stevenbunn Sun, 03/17/2019 - 13:23

Squirrel-tail Palm Planes

Two of my latest batch of squirrel-tail palm planes
 
One of the frequent questions my wife raises is 'is there anything you can make that will sell for $75.00 or less at a craft show?'  Up to now my answer has always been no. My chairs sell in the range of $1,000.00 apiece on up. When I go to shows I expect to make contacts with potential customers, but it rare for someone to purchase a chair on the spot. Still Ann's question has been nagging me for years. And, admittedly, I would like to make something small that would be attractive to the many woodworkers I speak with at shows.
Over the past several years I have spent more and more of my time in the shop working on a variety of specialized planes suitable for Windsor chair-making. One of the designs I recently came up with was a pair of prototype squirrel-tail palm planes, one with a flat sole and the second with a convex sole. After playing around with the design and putting the first planes through thier paces, I have made a first batch of the palm planes with convex radiused soles. As I write this post I have not yet heat treated the blades I ground for this batch of palm planes. I will get to that shortly.
 
My palm planes are available with bodies made from either quarter sawn european beech or tiger maple with european beech infill. The wedges are made using Central American rose wood.The planes are 1-3/8 inches in width, 4-3/4 inches in length, and stand 2-3/4 inches in hieght. The stop against which the wedge seats is reinforced with a brass rod running from side to side. As with all my plane blades, the blades for these planes are made using O-1 tool steel which I grind and heat treat myself. The blade for the palm plane is cut from 1 inch wide steel stock.
As well as selling these planes through my website, I will list several on ebay. The planes will sell for $75.00 plus shipping.
Questions or comments please contact me.
 
Thanks for stopping by, STB
stevenbunn Sun, 02/03/2019 - 12:18

New Chair-makers Plane with a Tote

 

My latest design of a chair-makers plane with a tote
 
I am listing one of my new chair-makers planes with tote on ebay. I am currently finishing up work on a batch of ten, but have not yet heat treated nor tempered the blades for that group of planes. Several are ready to go so I am interested in putting them up for sale to see what reactions to this latest design will be.
 
I have been working off and on for a number of years, is it six or eight?, to arrive at a design which I am satisfied with. I have a box full of earlier prototypes filled with rejects which I keep around to document the journey. I arrived at a workable design about three years ago, and used that plane at the Common Ground Country Fair, where I demonstrated Windsor chair making for three days. That particular variant lacked a front knob. I used it like some of the European design hand planes which lack a front knob. Three days saddling seat blanks left me with several impressions. The tote worked well, as well as the smaller plane I have used for years. But, the lack of a front knob meant that my hand partially obscured the plane's throat when I was bearing down on the front end of the plane. Adding a front knob to the design meant either lengthening the body of the plane, or reducing the throat opening. Neither option really appealed to me. On the other hand, using that plane made me realize that in use the plane iron could be taken in and out of the plane without the tote being in the way. This meant that I could shorten the length of the stock, allowing for the addition of a front knob, move the tote's forward, and still reduce the overall length by a good inch.
 
With this experience in hand, I made another prototype resulting in the design pictured above. The finished plane is 7-1/4 inches long, 2-1/8 inches in width, and 6 inches in hieght with the tote. The tote is secured to the stock of the plane with a sliding dovetail joint. This batch of planes uses a plane body laminated using cherry and maple.
I am asking $225.00 plus $17 and change for priority mail.
 
Thanks for dropping by. STB
stevenbunn Mon, 01/28/2019 - 20:01

Chair-maker Planes Listed on Ebay

One of my small chair-makers hand planes
 
I recently listed five of my latest batch of chair-maker planes for sale on Ebay. This plane is a must have tool for anyone wanting to make a Windsor chair. It performs the same task as a travisher, but in my opinion is easier to use, easily rolling in your hand to fit all the curves found in a chair seat. I use this plane to smooth the seat saddle after I have roughed out the saddle with a mallet and gouge. Made using maple and beech. The blade is made from O-1 tool steel which I have heat treated and tempered using a forge in my shop.
I have made hundreds of chair using a hand plane exactly like the one  pictured above. I ask $145.00 for each plane, plus shipping.
 
