For the manner in which men live is so different from the way in which they ought to live, that he who leaves the common course for that which he ought to follow will find that it leads him to ruin rather than safety.

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Friday, December 30, 2011

More on winding sticks

Yesterday, I made the statement that no hand tool shop should be without winding sticks. After almost two years of trying to learn this stuff, I only just made my first set a month or two ago. Wish I would have done that earlier! They are easy enough to make.
What the winding sticks do, is indicate the twist (wind) in a board. The first step in stock preparation is to knock the high spots down. The best way to find out where they are, is (you guessed it!) winding sticks!
Before planing for the first time, set the sticks on the board. Get your head down and sight across them. This is where the light band on the front stick becomes important. You'll see the wind in the board. The sticks will exaggerate the amount of twist to make it easier to see.

Move the sticks to a couple different locations, lather, rinse, repeat.

I like to make a few marks for a visual cue.

Knock down the high spots and recheck the board. When the board is flat, you should see something like this. The top edges of the sticks will be parallel. If you slowly move your eye line down, the second stick will disappear. If the entire edge disappears at one time, the board is flat.
This is a close up of the sticks in the same orientation as the previous picture. If you look close you'll see the light band is slightly fuzzy, with a parallel dark band above it. That's when you know you're flat.
This is, of course, only the first step in preparing the board. At this point it still needs to be planed for absolute flatness and then smoothed. This piece is curly maple and was a bad choice on my part. The grain changes direction an awful lot and is going to require a lot of work. However, as long as I attack it with a finely set (and SHARP) iron, I should be able to minimize tearout. This particular board is the first part for the Moxon style vise that I am building.

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