Posts Tagged ‘Oldtools Listserv

03
Mar
09

Episode 15 – An Open and Shut Case

Think back to the times that you’ve been visiting a very cool historical old Fort, or a re-enactment village such as Old Sturbridge Village or Colonial Willamsburg, or something along that ilk. As your cup is coming near to running over with information overload and an imagination that’s lagging behind you 300 years or so (and perhaps the kids are getting antsy,) the next threshold brings you into a space where woodworking took place. In the midst of dust settling from generations-old rough-hewn rafters to the burnished floorboards there sits a tool chest, carefully arranged by loving curators to depict the Galoot’s dream. Suddenly your fatigue is gone and your attention is riveted.

seatonchst1

Reproduction of Benjamin Seaton's tool chest. He didn't use it much, and that's why it's well preserved.

The tool chest was more than mere organization to the old ones. It was a sales brochure and an industry efficiency expert rolled into one. On the right, of course, is a reproduction of the tool chest of Benjamin Seaton, as described in the podcast. Notice the chisel tills in the top bin of the sliding till, and the fixed till securly holding the smaller saws. Also notice the rope handles — there is some conjecture that some chests were made with handles long enough that a pike might be slid through each and the chest carried that way. I suppose it’s possible, but then, I don’t need to carry this chest.

What is not visible is, of course, the fixed tills in the bottom of the chest. They often hold larger tools such as bitstocks (braces), and so forth. I use a Stanley No.-8 for my jointing plane; that takes up half of the cabinet, it seems!

studley

The tool chest of H.O. Studley. I hope he was as good at finding the wall studs as he was at fixing pianos!

On the left is the famous tool chest of H.O. Studley. Not only would most Galoots trade their first born for the tool chest, there are a lot of insecure Galoots that would love to have is name, too! There are at least 300 tools in that box, and I’ve heard claims as many as 400, but I have no way of counting them all since a lot of them are nested. Certainly this is not the tool chest of the average home woodworker.

I recently ran across a photo of a rigger’s tool chest on the web. Perhaps my strongest passion is sailboats (ironic, being stuck in the Hill Country of Texas, don’t you think?) Tradtional sailboats in particular fascinate me, and when we limit ourselves to not using unstayed carbon masts and high-tech rod rigging we enter the realm of “the rigger”. Jamie White is just such a man, out of the Sausalito area, and has quite a bit of interesting information on worming, parceling and serving (pirate talk in background, arr.. arr…)

riggers-tool-chest

Tool chest of James White, the Rigger. Built with rigour.

Jamie is the real thing, spending a few years “before the mast” on “square riggers” – this should be intersesting even for the lubberly of you. Most relevant is his tool chest, and I’ve swiped a photo to include here. Even the able seamen of today require a tool chest, and no Snap-On for Mr. White, thank you very much. Notice his name inscribed in the front of the chest, and the coachwhpped handles – much more comfortable than hemp rope, to be sure. Notice also the photo background – below the weather deck of a wooden sailing vessel. (Arr… arr…)

toolcabinet1

Wall hanger. Lots more room for "customization" here, a couple of dozen more boring tools...

Our final exhibit is of a hanging tool chest. I’ve forgotten where I lifted this photo from, but this well-crafted tool chest is typical of the hanging tool chests many Galoots construct for their own use. If you are contemplating a tool chest at this point, consider that each of these and the photos of the hundreds of those out their on the web were all built as solutions to the individual Galoot’s needs. Your tool chest needs to be as personal as your shop space and your work bench — there is no right or wrong in tool chests. Let your tool storage be your sales brochure!

And here’s the podcast:

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23
Jan
09

Episode 11 – Hand Planes, Part 1

A luthier's finger plane, NOT for planing your fingers...

Luthier's finger plane (NOT for planing fingers)

I have bad news for you. Although he was a brilliant inventor, Leonard Bailey was NOT the Messiah! What he did do was advance the art of plane manufacturing, combining efficient manufacturing, good design, and good business acumen (selling his patent rights to Stanley Rule & Level Co.) Later on, he didn’t do so well because he chose to compete against the very folks (the tool giant) he sold out to. Sometimes you get the chicken, sometimes you get the feathers. Nonetheless, hand planes have certainly felt his influence.

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A sexy Stanley No.-4 from the WWII era.

