Thursday, March 31, 2011

Square Query

I admit it I'm off-colour with a lurgy at the moment and am not at my brightest, but I can't help feeling this design of wooden square has a fundamental flaw.

How can you use it for internal corners with the blade sticking out at the end like that? That's a useful thing to be able to do. I can understand the urge to make a wooden square that's different just, 'cos, well otherwise it's just another wooden square and why would anyone be interested, but I can't help thinking this isn't the most helpful design tweak one could introduce.

Anyway, very nice of Popular Woodworking Magazine to offer the extract from The New Traditional Woodworker on their site; I was curious and there's fat chance of being able to have a quick flick through in a book shop. Although even as Jim Toplin's jumped enthusiastically on the hand tool bandwagon, I can't help but wonder if he's regretted drilling holes in his bench planes in order to hang them up in the cabinet in The Toolbox Book yet...

Yeah, when I have a lurgy, I can get a bit catty too. Shoot me. *hanging planes on nails through their soles, for the love of Norm, mutter, mutter...* ;)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

More bits and pieces

Another day, another centre bit. Considerably less remarkable than the last, except for the local connection. Yes, I do kinda collect anything marked as being made or sold in Cornwall. I know what you're thinking - just as well I don't live in Sheffield...

Last time I dabbled in local tool dealers in times of yore, I found myself tracking down ironmonger J B Haddon of Penzance, but now we find ourselves in the city of Truro and Bullen Bros. Throwing myself at the trade directories, I was able to track them down in the Trade and General Directory of Truro, 1883, from whence came the informative advertisement below, and as far on as Kelly's Directory of Devon & Cornwall, 1914. The old man thinks he might remember them from his youth in the late '30s/40s but not absolutely sure.
My only thought was what a shame it is there isn't an optional time travel button at the entrance to modern shops. Instead of stepping in to look at all the (largely) unnecessary kitchen gadgetry of Lakeland, who currently occupy 32 Boscawen St, I'd much rather be able to have a goof round Bullen Brothers' establishment c.1900. Heigh ho.

I also cleaned up the extremely rusty washer cutter bit from the coachbuilder's kit. The more I cleaned it up, the older I started to think it probably was.

Luckily, I found a maker's name, and the Old Tools List archive, in the form of the ever-informative Don McConnell, came up with the goodies.

William & Cornelius Wynn of Birmingham, 1816-1880. Cornelius, no less. Funnily enough another Cornelius - Whitehouse of that ilk - is strongly connected with a variety of brace bit that's been getting a lot of chatter on The List the last couple of days. Got one or two of those, but haven't reached them yet (all the ones on the khaki-colured bit roll top right in the pic in the previous post, in fact. Yikes.) Still got about two dozen assorted countersinks to get through first...

Friday, March 25, 2011

Bits and Pieces

Well I'm getting along at a reasonable pace. Or I was. You tend to hit a slow spot when faced with this:

I've done, I suppose, about a fifth of them so far, but I don't want to talk about that - after all, it only means I have four fifths still to do... However, a few bits of interest as I go along, which helps. Possibly the most curious is this one:

Big deal, you say. It's a centre bit. So jolly well what? S Smith & Sons of Sheffield doesn't sound terribly exciting either. Ah, but turn it over and suddenly it's a positively alive with activity. A roundhead screw on the head, a protruding pin on the shank, and a threaded hole.

Into which fits a knurled bolt that holds this depth stop.

See? And yes, where it appears that the bolt is bent at the end where it exits the shank? That's because it's bent at the end where it exits the shank.

A sharp, used, apparently ordinary 1" centre bit with an interesting role. I wonder what it was? I haven't really made any headway in seeing if I can find out yet, because honestly, I'm not sure where to start. Kinda cool though, eh?

I'd suggest there might be a twist in the tale, but I haven't even started on the augers yet...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

That means you

As I careful cleaned up a drawknife (Ward & Payne, about 10") I repeated a mantra to myself over and over; "Drawknives are evil and will try to bite. Be careful of the edge. Drawknives are evil and will try to bite. Be careful of the edge."

Then proceeded to slice my finger on the edge.


New - edited - mantra: "Drawknives are evil and will try to bite. Be careful of the edge. That means you too, stupid."

