Thursday, April 29, 2010

Making A Good Thing Better

Yesterday, a new tool arrived that I was eagerly awaiting. It was a Lee Valley Veritas Pullshave. I am about to start shaping the seat of the chair that I am working on and I wanted any alternative to my too-flat-scorp (as see below) that I have and also didn’t want to bust out the angle grinder and fill the shop with an inch of dust.

The Pullshave is basically a concave spokeshave with the wing handles replaces with those as you would find on a cabinet scraper. As with every tool that I have bought from Lee Valley, the tool is very well built, affordably priced and arrives a 10-minute-honing-session away from wood-shaving-fun-time. However, I have discovered that sometimes no matter the quality of the tool sometime you have to modify/ tune a tool to get it to work specifically the way you want it to work.

In the past couple of years, I have I bought and restored dozens of used tools- some newish and but most pretty old (mostly from the turn of the century- the 20th century). During my restorations, I learned a lot of tricks about how tune tools to sing like the day they were made, and in many cases better. Restoring tools isn’t for everyone. It takes patience, time, and the willingness to take a file to the tool. For most people that can be somewhat daunting with an old tool, but with a shiny brand new tool it can be outright terrifying. However, sometimes a little grinding or lapping can make the difference between a good to and an outstanding tool.

So what was were the issues with the Pullshave?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Rapid Prototyping

There are plenty of times when for one reason or another you have to get things right the first time. You might have a fast approaching deadline, perhaps you only have enough material for one try, or the material is expensive enough that you really can’t afford to waste it. In the case of my latest projects, all three happen to be the case.

I am preparing a new body of work to show (Model Citizens NYC 2010) during NYC design week and ICFF. With just a month left to get prepare and I have a very (over) ambitious plan to launch a furniture collection, a series of chandeliers, and have two small production runs for sale. There’s a lot to do and there’s no time to waste. There is also very little time to test/experiment/prototype/fail so every design decision has to be sound as a pound.