Monday, April 29, 2013

Display case for a model steam engine

I decided that it had to be possible to change the glass without destroying the frame, so the strips for the frame ended up being a bit more complex than if it would be assembled with the glass in place. I have some glass of 2 mm thickness and some of 3 mm. if the steam engine had been larger, I could have used the thicker glass, but I am afraid that it will look clumsy, so I have decided that the frame should be made for the 2 mm glass.
The idea is to keep the glass in place by means of a small angle shaped strip of wood that can be tacked into place by means of some small tacks or screws.
I doubt that I will ever need to change the glass, but it will give me great satisfaction to know that the possibility is there even for my successors if the glass should ever break.

The frame for the glass is built up using a home made profile that looks kind of like a W.
At first I tried to make a concealed mitered dovetail - that didn't work out. Then I tried to make it like a concealed tenon joint. That didn't work either. So finally I sawed the pieces in 45 degrees, and glued it up using the most unreliable end grain to end grain constellation.
The things were held in place by masking tape which is not blue on this side of the Atlantic, but more like a light yellow or cream colour. Anyway it works the same way.

After several hours of drying time (6 hours) I glued up the posts of the frame. These hold the upper and lower part together and they add some normal long grain to the intersection. So my hope is, that it will help to keep it all together. After all, it is not the most stressed piece of furniture so I expect it to hold just fine.

Yesterday was my 40th birthday, and I got some really nice presents. I had ordered some of them myself, to help my wife, but it was still a pleasant thing to open them. A Veritas skewed rabbet plane, some wood wax from Dictum due to the excellent review from Brian:
and a book: Das Zimmermannsbuch, a reprint of a carpenters book from 1895 (in German).
My father had bought a nice old Japanese plane and a 1200 grit water stone.

After the guests had left, I decided to try out the Japanese plane which was sharpened and ready to go. After a little fiddling, I produced some nice shavings. I wondered if it was possible to make them thinner, so I fiddled some more.. And suddenly I made the most fantastic ultra thin shavings. And the smell from the larch was incredible. So actually a really nice way of ending a birthday.

One of the frames showing the W shaped profile.

The post being inserted from the left to give an idea of the assembly method.

The complete glued up frame

The blade of the new (old) plane

The first shavings

Better looking shavings


  1. Happy 40th! Many happy returns!! It's always nice to get some presents that you really want/need. My 40th is approaching and I am not sure what will happen. We don't often have birthday parties for me.
    Do you like the Japanese style plane? I'm undecided on them. I'm just not sure if there is an advantage to using them over western planes, though I would bet that they work just as well. Also, masking tape here used to be the cream color as well, but it seems that you have to go out of your way to find it now. Everybody prefers the blue "painters" tape though I don't like it in the least. It doesn't seem as sturdy and likes to tear in all of the wrong places, and is supposed to be sticky without leaving a residue or leaving pieces behind when you remove it, yet it manages to do both.

    1. Thanks Bill.
      Actually we didn't invite anybody, my parents and my in laws decided to invite themselves over, so it ended up being sort of a party.
      I like your description of the blue tape.
      Regarding the Japanese plane.. I don't know yet. I have only tested it on a small strip. Being that it is very sharp always help, but I haven't used it enough to decide.
      I suppose it is equivalent to a smoothing plane due to the size.

  2. Nice!

    You'll definitely have to get to know that plane and let us know what you find.

    I also wouldn't mind seeing a bit more of your mortise gauge that is laying on your bench.

    Happy birthday and enjoy your wax!

    1. Hi Brian.

      I'll make a test of the plane one day, so far I am impressed since it is very sharp, and setting it up isn't terribly difficult either.
      I will take some pictures of the gauge. I actually think it is a marking gauge, because it only has got 1 pin on each side. But I suppose that it could be a mortising gauge as well.
      I am going to try using the wax on the display case. So I am really excited about it.

  3. Happy Birthday Joooones!

    Japanese planes are great, right? But did you know that the Carpenters in Japan use them the other way would would in Europa/US, i.e. they pull towards themselves!

    I will keep my eyes open for more planes at the shop where dad bought this. I am also looking for a Japanese hammer for you!

  4. Thanks Jiiiieeees.

    I would like a Japanese hammer. Dad said that the shop had some of them for sale already.

    Greetings to your family.
    Your brother

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