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    Oliver Sparks
    @oliver_sparks_maker

Images by oliver_sparks_maker

Freehand grind on a 1mm twist drill.

I do have a drill grinding jig but it’s a faff to use, I only break it out when I need to be absolutely certain the drill is cutting the exact size it’s suppose to, such as a tapping drill or something very deep. For the most part my everyday holes don’t need to be that precise so I freehand grind my bits.

It’s amazing how doing something every day builds fine motor skills and the relevant muscle memory. The best part is that practice is easily scaleable. Honest to god I could barely see what I was grinding, but my hands knew what to do 🤷🏻‍♂️. The really crazy part? This bit is for 1mm steel rivets 😎 #makersknife
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#instamachinist #drilling #loupe #craftsmanship #planemaker #knivesofinstagram 
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Freehand grind on a 1mm twist drill. I do have a drill grinding jig but it’s a faff to use, I only break it out when I need to be absolutely certain the drill is cutting the exact size it’s suppose to, such as a tapping drill or something very deep. For the most part my everyday holes don’t need to be that precise so I freehand grind my bits. It’s amazing how doing something every day builds fine motor skills and the relevant muscle memory. The best part is that practice is easily scaleable. Honest to god I could barely see what I was grinding, but my hands knew what to do 🤷🏻‍♂️. The really crazy part? This bit is for 1mm steel rivets 😎 #makersknife  . . . . #instamachinist  #drilling  #loupe  #craftsmanship  #planemaker  #knivesofinstagram  I
Snakewood #nofilter 😍

This is a timber best used sparingly. It is so visually striking that it could easily overpower other elements of a design if used in the wrong context.

Just as well really, considering how truly horrible it is to work (think acrylic plastic) and eye-wateringly expensive price tag. .
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#snakewood #exotictimber #infillmaterial #planemaker #infillplane #gotwood
Snakewood #nofilter  😍 This is a timber best used sparingly. It is so visually striking that it could easily overpower other elements of a design if used in the wrong context. Just as well really, considering how truly horrible it is to work (think acrylic plastic) and eye-wateringly expensive price tag. . . . . . #snakewood  #exotictimber  #infillmaterial  #planemaker  #infillplane  #gotwood 
Outrageous colouring on this Strike Block plane in Caretto. Yes, it really is this colour in real life!

Reflections make scroll topped wedges a tricky thing to get right, as a bright line of light will quickly show whether the shaping is consistent or not throughout the profile. It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything properly traditional, it feels comforting.

Yes yes, I am aware that the luminous orange timber selection isn’t very traditional.....but it is very OS,M. 😉
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#planemaking #carretto #strikeblockplane #planemaker #bespoke #shootingboard #handplane #traditionalplane #mitreplane
Outrageous colouring on this Strike Block plane in Caretto. Yes, it really is this colour in real life! Reflections make scroll topped wedges a tricky thing to get right, as a bright line of light will quickly show whether the shaping is consistent or not throughout the profile. It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything properly traditional, it feels comforting. Yes yes, I am aware that the luminous orange timber selection isn’t very traditional.....but it is very OS,M. 😉 . . . . . . #planemaking  #carretto  #strikeblockplane  #planemaker  #bespoke  #shootingboard  #handplane  #traditionalplane  #mitreplane 
😭😭😭 more speed, less haste young Oliver.

I’ve owned this antique slip stone about 10 years and this is the first time I’ve dropped it. Hard Arkansas takes no prisoners. .
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#hardarkansas #slipstone #carving #sharpening #honing #firstworldproblems
New toy 🤓

Industrial Vecstar AF1 Ashing Furnace, rated to 1200°C peak, 1150°C continuous. Fitted with a Eurotherm programmable controller.

This is furnace No.3 for the shop and is Mollys to use for her ceramic and glass work. It’s not strictly made for that task, but with a preheated air circulation system and four internal faces firing it produces a very even and stable chamber atmosphere.

