Sunday, December 29, 2013

Pear Tree Stool

So, i'ts been a long time since I've posted to my blog.  That isn't to say that I haven't been busy.  In fact I have been VERY busy.  My total obsession with finishing my greenwork shirt accompanied by a computer with a bad USB port connection... well I've only just been able to download all my pictures from my camera.

This project was first started back in September and finished at the end of October.  See blog entry (Goldenrod, Black Walnut & Pennsic Projects) for pictures of the beginning stages of the top of this stool.

To finish the project I wanted to complete it without the use of power tools and so I needed acquire a hand auger to drill the holes for the legs.  The following picture is one of two augers I purchased at the Kane County Flea Market.  Each auger cost $5 and needed a bit of work.

I started by removing the handle which required me to do some cutting to get the rusted nut off.  Looks like the nut rusted on and the previous owner decided to just paint over it.

After removing the bit from the handle I proceeded to remove the rust and the paint using a wire wheel attachment on my angle grinder.  I then took some small metal pin files and cleaned up all the cutting surfaces.  I honed the cutting tip with a small Arkansas wet stone.


All cleaned up and ready to go!

I took a cabinet scraper to the handle and tried to get off the grunge and the white painted initials.  I planned on using this tool and also bringing it along for demo purposes in the future.  White paint on the handle had to go.

After the handle was reattached it cut like a dream.

A little blow out on the bottom of the stool, but that didn't matter to me much.  I placed a board underneath to help prevent the blowout.  Unlike modern drills which cut with a high speed bit, these hand augers rely on the small screw tip.  That screw tip helps guide the cutting edge and also pull the drill through the material.  Without a backer board the small screw would pierce through and stop pulling the rest of the bit.

This was my first attempt using an auger of this size.  It was stiff to turn, but didn't take long to get used to.  The hardest part was keeping the angle correct and I tried to press down and twist. I loved the sound of the cutting and the look of the big chips that were removed.

As I don't yet have a lathe to use I simply used a draw knife to round out few of the branches from the pear tree.  The branches were removed at the same time the tree was felled.  They had been in my garage almost a year drying out.  I cut the legs on a slight angle so that they would slide in easily and yet firm up in place once driven in with a mallet.

Once the legs were all inserted and then cut to length I trimmed the excess off the top using a standard hand saw.  It scratched the surface of the bench a little, but I didn't feel quite right using my Japanese flush cut saw on a Circa 1200 project.

As you can see there are some rough edges on the bottom of the stool.  It is good and solid.  I thought that the rough finish offered character to the stool while making it look period.  Even as a wood worker from the year 1200 I don't know if I would spend a lot of time cleaning up and making my stool pretty.  It is functional and VERY sturdy.  That is really all I needed.

The angles of the auger holes were not drilled entirely correctly.  Honestly I was in a bit of a rush to try out my new tool.  The resulting stool is functional, it just looks a little off kilter as the legs aren't directly pointing to the center of the stool.  Some day I'll make another and take more time, but for now this serves my purpose for local events and demos.