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The Making of a Cabinetmaker – Part II

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 10:25pm

plow_plane

My actual experience at the bench as an embryo cabinetmaker began when I was fourteen years of age. I had been at school all the winter and spring, but was with my father in the shop a great deal before and after school hours. At this time my father was working on piece work in the town of C, and in every odd moment I helped him all I could. He made a great many extension tables at so much a foot. They were 8, to and 12-foot tables, some were of black walnut but most were ash.

There was only one thing I could help him about on these tables and that was, after he had planed and scraped the tops I would sandpaper them. He had a cork block around which he folded the sandpaper, and after admonishing me to sandpaper only with the grain I would go at it. I took kindly to the work and he let me tinker a good deal for myself, and I became greatly interested in making a toy bureau. I made the frame, glued it together and get out the drawers, fitting them as well as I could. The first bureau was rather crude but I was proud of it.

I was given some practical lessons in shoving a plane. Like all beginners, I was awkward. Though I had seen my father use a plane from earliest recollection, when I attempted to use one in planing a hardwood board level, or to make a “rub” glue joint, what looked so easy as my father did it was a hard enough job when I tried it myself.

But the planing was easy as compared to learning to sharpen a plane as my father wanted me to. He had a way of holding the iron peculiar to himself. He would seize it with his right hand first, with the palm downward, placing the iron on the stone at just the angle it was ground; then he would place his left hand on the iron over the right, with the fingers and thumbs placed in such a way that in moving it backward and forward over the stone in the process of sharpening there would not be the slightest rocking to the motion.

His plane iron was never rounding, and as he seldom ground his plane iron it would last a great while. He insisted on my holding the iron just his way—every finger had to be just so. It was awkward for me at first but it became quite natural in time. Much good steel is wasted by careless ways in sharpening a plane iron and there is much unnecessary grinding in consequence.

I was proud of my father as a mechanic. He loved to do good work. He had a large tool-case which hung on the wall. It was nearly full of little drawers, all dovetailed nicely by hand. How many of the woodworkers in any of the trades can do a neat job of dovetailing? In his tool-case, which was made of rosewood and mahogany, were panels beautifully inlaid with white holly. Some of the work was put in at such angles that it appeared to stand out from the surface, and often I would run my hand over it, not believing it could be all level.

This inlaid work fascinated me, so I wanted to do some inlaid work myself. Father laid out a checker board on a piece of real white basswood. I guess he thought that would do for a starter. So I got a mallet and chisel and started in to dig out the squares. After this was done I fitted into the spaces black walnut blocks, gluing the blocks well and driving them in hard. I could hardly wait until it was dry before smoothing it off. When I did, I thought it was a wonderful piece of work; but father, while he praised me some, showed me the bad points, which were numerous and which greatly mar inlaid work. But all the time I was learning the use of tools, an indispensable thing in learning any trade.

Another tool that cabinetmakers use much on hard wood is the scraper. I took many lessons on the science of sharpening this tool also, but I confess that to this day I cannot get such a smooth-cutting edge on it as father could. The scraper he used was about the width of an ordinary hand-saw near the point, and a little longer than it was wide. He used a certain small gouge to sharpen his scraper. When it was dull he would lay it down near the edge of his bench, and holding it firmly would rub the back of that gouge over it with great rapidity. He would then turn it over and treat the other side of the scraper in the same way.

Of course you know that a steel scraper will only cut when the edge is turned back at a right angle with the side. When dull, this edge must be rubbed all down. Father did this with a gouge, as just described. Then the smooth back of the gouge was used to re-turn the edge. This he did by holding the scraper firmly with one end resting on the bench, while he drew the back of the gouge quickly, but hard pressed, along the corner of the edge he was sharpening. He did this with all four corners of the two cutting edges, then he would use it on places in the stand or table top where the grain was rough, and it was quite wonderful to me to see what shavings he would cut from the roughest places with that scraper, rendering it as smooth as glass.

We often speak of the knack of doing things. Well, he had the knack of sharpening a scraper that, with all his instruction, I have not been able to quite equal. I remember distinctly the pains that my father took with me in teaching these simple yet important things, for I was not a very apt apprentice, but I liked the work, and I am glad I learned that trade; and if I had a boy who showed any mechanical tendencies at all, I would teach him or have him taught a trade. I think every boy who has natural qualifications for it should learn a trade, and if he had the chance to become president of the United States afterwards, the trade would not hurt him any and he would have it to fall back upon when he had done with the other job.

