Friday, November 16, 2012

Blog Posting and Restoring Old Tools

         Ugh. It's been a shamefully long time since my last blog post, but it my defense, the huge gap between post was most definitely not the result of emptiness in my everyday life. But I'm hoping to post more often from now on, first because I hope to be doing more in my shop and second, because I have a new outlook on blogging. First off, I realized my blog is not mandatory. It's simply exists from my own desire to have one. No one tells me what to write. I use it to express my observations and accomplishments in something that interests me; and because this is the internet, I really don't have to worry if it interests everyone. Because of  the universal reaches of the internet and something called Google Translate, I'm not at a lack of an audience. So, if I just write what interests me, there's bound to be someone else who's interested. In addition, I don't know how many times I've found myself reading someone's blog post simply because I was bored; which is why we're all on the internet in the first place, right? Haha. Well, enough with my rambling and on with the post...whether your interested or not!

         Lately I've found myself becoming more and more interested in restoring and using old hand tools. The idea of taking something 50, 70, or even 100 years old, and bringing it back to close to it's original condition (can't reverse 100 years of character) and then using it to create something new is something I find so fascinating.  This post I'll focus on a small hand drill I purchased this summer at a lawn sale for 8 bucks.
         The drill is a Miller Falls No. 3. The drill was made in 1910, so it's about 102 years old! But don't let it's age fool you works WAY better than my 5 year old Stanley hand drill. Here's a couple pictures.

Here's the drill as it was before the clean up. Dirty, rusty, and looking it's age.

There was tons of dirt and grime in the gears.

McCoy's Springless Chuck
     The drills chuck actually is a unique one. Most other chucks have a circular opening where the jaws come out. In hand drills like this it can result in the jaws shifting to the sides and not getting a firm grip on the bit. This one, however, is machined with individual slots for each jaw to eliminate this problem. Definitely a good design feature.
     On to the clean up/restore. I'm no professional antiques restorer, so please don't be too critical on my methods or even the results. All I am seeking to achieve through my attempts at restoration is to bring the tool to a useable state and at the same time look a whole lot better. I'm not making museum pieces. With that said, here's the some pics of the finished tools.

Before: Note tarnished caps on handles and overall dullness from rust.
After: Note cleaned and shiny accents and removal of rust.
Wow! You can actually read the words stamped on the crank. 
                                                              Millers Falls Co.
                                                                      No. 3
                                                     Millers Falls Massachusetts

              The detachable handle has storage for bits! Also the crank handle in the background, was COMPLETELY seized up and I had to free that up. Note again the shiny brass toned accents which at first I didn't even realize where there!

The back of the drill. I cleaned out between each tooth of the gears and lubed them. I also disassembled the chuck and cleaned that out.

       I'm not for sure how long this took to do, but really don't care cause it was fun! Anyways, now I have a great looking, 102 year old hand drill that works like a champ! Not bad for 8 bucks!
 This isn't the only old tool I "restored" recently though. Here's a couple of pics of some others I worked on in the past few months. 

Here's a really nice pair of dividers I got a lawn sale (my favorite store).

Millers Falls Brace No. 322 ? The lower handle on this was also seized up.

Miller's Falls Two-Speed Breast Drill No. 119A

I hope you enjoyed seeing these pictures! I know it was a blast for me to restore these! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more post ahead. I'm not lying this time!! :)         

Monday, August 27, 2012

Stanley Bedrock 606

       I know that it's been a ridiculously long time since I've posted anything on this blog and I apologize to any of you who might actually read it. The gap in posts is due partially to the fact that there hasn't been really all that much to blog about and I really haven't had the time or ambition to post anything. So I thought I'd get back into the blogging mood here and start off with reviewing (otherwise known as bragging if we're honest with ourselves) a new tool I bought recently.
       I was going yard sale "shopping" which is a favorite pastime of mine. I found this one yard sale with a large amount of tools and equipment. I scoured for any goodies and items of interest and found none. I was about to leave when something caught my eye. A hand plane. I went to check it out and was surprised at what I saw. For my readers who don't have an extensive knowledge of tools, what I say next will mean almost nothing, but I'll say it anyways. The hand plane was a Stanley Bedrock-No. 606-corrugated bottom-Stanley Sweetheart Iron. Basically, quite the find! Needless to say I grabbed it up paid the 15 bucks the guy wanted and went home with a giant smile on my face, a smile made even larger by the couple other tools I picked up later that day, including a 1910 hand drill. (More on that later) So anyways here's some pics.

The plane was quite dirty when I bought it so I gave it a thorough cleaning. It's in very good condition considering it's age (1925-1934 range)! It has very little rust (mainly on the blade) and the japanning (black paint on the body) is probably 95% there which is good. The sole (bottom) of the plane has pretty much no rust on it and the tote handle and knob are in good shape. So I looked this plane up online and found other ones in similar condition selling in the $200 dollar range! $15 bucks for a $200 dollar plane isn't bad at all! Here are some more pics.

 The "Bed Rock" line of planes were simply a heftier and more accurate model that featured some improvements in the sole and some highly innovative changes to the frog mating surfaces and frog adjustment system.
Model number. (Notice the nearly complete japanning)

The signature bedrock frog which made "chatter" much less of a problem.

The easy-to-access frog adjustment screws.

