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Coming off the tangent ...

... and back to model boat building

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Banjoman07/04/2020 10:05:30
1146 forum posts
2423 photos


As mentioned recently in another thread (see **LINK**), I have been off on a full scale woodworking tangent now for some time, and while I have no intention whatsoever of abandoning that anytime soon, I have decided that now is a good time to intersperse a moel boat project.

An important reason is that my next woodworking project will be a seven foot Roubo style workbench, made from hard maple, to get which I'd been planning to travel up to Arnhem in the Netherlands, where there's a top notch timber yard. However, under current lockdown rules the trip would certainly count as non-essential, and thus neither it nor the border crossing involved would be allowed. And, even when I will eventually be able to make the trip, I would still want to let the timber accilmatise to my workshop for a number of weeks or even months.

Oh, and just to be clear: I much prefer to have only one project going at a time; I tend to lose focus if I don't.

Anyway, another reason is that this morning I finally finished the sharpening station that I've been working on since mid-January! For the first bit of that build, see my post in the thread linked to above, where I left off at the time of chopping out the mortises ...


For the shelf support mortises, that are set against the grain, I prefered to define the openings with chisel and router plane ...


... and then drill and pare out the actual mortises ...


... to take the shelf support stringers.


Next up was sawing all the tenon cheeks ...


... and shoulders ...


... until I finally had all the parts ready for clean-up and assembly, including a set of 6 mm diameter draw bore pins made from riven ash.


So, after cleaning up all the inner faces with smoothing plane and, where required, cabinet scraper, it was time to asemble first the two gables ...


... and then join these together with the long rails ...


... to produce a complete table undercarriage, which was then cleaned up also on the outer faces.


As sharpening is a wettish and sometimes messy business, I wanted a finish that will give good protection, and therefore opted for four coats of Le Tonkoinois – a French linseed- and tungoil-based yacht varnish.


Once the varnish was fully cured, it was time to make up a sub-top from some 18 mm birch plywood, with a first piece fitted just inside the top opening ...


... and then glued and screwed to an overlay piece. As the edges of the latter will be visible, and plywood edges are not the prettiest of sights, I covered these with some 1.5 mm maple veneer, produced from offcuts from the main build ...


... to this effect.


To be continued ...

Edited By Banjoman on 07/04/2020 10:07:47

Banjoman07/04/2020 10:05:45
1146 forum posts
2423 photos

The edges and the underside of the sub-top where then varnished ...


... and finally glued with 30 minute epoxy to the actual top, which is from some old 10 mm thick Corian that I'd kept from a kitchen renovation many years ago.


... while the shelf was also made up from another piece of said Corian.


And then this morning ...


... the table was finally installed next to the workshop sink ...


... with all my sharpening stuff handy: Japanese waterstones for sharpening, a set of diamond stones for grinding, a diamond lapping plate to keep the waterstones flat, plus various bits and bobs.

So! Back to model boats – at least for one project! A new thread will follow shortly ...


Bob Abell07/04/2020 10:24:40
9170 forum posts
2945 photos

WOW, Banjo!

That certainly is a masterful sharpening station!

So well constructed to the Nth Degree!

No matter how well I try when sharpening something, the result is always disappointing

I can only blame the poor quality steel tools and the Stanley plane blade being beyond the hardened area

It was my Wedding present from my wife, way back in 1961!......59 years ago!

Look after yourselves


Banjoman07/04/2020 10:42:18
1146 forum posts
2423 photos

Hello Bob,

And thank you very much! Yes, it is of course seriously over constructed for the purpose, and I'm sure I could have gotten summat from Ikea for less money and much less trouble, but part of the point of the exercise was to practice my (as yet fairly limited) skills with hand planes, saws and chisels.

I will admit, though, to a certain sense of pride when, after assembly, I checked all the internal corners with a precision square, and every single one turned out to be exactly 90°!

Now, a Stanley plane for a wedding present – well done, your wife!

If the blade on your plane is acting up too much, there are top quality replacement blades available from people like Ron Hock (**LINK**) or Ray Iles (**LINK**).


Bob Abell07/04/2020 10:50:10
9170 forum posts
2945 photos

Thank you Banjo

As for your fairly limited skills......Modesty indeed1

At my age, a new blade would be a waste

Keep up with the modest workmanship!


Dave Milbourn07/04/2020 10:56:35
4025 forum posts
282 photos


Mighty impressive, dude, but you know you're really only looking for excuses to avoid that next model build...

Dave M

Paul T07/04/2020 11:00:27
7254 forum posts
1226 photos
2 articles


Your woodworking skills are to be applauded as the hand working of timber is a dying skill as is the ability to correctly sharpen tools.

Do you still sharpen and set your hand saws, a laborious task but very satisfying when complete.



Banjoman07/04/2020 11:20:56
1146 forum posts
2423 photos


All I say is, please see **LINK**


Thank you very much

I can't say that I still sharpen and set my own saws, as they are recent enough acquisitions not yet to be in need of such treatment; however, I very much intend to do it myself when the time comes. I have both a saw vise and the requisite files and sets ...


... and last autumn spent a whole week in London, learning how-to from a real master of that particular art, namely Mark Harrell who owns and runs the Bad Axe Tool Works ( whence I bought my saws.



Edited By Banjoman on 07/04/2020 11:21:54

Paul T07/04/2020 11:51:19
7254 forum posts
1226 photos
2 articles


It is a true pleasure to see a craftsman caring for his tools, I was brought up in a family building business and my grandfather insisted that I learnt every trade, one of my memories is being in the Joiners shop in mid winter learning how to sharpen and set different hand saws, the instructor was my grandfathers brother who I called Uncle Frank.

For the first six weeks of my training he would only let me brush up and brew up and if got ether wrong he would be so disappointed, in many ways his disappointment was worse than having my ar.e kicked. I was eleven when I started to learn shop joinery working after school and during the holidays and learnt all of my joinery skills from Uncle Frank.

I can still smell his pipe and remember all of his teaching.

These skills had surprising dividends, when in later life as a Project Director I showed a team of thirty joiners how to strip down a panel door, it was a restoration project of a group of listed buildings and most of the modern tradesmen have never learnt how to do things like stripping a panel door or working up a lead slate or doing traditional brickwork like Flemish Bond.


Bob Abell07/04/2020 12:47:18
9170 forum posts
2945 photos


Apologies for asking such a silly question, but...…..

What does...….. " Coming off the tangent " mean?


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