This is the episode we begin to look at a huge subject, that of hand planes. Planes seem to have stirred the greatest interest of tool collectors for long enough that volumes of valuable information on history, manufacture, anomolies, and how to type many of the recognizable – and some a bit more arcane – is all readily available with a minimum expenditure of effort. As I researched information for this and the next podcast, I became increasinly impressed with the ingenuity of the Galoot; if something isn’t available, the Galoot made it. Sometimes that meant relying on the blacksmith, but it seems that, especially prior to the Civil War, that the Galoot would be so inclined to spend his own time with hammer and forge. The Bailey pattern plane, no matter what marque it bears, is the story of the Industrial Revolution and the shift away from widespread wooden plane use. We can almost track history; I offer exhibit B, a type-17 Stanley No.-4 smoothing plane with funky red-stuff handle that was painted black and the relatively tiny depth adjusting nut is made out of hard, black, rubber (recycled Jeep tires?) rather than the customary brass. This one here has become my po-boy scrub plane, which doesn’t work out real well because it still remembers it was made to be a smoother.

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My Stanley 60-1/2 with racing stripes.

It’s very important to have a really good block plane, and I have one in my 60-1/2. I like it because its a stealth conversion; someone with brilliant forethought concluded that if he (or she) added the gold metalflake paint to this plane that made his (or her) AMC Gremlin model look so cool, then that would absolutely punch holes in its value (the plane’s, not the Gremlin’s) and some struggling Galoot down the road would be able to get full functionality at a discounted price. I know that there is a God because that someone with brilliant foresight was NOT me (anyone who knows me can testify to that) and that I’ve never owned either a Gremlin or a Gremlin model. I can do better than that, actually, because one of my girlfriend’s father had given her an orange Pacer stationwagon. Everybody said, “Oh, God!” as we drove past.

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A cleverly conservative execution of a fantastic plane kit!

I will soon be blogging about my really cool Christmas present, but now is a great time for a sneak preview. My parents had obviously been peeking at Santa’s “nice” list (now just hold on a minute!) Anyway, under the synthetic, non-allergenic, non-asthma-attack-inducing genuine Canadian Pine fake Christmas tree there lay a package containing a plane kit from Ron Hock. Now, I’m one who loves to use wooden planes, but they always have been Other People’s Planes (OPP.) Now I have the chance to use one of my own, WOO-HOO! As soon as it’s finished, of course. It’s so much cooler for me now since Woodworking In America 2008, as I had the chance to meet Ron Hock himself, and sho’nuff, he’s one of us! In the podcast I make note of the fact that, like chisels, wooden planes are used in conjuction with mallets (for adjusting the plane, of course!) Here’s my set-up.

For Further Reading

Here are a few very important links for you to book mark for further study, illumination, and reference:

Patrick Leach, one of the original OldTools Listerv masterminds where he was (is) known by (among other things) the moniker, “The Merchant of Ashby,” is one of my primary dispensers of vintage Stanley iron and consequently one of the reasons I work. He has compiled a world-famous (world-wide-web famous?) cross between a subversive treatise, a hortatory sermon, and an old-time SNL feature on Stanley metallic planes known universally as Patrick’s Blood & Gore, and found here: Patrick’s Blood & Gore.

Yet another fellow Galoot, Jay Sutherland (who does not have nearly as many weird and humorous monikers as Patrick,) assembled a page in the 1990’s that breaks down the Stanley plane type study very clearly. Doing a type study on a given plane is fundamental to understanding an individual plane’s collector value (if you do that collecting sort of nonsense. I don’t.) You can find Jay’s excellent resource here: The Stanley Bench Plane Dating Page.

Patrick’s B & G, revised and illustrated by listmom Ralph Brendler and Allen Fisher here: Revised B & G

If you’re in the market for vintage Stanley baubles, I would highly recommend avoiding the eBay route where quality control can be “iffy” (yes, I know, eBay will make them play nice, etc.) I am militant in my belief regarding helping my friends prosper, so I will always recommend two Galoots I’ve had personal dealings with over the years, and have always been treated a lot better than just fairly. Patrick Leach, as already mentioned, is one, and Sandy Moss is the other (Sandy’s Tools-For-Sale page is here: Sandys Tools.) And just for the record, I’m not getting paid for this by either of these gents.

That’s it for part 1… here’s the podcast. Come back for more fun in part 2!

