Q&A with Paul Sellers Episode 3

Q&A with Paul Sellers Episode 3

December 14, 2019 87 By Luis Garrison


here we go again this is a new session
a new series of questions and the first one is from Walter he’s asking how
do you clean a leather strop not complicated and it’s not a dumb question
either because what happens when you apply the wax to the surface of your
strop do I have any here when you apply the wax to here it keeps building up
and building up and then it gets compressed into the leather and it
becomes very slick so periodically if I was going to sharpen this chisel I would
have gone here but ba-bump sharpened it and then I would just go with the side
corner of my chisel and I would just pull it down like this and it scrapes
off the surface but it leaves the leather there leaves the leather in
place so that works just fine and it doesn’t deteriorate the leather so
that’s how I cleared off my leather straps and I’ve done it that way for
years I don’t use the same chisel every time and it does round the corners here
over a long time but it’s so many more like 50 years you might find you’ve
rounded the chisel corner but it’s not an issue
no and you could use just about any tool that has a sharp corner too so that’s
that one this is a question cutting dovetails or even Tenon’s on the ends of
long pieces for example like the ones you did in the trestle table by standing
on a stool of some kind but what if the pieces are 20 feet long I’m thinking
timber framing for example I think this one is an easy one because just as
you’re doing timber framing you often sit and straddle the work and work from
above or work from the sides straddling so in other words you upend one end of
the 20 foot length set it on your trestle the other end is lying on the
floor and you do work awkwardly but it with big bulky Timbers like that it’s
not usually an issue you can use a saw you can use chisels you can chop pair
all kinds of cuts you can do that way he has two questions what are you thoughts
and feelings about timber framing in general how would you compare it to
furniture making so the furniture making you do all the
tools and workshop requirements different his timber framing something
needs a team of a minimum number of woodworkers to work out okay this is
quite diverse really I’ve worked in a timber framing workshop where I was the
furniture maker and right next door to me were ten polish timber framers and
they worked right alongside me and we would often compare what they did with
what I did yes they used chisels some split cuts the
same way I would on my furniture so if they’re cutting a tenon they would split
cut but everything was massive everything was much bigger for them I
even saw them using steel wedges instead of chisels to split because that would
split much faster so other things like that they would use a bigger plane to
pair across the ends of the Tenons to make the Tenons fit so it was very
different but very much the same and so it’s just a more refined way of working
I am surprised with timber framing how accurately they work even though there’s
such a massive Timbers that they’re working with they do seem to work quite
fine tolerances and it’s because the shoulder lines have to be crisp and
clean they’re not relying on the peg so much to hold the joint together as the
the compression of the fibers when they drive the draw-boar to pull the shoulder
to the side of the beam or whatever that’s what they rely on and and this
business about the team I’ve worked with both people I’ve seen people erect a
whole timber frame building 30 feet by 20 feet on their own by just using
additional equipment like a forklift or a backhoe and things like that I’ve seen
people build a whole structure on their own doing that but then again there’s
the camaraderie of working together you know you get five or six people man
women they just want to do a timber frame pole barn or something like that
and they just love working together and I think that’s important too so that
becomes more interactive with other people
the other one is interactive with just machines one makes you completely
independent the other makes you completely interdependent
I like the interdependency it’s very nice so
I hope that answers your question and I can’t say what your name is because it
doesn’t seem to be a name okay Michael he says I have need of a good quality
set of drill bits countersink bits for my drill driver so he’s talking a little
bit differently he’s talking about something like this the ubiquitous drill
driver you are powering that bit into the wood and but that doesn’t mean
that your work is sloppy and we have different bits that work differently for
instance if you have a bit like this one this is just a regular twist drill this
has a bevel on this side a bevel on this side a flute down here and a flute down
here so usually they’ll have two flutes in
there sometimes more depending on the type you load this in the drill bit and
you drill your hole and usually the rim of the hole isn’t quite as pristine as
you might get from something like this where we have completely different
dynamic here at the cutting edge these two outer wings protrude past and they
create, they cut the rim of the hole as you drill and then there’s a Brad point bit
here and that drills a very different hole so this one gives a clean entry very clean and I
just hold that for you to see the contrast between the two now this isn’t really
the best quality bit and you can get superb quality ones Veritas makes a
set the small set and a large set they’re quite expensive but they are