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Block (rusty)

Are you sick of rust removal? I certainly am. In fact I'm taking a bit of a break, and as everything is set up to make woodworking a bit on the tricky side just at the minute, I can't even do that instead. I could post pics of the ridiculous number of tools, but really, you must be sick of that too and might start throwing things. So, um... bear with me. Maybe come back in April if you're looking for woodworking. At the very least I'll have some handles to make...

Random factoid for you; W L Goodman's History of Woodworking Tools references André Roubo a mere three times - not one of them in the chapter on workbenches.

Well it amused me anyway.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Further to the Further Adventures

First, electrolysis. Coupla folks have mentioned it, and pretty much someone does every time I play with citric acid. I know many folks swear by it, and it's probably brilliant. But I am fundamentally a coward, and as far as I'm concerned electricity and water don't mix. 'Course, if I happened to have the means to try it about my person, I probably would have been tempted, but as I don't, well, it seems a pricy option to go out and buy a battery charger in order to do so. So yes, I believe you, but no, I haven't tried it and have no plans to.

I should also have probably clarified that I don't actually like any chemical form of rust removal at all. The end result always looks just that little bit bleugh to my eye. Only the serious "Oh dear" cases that are absolutely hopeless without drastic measures will get thrown in the soup. My first thought is always can I do the job with the lightest possible abrasives, because to me, it simply looks so much better. But that's just me. For example; one of these ball pein hammer heads has never been in any soup, the other has. Go on, guess which.

Anyway, I put a couple of sacrificial spanners in their respective soups for 24hrs. Notice how much darker the Restore solution on the left is getting compared to the citric acid on the right?

Then fished them out this morning. First observation is that the Restore victim on the left is much blacker.

A brief scrub under running water, and the second observation is how flippin' cold the water is... Third, and more useful observation though, is that the black comes off the Restore one a lot easier than the citric acid, and leaves a more liveable finish. Not pretty, but liveable with.

Now whether this is because the citric acid clings to the blackness, while the Restore seems to release at least some of it into the solution, I don't know. Or has the citric worked faster and got to a later stage than the Restore? i.e. Buggered up the metal a lot quicker... I do get the gut feeling that the citric does move a little quicker from some of the other things I've been cleaning, but it could equally be a happy or unhappy coincidence of certain steels that react more dramatically happen to have ended up in the citric acid bath and not the Restore. I honestly don't know, which is why this is strictly "workshop science". i.e. Not science.

Anyway, polished up, they're both pretty equally revolting; the citric acid may have just pipped the Restore to the post of horror though. Bottom line - don't put stuff in for 24hrs unless you really, really don't care how they look. Or possibly if you're sharpening a file or rasp. Ooo, ought to try that too.

A couple of pairs of pliers were also cleaned up and then re-dipped in the Restore solution and allowed to dry. It's classical West Country weather down here - fine steady rain - so if they're gonna rust, they've had plenty of opportunity. So far, they haven't. I'm impressed.

The pair on the right are apparently Billings model M slip-joint combination pliers. c.1911-1926. Fancy.

Finally, the identification of the dividers. Brian hazarded a thought that it might be a J. So did I. And a G, a D and even an F at one point... BugBear, however, did something about it and wrote a program that created a search string for each possible letter, which he then applied to Google. All way over my head of course, although I can't help loving the irony of it all to find out about a hand tool. But if you want to find something via Google, he's your man - and he did.

"I found a J T Jolley in google books;

Worrall's directory of Warrington, Wigan, St. Helens [&c.]. 1876

Hughes Joseph, toolmaker (J. T. Jolley & Co) Brookfield Cottage, Latchford."

Plus a rather fancy Lancashire pattern hacksaw.

Armed with this info, I did a quick search of the Trade Directories but only came up with one likely entry in Kelly's Directory of Cheshire, 1902; Jolley & Co, Ironmongers, 19-21 High Street, Crewe. Nothing in earlier directories at all in that general area (i.e. not just Cheshire), which was a bit disappointing. I may have another go and take a more manual approach though; I have less faith in the power of the search engine than BugBear.

Phew; think that's covered everything. From this you might have guessed that my choice for box number two was the hammers, mallets, screwdrivers, etc. Going pretty well too, if we put aside the number of handles various I now need to make...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Further Adventures in Rust Removal

Continuing from the last post, having tried the gel, I now wanted to compare the Restore solution with my faithful old stand-by, citric acid. So the victims were to be a pair of firm joint inside callipers and a pair of wing compasses or dividers. The firm joint outside callipers were a serious basket case, so I thought I might sling them in my usual hot soup as a sort of control. I also threw in a couple of other items with it, which was just as well as the callipers turned out to be beyond rescue.

