Saturday 22 December 2007

Run-on blog entry

When I was in grade school, I was often reprimanded for my amazing run-on sentences. In that spirit - here is a blog entry to clean up some loose ends before the holidays. These photos were taken over the last few weeks.

We are in the middle of a rather humongous snow storm right now. Riley has been tobogganing off the back deck most of the day - he is the snow lover in this house! The photo above is taken from our kitchen window looking at the studio.

Speaking of kitchen windows... we finally have some trim. If you begin to sense a theme that starts with "the shoemakers kids..." you are right - it runs pretty rampant over here. This was a great weekend distraction to finally get this (mostly) done. Mostly because I still need to make the 2" thick eyebrow that goes on the top - but at least we aren't looking at yellow foam anymore!

And yes I know - where are the doors and drawers? Keep reading...

The walnut floor is now installed in our sunroom - we are thrilled with the results. A local sawmill made the flooring for us and my friend Steve helped me install it - thanks again Steve. Once the finish is cured (about a week), we will cover it up with a layer of brown paper and 1/2" thick foam mats so I can start working on the trim and built-in cabinets.

And speaking of the sunroom cabinets... I just picked up the 100 Bd/ft for all the window trim and face frames for the built-ins. This is local cherry I picked up from an Old Order Mennonite saw mill. I have been working with Leonard for several years now and his service and disposition are amazing. The MC is down to 9% and in a few weeks I should be able to start dressing it.

We have a new addition to the Sauer family - Smokey. Riley has been asking for a cat (or dog) for several years now and we finally caved. When we went to pick out a kitten, this little one marched over to Riley and crawled into his lap. It was a pretty easy decision. The second positive sign was he used his litter box within the first 20 minutes.

And finally... 2 years later than expected... I have just finished the first prototype kitchen drawer. We wanted traditional looking drawers but with the modern convenience of drawer glides. Welcome to tandum Plus drawer slides from Blum! As soon as we saw these - we were sold. They are some of the finest drawer glides available and were very easy and straightforward to install (once the drawer was built). The only concession was the 3/8" step in the sides - but other than that - they look like traditional drawers... well... until you open one! They are silky smooth, full extension and have a self closing mechanism for the last 1-1/2".

It has been a while since I have hand cut dovetails. I was reminded of 2 things. How much I love my Imai chisels - and how much I love woodworking. I should also mention that the drawer is just dry fit (not glued) and there is no finish on it. The front is walnut and the sides and back are hard maple. The bottom is 1/4" baltic birch plywood. The pull is a spare from the shaker style bench (the one with the Emmert). I will be making Ebony or African Blackwood pulls for the doors and drawers.

Here is an under the hood shot. The orange bits are actually quick release levers - when you squeeze them, the drawer lifts off the hardware.

That about wraps it up. Thanks to everyone who has stopped in or added a few comments. I may live to regret this - but if there are any subjects you would like to hear about just let me know.

Merry Christmas everyone - and a Happy New Year.

Konrad, Jill, Riley + Lucas


Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think it's great when you write about your home projects which are so cool and how you like to make things out of wood and it would be cool if you could show us how you fit and install the lever caps in your planes and then if you could talk about the fine points of filing and peening dovetails that would sort of nice because it would give us insight into the fine points of plane making which you are also very good at.



22 December 2007 at 20:32  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Dan,

Thanks for the suggestions. I have been thinking about how to photograph some of the processes so they make sense - video would be even better - but that becomes a whole lot of work. I have also been thinking about a post that covers an overall approach to planemaking. I don't think there are any great "secrets" to doing this - but it does require tremendous patience and attention to detail - almost to a fault. Anyway - I should stop there before I end up writing the entry right now:)

Best wishes,

23 December 2007 at 09:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Merry Christmas to you and yours!

I really enjoy your blog, so just keep plugging away.

23 December 2007 at 11:17  
Blogger bko said...

Hi Konrad,

The house looks great, especially that beautiful floor!

Happy Holidays and keep on blogging!

--Brian in Boston

23 December 2007 at 12:47  
Blogger Paul Kierstead said...

Great sentence, Dan!

We are currently in the process of planning a kitchen reno, and getting the cabinetry a step above while keeping the workload sane is a big challenge. I'd love to hear some of your experiences! I also fell in love with those slides, but still haven't dedicated myself to hand-dovetailing a whole kitchen .. OTOH, most machine made ones are pretty ugly IMO, but the woodrat ones seem nice....

Also gotta decide basic construction ( I kinda hate Euro hinges, so that plays a role) and a ton of other things.

24 December 2007 at 11:02  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hey Paul,

The main cabinets are 3/4", veneer core plywood. The lower cabinets are baltic birch and the uppers are Walnut veneer (2 sides). The reason for the Walnut uppers is there are going to be quite a few doors with glass, so we wanted to keep the walnut look throughout. We also used 3/4" veneer core ply for the backs - Norm would be happy to hear that:)

Had my thinking cap been on better - I would have pre-cut the mortises for some stainless steel knife hinges before the face frames went on. At it is - I cannot use knife hinges for the doors - something that really bugs me. I will use traditional leaf hinges - and with one of the new small router planes - it should be a snap to cut them with the cabinets in place. The doors will also be flush with the frames - surface mounted doors (and drawers for that matter) have become very rare in new kitchens - so that alone will set it apart. Let me know if there are any other details you would like.


24 December 2007 at 11:19  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to thank you for sharing your thoughts, pictures of your home, family, all of the projects that you began and finished and lastly thank you for giving an insight into just what it takes to make an extraordinary plane.

You have inspired me and I thank you for that.


25 December 2007 at 17:20  
Blogger Konrad said...

Hi Michael,

Really glad to hear you are enjoying the blog and all the non-planemaking content. But above all that - I am thrilled to hear some of it has been inspirational. I take that as the highest compliment and I thank you for that.

Warmest wishes,

26 December 2007 at 09:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Konrad,

Did you have to have to do any thing to get the reveals on the drawer front to face frame correct and I hope you aren't buying all of your slides from LV they are way cheaper from richelieu.

3 January 2008 at 20:22  
Blogger Konrad said...

Nothing fancy to get the drawer fronts to line up - other than measuring and I wish I would have known about Richelieu sooner... hardware already purchased:(


3 January 2008 at 21:17  

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Wednesday 5 December 2007

Cap iron free No.4 update

It appears that this plane works just as well without a cap iron as a similar plane with one. Which leaves me with a few questions that need answers... but I will leave that for later.

Here are the No.4 specs:

- 7-1/2" long sole
- 2" wide, high carbon steel blade (by Ron Hock)
- 52.5 degree bed angle
- .004" mouth opening

I tested the plane on some flame birch first - pictured above. I use this particular piece of Birch all the time - it is not an easy wood to plane. This No.4 did not have any problems at all - tear out free and no chattering to speak of.

Then I tried it on some pretty strait cherry without adjusting the iron at all. It produced similar shavings with ease.

The big question is.... can I justify yet another smoother for myself?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The big question is.... can I justify yet another smoother for myself?"


Take care, Mike

6 December 2007 at 12:31  
Blogger Konrad said...

thanks Mike :)

I will take this as a green light then.


16 December 2007 at 16:58  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good words.

28 October 2008 at 14:07  

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