I do not remember of meeting but one man who had learned a trade who said he was sorry for it, and he was I believe an excellent workman too. He was a machinery patternmaker, and judging from the salary he received I think he had no kick coming, but he was pessimistic. Yet I enjoyed visiting him and hearing him tell of his exploits when a young man, and after he had grown older. He told me that his father, owing to his heroic treatment of a neighbor’s valuable bulldog, gave him the choice of learning a trade or going to the reformatory, and he declared to me that he was always sorry he did not go to the reformatory instead of learning a trade.

The bulldog seemed to be the turning point in his career. It happened in this wise: When he was about sixteen years of age, according to his own testimony, his conduct bordered on wildness, and one day while on his way to hunt rabbits with a loaded, double-barreled shotgun he met a couple of neighbor’s boys, and they had with them their father’s bulldog. The dog made for the hunter, and the boys told the young fellow to point the gun at the dog and he would run away.

To use his own language, “I did point the gun at the dog with both hammers raised, and the dog came right on until he seized the muzzle of the gun in his mouth, and when he did so I pulled both triggers and the bulldog vanished in the air.” The neighbor made his father pay for the dog, and the father made him learn a trade, and he seemed to think that the end of that dog was the beginning of all his troubles.

But there was no coercion about my learning the cabinetmaker’s trade. I fell into it quite naturally, and those things that I learned to do as above described came to me in sort of homeopathic doses. That is to say, I was taught these things at odd spells and a little at a time, while I was going to school. But when the summer vacation arrived I began work in real earnest and was at it every day.

My father was very particular about his glue. He had three rules which he observed: The glue must be fresh, thin and hot. In making extension tables there is much gluing to be done. The bed of the table and the leaves were glued. Of course selection was made of pieces matching the grain as nicely as possible. Cabinet work, if good, implies good glue and a knowledge of how to use it. Glue that is as brown and crumbles like rosin should never be employed in making furniture, or for any other work that depends solely upon its strength.

My father gave me short lectures on all these fundamental things pertaining to the trade. I did not appreciate them then as I do now. However, I gave heed enough so that I was not so green about the use of glue as one apprentice I heard of who, on being asked to glue two blocks together with handscrews, did so, but a moment later was seen taking the hand-screws off, and when asked what he was doing that for replied, “Well, they are squeezing all the glue out.”

Father scolded me some, and no doubt I deserved more than I got. But as before stated, I was fourteen years of age, and rapidly approaching that period in a boy’s life when he knows, or at least thinks he knows, more than his father, mother, grandmother, grandfather, great-grandfather and the whole world besides.

Every boy has to go over “Fool’s Hill.” Some are a little longer reaching the summit than others, but from fourteen years of age on their heads grow and swell at a great rate until they are past sixteen; then it gradually diminishes until they are about twenty-five, and unless “swelled head” has become chronic, at the age of twenty-five it becomes normal and less like a pumpkin.

Once while speaking to a Southern gentleman about boys, and girls too, knowing so much more at sixteen than their parents he said to me, “Do you know how we express these peculiar conditions existing between the young people and the old ones down here? Well, we say to the young people, ‘Young people think that the old people are fools, but the old people know that the young people are.'”

I told him I would remember that, and as soon as my boy began to get lofty I would spring it on him. If he is anything like his father was, I will not have long to wait. I knew a whole lot more when I was sixteen than I do now, and it was lucky for me that I learned the trade under my father’s instruction instead of under the instruction of some men I have known since, for he had mercy when I deserved to have been half killed.

As before stated, my father was making furniture at this place by piece work. All the machine work was done for him by men employed for the purpose, and the material piled up near our benches, a dozen extension tables, or dressers, or bureaus, as the case might be, at a time. He got a dozen cheap bureaus to make, which was fun for me, as I had a chance to put the drawers together.

