Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Canvas tool roll for regular chisels

There are plenty of designs to choose from when it comes to tool rolls. Some are designed in a way that will have you insert the handle of the chisel in the pocket, and others are designed to keep the blade in the pocket instead.

I suppose that each method has got its advantages and drawbacks, but I feel most comfortable with the blades being protected individually, so that was the route I went.

Most chisels can be divided into categories such as sharp/dull, rusty/clean, broad/narrow etc. for my design there are two categories that are important: long/stubby + the width of the chisels.

Looking at the chisels I have provided with a new handle, I can see that either the length of the blade is around 4” or 5.5”. I don’t want the chisels to seat all the way into their pockets, and risking that they cut a hole, so all my pockets are made a bit longer than the blades.

I am making two rows of pockets, one which is for the stubby chisels, and one which is for the longer chisels. Both rows have the same number of pockets of graduating width.
The pockets are placed a small distance from the side of the tool roll, to enable the side to fold over the handles of the chisels, thus preventing them from accidentally falling out of the roll during transport. 

Since this tool roll is likely to see a lot more action than the roll for the mortise chisels, I decided to fold over the edges of the canvas, and make a seam all around the perimeter, to prevent the fabric from fraying.  It looks nice, but it takes some time to sew it all by hand.

I have tried to make my stitches a bit longer on this tool roll, due to the amount of sewing that I have to do. There is no need to make it any harder than it has to be.

The way the pockets are going to be placed, means that I can't fit a chisel in each of them, but I can alternate between a long and a stubby chisel, or stay with one type. 
Hopefully the idea will be OK, if not - well then someone else might be able to learn from the experience.


Outer shell and the deep pocket piece.

Outer shell with pocket pieces sewn in place.





Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Moulding planes from Johann Weiss & Sohn in Wien + a clever user made plane.

Yesterday I pulled myself together and took a look at the moulding planes I have brought with me.
They were actually all in a pretty decent shape after all, but they could use a bit of sharpening.
I decided that it was probably better to wait with the final sharpening til I was back home, I can use the grinding stone from the circular saw sharpening machine to do the contours of the rounded parts of the blade.

I think I bought them a couple of years ago at a flea market, for something like 4$ a piece.

Since I decided not to sharpen the irons, I just started checking if the sole was straight. Two of them were sanded lightly, and the last one just a bit more.
I didn't want to do anything to the actual body of the planes since they weren't damaged. They just showed some nice signs of age.

The irons had a bit of surface rust, but I didn't want to mix up a batch of sulfuric acid since it will be a small job to remove the irons and immerse them in vinegar at home. That is a lot harder if it is a chisel which has been handled.
So I took the easy road and cleaned them a bit with some sandpaper and a steel brush.

At first I couldn't figure out what it said on the iron, but I decided that it didn't matter anyway.

I then suddenly discovered a tool stamp on the top of the plane. It said: Weiss & Sohn in Wien.

My curiosity took the lead, and I headed for the computer to find out what it was.
Like the case was concerning the mortise chisels, I again ended up at the site of the Wolfgang Jordan small tool museum
The description is in German, and gives the story of the "Weiss and son" factory in Vienna.

Judging from the pictures and descriptions of the planes in the collection, I sort of guess that the age of the plane is around 130 years. This is based on the stamp which doesn't contain the clamp that was later used as part of their logo.

The stamp on the plane looks like this
And the iron has a similar looking logo, just saying Weiss& Sohn Wien

The next plane from Weiss  Sohn is a bit newer, since it has got the C-clamp as part of the logo.
The iron has got a stamp like this one on the iron: JOH. WEISS SOHN, D.FLIR F.WERTHEIM
From what I could reason, the age of this plane is just around the beginning of the century (the 20th).

The last plane looks like it is a user made plane.
The details are not so crisp, But all in all the plane seems to be well made.
Looking at the ends something is wrong. They have not been cleaned up after sawing. Actually one end is quite a bit out of square too. I think that the ends might have been sawed off by a later owner, maybe so it could fit inside his tool chest or cabinet?

