When I teach edge-jointing by hand, I am surprised by how many woodworkers (even experienced ones) evaluate their work incorrectly.
For starters, every board has a “true face,” sometimes called a “datum surface.” This is the one surface that you should press the stock of the square against. This applies even to machine work – electric planers are notorious for creating boards that taper across their width.
So you should mark one true face and always check your progress against that face.
Second: Tilt the square so one arris touches the edge (see photo above). Putting the square flat on the edge will put small errors in shardow. Ergo: You think you have a perfect edge, but when you get to glue-up you learn the gappy truth.
Don’t you hate how every Lost Art Press project takes years to complete?
After more than three years of work, Lucy and I have found a building for Lost Art Press where we will live out the rest of our days, making stuff and writing about it. We have come to an agreement with the owner of a circa-1890 commercial building with a living space above. If nothing goes wrong, it will be ours at the end in late August or early September.
The building is located in a residential neighborhood in Covington, Ky., that is off Main Street in a particularly German part area. The building first appeared in city records about 1890 as Jos. Horstmann, a “Dealer in staple and Fancy Groceries, Liquors, Cigars &c.” Two Germans lived above the store at that time – a baker and a stonemason.
The store remained a grocery and saloon for many years – switching to soft drinks during Prohibition – and was a meeting place for organizations such as the Latonia Mutual Aid Society and the Deutscher Pioneer Verein, a German publishing group. By the middle of the 20th century, it was a cafe. In the later part of the century it was a jazz club and, finally, a lesbian bar.
We have no desire to become bartenders, so we will convert the first floor to a storefront with a hand-tool workshop, offices, library and photo studio. The upstairs will be our living quarters. The rear of the building has a small courtyard, plus a two-bay garage for a car and a few machines.
These changes will take place during the next four years as we get our youngest through high school and off to college. So we’ll have plenty of time to do the work and do it right.
Have no fear that this blog is going to become the daily diary of This Old Storefront. While we enjoy fixing up old buildings, I much prefer building furniture and writing about it. But there will be a change of scenery. And I’ll probably sell off a last hoard of surplus tools to help make improvements that I cannot do myself.
And when it’s done, we’ll invite everyone to come see it.
The Nicholson-style workbench is a great choice for a woodworker who is short on time or materials – I can usually build one of these benches in half the time of a French bench and this English form requires half the materials.
Unless you have narrow wood.
This last week a group of us at the New English Workshop birthed 10 new Nicholson-style workbenches during a class held at Warwickshire College. After five days of work, we got all the benches assembled and ready for final clean-up and vises.
That’s exactly how long it takes to get a French-style workbench assembled in a classroom. What happened? Why weren’t we sipping sloe gin and eating meat pies on Wednesday evening while sitting upon 10 finished benches?
The Nicholson benches I have built used 2x12s. The top is two 2x12s glued on edge – that is the only panel glue-up. For this class, we couldn’t get our hands on any primo dimensional stock for the benches, so we used ash that was ripped down to about 6-1/8”.
So we had to glue up the top from four boards. The aprons were two boards. Some internal bits also had to be glued into panels. As a result, we spent two entire days gluing up panels and truing them up. And that’s why we barely squeaked by late on Friday afternoon.
The lesson here is to use dimensional 2x12s for a Nicholson bench. Otherwise, you negate the time-saving advantage of this classic English form.