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June 29, 2011
In my last post I made a coopered door for a new cabinet I’m building. The design features two curved doors, the one coopered and the other a bent lamination and mirror image, although taller version of the first. ( coopered on left hand side opening out and away from center )
They’re both absolutely and over the past four days, painfully concave! ; )
The shape of this piece, once complete, may or may not reflect the inspiration I’ve taken from a famous building here in ‘down town’ Toronto. Seeing as the wood itself was unearthed from this urban graveyard I thought the shape should instantly reflect this unique city where I live and work.
‘Center of the Universe’ or so I’ve been told.
As for bent lamination work, you don’t find much in hand tool shops and I’ve strayed away from it over the last three years in my own ‘hand tool only’ wood shop for the reason of the labor involved and the accuracy needed in manufacturing. Veneer work is another example. Whenever I use veneers I prefer to use my own shop made veneer and again the challenges are wrapped up in what boils down to sawing and accuracy. The power tool shop can resaw boards on a band saw and I’ve done my share using my ‘ol Corporate Kangaroo, 28″ rip saw. Not ideal but I’ve done it.
Stock used for bent lamination or ‘real’ veneer work is a different story and generally in the area of 1/8″ in thickness. It can be a challenge to keep an accurate and consistent saw kerf while working with thin dimensions like these so I’ve been working on a system to achieve better results.
The first and obvious tool involved is my new frame saw.
I’ve been experimenting with different forms and saw blades but soon realized the problem wasn’t entirely in the saw I was using but a missed step in the process. I’m saving my new frame saw design for a little while longer but would like to give you a ‘sneak peak’ at another new hand tool I’ve come up with that will really help in the resawing process.
I think we can all agree that the saw, assuming it’s properly set and sharp etc… will follow the path of least resistance. For the sake of resawing, while trying to maintain absolutely consistent results ( 1/8″ in this case ) and not drifting and wandering off and sometimes out of the face of the stock, I realized that if I could first establish a deep enough scribe line all the way around the perimeter of the board then the saw should in theory follow it. My first instinct was how can I make this scribe line wider and deeper.
I looked at my small plow plane from Veritas and tried plowing a groove around the perimeter of the stock for the saw blade to follow. The path of least resistance remember?
It worked but I was left with a wider groove than nessecary. All I really wanted was something the saw plate would track into.
I thought briefly about filing the narrowest iron I had for the plow and trying that to achieve the thinner kerf I was after but it would be incredibly thin and potentially dangerous to both the tool, the wood and the user. The fires burning as I thought the problem through and as I glance across my moulding planes it hit me.
I could make a moulding plane style hand tool and instead of an iron I’ll install a saw blade.
With a pre-determined fence built into the profile of the tool I’d be able to saw/plane a kerf exactly where I want it from the board face working down to a set depth, again the profile of the tool, and give myself this perfect ‘track’ for the frame saw blade ( or large panel/ back saw ) to follow. Guess what- it works!
I made a stair saw about 7 years ago as well as another small tenon saw with adjustable depth skate and this seemed like a natural evolution from the two previous designs. Having the idea burning and the earlier experience making the other special purpose saws I started messing about.
What I’ve come up with is something I call a ‘Kerfing Plane’.
Now before you email me for specs I’ll tell you that they’ll all be in my new book. The plans, the procedure to make one with multiple profiles and yes, even a resource to purchase blades! ( I’ve got kids to feed ~ ; )
In this bent lamination I’m working with a stock 1″ thick and only 3″ in width. The same procedure can be done with larger stock as well but resawing will be covered in another post down the road. This series of photos will continue along the slippery slope of working with ’round’ furniture.
Both of these articles are only a quick look into the world of building curved furniture using only hand tools but both topics, coopered doors and bent lamination ( as well as bending wood, shop sawn veneer and all the shop made tools to go along with those techniques ) will be covered much more extensively in my new book destined for 2012.
Here’s a brief run down on my bent lamination process and of course, using only hand tools.
An elegant piece of lateral thinking.
Moveable fence version would be useful hmmmmmm……….
New book!?! When are you hoping for it to be out?
Ok Tom, now you’ve really got my attention…..this is real woodworking, with perspiration, making wood work for you in this way makes complete sense with the Kerfing Plane.
How many times have i tried by hand to line up a guide board to run a kerf line accurately around all sides like your simple device manages with very little error if any.
A massive well done,… one small step for hand tools, and one giant step for hand tool kind.
Brilliant ideas come from years of struggling to make things simple eh!
That’s thinking! I’ve read some discussions raised in blogosphere about hand-powered resawing, latest from the Village Carpenter blog, but nothing along these lines. Fame may come your way for this illumination!
Right Tom, now you’ve done it! It’s not even july 2011 and you put out teasers for your new book due in 2012…..repeat, 2012!!
For the next article please include a manual on how to come through this wait 🙂
(let me guess…make lots af shavings and sawdust?)
On a more serious note; very informative article on bent laminations with tools thought out and made in the Hand Tool Shop…..excellent!
Thank you for sharing (and of coarse you have me very curious to see the next part of the process, let alone the finished piece)
This is a great series of articles Tom! Resawing by hand can be such a bear and you just made it significantly easier. Maybe you can sell your design to Lee Valley ; ) Can’t wait to see the bowsaw. I’m really excited about this project in general – i’ve wanted to get more into curved work but there is so little out there on how to do it in a hand tool shop. Keep’em coming.
New Orleans, LA
Tom… you are my hero.
I can hardly wait to read your next book. I know that it will be superior to your last. Are you planning to include a project on building a tool cabinet for all of your hand tools – please?
Why not steam bend instead of the approach you took? Seems like less work. Am I missing something?
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