worth having and they are called lip I think they call lipped bits lips spare bits
you see very okay high speed lipped Brad point bit they term
them as so that’s the bit you might use there’s also what they call a rim bit or
a force and a bit and that cuts a circle very cleanly and the rim of the bit is
what actually keeps control as it goes into the wood and then of course you
have other bits orga bits but he’s asking for bits you can load into this
thing here so that’s a very different aspect of drilling so it’s very boring
this subject you know but anyway then he asks about what would we use for
countersinking and let me see if I have a I probably don’t but I used to have
the typical rose pattern countersink bit but they vibrate when you drill a hole
like this they vibrate let me show you what I mean with these bits here
actually designed for engineering these were I’ve got different sizes here so
you can buy different sizes and usually buy a set and actually they’re very
inexpensive they can be hard for anywhere from five pounds and up for a
set of four I use this one this is the first one I ever had and I’ve had this
for two decades and I’m still using the same bits never been sharpened and I had
to put this extension on here because I liked it to protrude a little bit more
so when you dream the rim of a hole here with this it cuts a beautiful hole and what’s
really happening I want to do a bigger one here this is a brand new one so I’m
going to drop this in here the ugly hole on the rim there forget that spinning
and get the speed up before you press and you get a very clean hole it’s
vibration free and you can put this in Reverse like that and you can polish the
rim you can polish the edge of the hole and consolidate it so that when you set
the screw in there it seats on the on the aspect of the rim there on the
countersunk edge so that’s what I would use those are the ones I use I still
rely on my organ bits for general boring because I just feel like I have total
control and I really like that so that those are my choices for bits especially
for the countersink bit you do get what you pay for very often all right this is from Amondeo Amondeo where did you buy or get your
clamps from I live in Portugal and wonder whether I can buy them in eBay
Amazon or any other site you can get them from eBay and Amazon and certainly
if you go to the UK site is probably where you’ll find them they are sold
also by a company called screw fix here in the UK and I don’t know if they sell
to Portugal or send to Portugal but then there’s a company in Germany called DITA
Schmidt fine tools and they will supply the whole of Europe and they are really
very top-notch clamps this is the type of clump he’s talking about here it’s an
aluminium bar square section or rectangular section threaded here and
this moves along here and these are excellent clamps they’re very nice I
like them I use them all the time so those are the types of clamps
he told basically it’s a sash clamp it’s what we would have called a sash clamp
because it was used to make sashes it was a lightweight clamp and we use them
in furniture making very nice for furniture-making okay that’s that
now then okay somebody’s clumping laminating their bench top or laminating
us two by fours together we have them here this type of 2×4 here but we have
very square section 2×4 so when I’m laminating up a 2×4 I don’t have the the
rounded edges he’s referring to them as chamfered edges but they’re not
chamfered they’re actually a definite 1/8 or 1/4 inch not a quarter-inch 1
eighths radius here so when you put them together you end up with these grooves
in here and that’s what he’s referring to and he’s asking whether he should
plane off those rounded edges first and then do the lamination for his bench-top
and I say no I say go ahead and glue them up get them as level as you
possibly can and then when you got this big massive wood you can just clamp it
to the bench top and the mass itself gives you something to really work
against and you can take out those it’s really only about maybe 1/32 of an inch
that you have to take it down and you have to take that down anyway to get the
level you want for your bench top so that’s what I would do all right you say
ok glue the surfaces going off okay cam clumps this is the next one this is
these that we made these on via woodworking master classes and YouTube
and these are the ones that are used quite often in instrument making but
these are min box making lightweight work and stuff like that and what this
person is saying is that when he clamps his up like this so he squeezed here and
then he clamps here here’s a slipping minor gripping just fine but his are
slipping and what he’s asking is what do you do so the answer is if you got chalk
just powder some chalk right here and make a few passes like this and
the chalk will increase the friction level better than that is if you can get
just go along to any violin shop and buy some rosin it’s very cheap and just
sprinkle it you can either powder it up on a grater or you can buy it
ready powdered and just drop it straight into that opening and that will increase
that and stop it from slipping so same stuff for violin making as it is for us
making our clamp so that works perfectly so that’s a clamp slippage and here’s a
big question this is a very difficult question in some ways but an easy
question in others somebody this is coming from Trufftin and he’s asking me
big fan of your work and getting people to pick up the hand tools again I
started following you last year or so and jumped right in I recently moved to
