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72319 aab1@d... 1999‑12‑13 Introduction

I've only been lurking for  couple weeks, but figured it was time to
introduce myself: My name is Andy Birko, and judging from the "galoot
pattern baldness" on my left forearm, I think I would be kidding only
myself to claim I'm not at least part galoot (although I would consider
myself a reformed galoot due to the many tails in my shop).

I got (re-) interested in woodworking about 4 or 5 years ago to go along
with my cigar smoking hobby. Although I built plenty of balsa models as a
kid, I didn't really work with any harder woods until my first humidor
about 4 years ago.  After that, Normy fueled my lust for power.

After a few years of collecting apprentices (and hand tools, but mostly due
to economics, not desire) I read an article on sharpening in FWW...it
changed my life.  Once I figured out how to sharpen my chisels, I realized
that they weren't junk. Since then my collection has been growing.  For my
birthday, my wife picked me up an L-N # 2 and it fixed me for good.  I soon
learned that for the work I was doing I could either spend five minutes
with the sharp plane, or spend a day building a jig for my rapidly spinning
tool of the devil to do it in one second. Now, don't get me wrong, I still
use these devices, but as I alluded to before, my goal is to become a
renaissance woodworker, using the best technique for the job. I've
continued collecting and using hand tools (old and new, my latest being a
#606 in o.k. shape:  Plopped a Hock iron on it and it just melts the wood
away now) since my epiphany. In fact, on my latest project, a tool cabinet,
the only sandpaper I used is to sharpen irons to commemorate my learning to
turn a hook on a scraper.

Anyhow, two main reasons for this note. One:  For the past year, I've
turned my focus toward lutherie (if that term is not guitar specific). To
be specific, I build a Ukrainian instrument called the Bandura (for more
info, check out www.bandura.org, I'll have my own web site in a few weeks).
The bandura has a very large soundboard that's under a lot of stress.
Ideally, once strung, the soundboard should be flat.  An experienced
builder gave me the advice of making the soundboard slightly convex (like a
giant contact lens) so that it straightens out under tension.  On his
instruments, he makes the center of the soundboard about 2mm higher that
the edges....not much!  So I figure I can use either my block or #2 to
carve the convex part, but what about the concave part on the opposite
side?  (He also springs the underside bracing in addition to the carving)

Woodcraft is selling  a kakuri brand wooden block plane for $24.99. For
that price, I can experiment with making the sole convex to follow the
inner curve. Would this be the way to go, or will my regular block plane

Topic number two:  Stanley #53? (I think it's a #53, I meant to bring the #
to work but forgot) spokeshave. This thing is a spokeshave with an
adjustable toe (for depth, kind of like a tailed planer). The thing works
just wonderfully and I was wondering if they're rare or something because
I've never seen another one.

Nice porch you guys have here.

-Andy Birko

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