10 April 2021

Roubo Frame Saw & First Time Working with Ash - oh my

 I took the week off from work and am starting a new project.  I am build a Roubo frame saw using the kit from Blackburn Tools.  For the frame I am making it from rough sawn spalted ash (57" long x 8" wide x 2" thick that Blackburn tools was kind enough to sell to me at the height of the pandemic).

Last week, I didn't mind taking a cherry board down from 1/2" to quarter inch.  This ash is a much harder wood and I wish I had a bandsaw (I am saving for one).  I don't so I am doing it by hand tools.  Needless to say, it is quite the workout.  I've cut out and dimensioned the arm handle pieces.  Now, I need to "just" need rip out and final dimension the two stretchers.  Wish me luck.

Though, I'd prefer not to do this work, I will admit there is some satisfaction from doing it.  Can't wait till I have a bandsaw.

03 April 2021

Mongo Work Good

 About a year or two after I started woodworking, I built my first hand plane from a Lee Valley kit.  I decided that I needed a fore plane after reading some of Chris Schwarz's writings on coarse, medium, fine tools.  I made it out of scraps of laminated oak (body) and pine (handle).  It is ugly but beautiful as is light, powerful, and works very well.  I named it Mongo (based on a character from Blazing Saddles movie) as it seemed to fit the brute strength and simplicity of the tool.  Despite a huge wide open mouth, I get very little tear out if I use it for finer work.  The 8"ish radius camber on the blade works exceptionally well at hogging off material and thinning boards. 

Recently, I had a 1/2" thick piece of maple I wanted to use in a frame and panel construction.  I wanted the panel to be 1/4" thick.  I could have done a lot of other things to use the 1/2" thick stock.  But, I wanted what I wanted.  I've often found what matters most to me isn't what I make but rather how I make it.  I wanted it to be 1/4" thick because that is what I wanted.  It took a fair bit of muscle to get it there but I felt great satisfaction.  There was a slight increase in complexity because to get the best grain flow, the two laminated pieces had the grain raising in opposite directions and it required a bit more attention to avoid tear out.

Every time I look at the frame panel, I will smile because I will know what I did.  I even left some of the scallops on the inside non show face face so I could feel it as well.  This seemingly insignificant decisions will bring me joy for the remainder of my life because like Frank said, "I did it my way."