Thursday, March 23, 2017

Tools for making round tenons and such ...

Unlike a flat tenon, a round tenon does not resist twisting very much, but it is quite often used in chairmaking and can be made very strong indeed... without any glue even...

But we are getting ahead of ourselves.
Let's have a quick look at some of the tooling involved for making these connections.

There are many ways to make round tenons without using a lathe, here are some of the ones I used. Some makes a square shoulder, some a tapered or round one.

The first one is called an hollow auger, it goes around the square piece which was previously tapered by using a spoke pointer bit.
That first step, the tapering at the end, is crucial for the proper operation of the hollow auger. If you ever tried to used one of these without first using the spoke pointer you probably experiences dismal results... It would had been frustrating at best.

Such hollow augers were very popular at one time mid 1800s to early 1900 since they were crucial for the wheel wright in order to make quickly a bunch of same size parts.
Here is a video of making a wheel, notice the square, often tapered, tenon for the hub and the round tenon on the end of the spokes connecting to the felloes.

The outer part of the wheel, the Felloes, are connected by at least two spokes, terminated by a round tenon with a square shoulder, for maximum strength.

Being popular there were at least 85 different variations patented between the appearance of the first one in 1829 to the last American patent in dec 1911.
The advent of the metal wheels after WWI spelled the end for these hollow augers, after 1940 they all but disappears from tools catalogs
They were also used by chairmakers, ladder maker and yes some cabinet makers.

The spoke pointer on the left is the first tool to use before 
the hollow auger on the right. Note the often missing depth stop on the hollow auger, the red clip part

The one I used is a patented design from 1870 (then re-issued in 1877), called the C.S. Bonney pattern. As you can see, it is very close to the original patent.
It featured a rotating turret with 8 sizes holes, cutting a round tenon of the following sizes:
3/8, 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, 5/8, 3/4, 7/8 and 1 inch.

Original patent of 1870 No 105,896

Re-issued as RE7,689 in 1877

It is hard to read but mine has raised casting marks that read 
EC Stearns 260 (?) Syracuse NY

Red part is the depth stop, often MIA

The cutter is adjustable in and out (one screw on top), up and down (two screws at the bottom) and sideways by one screw bearing on one side (the long one in the last pic)

Took me awhile to find a decent spoke pointer, since then I came across a few... So I now have 3, two antique and a new one from Lee Valley.  Overkill? Well between these three I can handle various sizes... But honestly, you could get by with only one, it is just that they keep showing up since I started looking for them and they followed me home... Honest :-)

From L-R
2-1/2 in, 2 in and 1-1/2 in spoke pointers

So why must we use the spoke pointer before the hollow auger?
Well, the hole's sizes on the auger goes from 3/8 to 1 inch. These are the final sizes of the round tenon, but in all cases, the actual work piece, be it a wheel spoke or a chair part would be bigger than the actual tenon, in order to cut a square shoulder around it. How are we going to feed a 2 in piece into a 1 inch hole?? Simple, shave the end of the workpiece in a taper fashion (much like a regular pencil sharpener works) until the top diameter has been reduced to the required size to sit inside the guide hole on the tenoner.
That is why there is a depth stop provision (sometimes missing) on the Spoke pointers. It ensure quick correctly sized parts.

On this model, the stem of the tool is loose and can be adjusted in or out of the tool body. There is a set screw to hold the setting and a handy scale to help you guesstimate the setting 

That is the stem poking out in the middle of the tool

This model has a fixed stem but the wing nut set a small metal dowel rod in or out. Essentially same operation as above but no scale and being a separate piece, often missing. Look for it in the center inside.

In addition, if you were careful when using the spoke pointer, the reduced size part should be smack in the middle of the workpiece. This will then help centering the round tenon to be cut on the workpiece.

Sound good in theory, it is so easy to introduce small variations by tilting the tools in use. Remember we are using a hand brace to turn these tools.
I don't have much experiences with them, but I found it very easy to get the tenon started with a small offset.... As usual your actual results may vary... :-)

Next up to bat are these Veritas Dowel and Tenon makers and Tapered Tenon cutters .

From what I understand, they are basically the same castings, the difference being simply the blade that come with them.
I got the set of three Tapered tenon cutter which uses a straight across blade (think pencil sharpener on Viagra :-) and the dowel makers used a curved blade which can be interchanged in both to transformed the tool into one form or the other. So I bought a spare curved blade to try it out.

They work the same as the previous spoke pointers except that the cutting geometry is changed, they either produce a flat continuous dowel or make a shallow taper on the tenon. Such tapered tenons being used mostly in chairmaking.

And our last tool in this line up is a Stanley No 22, 3/4 in dowel pointer

Another simple pointer tool, work the same as the previous ones, with one notable difference.
The blade (cutting edge) is not removable, being cut into body of the tool. You have to be very careful when attempting to sharpen it. You can easily ended up with a very shiny cutting edge (Ralph Tm :-) which would not engage the workpiece. Essentially ruining the tool... just saying...