In a way it is the most interesting plane of the bunch because it is rather well thought out and well made (except for the rough ends). I like to see how people earlier on have used what they had to make some working tools,
The iron for this plane is made out of an old smoothing plane iron, that has been sawed through, to give the correct size. I find such an approach admirable.

To overcome the difficulties making a diagonal mortise for the iron and the wedge, the plane is made with an open escape. Brian Eve and Jeremy are currently working on making some of those planes,

But the maker of this plane apparently didn't like the look of an open escapement, so he made a rabbet on the top side of the plane, where he later glued on a piece of wood. This should help to keep the plane body straight even if the wedge is hammered in a bit hard.
I think it is a pretty smart solution. First you saw the sides of the wedged mortise escapement, then a rabbet is made. The waste is chiseled out of the mortise, and finally a piece of wood is glues on.
At least that is how I would have done it.


Johann Weiss & Sohn in Wien

Profiles of the Weiss planes

Weiss & Sohn, Wien logo on old iron.

Reused iron from smoothing plane 

Rabbet with glued in piece on the user made plane.

User made plane from the side, length 23 cm (8.5")

Escapement from user made plane.

Iron of user plane.

Here is evidence that the piece was broken off.
There is also a crack all the way across the surface.

User plane from the top.




Sunday, May 17, 2015

Making a canvas tool roll for mortising chisels.

I haven't got any room for the mortise chisels in my tool locker at home, and wrapping them up in paper and putting them in the tool chest seems like a guarantee, that I will never use them.
So instead I have decided that a tool roll could be a good idea. It will protect the edges of the chisels while stored, and I can bring the tool roll with me when I am going to use the chisels for e.g. timber framing.

I have brought some canvas with me for this trip, and also my sail makers needles and a sail makers palm.

The first thing I did was to lay the mortise chisels on the table, so I could get some measurements.
I like the model of tool roll, where the blade is inserted in a pocket, because I don't like that the sides of the blades are banging together during transport.

I read somewhere, that you could stuff some fabric into the pockets, so the tip / edge of the tool would seat in that rather than at the bottom of the pocket itself. This fabric can even be treated with a bit of oil to help prevent rust. The idea sounded good to me, so I made the pockets about 1/2" longer than the actual blade of the longest chisel.

After marking out some cut lines on the canvas according to my sketch, I cut the canvas using a scissor. I started sewing the pocket for the blades. When both sides were sewn, I turned the inside out, so the seam was on the inside of the pocket.
Here after, I measured the width of the pocket, and divided it into 3 equal pockets. I used a normal ball pen for marking as I was to lazy to fetch a pencil, and besides most of the line gets covered by the thread anyway.

I took a small break from the sewing to go down to the workshop to make a couple of D-rings. These were made out of some bronze rod (5/64") that I bent into shape and then silver soldered.

For making the tape to close the tool roll with, I cut out a narrow piece of canvas that I intended to fold three times, and then sew. After playing a bit with this idea I realized that it would probably be too stiff to be practical.
So I decided to only triple the end for the D-rings, and then leave it as a straight piece of canvas in the tape end. It'll maybe start flossing at the edges, but I am willing to take that chance.

My sewing technique is to use two needles, and work from both sides. When I stop a seam, I take a stitch back again, and then weave the thread under 3 stitches.
The thread length I use is a bit more than 3 times the length of the intended seam. That will allow me to still have sufficient thread left to work comfortably for the entire length.
Before I thread the needles, I draw the thread several times through a lump of beeswax. This will help to lubricate the thread, so it doesn't wear thin and breaks while I am in the middle of sewing, and it also helps the thread seat well. I know it sounds contradictory, that the beeswax both lubricate and helps to stick, but that is how I see it.

I can see from my sewing that it is many years ago that I have been doing it, but it will hold the chisels and protect them which is the main purpose.

The finished canvas tool roll.

The first pocket is sewn, but not turned inside out yet.


Pocket divided into 3 smaller pockets.

Tape with D-rings sewn on.

Chisels inserted in the tool roll.


