NBSS Week 4 – Hand plane and chisel exercises + an intro to the lathe, new restaurants, and a card game called 45

This week began with our first hand plane exercises. Everyone received a 12” long piece of 4/4 poplar in the rough and we were tasked with flattening and taking the board to final thickness with our newly tuned hand planes.

We started by flattening one face and then making one side 90 degrees to that face. The next step was to make the other side parallel to the first by marking the desired width using our 12” combination square. After that we mark our desired thickness and bring the other face down to that line. Hopefully at this point we would have a board with 2 faces parallel at the proper thickness and both faces will be 90 degrees to both sides. The next step is to make the ends square to the sides and faces. Tuesday’s exercise involved putting a 45 degree chamfer on ½ of our newly flattened board. We used our hand plane to chamfer the end grain and then our 1” chisel to chamfer the side and create a lamb’s tongue transition. Wednesday’s exercise involved rounding over the other ½ of the board. To do this by hand, Dan introduced us to the Rule of 12.

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This is a nifty little tool that helps you to lay out your square edge into different sections to bevel, and as you work into smaller and smaller sections you are taking off smaller bevels to the point that with very little time and effort you have created a rounded edge that is proportional. It works on both circles and ellipses! Here’s my finished board:

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Lance’s Thursday lecture this week was an introduction to the shaper and shaper knives. He discussed the set-up of the machine and its uses and limitations, as well as some interesting math needed to shape some of the more complex cutting profiles on the shaper blades. On Friday, Alex took us to the school’s turning lab, where we were introduced to the lathe and its parts and the tools used to turn. He demo’d the proper way to sharpen the turning tools and then we were set loose with 2 poplar turning blanks to practice roughing a square piece round and then creating beads and coves in our now round practice piece.

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I’ve always been enamored with turning but in my past experiences I have never actually done that well. I picked up some new ideas and techniques this time and I am progressing better than expected. I’m looking forward to practicing more in my spare time by trying to reproduce many of the turned legs hanging throughout the school.

I also made a decision to make Friday my new North End lunch day. To kick it off, a few other students and I went to Tenoch Mexican restaurant. It was fantastic, I tried a Torta and was very, very pleased, can’t wait to go back. After class this week I was also introduced to a new card game called 45. It seems to be a mix between pinochle and spades. It’s pretty cool and looks like a fun way to spend some time talking with other NBSS students after hours!

And of course we can’t forget drafting, in my spare time this week I completed the third full-scale drawing: a chest that involved carved raised panels. It was really quite interesting to draw the carving while thinking about the shapes and how they relate to the tools that would be used to cut them. I then began perhaps our most detailed drawing: a Queen Ann slant top desk. This one is gonna take a while…until next week…

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