New York though not a leading State is an important one in the production of handles. The Lake States and other central western States have the principal factories of the larger well known corporations manufacturing fork, hoe and axe handles. Nearly every large manufacturing establishment has need for handle stock in one form or another. A number of industries like broom factories and cutlery stock occupy a prominent place. Establishments producing farm tools, files, saws, cutlery and other metal implements call for a great variety of woods. (more…)
Sawing planks and boards is his employment, at which ſome will earn three or four ſhillings a day. There are great numbers of them, which is given as a reaſon why we ſhould not erect ſaw-mills as the Dutch do, and by the help of which one man will do as much as fifty can by their labour. Thus the Dutch run away with moſt of the trade of Europe for planks and timbers ready framed for building ſhips and houſes, But ſurely a publick good ought to be preferred to that of any private men. And if we ſtill want hands, as ſome ſuggeſt, theſe men might find employment in other branches of buſineſs.
The General Shop Book: or, Tradesman’s Universal Director – 1753
“Le travail” – Villagers depicted in various activities, with two men sawing a large plank of wood. French (1720-1765). Print by Anne Claude Philippe de Tubières, Comte de Caylus.
This morning I completed installing the new leg vise on my Holtzapffel workbench that is powered by the Benchcrafted Classic Vise and Crisscross. Installation took about four hours – spread out over the week – and was straightforward thanks to the crazy high quality of the Benchcrafted components and the excellent installation instructions.
The new vise set-up is remarkable. I’ve never had a leg vise that works so well.
While the installation was simple, it’s not for the bolt-it-and-go crowd. You need to be on your A-game to get the vise to run smoothly. The mechanism has plenty of “forgiveness” for small inaccuracies. But everything will go together with less frustration if you take your time and pay close attention to the details.
I’ll be interested to see how the mechanism fares in the long haul. So there’s only one way to find out: Get back to work.
Next up: a shelf for the Holtzapffel and an almost-vanished tool from the 16th century.
It’s a strange world where I need to write a blog entry about this topic.
Recently Editor Megan Fitzpatrick and I have been getting e-mails and phone calls with this basic question: “Why isn’t Schwarz going to Woodworking in America?” Then they ask:
• Is it because Popular Woodworking Magazine doesn’t want him there?
• Is it because I don’t want to attend?
• Is Chris finally getting that gender-changing operation he’s talked about for years?
• And etc.
Here is the real story.
Megan approached me about speaking at the 2014 WIA, and I pleaded for a break. I’ve been a speaker (and usually an exhibitor) at every single WIA since the first one. Whether you know it or not, WIA is exhausting. The month leading up to it is crazy for me – and I don’t even have to help organize it anymore.
I have been trying to reduce my travel schedule so I can spend more time at home. This year I’ll be on the road for almost 18 weeks, and that is an easier schedule than 2013.
So I asked for a year off, and Megan gave it to me.
As it so happens, I have been scheduled to speak to the San Diego Fine Woodworkers Association on Sept. 12-14 for almost two years now (we started negotiating this in 2010 when I was still editor of the magazine). That particular weekend is, you guessed it, where F+W decided to put WIA in 2014.
As a result, the conspiracy theories have abounded: I am snubbing WIA. I purposefully scheduled a conflicting event. I’m not really cutting back on traveling. Those are all false.
I’m going to honestly miss Woodworking in America this year. It is probably the single-strongest line-up of speakers the event has ever had. And it’s in Winston-Salem, N.C., where you can sample Old Salem and the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA), one of my favorite museums in the country.
If you haven’t been to WIA, I recommend it. It’s the biggest woodworking geek-fest I’ve ever attended, and you will make new friends and learn a ton of amazing stuff.
And, as a bonus, you don’t have to watch me rub my nipples (a nervous tic) when I’m presenting. A double victory.
Consists of a platform A B C D called the top, supported upon four legs, E, F, G, H. Near to the further or fore end A B is an upright rectangular prismatic pin a, made to slide stiffly in a mortise through the top. This pin is called the bench hook, which ought to be so tight as to be moved up or down only by a blow of a hammer or mallet. The use of the bench hook is to keep the stuff steady, while the joiner, in the act of planing, presses it forward against the bench hook.
D I a vertical board fixed to the legs, on the side of the bench next to the workman, and made flush with the legs: this is called the side board.
At the farther end of the side board, and opposite to it, and to the bench hook, is a rectangular prismatic piece of wood b b (Editor’s note: this is likely an error as the plate is labeled d d), of which its two broad surfaces are parallel to the vertical face of the side board: this is made moveable in a horizontal straight surface, by a screw passing through an interior screw fixed to the inside of the side board, and is called the screw check (Editor’s note: sic. “Check” is correct). The screw and screw check are together called the bench screw; and for the sake of perspicuity, we shall denominate the two adjacent vertical surfaces of the screw check, and of the side board, the checks of the bench screw.
The use of the bench screw is to fasten boards between the checks, in order to plane their edges; but as it only holds up one end of a board, the leg H of the bench and the side board are pierced with holes, so as to admit of a pin for holding up the other end, at various heights, as occasion may require. The screw check has also a horizontal piece mortised and fixed fast to it, and made to slide through the side board, for preventing it turning round, and is therefore called the guide.
Benches are of various heights, to accommodate the height of the workman, but the medium is about two feet eight inches. They are ten or twelve feet in length, and about two feet six inches in width. Sometimes the top boards upon the farther side are made only about ten feet long, and that next the workman twelve feet, projecting two feet at the hinder part. In order to keep the bench and work from tottering, the legs, not less than three inches and a half square, should be well braced, particularly the two legs on the working side. The top board next to the workman may be from one and a half to two inches thick: the thicker, the better for the work; the boards to the farther side may be about an inch, or an inch and a quarter thick. If the workman stands on the working side of the bench, and looks across the bench, then the end on his right hand is called the hind end, and that on his left hand the fore end. The bench hook is sometimes covered with an iron plate, the front edge of which is formed into sharp teeth for sticking fast into the end of the wood to be planed, in order to prevent it from slipping; or, instead of a plate, nails are driven obliquely through the edge, and filed into wedge-formed points. Each pair of end legs are generally coupled together by two rails dovetailed into the legs. Between each pair of coupled legs, the length of the bench is generally divided into three or four equal parts, and transverse bearers fixed at the divisions to the side boards, the upper sides being flush with those of the side boards, for the purpose of supporting the top firmly, and keeping it from bending. The screw is placed behind the two fore legs, the bench hook immediately before the bearers of the fore legs, and the guide at some distance before the bench hook. For the convenience of putting things out of the way, the rails at the ends are covered with boards; and for farther accommodation, there is in some benches a cavity, formed by boarding the under edges of the side boards before the hind legs, and closing the ends vertically, so that this cavity is contained between the top and the boarding under the side boards; the way to it is by an aperture made by sliding a part of the top board towards the hind end: this deposit is called a locker.
— Peter Nicholson, “The Mechanic’s Companion; or, the elements of and practice of carpentry, joinery, bricklaying, masonry, slating, plastering, painting, smithing and turning…” (1811). The image is from my 1845 edition, published by John Locken, Philadelphia. The entire book can be downloaded and read for free on Google Books via this link.