We’ve had a couple people place inadvertent double orders: one when a book is first available (right when we send it to the printer), then again six weeks or so later when we post that the book is now in stock. (I get it…given my bourbon intake since March, it’s a miracle that I haven’t placed a double order!)
So, if you think it’s possible you’ve placed an order but cannot remember (or if you simply wish to check the status of an order), here’s how, in pictures (and captions).
And if you’re wondering why Chris ordered “The Anarchist’s Workbench” – a book he wrote and that is not only free to download but for which the design files are available to him on the very computer at which I type this – it’s because Lost Art Press likes to replicate your order experience from time to time, just to make sure everything is working as it should – from placing the order to the packing and shipping to delivery.
This week I’m building two prototypes for a lowback stick chair for my next book. There’s a good chance this form will be a failure. But if I don’t try, then it definitely will be a failure.
Chair prototypes start with sketches and hours of staring at the hundreds of images I’ve collected from my travels, auction sales and images shared by brother and sister chair nerds.
Then I build a half-scale prototype with scrap wood, wire hangers and epoxy. I’m starting with a basic D-shaped seat, though that might change down the evolutionary path.
For this prototype, I found a better way to glue the wire hangers into the seat. In the before times, I would drill a slightly undersized hole, coat the end of the hanger with epoxy and tap it in. Then I’d dab some epoxy around the place where the hanger met the seat.
This was usually a strong-enough joint to bend the legs a few times. But sometimes the leg would come loose while bending it.
To fix that, I first drilled the hole for the hanger and followed that with a countersink. This created a bowl for the epoxy to pool. This greatly strengthened the joint, and I didn’t have to be gentle while bending the legs with pliers.
After settling on the rake and splay for the prototype, I visit my “boneyard” of chair parts. These are the bits I’ve accumulated after years of building chairs for customers and in classes.
Using leftover parts saves time, of course. But it also helps me visualize what’s right and wrong about a prototype. By using old legs at new angles, I can see clearly if I like the rake and splay without being distracted by a new leg shape.
Put another way: If I build a prototype with a new leg shape, new leg size, new stretcher orientation and new rake and splay, then it’s difficult to decide how to improve the chair. Is it the angles that are wrong? The leg shape? A combination of two factors?
It’s a cautious and slow approach, but I rarely hit a dead end as a result.
The other nice thing about this approach is that even a failed prototype isn’t a total loss. I can cut up the cherry, ash and oak parts and put them in my smoker with a pork shoulder and prototype me some pulled pork sandwiches.
When most of us think about installing cabinets, we picture ourselves shimming them at the floor so they’ll be level across their width and plumb across their faces. Another consideration comes into play in cases where more than one cabinet will be joined together without some other thing (such as a stove) to break up the front plane: we want to make sure the faces are in a straight line, not higgledy-piggledy following bumps or concavities in the wall behind them.
With base cabinets, there are two ways to level casework at the floor. The most common involves shimming up a separate platform on which the cases themselves will stand. The platform runs the full length of the cabinet series, providing a flat surface, and is typically recessed relative to the cabinets’ faces to hide any irregularity in the fit of the applied toe-kick, which goes on after the cabinets are set. You find the highest point of the floor in a given run of cabinets, set the platform down and shim it level and plumb. Then you set the cabinets on the platform, fasten them together to form a unit, shim as necessary at the wall and screw in place.
On most of my jobs, we scribe the cabinets to the floor, a technique that “Kitchen Think” covers in detail. With this method, we locate the lowest point of the floor in a given run of cabinets; instead of shimming the cabinets up, we cut their bottom edges down until they sit level and plumb.
Whether you’re building up or cutting down, in all cases involving more than a single cabinet it helps to screw the units together before you attach them to the wall. That way you can treat multiple cases as one entity, shimming at the wall so that the faces will be flat and plumb.
On our most recent kitchen job, Mark and I had to switch our thinking by 90°. Usually, when he’s gutting a room to the joists and studs, Mark takes the time to get the walls and floors flat and level. Sometimes this means cutting long, tapered wedges to build those structural timbers up; sometimes it means having at them with a power-plane, to remove a twist or a bump. On this job he straightened most of the surfaces, but he didn’t bother with the exterior wall. You know where this is going.
Naturally, that wall turned out to be a problem. The lower section of the wall was pretty flat, so the base cabinets went in easily. It wasn’t until we were installing the upper cabinets – three large, heavy units – that we realized we were in for some fun.
Here’s how we installed the upper cabinets plumb on an out-of-plumb wall and flat across their faces despite that bump.
I made a 1/8″ x 3/4″ scribe strip to hide the gap caused by the shims at the left end of the run.
Q: Can you explain the purpose of the numbers cast into the top of an old miter box? Obviously these have some relationship to the angle produced if you align the saw to one of these detents, but for the life of me I can’t figure out how the numbers are supposed to be read and used.
A: Those correspond to the angle required to cut a frame with that number of sides. So with the detent at 24 is the setting for a icosikaitetragon, at 12 for a dodecagon, at 8 for an octagon, at 6 for a hexagon, at 5 for a pentagon and at 4 for a tetragon. (And yes, I had to look up the proper name for a 24-agon.)
Thanks to South African woodworker Ray Deftereos, creator of “The Hand Tool Book Review,” for his kind words about Christopher Schwarz’s “The Anarchist’s Workbench:”
“I think it is safe to say that this is the definitive workbench book. And as a free resource for the electronic version, this is completely out of this world as a deal! Join me on today’s episode as I discuss why this is probably the only workbench book you will ever need.” To listen, click here.
Ray also made good use of the Creative Commons license for this book, by narrating the first chapter – it’s fun to hear Christopher’s words in someone else’s voice! You can listen to that by clicking here.