My drawing (Nothing compared to Greg Merrit standards)



Saturday, May 16, 2015

Making turned handles for chisels.

I will continue my current stream of handle projects, though this time I will move from planed handles to turned ones.

Chisels manufactured in large quantities have the advantage that the tang is usually forged together with the chisel in a way that makes it sit right in the middle of the end, and it is uniformly shaped.

This difference from a hand forged chisels allows the handles to be turned industrially, since all the tangs of a series should theoretically look the same. With the turning some sort of hole can also be made for the tang, so fitting a new handle shouldn't require a lot of fiddling.

The mortise chisels of the two previous posts on this blog had different tangs all of them. variations in the width, thickness, length and taper required me to make a specific hole in each handle.

I brought a gouge with me from E.A. Berg, and I have always liked that shape of handle, so I am going to try to copy that shape and see if I can make a batch that looks similar to each other.
The handles for the smaller chisels will be made slightly smaller at the front end due to their smaller tang.

Before starting on the actual handles, I used my Sulphuric acid solution to clean the blades for rust, this was followed by some sanding with emery paper.
The firmer chisel and the slick were unbelievably rusted with heavy pitting.

For the first two handles I tried to drill the hole before turning. I then inserted a threaded rod with a carrier (a nut filed with two sharp points) into the hole and mounted this threaded rod in the 3 jaw chuck of the lathe. The live centre was used to control the other end of the set up.
It worked OK, but the carrier would easily loose the grip of the end grain of the handle.
My idea was the the hole should line perfectly up with the turned handle when I did it that way, but the missing grip caused too much trouble, so I needed to find a better way.
But all in all the system worked more or less as intended. I had started with the smallest chisels, so there wasn't a lot of work to do in order for the tang to seat in the hole. I wiggled a drill a bit, and that was about it.

I reused one ferrule for the first handle, and made myself a new brass ferrule for the second one.

For the record, I didn't bring any turning tools with me, so the work order was to first refit the gouge to the original handle, and then I used that one for turning. I also used the narrow chisel to define the piece for the ferrule while it was still without the handle, as soon as the handle was completed, I mounted it on the narrow chisel, and those two tools turned the rest of the bunch.

My new system was a carrier made out of a piece of pipe. I sawed a lot of teeth in the end of the pipe, it almost looked like a cup drill.
Then I mounted the carrier in the lathe, and hammered the handle stock onto the teeth. I pressed the live centre into the centre of the blank, and then I started turning.
This worked a lot better, no loss of grip at all. Once the handle was turned to shape (but not separated from the traction end), I sanded it and applied some bees wax by holding the lump of wax onto the spinning handle, I buffed the wax using a piece of rag with the lathe running.

To drill the hole, I changed the live centre to a drill chuck, and with low rpm's I just supported the handle with my hand while drilling the hole. This worked fine.

I also made one handle for the socket type slick that I have brought with me. I made the tapered section a bit too fat, so I wasn't able to pound the handle all the way down to the rim of the socket. But this will perhaps be an OK thing, because if the handle dries more than I expect, then I can hammer it further, and it should remain fixed.

Finally 4 new ferrules were made out of brass, and I mounted the rest of the handles.

Even though I took a lot of care trying to make a tapered hole by twisting and turning the blade in the handle before seating it, some of the handles were still a bit out of alignment. I guess the wood may be softer on one side of the handle, so the entire tang just shifts over to where there is the least resistance when it is seated. Anyway, now the chisels have some nice handles which they didn't have before.

I have flattened the back of most of the chisels roughly on our grinder, but I have not sharpened them all. I prefer to do that at home where I can do a better job than out here.

Despite my best efforts to keep the handles clean and good looking all through the process, I succeeded in giving the all a bit of patina. This was not the plan, but I doubt that I will do anything radical about it such as stripping the wax of and give them some oil or varnish at home. Eventually they will get some grime on them anyway.

