Sunday, October 28, 2018

Mora #106 knives' scabbards

inspired by other sloyd knife makers, like Reid Schwarz, i made some scabbards for my freshly handled Mora 106 knives. wood on hand for this kind of scabbard was ash, very springy but prone to splitting. wood is a good material to remember as a spring!

the operation involves relieving 1/2 of the knife using whatever means necessary on two pieces of wood, gluing together and then shaping the end result to your fancy. for me, i'm not interested in wearing these scabbards off my hip, but more to protect the blades.

you then glue the two sides together and then shape them to your fancy. the

Sunday, October 7, 2018

fresh Mora #106 knife blades with shop made handles!

this is the knife blank you get from morakniv. i ground up a little bit of the blade edge so that it was separated from the hilt of the handles on my bench grinder.
I forgot to take action shots of the handles getting glued up. it's a "clam shell" construction, where you have two halves of the handle, and route out the knife bolt into one side. I traced with a pencil and used a chisel and a small router plane to get the blade to fit snug on one side. i dont think it has to fit super perfect because i used epoxy with glass fibers mixed into it. in my experience this bonds metal to wood pretty well. I did abrade the knife bolt and clean it up with mineral spirits before assembly.

I used two woods here: padouk, and afromosia. i had some random offcuts in the bits box and these both have interlocked grain which would do well as knife handles i think

my patternmaker's vice was so wonderful. it held the work beautifully and i was able to use stop cuts and chisels, and saw rasps to refine the profiles.
I ended up using my small japanese block plane to achieve the bevel on the handle edges, along with a spoke shave. the padouk was more well behaved, the afromosia was quite wild and so i had to resort to sandpaper/scrapers to refine the facets.
I finally used an old beater chisel to clean up the epoxy squeeze-out at the hilt.
can't wait to put these babies to use. next weekend's project is to build wooden scabbards for them...

updating shop handtool storage ii

my new hand tool storage, a chest of drawers that perches on the caster rails of this improvised cart/desk. there are shell pulls on the front edge of the top which makes it a breeze to reposition this chest wherever the task is. it's very usable, and i'm looking forward to putting it through its paces for oncoming projects. I already have one small project under the belt which gave me some assurance.
I made loop drawer pulls from pine offcuts that i roughed out on the machines in batch, but then applied my sloyd knife to give them a hand friendly faceted surface. I then painted them a dark grayish purple. they will be attached with 1" #8 brass skrews, going right through the front. it's okay, i'm okay with that.
the color choices are a little different. i'm very much colorblind, and from an early age i would mix any colors with gray/black/white to mute them. didn't even know why i was doing it but i think the process was a way to bridge the gap with the color perceiving world. i've always liked this effect because it tends to quiet the colors. here, i decided to start with a light band of white and progress green towards the bottom, and purple to the top. i can only imagine it looks kind of odd to folks who see color in a more subjective way.

Sunday, September 9, 2018

JB Blunk, last day of exhibit.

I wanted to take another pass at the Jb Blunk exhibit today and was surprised to hear that this was the last day of the show. i was sad and thankful at the same time. i guess knowing that this was the last day allowed me to linger over his work longer than one normally would.
today i was struck by how he chose what parts to be pure "tree" and then parts hewn, expressing toolmarks, and then other parts, refined and smooth with no sure indicator of what formed them.

Saturday, September 1, 2018

JB Blunk: an inspiring visit to Oakland Museum of CA

i had a serendipitous walk to OMCA week before last to see some of my old favorites. There's a beautiful settee in mahogany and leather by Maloof and a very special green and green sidebar that i look over every time. But this summer, there's a review of James Blain Blunk (JB Blunk). It's wonderfully lit display of his sculptures that i'm showing below. They're i think all carved from monolythic cleavings/rounds of old growth redwood. I say monolythic: i mean that they originate from a continuous section of tree, as opposed to a laminate of smaller pieces. They cry out to be touched for sure and it took a lot of self control to not "SEE THEM WITH MY HANDS".

If you have the time, go see it at the Oakland Museum

Here's a review of some of the pieces inspiring me to share here:

On permanent display on the first floor is a 14 foot dia burl/trunk section that JB Blunk carved. What is so gratifying and generous is that visitors are welcome to sit on, and touch this beauty. couldnt' get enough of this one.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

hook knife and carving axe arrived today from Wood Tools!

Oh, joy! my hook knife and carving axe arrived today from Wood Tools. I got a right handed decreasing radius hook knife and their carving axe. Both came carefully wrapped with edge protection shown (and for the axe a generous few turns of plastic wrap to hold the edge guard in place.

They arrived sharp, and ready to rock. I will have to wait before i can test these out due to life circumstances, but putting them to use keeps me looking forward to them

Here are some closeups. the handles are very comfortable, without a finish which is my preference with wood handles. The octagonal cross section of the spoon knife feels perfect in my hands.
Also coming with the shipment is a delightful little brochure revealing the characters behind this small business and a background sketch of the proud traditions embodied in Sheffield steel working.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

updating shop handtool storage

after spending time in curtis buchanan's workshop for a full week and understanding how pleasant work can be when the tools are logically arranged and easy to reach, i set forth to rethink how i store mine.

Here is the plan, a chest of drawers that fits between the metal frame of an upcycled desk that i've had in the shop since the beginning.

Here you see the metal frame'ed desk with an improvised table top on the right. An old, quickly thrown together 3 drawer arrangement on the left used to occupy the space between the desk legs. It has always felt kind of janky.

what makes this desk successful in my shop is the sturdy caster enabled hooves on the base, abling one to tow the table with one hand to wherever it is needed in the shop. work flows much better when the tool you need is within arm's reach as opposed to hanging on the wall around the bench and out of reach.

the construction is mostly CasaDespair pine, and i spend a while picking through the stacks to find some nice enough material that I milled down to 5/8" and then jointed into panels that will divide the chest into 3 equidistant tiers.
I left the stretchers at 3/4" and cut dadoes on the interior walls, while applying dovetails to the outside joints. it feels pretty sturdy even though it's pretty light.
I am trying a drawer construction technique that is new to me. it's simply rabbets that are glued up and then pinned with wooden pegs. For the upper drawers, i milled a 3/4" wide and 1/4" deep groove on the sides with a dado stack. these will ride on rails that i will skrew into the interior sides of the chest. The drawer sides are made of offcuts of ash that my contractor friend let me have from a project. it's very tough wood but it mills nicely.

The bottom drawers will run on metal slides that i had 3 extras from an earlier project. this makes sense because the drawers will hold my heavier bench planes, etc.

I layed out the drawer heights based on my existing tools, and how they group naturally in my workflow. there's also room for more tools, but not much, and i really dont have much need for more tools right now.
I had originally thought to put glue storage in this chest as well, but i opted out since the jugs are too large a format to make space for in this place. best to store this somewhere else.