In an effort to make it as "workshop scientific" as possible, the guinea pigs were chosen as being both from the same source (the coachbuilder's tools) and in a pretty similar state of despair. Both were given a lick and a promise scrub with some coarse-ish non-woven abrasive to shift the worst of the crud and give both the Restore and the citric acid solution a fighting chance. I also set up identical baths, giving both 15 units of tap water and 4 units of hot water from the kettle, to take the edge off and help dissolve the citric acid powder. 1 unit of Restore was added to one container; approximately a heaped tablespoon (or maybe less) of powdered citric acid was added to the other, with a drop each of methylated spirits and washing-up liquid (one of them breaks any surface tension, the other stops stuff growing in it). Both were thoroughly stirred and the guinea pigs lowered in. The instructions for the Restore liquid specified suspending the rusty object, so that's what I did. Could have done with some thinner wire, but never mind...

A couple of minutes in, and not much to see with the Restore.

The citric acid, however, has the tell-tale bubbles forming all over the tool.

Meanwhile I brewed up my usual citric mix - kettleful of boiling water, dessert spoon of citric, meths and washing-up liquid as before. This is what I call my Hot Soup. Everything just gets tossed in any old how, and as you see, things get exciting on the bubble front straight away.

The Restore instructions suggest a soaking time of an hour, but I was already hauling out the square from the Hot Soup at 20 minutes. Straight out of the mix, it's black and filthy.

A quick scrub under running water to have a look, and you can see it's pretty much done. Just needs polishing up now.

So I did that while I waited for the hour to be up, and then hauled the guinea pigs out of their respective baths. Untouched, the Restore certainly seems to be winning comprehensively.

However, after a brief scrub under running water for both of them (as specified in the instructions), the difference isn't quite such a big deal.

After cleaning up, you'd be hard put to know which had been in which solution. It's not an ideal comparison, because experience has shown that different steels can respond in different ways to citric acid, and I imagine the same probably applies to Restore.

The important thing is it revealed a maker's name on the wing dividers. I read that as J & T Colley & Co, but a cursory search hasn't thrown up anything. But I'm not entirely sure about the first letter being a C...

Anyway, as is the way, when you have Soup on the go, hot or otherwise, you inevitably chuck in a few more things, which I duly did and then polished up a bit. I'd be hard put to tell you which went in which mixture though. Worse than that, I was going to part with at least five of these, and now four of them seem to have crept into the "keep" box...

So, thoughts thus far. In a "rust off" using equal soup temperature conditions, actual speed of rust removal was much the same. The Restore seems to have a bit of an edge in not needing quite so much black coating removed to look okay, which is a bonus if you don't intend to in any way abrade or polish the tool to remove the dead grey look. On the other hand you are still instructed to scrub the item under running water anyway, so...

The instructions suggest dunking it back in the solution if you want to treat it with a protective layer to prevent "flash rusting", but I haven't tried that yet, as I wanted to finish cleaning them up properly. But flash rusting does seem to be more of an issue with Restore than I've ever found it before with any other method; as far as my, so-far, limited experience has shown, the benefit of being able to prevent flash rusting in that manner is less of a bonus and more of a necessity.

For speed, the hot citric acid solution is hard to beat. The Restore instructions suggest that if you have a stainless steel tank you can heat the solution to not more than 50°C to speed things up, but as I have neither stainless steel tank or means to make sure the temp is correct, that's a bit of a moot point. I also suspect the fuss of suspending the tools on wire is pretty unnecessary, and you could just as well flip them over occasionally, as I usually do with the citric acid.

As it stands, given the relative costs of Restore and citric acid, I can't honestly find enough benefit in buying the expensive stuff. But I'll keep playing with it; the re-dunking to prevent flash rusting may be a big help when it comes to the auger bits, and I want to try a couple of sacrificial lambs for a longer bath, to see what the damage is.

Anyway, good news - the measuring and marking box is done, and here's what I think can go. I think. Probably. Fact is there are some rather nice tools in there - I was expecting nothing but dross that I couldn't even give away. Bugger.

