My days are passing too quickly up to Christmas. The deadline looms and a bad day yesterday was reclaimed today and I concluded all of the mortises for the headboard today. Once these are stuffed with tenons I will be happier.
Chopping the mortises took me the best part of the afternoon because I kept stopping and thinking about things and looking at the grain inside the mortises as I chopped. I used a Faithful chisel to test it out and it worked as good as any I ever tried. It is a little bit thicker and heavier than say my old Marples boxwood chisel and also the Aldi’s and the Narex, but it took and retained a good edge and I sharpened only once in chopping out 42 mortise holes. I usually sharpen to only 250-grit for this. It’s not necessary to do more and there is little difference in resistance when chopping.
Here is a short video we did when we timed cutting five of the mortise holes to see how long it really took:
The beauty of chopping is in the freedom for thinking as I mentioned previously. I also think another beauty is seeing the chisel cut through fibres to reveal what’s in the wood directly behind the cutting edge as I chop. The wood resists the chisels edge and then yields. I like the way that feels and record it in my mind’s eye. I also like the essence of the oak as friction from the compression in the cut gives of the musty smell. Very different from machine dust filtered through a dust extractor and a dust mask altogether.
I pulled out another favourite plane today that’s very rare indeed; a #5 1/2 made by I Sorby, a famous plane-iron and tool maker from Sheffield since 1820. I have never seen another Sorby 5 1/2 in all my 50 years of working wood. I would love to have an I Sorby 4 1/2. #4’s are not common but they come up now and again.
Once the head board is done I can start the veneered panels and some of the more detailed work.