04
Jan
09

Episode 9 – Layout and Marking

On Layout & Marking Tools

Layout and Marking tools, while not as glamorous as infill planes, for example, are essential to Galootdom. Episode 9 of the now classic “Way of the Galoot” explores the various tools for laying out and marking that need to lurk in the Galoot’s tool chest drawers.

Rabone no-1190

Folding rule

At the right is  one of my folding rules, a crispy Rabone with a built-in protractor and level (just how cool is that?)

Superior Works marking knife

And at the left is my Superior Works cocobolo handle (www.supertool.com).  This knife is made by Patrick Leach, old tool monger (and now new old tool monger,)  Stanley plane expert, and author of the famous “Patrick’s Blood and Gore.”

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At the right is a Stanley sliding bevel gauge.  Note the clever use of staining fluid on the benchtop; this is done for the same reason that we tattoo horses’ gums…

Trammels

Trammel points

And a groovy set of trammel points.  I’d be afraid to use these, knowing my own work habits.

As always, this is but a mere surface scratching (pun intended) as to the availability of good marking tools.  I promise you that the tools pictured here are far superior to crayons…

And as always, here is the podcast:

Video thumbnail. Click to play

24
Dec
08

Episode 7 – Chisels

On Chisels

This week we take a brief survey of the various types of chisels available to the Galoot, and what they are used for. If you are anything like me, a good tool is a thing that brings joy, and a really good chisel is just one of those things that can make you dance a little jig. Or something.

Mortise Chisels

Set of LN mortise chisels

At the right is a photo of Lie-Nielsen’s very fine mortise chisels, on the pattern that has evolved since Moxon’s time. These are many knowledgable Galoot’s “go to” mortising chisels, and rightly so. Notice the socketed handles.

Different Mortise Chisels

English Pattern Mortise Chisel

At left is, among other things, is one of Ray Iles very fine English Pattern mortise chisel, imported by Gramercy Tools. Note the robust construction and unusually thick handle. The 4″ square will help you with some perspective. See below for links to Gramercy Tools.

Eye-Candy Bevel Edge Chisels

Blue Spruce bevel-edged chisels

Blue Spruce Tools makes some bevel-edged chisels that look like they should be museum pieces rather than ordinary bevel-edged chisels, in fact the term “ordinary” and “bevel-edged” chisels don’t belong in the same reference to these beautiful tools. It’s tools like those shown on this page that makes woodworking a spiritual exercise! All these tools (and more!) are discussed in the podcast.

Firmer Chisels

Sorby "Registered" Firmer Chisel

At the left is a Sorby “Registered” firmer chisel. Note the robust construction, but not nearly as beefy as the mortise chisels above. This chisel will hold an edge well, and withstand more raps from a mallet that I care to give it.

Finding chisels made with excellence, in no particular order:

Blue Spruce Chisels

Gramercy Tools

Lie-Nielsen

These are just a few, by the way. Fortunately, new old tools have never been more available or of higher quality than at present! By the way, the photos above were shamelessly snarfed from the tool maker’s respective web sites. Visit them!

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1615943&dest=-1]

11
Nov
08

Episode 1, Which is, as it should be, an introduction.

Introducing a new and exciting podcast, called “The Way of the Galoot.”  My vision for this podcast is a discussion of hand tool woodworking, education, announcement of important new tools, and all with a focus on the unplugged.

My inspiriation for this podcast, while a growing awareness, probably began when I was a neophyte neanderthal, over 13 years ago, as I discovered a wonderful listserv that some refugees from rec.woodworking had started: the Old Tools listserv, or as we came to call it, “The Porch.”

In the future I will be assembling links to fellow Galoot’s sites & blogs, including information on how to subscribe to the Old Tools list (start with www.galootcentral.com.)  Remember; this is not a site to practice snobbery (even though there is some of that, our tongues are firmly planted in our cheeks,) but this site necessarily defers to the fact that we have arrived at the I Chi of woodworking via “Tailed Apprentices” (that would be power tools to the uninitated.)  Here is the podcast:
[blip.tv ?posts_id=1464722&dest=-1]

I hope you enjoy!  Comments, suggestions, criticisms (be nice) can all be added below or emailed to mack@thewoodshepherd.com.

Thanks for your interest — whispy, hang-time shavings!




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