Wednesday, 30 September 2009

On the 166th day - there was light.


(and drywall, and a coat of primer and two coats of paint - but the lights... they were the big moment)


It has been a very busy fall. Once again my friend Andy jumped in and helped out with the 4' x 12' x 5/8" (fire code) sheets of drywall for the ceiling. We rented a drywall lift and managed to hang all 6 sheets in a night. My Dad and Jill helped hang the drywall on the walls, and I must say - the whole thing went pretty quickly and painlessly.

Then the taping and mudding - which I decided to do myself. This is our second house and over the years I have gotten fairly good at mudding. I am not extremely fast, but I have it to the point where I only sand once at the very end. I managed to get the first two coats on - then I hopped on a plane, and headed for England to the European Woodworking Show.

Ok - I have written about Westonbirt being the best woodworking show before - but I think this one was even better. First off - the setting was absolutely incredible. How can a woodworker not fall in love with demonstrating inside a medieval barn? These things were amazing and the first hour was spend with my head cranked back staring up at the structure. The sad news - I forgot my camera, but there are quite a few photos on the UK forum here and here. It was great to catch up with so many good friends and familiar faces. I was sandwiched between John Lloyd and David Charlesworth. David and I had a great discussion about bed angles, bevel down vs bevel up and sharpness. Phil Edwards had a few new beauties to check out - I think he has developed a weakness for Blackwood. One person I wish I would have had more time to visit with was Richard Maguire. He had two stunning workbenches at the show and I was delighted to see the Benchcrafted tail vice and leg vice. These are amazing vices and may just push me over the edge to make another bench or try to retro fit the tail vice to my shaker style bench.

One of the things that really impressed me about the show was the number of people from outside the UK. I spoke with people from Sweden, Denmark, Portugal, France and Austria.

Hats off to Mike Hancock and the rest of the Classic Handtool folks for such a fine show. And my deepest thanks to Peter and Helen for helping me get around and to Mark, Helen, Ella and Helen’s father Robert for helping to make my last two days in England most enjoyable. I look forward to the show again next year.

For some strange reason - I recovered from jet-lag quite quickly and was back in action. I finished off the third and final coat of mudding, sanded it and we then started the painting. Oh, I should also mention that Riley was very interested in this “mudding” thing (I think he loved the idea of being able to do something that sounded messy) and so he asked if he could help. One day after school, he had a friend over and the two of them helped me fill all the drywall screw holes on the lower walls. It was really great to see their interest and hopefully it will lead to a level of confidence and self-suficiency later in life.



There has also been some progress on the livingroom floor. I made a dedicated single purpose cross-cut sled for cutting the QS white oak herringbone pieces to length. Thankfully it went faster than I expected. I am not quite finished, but above is a shot of the first 528 pieces. I still need to cut a slot in the ends, but it looks like the flooring may just happen some time in October.

And if all this doesn’t sound busy enough - I am leaving tomorrow for the Woodworking in America conference in Valley Forge PA. If this show is anything like the one in Berea - it is going to be fantastic. The line-up of speakers is amazing - quite a few of whom I will try and listen in on.

PS - the camera is already packed.

6 Comments:

Blogger rookster said...

Wow. You are making great progress on this room (and the whole house)! Thanks for sharing: I look forward to new house renovation installments almost as much as entries about new planes.

6 October 2009 14:43  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Rookster. I am working on several planes right now, but will be doing some of the planning for the floor installation.

Cheers,
Konrad

7 October 2009 20:07  
Blogger tomausmichigan said...

Konrad

We are going to have to have some close-ups of that QS oak floor, when it is finished. The contrast between the not-quite random rays of the oak and the linear pattern of the herringbone is going to be gorgeous!

Tom

14 October 2009 21:53  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Tom,

Don't worry - there will be plenty of picture taking of the floor - installation and all. I am hoping to start it in the next few weeks.

cheers,
Konrad

15 October 2009 07:26  
Blogger jbreau said...

do you ever sleep?

16 October 2009 00:28  
Blogger Konrad said...

sometimes Jacques.

But I have to say I am feeling a little burned out right now.Could be the last of my cold hanging on, the declining sunlight, or I shudder to think... too much work. Couldn’t be that!

Cheers,
Konrad

16 October 2009 06:44  

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Sunday, 13 September 2009

No.4 madness!


It has been unhandled smoother madness over here the last several weeks. I am just finishing up my SNo.4 smoother (second from the right - more pictures below). Here are a few quick pics of three XSNo.4’s and the first two SNo.4’s.






Here is yet another variation of the XSNo.4. This is an all steel version infilled with African Blackwood instead of Ebony. I am extremely pleased with the results.



I wasn’t sure how the warmth of the blackwood would work with the cold look of the steel - but they work wonderfully together. It is also nice to see the little bit of grain showing through - a subtle departure from the dead black of Ebony.





And here is my SNo.4 smoother. I was looking at my own planes a few weeks ago, and realized that I did not have a typical traditional British plane - steel sides, bronze lever cap and Rosewood infill. I was a little relieve to be honest - it is getting tough to come up with new combinations of sidewall and infill material.



