Tuesday, February 7, 2017

simplest 45-degree planing cradle

I have seen a lot of devices for holding boards at a 45-degree angle from laying flat on the bench, but all required a tablesaw to build quickly. Here is what I came up with when I was planing tapered octagons for stool legs recently. It's easy to make with just a handsaw.

Planing cradle shown in lower right hand corner (the thing with the v-notch)
All I did was cut a 90-degree "V" out of a strip of wood, which holds the board at an angle. This took about 2 minutes to lay out and cut. It maintains the angle securely and nothing more. I drilled a hole in it and hung it on a peg near the bench for re-use.

I still needed more conventional workholding to maintain the board's position. This could be dogs, a planing stop, battens, etc, but in this case I used a handscrew clamp and another board to shim it up, because I was working on the bottom face of my bench-in-progress, and I don't have much workholding.

Why do any of this?

To turn these:

Three square-stock leg-blanks. Also shown: the rest of the adjustable stool in the background, and my note reminding myself of what the shoulder lines are so I could resume later. 

...into these:

Three tapered legs, made only by layout and planing. Oh, and a carcass saw if you count the fact that the tenon shoulders have been cut already.
Making tapered legs is the kind of work that a jack plane makes easy. I would not want to try to get this to work on a tablesaw or bandsaw.

That's all for now. If you missed the summary of this stool, check it out here, or see all my completed projects.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

A useful mallet-making tangent

I was chopping out a giant sliding dovetail for my workbench endcap, when my chisel mallet broke again. I really didn't feel like trying to get the pieces glued together for the third time, so I started making a couple malletts to replace it. Two is a good number of mallets to have, because if one breaks, you can still bash mortise chisels to make another one. Since I was starting from 1/2 a mallet, one of mine was made with a wedged dowel in an auger hole for a handle.

busted commercially-made mallet, surrounded by 2 new mallets.

I had a short length of 2" x 2" maple available, so that's what I used for the heads. My widest mortise chisel is 1/2", so I made the handle out of 1/2" thick maple. I traced and carved a shape for the handle, and traced the orientation of the wedge-shaped top on the maple block, in the orientation most comfortable. Rounding the handle made it quite comfortable, even as narrow as it is.

Gluing leather onto the slightly domed face. Hide glue seems to fit rhe bill.
I domed the face a little with a block plane, and glued two thicknesses of leather on it. And rounded the back so it won't look like a hitting face.

Completed mallet.

Double thick leather was needed for the right kind of thud.

Here is the other mallet I made. The handle was originally about a 20" length of 3/4" poplar dowel (because that's what I had), but it had an unpleasant vibration until I cut it down quite a lot. It works well as a short mallet.
While I was sidetracked anyway, I made this planing stop. It was useful for making mallet handles.

This weird looking design actually has familiar ergonomics. Instead on cutting the face at an angle, the handle curves down at an angle. Either way knuckles stay just above the bench in use.