Monday, October 14, 2013

New Adze and a Stack of Reamers for WIA.

Prototype mountain.

For the past six months I have been developing an adze with Pete Galbert.  The intent has been to make a tool that is intuitive to use, easy to control, and doesn't wear out your forearm.  My shop has been overflowing with prototypes and woodchips throughout the process.  Above is but a selection of the prototypes (sans blades).  I am sure that Pete could contribute at least another half dozen to my pile.

I've made bevel-in blades and bevel-out blades, tools balanced with the weight forward of the handle, centered on the handle, and behind the handle, straight handles and extremely curvaceous handles, and I've attached them to the heads at every angle that I could imagine.  I'm pleased to say that we have settled on a geometry and design and I will have two to take with me to Woodworking in America later this week.

More details about the adze soon, just a couple of teasers for now.  I'm thrilled with the looks and performance and I can't wait to get them into other peoples hands.  So if you are going to be at WIA, PLEASE come by and chop up some pine with one of them.  Chips will be flying and we will be making a mess, join in the fun.  I'll be setting up with Pete, Claire Minihan (amazing travishers!), and Caleb James, who I think is bringing some of his planes along.  Stop by to try out some tools and talk chairs and chairmaking.  Oh man!  And to check out the new Drawsharp drawknife sharpener.  I've been using an early prototype for the past few months and I love it.  I've been oogle-ing the pictures that Jameel Abraham posted on the Benchcrafted blog for the past week or so in spare moments.  I can't wait to see the finished tool.

Also for the first time ever I will have reamers available for purchase with no wait.  So stop by and try one out as well.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

A Slipstrop

My new slipstrop.

I finish sharpening most of my tools with a strop.  The give of a leather strop ever so slightly reaches around all of the imperfections in my sharpening technique, while only rounding the edge a small amount.  Not enough to interfere with future sharpening.  I have used a few techniques to strop the insides of gouges, adzes, and inshaves in the past, but I've never been quite satisfied with any of them, until yesterday.

Slipstrop next to my standard strop for comparison.

I used to keep a specially shaped wooden blocks or various dowels charged with stropping compound bouncing around on my workbench, or some other inconvenient place.  These invariably made their way into my scrap bin eventually.  Then I would make another, which would also find its way into the bin, or linger too long on my bench top or window sill encouraging an exponential growth of clutter.  When I grew tired of that routine I found I could usually work the corner of my regular strop (a little over 1" wide) into the inside of most curves.  This basically worked, but it was a bit awkward, and I never felt like I could apply the amount of pressure that I wanted.  Enter the slipstrop.

Strops and a favorite gouge.

This week while forcing my too wide strop into the inside of an adze, I thought of those fine little slipstones that fit nicely in the hand and can be used to work the insides of these curved tools.  I pulled a piece of 1/4" scrap out of my bin, cut and glued a piece of leather to one edge, and in ten minutes I had the perfect tool for the job.  This narrow strop is versatile and will work in all of my curved tools that my wider strop can't reach into.  Instead of having a special block or dowel to keep track of for various tools, I have just this one strop.  Now I just have to drill a hole in it and hang it up so it doesn't clutter up my bench top and find its way back to the scrap bin.

Hold it like a slip stone and strop away.