California and I’m having trouble finding an employer willing to give me a
chance to train I wanted to see if I if you had any suggestions on how to find
someone that could help or how snag how to snag an apprenticeship this finds you
well and I wish you the best trapped in all right this is a common question
people cannot get apprentices I cannot get apprenticeships and and there’s a
complaint sometimes that we can’t get apprentices that’s not the common
complaint now the common complaint is I can’t find somewhere to train and so
here what I’ve written I’m going to read it to you first of all and you didn’t
give any age you didn’t give any experience details no dependents details
or formal training are you supported or supporting parents home partner support
these things all make a difference so if you’ve got support from somebody else
can you work for free can you volunteer yourself into work for a three-month
period so that anybody that could possibly be a would-be trainer
apprentice er would have some feeling like this guy is really top-notch I
would love to have him if I lose him now my business would go down something
like that where yes sometimes have some idea of who you are who is this man
that wants or woman that wants to work here and I’ve been writing a blog on
this issue for a long time different issues about apprentice in and you have
to look at the definition of apprenticeship these days because
everybody uses the term for general training for just about every task that
anybody has so if you’re filling shelves in a supermarket you will find yourself
apprenticeshing as a shelf filler that’s very different than craft training where
repetitive over and over tasks are repeated until you become so expert at
it you don’t even think about it it’s just like writing your name when you cut
a dovetail it’s just like signing something and and that’s what it should
become that’s what craft work becomes of course it’s it’s been passed on as well
that’s another thing that the craft training as an apprenticeship has been
passed on to colleges and universities now that’s not always the best place to
gain the kind of work and experience that you want and often the colleges in
university will say ok we’re giving you the basic three hours we’re getting you
through this but now you need experience of working with a craftsman or a
craftswoman that can give you what you really need and actually it should
possibly be the other way around the craft experience on the job with people
will get you into the craft without going on to college or university but if
you choose to go to college or university for whatever reason then that’s an
additional skill set that you would get they would have something to offer you
that would take you beyond what you might get in the field but definitely
training in the field as an apprentice is the best way many times people say
you know that they feel when they go into their apprenticeship that they’re
going to somehow be profitable for their employer or that their employer is
making profit on them in most cases they’re not an apprentice actually robs
an employer of his time because he then becomes I know I’ve worked out that when
I have an apprentice working with me he actually diminishes my capacity by at
least 50% if I have two
apprentices working with me my work ability is almost diminished to zero so
then I have to work through those people if I had 10 apprentices then I could do
all of my work through them in times past when somebody was an apprentice
they worked for a man a master and he might have 6 or 10 other workers and
that apprentice would be a distributed amongst those people and they would be
that means that the cost of him being there the demand of him being there
is feathered out amongst other people not just one person and then the other
thing is you have to remember that people are having a different attitude
towards their apprenticeship because they go in saying I want to train as a
furniture maker because I want to be a furniture designer maker on my own
account if you come to me and say well I want to do that I might say well hang on
a minute where are you going to start your business well I’m going to start my
business right next door to you so if I take on 10 apprentices over 10 years I
can end up with 10 competitors right next door to me so there’s a false
expectation there that somebody should be able to demand an apprenticeship
that’s not the case I think it would depend you need long-term experience you
need to work with somebody but then there was a sense when I was an
apprentice that I just served my apprenticeship I served the man that I
worked for for six years that was very important in my training it was very
important to him because he invested probably two years when I was really
very inefficient and other people were inefficient so there’s a payback that
comes from having a longer apprenticeship and that’s why they did
have longer apprenticeships was because that was the payback to the master for
the period of time of training so don’t go in with false expectations be
realistic about it what will your employer your train again from you
working for him is he just going to train you and at the end of the year
you’re thumbing your nose up and you’re off doing your own business I don’t
think that’s a good equation for the man and I know you
have to look at the whole of it not just you’re going through the training and
coming out the other side to set up in competition there I know it’s a hard
life it’s hard to get into but I’m sure you can make it by doing the volunteer
issue and then seeing what transpires from that