Chisels listed from top:

E.A Berg 3/8" bevel edge chisel
KB VW Sweden 1/2" bevel edge chisel (short)
Erik Anton Berg 3/4" firmer chisel (E. A Berg)
Jernbolaget Eskilstuna Sweden 27/32" bevel edge chisel (short)
Erik Anton Berg 25 mm (1") bevel edge chisel
Jernbolaget Eskilstuna Sweden 5/4" bevel edge chisel
Jernbolaget Eskilstuna Sweden 9/16" gouge
Keen Kutter 7/4" Bevel edge slick




Before showing backsides of blades.

Before showing top of blades.

After, backside showing.

After, topside showing.


Saturday, May 9, 2015

Set of handled mortise chisels from C. Steinbach & Co

Tonight I handled the remaining two mortise chisels, and I also flattened the handle of the first one a bit, making it much more comfortable to hold.

The first handling attempt today saw me splitting the blank. Apparently I didn't chisel out quite enough for the tang to fit in the handle.

I timed myself a bit just for fun, and it took me two hours to put a handle on two chisels. That is not too bad in my opinion. Maybe I'll start having some blanks ready for stuff like that at home. Then I could put a handle on a tool while the children were working with me. All of the operations of handling using this method can be stopped immediately without any consequence. So it is a project where it is possible to come and go as one please.

I tried to find out something more about the company that has produced the chisels.

On the chisel itself it says: Garantie C. Steinbach & Co
Which means: Guaranteed C. Steinbach & Co.

According to the homepage of "Kleines Werkzeugmuseum" (small tool museum), the company of Steinbach & Co usually had a mark consisting of a globe with an axe (Globus mit beil).
Sadly that was the only information I could find on that side.

I Googled on, and managed to find some pictures of old bills from the company, but nothing about its history.

My last attempt brought me to this page of a local newspaper (in German):  It says something along the lines of: From industrial area to residential area.
Steinbach was apparently the last company in the mentioned area, and their right to use the area ended in 1982 after which the factory was torn down.
It is mentioned that the company manufactured tools under the name : "Stecoge"

If any readers from Germany (or elsewhere for that matter) know more about the history of C. Steinbach & Co it would be very interesting to hear about it.


C. Steinbach & Co 
Set of three mortise chisels with octagonal handles.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Making a new handle for a mortising chisel

Brian Eve gave me 3 very nice mortising chisels during our chair building extravaganza event last year.
None of the chisels have got a handle, so my idea is to make three similar handles so they look like a set.
Joshua Klein from "The workbench diary" had a post where he described his method of making octagonal handles.
I think that octagonal handles will look fine on mortising chisels, and since the bolster is a bit elongated, the handles will not be equal on all sides, but will feature two slightly larger sides. This should make a handle that will enable me to automatically position the chisel in the correct way without looking at it first. Or at least that is my theory.

For the handles, I have brought with me some hornbeam that I also got from Brian Eve (He is a really nice guy)

At first I cleaned the blades  in a Sulphuric acid solution just like I did yesterday with the plane irons.

I then started drilling a small hole in the centre of the handle blank. Next I sort of wiggled the drill from side to side in the hole to make it conical.

Then I used my smallest chisel to make the hole fit the tapered tang. I checked regularly that I didn't make the hole to deep or wide.
When the tang fitted so the bolster was around 1/4" from the handle when inserted using only hand pressure, I stopped.

I banged the handle into the table a few times with the chisel inserted to seat it most of the way. After that I turned it around and placed the tip on a knot and gave the handle a couple of good whacks with a big hammer. That settled the tang firmly into the handle.

The blank was then cross cut to 13 cm (5.25"). I chose that length because it seemed appropriate for the size of chisel.

Next I drew a pencil line on the blank that I could plane to. I planed using my smoothing blade to get a decent surface. I managed to take one swipe too many, and nicked the blade hitting the bolster.
After that I was a bit more careful when planing the other sides of the handle.

When the handle had four tapered sides, I drew lines on the corners so I could remove the material and make the handle octagonal.
In order not to jeopardize my plane iron any more, I used a chisel for this operation.
Next step was to chamfer the end of the handle.

At last I sanded the handle to break the edges.

I think the blanks are not completely dry, but I doubt that it will matter. It might even be an advantage since it could cause the tang to start rusting a bit inside the handle thus securing it better.

