Thursday, May 28, 2015

Wood Working Tools

Shave Horse

I had anticipated that one of my Pentathlon entries for the A&S faire would include a demonstration of woodworking techniques one of which would use my shave horse.  Well I finally finished the horse but it will need repairs this summer.  I had cut the wood to be used last year.  The pole I had intended to use to hold the head of the shave horse checked very bad as you see here.


With little access to a replacement I had to proceed with the flawed wood.  I shall replace it as soon as I can harvest a replacement chunk of wood.  I cut the ends to shape and drilled some holes and was able to complete the horse which works great.


Here you can see the finished horse.  It met my expectations in a couple ways.  1) Big and chunky 2) portable & 3) rustic looking.  

I wanted something big enough to be functional and durable and yet comfortable for a man of my girth.  My first version was a bit to small and I never really felt comfortable working on it.  This bench has some real girth to it and is very sturdy.  It is also very easy to set up and tear down for events.  It is as big as I could make it and yet still fit easily in the back of my car.  Lastly it is clear that it was cut and made from a tree rather than purchased lumber.  I love the "rustic" hand made look. 



One of my entries into the Pentathlon was going to be a collection of tools. I wanted to create a collection of tools that I could bring with me to demos to show off.  Some of these I may never use.  That's fine.  They will serve the purpose even if only as a prop on my set.

I created three levels which serve slightly different purposes.  All three were created using power tools.  In this case I was more interested in a period looking tool rather than the period construction technique.  

I cut the pieces out with a table saw and cut lap joints on the 45/45/90 triangle.  Once cut and fitted I glued and pegged the pieces together using 1/4 inch oak dowels.


The first of the three levels would not only measure straight level but would also have gradations on it.  To do that I taped a piece of paper which had markings in 10 degree increments on it.  I then used a sharp knife to cut along the lines in the paper to score the location on the level.


I then hammered a thin bras wire almost flat and drove it into the cuts.  I had never done anything like this before so I feared the outcome.  As it turns out doing brass inlay is very easy and works equally well along the grain as it does across the grain.  I used a small jeweler's hammer to drive the wire into place and then snipped the ends off.


Here you can see a small amount of wire sticking out.  I used a small pin file to file the brass down even with the wood.  Once filed down you cannot even feel where the line is.


 To be a proper level it would require a free hanging string and a weight.  I carved a small mold from soap stone and poured a few pewter weights.  I then clipped the sprue off and cleaned off the piece with an small knife.

 Once the weight was cleaned up and tied to a piece of linen string I mounted it to a brass nail on the level.  I placed the level on a modern level to ensure that the tool was calibrated correctly and it works great.


I followed the same basic construction techniques to make two more levels of a different variety.  I used oak for the preceding level and the T shaped level below.  The straight vertical level was made of maple.


I dampened the wood with a wet sponge to raise the grain of the wood.  I then scraped the wood smooth before inserting the brass inlay.

Once completed I coated the level with a bit of olive oil which brought out the color

The last level was the easiest to make as there was no real assembly needed.  I cut the basic shape out and then used scissors to free hand a basic shape for the cut out section at the bottom.

I used a scroll saw to cut out the hollow section and then cleaned up all the edges with files and scrapers.  I again used a brass inlay to mark the center line.


I used another brass nail to hold the linen string and pewter weight.  Checking the calibration with a modern level I was not surprised to see that it did in fact show level.


Marking Guage or Skantyllion 

This tool was made from oak found in a firewood pile. The marking blade was made from an old hack saw blade. The basic shape and size of the tool was inspired by the tool found on the Mary Rose.

After cutting out the three basic shapes I carved the ends of the slide to be a bit more decorative than the Mary Rose version.

 I used a chisel to cut the hole which would snuggly fit the long portion of the tool.  This is the part of the process I found to be the most difficult.  The opening had to be snug, but not too snug.  It would have to hold in place when the slide was locked but yet move freely enough when unlocked.  This portion took quite a bit of time with small files tuning and adjusting the fit.

Once properly fit I proceeded to make the marking blade from an old hack saw blade.  I cut and sharpened the blade before cutting it off to size.


Cut to shape and ready to insert.

I then cut the locking mechanism used to hold the blade in place.  I'm not entirely happy with this portion as the blade doesn't cut as well as I would like.  I will likely replace the blade as some future date with one that is a little wider and fits a little more snug.


I dismantled the tool and applied a light coat of oil and let sit.



All oiled up and ready for use.


The last and easiest tool to make was a centering jig.  It is simply a 90 degree angle L with a 45 degree triangle mounted on it.  When a round piece is placed at the base of the L the 45 degree line always marks the center.  I can now use that to mark center, then rotate the piece and mark center again.  Wherever the lines cross is the center of the round stock.  I intend to use this with my newly constructed pole lathe.