Just before 5pm yesterday afternoon, I passed 3 Coopers Pale Ale bottles to the owners of 3 newly made Perches. Our first 3 person Perch class was a great success and the results speak for themselves. A great finished product and 3 happy makers.
While this class was going on I also had a bit of a play around making a Travisher too. I've had a set of traditional travisher irons for some years now. When I say traditional irons, I mean the sort that have the tapered 'stalks' which wedge in to the body of the Travisher body, as opposed to a blade that is screwed to the body, like say Peter Galbert's version.
Don't ask me why I decided to make one at this particular time, it just seemed like a good idea at the time.
I think, because I thought it would just be a rough mock up, I picked up a bit of American Oak and scribed a line around a very old Travisher that I bought from Patrick Leach a while ago. I then overlaid the outline of the Travisher Iron and adjusted the curve of the sole a little to suit.
Oak is obviously not the ideal material. But it was what was staring at me at the time.
I then drilled two 4mm holes for the iron stalks and roughed out the shape on the bandsaw, making sure that I left the underside, as you see it in the photo above, flat. That way it would be easy to clamp and hold the oak while I shaped it further.
From that point I used a 1/8" dovetail chisel to transform the 4mm holes to rectangular to accept the iron. This took a bit of fiddling, to ensure that the iron remained tight, but also was going to seat down deep enough into the body.
At this stage I fully understood why Pete does use a screwed blade, as opposed to a traditional iron. There's just too much margin for error. Fixing the iron without having to drill and fit a square mortise, is a much easier prospect.
But I persisted and finally got the iron fully seated and tight. With the iron in place, I cut out the relief for the shavings behind the iron. I then had a search around the workshop and found a strip of brass, which I fixed in front of the seated iron. ( albeit with Philips Head screws - I didn't have any slot screws the right size! )
With the whole thing looking right, all that was left was to finish shaping the body, which I did on the linisher.
All done and I have to say, for a first try, I'm fairly happy with the result. Bonus was there were three Perch seats in the workshop the day I finished it, so I had plenty of material to trial it with. In fact a couple of the guys used it themselves on their respective seats and gave me a thumbs up on the results.
Here's the new model lined up next to 3 of Pete's tools, the old 1800's tool I based the shape on and James Mursell's Travisher. Mine is not the prettiest, by far, but it was a good experience and I might just get around to fitting the other irons too some time.