I have finalized my design for a larger sized chair-maker plane fitted with a tote. This version is roughly the size of a #2 bench plane. I have been working with several prototypes of this design now for about six years. Work with these prototypes has led me to pare down the plane in overall size and improve its performance to the point where I think the design is ready to introduce for sale. I am currently working on a batch of ten planes, sold under the imprint of Henge Hill Tools. These will also be listed on ebay when finished.
 
Thank you for dropping by. STB
stevenbunn Sat, 10/27/2018 - 14:49

Work in Progress

 

Two of three Tracy Fan-back side chairs I am making for a customer
 
Thank you to those of you who stopped by my demonstration at the Common Ground Country Fair. It was a pleasure to talk with you all. I think I ended up talking more about woodworking in general than Windsor chair-making. By the end of the day Sunday I had completely lost my voice.
 
Last week I was browsing through the college library looking for something interesting to read. I found a book "Preserved in the Peat" written by Andy M. Jones which describes the  archaeological excavation of a Bronze Age burial on Whitehorse Hill, in Dartmoor. "The dig revealed an unexpected intact burial with with an unparalled range of artifacts. The cremated remains had been placed with in a bearskin pelt and provided with a basketry container.... Within the container were beads of shale, amber, clay and tin, two pairs of turned wooden studs.
 
The wooden studs were radiocarbon dated to 3,709 +/- 33 BP (Before Present Era) No one seems to be able to say Before Christ anymore. This discovery of lathe turned wood is the earliest evidence of wood turning in Bronze Age Britian. Pretty cool and something I think is of interest to the those of us who are wood turners.
 
Thanks for stopping by. STB

 

stevenbunn Tue, 09/04/2018 - 12:56

Common Ground Countey Fair, 21, 22, 23 September 2018

 

Demonstrating Windsor chair-making at the Common Ground Fair
 
If you live in Maine or New Hampshire save the dates of the 21st thru the 23rd of September and join me at the 2018 Common Ground Country Fair. I will be demonstrating the craft of windsor chair-making in the Traditional Crafts area of the fair. This will be my twenty-first year in the Crafts area talking about and building windsor chairs over the course of the fair. In my shop I am a bit of a hermit. The fair gets me out of the shop and gives me the opportunity to show off my skills and talk literally to thousands of people over three days. Please stop by and say hello if you make it to the fair. STB
 

 

stevenbunn Mon, 03/26/2018 - 19:47

Learn To Make A Windsor Chair, Class Dates for 2018

 

 
I have updated the Classes page of my site to show the dates for this summer's Windsor chair-making classes. Students will build a Sack-back Windsor chair like the chair shown in the photo above during a week long class taught in my shop. Available class dates are scheduled from this coming June to October. Interested readers will find more information about the course by clicking the link taking you to the Classes page.
Please contact me if you have any questions. STB
stevenbunn Sat, 02/24/2018 - 16:41

Another batch of miniatures under construction

 

Partially assembled miniature Sackback Windsor chairs on my workbench.
 
I am currently working on a batch of eight miniature Windsor chairs. I spent this week turning legs and stretchers. Thirty-two legs, sixteen side stretchers and eight center stretchers. All split from green maple and then turned on my lathe. Tomorrow I will drill a mortise in each leg so that I can fit the stretcher subassemblies to each chair. With the under-carriages complete, I am going to turn to making the steam bent arm and back bows and the spindles.
I have documented the construction of an earlier group of miniatures in a series of posts previously published in this blog.
Thanks for dropping by.  STB
stevenbunn Sun, 01/28/2018 - 11:19

Drill and Router bit storage cabinet

 

The new storage cabinet built to consolidate all my drill and router bits
 
My collection of router and drill bits has grown like Topsy and was threatening to take over every drawer in my shop. Drill bits took up over three drawers in my primary tool box, router bits took up a drawer in the new Shaker bench, and a set of spur-auger bits still lurked in an antique tool chest I bought years ago. Any time I needed a particular bit I needed to remember which drawer or shelf that item resided in or on. Things were definately getting out of hand.
 