I decided to treat myself to a wee corner of some Curly Rosewood. Here is a detail shot of the rear infill after the first coat of french polish. I can’t wait to see it after 12 coats! And it looks like I will be able to complete it in time for the show in England later this week.

9 Comments:

Blogger Adrian Baird Ba Than said...

that blackwood & steel combo is absolutely phenomenal,might need to get one for my 40th(I have 5 years to save up...)

14 September 2009 13:36  
Blogger Philly said...

Wow! A cool looking bench of smoothers!
Can't wait to see your new plane in the flesh next weekend :)
Philly

14 September 2009 14:08  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Adrian,

Now that there are a dozen coats of french polish - it positively glows! I wish I could take credit for the combination - but this was a customers idea.

Cheers,
Konrad

14 September 2009 20:45  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Phil,

Yeah - next weekend is getting pretty close now:)

see you soon,
Konrad

14 September 2009 20:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Holy Cow! Those are both absolute killers! Traditional in steel, but the wood is so special. That blackwood and steel has a wonderful glow to it.

Have a great trip!

Wiley

15 September 2009 20:47  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Wiley.

The traditional combination has sparked quite a bit of interest already - I had better start digging deep for some more figured Rosewood. And the blackwood and steel plane is totally awesome. Thanks to Chris for suggesting the combination.

I had better start packing now.

Best wishes,
Konrad

17 September 2009 07:17  
Blogger tomausmichigan said...

Konrad

The African blackwood and steel plane is just TOO beautiful. Somehow that combination got me thinking of a mitre plane I saw somewhere. Isn't that mitre plane in your joinery section ABW and O1?

Great work!

Tom

18 September 2009 22:53  
Blogger teal and gold said...

Stunning Work Konrad. Your going to make some people feel very happy

22 September 2009 23:24  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Tom. The steel mitre plane is infilled with some dark Brazilian Rosewood... blackwood would also be quite stunning... hmmmmm:)

Cheers,
Konrad

23 September 2009 10:38  

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Monday, 7 September 2009

Finishing the firewood drawer


I have found a few spare moments here and there between planes and coats of french polish, and have used the time to finish working on the firewood drawer. Other than a finish on the white Oak door - it is completed.

This was one of those odd notions that led to much head scratching but ultimately, I hope a very useful solution. Here are a series of photos to show some of the detail.

One of the big issues was how to keep this from being a huge source of heat loss in the winter. The cavity around the drawer was filled with spray foam insulation when the rest of the room was done. Below is a quick shot with the cover off.



The large red box on the end serves 2 purposes. First, to push the handle into a more convenient location. And secondly to store six, 2" pieces of high density insulation.



With the drawer in a closed position, the air gap is 3/16" around the perimeter of the drawer and 1/8" gap on each side of the glides.




The first test piece of firewood...




... and its new home under the hearth. There is a 3/4" lip on the front edge of the aluminum drawer, but this should be visually blocked by the 3/4" flooring.



And a wider shot to show the drawer in context.

The white Oak door posed another challenge. The door hardware was a little limiting - the door could not be thicker than 1-3/4" and the stile had to be at least 4" wide. I managed to create a 3/4" cavity between the panels to put a single piece of Johns Manville insulation (R5).



The cavity.


And the insulation.


And speaking of insulation - the two exterior walls are now done. Next step...12' sheets of drywall.

15 Comments:

Blogger Toby said...

Hi Konrad,

Nice work!

Thanks for letting us follow along. Question?

Is the drawer a purchased item or did you build that as well? If purchased, can you give us the make and model?

Thanks again for the excellent blog.

9 September 2009 17:54  
Blogger stikk said...

Konrad the fire place is shaping up nicely, but are you sure your not going to cook yourself out of the room with such a large fire place?

Kev!

10 September 2009 05:48  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Toby.

The drawer is something I had made. There is an aluminum fab. shop in town and they were able to do the bends and cutting for me - I put it together. It is hled with PEM’s and a few bolts and is quite slick (if I do say so myself:) The glides are from Lee Valley - a pair of their 48" heavy duty full extension glides. I could post some “under the hood” shots if that would be of interest.

Cheers,
Konrad

10 September 2009 07:55  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Kevin,

We should be so lucky to be cooked out of the room! There is a large double door at the far end of the room which opens in front of the staircase. Plus, we installed a bathroom ceiling fan in the ceiling of the livingroom and have it venting into the upstairs hallway. Between the open doors and the ceiling fan - we should be able to deal with the heat... and if we have to - we can always open a window:)

Cheers,
Konrad

10 September 2009 07:57  
Blogger Toby said...

Good Morning.

I would love to see the under the hood shots. If to specific for this audience, could you send a shot or two to my email?

I catalog this kind of info away until a need arises.

Thanks,

10 September 2009 08:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting details of the firewood drawer, Konrad. I remember you mentioning it earlier and wondered how it would turn out. It looks great!

Cheers ;-)

Paul Chapman

10 September 2009 14:22  
Anonymous JeffB said...

Great solution to the problem. If it is not already on the todo list I would definitely recommend adding some weather striping to the door frame. The air gap around the drawer and slides is less of an issue if air can't get past the door.

