The broadaxe I ordered from Highland Woodworking finally arrived after a short backorder, and what a beauty! My brother bought this for me as a gift, he knew that I was in the market looking for one. I thought I’d wind up getting some rusticle on ebay that belonged to an old tie hacker or the like, to have a new tool of this quality is wonderful. And quality it is, the steel holds a keen working edge, even through the knots on the pine around here (ponderosa, lodgepole).
I decided that a right hand scissor grind would be the best fit for what I want to do with it, namely hew square timbers. I know from watching Youtube videos that if you want to get serious about hewing large beams there are much broader and heavier axes out there. I played around with it for as long as my forearms would bear on some short sections of log I use as cribbing, no material to work as of yet…bummer, because there’s real pleasure and joy in hewing work, and its faster than sawing beams with my maebiki-oga. Now if I get a log with excessive butt flare I can square it down a bit and make it more reasonable to saw. Now if I only had an adze…haha.
I put the plow plane to work cutting the tongue and groove on the backing for my piece of cabinet work.
I couldn’t get a good shot of the tongue cutting blade. What I have managed to show is the poor shaving escapement. Veritas, who makes this plane, include a shaving deflector with every tongue cutting blade. So I have three of these little deflectors that fit in the depth stop on the right side of the plane and seem to be very little help, not sure what they were thinking there. But if you take a sufficiently thick shaving it does tend to jump free of the plane body and keep from tangling up.
I processed the tongue and groove on all of the pine for the cabinet back, though I’ve since made a design change and will need to re-saw a bit more.
I’m using miters on the edges of the dovetails that connect the bottom shelf to the sides, so I thought I better give the joint a practice try.
Now I have to through dovetail across the width of these white ash panels, no easy task, especially when the panel is 80″ long and you can’t clamp it vertically to saw the tails. I’ve been practicing my dovetailing technique with the board leaning diagonally on a low saw horse, we’ll see how accurate I can be in an difficult sawing position. I spent several hours making up story sticks. Idiot sticks! There’s one for the elevation and two for each of the plan views. In the photo above I’m using one to gauge the needed panel width so I can set my large kebiki gauge.
There was a bit of damage to one of the panels that I wasn’t able to remove when planing to thickness, so I decided to lay in a patch.
The low angle block plane and shooting board ensure that the edges of the patch are jointed square.
I then used a plunge mortising bit in my electric router to take out most of the waste. I’ve been making a very conscious effort with this piece to use all of my power tools to their maximum ability to save me time. It’s still taken probably sixty hours or so for me to dimension all of the material (maybe 80, I didn’t keep track), and I’m feeling the lack of a planer and jointer. Unfortunately Chris Hall’s blog “thecarpentryway” has me convinced that good machines only exist in far and away places such as Germany and Japan, and they don’t export easily. Maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration, but I know enough about machine tools today not to want to spend my money easily for a big box store machine that will never be capable of decent accuracy and can’t handle the sizes of half of the material I need to process.
The grain match for the patch way okay, but I missed on the colour. Looks cool! Looks hopefully like I give a shit about what I’m making.
Here I have the elevation story stick clamped to one side of the panel. I transferred all of the marks and then brought a line square across with my sashigane. After clamping the story stick to the opposing side I checked that all of the marks lined up with the square, to make sure that my initial line at the bottom was truly square. When you play around with the sashigane a bit you’ll notice that how you hold it does have an effect on accuracy, and I can see why I might want a really large try square that could give more consistent registration on the edge of the board.
Trimming to my bottom line that will take the through dovetails with a low angle block plane and edge block clamped to avoid blowing out the corner.
I finished today with marking the mortises that house the shelf tenons. I’ve done another piece of cabinet work with through tenons on the shelving, but not a wedged tenon. So when it came time for me to decide on the dimensions and placement of these wedged tenons it occurred to me that they need to be wedged against the edge grain of the mortise, not the side grain. I say that because I did a search online for examples of this technique, and found plenty of examples where a wider tenon was used and wedged such that it would expand against the side grain of the panel, a sure recipe for splits. Thus we arrive at these small little tenons placed closer together. And would you guess who I found searching online using this technique? Chris Hall building a bookshelf….