Continuous Arm Windsor Chair Plans Are Here

Ok if you haven’t already gotten an email from Curtis Buchanan about his continuous arm chair plans being up on his website for sale then here is your notice. If you already know about them then this is just the snooze alarm going off. Wake up and go get your plans. If you want them that is.

Curtis and I spent about eight months getting these put together. They include the full scale turning patterns, bending forms, seat carving topography map as well as a front and side view in 1:2 scale. I think you will find that this takes these plans a step above the previous one. We considered full scale but then the plans just get to be impractical to use in the shop for reference. Plus I think this size looks kinda cool just hanging on the wall in the shop. Heck, maybe frame them as some shop art. That may be taking it too far but thats just me.

I have had about all I can take of sitting at the computer as of late. I can do technical drawings but I much prefer to make stuff. Though I do hope to get around and put together a small project for those that want something to try out in the Danish furniture vein of things. I do love my Danish modern furniture. It is where I started and probably won’t ever venture completely away from it.

I hope you all are enjoying this awesome spring weather. Well I am. If you are not then I hope you do soon.

Take care all!

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German Style Horned Smoother – In The Works

Not too long ago I had the pleasure of talking with Jeff Neil. He is a couple hour drive from me up in the Tennessee mountains. He coordinates speakers for a guild up his way. During our conversing he shared a bit of his passion about wooden planes.
He had written back in 07′ an article for the Chronicle magazine, published by the Early American Industries Association in regard to the tool chest of John E. Kraus. This is a tool chess that he acquired. The chest dates form the 1870’s and some of the tools may have come over from Europe, from which he immigrated, such as two horned planes.
So, a few months later after reading the article I couldn’t seem to get these cool German style horned smoothing planes, that were in the collection, out of my head. Jeff was kind enough to take in depth photos and measurements of one of the planes so that I could copy it. Or at least have a working base to begin with. One of the two that he has appears to be a scrub type version. I am going to begin with the smoother though.
Here are a couple of photos that Jeff shared with me. If you can find the article online it is worth a read. I don’t know if the one article is available anywhere but the entire 60 volumes of the magazine from the 1930’s on is available for $15 here. If you like history of early American tools it is a very nice read.

I will show some of the progress and if I can get myself around to do it maybe some plans as well once I get the design down.

Proof is in the Pudding – Wedging Tenons

My pudding is pistachio, what’s yours? That makes no sense but that is what just came to me when I looked at my photos.

What am I talking about? Well an interesting little thing that I came upon when wedging through tenons has proven to be true and not just theoretical. I think it was about a year or two ago that Pete Galbert was talking about glueing only one side of a wedge when putting them in. I hadn’t given it much thought as being anything ground breaking but once he started talking about it I realized that this was in fact what I had been doing and was significant to the longevity of chair joinery.

Why glue only one side of a wedge. I started doing it as I recall because I had heard about someone actually splitting the end of a tenon before assembling it with the mortise. I don’t remember who it was. But the idea was that the tenon would have a weak area in it so that when the seasons changed the moisture content of the wood, thus expansion/contraction would happen, the stresses would simply spread the split in the tenon rather than break the glue joint.

So basically I figured that if you only glued one side of a wedge then the other side would serve as the weak part of the joint and spread rather than stress and break the glue joint. So here is the proof that it actually works. My house has been really dry. All my wood flooring has gaps between the boards and the humidity has been down around 10-20%. After coming from humid south east Texas this is all new to me.

Look at what the joints on my settee have done. One is the leg tenon coming through the seat. The other is the tenon coming through the handhold. One side of the wedge has opened up rather than there being a failed glue joint.
Very interesting, is it not.

By the way, I have been doing a lot of reading and editing of Pete’s book that is due out this year. This post didn’t start out as a way to plug Pete’s book but I have to say that if this sort of stuff interests you then trust me you will love this book. It is packed with, among other things, little nuggets like this.

Continuous Arm Chair Plans – UPDATE

I just wanted to update everyone to let you know that the chair plans of Curtis Buchanan’s continuous arm chair are almost ready. I have finished up my part of the technical drawings and we just need to get that fancy topographical map of the chair seat together. Someone else does that.

Curtis is working on a new website that will make it easier to make a purchase. I can’t wait for the videos to start rolling out as well. They will be posted up on Youtube. This time he wanted to have the plans ready as he rolled out the videos so that you could build along if you wanted. Should be great.

There are some extra videos on some really important subjects that will be following as well. You will like them if you have ever needed help choosing a good log. He has tons of experience.

I’ll update everyone when they go up on his site and the videos are up on Youtube. It should only be a few weeks from now!

1:2 Scale Front & Side View

Danish Modern Chair Joinery – Møller Style Joints

I got a little nudge to follow up on something I promised to talk more about which is how to do those joints in Danish furniture where the rails meet at the same height on a post of a chair leg.

From the first time I made these chair joints until now I have made them the same each time in designs that require this type of joint. I have not had one fail yet. Honestly I had wondered for a long time just how the factory made there joinery. Turns out it is the same. I discovered some photos of an antique one that was for sale and the joint had come apart and there was my answer. I don’t think it takes a real genius to figure this out but it is nice to have confirmation when you see a factory example of it to confirm you aren’t making substandard joinery.

So I will let the pictures speak for themselves especially since I am heading out of town for the weekend and my time is a bit crunched.

