Thursday, May 30, 2013

HandWorks Aftermath and Patina

One thing I've known for quite some time now. When the Brothers Abraham, Jameel and Father John, decide to do something, anything, they do it very well. The HandWorks Event was a perfect example of this fact, it may have been the perfect storm of hand tool woodworking. Given the weather on Saturday in Amana, Iowa the word storm certainly applies, however people were not deterred they continued to show up in large numbers. I think they all knew HandWorks was going to be a historic event and how many times in one's lifetime do you have a chance to be part of history?

Photo From WIA in Valley Forge

Jameel and Father John promoted this event as the effort of many independent toolmakers. If making ready our display of wares, traveling to the site and setting up our respective booths, and demonstrating our tools and talking to the attendees, was the effort required of us then we did our part. 

However all of us know who did the planning, organizing, created the web page, sought out the venue (which was perfect), laid out the booth spaces, unloaded the trucks, rented the screen and projector, set up the screen and projector, returned the screen and projector, cleaned up, reloaded the trucks and took the trash out, the list goes on and on. Many of these activities performed during a pouring rain. All of this was done by....who other than "The Brothers Abraham."

When considering all the above, the rest of us did very little but reap the benefits of the work of these two quite capable young men. We've thanked them already but it seemed a pitiful sentiment considering the effort they put into this I will shout from the roof top.......


We displayed several tools at HandWorks that contained parts that had patina or the look of age. To me this is just an opportunity to create a different look or texture on some tools. The look is interesting and it makes the brass pieces quite maintenance free.

We received several inquiries as to how we accomplish the application of this finish. As with many finishing techniques it requires several steps performed in the proper sequence. It is best to start when you've refined the brass to a finished state. I use a cold gun bluing solution applied while the brass is freshly brite and it needs to be applied until the surface is quite dark. Darker than the final finish desired. Wipe the excess solution off and allow it to dry quite thoroughly. I typically remove the excess coloring with either #0000 steel wool or gray Scotchbrite abrasive until I have the look I desire. At this point I apply a liberal coating of Tru-Oil finish to the parts and remove the excess with a cloth. I put the pieces in my finishing kiln overnight. The dry and warm environment cures the oil finish. I then just lightly buff the cured finish with steel wool.

One of many highlights of HandWorks was the favorable response to the new Shooting Board Plane that I developed to work with the new "No Rock" Chute board from Vogt ToolWorks. Most were fascinated with the ease of use.

The past week was a testament to the continuing interest in hand tool woodworking and I was very pleased to see that many of the attendees were in the young adult age group. Regardless of what you hear, hand tool woodworking is alive and well and the increased interest by young adults proves that there is a bright future for the craft.

If you weren't able to make it to HandWorks.....We Hope to See You Next Time!

 If you attended HandWorks....Thank You!


1 comment:

  1. As one of the "young adults" that attended Handworks, I must agree. It was a great event. It was inspiring to meet so many people who I respect for what they have done and what they have made. I enjoyed shaking your hand, asking you questions, and even meeting Mrs. Ron Brese!

    What a fantastic experience, all around. In the years to come, perhaps I will be among the exhibitors at some future event promoting the joy, skill, and integrity of hand work. Dreaming about the possibility is precisely what made the weekend so great.