Sunday, February 23, 2020

School Bag

This is, fundamentally, an old leather school bag, such as was commonly used by school children in New Zealand back in days of yore before Hello Kitty backpacks and the like became de rigueur. I've been using it as a utility bag (i.e. a handbag, only I can't call it a handbag owing to being a Manly Male Man) for quite a few years, but recently I've been tinkering with it to make it more convenient in use.

I had to re-stitch it completely, the old stitching being completely rotten. I added new, much longer straps, so that I can get a jacket or something in there. I added the handle, probably the single most useful addition. I added a little strap on each side to hang things off, and I also added a central strap that latches very quickly and easily on to a little push-knob thingy (I don't know the name of it) so that I don't always have to have the main straps buckled when I'm carrying it by the handle rather than the shoulder-strap. And, of course, I put my monogram on the flap, though that was done pretty much as soon as I got it, many years ago.

I don't know how old the bag is, but they had pretty much disappeared by the time I was out of primary school, in the early '70s. There's no reason why it shouldn't last another hundred years or longer, as long as it isn't left in a ditch out in the weather.

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Pencil Case

I have been virtuously intending to organise my workshop for a little while now. Instead, one of the things I have done to distract me from that is to put together this pencil case, which I definitely needed.

The leather cover is something I did many years ago, in 2003. Now I've just added a couple of zips to turn it from a folder into a container.

At the moment it's just a disorganised mess inside. Maybe some day I'll get around to putting in some elastic loops and what-not to order things a bit more rationally, but at least I now have something large enough to cope with all the bits and pieces I habitually carry about with me.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

New (Old) Plane

I got distracted from tidying my workshop by rejuvenating this old beech rebate plane that Nick Turner gave me.

It wasn't in tip-top condition, but it wasn't too bad: a few borer holes here and there, and the handle is slightly loose, but nothing to prevent it being a usable plane. I trued up the sole, squared the registration side, and stripped off all its ancient oil, wax and dirt, and gave it a fresh coat of linseed oil.

The blade is a nice heavy one, with a chipbreaker. It had obviously made the acquaintance of a nail or two; I had to grind it quite far back, but now it's nice and sharp and polished again.

I would guess that it was used by a window/door maker, as the blade is quite wide for a rebate plane. Also, there was quite a bit of old paint ground into the sole.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Intaglio Press Enhancements

I made a good sturdy plywood base for the press, to which it is attached by cleats at each corner of the frame.

The advantage to this is that the frame is securely and evenly fastened, rather than being clamped directly to the benchtop on just one side, so there's less chance of racking the frame when it's under pressure. Also, the plywood base is easier to clamp (or screw) to the bench.

Also, my friend Nick Turner ( helped me to swap out the crappy little hand-crank for this greatly superior wheel, a cast iron pulley wheel from an old pump.

And by "helped me" I mean Nick did all the work from start to finish, while I stood around and watched.