Early in his career, Ben was a green woodworker and used travishers regularly in his chairmaking. Now that he is a full-time blade maker he understands how critical is the quality of the blade to a successful tool. Every travisher blade comes fully sharpened and ready to use.
Ben Orford, maker of the travisher blades writes:
My name is Ben Orford, I am a tool maker based in Herefordshire. I have been making tools and woodcarving knives full time for about 10 years now and have developed a range of tools and products that I make from my own experience and through requests from other wood workers, woodcarvers, craftsmen and bushcrafters.
Having served a three year apprenticeship in Green Woodworking and Woodland Crafts with Mike Abbott, Gudrun Leitz and Steve Betts combined with a Furniture Design and Cabinet Making course I have gained a background in the use woodworking tools and how they work. I think that this knowledge has certainly benefited me in the tool making process by giving me an understanding of what is required and the need for very functional and sharp tools.
When I was asked by James Mursell to make the blades for his Travisher design I was pleased that I could help. I was familiar with the tool and had made myself one when I was on my apprenticeship but this new method of holding the blade securely and the fine adjustment that you have, is a much improved design.
We have made a few trial designs and changed the grind to give a fine low angled blade which cuts extremely well either set for a coarse shaving or for a fine cut. Now we have the design sorted and I think you will see the benefits of this new design.
The blades are made from O1 tool steel which is a hard wearing tool steel used for various applications including tools for engineers, woodworkers, tool makers and all applications where a good wear resistance and edge hold are required.
They are ground, shaped to the right curve, before being heat treated which involves heating the blades and quenching them in oil. This hardens the steel, but if left in this state would break as it would be too hard, like using a piece of glass. We then heat the blades for 2 hours in a digitally controlled kiln and then the blades are tempered to the hardness of 57 to 59 Rc. This relieves some of the hardness but still allows them to hold a good edge.
The blades are then polished, the final cutting edge ground and honed to a very keen polished edge and then dipped in a protective wax for transport.
Having used this design of travisher myself on my own woodwork projects (tables, stools, chair seats) I have found that it works really well and is very comfortable to hold and easy to adjust. I have even used it for cleaning up timber that has been crudely ripped with a chainsaw and it works a treat.
Having taken this travisher to various venues and courses and allowed other people to use it the comments and feedback have always been extremely positive. Students always comment on how easy it is to use and how great the results are. I think that you would be very happy with a new James Mursell Travisher, it would be a great addition to any tool bag whether you are a chairmaker or just like working with wood and making shavings.