Mid-Summer is finding us very busy at Blue Spruce Toolworks. Of particular challenge has been getting our old Kitamura milling machine up and running. Mike joined our team to refurbish the machine, help it talk to a PC, make fixture plates and fixtures, program it and ultimately produce parts!
One of the first fruits of his efforts to come off the machine is my version of a traditional dovetail marker which was introduced (with some controversy) in the last blog post. We are also moving much of our production milling to the Kitamura and freeing up our other mill for R&D work. We have been working on many different marking aides such as several styles of dovetail markers, squares, bevel gauges, drafting templates, etc with many more still to come. I am excited and anxious to introduce them however they all need a little more refinement. It would be better if I could focus on one project and finish it before starting another but that seems to beyond my grasp. Freeing up a mill for R&D should help with the focus.
One design that emerged from our R&D was yet another version of a traditional dovetail template. This one features a steel blade with one side at 90 degrees and the other tapered with a 7:1 ratio. The infused maple body has nice recesses on the top and bottom for comfort and an easy grip. Let me know your thoughts on dovetail markers. I am considering offering a version similar to this one as well as the all wood version introduced earlier this Summer. In the meantime, I have about half a dozen of these prototypes I will add to the specials page if anyone is interested.
The book I used as a backdrop for the photos is, “The Encyclopedia of Furniture Making” by Ernest Joyce published in the 70’s. This is a very good book covering almost all aspects of furniture making from trees and lumber, tools, design, and building techniques. There are other excellent books that may go into greater specific details but I highly recommend this one as a good overview. I do not think it is still in print but it is not hard to find….yet.
If you receive my newsletter, I made mention of a special offer for “Top Shelf” editions of Dovetail Chisels with premium cocobolo handles. If you did not receive the newsletter I will copy it below:
Many of you may know that Cocobolo, or Dalbergia Retusa, has been added to the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species, or CITES list as an appendix II species. This is the less restrictive classification that means the species is at risk and should to be protected. There are many social, economic and political reasons that are complex and debatable but for toolmakers like Blue Spruce Toolworks it means that high quality cocobolo has become increasingly difficult to find and very expensive. I believe that we use the wood in an ethical manner that will last for generations but I suspect that at some time in the future I will need to discontinue offering the wood as an option. However, there is some good news for the short term. I have the opportunity to purchase some very nice old-stock cocobolo. To help fund the purchase of this extra nice lumber, I am offering my newsletter and social media subscribers the opportunity to pre-order a set of premium dovetail chisels or paring chisels with hand selected, matching handles turned from the best boards of this new lumber. This offer is limited to a total of only about 25 sets of chisels. The catch is that there will be an 8 to 10 week lead time to get your chisels and you will need to put 50% down up front. If we can get them shipped sooner we will. The prices are as follows:
4 piece Dovetail Chisel set 1/8, ¼, 3/8, and ½ inch widths $360
6 piece Dovetail Chisel set 1/8, ¼, 3/8, ½, 5/8 ¾ inch widths $550
4 piece Paring Chisel set 1/8, ¼, 3/8, and ½ inch widths $400
6 piece Paring Chisel set 1/8, ¼, 3/8, ½, 5/8 ¾ inch widths $610
We can also make up to five 10 piece master Dovetail Chisel sets but all of the handles may not be a perfect match. We will use the best and closest matching wood we possibly can though. The price is $900.
You may specify either the standard or paring handles. If you are interested in a set of premium cocobolo handled chisels, don’t wait as this is a limited offer. Please give us a call 503-668-8665 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will work with you on placing the order. I will put together a list first and then if there is enough interest we will move forward. I will know in about two weeks.
I hope you have a great Summer and save some time in the shop for your finest work,