Chapin Tools


Shop Fun with Scott Grandstaff


Smaller Projects

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First, I would like to thank those of you who were so kind about my last project post.  I wish the occasion would present itself to make the really meaningful projects more often.

And truth to tell, I had just made a pretty shelf for my neighbor.  Did what I could with what I had to work with.  I knew it was nice (ok, ok, I'll get pix pretty quick), but never could have guessed how strong the reaction would be.  I was also really grateful to have been there to see the reaction.  Sometimes you just get lucky.

Oh, and I did get the nicest compliment from her through the "back channel", namely Kitty. In an email she referred to the shelf as... "house jewelry". Nice huh? I can take that kind of talk all day!!! Whoo hoo...  But now, (and go get your coffee), I have a serious tale to tell.  An "in the house" Galoot tale to shrivvel your timbers.

Smaller Projects

Here is my part.  I hope to get more of the story from each of suspects involved, now!

Last spring, my friend and yours, Russ Allen, had come up with an impossible fantasy of a plan.  Lord knows where it came from, this idea.  Must have just popped aboard when he wasn't looking one day.  He was already working up a patent searching guide and presentation together with Ralph Brendler at the MWTCA meet.  This was a very generous and kind thing to do of itself.  Couple of our own listers stepping way up like that to entertain the troops with majorly useful information?  Kind of makes you proud to be a Galoot doesn't it?

But Russ, while doing some patent research, had another idea.  He had come across the registered US patent of the original scraper (the new model is still pending) of our own Paul Hamler, toolmaker to the toolmakers.  The patent for his scraper insert as manufactured and sold by the Lee Boys.  The one to turn any old iron plane into a scraper plane and back again if you want.  His new improved scraper attachment (getting rave reviews anywhere it's seen, and so far every run sold out, so get on the list if you want one) hasn't received it's patent yet. 

Russ's feverishly sneaky little mind hatched up diabolical plan.  I heard the idea, and as the first thought if it crossed my mind and a glimpse of the physical reality of what would be required began to gell, I believe something on the order of " no way in the world" was screaming loudly in the back of my head.  It was based on something that had only been successfully done once that I know of and this time a whole new criteria was to be employed.

Well, we kept talking. He was ready to do a big part.  If you know Russ for long, you'll know what the likely part was.  So I started to talk around with the posse one by one (excepting Paul of course).  Everyone thought the same as me.  Impossible to the point of insanity!  Only a few people alive could be much help in this and we didn't even have Paul to drag in on it. 

But, this would be something for a guy who has given not just us, but toolkind in general some pretty enormous things (if there ever was something akin to the Galoot Nobel Prize, here would be a likely recipient. Not that the motley assemblage of us was comparable to the Nobel prize committee, but we do what we can.)

And, so, maybe if we all broke it up and each took on one little aspect of it??  Naaa...  Still impossible...  Screw it, let's have a go anyway!  This was in the spring and all I knew was, "at the end of the year", which I assumed as near Christmas time.  Seemed like plenty of time...

So, one by one, a number of us accepted to take on what we could.  A couple were either so far away on the far side of the largest ocean, or undergoing life threatening procedures, there wasn't really a practical hope of hands on involvement,  (and damn, some of the other likely MVP players too!!), but brains were closely picked and background material gathered and freely shared anyway.  If we couldn't get blood and sweat we'd have to settle for tears and the activity aspirin was made to help with.

Peter McBride did detailed measurements of a Stanley original and scaled them and John Maki let me into his head with ideas and pitfalls to watch for and all manner of advice.  It did help guys!!  Don't you ever be be thinkin' anything else.  So, it started.  The first pewter castings tried were a little bit of a disaster. 

They wanted to cast too thin without enough finishing cushion (I need a lot of cushion) and then I ruined one of them trying to work it and melted the poor thing into a sad little puddle.  Almost had it too.  But at the last possible second, it died a sad saggy death before my eyes.  Pewter is fragile in case you weren't sure...

So we decided to try a harder material and give that a go too.  Bronze went into the pot with a bit more cushion on the pattern tacked on so I had a chance.  Russ poured and sent it to me, and it was workable. 

A long haul of course, but workable.  Well things were progressing along slow, but time was sliding away too.  Not too worried about it, had until the end of the year.


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