The good news is that it does not have to be super sharp to work...

Such a tool would have come handy in the days prior to the availability of properly shaped dowels available at your local hardware stores. If you make your own dowels, using such a tool would quickly put a small taper on the ends.

Bob, turning around and around and...

Friday, March 17, 2017

The return of the Honey Do list...

These past weeks, my girlfriend has been moving in, that meant some re-arranging and small projects around the house to accommodate her stuff...
I may have lost a closet(s) but I gained so much more :-)

This move will save untold amount of gas for our vehicles and help save the planet... You're welcome :-)

It was the calm before the storm...
Well this last one was a bust really, 
was not even worth getting the snowblower out!
The Grand peanuts are checking my Blog on my IPad while Rudy is looking for trouble :-)

Part of this re-organization throughout the house, meant I had to round up tools stashed everywhere. Some I knew, some I forgot I put away.

Took the opportunity between coats of paint drying, to update my files about these tools. Took pics, round up whatever documentation and history I found so far about them and re-stashed my stash somewhere else... Temporarily...

Stash-O-Tool Tm

 My hand tools shop downstairs is a disaster zone. Maybe if I declared it as such, I could get the military to help? humm probably not, their occupied elsewhere ...

Yes, that is an antique Rip frame saw I recently found :-)

As more stuff is pushed into the garage, it is a good time as any to get a head start on this year Spring cleanup, so may as well, besides I so need the space right now! :-)

So for the short little while, that is what I will be doing, so my blog will remain quiet for a short while.

Heh, do you mind...Trying to sleep over here

Catch you all on the flip side... and keep your stick on the ice, Heh!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Sash planes and window making

Lately I came across two such planes, used to make the sash bars on a classic 3X2 single or double hung windows.

There are a few specialised planes to make windows, the ones I found are called Adjustable Sash planes (an American invention I believed), since the space between the decorative cut and the glass rabbet is variable, adjusted by screwing or unscrewing the two part of the body apart.

My two new acquisition for my herd

Window sash making, the making of the glass window frame, was a specialized trade at one time. Even after the division of labour between the carpenters (framers) and the house joiners (finish carpentry, trim work)  Window making quickly became a speciality... and for good reason. It demand an attention to details, the ability to craft good work precisely and specialised tools.
Traditionally, before the window maker became a trade, such work was reserved for their best housewright (Finish carpenter, joiners)

Some of the tools of the trade:
From Top L-R CW
Sash Scribing plane (it really is a table top plane but posing as)
Recessed screw adjustable Sash plane (with appropriate screwdriver)
Wood screw Adjustable Sash plane
Reverse Ovolo moulding plane
Sash Filletster plane
Stanley No 45 Combination plane (could cut the rabbet and the decorative cut (ovolo etc)
Two sash mortise chisel besides a typical English regular Pigsticker chisel (for comparison)
Typical joiner mallet
Sash Backsaw
Missing are the templets, the Sash gouge and the sticking board.

The windows frames themselves were not that difficult to make, but you have to ensure a square rigid assembly using solid joinery, no glue. The glue available in those days would be quickly rendered useless outside in the elements.
Mortise and tenon drawbored or dovetailed (often pinned) would be the joinery of choices for the window sashes. Oh and make sure to uses a wood species that is straight grained and decay resistant, one side being exposed to the outside. Yes, they often used pine back in the days, but it was old growth, tight grained wood, unlike today fast growing pine stock found at the lumberyards. Larch was also used.

The difficulties come from the delicate looking, graceful muntin bars that divided the window opening in 6 smaller openings. In the classic 3X2 window sash (6 panes per sash).

Lead cased diamond pattern windows, sometimes called Tudor windows.
What was previously used before the advent of the sash windows. 

Ham house situated besides the river Thames in Ham south of Richmond in London, built in 1610. It has the classic 3X2 window sashes 

Prior to that, the lead cased diamond pattern window was prominent. The sash window first appeared in the late 17th century and even today, double hung sash windows are still popular and come in aluminum or PVC, besides traditional wood sash.

Classic 3X2 PVC Double hungs windows that I put in my house.
Low to none maintenance.

In the earliest windows up to 1740, the size (width) of the muntin was 1-1/2 to even 2 inch. Making joinery in bars of this size was easier and did not required specialised tools, commonly used joiner tools did the job.
A plow or rabbet plane could cut the glazing rabbet and a simple molding plane could cut the ovolo.
The size of these bars was gradually reduced for aesthetic reasons, reaching 3/4 in by the end of the 18th century, and about 5/8 by the beginning of the19th century. Such small pieces of wood created a demand for specialised tools to be able to work efficiently.

The reason of course why the windows of the days had to used numerous smaller panes of glass to cover the opening was simply because the limitation was how big a pane of glass they could make... Only smaller ones. Gradually the size of the glass panes increased to larger ones, enabling the uses of less panes of glass until finally conquering the size limitations,. Today we can make very large panes of glass of all sorts.

