If you are familiar with our Arts and Crafts products, you have seen the 4-square and arch design used in virtually all of the products. The 4-square cut-out and arch are Trade Dress which identify and distinguish Vollman Woodworking Arts and Crafts products.
There are a lot of ways to create a smooth, symmetrical, sweeping arc like those in our products. One method would involve the use of a router, template, and a pattern bit. A CNC machine will do a nice and precise job. No, not in our shop. The arc is freehand cut on a bandsaw following a scribed line transferred from a fairing stick and fine tuned using a couple of my favorite hand tools – spokeshaves.
The two tools visible in the photo are vintage Stanley gull wing spokeshaves, a number 51 and a number 53 to be exact. I am not exactly sure how old they are. The number 51 is setting on top of the piece and I have had that for a very long time. It was my grandfather’s. I love working wood with vintage hand tools that have been handed down in the family or that I have rescued from the junk pile, cleaned, tuned, sharpened, and put to use. Why go through all the trouble to use an old spokeshave to refine an arc? Because I can refine the arc smoother and quicker with the spokeshave. By the time a pattern template and router was set-up, one could refine arcs on several pieces. Same with using an oscillating spindle sander for refining.
If you have hand tools, especially vintage tools, sharpen them and use them. We use hand tools, most of which are vintage, as much as machinery. In my case, the vintage hand tools passed down through the family connect me to our family history and connect me to the wood I am working. Nothing better than the sound and feel of a well tuned, sharp, hand tool as the thin wood shavings peel off.