Here is one of Alexander’s favorite shop-made tools, a fixed mortise gauge. A simple shape cut out of riven oak, and two drywall or sheetrock screws. It really works quite well, but I have resisted making one all these years. Stubborn, I guess. But for those of you who want to tackle some joinery, here is a simple solution to marking the same setting for mortise-and-tenon joints over & over again.
here is the top edge, showing the screws:
The gauge was included in a package that came in the mail the other day. Usually it’s junk these days, but in former times I got great stuff in the mail. And so I did again.
This plane arrived, now retired from Alexander’s shop, and back in service in mine. I didn’t need such a tool, but wanted this one because it has been part of our joinery study from the beginning. I think. I really don’t remember when JA made this tote – but it’s been a long-standing favorite plane. It looks like the turned hand-hold behind the iron is a part of the JA rehab job as well. Perhaps Jennie remembers better than me & will chime in.
In seventeenth-century studies I always like it when a joiner died in his prime; that way his probate inventory stood a good chance of containing lots of tools. Like this one from Thomas Scottow of Boston, 1661:
A lathe and six turning tooles 00:12:00
In the yard
A prcell of wood 02:00:00
A prclll of bolts & pannells &c 01:00:00
In the shop
25 plaines 01:??:??
One long saw 3 hand sawes 00:12:00
A paire of compasses 3/ 3 augers 3/ 00:06:00
2 hold fasts 5/ 3 benches 12/ 00:17:00
25 Chissells, files, & other tooles 00:12:00
2 Axes & a frow 00:08:00
6 chissels & other working tooles & lumber 00:10:00
The other end of the spectrum is when a joiner lived beyond his working years, and his tools got dispersed, thus did not show up in the inventory. Well, here in the modern day, I’m glad it’s not an early death. And now I know what it’s like to receive some well-worn, but still completely useful tools, passed from one set of hands to another. Nathaniel , you’re next. If the US Post Office is still running in 30 years on, it’s yours.
Unless one of my kids takes up the craft…