs of plaster in there.



A stripped clean room... now to take out what is left of the strip flooring... but that will have to wait for another day. All in all, it was about 5 hours of some pretty hard and filthy work.

It was kinda neat to see the back of the mudroom cabinets again (the clean section at the end of the room). I even took a moment to read some of the notes I had scribbled on the backs as I was building them.


Most of mount Lathmore!

And my deepest thanks to my friend Steve for helping with this - I owe you man!



And for Aled... here is a plane I finished this morning... before starting work in the room:)

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Konrad,
I hope that you had some protection from the dust.

Steve

27 April 2009 at 23:04  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Steve,

Sure did... Jill must have taken that photo in one of the few moments when I took it off. We had a large fan installed in the window and it moved an incredible amount of air (dust) as we were working. It was also a very windy day - which helped too. Thanks for your concern.

Cheers,
Konrad

28 April 2009 at 06:09  
Anonymous Ed Paik said...

Holy Cow Konrad!

Finished an awesome plane AND demolished a substantial sized room AND a blog entry!? All in one day! Where are you getting the energy from? You're no Spring Chicken you know. Slow down you're making the rest of us look bad! :-)

Take care!

Regards,

Ed

28 April 2009 at 07:06  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Ed,

Trust me - I am feelin it today:) At least everything still moves ok.

Cheers,
Konrad

28 April 2009 at 07:08  
Blogger Cody said...

Oh man. I sympathize with your efforts Konrad. I spent most of last summer tearing lathe and plaster out of my farmhouse. Nice work! It's gonna be totally worth the work.

29 April 2009 at 09:41  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Cody,

Yeah - we are pretty excited about the new room. The lathing just found a home - a friend is taking it to use for kindling. I love when stuff is re-used!!

Cheers,
Konrad

29 April 2009 at 13:00  
Anonymous tyler mckenzie said...

Apparently some plaster was mixed with asbestos, instead of horse hair. Keep safe. Beautiful work, house and planes.

30 April 2009 at 10:55  
Blogger Aled said...

Niiiice!! ;-)

Cheers

Aled

30 April 2009 at 16:50  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Tyler,

Thanks for the warning. Was the use of Asbestos a regional issue, a certain time period or both?

Cheers,
Konrad

30 April 2009 at 17:51  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Aled - thought you‘d like that:)

Cheers,
Konrad

30 April 2009 at 17:51  

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Monday, 20 April 2009

Here’s hoping we don’t find squirrels again!!


The madness has officially begun... we are renovating again. We love everything about this house... except the living room. At one point, it was two 12' x 12' rooms - as evident from the poor patch job on the walls and ceiling. Now we have a bowling alley, with a horrible & inefficient fireplace in the corner. The white oak strip floor cannot be sanded down any further - basically everything has to go.

Jill and I took off the trim this past weekend. It came off well... but removing the nails was another matter. I am hopeful we can still use some of it.



I have to admit, I took great delight in the thought of removing this fireplace. We have only had a few fires in it (we were advised it is not “safe”) and regardless of how much hard maple we piled into it - it did not give off any heat.



It was a somewhat slow and meticulous deconstruction process... I don’t like to rush things I don’t fully understand (like how a fireplace is built and if it is integrated into the chimney). It was a pretty amazing experience though - and there were several points where I felt a little bad about undoing someones work. That is until Riley noticed this charred flare on the wall...





... the big black spot on the right. There are several big cracks in the plaster, and 3/8" away... dry as a bone lathing. Now I am really glad we took this out!



Roy Orbison - aka Riley, was my big helper with the fireplace - he was a real trooper and I could not help but think back to when I was his age and just starting to help my Dad with this sort of thing. It was a pretty cool moment to see it come full circle. Anyway - the fireplace now sits outside on a tarp waiting to be taken away.



Monday is tentatively set up for tearing out the plaster and lathing ceiling and walls - and if time permits - the floor too. Then we will have a nice clean shell to work with.

Oh, and in case anyone is worried - I am still “working”... I finished this Rosewood A1 panel before Riley and I finished the fireplace.


6 Comments:

Blogger Aled said...

Konrad

How do you do it, a nice thread about renovating the house, and then bang, you just blow us away with a stunning plane just at the end.

Keep em comming

Cheers

Aled

26 April 2009 at 15:29  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Aled,

I am trying to squeeze in the renovating between holes in my schedule. So far - it seems to be working pretty well... I am getting a lot of work done and managing to pick away at the room.

Another post (and plane) to follow shortly.

Cheers,
Konrad

27 April 2009 at 19:05  
Blogger tomausmichigan said...

Konrad

My grandpa was a mason and always said a corner fireplace was the most efficient. That said, his chimneys exited the top rear of the firebox, not down at the side like yours. SO glad the house didn't burn down!

Great panel plane!

