Thursday, October 29, 2015

Staple Vise!

Got your interest with the title, but first, let me gloat over my two new hammer heads; Left I will use to set saw teeth, the right I am thinking of trying to make a saw tensioning hammer out of. 

                                                          Now to the staple vise.

I was worried about making one, being unable to forge...until I realized, oh ya, metal isn't hard to bend, especially Home Cheap-O mild steel in a vise with physics working for you. 

After bending, I filed rough points onto the ends, drilled two slightly-smaller holes, and banged on the thing until it was about halfway through the wood. I then cut some wedges, don't know what angle; and went to see if this thing worked. 


It works...

This is the first time something has worked on the first try. This staple vise is so much better than a holdfast. 

Here are my 'sen'...The right is an old laminated blade I tried making into a kanna blade, complete with mock-hollow. It hurts to use, I can't figure out a way to make a handle for it. The chisel works better. 

Jason said that sen should be rounded slightly, sharpened at a very coarse grit, and used at an angle to the surface. Like, your going straight, but the blade is angled, sort of like using a plane on challenging wood. 

The results

Pretty nice! This sen-surface is lovely. This is my attempt at an azebiki nokogiri, New York style, with my attempt at 'progressive' teeth and a dual-sided flush cut saw. I have the rip teeth done so far on the azebiki nokogiri. For reference, the chisel is a 1/2" chisel. 

Better shots of the teeth of the flush cut, one side crosscut one side fine rip. 

The cut surfaces are pretty smooth, I need to make a handle for it, though. Cuts pretty fast, for my first saw. 

It took quite a while to make, but it should be useful. I learned a tremendous amount making this saw; I experimented with many different ways of creating teeth, you can probably tell. 

I ended up making the crosscut teeth by holding the file slightly upwards, at around a 15 degree angle, file one way, flip the vise around, file at the same angles, and you get a nice crosscut tooth. Repeat this, and I got nice spacing, similarly-shaped teeth. Finish up with the third facet, and there you go! 

The teeth came out chubby, which is OK, after all I will use it a lot for plane-making. 

Gather around, children, for spooky tales of woodworking horrors...

These teeth are on a very large ryoba I have. It has a loud voice, likes to be heard, and isn't shy to sing you a ballad; it sounds real nice, so it's fortunate for me. Nice signature, it had quite a bit of rust on it though. 

Odd, though: The nicks in the teeth. I guess even masters have that problem. Or maybe it was intentional? 

I am a cynic, in that I often see things as mistakes instead of  'on purpose'; after all, woodworkers are often guilty of 'inspirational design changes' when a project goes wrong. A song played wrong is an 'interpretation'. 

I just can't see how this nick would help in the sawing. And when it happens on each tooth...Well. My prevailing theory is that the sharpener or forger, or possibly user, was tuning the teeth and the file needed also coincidentally filed slightly into the next tooth. Doesn't effect sawing, so it is left there. 

Friday, October 16, 2015

Kantele, Part One

Update on the toolbox. Thinking of repeating the dragons on the other side, with maybe a full vineyard image. 

My friend gave me a violin, she got bored with it and was giving it away. It was a $20 eBay violin, good for learning on. Plastic everything, except for the soundboard which is plywood.

I've seen violins made of acrylic that perform really well. I have seen a player play Beethoven on a hose. It's all about the player. 

I made a spalted maple and walnut paper/phone stand as a thank you, I think it came out nice. Didn't really measure anything, but this way my first angled tenon. 


So, here's the first pieces for the kantele, with a nice artsy shot. Maple for the soundboard. I first was going to use the pine for the sides, but decided that it will probably be better to save that bit for a violin.

I cut the angled bits; The kantele is wonderful because you can get really creative on it. The first kantele, if national poems can be believed, was made from the hair of a demon horse and the jawbone of a monstrous pike. The rest of them were usually pine or birchwood, carved from one piece; the kantele is said to hold a lot of magic and can protect a house from evil spirits, and the right songs can cure sickness.

I planed a slight angle on it; my first one had a 15 degree angle, but this time I want to go with an almost non-existent angle. 

I marked where I wanted to carve out

And got to work. Now that the top is finished, I'll make the back and the sides. I also need to get thin metal to hold the strings in; I also want to use this instrument to test some violin-making techniques out. Namely, using hot hide glue and varnish. Apparently violins need a special kind of varnish, that needs to be homemade from local trees? 

Well, I guess I can probably use my quenching bucket to heat up the hot hide glue; I've decided instead of carving it out, I will just drill a really deep hole in the center and burn it out. When I need to make glue, I'll fill it up with boiling water, let it heat up the jar, and heat up the glue and take it out when it's the right temperature. Might also help warm up the shed in the cold winter ahead. If it's like last year, though...I ain't stepping outside. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Quick update

                                  Joe the Groundhog welcomes you back to the Twin Maples.

                                                    Rochester Public Market is a fun place.

Been a while, school is taking time and when I do have free time I am woodworking and forgetting to update this blog and take pictures... Mainly making ornaments to sell. 

I found out that an old plane blade works great as a sen. After five minutes of playing around with angles, I got my first shaving, that little metal stick in the photo. 

I've been working on making a flush cutting saw and a small azebiki; I thought this might help show how I cut the steel out. 

First I use my dremel, using a piece of maple as a guide, then I cut it out with a cold chisel from my great grandfather. 

I made the ugliest box ever from pallet wood, to hold files in. It fits nicely into my real tool chest, and was my first venture into no-measuring finger joints...Basically I wanted to see how quickly I could make a box. 

This weekend was the Letchworth Craft Fair, a gathering of some of the most talented craftsmen and craftswomen in the country. 

All in one of the most stunning places in America, Letchworth State Park. It's earned itself the reputation as being the Grand Canyon of the East; I haven't been there yet, but I don't think the Grand Canyon could be better. It doesn't have any trees.

If your ever in the States in fall, come to Letchworth when all the trees are ]changing color, you'll see some of the best views in your life. 

As you can see, it's not peak foliage viewing time. 

This artisan let me take photos, a lot of the stalls had no photogrophy rules. He was a fun guy, the operator of Lukacs Studio Pottery in Sodus Point. These flutes were available to try out and he was giving impromptu lessons to passerby. 

No penny whistles, sadly D: 

Shout out to Wood Duflo! Mrs Duflo shared with me what they use on their spoons, cutting boards and other products. They had stunning designs, I bought a cherry toast tong for my little sister.

So, what else is in the works? Experimenting with saw making from blue-tempered steel hopefully, I am hoping to get back into pottery after learning I can repurpose my forge into a sawdust kiln, pyrography and scrollsawing.  No update on the sumitsubo, sadly. 

Oh, and a kantele! I got the parts for it and am starting on a five string model. I was thinking possibly a ten string, but decided sometimes limitations can create a better player. This time I am using a maple soundboard and am hoping to hollow out the center of the top.