I love industrial rated kit, you can just smell the quality 👌🏻 Also, In the (extremely) unlikely event that I want to heat treat any short swords we now have the capacity! ⚔️ Huzzah! .
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#furnace #glassfusing #ceramics #vecstar #industrial #feelinghothothot
New toy 🤓 Industrial Vecstar AF1 Ashing Furnace, rated to 1200°C peak, 1150°C continuous. Fitted with a Eurotherm programmable controller. This is furnace No.3 for the shop and is Mollys to use for her ceramic and glass work. It’s not strictly made for that task, but with a preheated air circulation system and four internal faces firing it produces a very even and stable chamber atmosphere. I love industrial rated kit, you can just smell the quality 👌🏻 Also, In the (extremely) unlikely event that I want to heat treat any short swords we now have the capacity! ⚔️ Huzzah! . . . . . #furnace  #glassfusing  #ceramics  #vecstar  #industrial  #feelinghothothot 
Four years today.

For the record, don’t feel any healthier, nor do I feel richer. Still, the scent of stale smoke no longer follows me around, and I don’t have to brazen the cold every few hours in t’winter. My food tastes better and I can smell a rose from six feet away, so by those measures my quality of life has improved 🙂

None of these points really entered the equation when I decided to quit, I just remember looking down at the fag in my hand and thought, Well this is stupid. I’m not even getting high? Why am I doing this?

Logic prevails 🤓 happy Saturday everyone!
Four years today. For the record, don’t feel any healthier, nor do I feel richer. Still, the scent of stale smoke no longer follows me around, and I don’t have to brazen the cold every few hours in t’winter. My food tastes better and I can smell a rose from six feet away, so by those measures my quality of life has improved 🙂 None of these points really entered the equation when I decided to quit, I just remember looking down at the fag in my hand and thought, Well this is stupid. I’m not even getting high? Why am I doing this? Logic prevails 🤓 happy Saturday everyone!
I’m a Belt & Braces kinda guy.

On my #kimberleyplane the cast bronze insert is affixed into the Macassar Ebony body by a mix of epoxy and 3/4” long shop-made bronze screws.

I carefully fit the insert into its cutout until no light or gaps are visible along the joint line. The three hole positions are marked with a scribe and the body transferred to the milling machine, where they are clocked in perpendicular and drilled for tapping.

Care spent here ensures the insert is pulled right into the body, and all screws seat correctly in their countersunk holes. It’s like drilling for a cabinet hinge- bloody annoying if a hole wanders!

To keep the threads crisp I’m using a brand new M4 spiral flute tap, backing out half way to clear the waste, which unlike metal tends to bunch up rather than evacuate cleanly.

When final assembly takes place the screws are thread locked into position. Rock solid and dependable anchors 👌🏻
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#planemaking #planemaker #handplane #woodwork #toolmaking #tapping
I’m a Belt & Braces kinda guy. On my #kimberleyplane  the cast bronze insert is affixed into the Macassar Ebony body by a mix of epoxy and 3/4” long shop-made bronze screws. I carefully fit the insert into its cutout until no light or gaps are visible along the joint line. The three hole positions are marked with a scribe and the body transferred to the milling machine, where they are clocked in perpendicular and drilled for tapping. Care spent here ensures the insert is pulled right into the body, and all screws seat correctly in their countersunk holes. It’s like drilling for a cabinet hinge- bloody annoying if a hole wanders! To keep the threads crisp I’m using a brand new M4 spiral flute tap, backing out half way to clear the waste, which unlike metal tends to bunch up rather than evacuate cleanly. When final assembly takes place the screws are thread locked into position. Rock solid and dependable anchors 👌🏻 . . . . . #planemaking  #planemaker  #handplane  #woodwork  #toolmaking  #tapping 
Here is the colour change you are looking for when tempering 01 high carbon steel for use in hand planes: The sought after shade of ‘faintest straw’ shown on the left hand side.

No, I haven’t tempered just half the blade 😆 this #kimberleyplane iron was hardened at 795°C, tempered at 175°C, surface ground, re-tempered also at 175°C, then masked off and rubbed with gray scotchbrite to remove the very thin oxide colour layer. Some steels respond well to double tempering, but this here is purely for demonstration purposes.

What I wasn’t expecting was how rough it makes the surface texture look compared to fresh off the surface grinder. Maybe the colour change is catching/reflecting/trapping light from the peaks and troughs in a different way?