Tom

28 April 2009 at 11:08  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Tom,

I am curious if corner placement changes with inside corner vs outside corner? Or if as you suggested the exit hole has more to do with it. There was a mountain of brick in this fireplace and I would have thought the radiant heat would have been tremendous... but no such luck. All the heat went up, up and away.

thanks for your post.
Cheers,
Konrad

28 April 2009 at 11:14  
Blogger Albert A Rasch said...

Hey,

That fire brick might be of some value to a fellow building a forge. You could put it on craigs list or something and get it carted away for free.

Regards,
Albert
The Rasch Outdoor Chronicles.
The Range Reviews: Tactical.
Proud Member of Outdoor Bloggers Summit.

29 April 2009 at 12:51  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Albert,

Don‘t worry... we recycle everything we possibly can - and in this case, our neighbour took most of the brick for his own fireplace project. Thanks for the advise though - it is good to know people are thinking about “re-use” as opposed to just contributing to the landfill.

Cheers,
Konrad

29 April 2009 at 12:58  

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Thursday, 16 April 2009

A not-so ugly duckling


I am just finishing off four XSNo.4’s and was struck by the comical nature of them lined up on the “work in progress” table - the blonde really did look quite out of place surrounded by the brunettes. Two of these are Ebony infilled, one Blackwood and the blonde is English Boxwood.



I saved the boxwood XS for last - and worked on the balcony for the first time this year. What a treat! As I was enjoying the vitamin D (and working on altering my mayonnaise complexion) - I was reminded how much I like my Auriou rasps. I have several left handed rasps and they are in constant use. Mike Hancock called me a few months ago to let me know that Auriou was back in business - news I was delighted to hear. I have had the pleasure of meeting Michel Auriou several times over the years. Not only is he a phenomenal toolmaker and extremely knowledgeable in all things steel - he is a wonderful person. It would have been a serious blow to the woodworking community if Auriou had disappeared forever. I am so pleased to hear they have returned.



One of the toughest things about working with boxwood is the fact that any gaps between the infill and the shell will stick out like a sore thumb. I have to admit, I was a little relived (and quite pleased) when I was lapping this plane and was able to confirm the fit was good.



The SNo.4 is coming along very nicely - here are two pics to show the size compared to the XSNo.4 and the No.4. It appears to have scaled very well and I can’t wait to give this plane a try.



7 Comments:

Blogger David said...

your work is just wouderfull, one day I will have one of your plane!!
I do have a questin, is there such a thing as a panel raising infill plane or metal bodyed plane!
Thank you!
David

16 April 2009 at 20:19  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi David,

Thank-you for the kind comments and the great question. I have no idea if there is a infill style panel raising plane... I have never heard of one. I will ask a few people about it.

Cheers,
Konrad

16 April 2009 at 20:26  
Blogger David said...

Thank you,maybe you will be the first one?! anyway keep up the good work that keep us(me) dreaming!
David

16 April 2009 at 22:30  
Anonymous michael said...

hi konrad,

i was looking and the link to the auriou rasps that you posted and noticed how he grades them by grain for the coarseness. i was wondering which rasps you used for your shaping.

cheers,
michael

17 April 2009 at 00:56  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Michael,

I have a few coarse rasps - in the 7 and 8 grain - and find them too coarse for working exotic woods. The 9 and 10 grain are what I would consider rough shaping rasps and then the 14 and 15 grain is a mid-point refining rasp. From there I switch to files - single cut bastard files because they leave quite a smooth surface.

I think my scale of what I consider rough shaping and mid shaping is a bit skewed - but the really hard woods do not respond well to really coarse rasps. The 7 and 8 grain will chew through hard maple with ease - but not rosewood.

Cheers,
Konrad

17 April 2009 at 06:39  
Blogger tomausmichigan said...

Just love seeing the work in progress, especially your workholding set-ups. Won't the boxwood turn a milk-chocolate brown after some years?

18 April 2009 at 14:17  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Tom,

As boxwood ages it turns a bit golden in color - with a bit of milk chocolate in there. I am currently doing some fuming tests for boxwood to see if I can speed up the process - I would love to add 100 years to the color!

Cheers,
Konrad

18 April 2009 at 19:26  

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Tuesday, 14 April 2009

The thing about kids...


... is that they have this amazing ability to make you smile when you least expect it. And usually - when you need it most.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Narayan said...

Great pic!

19 April 2009 at 04:10  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Narayan. It was one of those times when you walk down the stairs and see this tranquil little moment. I managed to get back to the attic (my office), get the camera, and take a quick shot. Did you happen to notice what Riley was reading...?

Cheers,
Konrad

19 April 2009 at 07:41  

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Wednesday, 1 April 2009

An introduction to roughing infill parts


Finding appropriate wood for infilling planes is the single biggest challenge to a planemaker. Sure the price of metal is constantly moving... but they aren’t making high quality wood anymore! At least not the stuff that I need to use.

A few years ago, I picked up this rather odd-shaped piece of African Blackwood. I knew right away it was old - from the tool marks used to cut it (an axe not a chainsaw), the color (purple black, not brown black) and how it sounded when I tapped it with a metal object (a hollow ring as opposed to a dead thud). I have been storing it for a few years now, and the need for a few more A5 and XSNo.4 sets prompted me to cut into it.



