Monday, December 27, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Above is an interesting plane that is on the mantel at my grandparent's house, and I've been paying closer and closer attention to it over the last few years as I've been getting deeper into woodworking. This Christmas while we were there, I pulled it apart and took some detail photographs. One interesting detail of the construction that I noticed this time around is the dovetailed piece that forms the front of the mouth. The curved sole leads me to believe that this is probably for the inside of barrels or some other concave surface. The rather small mouth opening indicates that it is for taking fine shavings. Because of the age of the wood, it's difficult to determine what species the plane is made from, but I think the mouth could be oak or ash. The main body almost seems like some sort of soft wood based on the grain. I have some pictures of the interior of the mouth/blade holding area as well as the maker's mark that I might post up later. It's pretty typical, but I still find it interesting.

Below are some holiday spoons for friends and family with a 6" rule. All Paper Birch from the same tree. I used a pattern for the two smaller spoons, based on Barn the spoon's suggestions, made from a piece of flexible plastic. First I axed and then smoothed with my knife a crank into a half stick, traced the pattern, axed to the pattern, and then carved it all out from there. The final step in roughing these is to hollow the bowl. It's very quick work with the green Birch, but it's a bit soft and flexible for these small eating spoons, much better for the larger utensils that can be left thicker.
Tips for Spooners-Barn the Spoon

Below is some quarter sawn Maple from a stump in the backyard. These are about 5-6" wide, and about 4-6/4 thick. Plenty hefty! I very approximately flattened and thicknessed these boards with my new Lee Valley scrub, and couldn't resist finishing one out to see what the grain would look like.

The radial flecks are a little more subtle than something like Oak, but I think it's very pleasant to look at.

It's amazing how stable quartersawn lumber is! I know that's the whole idea, but it's still really cool to me. I took these straight out of the back yard and moved them down to the basement mere feet from the furnace for over a week, and haven't seen a single check or any suggestion of twist or cupping. I did paint the ends as a precaution, but I've also been storing them upright. I found a webpage somewhere (one of the few I didn't bookmark...yarg!) that suggested storing lumber on end instead of horizontally prevented almost all checking. I haven't done enough experimenting to verify that, but it sure hasn't hurt!

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