By the way I do cut the mortise on the slot mortiser. You could use a router as a substitute but couldn’t make any recommendations on how to use one of those things.

Here is an example of an assembled joint from a Møller style bench. You can see the typical thicker portion of the post at the joint height. This helps add more meat to the joint and a shoulder surface for support of racking forces.
Below is how the joint intersects in the middle of the post. The mortises make an X if you viewed a cross section of the post. I place the rail that is shown vertically as the front to back rail and the horizontal as the left to right rail. This way the front and back rails “pin” the side rails in the mortise. I think of it as a sort of back up if the glue joints weaken. There is plenty of glue surface in these joints as well. Surprisingly strong.
Some additional views below.
Above is the joint before shaping. I carve off the corners and then finely rasp the surface to match the shape and thickness of a piece of cord.

I have found no faster way to round down the tenons to match a slotted mortise than a no.6 grain rasp. On that note I prefer round as opposed to square mortises here because I think the joint is less likely to split out when stresses are applied to the joint.
For reference the tenon is 3/8″ thick by 1-7/8″ high (I think?) and the post are 1-1/2″ square at the joint. 
Give it a try and let me know what you think.

What Planemaker Floats Do You Need For Making Wooden Moulding And Bench Planes?

Here’s a question that comes up often. I think the question is which ones don’t I need. Let me just show you which ones I think are pretty much necessary to make these planes. These don’t cover skewed planes. That is a whole other monster.

I’ll start with the moulding plane floats.

The two floats on the bottom are the side and then the edge float is the next up. You can’t expect to make a proper wedge mortise without these two. I like the pull side float because I can go right up to the mouth and then work a slight hollow back from there without worrying about damaging the mouth trying to push up to it.
The two top ones are essentially a push cheek float and a custom modified push float. You don’t need to modify one but the top one was my first float which was a large cheek float and I just customized it while experimenting and there it is now. It sort of falls between the function of a push side float and a small push cheek float. 
Anyways what you need them for is first off the small pull float is needed to bed the iron. That is, to smooth out the bed so that the iron fits firmly exactly where you want pressure exerted when wedged. Basically you are knocking down any high spots. Second the push float is needed to create the wear angle and size the mouth opening. A small push cheek float would work fine in place of my custom thingy. It needs to be a push float because you will break out the mouth if it where a pull. That would be a disaster for the function of your plane.

Now on to the bare essentials for the bench planes.

Starting at the bottom we have the bed float the edge float and yes my custom push float thingy. Again just substitute the small push cheek float. 
The bed float is of course for the blade bed and it is a push since you are working from the top unlike the moulding plane bed float (small pull cheek float) which is worked from the bottom of the plane. 
The edge float is so useful in making the openings in just about everywhere in the bench plane. Think of it as a saw that opens the mouth as well as cuts in to create the areas for the abutments to recess into body for the wedge mortise. No need to have a special saw for this as I have seen some suggest. And of course the edge float is used to make and adjust the angle of the abutments themselves. 
The push float is used to create the wear angle and does a lot of clean up work on the cheeks and some hollowing work in the wedge cheek areas.
Here are the chisels that I think are a must.

These are used everywhere on both planes. If you wanted to you could do without the largest carving gouge.
The 1/10 mortise chisel is first on the mush have list since it is critical to getting into places that many other things simply won’t go. The edge float can be made to do a lot of the work this thing takes care of but I would hate to be without it.
The chisels are essentially a 3/4″ for all the chamfers and general work. Then a 1/2″ or better yet a 3/8″ works well for everything else. 
The gouges are used for shaping things. The rounded end on the plane are made with the large gouge, it could also be done with the 3/4″ chisel if you don’t mind the faceted look. 
The small #5 sweep is for the gouge cuts at the end of the vertical chamfers if you want the detail of the mid-atlantic planes from the 18th-19th century. This is the style you see on Old street tools planes and Matt Bickford. I like this style the best as well. I guess is suits our modern tastes. They tend to fell more Roman in form rather then Grecian. These details tend to be more early rather than later in platemaking history as well. I know more about planemaking than there history so I will stop here. 
One final note on floats. Don’t expect the floats to function at any decent level the way they come from Lie-Nielsen. That isn’t a dig. It just means you really need to sharpen them with a triangle file for them to work well. They basically sharpen like a saw be even easier. You just need to pay more attention to keeping the file cuts nice and consistent all the way across the teeth and you will be set… err well, sharp that is… no set needed.
Hope this is helpful!

Tapered Bench Plane Blades Production Progress

So I have the blades back after machining and they look great. I just need to get these heat treated now. The larger ones are a bit too big to heat treat like I currently do my moulding plane blades which I do myself in-house. I want these to be heat treated without having to do a lot of flattening afterwards. 
I have a stamp designed for marking the blades. That will take some time to get but look forward to having that to complete the look. 
I stuck a blade in my trusty smoother that never leaves my bench top just to see how it will look. It looks great to me. What do you think?
Smoother with new blade

I am busy working away trying to get other things lined up for the Hand Tool Event in Charleston with Lie-Nielsen on March 28-29th. Also my website has been down for about a year now as I rework it. It is time to get that finished and back up and running. 
This computer keeps demanding my attention when all I want to do is be working in the shop. Back to normal soon enough.

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