Nearly as bad as the complicated things happening to my bench yesterday.
Phew! I can certainly agree with the sentiments expressed by Peter Galbert in a recent post about learning from your mistakes. I’ve just spent about 4 hours or more upgrading my WordPress blogging software and making a complete hash of it. (Well some of the earlier attempts are timed at 14:30 yesterday and I finished off at about 7:15am this morning, did get a couple of hours sleep, mind.)
I suppose I knew already that people write instructions to make life easier for me, not just for fun. I do read instructions, it’s sometimes surprising what you learn. The instructions I read for this upgrade to a beta version of the software (well a bit more dangerous than that really it is described as “bleeding edge nightlies”. I mean these guys were not hiding anything. They also advised doing a backup first (done), and “do not install this on a live site unless you are adventurous”. Well, sounded like a bit of a challenge really. I was tempted by the improvements they were crowing about to the media handling, and I post quite a few pictures – have you noticed?
Ah well to cut a long story short I didn’t turn off the plugins, contrary to instructions. I think it may have been caused by making guacamole in mid upload, well it’s slow is FTP but still works, the old-timer, as old, if not older than The Internet itself! This failure to click about three buttons caused chaos and much FTP work uploading files, watching slow progress, deleting files, checking forum posts on the issues. But finally this morning it was working again, even the plugins, the most important of which dams up the stream of rubbish comments from spammers.
Anyway, just to counter my computerish story, here are some seasonal woody photos:
This is an interesting home-made vice or clamp, I can’t decide which. There are a couple of countersunk screw holes in the back jaw suggesting it has been mounted somewhere. On the other hand there is no garter to pull the front jaw out when the screws are loosened. I can’t find it in the excellent Salaman Dictionary of Tools, but I’m sure I’ve seen it somewhere – any suggestions? My brother bought it for me in exchange for a promise to make him a mandrel for remoulding a couple of brace of 18th century pewter tankards he picked up for a song.
The tankards just fit in nicely with my current Land Rover entertainment from Librivox: Barnaby Rudge by Charles Dickens. The story features The Maypole Inn (based on a real coaching inn in Epping Forest) where I’m sure pots like these must have been drunk from. Curiously they are assayed as pints but are not modern English pint-sized. This harks back to before the 1824 Weights and Measures Act which standardised the Imperial Pint across the British Empire at 568 ml whereas formerly the English pint varied and I guess these tankard measures are equivalent to the United States liquid pint (473 ml), I’ll check once the squareness has been taken out of them and some of the bumps.
For info, the rounder plane is still in refinement, getting the blade tuned in is proving not easy!
I’ve been having some time off making stock as people seem very unwilling to buy stock in January, and I’ve only just gotten started felling this year’s thinnings. I bought a vice screw some time ago, it’s this one. I made a rather ineffectual tail vice with it and it was beginning to fall apart only months later (the vice that is, the screw was perfectly OK). But now after quite some gestation I have a new bench with a tail vice, that I’m rather pleased about: It really is green woodwork too, but looks rather too refined for the rough old workshop in t’woods. I felled a decent-sized beech tree 2 years ago and it has been left in log since and is still rather green. I’ve left all the bolts accessible so adjustments can be made as the drying progresses. I expect there will be some planing to be done at least! The bench top is 3 1/4 ” thick and mounted on tenoned quarter log legs with 1 1/2″ round tenons (thanks Veritas). I put rungs across the short ends between the legs and then stacked a lot of wood on them to give some stability to the whole job. It does seem pretty solid, and I was amazed when the vice actually worked second time (after I’d relieved the hole in the vice jaw that the screw goes through, and was binding/threading). The finger joints are not particularly neat, but I think they are strong and glued and 3″ coach screwed as well: The vice runs in three (count ’em) runners, one running in a slot in the bench front. one in a slot in the bench end cap and a third one which is screwed to the bench underside runs in a saddle in the extension of the front jaw. The bench end cap is bolted on as are all the vice screw parts and the bench front edge which I will be drilling dog holes in as required. I was reading Peter Folansbee’s post on his Welsh Stick chair project this morning and his previous post on this subject had inspired me to buy “Welsh Stick Chairs” by John Brown. I’ve been putting off making a bow backed child’s chair for some time and I decided now was the time to make a Welsh stick chair version. I like the style’s unfussy simplicity. Anyways, Peter is making his legs octagonal. John Brown made his hexagonal (that’s 6-sided) – from square oak stock. Well I started with ash log about 6″ diameter, cleaved it in 6, cleaned the sharpest edges off with the axe and got it on the horse (wayhey! the new dumbhead) I was going to use the draw knife to make it square, and then hesitated about what the next step would be … hum .. making it octagonal is easy – just take off all the corners of a square and you’ve got 8 sides. 6 is a different kettle of white-clawed cray fish. So should I make two opposite sides into two sides each – yes that makes six, but then why would I make a two sides square and then knife them away – surely there’s a waste of time here, for four legs that means making eight sides square and then removing the work just done – doh! OK I definitely need two opposite faces parallel, let’s take the inside and outside of the log: OK so now I need four more faces. Hang on (thinks I), two of those existing faces look to have the correct angle already. They are the faces from the original splits. Going back to grammar school geometry (loved it) the external angles of a regular figure (like a hexagon for instance) add up to 360 degrees and therefore the external angle to the bottom (that is the now flatened centre) face is already 60 degrees, Whoopee! All I need do is put the two original split faces in turn down on the horse bed and cut the opposite surface parallel (well not really as the legs are tapered in their length as well). Turned out not too bad really: The light was going before I finished the last one of the larger rear pair. Speaking of which there should be an improvement in the colour of these pictures when I install a white under tarp inside the green one which currently casts a horrible green tinge on everything. Just need to source the said white tarp. The legs produced a host of business card material: Yesterday was a good day too, contractors turned up to take down the dead beech tree behind me that I’ve been having nightmares about, it made a hell of a crash when it came down: That’s only about half of it – it was around 3 foot at felling height.