The last photo is the diamond indent from my hardness tester. This iron gets the green light at 61.5 HRC 👌🏻
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#planemaker #planemaking #heattreating #01steel #planeiron #blademaking #nofilter #handplane #woodworking #cabinetry #cabinetmaking #toolmaking #instamachinist
Here is the colour change you are looking for when tempering 01 high carbon steel for use in hand planes: The sought after shade of ‘faintest straw’ shown on the left hand side. No, I haven’t tempered just half the blade 😆 this #kimberleyplane  iron was hardened at 795°C, tempered at 175°C, surface ground, re-tempered also at 175°C, then masked off and rubbed with gray scotchbrite to remove the very thin oxide colour layer. Some steels respond well to double tempering, but this here is purely for demonstration purposes. What I wasn’t expecting was how rough it makes the surface texture look compared to fresh off the surface grinder. Maybe the colour change is catching/reflecting/trapping light from the peaks and troughs in a different way? The last photo is the diamond indent from my hardness tester. This iron gets the green light at 61.5 HRC 👌🏻 . . . . . . #planemaker  #planemaking  #heattreating  #01steel  #planeiron  #blademaking  #nofilter  #handplane  #woodworking  #cabinetry  #cabinetmaking  #toolmaking  #instamachinist 
Who likes a good sunset? 😍 #nofilter

Traditional pattern Strike Block Plane, 1 3/4” Iron, 38° bed • Columbian Carretto & High Carbon Steel.
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#planemaking #planemaker #woodenplane #woodworking #exotictimber #cabinetry #cabinetmaking #strikeblockplane #mitreplane #bespoke #furnituremaking
Testing a #dramplane iron using my Firth & Brown Hardometer.

Nearly all of my irons are heat treated using two digitally controlled muffle furnaces. The Dram irons are an exception to this rule. I do the hardening stage using propane torch and specially shaped fire bricks to form a chamber.

After quenching in oil they are loaded into The Bouncing Bomb: my recirculating air furnace, to temper at 175°C.

My harness tester works by pressing a diamond into the face of the lapped iron under an exact force. A microscope fitted with a Graticule is used to very accurately measure across the impression’s diagonals. The reading is then looked up on a chart and a value given. In this case, 61.5 Rockwell C.
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#manualmachinist #planemaking #shoulderplane #professionalpractice #harnesstester #rockwellc #qualitycontrol #planemaker #hardometer #toolmaking #heattreating
Testing a #dramplane  iron using my Firth & Brown Hardometer. Nearly all of my irons are heat treated using two digitally controlled muffle furnaces. The Dram irons are an exception to this rule. I do the hardening stage using propane torch and specially shaped fire bricks to form a chamber. After quenching in oil they are loaded into The Bouncing Bomb: my recirculating air furnace, to temper at 175°C. My harness tester works by pressing a diamond into the face of the lapped iron under an exact force. A microscope fitted with a Graticule is used to very accurately measure across the impression’s diagonals. The reading is then looked up on a chart and a value given. In this case, 61.5 Rockwell C. . . . . #manualmachinist  #planemaking  #shoulderplane  #professionalpractice  #harnesstester  #rockwellc  #qualitycontrol  #planemaker  #hardometer  #toolmaking  #heattreating 
Looks like polished Aluminium doesn’t it?

This is a split pattern for a batch of cast brass nutcrackers that Molly and I manufacture. The pattern was carved from Poplar before being filed, sanded, grain filled and painted to achieve the result shown.

Fairing in such a complicated shape is challenging, but the entire process is made easier by using a super reflective paint such as this metallic silver. By observing the shift in reflections and shadows one can see which curve transitions are working, and which are not.

The curves aren’t mathematically perfect, and I wouldn’t wish them to be- there is no charm in precision.

This sort of organic shaping is very similar to certain aspects of planemaking, where raking light and a light touch is used to shape infills, totes and chamfers.
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#patternmaking #splitpattern #brasscasting #nutcracker #bronzecasting #casting #fairing #carving
Looks like polished Aluminium doesn’t it? This is a split pattern for a batch of cast brass nutcrackers that Molly and I manufacture. The pattern was carved from Poplar before being filed, sanded, grain filled and painted to achieve the result shown. Fairing in such a complicated shape is challenging, but the entire process is made easier by using a super reflective paint such as this metallic silver. By observing the shift in reflections and shadows one can see which curve transitions are working, and which are not. The curves aren’t mathematically perfect, and I wouldn’t wish them to be- there is no charm in precision. This sort of organic shaping is very similar to certain aspects of planemaking, where raking light and a light touch is used to shape infills, totes and chamfers. . . . . . . #patternmaking  #splitpattern  #brasscasting  #nutcracker  #bronzecasting  #casting  #fairing  #carving 
I think we all need a little of this guys optimism in our lives! 😂😂 happy Saturday everyone ✌🏻
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#100quidtops #optimism #instamachinist #manualmachinist #rust #machining #manualmachining
Check out this sweet vintage hand vice I picked up from my favourite seller at the local antique market. New old stock, it bears the ‘crows foot’ stamp which makes it ex-Army issue, dated 1953.