These were not dovetailed, but the drawer part at each end was halved with a groove about ½ inch from the lower edge to receive the bottom pieces. I used glue and finishing nails, nailing the drawer end to the front, where it was halved first, and then to the back, and lastly the other end was secured to both back and front. Then it was ready for the bottom, but before I put the bottom in I had to see that the drawer frame was square.

In order to make sure, for no one can tell what an apprentice may do to get a thing wrong, father nailed two strips just the length of the drawers at right angles with the front of my bench, and by putting the drawer frame with the front of the drawer even with the edge of the bench between the strips, it had to come square.

So in this position I slipped the thin pieces of basswood of which the bottom material was made into the grooves made in the ends and front, and by nailing it along the back edge the drawer was done, except fitting to the frames so it would slide in easily without too much play. This was a job for a more advanced cabinetmaker, but I could make the drawers, and as I always liked to pound and hammer and make noise, the job just suited me.

My first knowledge of cabinetmaking, which consisted of object lessons merely, when I was very small, was in a shop where there was no machinery. In this shop there was considerable machinery for making furniture, but this machinery cannot be compared to the machinery of the present time, and as I pore over the pages of Wood Craft and examine the machinery displayed so far in advance of thirty years ago, I wonder what the next thirty years will develop in the way of improved woodworking machinery. It now seems as if the limit of perfection had been reached.

I remember an old-fashioned planer that was used in the factory for dressing lumber “out of wind” where I began to learn my trade. Instead of pushing the board to be jointed over a perfectly true and easily adjusted iron table sustaining knives that cut as smoothly as a hand-plane and as true as anything can be made, in this old machine the board was run in edgewise against knives fastened in a wheel resembling a face-plate, which knives sort of chewed and twisted the shavings off, leaving the flat side of the board fairly “out of wind” but about as rough as a circular saw would leave it.

The shaper that was used in this shop for running moldings on table tops and short legs and the like, consisted of two heads which held the knives, one running one way and the other the reverse. It was a very dangerous machine to run and two men usually operated it, I suppose so that if one got killed, or his arm or head cut off, there would be one left to report it and get the ambulance or the coroner, as the case might be.

Years afterwards I ran a carver and molder with single reversible heads, did all the work that was done upon it in a very large factory for two years and escaped with scarcely a scar. At the best these machines are extra hazardous owing to the fact that the work must be held against the knives with the hands, without the aid of feed rolls.

Another quite crude machine, which father and I used together some, was a sandpapering wheel, which consisted of a cylinder about the diameter of a barrel head and about as long as an ordinary flour barrel. The sandpaper was glued on to this cylinder and left to dry over night. It was used by holding the stand top or table leaf on to it while revolving and by moving the work from end to end it was sandpapered.

The mortising machine was also a crude affair and pounded so vigorously on heavy work as to fairly cause the building to rock upon its foundation and the chips were driven into the mortises so hard that they were with great difficulty dislodged. I know this well enough, for I had much of this dislodging to do—a job I did not like. But I was like many another apprentice, the work that I wanted to do as a rule I was not able to do and the work I was able to do I did not want to do.

There was one great advantage I had over many apprentices, I had access to all the tools I needed and it was fairly driven into my head to keep my tools sharp. How many, many boys I have known since who were trying to learn a trade with scarcely any tools and very little knowledge of how to take care of the few tools they had; trying to plane something straight and smooth with a dull plane, or trying to “beat” a mortise with a blunt chisel, or do a little carving, and sometimes the boy would not know why he could not do good work, and becoming discouraged was ready to give up as a failure when there was nothing in the world the matter except too few and too dull tools.

Even under the most favorable conditions an apprentice must be expected to spoil some work. It was so in my case, and I had the best opportunities to learn the trade. The work was by the piece and I was responsible to no one but my father. I was put right on to the bench, was not sent on any errands and therefore my time was not wasted chasing around outside, wearing away shoe leather and learning nothing, as too often is the case with boys “put out” to learn a trade.

I have known of apprentices who, by being kept doing a whole lot of odd jobs that did not pertain at all to the trade they were seeking to learn, wasted at least two out of their four years’ service. The boss would have them up at his house a good share of the time, doing anything from cleaning out a stable or currying a horse to sweeping the sidewalk, shoveling snow or drowning a troublesome old cat.

