Wednesday, 30 April 2014

new lease of life for a refurbished cabinet makers tool chest

Hi  I bought this a few months ago  when i was mooching about in our local Joseph Welds charity shop here in Weymouth  while we were just passing time  waiting  for another place to  open.  At first I thought it was an ottoman when I lifted the lid it was full of junk  but was clearly an old tool
chest in it is where i found an old  Henry Disston  D8 handsaw with a broken handle £3 a  bargain.

I  went back the following day and bought the chest £20, when I got it home and stripped all the material cloth  that had been  stuck on it, I soon realised it was a very old cabinet makers chest probable well over a hundred years old  and it was  in a very poor damaged condition  and really needed to be rebuilt to make anything from, hm  not amused it was really past the point of no return.

The top lid was missing just an old piece of plywood covered both sides with green corded cloth , down one  side the boards were  damaged  and the joints were no longer glued together,  a split  along the  front face  just under the lock as well  by now after seeing  it stripped to the bare bones I was disappointed with it and left it in the corner of the work shop till now.

Over  the years my tools requirement has  just grown and grown with all the different trade skills I acquired along the way. Now that my workshop is being closed down pending our move,  and the tools are no longer  hanging up, or, on shelve and in cupboards etc etc. I have to pack them away ready for when we get to our new home. Almost certainly the first set of tools that I will be using when we arrive will be my  painting and decorating tools,  now there all gathered together I suddenly have  four boxes of tools, storage space in the removal van and in the storage unit when we get there will be limited, it one of those times in life  I have to be brutal, If I can do without it  it going to be sold, or, dumped.

Four boxes of tools needed to be  shrunk down into one box,  yep you got it,  now am  I clad I kept that old cabinet maker tool chest.

I decided  it was  not going  to be a top notch  refurbishment back to an A1 conditioned  Cabinet Makers chest again,  just as long as I could salvage enough to make a working tool box  just  for long enough  to get out new home set up that would be fine.

First I reduced  its height by almost  3 "   a lot of damage around the chest lock and it did away with that hideous lid. I then cut a new top  screwed  and glued it on  to the base making a complete box and then cut a new 3" lid   out of the box  and  hinged it using three 3 "  hinges.

Next  because it  had been covered in material all the  traditional skirting boards were missing, These are normally 3 - 4" In depth but because of  damage to the lower section  of the box I decided  the easiest thing to do  was to make them extra deep this time around to cover up a multitude of sins.

The rest really was all painting and  fixing some  cheap aluminium angles around the lid top for protection.   First a grey undercoat and then a tradition  black gloss. I must admit  It look OK, not perfect but  for a storage tool box it will do.

Next  here it is with it final coat of black gloss and aluminium angle edging.

Luckily  I have all three sliding drawers  all in reasonable condition there a bit  scratched and have  a  few dings in them from many many years of use but not enough to require any work to them .

The paint is dry enough to start handling now it time to clean all of the tools  oil them and  packed away for a period of storage ready for when I need them again.

Shown here is the base section of the chest  where all  the bigger tools are stored , thinks like paint kettles various sizes  , emulsion roller tray, stipple brush,  and two silicone guns, cotton wool and   a bag of rubber gloves and some steel wool.

In the first drawer is stored  various colored silicone tubes sanding pads   a broad knife for corking tape joints  etc etc

The second drawer holds thing like  varnish brush and glass scrapper and  several different scissors, uses vary from carpet cutting to general workshop use, paper hanging and  small  pair of upholsterers scissors  plus some extra silicone  nozzles.

I also have my trade tin where I store all my  brushes that are used  for oil based paints,  some of you may have noticed I have  some brushes stored in the tool chest these are  water based brushes for varnishes or emulsions never put these in the trade tin.

Well there you go, an old tool chest saved from the knackers yard  refurbished now to a working life again hopefully for many years. ENJOY.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

An old 16" Henry Disston no 4 steel backed tennon saw. 14 tp" Dated 1923

I bought this a few years ago from E bay.When it arrived I was disappointed by its condition due to its handle being in very poor condition, one of those traders who wasn't as honest as they should be by covering up the damage from the angle of the photos he had shown, so it got chucked into the drawer and left there.

I had tried to use it a few time but due to its handle damage causing it to be loose as I  could not tighten it, I found it difficult to control the saws movements so back into the drawer it went till now.

As I'm shutting down the workshop I'm being brutal and disposing of everything I can do with out in the new workshop, but, I decided not to with this one its time to do something with it, First a new handle and somewhere along the line I decided to shorten the blade as well to give this saw a new lease of life.


I tried to keep this as traditional as possible but  drew  a blank on getting any apple wood to  cut the new handle  from so eventually  settles on some nice black walnut.

First I decided to shorten the length of the blade  for two reasons really  first it was difficult to handle a tenon saw of 16" in length and also the front end of the blade was badly pitted.

So how do you cut a saw blade in  half ( not easy )  actual it was easy as shown here  hack saw and metal shears, hack saw for the steel back and the shears for the blade  as the hack saw would not even make any  lea way into the  disston blade but the shears  cut it like butter.

Next plane the black walnut to 21 mm thick drop on the the old handle and draw round it drill a few holes in all the right places and you have the new shape for a handle. Once you have the rough cut shape it all down to hand work  then  with rasp files. Its the first time I have used these  impressive   my only gripe with them  they  could be slightly larger  and  have a handle, having said that they were very very impressive.

 My hand were sore when I had finish rasping this, Here it is  the nearly finished handle  its it first fitting  some small bites and pieces still to touch up here and there  once there done source some stain and polish.  

Tomorrow  remove the handle and stain and polish   later in the day take just the blade to my local timber merchants and get it  sent off t for  sharpening,  my eyes aren't that good any more  with teeth at 14  tpi"   the saw is now 12 " in length with the steel back it nice and weighty.   enjoy.