Now which class of tool to start on next? (A virtual clip round the ear for anyone who suggests the chisels...)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rust Removal

As I gathered together all the tools from the fifteen corners of the w'shop, one thing was abundantly clear - I had a lot of rust removing in my future. So I decided to take the plunge and try the Shield Technology Restore Rust Remover stuff that Matthew at Workshop Heaven's been plugging like it's going out of fashion. I've been curious to try it for some time, and figured I'd have plenty of opportunity to compare it to others methods I use... Thus I got a bottle each of Rust Remover and Rust Remover Gel in order to experiment.

First up, the Measuring and Marking box threw up four try squares in various stages of "Oh dear". Now soaking the wooden stock of a try square in undesirable, so it seemed like a good place to try the gel. So a 9", rosewood-stocked square from the Tool Chest is our guinea pig. First, we need to remove the coat of linseed oil that someone has ill-advisedly used to try and prevent the onset of rust. It hasn't, and leaves a nasty sticky residue that's particularly unpleasant to deal with.

Methylated spirits (denatured alcohol) and a scraper deal with that, in a messy but oddly satisfactory way.

Coupla minute's work, and 'tis done.

And the other side:

This side got the Restore treatment, as per the instructions. Viz:

"Apply gel to a foam backed scouring pad and gently rub the rusted surface for a few minutes until all the rust has disappeared, leaving a clean and bright surface. When all corrosion has been removed, scrub under running water and dry thoroughly."

Which I duly did.

Well this wasn't the first square I did, in all honestly, so I'd already learnt that removing as much rust as possible before using the gel made a lot of difference, but it still took quite a few of those minutes of gentle rubbing to get to this point. And yes, it is brighter, and it did do a pretty good job in clearing out the pitted areas of the orange stuff, but it still has that dullness to it you get from every other chemical form of rust removal. So I went over it was abrasive wrapped round a block anyway...

And here's the other side, done solely saw fashion, with abrasive wrapped round a block. It took fewer minutes than the gentle rubbing, and didn't need the rinsing, drying and then abrading-to-remove-the-grey. But it didn't get into the pitting.

Early days yet - still much more to try - but so far I'm inclined to stick to my feeling that cleaning things like saw plates and other flat bits of metal like square blades is quicker done with abrasive-rounda-block, and gives a nicer-looking result. But the gel is very handy for the pitting (which is what I had in mind when I ordered it). Next up, all being well, I hope to try the liquid version vs. citric acid.

Anyway, the results. From left to right: winding sticks from the coachbuilder's tools, which of cleaning up proved to be walnut rather than mahogany. And when I say cleaned up, I really mean planed square and true so I can use them. I even wondered about inlaying some contrasting boxwood or similar, but then thought they'd better stay a little true to their original appearance and repainted them instead. Then a 12" square from the same source (possibly ebony), 7" from the tool chest, the 9" guinea pig also from the tool chest, both rosewood, and finally a 6" mahogany stocked one from the coachbuilder again. (Amazingly, all the squares are actually square - yes, I checked that before I spent the time cleaning them...) Lastly, at the front, a rather nice and, to me, unusual panel gauge also from the tool chest. Its original matching rosewood wedge was just about clinging together as splinters, so I replaced it using boxwood from an old chisel handle. Well I figured it's not the original wedge, so why make it from the original wood? The original gave no appearance of having been of the captured variety, so I made the replacement pretty simple too.

The winding sticks and probably the 12" and 7" squares I'll keep (their blades have a few quirks which I can't see myself convincing anyone else to live with anyway) The panel gauge I'm in two minds about, and the other two squares will go in the "to go" box.

Hey, if I can keep this up and part with a third of all the tools, that'll be doing pretty well, no? No? No, maybe not...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Just a user...

..with an embarrassingly wide range of tools from which to choose.

I'm not sure at what point I thought it was a good idea to flout one of the fundamental rules of galootdom and put all my hand tools in one place, but learn from my mistake and don't do it. Just don't. Yeah, so you find a few things you were looking for (plumb bob) and others you didn't know you had (six glass cutters. Six?! I've never cut a piece of glass in my life), but it's not compatible with peace of mind.

But anyway, I did it. More or less. The planes were a step too far, and there are some things with a place to live that made no sense to move until I reach stage two (saws f'rinstance), but pretty much all my woodworking hand tools now reside in boxes of groups. Viz: Measuring and marking to the right; boring to the left.

Yes, that is a whole box of auger bits. No, that is probably not normal. On the plus side, a lot of them are already clean, sharpened and sorted into types. But not all of them. And hey, the measuring and marking box has actual space in it. Okay, so all the things I actually use are in other places and there are a dozen different gauges in a rack on the wall to add in, but still...