The first step is to create a few flat reference surfaces - a real challenge with such a heavy and awkward piece of wood (African blackwood has a similar weight to volume ratio as mild steel). I use a sled with my bandsaw and slowly start to establish a flat surface.



This small log had quite a bend it in - so rather than square it up and waste all that material - it made more sense to cut it at the bend. This would also give me a chance to see what was going on inside - there were several dips and pockets on the outside and I needed to know if they affected the interior. The photo above show the chalkline to mark the crosscut.

Time for a deep breath...


Phew... not too bad.



And a close up to the grain. This is pretty typical. Some of the exterior voids and pockets go absolutely no where... some lead to disasters.



I always start milling the worst piece and work my way to the best piece. Here is the short end squared up a bit more - a pretty ugly looking thing at this stage.

Another deep breath... time to split it.



And a bit of a disaster. Some pretty serious inclusions to work around. Thankfully I cut everything oversized so I should be able to get a few parts from these two pieces.



On a positive note... the moisture meter confirms what I suspected... this is very old, dry stock.



Several hours later - I was done milling the short end. Three XSNo.4 rear infills, two XSNo.4 front buns (I had a spare from the last time I milled, so I have 3 complete sets), and 5 front buns for either A5’s or A6’s.

I apply a quick coat of shellac on the endgrain, date each piece, and put them on the shelf until they are needed.

12 Comments:

Anonymous Narayan said...

Wow. That's a gorgeous log. I've never seen African blackwood which isn't already on a tool.

It'd be interesting to see how you mark out the larger log pieces for the infills and buns. I'm sure you try to get the most out of every log, which probably leads to some interesting three-dimensional layout.

2 April 2009 at 23:53  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Konrad,

That first cut must be stressful on a piece of wood like that. It took me a couple days of thinking before I got up the nerve to cut up a small piece of Honduras Rosewood burl this week. Does it get easier with experience? Your saw has seen some terrific wood.

Thanks for sharing the process. We'll all continue to live vicariously through your blog.

Dan

3 April 2009 at 07:28  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Narayan,

It was a pretty cool little piece for sure... and heavy! I have been lucky to find a few really large pieces in log form - it brings its own challenges... but the advantages outweigh them for sure.

I have a series of templates for various planes that I often draw all over the various pieces. I buy white pencil crayons by the dozen:) I will often grab a previously roughed out part and simply trace that - having a 3D model really helps judge where exactly I can push the limits. As you can see from the photos - there are some areas of sapwood left on the pieces. These will be removed in the final plane - but by leaving them, I get a much better yield from the log. If I would have insited on solid black parts - I would have been lucky to get half these parts. That might make for an interesting post actually - watching the infills being reduced down to fit. Hmmm....

Cheers,
Konrad

4 April 2009 at 05:52  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Dan,

I have a photo that Joe took during the first cut in a serious piece of wood. I will try to find it and post it. It was a large Kingwood plank, and am on my hands and knees on top of it, using a D8 or something to rip it. We were scared out of our minds and did not want to waste the kerf. It was pretty funny in hindsight.

Cheers,
Konrad

4 April 2009 at 05:54  
Blogger stephen said...

Konrad, thanks again for letting me push all your planes last saturday, It was a truly memorable experience.

SRK

9 April 2009 at 17:44  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Stephen,

Glad you enjoyed trying the planes. It was a slowish show - but a very fun one.

Cheers,
Konrad

9 April 2009 at 19:30  
Blogger dan said...

I could spend days and days marking out how best to yield a log like that!

I am amazed you were able to get so many useful parts out of that piece.

Never really appreciated Blackwood until I had a chance to see it in a log form.

Really enjoying your Blog!

Dan Clermont

10 April 2009 at 03:24  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Dan,

Now where on earth would have have seen a Blackwood log before?

Cheers,
Konrad

10 April 2009 at 13:25  
Blogger dan said...

Same Place I saw heavily figured AAA Bird's Eye Maple, Burls, Brazilian Rosewood, Figured Brazilian Rosewood, Honduran Rosewood, Ebony, Ivory....... and on and on.

It was just off the Highway 401!

How long of a jointer could ya build with that Blackwood Log?

14 April 2009 at 02:40  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Dan,

The left over piece from this post... likely a 22-1/2" jointer. From the “other piece” maybe a 65" jointer:)

Cheers,
Konrad

14 April 2009 at 20:18  
Blogger dan said...

65" EH!!!

You would probably have to build a trailer for whomever purchased a 65" Blackwood Jointer AND they'd have the arms of POPEYE after flattening a board or two.

If they were smart they'd simply use winches to move the plane back and forth.

Seriously though, that wood sure is nice and I hope someday some of that 65" Blackwood gets used on my future jointer

Dan

Dan

14 April 2009 at 23:01  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Dan,

Yeah - I suspect I would need to put at least 3 totes on a 65" jointer!

And yes... there is certainly enough blackwood for your A2 jointer (I did warn you not to pick it up though)

insert evil laughter here

Cheers,
Konrad

16 April 2009 at 20:28  

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