Some nomenclature. The chisel on the left, a small carving gouge, originally had a thin brass ferrule that cracked. I replaced it with a small piece of malleable copper pipe, more for aesthetics than a practical need. The middle tool is a woodworkers paring chisel with a socket for the handle. The handle is an antique, with a leather ferrule at the end. That is a practical position for a ferrule, in that it helps prevent the mushrooming of the handle end from mallet blows. Handle and chisel are not original to each other. I only sometimes strike the paring chisel with a mallet; it's more of a hand powered tool. To the right is an unhandled skew chisel, showing the tang and shoulder. Skews are used for cleaning undercuts, and as long carving blades.
Crows, in the greasy, gray skies of late November. They fly over around twilight, stopping to alight in the trees in the alley behind the studio, to stare off to the west. (They are all facing west???) It's a brief interlude; then off to wherever a cauldron of crows roosts for the night. Somewhere back in my posts, I've noted similar behavior. It's probably a religious thing.
at 6:27 PM
Two different brands of carving tools. Bottom tool, a shallow gouge from Henry Taylor, UK. The quality of the steel is fine, holds an edge well. Top, is a shallow gouge from Pfeil, Switzerland. The quality of the steel is also fine. There are some things I like better about the Pfeil tools. The metal is polished overall. This really adds nothing to the working qualities of the tool, though it looks nice. The handles are oil finished, and octagonal in shape, so the tool won't roll. The Taylor tool has some kind of lacquer type finish; you can see the shine in the photo. The handle finish does affect the working quality, the oil type finish being more comfortable. The Taylor tool also came with an enormous sticker on the handle, which required removal, as it was uncomfortable. I'm ambivalent about the ferrule issue; if I'm beating hard enough on the tool to cause the wood to break, I should probably be using my chain saw. There are other brands, including some antiques, in my tool chest, though when I buy additional tools I prefer Pfeil, for the reasons above, and a comfort level with their working quality.
Woodcraft carries Pfeil tools here in the US. Pfeil's website has distributers listed for other parts of the planet. The film is worth watching.
And in other news, we have snow that is sticking. Cold well below normal. Gah! Ahh well, as the Swedes say: "there is no bad weather, only bad clothing".
Some of the sanding machines. Left to right, a random orbit with a flexible velcro pad for sanding curved objects. Another random orbit sander, with a stiff pad for flat surfaces, again velcro. Next, an oscillating multi-tool, velcro pad., as discussed here. Right, a belt sander with a sanding frame. Sanding frames let you adjust the depth of the belt, and stabilize the tool for sanding broad, flat surfaces. Mostly I use the random orbit sander with a stiff pad to clean up the backs of frames, or when they have inlet splines, to level the splines. Search "splines for several posts about the process.
The random orbit sanders and the belt sander can also be hooked up to the shop vac via an inch and a quarter hose, seen at the rear of the black sander. Another handy feature, as it really does remove the bulk of the dust. It is, however noisy, having both a sander and a shop vac running at the same time. Earplugs.
Well, I just spent some time looking for belt sanders that offer a sanding frame, and not much out there; Bosch might have one, but I couldn't track down an actual product. My sander, a Ryobi offered the frame as an optional accessory, but I can't find one now. Too bad, as it was a useful addition in terms of efficiency and preventing the belt from gouging the work surface.Belt sanders excel at rapid removal of material; the frame added control. Maybe I should save the Ryobi for resurfacing my bench tops, and get a cheap belt sander for the occasional "wood butcher" job. Using the links at right will send a few pennies my way, at no cost to you.
When using a sander with velcro attachment, especially when sanding edges, or thinner parts, it is important to keep the sander moving. If you hold it in one spot, you can melt the velcro hooks, rendering them useless. Porter-Cable does offer replacement pads, around $20.00 the last I checked.
A recent project, one of three deeply ornamented plaster frames, circa 1900, give or take a few decades. The original finish was water gilt karat gold high lights, and then bronze powder for the body. Either painted or dusted over an oil size. Two of the frames were at some time completely over painted. One, had it's original finish; the gold still visible but the body had tarnished to a deep brown. I've seen the deep brown, but also various shades of a muddy green, and a dull greenish gold. The frames had been stored in a basement for many years, with a lot of moisture damage. Corner ornaments were loose or missing, because of separated mitres, and much of the running ornament at the outside back edge of the frame was beyond repair, needing replacement.
