Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Campaign hardware from Toplicht, a product review.

After reading "Campaign furniture", I have decided that I would like to make a set of travelling book cases.

Due to the Danish import regulations, it is immensely cheaper if I could source some hardware from Europe.
I managed to find some chest locks from Rutlands in England, that were reasonably priced.
They also carried brass corners, but those were kind of expensive.

A good friend of mine once suggested Toplicht as a possible source for some specialty hinges.
I sent for their catalogue, and I have also browsed their web page. The result: They really do stock most of what you could imagine.

I ordered the following items:

Brass corners at a price of just below 6 Euro a piece it is a stark contrast to the prices demanded elsewhere. The corners are cast brass with a thickness of approx 1/16". If you order more than 5 there is a discount.

Brass drawer pulls These look very much like the later type pulls shown on page 10 in "Campaign furniture". They seem to be a little bit thicker than 1/16. These are only 9.90 Euro a piece, if you order a single piece. Like the corners, these pulls also come with a discount if you order more than five.

Brass hinges These hinges are 5/64" thick and seem to be of a good quality. They are 13.90 Euro a piece, so they are a lot more expensive than the usual hinges I buy at the lumber yard, but the quality level is also quite different.
To get a discount on the hinges, you will have to buy at least ten.

The shop was really fast, I ordered the stuff Friday and I got it today. All the items were wrapped in newspaper for protection. Not that it matters much with brass hardware, but it gives a fine impression of the store, that they make sure everything is securely wrapped.

I ordered the locks Friday as well, but those haven't arrived yet, so therefore there is no review on those.

So if you need campaign hardware, I recommend Toplicht.de as a supplier. They have loads of interesting pulls and specialty hinges etc. and the prices seem very reasonable, actually downright cheap for some of the items (please note that I am in no way connected or affiliated with Toplicht).
Brass corner, 2" x 3/4"

Brass pull, 2.75" x 1 5/8"

Sunday, January 3, 2016

A small barn for the summer house 2, drawings and considerations

After a lot of sketches, I have finally made some drawings that should suffice to show to the local planing department. 
More drawings will be needed before final approval though, namely one that will show the position and orientation of the building on the property, a drawing of the remaining two sides of the barn, and a drawing that will show the way the frame is built up, I think that normally a cut through drawing is used, but that wouldn't make much sense for a timber frame building in my opinion, so I might make drawings for each section of the building, that way I can use it as a construction drawing at the same time.

The view from the side looks strange to me, but I think it is because the drawing does not take into account that the roof has got slopes. I ned to make an isometric sketch as well, that should help a bit on the look of it all.

There is still the possibility that the planning department may have some issues with a window placed in the attic. because local codes prohibits two levels in a summer house. But since it will only be used for storage, I don't know how they will decide.

Part of the challenge is that the roof type I am planning to use is around 6" thick, coupled with a set of 6" rafters, the inside head room is quickly reduced.
Below the gable/end view of the barn, I have sketched the roof build up.
For those not fluent in Danish (or those who have problems reading my handwriting), the layers are (from the bottom):
  • Tongue and groove boards, 22 mm 
  • Tarred paper
  • Distance board 25 mm (1")
  • Laths 1.75" x 3"
  • Roof tiles made out of clay
The roof tiles are the old ones from our house that I kept when we installed a new roof a couple of years ago.

Maybe the other side of the barn will receive two windows, but I wanted to make sure that there was going to be some places where I could hang garden tools and maybe place a shelf. 
I plan to make 4 posts in the frame for the side, so in theory I could have three windows evenly distributed.

I also have to ask my wife what she thinks, but it will be easy to add a window or two to the drawing before going to the planning department.

End view.

Side view

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Campaign furniture, a book review.

Given that the weather on the Norwegian west coast has been bad ever since I signed on the ship, there really hasn't been any possibilities of starting a project.

I did however bring with me a copy of Campaign furniture by Chris Schwartz.

The book is written in a clear and informative language, and there are loads of historical informations to be found.

