Bits-and-braces, similar to drills and augers, work by means of either a "twist" (a single-inclined planed wrapped as a helix around a shaft), or a sharpened "spoon" set at the end of a shaft. The "bit" is the cutting part of the tool, and bits are also part of drills and augers. Spoon bits are... Continue Reading →
I use two types of handsaws during cabinetry: cross-cut and rip saws. The difference between saws for cross-cutting (sawing perpendicular to the grain) and ripping (sawing parallel to the grain) lie in the tooth shape. The teeth of cross-cut saws are shaped like the points of knives, whereas those of rip saws are shaped like... Continue Reading →
Axes are ancient tools, long pre-dating the Middle Ages. During the medieval period they were used for nearly every stage of cabinetry. "Two-handed axes" (axes with long handles, swung with both hands) were the foremost tool for felling trees and cutting wood. These axes had dual-inclined planes, meaning they were beveled on both sides of... Continue Reading →
Wooden mallets were ubiquitous amongst the tools of medieval cabinetmakers. These tools are easily made from scrap wood, customizable, and (unlike iron or steel hammers) do not damage the objects which they are used to strike. As a tool, mallets are force-multipliers: increasing the human arm's ability to drive trenails and dowels, coerce joints to... Continue Reading →
Throughout the making of every piece of mobilier I've created, I have found chisels to be essential for paring the cheeks and shoulders of tenons, wasting-out mortises, and forming the dado (groove) on the sides of drawers. Chisels carve or cut by virtue of a single-inclined plane (i.e. beveled on only one side) blade and... Continue Reading →
Saws are among the most recognizable woodworking tools.
A Medieval Workbench: the foundation upon which mobilier are built
In March of 2018 I was fortunate in acquiring a large pile of red oak beams salvaged from a rail yard. These beams had been used as dunnage in the transport of train and rail parts from the East. Ten feet long and heavy as sin, they were ugly, blackened, marred, stained, and dominated the... Continue Reading →
A cabinetmaker's workbench is more than merely a table. The workbench provides a solid and stable, flat surface on which to work. Additionally, a workbench incorporates means to secure the work to the table, such as vises and "iron dogs".
Image of The Cabinetmaker from Jan Amos Komenský's 'Orbis Pictus', 1658 The woodshop itself can be considered a cabinetmaker's tool. The woodshop is a dedicated space for woodworking, with the necessary light and space for the cabinetmaker to work, shelter from the elements for the raw materials, and storage for the craftsperson's tools to keep... Continue Reading →