Now place the iron, bevel-side-down, on the bench, hold a burnisher fiat on the back surface, and "draw" the edge by stroking the burnisher along the length of the edge several times with moderate pressure.
To create the critical hook on the edge, reclamp the iron in the vise with the bevel facing you and stroke the burnisher across the bevel several limes, gradually rolling the edge back to approximately 15° from vertical. A hook of less than 15° may slide over the surface rather than scrape it.
To set the depth of cut, place the plane body on a flat bench and clamp the iron in place temporarily with the thumbscrew. Tilt the iron forward about 30° and lock the tilt adjustment nuts at the front of the plane. Place two or three sheets of paper under the sole, staying clear of the throat opening, then loosen the thumbscrew and lower the blade to the bench.
To use the plane, scrape with the grain in long steady strokes, lifting the back of the sole on the return stroke to avoid chattering. A sharp edge will produce very thin shavings, not dust. By experimenting, you'll find the combination of bevel angle, tilt angle, hook size and depth of cut that produces the best results.
John Kassay Author/ Furniture maker San Bruno, CA
Recycled Beams or Fresh Timbers?
Ql'd like to frame a new building with posts and beams. Sljould I buy new wood or try to clean up and reuse old barn timbers?
Dr. Philip Rabbins Jackson, Of I
A1 don't recommend building a new frame from old timbers. It's expensive and somewhat dangerous to dismantle an old barn frame, and it could prove to have little value for your purposes. You probably won't be able to reuse existing mortises unless you're reconstructing the building in its original form, and horizontal, load-bearing timbers will be substantially weaker if they contain old mortises. If you try to plane or saw these timbers you run the risk of ruining blades on old nails and hardware, or even injuring yourself. Also, it's difficult to cut mortises and tenons in old dry wood.
The traditional way of cutting frames is to work with green timbers, partly because they're much easier to cut, but also because air drying could take years, with no guarantees against twisting, checking or warping. Kiln drying, if you could find a kiln that on will dry heavy timbers, would be extremely expensive.
Tliere are a few companies that sell old beams of Douglas fir, heart pine, oak and hemlock salvaged from old mills and industrial buildings. They often can bandsaw the material to vour specifications and may be able to surface them as well. A bonus is that utilizing these remanufactured timbers provides a small degree of protection for old-growth forests.
More information on timbcrframing is available from the Timberframers Guild of North America, P.O. Box 10-16. Keene, NH 03431 (603)357-1706.
Brian Murphy Barn restorer
(Editor's note: You can order a variety of reclaimed timber products from l)ullitb Timber Co., 218-727. 21-15; and Jefferson Lumber Co., 916-235-0609.)
Q1 want to paint over my oak veneer kitchen cabinets, is there a white pigmented finish that / can use without stripping them to bare wood? Can I sufficiently build up the new finish to eliminate the oak grain pattern?
A Most custom-made kitchen cabinets are lacquered. Many homeowner-made cabinets arc polyurethaned. Factory-made cabinets are often finished with catalyzed lacquer (melamine formaldehyde).
To prepare any of these for a new finish, first clean the cabinets with soap and water or ammonia and water. Then scuff-sand the surfaces with fine sandpaper (220-320 grit) so the new paint will mechanically bond to the roughened surface. Clean off the dust.
Last issue we threw open a question about making machines safer. Here's what you readers had to say on the subject:
/ installed my electrical outlets in the ceiling of my sljop to keep tbem out of reach of my kids. It makes moling machines easier, too.
RonalJ Frey Clay, NY
My dad made a simple pushbutton foot suitch and wired it to an outlet box so you could plug any 115 v. machine into it for hands-free operation.
Hale Oriison Portland, OR
I made a panic switch for my tablesaw by hinging a bin. x 2-in. x 24-in. piece of oak from the top of the switchbox so that it bangs in front of the push-buttons. There's a hole in the oak for access to the "on" button, and I can turn the saw off by pressing the lever with my foot.
AnJy Rae Princeton, NJ
Much of machine safety is just common sense. My best advice is to use your damned head.
Denis J. Kigin Tempe, AZ
This Issue's Question:
1 am about to retire and plan to set up a small workshop for bobby work. I'm reluctant to buy both a radial saw and a tablesaw. Which do you think would serve my purposes best?
Jack Wgnall Appleton, WI
Send your opinions to: "Reader's Network," American Wcxwworkkr. 33 E. Minor St., Emmaus, PA 18098.
If the original finish is lacquer (check to see if lacquer thinner will dissolve it) you can apply a water-based enamel or a white-pigmented lacquer over it. Both contain solvents that will bite into the original lacquer making a chemical bond between the new iuid old coatings.
If the original finish is polyurcthanc, your best choice for the new finish will be an oil-based paint because the shrinkage and expansion of the layers will be similar.
If the original finish is a factory-applied melamine formaldehyde, you're likely to get eventual layer separation no matter what you apply. It's very difficult to coat over these finishes successfully.
Whether you decide to use an oil- or water-based enamel, you'll get the best results if you first apply an appropriate primer. Primers contain a higher binder-to-pigment ratio so they bond better to the original finish.
I wouldn't recommend trying to fill the heavy grain of oak with paint. To fill it completely will require quite a number of coats, sanded back between coats.
Bob Flexner Finishing consultant Norman, OK
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