This has been a nagging on going problem. I started by putting together a plywood cabinet carcass with the intention of adding drawers as time permitted. I put the cabinet on wheels so that I could roll the cabinet to where ever I needed it at the moment. These concept died a slow death for three reasons; (1) I never got around to making the drawers, (2) I already had misgivings about drill and router bits simply being tossed in a drawer and getting banged up, (3) the feeling that drawers weren't the answer. As it turned out the rolling cabinet serves best as a place to put down lathe tools when I work at the lathe.
 
My personal take on tool storage goes against the current grain. The latest FWW Shops and Tools issue's cover features a beautiful open storage tool cabinet filled with sparkling clean shiny tools. When I see pictures like this I think that the the cabinetmaker either doesn't actually use his tools very much, or he spent a great deal of time cleaning things up before the photo was taken. My shop can look like King Tut's tomb with thick layers of dust and cobwebs (don't get me started on cobwebs) covering everything. My preference leans toward the Shaker vision of storage. Everything has a place and everything is put away in a drawer or behind doors at the end of each day.
 
I ended up making a simple pine box with a board and spline back, adjustable shelves, and flat panel doors. The carcase was dressed up with some left over molding so the crate looks a little less crate like. I spent a day laying out all the drill bits, grouping them by style and diameter, and laid out locations of drlled stopped holes for each bit. This frankly took more time than knocking together the cabinet. During all the hubbub of laying things out I had to allow room for the inevitable future purchase of additional drill and router bits. I finished the case up by turning Shaker style knobs from some scrap cherry. The new storage cabinet was screwed to the wall beside my drill press.
 
Being forced to empty every drawer and lay out all the drill bits that have accumulated over time made me take stock of what I had. Not a bad thing. If only I could explain to myself how I ended up with four 3/8 inch dia. brad point bits?
 
Thanks for stopping by. STB
stevenbunn Tue, 12/26/2017 - 19:34

Merry Christmas

A new Sack-back design based on photos found in an old brochure printed by an antique dealer of a antique Windsor in his possession.
 
This chair was started while I was at the Common Ground Country Fair this past September. More information about the construction of this chair may be found by scrolling down thru this blog and reading several earlier posts.
 
I hope that all who visit this site have had a wonderful Christmas Holiday with those they love. Happy New Year!
stevenbunn Wed, 11/15/2017 - 10:15

Making New Saw Handles for Several Old Saws

New handles made for two of my older saws
 
After an awful lot of discussion we cut the cord to the TV. No more cable, just programs we can stream on the internet. For Ann this has meant binge-watching the BBC's Call of the Midwife. I have been watching every Utube video on saw sharpening and saw making that I can find. Some of this knowledge was put to use two weeks ago when we lost power for four days. I spent my time sharpening hand saws by candle light out in my shop. This got a great laugh when Bob stopped by. Very eighteenth century. It was a cloudy day so what else could I do.
 
Watching Andrew Milacci's U-tube video on making a dovetail saw from a cheaper gents saw inspired me to retrofit several of my older, but not antique, saws with new but old-pattern handles. The Blackburn Tools site, www.blackburntools.com, has a number of traditional saw handle profile templates, drawn to scale, which may be printed off and then used to make a new handle for one of your saws. In the photo you see one of the templates which has been first, glued to a handle blank, and then second, used as a pattern for drilling and curring out the handle. Shaping the handle blank after cutting it out with the band-saw was done using a small carving knife. Nothing fancy or difficult. Frankly, cleaning the new handle up with sand paper took more time than the time spent roughing out the handle with the carving knife.
 
The split saw-nuts used on the back saw were purchased from Blackburn Tools as was a saw-nut screw driver made by Blackburn.
Next on the list of to-do's is to install a new saw back on a Sorby Kangaroo medallion back-saw which I picked up at an estate sale. Readers wanting more information on British made back-saws can visit Back-saws.org. It is a great site and I highly recommend it if you are looking for more information about an older back-saw in your collection.
 
Thanks for dropping by.  STB

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