Here's the corrugated sole. Basically all this is a sole with grooves so it glides smoother (supposedly) and it makes it easier to flatten the sole if you need to.

Hope you enjoyed seeing pics of this! Soon here I hope to give it a good tuning up and sharpening and then well see how this 80+ year old beast works! Thanks see ya next time!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

"New" Planer

I've been needing a planer for quite awhile and after much shopping and searching around, I finally purchased this one on Craigslist. It's a Craftsman 12 inch planer which I can find absolutely no information on anywhere on the internet. Strange. However I did find a manual and Sears still sells parts, so I'm happy with that. It's slightly used but in overall very good condition, and being my first planer, I'm very please with it. Well, I'll skip to some photos now!

 The planer is quite the little beast for a benchtop style. It's got a 2 1/2 hp motor and 12" by 5 1/2" capacity and a four post height adjustment system which makes for a much more stable cutterhead. The height adjustment gauge is quite accurate and easy to read. Overall a very good planer.

We've had these old pallet boards lying around for years. (Waiting around to be passed through a planer I guess) So after taking some intial test cuts with some poplar, I passed one of these through to see how the planer would do and what exactly was underneath the weathered surface of the board.

Can you guess which one is the before and which is the after? Haha! Yeah, after the first pass through the planer what I saw a beautiful oak board! Hey what a great way to start of my planing experience!

When I first went to use the planer the boards would not feed through and the feed rollers kept spinning out on the boards. My heart sank. What was wrong? Well I had noticed earlier that the previous owner had never taken off the original plastic bed protector and it had been peeling up everywhere and was causing wood to grab. Well I took that all off and polished the bed and Voila! it worked like a dream. So I'm glad that wasn't anything worse.

Here's my temporary dust collection system. After planing the first board, I realized my that my need for dust collection/control was increasing with every board foot. So...

          ...this has to be emptied out promptly so I won't be buried alive by sawdust.

  Now I can finally get around to cleaning up all those rough cut boards cluttering up my shop!
                                                                   Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Homemade Saw Vise

For Christmas, I received a DVD on saw sharpening, something I've wanted to learn to do for a long time. Well, I watched the dvd and made a list of what I'd need. Dull handsaw. Check. Triangle file of proper size and length. Check. Saw vise. What? A saw vise!? I had forgotten a very important element of saw sharpening; a saw vise. I didn't have the money to buy one, so it was out to the shop to dig through my pile of scraps and see what I could create. Now ideally a vintage metal saw vice is the best route, but I didn't have the cash and, hey, I'm a woodworker, it had to be made from wood. First I browsed around for pictures of other peoples homemade saw vices, just to get some ideas. Next I got to work on my Sketch-Up program and designed the vice which ended up looking different from all the other designs I'd seen. Oh well, it's designed to suit my needs. Well, again I will skip the jabber and hop to the fun stuff. Pictures!

First I started by making the bevel on the edge of the jaws. The jaws and handles are made from African Mahogany. I've used this on several projects in the past and you're probably wondering why I use this expensive wood on something like this? Well, I didn't have anything else and I didn't pay very much at all for this wood when I bought it. So that's why. :)

 Then I cut out the coves on the bandsaw. These allow the jaws to fit into the area near the handle where it's tight.

Here are the side, legs, jaw pieces, whatever there called. But here they are. I made them out of 3/4 inch baltic birch plywood. I narrowed the ends for I suppose no other reason then because it looked good.

I wanted this one to be adjustable for different heights of benches or people. So I routed grooves to allow for the bracket which I show later.

I used my 45 degree bit to countersink the grooves for the bolts which will hold the bracket.

Here's the cam/locking mechanism lever for tightening the vise. I could have used a knob to tighten, but I like the idea of a quick locking lever. I'll show you how this is made.

My first lever was made from one piece of wood and that proved to be a bad idea because of the pressure exerted on the lever was too much and it cracked. So...I decided to make a new laminated one and that did the trick. The alternating grain directions really strengthened it.

For the pivot of the lever I needed a custom designed piece. This is where my dad comes in. He's good with all the metal stuff so he was the brains behind this. First we drilled a hole in a piece of rod.

                                                      Then we tapped and threaded the hole.

For the lever I drill a whole my good old hand-powered brace and a 1/2 inch auger bit. The whole is slightly offset so it can have that tightening action.

                             Then I routed the clearance slot so that the lever can actually pivot.

Allright, back to the rest of the vise. Here I am drilling the holes in the jaws to attach them to the jaw leg things.

Here's the bracket for to make it adjustable. You can use this bracket to clamp the vise to the bench.

Here's the back of the bracket. The small notches cut into the sides allow for free movement of the wing nuts that allow me to tighten or loosen the bracket.

                                                           Here's the assembled vise.

It holds the saw very well, which, to be honest, is better than I expected. Even when the saw is only held by the end, it still holds quite firmly. The basic job of the vice is the hold the saw still and keep the saw from vibrating, which this vise does very well. So all in all I am pleased.

So I set to work sharpening my saw. I practiced with a rip saw which because the sharpening file is held at 90 degrees it makes the process easier. Here's a pic of the tools I used. From left: File held at 90 degrees in a piece of wood, a 6 inch extra slim triangle file, and a saw set I inherited from my grandfather. I finished sharpening the saw and it worked beautifully! I love sharp tools! Thanks for reading!