After having played around with the finished chisel for a couple of hours, I am afraid that the handle is a bit too fat. So I think that I have to try to make it a bit more rectangular in the top of the handle. Right now it is almost square (with the corners removed).

The finished mortise chisel.

Blades before starting.

Elongated hole in the handle blank.

Seated by hand to about 1/4" distance.

Planing to the line.

First four sides planed.

Marking out for the octagonal chamfers.


Thursday, May 7, 2015

Restoring an adjustable sash plane, part 2

I followed my plan from yesterday and started out fetching the hot plane from its position upon the heat recovery exchanger for main engine No 2.

The irons were taken out and I cleaned some areas with emery cloth to get rid of the tiny bit of surface rust that was on them.
Next I found a face shield and some rubber gloves and a bucket. I poured a bit of water in the bucket, just enough to cover the bottom. Next I added some Sulphuric acid (96%). I guess that my final solution was around 30%.
The solution got hot as I expected, and I dropped the two irons in the bucket.
At home I have tried to remove rust using vinegar, and it works fine, albeit a bit slow.
This hot Sulphuric acid solution worked like something from a cartoon: Bubbles, smoke and a bit of hissing, and in a matter of maybe 10 minutes the irons were completely free from rust.

I removed the irons, rinsed them of and disposed off the acid solution. In the workshop I used a brass brush to remove the black layer on the irons. As soon as this was done, I sprayed them with some oil.

The bodies of the plane were not completely straight any more, so I used our lapping plate as a base for a piece of sand paper, and corrected the soles and the rabbets. The hollow for the moulding side of the plane was straightened using a 12 mm (1/2") steel pipe wrapped with some sand paper.
I discovered that the threaded rods were a bit loose, probably because of the heat from the insect treatment. I didn't bring any hide glue with me this time, so I have decided to wait until I get home before glueing in the rods again.

The sole of the moulding part of the plane had a few insect holes when I first looked at it, but after the straightening, it became evident that the insects had had a great time living and working in this old plane. I was a bit in doubt, if it would be of any use to continue the project, but it looked as if the worst part of the plane was at the rear end. The wood around the mouth and the front didn't look quite as bad, so I continued.

The wedges looked OK, and I lightly sanded them and went straight on to the sharpening part.

At first I tried flattening the backs with some emery paper and the lapping plate. A few strokes revealed that the backs were far from flat. Someone had ground the back side of the edge to a slight bevel (the ruler trick?).
I wasn't going to wast my evening trying to fix that by hand, so I started the grinding machine and flattened the backs using the side of the wheel.
When I do a thing like this I never wear gloves. Because if you wear gloved there is a much greater risk of over heating the iron. When I feel that my fingers are getting hot, I stop and cool of the iron in a cup of water.
After flattening the back, I ground the bevels and honed everything on my oil stone.

At first I tried to mount the moulding iron, but when I tried to remove the wedge it broke into two pieces. It was completely porous inside. I had seen an insect hole or two from the outside, but I had absolutely no idea that it was so eaten away on the inside.
So I quickly made a small detour from my original plan, and made a new wedge using a piece of old pilot ladder wood from one of my earlier projects (Gerstner inspired tool chest).

The plane was assembled and after a bit of fiddling, the position of the irons looked OK to me.
I found a piece of spruce that was reasonably straight grained and started planing.

The plane leaves a really nice surface, and it cuts exactly as it is supposed to. The only thing that could be better is the shavings ejector from the rabbet part of it.
It looks like the original builder of the plane has managed to angle the blade a bit inwards, so instead of ejecting the shavings away from the plane - it sort of packs them into the plane instead..
I think that I can make a small wedge that can be glued to the plane body that will help divert the savings out of the plane. But I want to attach this with some hide glue, so I can remove it again if it should make things worse instead of better.
As long as I removed the shavings after a series of strokes, everything worked astonishingly well.

Insect eaten sole.

This sole is not so bad.

Remains of the wedge.

Sharp irons.

Nice and crisp.

The profile.