I was going to start work on another tiny box when I decided to flip through some of my woodworking magazines. I had a craving, though I couldn’t put my finger on it. It was much more than the desire to get into the shop and do some woodworking, it was as if I was craving chocolate. When one craves chocolate, it is a very specific craving.
I was craving chiseling. I really wanted to use Manfred some more. My 3/4 inch Lie-Nielsen chisel is such a joy to work with and I was looking for some gratuitous chiseling. So I flipped the pages of Woodsmith, vol 28/ no. 167, and there it was; it almost jumped off the page at me. Roland Romito, of Broadview Heights, Oh, had sent in a design for a Fence Alignment Gauge. The bracket which holds the piece of wood had a lovely square hole in it. Roland simply cut a grove into to pieces of wood and then screwed them together.
This makes sense, as he didn’t have Manfred to help him out. I however saw this as a great opportunity to cut a through mortise, something I dearly enjoy. I wanted to cut the mortise immediately, but I knew not the size, so I had to prepare the long stick first. A piece of scrap hard maple seemed perfect for the task. I fired up Jeff the bandsaw and he was happy to cut me off a piece.
Have I mentioned that I love my handplanes lately? Well I do. I grabbed the Stanley 4 1/2 and cleaned up the teeth marks. It was so easy, so satisfying, I almost forgot to stop and take a picture. The first image is of the ‘After’, the second is the ‘Before’ I did the other side. I could have taken an ‘After’ of the other side too, but as soon as it was done, it meant I was moments away from chiseling. So I didn’t!
I took the same piece of hard maple and used my stick to draw the mortise. I didn’t need to be too exact, as I intended to cut it a little bit small and then open it up to get a good fit. This worked really well. The piece of wood was about 1 inch thick. While I was working my way though the wood, I noticed how much easier it was going, compared to the first through mortises I had cut on Teri and Tracy the saw horses.
I imagine that it was easier for several reasons. One was that I had a much better chisel. I would also think that part of it was improved skill on my part and a great mallet.
So here is a picture of the mortise as I was cutting it. I love woodworking. Each and every aspect seems fun to me, but there is something about chiseling out a mortise that is so basic and pure, that it feels as if I am connecting with the past. I again give Manfred high marks, as he performed wonderfully. The final test for Manfred will come when I use him and Donna for some dovetail work, but that will not come before I finish my Fence Alignment Gauge.
So I would say that it has been another very good day in the shop.