It’s got quite a heft to it, the wing nut is cast iron but the body is either cast or drop forged steel.

I’m terrible for burning my fingers while shaping small metal parts on the belt grinder. This should keep the asbestos-fingers at bay! .
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#handvice #toolmaking #armyissue #vintagetools #toolmaker #grinding #planemaking #planemaker
Check out this sweet vintage hand vice I picked up from my favourite seller at the local antique market. New old stock, it bears the ‘crows foot’ stamp which makes it ex-Army issue, dated 1953. It’s got quite a heft to it, the wing nut is cast iron but the body is either cast or drop forged steel. I’m terrible for burning my fingers while shaping small metal parts on the belt grinder. This should keep the asbestos-fingers at bay! . . . . . #handvice  #toolmaking  #armyissue  #vintagetools  #toolmaker  #grinding  #planemaking  #planemaker 
1/2” Spiers pattern shoulder plane on quarter-sawn English Ash.

This plane is one of my favourite tools, not just for how it has aged, but how it feels in use. I typically make smaller scale pieces so the long and narrow body lends a lot of finesse.

I don’t really get to practice fine cabinetry any more, all of my time is taken up making tools, which is mostly metalwork. I don’t regret that, but it is nice to re-connect with my first love once in a while.

You might find it surprising to learn that even when making an all wooden plane I still don’t really think of it as woodwork. It’s more like I’m engineering an object to meet a certain set of criteria (function, ergonomics, longevity, beauty etc.) that just happens to be make out of wood. Does that make sense? .
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#spiers #shoulderplane #infillplane #cabinetry #luthiery #planemaking #planemaker #finewoodwork #bespokefurniture #handtools #unplugged #woodwork
1/2” Spiers pattern shoulder plane on quarter-sawn English Ash. This plane is one of my favourite tools, not just for how it has aged, but how it feels in use. I typically make smaller scale pieces so the long and narrow body lends a lot of finesse. I don’t really get to practice fine cabinetry any more, all of my time is taken up making tools, which is mostly metalwork. I don’t regret that, but it is nice to re-connect with my first love once in a while. You might find it surprising to learn that even when making an all wooden plane I still don’t really think of it as woodwork. It’s more like I’m engineering an object to meet a certain set of criteria (function, ergonomics, longevity, beauty etc.) that just happens to be make out of wood. Does that make sense? . . . . . #spiers  #shoulderplane  #infillplane  #cabinetry  #luthiery  #planemaking  #planemaker  #finewoodwork  #bespokefurniture  #handtools  #unplugged  #woodwork 
Getting close to launch now thankfully, I’m starting to get square eyes!

Oliversparksmaker.com
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#infillplane #shoulderplane #planemaker #smallbusiness #cabinetmaking #cabinetry #woodwork #handtools #unplugged
Simple pleasures. Is there anything in the world nicer to plane than good air-dried stock?

The difference between properly air dried and kiln dried Ash in particular is immense. It’s like working with two different species, particularly the stuff imported into the UK from the States (which is about as fun to plane as a piece of flint.) The stock I’m preparing here has about the same texture as good Walnut....so so dreamy 😍
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#cabinetmaking #englishash #airdriedtimber #woodwork #planing #cabinetry #planeshavings
Simple pleasures. Is there anything in the world nicer to plane than good air-dried stock? The difference between properly air dried and kiln dried Ash in particular is immense. It’s like working with two different species, particularly the stuff imported into the UK from the States (which is about as fun to plane as a piece of flint.) The stock I’m preparing here has about the same texture as good Walnut....so so dreamy 😍 . . . . . #cabinetmaking  #englishash  #airdriedtimber  #woodwork  #planing  #cabinetry  #planeshavings