Why do we bother with the decorative element on the outside part of the muntin (sash bars, glazing bars)?
Because, being on the inside, and in plain sight it makes the size of the bars appears lighter.
Besides the simple bevel profile, numerous others were used, some using Ogee, Ovolo and etc.

Early on, the sash bars were machined using separate moulding plane for the decorative cut, and a sash Fillister plane for the glazing rabbet.

Pic from Ralph
He cut the two side of the decorative cut with a moulding plane. Next if he was to rip the molding and then cut the glazier rabbet on both side, he would had made a sash bar... 

Looking at that shape you would probably been wondering how you would hold the narrow piece for the rabbeting operation on both sides?

The answer of course is by using a Stick Moulding board, one adapted to our typical mouldings. There were a few variations, depending on the types and number of cuts required. In the example above, using Ralph picture, that would had been the 2 planes, 4 cut method.

First cut in the first position on the sticking board, cutting the rabbet using a Sash Filletster plane 

Flip board over then cut other side of rabbet as above

The third and fourth cut are done in the second position of the sticking board using a moulding plane such as Ovolo etc.

Another form of specialized Sticking board for sash bars

Sash ovolo pairs with matching templet

The typical planes used to form the sash bars, or muntin, sometimes came as a matched pairs.
One cut the side profiles on the length of the bars (Sash plane) and another cut the matching coping profile on the end of the bars, called Sash Scribing planes . Such planes are rarely found as a match pairs, having long been separated since birth....

How the Sash Scribing plane was used

Another form of Sash scribing plane

Today windows sash are cut by shaper cutters, much like the rail and style molding set used in raised panel door making.

And technically, we can of course cut the matching coping profile using chisel and gouge.
This is one use were the in-cannel gouge (meaning the bevel or bezel is on the inside of the gouge) is better, having a straight curve profile on the outside enabling us to pare precisely up and down to an outside line. Hint, some text books referred to such gouges a paring gouge.  You can of course used the more plentiful out-cannel gouge, but the outside curve would be bevelled hence you cannot pare straight down.

Scribe templet with specialised sash gouge. It has a built in depth stop

For repeatability and precision, such gouge and chisel work was often executed using a templet (template).  There would be such templet used to pare the 45 degrees and coping the end of the bars.
Such templet often came with the mirror profile of the sash bars to nest it securely inside in the correct orientation.

Using a Miter templet

Another plane that was sometime used was the Sash Filletster plane, often mistaken for a plow plane, being very similar. Like any Filletster planes, the fence would slide under the stock of the plane, whereas the plow plane fence does not.

18th century Sash Fillister plane 
(iron removed in storage, one stem wedge missing)

Ever wondered why the Stanley No 45 Combination plane has two holes, one on top of each other on the fence to attach it to the bars? The bottom hole position is for regular plowing, while the top hole allow the fence to slide under the skate (essentially the sole) making it a Filletster plane.

Bottom hole location for regular Plow operation

Top hole location for Filletster operation

Using the Stanley No 45 it is possible to cut all operations on our sash bars with only one plane (except the scribing part).

The next evolution was to make specialised sash moulding planes which could cut both side of the  profile at once with the board held on the edge on a bench vise. Still two planes method, but only three cuts

Finally the Adjustable Sash plane, cut the whole thing with only one plane and two cuts. These are the ones I just found

The one on the left is adjusted by loosening the locking collar then adjust the screw, then re-lock. it is also fully boxed. The other one has no boxing and is adjusted by turning a wood screw in and out. Yes the steel screws in the brass collar were frozen, Liquid Wrench took care of that. The English pattern Cabinet maker screwdriver shown is the correct size to fit the screw.

In this Sandusky catalog illustration you can see how the two cutters cut each part, one the rabbet, the other the decorative cut.

Can you make up the profile?
Shown both closed


Opened. It varies the length of the flat part on the decorative cut side

The screw adjust one, opened. 
They both have dowel to ensure they stay true

And you may have guessed that using this type of planes, required yet a slightly different type of sticking board than shown previously.

The horizontal sash bars (rails) are mortised into the vertical sash bars (stiles) using, you guessed it, a sash mortise chisel.... :-)

Two proper sash mortise chisels beside the regular 
English Pigsticker mortise chisel for size comparison

The sash mortise chisel is smaller and thinner than the regular mortise chisel such as the traditional English pigsticker (I know, not the proper name, but colloquially referred to as such since...whenever)

The rip saw would have riped the sash bars to size first, then finally the sash backsaw would have performed all the cross cut operations involved.
The saw bench and the bench hook, a mitre block would had been used in those cuts.

Watch this video to see it all come together...

Darn if I can find my sticking board, I would have to make a new one I guess... Another post :-)

Bob, with a few tools MIA around him