Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Shoji Lamps and the Knife Man

  An enjoyable Easter break, now back to some lamps (more wedding gifts) I started on last week. Sometimes it is so hard to get a project rolling. I no sooner began on the lamps last week when I remembered my cross cut sled needed some attention. I also decided to make two smaller cutting sleds for some upcoming boxes I have in mind.

  With those out of the way I turn my attention back to the lamps. As I apply my low angle block plane to wood it plays a sour note, huh ....., a little dull. Sharpening time ! On my way to the  sharpening station, those chisels I use regularly catch my eye. I bring them along. To my left are card scrapers laying on the bench since my last project, better not neglect them. Joint them with a file and burnish a perfect burr.

  All this sharpening reminds me of the Knife Man. Lets take a ride on the Way Back Machine. In my neighbourhood a man named Josepi with a big mustache (really, I'm not kidding) would walk the streets ringing a bell and pulling a cart with a sharpening station set up on it. On the side of his contraption was a hand lettered sign KNIFE MAN. It ran on human power by utilizing a foot treadle which spun the sharpening stones. The homemakers on the street would exit their domiciles (think June Cleaver) brandishing an array of kitchen knives and beckon him to their driveway and there he would go to work.
  Today our neighbor brought out four knives. Josepi would take a knife and with one eye closed he examined the edge, wiggled his mustache and let out an "uhh - huh". He then turned to either a stone that rode on a horizontal axle, or the other, that lay on its side and spun like a turntable. Sometimes he would use both, much to the delight of this little boy. After much scraping of steel on the stone and mustache wiggling he would finish by whipping the blade back and forth on a leather strope. Next his callused thumb would swing across the knife edge checking for sharpness. If all was good there was a wiggle of his mustache then a smile.
"Four knife'sa, one'a dolla, grattzi."

  Josepi also had a brother who worked out of a van and inside he would sharpen garden utensils, axes, saws............. Oh ya, I have lamps to build.

  My attention returns to the lamp parts, sawing, slicing curves, chopping rabbets, some boring, shaping and scraping. Things are moving along nicely, must not forget to enjoy the ride as they say. Here's some pics of parts in progress. I hope to post some more this week.

thanks for taking a ride with me.

Base for cherry lamp with feet.

This one is of walnut. Sides will be filled with rice paper.

Shaping a corner column on Frankenvise.

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