Safety mortising

I have always rather struggled with making mortices. Tenons are less of a problem.  Getting the waste out of the mortice hole and avoiding bruising the shoulders was always a challenge. Having made a couple of handfuls of M&T joints on the joined stool following P Folansbee Esq’s advice, I have more confidence in setting out and bashing away at the chisel, and now I can produce a reasonably sharp mortice chisel.  However, I have refined my own technique a little.  Following an expensive break out of the side of a stool leg mortice I now cramp the sides to avoid accidents.

SAMSUNG CSCLooks a little industrial I realise, but essentially the wooden screw cramp is holding the sides of the stool leg in its grip.  Because the leg is pentagonal (more later) I need a V-block (thanks David) in the cramp as well.  Then one holdfast is pinning the cramp to the bench.  Just to make sure everything is good and solid I have another holdfast pinning down the leg itself. (Blimey!  That chisel edge looks rather close to the holdfast – Ed).

Now then (as we like to say in Yorkshire), the softener under the second holdfast comes in very handy as a sacrificial fulcrum for the chisel, thus saving the edge of the mortice.

SAMSUNG CSCThis gives me leave to get some muscle into the mallet and extract large amounts of waste in one go and speed the whole process up.

SAMSUNG CSCOK that’s actually the top end of the mortice which is not seen as it will be inside the joint.  I now also appreciate how important it is to start off using the chisel with the bevel facing the ends of the mortice, makes levering out the waste much easier, and then using the flat side when approaching the shoulders and then turning it round again to lever out the waste at the ends, so the fulcrum is the top end of the bevel which is down in the hole, not at the shoulder.

I have also filed a mark on the chisel at 1 and 3/8ths for 1 and 1/4 inch tenons.  This makes getting the correct depth much easier.

SAMSUNG CSCSeems to work.

SAMSUNG CSCIt was quite a worry working out what the shape of the legs should be for a joined three-legger.  I did lots of drawing on charcoal bags and test leg end grain, but finally reverted to schoolboy geometry, or what I remembered of it.

SAMSUNG CSCThe angle of the nose is very off-putting when starting from square timber and using one only of the square corners.  I have about 2 weeks to finish this stool for a competition, but at the end of today I have all the aprons fitting properly  and the top nearly done, and the rails ready for making the second tenons.  Phew.

It was Harlow Carr‘s Taste of Autumn last weekend, which was a really good event, lots of visitors and fine weather (apart from a little rain on the Saturday morning, which we won’t mention).

Owen Jones MBE was there making his beautiful and very practical swill baskets.  I must say his shelter is very enviable for its small size (mind you he doesn’t have to accommodate a flippin’ pole lathe).

SAMSUNG CSCWe were also delightfully entertained by the Barrow Band singing their hearts out about fruit and veg.

SAMSUNG CSCIt was a grand taste of Autumn (even tastier if I can get the Shitake inoculated log to bear fruit).

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That chair again, and that time of year.

 

SAMSUNG CSCThis looks like a step backwards.  Well it is.  This chair is taking over my life.  In the last update it had taken on a vile Victorian upright habit to its back.  It was difficult to spt as the chair sat in the bodgery with that very uncertain floor, consisting of 18 inches of shavings.  Only when sat in the trailer again did the error become obvious.

Now, a comfortable chair has a relaxed back.  And a shepherd’s chair, which in theory was a chair where a shepherd could fall asleep at lambing time, should be so relaxed.  Straight backs to chairs do not induce, nor allow sleep.  Mind you, following the Law tradition I can fall asleep anywhere – sitting on two bricks (father-style), standing up, playing the clarinet (that’s me), whilst driving … (steady on – Ed).

Turns out that the straight back was a result of chopping the mortices in the back legs at  the mirror-image angle to what they ought to have been chopped. Doh!

Now it looks likes this:

SAMSUNG CSCThe back is relaxed.  Phew!  Dig those trailer side fastenings.

So apart from making an almost impossible (for me) chair, this is what’s been happening (omitting mundane things like: two swans with three cygnets on t’canal; Canadian canoe shooting The (very dangerous) Strid (twice); making animal courses (less internal organs); vegetable growing (especially that vertical pumpkin); scything (sorry Steve, a vast topic); and so on, (this has been happening) int’wood.

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LOADS of fungi.  These are Black Bulgari.  They grow on dead oak, I keep on telling myself, “This is why we remove the bark and sapwood.”

Almost edible (but goes soggy when cooked):

SAMSUNG CSCRed cracking bolete.

Didn’t identify this one, but grows on oak roots:

SAMSUNG CSCLooks boleteous to moi.

Then, these guys appeared in the outfall of the lathe:

SAMSUNG CSCThis is Deer Shield “Edible. but not worthwhile.” It says here.  It’s a bit odd sharing your work space with flora and fauna. They shrews were suddenly very active a couple of days ago, rushing about every couple of minutes or so. I thought it was just me rushing about at this time of year – see you at The National Forest Wood Festival next Monday (if you don’t happen to be on one of my next three courses).

 

Two legged chair

Well, it will be six-legged by next Wednesday!

This is what it looks like today:

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I’ve been working on the back today, between getting stuff ready for Otley Show etc. The two ‘horns’ on the ends of the crest rail will be removed after final assembly, they are just there so I can whack the thing together/apart. It now fits together, so I’ve drilled the 5/16ths holes in the crest rail, but not in the tenon yet, as they will be draw-bored.  That is, the hole through the mortice marked onto the tenon and then offset and the hole drilled a might closer to the tenon shoulders to pull the joint together, pure 15th century magic.

I had fun setting out the outline of the top.  The middle section I drew as two overlapping arcs to get an interesting shape.

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Then I drew in the curves above the top of the stiles. Good what can be done with a pencil and a piece of string, eh?
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The crest rail’s chamfer and lambs tongues (merp!) are marked out but will be cut in situ at Hawes next week when I assemble the whole thing including hammering in pegs, cursing, adjusting, wishing I’d done some things differently, growling, chatting with the public, and hopefully finally relaxing in said shepherds chair (Didn’t appreciate you were a shepherd as well as all the other stuff I notice – Ed. I’m not – FS)
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