I think such treatment of an apprentice is contemptible, and a man who will do it is mean enough to steal. It is more than stealing. It is robbing a poor boy of the best opportunities of his life. I am a thousand times thankful that I had a “good show,” as we sometimes say, and I have always felt sorry indeed when I have seen boys even more apt to learn than I was compelled to do anything and everything but the steady application to those duties which involve the learning of a trade. Whether he be a young and aspiring cabinetmaker or a young woodworker of any kind, give him a chance.

Chris Weeks

Wood Craft – January, 1906

—Jeff Burks


Filed under: Historical Images
Categories: Hand Tools

Noah’s Arks

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 9:31pm

camel

In Kew Gardens is a seldom-visited collection of all the kinds of wood which we have ever heard of, accompanied by specimens of various articles customarily made of those woods in the countries of their growth. Tools, implements, small articles of furniture, musical instruments, sabots and wooden shoes, boot-trees and shoe-lasts, bows and arrows, planes, saw-handles—all are here, and thousands of other things which it would take a very long summer day indeed even to glance at.

The fine display of colonial woods, which were built up into fanciful trophies at the International Exhibition of eighteen hundred and sixty-two, has been transferred to one of these museums; and a noble collection it makes.

We know comparatively little in England of the minor uses of wood. We use wood enough in building houses and railway structures; our carriage-builders and wheelwrights cut up and fashion a great deal more; and our cabinet-makers know how to stock our rooms with furniture, from three-legged stools up to costly cabinets; but implements and minor articles are less extensively made of wood in England than in foreign countries —partly because our forests are becoming thinned, and partly because iron and iron-work are so abundant and cheap.

In America, matters are very different. There are thousands of square miles of forest which belong to no one in particular, and the wood of which may be claimed by those who are at the trouble of felling the trees. Nay, a backwoodsman would be very glad to effect a clearing on such terms as these, seeing that the trees encumber the ground on which he wishes to grow corn-crops. The wood, when the trees have been felled and converted into boards and planks, is applied to almost countless purposes of use. Of use, we say; for the Americans are too bustling a people to devote much time to the fabricating of ornaments: they prefer to buy these ready made from Britishers and other Europeans.

Pails, bowls, washing-machines, wringing-machines, knife-cleaning boards, neat light vehicles, neat light furniture, dairy vessels, kitchen utensils, all are made by the Americans of clean tidy-looking wood, and are sold at very low prices. Machinery is used to a large extent in this turnery and woodware; the manufacturers not having the fear of strikes before their eyes, use machines just where they think this kind of aid is likely to be most serviceable. The way in which they get a little bowl out of a big bowl, and this out of a bigger, and this out of a bigger still, is a notable example of economy in workmanship.

On the continent of Europe the woodworkers are mostly handicraftsmen, who niggle away at their little bits of wood without much aid from machinery. Witness the briar-root pipes of St. Claude. Smart young fellows who sport this kind of smoking-bowl in England, neither know nor care for the fact that it comes from a secluded spot in the Jura Mountains. Men and women, boys and girls, earn from threepence to four shillings a day in various little bits of carved and turned work; but the crack wages are paid to the briar-root pipe-makers.

England imports many more than she smokes, and sends off the rest to America. M. Audiganne says that “in those monster armies which have sprung up so suddenly on the soil of the great republic, there is scarcely a soldier but has a St. Claude briar-root pipe in his pocket.” The truth is, that, unlike cutties and meerschaums, and other clay or earthen pipes, these briar-root productions are very strong, and will bear a great deal of knocking about.

The same French writer says that when his countrymen came here to see our International Exhibition, some of them bought and carried home specimens of these pipes as English curiosities: not aware that the little French town of St. Claude was the place of their production.
sheep
In Germany the wood-work, so far as English importers know anything of it, is mostly in the form of small trinkets and toys for children. The production of these is immense. In the Tyrol, and near the Thuringian Forest, in the middle states of the ill-organised confederacy, and wherever forests abound, there the peasants spend much of their time in making toys.

In the Tyrol, for example, there is a valley called the Grödnerthal, about twenty miles long, in which the rough climate and barren soil will not suffice to grow corn for the inhabitants, who are rather numerous. Shut out from the agricultural labour customary in other districts, the people earn their bread chiefly by wood carving.

