Saturday, May 25, 2013

Brace Storage Cabinet is Filling Up

I built a brace storage cabinet about a year ago to hold 5 braces and 3 eggbeaters.  Several guys on the Woodnet forum mentioned it was not large enough, and now they can tell me "I told you so".

The brace side of the cabinet has been full for some time with the following, left to right:

MF No 34 6" Rosewood
MF No ?  8" Beech
Dunlap 10" painted
MF No 772 10" Rosewood Lion
MF No 421 12" Beech (in back)

I ran across an old MF this past weekend, couldn't read the model number, but it was a 12" with cocobolo handles.  No way I can pass up cocobolo, and it was cheap, so I bought it without hesitation.  After cleaning off some rust, it's a MF No 731, which is a nice brace, probably from the early 1900s.

Now I have a 6", 8", 2 10", and 2 12" braces.  But only 5 storage spaces.  The obvious, logical answer is get rid of the Dunlap.  The less obvious and illogical answer is to use the storage cabinet for the best looking and most functional braces, and build a cheap hanger bracket to hold another 8-10 braces.  And keep buying and upgrading.

Yeah.  I think I'll be illogical on this one.

PS:  If I were to build this cabinet over again, I would make it a few inches deeper so the bit boxes didn't stick out the front.  Or build bigger drawers so the boxes could be stored in them.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Smallest "Miter Box Saw" I've Ever Found

I strolled into my wife's favorite little antique shop the other day.  It has all the things my wife likes, and virtually nothing that interests me.  But we had time to kill, and we spent some quality time wandering through, looking and commenting on things.

It's run by several of the nicest little old ladies you'll ever meet.  One of them asked if we needed any help, so I asked if they had any tools (I always ask, they never do, and we have a nice chat about some obtuse antique item, say, the rare victorian carved cigars or whatever, and I go on my way).

But this time she got a funny look on her face and said, "Well, we don't understand tools at all, you see, but there is this....thing, I think it's a miter saw, back over there in the corner."

So I went to inspect the thing.  It was indeed a saw in a crude miter box made of recently processed pine such as the local lumber yard carries.  A small saw sat cradled in the kerfs cut in the box, barely spanning the width of the box, about 12" long.  The blade was black with something like tallow, the handle was worn and dark with scars and the upper horn was damaged.  It was straight, but could use a sharpening.  The saw back was beginning to separate from the blade near the handle, which was apple.  H. DISSTON & SONS * PHILADA was stamped on the medallian and the brass nuts were domed.

All the above at a price less than $10 made it a pretty easy decision to give this saw a new home in my shop.  My preliminary assessment is a Disston #4 backsaw, dating to approximately 1878 -'88.  The handle shape is a closer likeness to the #4 rather than the #77.

When I fetched the saw to the cashier to pay, she asked if I didn't want the miter box that came with it.  "No, you can keep it", I said.  "I don't think it's original equipment, and this little saw will stand on its own merits, but thank you anyway".

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

It's Camping Season

And every campsite needs a good bench.  My son and I built one from hand tools and western red cedar this weekend.  There was lots of raw material available, piled here for about 7 years, so it was nice and dry.  We pulled out the largest one we could find.  We used a pruning saw, axe, mallet, jack plane, chisel and wedges to build our bench.

First we cut out the notches in the legs, leaving them attached to the main trunk.  Don't have to worry about them holding still while sawing if you do it this way.

And the finished legs, roughly two feet long.  Nothing was measured for this project, but that's the approximate length.  Not exactly pretty, but they work.

Next, we cut a six foot length from the trunk used the axe and the wedges to split it in half.  No pics of that operation, but it split pretty cleanly.  However, there was some twist, so we went to work with the chisel and jack plane.

Then it was time to sit and relax and enjoy the view!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013