The projects found in the book strikes me as very well chosen. Based on that they can be used in a normal household today.
I am pretty sure that CS also knows how to make a campaign bed, but that would probably be more of a curiosity to most people, and not something that a lot of people would actually make.
The projects do not appear to be listed according to their difficulty, but more based on how popular that type of project was originally.

In the beginning of the book a lot of general information on campaign furniture is given, changes in styles through the years. General information on hardware and wood species etc.
I personally like the small quotes from older books, such as a guide to India travelers and small original ads for companies that supplied campaign furniture 150 years ago. These small distractions engage my sense of curiosity and imagination.

There is also a whole lot of general information on joinery techniques, and techniques for installing hardware, with all the small but important information provided. Especially when it come to the descriptions on how to install hardware, the book is very thorough. This is in my opinion a very noble approach, as the hardware installation is often a "make or break" operation on a piece of furniture.
The reader is taken step by step through the installation of half mortise locks and corner guards etc. with clear pictures and instructions.
In my opinion the best example of the thoroughness of those descriptions is that CS explains that typically a corner guard will have a very slight radius on the inside corners. And next he describes how to deal with this.
That is information I haven't seen anywhere else. Actually the book can be recommended just based on the instructions for installing hardware.

Regarding the projects themselves, the instructions are equally clear and informative. Each build is described in a logical sequence, and operations that might be difficult are explained in detail regarding what can be done to ensure a success.
There are no descriptions of the exact hardware needed for each project, which is kind of liberating. I guess this is done to allow the builder to use whatever hardware is obtainable in that persons part of the World.

As usual with books from Lost Art Press, the book itself oozes of quality. Nice binding, thick paper, good looking photos and drawings etc.
I would recommend the book to anyone remotely interested in items of campaign style, and also to those who are looking for some detailed instructions in how to mount hardware.

If you should you purchase the book, or the electronic version or both depends on how you like to read. But the book itself is a handy size and of such a quality that it is a joy to read it. So I would just go with the hardbound book. But then again, I am pretty conservative when it comes to things like that.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Titanic deck chair

For once I have made a project which does not involve pallet wood. And furthermore isn't it a box of any kind.

My wife has wished for a deck chair for a couple of years, but I haven't found the time to build her one until now.

The plans for this chair can be found at Popular Woodworking, they were issued in 2012, 100 years after the sinking of the RMS Titanic.

I made my chair out of elm which originally comes from trees belonging to my neighbor. They were among the first boards that I ever milled, so they have air dried for some 8 or 9 years now.

The construction of the chair went along OK, but with a few screw ups along the way, some were my own fault, and some were due to the cut list and plans.
It is not a quick project, but that should come as no surprise with 43 individual parts, of which 26 of them have to be shaped on the band saw.

As a finish I applied two coats of oil based marine varnish.

Since I will sign on the ship tomorrow, I won't be home for Christmas this year. I have therefore already given the chair to my wife, so now it is OK to blog about it, even though it is a present.
That is also the reason why I didn't blog about the build itself.

Titanic deck chair made of elm.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Treasure chest with curved lid part 9, The finished chest.

I asked my wife what finish she would like to see on the Shaker cabinet, and her answer was Danish oil (what a surprise..)
I had hoped for a paint finish, but since it will probably be given away for someone as a Christmas present, I chose to stick to what she wanted.

But there were no restrictions to the treasure chest with curved lid that I made some time ago. That thing has just been sitting idle under a table to be out of the way.
I asked Asger if he would like to paint it, and he was really exited about it. I decided to give up most of the control and told him that he could choose the colour.
We looked at the paint shelf, and I tried my best to advocate for a green, blue or red coat of paint. But Asger was not convinced that it was the right path. Finally he made up his mind and settled for Massey Ferguson light grey, a classic tractor colour.

He rolled on a coat of paint that quickly got absorbed by the wood. So we agreed that was a primer, the next day he rolled on another coat, and that helped a lot.

Finally I added the last layer using a brush instead of the roller, because our cheap roller more or less dissolved in the oil based paint.

I had made some hardware on the ship while I made the chest itself. An escutcheon and parts for some lifts. 
The lift handles themselves are old handles from some metal pails that comes with various chemicals and soap.

