Wednesday, July 27, 2016

one for monsieur du Bois

After seeing that I decided to make this

I have a glass in my room that gives to the kitchen, and haven't finished it yet (what a surprise) since I wanted to make a moulding but didn't really know how, or what to put. Inspiration grows slow on me. The other problem was that I didn't have any cheap wood to use. (I'm repairing the house only with wood I've found on the streets of valparaiso, don't like to spend money on a house I'll leave sooner than later, and it's more fun also to tell people this piece comes from there, this one Keiran found, etc.)

So, my plan was to save enough wood to make a laminate and then mould it. Too many steps to accomplish it though. After seeing the video I found a 2"x3" piece of poplar that I had laying around and since poplar is the cheapest wood in chile, I just gave it a try. I liked the round and hollow mix and on the bottom used a 3/8th beading plane I got from UK before brexit.

I ploughed two channels where the flats are. Since I only have a small record plough plane I needed to make a big rebate before making the second channel. Then a lot of jack work to finally use the japanese round plane. I found that using them on a horizontal surface was easier than at 45 degrees, you only turn the plane on the final passes. It took like an hour for the 1m piece I was working on.

It's surprisingly accurate considering that everything was free-handed save the plough plane. That gives you the only references you need. The finish is straight from the plane, and I love to see those little flames of the poplar running through the moulding while in bed.

The profile was just sketched on the endgrain but I let the planes decided where they wanted to be. It's funny to see, how the proportions start to look right, just like the finish on the wood, it becomes a second nature, a way of living in the world. It starts to become difficult for me to leave a less shiny surface because my planes are well set and ready to use, and pretty much any one I take will work fine. The thing, then, is just a mere reflection of a deeper order, of a way of organising life, of what and who you are. I guess that's what really turns me on.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Impossible joint and instagram

I'm still alive.

I got sucked into the sub-world of instagram to connect with fellow chilean woodworkers and that made me lazy to write and gave me lots of input to practice. I see a joint I haven't tried, and go to the bench to make one similar.

Today saw the "impossible" joint in the column and could not figure out the drawing, so went ahead and cut a test joint:

This is the drawing:

I cannot see the numbers. After lots of thought and the aforementioned fucked up test cut, I discovered the numbers. The dovetails  on the big side have sizes of 240-188 and 188-134. The slope of the dovetails are not the same (as I was expecting since the mitres are at 45 degrees), one is 52/200 and the other 54/200. I guess that's allowance so they can slip into each other.

The test I made had the upper dovetail going inwards instead of outwards, so it doesn't work. But I think I know how it works so I will try it again tomorrow or the day after.

Furthermore, I've came to realise that working only with handtools is a lot of physical work. I'm making a "small" 1.5 meters box for julia for 2 months already, and I doubt it will be finished any time soon. The thing is too heavy and the wood is to hard to handplane it to thickness.

So I've been doing more smallish stuff.

I brought some bows with me last time I came from Germany, and I've started to play with them. Broke the head of one while trying to re-camber it, and I'm working on a frog of Curupay since don't have ebony at the moment. I'm practicing the movements, procedures and tools you need to make the bow hoping that I can spend some time at a bow maker next year if I go to europe for summer.

I've also done some work in Cumala, something like mahogany but softer and oily, a pleasure to work with. Here is a poorly designed stool that falls of you touch it on the wrong place. Should have kept the 3/10 slope of the japanese.

The tools for violin making are slowly arriving, have new small planes and japanese scroll gouges. The cheap chinese planes are kind of nice, if you like to file your tools before use. These are the ebay ones, thing of them as rough casting and you won't be too disappointed.

The pin on the left one was bent, so I complained and they sent another pair of planes.  Still waiting for those though. For 15usd each you cannot complain.

Got also a new kiridashi real thin and fragile, perfect for f-holes

and that's pretty much it, the things in Chile with the woodworking community are moving albeit slowly, but have met a few really nice people interested in learning the dark arts.

Finally, I think the next course will be a week long class making a small stool, sharpening and eating. People have complained about not having enough time and doing only exercises without a final result. my idea was that people didn't want to pay for repeating the same joint several times in a project but seems that the joints in abstracto are not so interesting as for me. This class will be far more expensive than previous ones and will require a basic toolset and sharpening gear. I will provide dimensioned wood for the project. Lunch will still be a community thing.