Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Galbert And Zajicek

Its 6 am and I'm rooting through my neighbor's trash. I come across some vinyl records. The album cover says in bold, goldenrod text "Broadway Musicals: Galbert and Zajicek's Greatest Hits."

And then I wake up.

Yesterday I went to bed thinking of two new tools I got in the mail this week. I don't do tool reviews on this blog, but I do occasionally post about tools that excite me.

I got a call from my friend Bob Zajicek earlier this week about a new marking knife he's about to release. The Kerf Kadet Carbide features, wait for it, a carbide blade (didn't see that coming, right?) ground to perfection by Czeck Edge master tool grinders. The knife came razor sharp, and didn't seem brittle like I was expecting it to. It scribed crisp lines across a piece of beech. The blade is .030" thick for getting between skinny pins, or other skinny places. Why carbide? Why not? It holds an edge like, a really long time, so you don't have to sharpen as often. I can sharpen, but I don't ever do it for fun. Does it take a keen edge? Ask Bob about his experience assembling these knives. But don't if you're squeamish. It's sharp.

Call my Czeck (Edge) friend Bob at for more info.

And now for the tool that will change the way I work.

The Chairnotes Travisher

I've been corresponding with Peter Galbert for some years now. Mostly because he builds my favorite modern chairs, but also because I hope I'll become close enough that he'll give me a free chair making lesson. Okay, that last bit is completely untrue. I actually want several lessons. Anyway, a couple months ago, in my measly attempt to convince myself I'm a budding chairmaker, I drew up some Sketchup prints for Peter's Smarthead shaving horse. (I have yet to build one.) In the process, Peter's travisher caught my eye. And I figured that even a budding chairmaker needs a good travisher, so I ordered one from Pete.

Last week it arrived. As I opened the box I knew I had a special tool in my possession. The crisp arrises, flowing curves, velvety walnut, glimmering steel and lustered brass, the entire tool floored me. This collaboration between Peter Galbert and his assistant Claire Minihan (see their initials emblazoned in the tool's throat) has become my new favorite tool.

In fact, just by possessing it, I now feel I can claim the title of master chairmaker. Okay, that's going a bit far. But this is truly one sweet tool. I took some shavings from a piece of dry walnut with the travisher and something hit me. I've never made a chair seat, but I immediately knew that this tool would be seeing some serious use in applying some textural elements to my other furniture work.

But enough talk. Here are some pics of my new travisher. For more info, visit Pete's site Chairnotes Tools.


  1. Jameel, I also own a travisher from Pete and to date it is the best travisher I have ever used. I have been building Windsors for the last three years and have tried many tools for saddling a seat. I shall look no further! Love the way he packaged the tool also. I look forward to seeing pics of your first chair, and knowing your work I won't hesitate to say it will be great.

  2. Perhaps you should sign up for the course that Peter is giving on shavehorse building down in Berea in May. Just bring your fly rod with you this time.

  3. Jameel, I christened my new Galbert Travisher when I visited The Woodwright School in August. It works like a dream and smoothed my seat in mere minutes. Congrats on the new tools!


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