The screwdriver/hammer/mallet box is ridiculous. Why do I have all these screwdrivers?! The blue plastic box is not full, but it does have quite a few Yankee screwdriver bits. And adaptors. Let's put it this way; more than I thought I had, although I bet there are three times as many of one sort and barely one of another. The box of spares, parts, blades and raw materials for the repair and making of more tools is even fuller than when I started. I have been ruthless in the stripping of defunct tools for their parts. That hurt.

But you probably want to know the chisel and gouge damage, eh? It's pretty bad, if you chuck in the ones that are hanging on the wall as well. The group at the back of the tool tote is just handles though, honest. Like that makes it better... And yes, those are brand new, unused chisels in their plastic sleeves at the back. And yes, I'd forgotten I had them. And no, I don't think that's healthy either.

Now look, don't throw things. It's not as though I went out and deliberately bought another "X" or "Y" (except for chisels) - this is the result of about three too many bulk purchases. i.e. Tool chests, contents of tool chests, that sort of thing. The trouble is I've never quite got on top of the last one before the next came along and swamped me in more rust. As a result, I've turned into exactly the kind of person who used to annoy the hell out of me when I was starting. "Look at all those tools!" I would rave. "He can't possibly use all those. Why doesn't he sell them so others can have a chance to use them?" Well I know the answer to that one; the sheer logistics of getting them in a condition to pass on is a pretty big incentive to think "Well you never know; I might need a spare..."

But I'm going to try, I really am. Thus, I've just started stage two; go through each box and separate the keepers from the ones that can go. Now whether I clean them as I go, or that happens at stage three (or possibly four) probably depends on my mood at the time. Perhaps more pertinent a question is whether I'll be willing to part with anything at all. Fear not; not even I can find a reason to have four mortise gauges.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Animal Magic

Pausing to de-cobweb my hair and cease moving things from box A to box B and back again, how about a tool moment? Last Saturday I indulged the Chisel Monster again (and its close cousin, the Gouge Glutton) and purchased the following. A nice cleanish Marples 1/2" in-cannel gouge, and an oval bolstered mortise chisel.

The latter had evidently been re-handled (and has some sort of putty in lieu of a leather washer), but was reasonably appealing, so, y'know, why not? Okay, okay - I know why not. Just... don't say it. Its width is a fraction more than 3/16", and actually near as dammit 5mm, while the serrated border to the almost illegible maker's mark suggested maybe it had a little bit of age.

At the time I couldn't make out more than the obvious beginnings of "Cast Steel", but the smudgy shape in the rust before it suggested there might be a clue to maker when I got it cleaned up. And indeed, as you see, you can make out an animal "couchant", as our heraldic friends would have it. (Okay, so a combination of practice and extrapolation can help when it comes to seeing such a smudge as something other than a smudge) Anyway, odds are always heavily on that being a lion, so I hit that excellent resource for the tool hunter...

..."Trademarks on Base-metal Tableware". Lucky for us so many tool makers didn't confine their wares to just those of the w'shop, eh? And joyously, you can search the PDF for such things as "Animal: lion, couchant" and behold, top right, I believe we have a winner:

I do like it when you can do that, don't you? Makes up for all the times when the mark stays illegible or you just can't find the name anywhere.

But enough fun; back to the grindstone. *tosses pigsticker into "chisels, for refurb" box and returns to the cobwebs*

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

The Battle Continues

Depressingly, I think this tidying business is going to have to continue. I did start on something else, and almost immediately had to stop and conduct a 10 minute search for a tool I needed in order to continue. It's madness. So Spring Cleaning it is.

The most obvious place to start is here. Not good, is it? Still not absolutely sure where to put the Moore & Wright chest - it seems less than ideal to have it permanently taking up real estate on the bench. But the branches, those I know where to put.

Thus I adjourned to the potting shed with them and spent an hour or so moving all the hoarded garden "timber" out from under the potting bench so I could put the newer, unseasoned stuff at the back, and access all the now beautifully seasoned stuff at the front. No picture because that would really be hard to spot the difference, but it was very helpful. I now have a vague idea what I have, that some of it has been there for as long as six years (!), and that the bulk of the apple has had to go owing to the tell-tale flight holes of some annoying wood-munching bastard insect. Grrr.

I also took the opportunity to bring a few odds and sods down to the workshop to ascertain what bits of their larger brethren might actually be of any use. A bit of eucalyptus (upright), and (from back to front) plum, apple, pittosporum, and a tiny piece of - possibly - mahonia.

