Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Griffiths Norwich Half Set Remanufacture

While at the local lumberyard picking up some persimmon and black locust for boxing, I met a guy really excited about molding planes that asked be about rehabilitating antique planes. I explained some of the previous work I've done on remanufacturing planes, and talked about a few of our favorite types.

Recently I got the opportunity to restore a Griffiths Norwich half set, some of them are pretty rough, namely the 2 and 4 hollow, and an 8 round with a badly chipped mouth. But others are in pretty decent shape. I thought I'd document the process from the large planes and later show the whole job complete.

There are some interesting defects in the set. On several the irons are very much too wide for the sole profile, but in some cases they matched pretty well for the first half of an arc. In the #18s the size doesn't correspond to "normal" by which I mean it's more like a 5" circle than the 3" radius Clark & Williams or Matt Bickford uses.

Most of the irons were in decent shape, but need sharpening, some need a lot of profile work.

Here is the #18 and #16 rounds, they are having their soles trued to a more common numbering size, they have been rough planed as you can see by the facets. I have to order some pipe or rod in the right sizes to finish profile them to the correct size, then continue with the shaping of the irons.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Busy as a Bee

There's not any woodworking or planemaking in this post, but rather about 250 reasons why I've been busy with other chores and delights the last few weeks. Here is a shot of our deck in the city, we're about to entertain guests and grill, corn, veggies, biscuits, and hot dogs. In the background you can see the defunct top bar hive, two langstroth hives and all the vegetable and flower starts for this season. There is a lot of food growing here!

In the big buckets in the back there are red onion and garlic, in the cups, parsley, tomatoes of various sorts, hot peppers, cucumbers, marigolds, basil, squash, dry beans and more. 

 These are an amazing fractal headed broccoli, and peppers.

Do you know what this is? It looks like basil, but it isn't. I suppose the tag gives it away. It's a fish pepper. They have variegated leaves and sometimes the pods are albino, which were used by black caterers extensively in Baltimore back in the day to spice fish and seafood cream dishes and soups. I'm very excited to cook with them, and smoke peppers!

We also recently started melons, winter squash, and more dry beans. Two of my little goji plants have sprouted! which I'm really excited for. I have to start some more of them.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

3/4 Rabbet Plane with Rosewood Boxing and Spoons

First off, I listed two very large, very cherry spoons I carved from some fallen wood at school. They can be found on the Store page.

On to the real stuff.

Here's some progress on a 3/4 boxed rabbet, it's black birch, which I kind of love and has East Indian Rosewood boxing. I'm thinking about channeling E.W. Carpenter, a planemaker from nearby (spatially) Lancaster, PA who often make planes with contrasting wooden parts and putting an ebony or bubinga wedge or something. I'll probably wind up with maple or beech though. Though I may have a little piece of black birch around to cut a wedge from.

Here is a small toothing plane I've begun to think on. It measures four inches long, with probably a one inch wide iron. I have to machine some parts to cut the iron, tapered and with the grooves at 20ppi. I will be making several of these as well.

In other plane news, I've got a few really interesting basket cases coming my way to rehabilitate, some need irons, some need bodywork, and I've sourced irons for the Mathieson drawer planes so that can move forward as well.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Mathieson Drawer Bottom Planes

 I borrowed one of these from Josh Clark about two years ago to take measurements to someday build these. The time has come. I did some rough CAD to figure out where I needed dimensions and what else I had to think about. I found a few spots that need tweaking, but for the most part it's all thought out.

The Mathieson planes have a dull rounded sort of chamfer on them you see on later made planes. I dislike it, the broad chamfers look better to me.

Beech bodies roughed out, three currently in the works maybe more to come if I don't decide to use my wide stock on something else. I'm trying to decide if I want to use brass or steel for the skate. Any thoughts?

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tomato Harvest

In the last few weeks I've been busy picking tomatoes, attending farm festivals, and working on ferments for a blog Sarah and I have started working on called Culture-Shock. It's been a very busy time.

Here is just a small quantity of the tomatoes we've pulled out of the garden. These are mostly Amana Orange which is a lovely bright orange, sweet, low acid tomato. We have made paste, soup, and pureed some up into fermented hot sauce. As well as given many away for friends and family. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

More Spoons for Sale

I've listed five new spoons and spreaders in the TWD Store section of the blog, made from some nice maple, beech and cherry. I'm currently working on some large ladles carved from cherry crooks.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Natural Sized Comb

 After reading Michael Bush's The Practical Beekeeper, and thinking about what working methods made sense to me, I really got into the idea of using foundationless frames, 8 frame medium supers for all hive parts, and committing to not treating. This was all pipe dream for the day I might run an apiary or keep more than two top bar hives. Maybe I'd work out deals and manage hives at an orchard or community garden.

Well all that is starting to come to a head, Sarah and I have worked out an agreement to locate hives at one, maybe two community gardens in the area. I'm keeping the details close for now, because I haven't explicitly asked if they are okay with it.

Now, what in the hell does this have to do with size of honeycomb cells? Sarah and I have slightly different opinions on a few things, she learned with foundation and is used to that. I'm a bit of a nut and don't (yet?) fully understand how poorly (or amazing!) the bees may choose to build in foundationless frames. By adding drawn frames from a nuc, I think they will be off to a great start, and I think the girls will be happier drawing their own wax. Plus I can ensure clean wax, and use it for cosmetic uses without the fear of chemical contaminants. I settles on sharing hives with foundation, if we could get small cell foundation. Mostly I want cute tiny bees, but there is also an ancillary benefit of smaller mite counts.

This led me to wonder, if the foundation we are installing has 4.9mm cells, how big are the cells on my self-drawn comb in the top bar hive? While they are larger bees from a package, they will build slightly smaller, as I understand it left to their own devices. Over time this will lead to fully regressed (in size) bees, provided the comb is removed so the slightly smaller bees can build even slightly smaller comb. 

Balancing act. I've got one end of the bar precariously balanced on the hive to free a hand to hold the ruler up to some cells. Out of the top bar hive I had 10 cells equaling 2 inches, .2 inches per cell converted to millimeters equals 5.08mm cells. Not bad, well within the 4.9-5.2 range that Bush quotes from beekeepers in the 19th century. But a bit away from the 4.9mm small cell foundation we'll start our other bees on.

 This is a piece of comb cut out of the attic of the hive that is housing the swarm we saved a few weeks ago. They are building at 5.3mm per cell.

 And here is a huge chunk of pollen comb from the same, I couldn't find a good average of ten similarly sized cells in a straight enough line to measure but here it is.

And here is a piece showing a bunch of uncapped and capped drone brood. Sorry little buggers.