Friday, April 15, 2011

English Layout Square - Finished!

I'm still here, and actually getting a lot done in the shop.  In the past few weeks I've stashed away a small mountain of walnut, started on a new desk project, and been working on upgrades to my workbench. On top of that, I'm working with Marc Spagnuolo to design the next project for The Wood Whisperer Guild, a Greene and Greene style Adirondack Chair.  I've got a ton of pictures, and I'll attempt to catch up on my posting.

To show you that things are getting done and I'm not sitting around eating hot pockets and playing with SketchUp - well not JUST doing that anyway - below are some pictures of my completed English layout Square.

If you read back to my previous post about the class I took with Schwarz, you will see that I still had some work to do after the class.  Here is where I stopped:

Almost ready to attach the cross brace, and lots of curves need to be smoothed out.
After I got back to my shop, I was able to cut the half-laps for the cross brace and get it glued into place.  The joints came out nice and tight, and a little smoothing plane action had everything nice and flush.  This was my first time working with walnut, but it certainly won't be the last since I recently bought a pile of walnut.

Here is another shot showing the progress I made on getting the curved details completed.  I don't have a large selection of rasps, so I had to make do with some small chisels and a dowel with some sandpaper rolled around it.  The end result turned out pretty good, I think.

Working on the curvy bits
After that it was time to get the square adjusted so the corner is exactly 90 degrees.  There is a video on the Pop Woodworking site that shows how to do this.  I ended up clamping the square onto my bench on its side and just shooting along the edge with my smoothing plane. 

First one edge, then the other.  It's easy to adjust one edge at a time and get very accurate results.
After I tested and adjusted it a couple times, this simple wooden square is now more accurate than my metal framing square.  I've already used it a couple times, and it's nice to know I can easily correct things if it ever goes out of square.

Here is the final product after a couple coats of danish oil.  I've got it hanging up on one of my cabinets, and I kind of like that it looks like a big "A" for Aaron.

"A" is for Aaron, Aardvark, and Apple Pie.
It's been a while since an update, and things are getting hot in Georgia!  Is this your busy woodworking season or do you play outside in the summer and come back into the cave in the fall?

11 comments:

David Scott said...

It really nice looking square.

Jeff Branch said...

I need to make one of those - it would be a handsome addition to my shop. Yours looks great in walnut.

Aaron said...

Thanks for the compliments, guys.

Jeff, I think everything I make from now on will be walnut. At least until I use up some of my lumber stash!

Dyami said...

Aaron,
The square looks great. As for the season, I try to woodwork all year round, though the spring is beginning to make me itch for opening the garage door and making sawdust.

Gareth said...

Dumb question: if your square goes out of square how do you know? What do you check it with? If you check it with another square how do you know that one isn't on the skew-wiff?

Just a thought :-)

Vic Hubbard said...

Nice project, Aaron. Spring, Summer and Fall are great, except I have more chores to do. Winter is when I have uninterrupted time in the shop.

Aaron said...

Gareth, to check the squareness you can lay one leg of the square along a straight edge (like the edge of a bench) and trace along the second leg. Then just flip the square over onto the other face and trace a second line next to the first. If the two lines are not parallel, then you are not square. The error is actually doubled too, so you can just plane down one leg and keep adjusting until it's square.

If that's not clear, it may be simpler to watch this video at Popular Woodworking's site: http://www.popularwoodworking.com/techniques/hand-tool-techniques/squaring-the-english-layout-square

They show all the planing happening in a face vise, but I found it easier to lay the square flat on the bench and shoot the edge with a plane instead.

Aaron said...

BTW all, I have no idea why I asked about the seasons. What does that have to do with my original post? Lol, but thanks for answering!

TexWood said...

Looks great! I like the details you added.

Eric said...

Is that the square that Chris Schwarz featured in his blog?
Thanks.

Aaron said...

Eric, yes it is. Chris Schwarz blogged about it and there was an article in Pop Woodworking Magazine also. It is a replica of an antique wooden square that Chris ran across. He came to town and taught a class at the Atlanta Woodcraft on making the square, and much much more. This is a good project to practice a bunch of skills such as stock preparation, half laps, sawing skills, curves, precision planing, and much more.