Unfortunately pretty much all the possibly-mahonia has split like crazy (it was always going to be a bit of a shot in the dark) but it's such a wonderful acid yellow, I'm going to do my damnedest to save something of it. Even if it's only large enough for a mini basher or decorative inlay on something.

The eucalyptus has, so far, thumbed its nose at the critics and behaved beautifully. Can't believe that'll last, but we'll see. I've made one file handle (of the very many required) to see how it goes.

Oh, one other thing this is testing - my turning. Seems I've got to stop pretending otherwise and acknowledge that I've pretty much forgotten everything I ever knew. Time to get out the Master Work and start re-reading. Only one problem, of course.

I have to find it first.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Spot The Difference

There are many moments of accomplishment available to the woodworker. The first saw cut that actually has some vague relationship to 90°; the first plane shaving; the gleam of a newly restored tool; that first exotic wood handle. Even, so I'm told, the buzz of a completed project is pretty good. All these things are good to share with your fellow wood torturers. They will demand pictures; they will congratulate you; they may even be moved to follow your example. All these things make splendid blog material too.

Spending all Sunday tidying up just one corner of the nuclear fallout zone you laughingly call your workshop is not good bloggable material. It's not something worth sharing. People seldom demand pictures.

Too bad - you're getting 'em anyway ;)

The situation I started with. Some of those things haven't moved in at least three years, periodically there's a land slip of turning blanks, and it's just your average Black Hole of Calcutta workshop situation really.

Some hours, considerable amounts of dust, 37 insect corpses and four (yes, four) boxes of stuff to be disposed of later:

Well I did say spot the difference... Most of the difference is, of course, the space I've suddenly acquired. Not a problem; I can soon deal with that... I also made an effort to identify and label the turning blanks, with mixed results. I labeled them at the time, but most have dropped off, and all that remains is the stock code. So I hauled out the old Axminster catalogues from whence they were ordered, but still a couple of them proved elusive. Annoying and not a little odd. Never mind.

Anyway, I also ended up finding one or two surprise items. Viz:
  • Washita stone, one. Wondered where that had gone.
  • Grinding wheels, grey, five. Easily explained, honest...
  • Files 'n' rasps, new, assorted, legion.

What? What?! Okay, I knew about the metal plough and combination plane problem. The chisel thing is acknowledged and more or less resigned to. The saw thing I have under control. The block planes I've pretty much got over now. But files? Files? I hadn't a clue I had a file problem.

The rasps, on the other hand; well we kinda knew that could go critical at any time...

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Black List

Okay, enough already. Veritas replacement rear totes was one thing, but now this? Extolling the virtues of the Record #043 mini plough/plow plane? Geez, Chris, go and find your own material, will ya...? ;P
And yes, chillun', that's the second thing Schwarzed within a week. Maybe the plan is to "Schwarz" so many things that the Effect will be so spread out as to be non-existant? You know, that might just work. Alternatively, could gain a militant wing.

Oh, and I succumbed and bought one of those fancy powder-blue grinder wheels. What can I say? I liked the colour. 10% off at the moment might have had something to do with it too, mind you...

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Movie night

Kids, if you've been looking for a hand-cranked grinder and haven't found one yet, brace yourselves for the hunt to suddenly get a little bit more competitive. The Schwarz has struck!

Must admit I was slightly taken aback by Chris' gung-ho approach to the grinder. Personally I prefer to avoid getting to the point of needing to quench the edge at all, but he's probably fitter than I am (most everyone is) and thus doesn't feel that slowing down would be rather beneficial to his continued ability to still have an arm safely remaining in its socket... He also has one of those fetching powder blue grinding wheels. Mine is grey and coarse, and to my chagrin persists in doing a perfectly acceptable job. I may have to go and eye the Nortons in Classic Handtool's virtual window again. Just to, you know, scoff and chunter and point out how unnecessary they are - and also dribble and drool and mutter "I want". Ah, it's a split-personality's life for me...

And as we're on the subject - and because you can never truly embarrass yourself enough on YouTube, as I always say - here's my good self making with the flying sparks and the hand grinding and the not quenching. I regret my musical accompaniment is not available for download, neither is it musical. But it will work for peanuts. Or sunflower seeds, grapes, biscuits, etc...

If you've ever wondered why I don't do the occasional video blog, now you know.