Since I made a treasure chest, I opted for some fantasy inspired hardware. something that could spark an interest in a child. So I made a dragon/vampire bat as a theme. 
It turned out better than I had hoped for. But I think they would have stood out more if the chest had been in a different colour.

The finished treasure chest.

Asger sanding

Asger painting


Dragon escutcheon

Dragon lift

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Shaker hanging cabinet, North Sea edition, completion

I started by trimming the back of the cabinet to the desired size, that meant also sawing out a curve on the top, and making a keyhole slot for the future hanging of the cabinet.

The back is attached using only nails. This is to allow for the inevitable wood movement. If I had glued on the back, since it is such a wide piece of wood, it would be like asking for trouble.

The door had managed to contract itself a bit during a couple of days, so I had to saw about 1/4" of the thin end of the battens before pushing them back in. So far they are able to keep the door flat.

Next up was to make a small locking device. I tried to make it look like the ones I have made before, since I find it a pleasing design. It is just made from a bit of wood I had left over from the stiles.

My last cabinet of this type had a semicircular door knob, because that is what my youngest son thought would look the best. On this one I wanted to try something a bit different.
The inspiration is some drawer pulls that my father has made for my parents cottage in Sweden.
This one is just smaller.
Making it was basically a paring exercise with a chisel.
Before mounting it by simply by gluing it into a hole in the door, I sanded the front of the door, as the knob would have prevented me from going continuously with the grain during sanding.
After the glue had dried a bit, I cut off the protruding part on the inside and sanded the inside again.

I discovered that I didn't bring any screws that were long enough to satisfactorily mount the locking device with. So I drilled a small hole, and mounted it temporarily with one of my longest screws (something like 3/4") When I get home I'll find a nice round headed screw and mount that instead.

After planing a little bit on the side of the door to get an even reveal, I started mounting the hinges.
These were placed their own distance from the top and the bottom, and it went fairly smooth.
When I tested the door after mounting the hinges, there was a bit of binding just before it closed. A bit of investigation revealed that the door was a bit thicker in the middle than at the ends, but a few swipes with the smoothing plane corrected it.

All there is left to do out here is to mark the cabinet with Roman numerals and pack it for a safe trip home.
Once I get home I'll try to decide how to finish it.

Shaker hanging cabinet, North Sea edition. 

Shaker hanging cabinet, pallet wood build.

This batten is now too long.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Shaker hanging cabinet, North Sea edition, stiles and door.

Since I want the door to be as wide as possible, I found it to be the smartest move to finish the door first, and then adjust the width of the stiles to fit afterwards.

The door was planed to the same thickness as the stiles, and then I squared it up on the shooting board.

The original version of this little cabinet has battens that are nailed on to keep the door flat. Since I have taken the trouble to make blind dovetails for the case instead of using nails, I figured that i'd might as well attach battens using sliding dovetails.
At home I have a special plane for that purpose, but I didn't bring it with me, so I'll use a slightly different approach.
My idea came after chatting with Brian Eve over at Toolerable. He showed me a picture where he had done it this way, and I wanted to try it out myself. 

First I made a set of battens that tapered slightly in width. I planed the narrow sides of the battens at an angle.
I then used the battens themselves as sort of a template to guide my saw. 
A thing to remember is that it should be possible later on to tighten up on the battens if they become loose. So the taper on the door part needs to be a bit narrower than the battens.
After sawing out the sides for the door part of the sliding dovetails, I removed the waste with a chisel and followed up with my router plane.

I added a small chamfer to the end of the battens, to soften up their appearance before inserting them in the door and tapping them into place. This should also prevent any grain blow out if someone hits them harder with a hammer in the future.

With door at the correct width, I was able to establish the width of my two stiles. These were ripped to the correct width and the sides cleaned up with a plane.
I crosscut them what I believed was the correct length and followed up with the shooting board to make a fine fit. Somehow I managed to make them bot a bit short, but not enough to warrant making a new set.

When that was done I simply glued them into place. A few brads or nails would make it even stronger, but I doubt that strength is much needed with a cabinet of this size.

Marking up for the sliding dovetails.

Guiding the saw.

Testing the fit.

The finished door with battens in place.