This week in shop: funny thing

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Blog entry by Woodbutchery posted 06-23-2017 04:22 AM 1057 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Spent a time this evening finishing up some clamping cauls.

Wasn’t I doing that last time? I was. Shop projects move as they will. More to the point, I was determined to follow my “practice with purpose” habit. It’s a new habit, and like most new habits, especially the good ones, it requires concentration and time and concentration.

If you don’t remember (and why, REALLY, would you?), last time I wrote about how the clamping cauls I ended up with really seemed more accident than result of work. Nothing seemed to be going right, and in the end it was as if I had bullied the clamps into coming out right.

A few days later, I spent some time practicing my freehand blade sharpening on the Stanley No. 4 (the plane I had been using for the previously mentioned accidental clamping cauls). I took my time and worked on the rhythm and concentrating on the angle of the blade in relationship to the stroke on the stone. And it felt right; even, smooth, no hurry. After the stones, the stropping, then putting it back into the plane.

The first funny thing was that, after setting the blade and making sure it was as parallel as I could get it, I presented it to a scrap board and took a smooth clean shaving on the first pass. Like butter! Who knew?! Sharpen the plane blade and the tool acts like it’s supposed to!

So with my sharpened plane I started in on the cauls: 2 sets of 22 inch cauls. I knew there was a bit of a hollow toward the middle. I set the blade to very light passes and took a few shavings off, then stopped. I remembered a trick where you squiggle with a pencil or other marking device on the surface of the wood you’re working to see where the plane is actually taking wood off of. How cool is that? So I squiggled on my wood (It’s legal in Texas) and started again.

Holy cow! I was taking more wood off than I had thought. I sighted down the length of the board and the hollow was now a bow. A very slight bow, but the squiggling had shown me that I was taking more wood off in one pass than I had suspected. It was an easy fix, and in no time, a straight face to work from for the clamping surface. After that, I followed the instructions from an online article I found at Highland Woodworking . With each pass of the plane I was taking a full shaving across the width of the board. And each time, more squiggles.

Which brings us to funny thing number alpha: Using visual queues while I’m still learning all these skill sets will get me better results than if I try to just eyeball it like the masters I’m trying to learn from in woodworking. Pretend I’m a beginner, do the “beginner” thing (I really don’t know, or in one sense, care (I care, I’m not freakin’ insensitive, ya know!) whether more experienced woodworkers continue to squiggle their wood to make sure things are as they seem, I just know it’s working for me), and work through the process.

At the end of a very pleasant session in the shop, I had two sets of 22” cauls, 1 set of 24” cauls, and 1 set of 32” cauls.

Here’s all but the largest.

And a closer look at the labeling.

And with that, I think I’ll caul it a night.

-- Making scrap with zen-like precision - Woodbutchery

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