These two images are of one of the frames installed as a "frame" for a wide screen TV. The TV is in a recessed area in the wall over the fireplace.The bright windows are due to a foggy day out over Lake Michigan. We're 40 some stories up.
This one, with a mirror, was installed into an alcove, that was not quite an 1 1/2" wider than the frame. Just one of the many challenges. Here, trying to not smash fingers was the trick.
Hanging hardware was plywood cleats, attached to the hollow wall with either 1/4" x 20 zip toggles, or in the case of the TV frame, fine thread drywall screws anchoring into the metal studs of the recessed area. All of the frames were heavy, and this, with mirror was quite heavy. I chose plywood cleats because then I could build out the frame cleat with full size spacer blocks, of various thicknesses of plywood, to accommodate the inner frames sticking so far out the back.
The painting was not hung, as I, having not seen the space, brand new construction, did not know that the customer desired it to hang in a stairwell. I found this out the afternoon before delivery and installation. Stairwells require special equipment, and hanging a painting and frame, 4' x 7', and that probably weighs a hundred pounds, is very special. This job requires a 24" wide plank rated for a minimum of 500 pounds; not something that I keep in my tool kit.
The restoration of the frames was originally to be repairs, then regilding in metal leaf. As I got into them, I decided to remove the overpaints on the two frames that had been overpainted. Under the paint, there was a lot of the original gold. Rather than cover that over again, all of the highlights were cleaned of overpaint with acetone and sometimes paint remover, and sometimes lacquer thinner. New water gilt gold was applied to repairs, and bad areas of loss. The body was finished with a shellac based paint, using both mica pigments, and a small amount of bronze powder pigment. Couldn't achieve the gold I wanted with out it. Most of the frames with the bronze powder finishes for the body, were at their glossiest, only semi-gloss, to achieve the look of matte and burnish gold. I tried for the same effect, a soft, matte body with the mirror like highlights. I was trying for 120 year old frames, with some wear and tear, but in very good shape.
Now that I've actually used the tool I 'm very pleased. Not the fastest, but for unusual cutting tasks, it'l be fast enough. I have removed the depth gauge, and it's holder, as I don't feel a need for it yet. One allen screw holds the whole assembly on. Blades are expensive, though there are some aftermarket ones now. Multifit is one company; and the savings are significant. They have a section just for Porter Cable.
The tool was originally invented by the German Fein co. as a means of cutting casts off of broken limbs. The oscillating blade won't cut skin. I've seen a video of somebody touching a moving blade; said it tickled. I think I'll wait until I accidentally touch a moving blade. 8-) Fein's patent has run out, so there are a lot of different brands making these tools.
Some projects that the tool will be used on:
Cutting into a trim board on the house without removing said board to stub in a new piece of trim because of rot.
Scraping wall paper. I've played with it a little in the studio; it will probably be as efficient as steaming off wall paper, and probably far more pleasant.
Cutting between two porch floor boards that have buckled, to give them some room to be laid back flat.
I'm also looking forward to trying it the next time I need to enlarge a rabbet. I'm thinking this might be the right tool for the job. It can plunge cut, so the corners of a joined frame will be square, and the model I have has a depth gauge, though a masking tape line on the blade would work also.
The machine pictured, Porter-Cable PCE605K, link at right, I chose for several reasons. Good reviews on the interwebs. (We know if it's on the interwebs, it's true). Corded, as I thought the need to own and keep charged multiple batteries, was less convenient that just plugging it in, and running until the job was done. (Which, should the need arise, not preclude me from buying a cordless one). I own several Porter Cable tools already, and have been very happy both with the design of the tools, and the availability of parts and accessories. That last is huge. The Porter Cable, with a nice case, and a good, though mostly sand paper, assortment of accessories was $99.00 on Amazon. The box stores have them at $130.00. Harbor Freight has their brand at $20.00. Fein has some as high as $400.00
As I've played with the tool I've decided that it will be as precise as I am; it is a hand tool, with out any real provision for guides or fences. I'll need to be patient, as forcing the tool is just going to ruin the blade, and they are expensive, though as more adopt these tools, blade prices will come down.
So, keep calm, carry on, and sally forth to cut something ... 8-)
Above, another of the plaster ornamented frames. I'm using the plastic syringe, foreground, to inject glue into the cracks at the bottom of the ornaments. Directly under the miter is a blob of glue that has dripped. The frame is resting on a support stand at an angle so the glue can run into the area needing glue.
The crack is visible under the ornaments. This side of the frame has suffered some damage from moisture, and has been overpainted, obscuring the original finish.