Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sargent 106 - A Good Little Plane

If you are like me, you have favorite tools, and this little plane is one of mine. It's a Sargent 106 block plane and it has just about everything I find pleasing in a tool: functionality, style, and a connection to the past.

It may or may not be "collectible", but I'm a user! Besides, what kind of life would it be sitting on a shelf, watching all the other planes make shavings? And this plane is a really good performer too. It doesn't have a tight mouth, it's non-adjustable, it doesn't have a low angle iron, but it is a plain-old, straight-up, worker. And at just under 5 1/2 inches, I can use it one handed without worrying about dropping it.

Style wise, I love how this plane looks. The "gull-wing" screw on the lever cap is just cool!

I'm not sure where this plane came from - I look for old tools EVERYWHERE. I think I found it in a junk/antique store in Redmond, Oregon. I'd love to know how many others used it before me, and on what projects. At least one of them left his or her mark on it. If you look carefully (you might need to click to enlarge) you can make out what looks like "TED" but is actually "T.E.B" scratched into the cheek of the plane. On the other cheek is what looks like a Social Security number (not shown). I'd love to know more about T.E.B.

I'd also like to know how old this plane is. I think it is on the older side, but I don't have enough information to be sure. Here's the little I know. I haven't seen many of the "gull-wing" style 106's in the wild or on the bay, which makes me think it is on the old side. It doesn't have the VBM logo which Sargent used something like 1910 - 1918. But is this pre or post VBM? The logo on the iron is an oval, with "Sargent & Co. New Haven, CT" surrounding a sort of double arrow design. Here's a closer shot of the logo:

If anyone has any information about Sargent 106 block planes, Sargent logos, or knows any good online sources of information, I'd appreciate hearing about them. For that matter, any information on a woodworker from central Oregon with the intials T.E.B. would be great too :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Woodstove Fence - Complete and Installed

The fence for the woodstove is finally finished! Yes!

Here's a shot showing the hinged gate section in the open position. This will allow us to easily add wood to the stove or clean out the ashes. It was also the biggest headache of the whole project.

This view gives you an idea how the fence integrates with the rest of the living room. One of my design challenges was to build a piece that was structurally strong enough to do its job, but fine enough to not feel overly "chunky". I am pretty happy with the balance I achieved. The fence is visually delicate enough to feel like it belongs, and at the same time suprisingly stiff.

The fence passing its first real test! (And yes, Teague beat me - he started walking a few weeks ago...)

And finally, here's a shot of the total tool kit used - as always all hand tools:

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Cat and Dogs

Well, I was hoping to post pictures of the completed woodstove fence, but I hit a snag. The snag is I haven't completed it yet. Really though, I am close...really.

So, in the meantime, I thought I would do a short post on the dogs that I use with my bench and vise. Gerald agreed to help out, and also suggested the clever title.

This shot shows three variations of my birch bench dogs. The dog in the back is the original design. It has a full length groove with a wooden spring to hold it in place in the dog hole. It works fine, but dust and gunk find their way down the groove and get stuck behind the spring, gumming up the works.

So I altered the design - changing the groove to a stopped groove, which solved that problem nicely. The front two dogs are of this second design.

The dog in the front, with its spring unscrewed, has been altered to function in the dog hole that somehow ended up over the vise hardware. You can see how simple the spring is - just a thin strip of birch, with a taper on the bottom end, screwed into the groove.

Here's another shot showing the spring in place. Notice how nicely the "cut away" dog allows you to see the spring. I planned that. Yeah, forget what I said about having to alter the dog to work around a mistake on my bench. That's my custom "demonstration" dog.

I also replaced the metal vise dogs with wooden dogs. They are much more forgiving on the occasional edged tool that wanders too close.

Here's the vise dog out of his hole. Just a piece of birch, sized to the hole, drilled and fitted with a threaded insert. I was careful to arrange things so that the thumb screw pushes the insert into the dog when things tighten up. It's a little beat up, including a split in the bottom, but it is still functioning fine after years of hard work. Good dog!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Woodstove Fence - Ready for Assembly

Ready at last! Now I just hope that it all fits together, and that it actually does the job for which it was designed. Boy wouldn't that be frustrating, if after all this time, Teague destroys it in one day! I sure hope not...

And a more artsy shot...

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Woodstove Fence -Mortise and Tenon Joints

The fence work continues...

On to the mortise and tenon joints!

My tool kit for this part included: my new Gramercy holdfasts (thanks sweetie!), mallet, big-boy mortising chisel (almost silly large), smaller chisel for cleaning up the bottom of the mortises, mortise gauge, square, folding rule, knife and my LN dovetail saw. Here's a shot of the bench top after several hours of work.

The piece in the center is a combination layout gauge and M&T tester for this project. I tried a new technique for chopping the mortises that I read about a while ago over at Peter Follansbee's blog - it worked great. A little too great maybe, as I really got into a groove with the mortising - so much so I forgot to take pictures! About all I can offer is a shot of the tester confirming that the mortises are the correct size and depth.

I did remember to take some shots of the tenons being marked and cut.

A final test, and that's one more done...out of 50 total...sigh.