Urban Luthier

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  1. The link I noted above on Chris Schwarz site will help you Ernie as he does make reference on how to use the chip breaker properly I've experienced the same problem you noted with my Lee Valley BU 62. It can be set up for anything but i have to sharpen very frequently. For some reason bevel up blades seem to wear differently and require more sharpening than Bevel Down ones. See this blog post for an experiment
  2. Lots of conflicting opinions even by experts. Check out the somewhat cynical view from Chris Schwarz on the chip breaker. Note Professor Kato’s study further down in the article. Chris is a professional journalist, a highly-respected hand-tool expert, historian and woodworker (if you follow the woodwright on PBS you may have seen him a couple of times with Roy Underhill). Despite his love / hate relationship with the chip breaker his 'anarchist tool chest' features couple of Stanley / Bailey planes! Our luthier ancestors of the 17-18C got on fine using planes without chip breakers. It highly likely their smoothing and joining planes would have been similar to what's picture in Joseph Moxon's Art of Joinery, André Roubo's L'Art du menuisier or Denis Diderot, Recueil de planches sur les science et les arts libéraux. Moxon is a fantastic read by the way, I learned how to flatten a board in record time by 'traversing the grain'
  3. Interesting, I wonder who makes LV blades now. On a positive note the ones I have came dead flat. On the negative side the developed the edge pitting I described above I agree with you on the chip breaker -- this seems like nonsense -- 18th century wood planes had no chip breaker and they work just fine as do many 19th C and indeed modern infill planes. Cutting angle / plane geometry is the biggest factor in avoiding tear out in my (albeit limited) experience. Low angle for softwoods -- Rob Cosman sharpens some of his chisels to 15% to chop through softwood end grain in his dovetails! York pitch for hardwoods with a lot of figure
  4. When I look at the edge of the blades in question under a magnifying glass I can see a small craters on the edge. It looks like little pieces of metal separated from the edge itself. This happen in both cases after sharpening! I heard from a reputable plane maker that, the metallurgy of A2 steel leaves it harder but more prone to this type of degradation. While O1 is slightly softer, takes a keener edge and less prone to this problem. I was curious to see if others have encountered similar issues with A2 Good advice on surface prep. thx
  5. I had a similar problem a few months ago looking for a 14 in bandsaw. I went vintage and picked up a 15 in General for less than the cost of a new Grizzly
  6. Have you had an problems with 'edge pitting' with your A2 blades after the re-grinding? My Lie Nielsen NO 4 has A2 cryo treated blade. It holds a keen edge and I haven't had any issues with the edge bending you described. 2 of my lee valley A2 blades however have developed pits on the cutting edge resulting in nasty planing tracks. I've been too lazy to regrind them I use O1 hock blades in my infill planes and the blades seem easer to sharpen and appear to take a keener edge than either the Lie Nielsen or Lee blades A2 blades. They seem to stay sharper longer as well -- although the latter may be a result of the geometry of the plane and high cutting angle Chris
  7. you can get them from Rob Cosman as noted above. Lee valley also sells replacemnt blades and chip breaker as does Lie Nielsen and Ron Hock
  8. Melvin if the cello sounds half as good as it looks, your customer should be a happy camper Chris
  9. Do you know which instrument he is working from?
  10. content is king -- there was a ton of really useful info in vol 1, I'm hopeful that vol 2 will be as good. for vol 1, without an original article on hand from the strad magazine to compare to, you may not notice a difference in print quality between the two. I'm just happy to have all the info in a single place.
  11. $50 is Canadian Ben The online quality of the articles is excellent as is the original print quality in the Strad publication. My complaint is around the colour calibration of the trade secrets book vol 1 not matching the original print articles and the poor quality of the binding -- for £27 the Strad should to do better. As much as I love analog -- film isn't a factor in the equation here -- print production is all digital now, which affords publishers greater control over the process by the way, nice work -- I visit your flickr page regularly! best Chris
  12. I have number 1 and ordered number 2. As an amateur I find the content a very useful supplement to other material. I'd like to point out that the print quality of number one (at least the copy I have) is lousy. While the paper stock is heavy, the binding is poor and the colour calibration for the publication is horrible. It is so bad in my opinion, I find it hard to believe anyone at the strad looked at the proof before publication. I have several of the original articles and the colour in the book simply doesn't match the articles. What's the point of having heavy paper stock if the stuff you print on it looks bad? For $50, the Strad should be able to provide a better product.
