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Thursday, 8 October 2009

Stamjarns and Teardrops 2

At the end of last week two big parcels arrived from Sheffield full to the brim with beatifully turned beech teardrop handles. I have some wallets on order for the individual ones and our French suede tool roll supplier was finally able to make a delivery last week as well, so I've got something to put the sets in too. The latest batch of rolls are a tadge lighter in colour than the old ones but still a superb example of hand workmanship.

I wasn't happy with the grinding on the morticers, so I reground a sample and sent it off with a couple of originals to a very talented bladesmith in Scotland called Chris Grant. We'll see what he comes up with but I've got a feeling it will be rather good!

The finishing on the bevelled firmers is still not perfect but bevelled firmers were never intended to be used for fine joinery, they are supposed to be affordable general purpose chisels that can take a bit of stick.

With Chris sorting out the morticers and John sorting out the wallets, I can get on with the finish for the handles. I tried about a dozen different finishes but the winner by a country mile was oiling with sun bleached Swedish linseed oil, followed a couple of days later with pure beeswax polish. I use 25% first grade Cornish beeswax and 75% natural pine turpentine warmed in the sun until the two blend together. It brings a warm golden hue to the timber and a really comfortable feel in the hand. The turpentine is also Swedish - distilled from pine roots - so even the finishing has a strong Swedish element and reflects the Swede's passion for nature and aversion to unnecessary complexity.

Here's the first batch after handling and finishing, 120 down and about 500 to go!

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