10 September 2009 15:10  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Toby,

I will post them in a day or two as another blog entry - a few people have asked to see them.

Cheers,
Konrad

10 September 2009 19:23  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Paul.

Are you going to be at Cressing Temple next week?

Cheers,
Konrad

10 September 2009 19:23  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Jeff,

Yes - there is some weather striping still to come (good eye).

Cheers,
Konrad

10 September 2009 19:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Konrad,

Sorry to say I'll miss Cressing Temple as I'll be away. Disappointing because it would have been nice to meet up again and see some of your latest planes. Looks like it will be an excellent event. Maybe we'll meet up next year.

Cheers ;-)

Paul Chapman

11 September 2009 09:37  
Blogger tomausmichigan said...

Konrad

I thought Riley was to make the maiden voyage in the firewood drawer:)

Really an elegant solution to the trail of bark and snow that leads from our front door to the fireplace.

Tom

11 September 2009 20:25  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Tom.

I am really surprised that neither of the kids have asked to ride the firewood drawer yet. Which may be a good thing - the glides did state they were not for carrying human weight.

Cheers,
Konrad

12 September 2009 05:49  
Blogger raney said...

Now that is funny - my first thoughts when I saw this went directly to the secret entrance possibilities.

And my wife says I never grew up - sheesh!

14 September 2009 15:18  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Raney,

Must be a kid too - already thinking about halloween possibilities...

Cheers,
Konrad

14 September 2009 20:47  

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Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Following up with sapwood


A recent comment from Tom got me thinking about how close I sometimes “cut it” with roughed out infill blanks and proximity to the sapwood. There was a fairly large area of sapwood on this Rosewood infill blank but I was pretty confident it would be removed by the time the plane was completed. Here is a little sequence showing the progression.



Good gravy this is going to be close!



With the rear infill fit, I can bandsaw off the waste to see what is going on. At this point - I am quite confident everything is going to work out.



With the sides lapped - I know I am out of the woods.



A quick shot of the rough layout line to mark the radius.



And the fully shaped plane with the first coat of french polish. One of the reasons I often risk cutting it this close is the best color and grain is often hiding just under the sapwood.


7 Comments:

Blogger David said...

As allways, this is just beautiful!
One day, one day!
on an other topic, i saw one of your panel plane for sale on Sawmillcreek forum. It is a SS and Ebony one!I guess it doesn't happen often that people are getting rid of such nice tools!
I realy like your blog and realy proud that you are Canadian!
Cheers!
David

1 September 2009 21:20  
Blogger tomausmichigan said...

Konrad

That was fantastic! Great photos and great wood!
It looks like the perfect plane.

Tom

2 September 2009 05:45  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks David,

Yes - I saw the A2ss jointer on Sawmill as well. I think it has sold already.

Glad you are enjoying the blog - I certainly enjoy writing it.

Cheers,
Konrad - who is a pretty proud Canadian.

2 September 2009 06:39  
Blogger Konrad said...

Thanks Tom.

There was a point in all this where I realized “shoot - what the heck would I do if it didn’t work out?” (other than eat the crow and publish it anyway). I was pretty confident in it, but one never knows for sure.

There was an A5 I made several years ago and the one top corner of the side had a wee bit of sapwood - nothing like this plane. Anyway - it did not even occur to me that it might be an issue but as I worked it down, the sapwood kept getting deeper and deeper. It reminded me of that Pillsbury doughboy commercial where you push in his tummy... except no one was laughing at this one. In the end I could not get rid of it and ended up making an entirely new plane for the customer. It was a harsh lesson - but sometimes you need them to keep you humble.

Best wishes,
Konrad

2 September 2009 06:46  
Anonymous JeffB said...

Obviously it is up to the customer, but I would think a big chunk of sapwood in the finished plane would look nice. There is such a contrast between sapwood and heartwood in rosewood that a chunk of sapwood adds a lot of visual interest. I haven't worked with rosewood enough to say whether there would be any complication from using sapwood -- it is usually softer but would that matter much for rosewood? I have a chunk of cocobolo for the front infill in a shoulder plane kit I bought and it has a large chunk of sapwood in the lower corner. I haven't built the plane yet but I think it will look really sharp when done. My 2 cents.

3 September 2009 17:59  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Jeff,

I certainly have seen sapwood used very effectively - but more often than not it is used to ill effect.

Rosewood sapwood is softer, but as long as it is intact, I think it could safely be used. The sapwood of African Blackwood is often very powdery (in the really old stuff anyway). That being said - some of my favourite turned Blackwood pieces have sapwood used to great effect.

Which shoulder plane kit did you get?

Cheers,
Konrad

3 September 2009 20:29  
Anonymous JeffB said...

Konrad, I have three or four Shepherd infill plane kits (mostly shoulder planes but one Spiers No. 7) and one kit from Legacy Handplanes. I have had the Shepherd kits for a long time (one of which has the cocobolo piece I mentioned) and just need to find the time to make them.

5 September 2009 10:29  

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