  13. Have a look at the recording James Ehnes just made featuring violins and violas from the Fulton Collection which includes the Lord Wilton del Gesu, half a dozen Strads and the Conte Vitale viola. Comes with a nice dvd featuring interviews and live performances of each instrument along with some very nice images Honestly? -- I can hear only minor differences between the violins (the violas are easier to pick -- especially the da Salo). They all sound like James Ehnes -- which is excellent by the way.
  14. I use one of these hand crank things with a felt wheel and jewelers rouge to hone my gouges. Cheep and cheerful -- $20 bucks on the bay. (I wouldn't advise using a felt wheel to hone plane blades, chisels or knives) Chris
  15. I think with planes it is all about geometry. I've personally had the best luck smoothing figured wood with bevel down planes set at a higher pitch (a bed angle of 50-55 degrees). At this pitch, the plane is a little harder to push but hardly noticeable when the sole is waxed. The Lee Valley and Lie-Nielson low angle bevel up-planes are popular these days but I find them difficult to to sharpen due to the wear patterns described by Darnton in post #20. I tend only to use my BU plane with a low angle blade for shooting or trimming end-grain. The blog post here would seem to support Darnton's description above.
  16. looks like the maestronet website has been hacked -- you can't navigate into the forums from the main page. The home page has been replaced with a graphic of a hand
  17. This is hardly uncommon Michael. I sharpen freehand. You either want the blade flat across or slightly cambered (i.e. when you hold a ruler above the edge of the blade the center of the blade is higher than the sides) The easiest way to achieve this is to apply more pressure to with your thumbs on the sides of the blade as you sharpen. Also I personally AVOID the ruler trick Lie-nielson teaches in their hand tool events-- this puts a back bevel on the blade. I simply hone the underside of the blade flat
  18. Jacob and Oded Thanks to you both. Oddly enough I was looking at the De Munk as a model. I just looked at the other half with a pair of winding sticks -- over a centimeter twist end to end!! There is no way to get any quartered sections from this as both pieces are sawn right on the slab. With the twist I doubt I could even use it as a shelf ;(. Thanks for your advice! Jacob, I certainly know about hard maple -- some of our Canadian maple can be quite hard Chris
  19. Thanks Oded I've had it for about 5 years and the wood was stored In my home workshop -- which is heated in the winter and air conditioned in the summer -- in other words the wood is subjected to normal summer/winter humidity changes It did cup quite a bit since I got it -- 5-7 mm -- is this too much? -- each piece cupped in opposite directions. But there is plenty of wood to plane them true
  20. Thanks for clarifying Jacob -- I didn't realize Bird's eye was always slab cut. -- I'm a bit of a new-bee with all this Chris
  21. Not sure what it is but both sides match colour-wise. I planed one half this morning to see what was under the surface. All opinions on using this two-piece slab for a cello -- tonal, aesthetic, structural or otherwise are welcome. Or whether I should should cut it down for one-piece viola backs Personally, I don't think this is the nicest looking piece of wood Thanks Chris
  22. Thanks! The color is consistent between the pieces -- one was planed the other has stain on it they came this way for some reason. I'm interested in knowing whether making a cello back out of a two-piece slab is worth considering for structural and tonal reasons
  23. I was organizing my wood storage over the weekend and I found this two-piece slab cut euro bird's eye maple cello back. The matching ribs are cut on the slab as well. It is hard to see from the photo's but there is a faint quilting figure in the wood as well. The slabs don't really match one another all that well Should I even consider using this for a cello? Would it be stable enough? Or would I be better off using it as one-piece viola backs. Thoughts and opinions appreciated! Thanks Chris
  24. Finally found a good deal on a General 490. It has a 1HP Doerr (I need to convert the wiring from 220 to 110) This thing is built like a tank -- cast iron frame, cast iron wheels -- with the base it is over 300 pounds. As with many deals -- the saw is in need of a good tune up. I just reviewed the advice above on blades -- i'm looking at the viking / timberwolf blades (A and D from lee valley-- one for cutting curves the other for re-sawing ribs and opening backs) Are these good blades?
  25. A friend of mine just installed a Yates Y30 ‘snowflake’ in his shop. Now that is a bandsaw!!