Old Steel Revitalized

There is something beautiful about bringing an old hand-tool back to life. The utility, look, and feel is entirely satisfying, on par with the craftsman’s creed of making beautiful pieces of furniture for practical daily use. Not to mention the patina of age and the history of hands that have touched it. This old socket chisel once belonged to my grandfather and when it came into my possession the cutting edge looked as though it had been used for the last 50 years to open paint cans. Now it holds a fine razor edge and is ready to be put to use. It measures 31.115cm (12.25″) end-to-end and has Canadian Champion stamped on it. A little research tells me the chisel was manufactured between 1870-1910 by Warnock, J. & Co. of Galt, Ontario, Canada. My grandfather was born in 1901 so it is quite possible this chisel belonged to my great-grandfather, a Scottish immigrant who farmed sheep in Metchosin B.C. until his early passing in 1915.

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Music in the Shop

Music is a big part of working in the shop (and my life in general) so I have created a new category – Music in the Shop. Here is a great live version of Love Minus Zero/No Limit

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Western Red Cedar

Interestingly, this tree is not a true cedar of the Cedrus genus but an evergreen coniferous belonging in the cypress family. And it makes sense considering the full aroma that is released when it is cut or sanded. I happen to have some Japanese Cypress (Hinoki) in my home I used for the slats of a bed frame. And it is very similar, with a gorgeous aroma that fills a room when it is cut or sanded.

This piece of burl was cut and dried more than 30 years ago and it still has the strong scent of greenwood when I cut into it. Beautiful.

Today I put a straight edge on the bottom, sanded it, and applied some shellac so I could see the beauty of the grain. Still not sure what to do with it. It measures 66x33x7.5cm.

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La Chappelle Workbench

As I have mentioned, I recently moved countries and am now living on the west coast of Canada, where I grew up. I love it here. The trees, the mountains, fresh waters, beaches, and oceans are magical. The wind, the rain, the sun, and the sea is in my blood. In all my life I have never strayed far from the ocean. And now, I am setting up a new workshop in this coastal paradise. And as always it is an evolving process.

Call it fate, call it circumstance, call it what you will. But in my search for tools, I was very fortunate to find this workbench in one of my garage sale searches. It is a La Chappelle workbench, made in Switzerland, circa early 1980’s. It was imported and sold by Lee Valley. In the early days of Lee Valley, when Leonard Lee expanded into woodworking tools one of the first items they offered was a workbench. This bench was purchased new from Lee Valley by a woodworking teacher in the Comox Valley. I am the second owner of the bench. It is pure joy to work on.

The vice handles glide like Laurentian skates on ice.

Text on the underside of the bench.

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