Friday, May 30, 2014


Use a guide for your saw cuts so they fall in the right place
What would Friedrich Froebel do?  

Yesterday, I was planning to photograph the making of the box for gift number one. I realized that Froebel would have been working under certain constraints. In 1837, he would not have had a table saw, for instance. He may have been able to crochet the balls, as he had for years engaged his students in such work and most certainly, his wife would have had that skill. But woodworking as it is done in America these days, is complex and involves a number of tools intended to make skill less necessary. For instance, a table saw can cut a groove with almost no effort or skill.

Reposition the guide for cutting the opposite side of the groove.
Using simple saws, hand planes, and shooting board, a person can make a nail-together box, but what about cutting grooves for a sliding lid? I thought about grooving planes, but those can be expensive and it is difficult to hold material  for that operation. I made a simple grooving plane, that mounts in the vise, but most of my readers will be put off if they think that making such a complicated thing must come first.

Use a 1/8 in. chisel to remove material between saw cuts.
So here is my simple technique, based on asking the question, wwffd? What would Friedrich Froebel do? Lacking modern tools and equipment, how would he have cut a groove?

My answer is simple. Begin with a saw and a guide clamped in place. Cut to depth (it need not be precise). Then move the guide over to widen the groove. Finally, use a 1/8 in. chisel to remove the stock between the two saw cuts.

I didn't have a 1/8 in chisel at school so I made this one myself.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous12:00 PM

    Dear Doug,
    in your post of January 28,2014, you show a way to saw an X mark for centering with a table saw. At that time, I thought "this is using a bazooka to kill a beetle"; but I refrained to comment.
    Of course, when making things for a living, it is normal to use machinery. But for your students, applying some geometry concept to make a simple marking gage to mark the X and then sawing by hand seems (to me at least) more in the spirit of learning by doing.
    So I welcome your reflection about "how would froebel have done it".
    That being said, I am convinced about the usefulness of handwork and I am waiting for the grandson to be growing (he is only one year old now).