They make toys of numberless kinds (in which Noah’s Ark animals are very predominant) of the soft wood of the Siberian pine—known to the Germans as ziebel-nusskiefer. The tree is of slow growth, found on the higher slopes of the valley, but now becoming scarce, owing to the improvidence of the peasants in cutting down the forests without saving or planting others to succeed them.

For a hundred years and more the peasants have been carvers. Nearly every cottage is a workshop. All the occupants, male and female, down to very young children, seat themselves round a table, and fashion their little bits of wood. They use twenty or thirty different kinds of tools, under the magic of which the wood is transformed into a dog, a lion, a man, or what not. Agents represent these carvers in various cities of Europe, to dispose of the wares; but they nearly all find their way back again to their native valleys, to spend their earnings in peace.

Many of the specimens shown at the Kew museums are more elaborate than those which could be produced wholly by hand. A turning-lathe of some power must have been needed. Indeed, the manner in which these zoological productions are fabricated is exceedingly curious, and is little likely to be anticipated by ordinary observers.

Who, for instance, would imagine for a moment that a wooden horse, elephant, or tiger, or any other member of the Noah’s Ark family, could be turned in a lathe, like a ball, bowl, or bedpost? How could the turner’s cutting tool, while the piece of wood is rotating in the lathe, make the head stick out in the front, and the ears at the top, and the tail in the rear, and the legs underneath?

And how could the animal be made longer than he is high, and higher than he is broad? And how could all the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the swellings and sinkings, be produced by a manipulation which only seems suitable for circular objects? These questions are all fair ones, and deserve a fair answer.

The articles, then, are not fully made in the lathe; they are brought to the state of flat pieces, the outline or contour of which bears an approximate resemblance to the profile of an animal. These flat pieces are in themselves a puzzle; for it is difficult to see how the lathe can have had anything to do with their production. The truth is, the wood is first turned into rings.

Say that a horse three inches long is to be fabricated. A block of soft pine-wood is prepared, and cut into a slab three inches thick, by perhaps fifteen inches in diameter: the grain running in the direction of the thickness. Out of this circular slab a circular piece is cut from the centre, possibly six inches in diameter, leaving the slab in the form of a ring, like an extra thick india-rubber elastic band.

While this ring is in the lathe, the turner applies his chisels and gouges to it in every part, on the outer edge, on the inner edge, and on both sides. All sorts of curves are made, now deep, now shallow; now convex, now concave; now with single curvature, now with double.

A looker-on could hardly by any possibility guess what these curvings and twistings have to do with each other, for the ring is still a ring and nothing else; but the cunning workman has got it all in his mind’s eye. When the turning is finished, the ring is bisected or cut across, not into two slices, but into two segments or semicircular pieces. Looking at either end of either piece, lo! there is the profile of a horse—without a tail, certainly, but a respectably good horse in other respects.

The secret is now divulged. The turner, while the ring or annulus is in the lathe—a Saturn’s ring without a Saturn—turns the outer edge into the profile of the top of the head and the back of a horse, the one flat surface into the profile of the chest and the fore legs, the other flat surface into the profile of the hind quarters and hind legs, and the inner edge of the ring into the profile of the belly and the deep recess between the fore and hind legs. The curvatures are really very well done, for the workmen have good models to copy from, and long practice gives them accuracy of hand and eye.

An endless ring of tailless horses has been produced, doubtless the most important part of the affair; but there is much ingenuity yet to be shown in developing from this abstract ring a certain number of single, concrete, individual, proper Noah’s Ark horses, with proper Noah’s Ark tails.

The ring is chopped or sawn up into a great many pieces. Each piece is thicker at one end than the other, because the outer diameter of the ring was necessarily greater than the inner; but with this allowance, each piece may be considered flat. The thick end is the head of the horse, the thin end the hind quarter; one projecting piece represents the position and profile of the fore legs, but they are not separated; and similarly of the hind legs.

Now is the time for the carver to set to work. He takes the piece of wood in hand, equalises the thickness where needful, and pares off the sharp edges; he separates into two ears the little projecting piece which juts out from the head, separates into two pairs of legs the two projecting pieces which jut out from the body, and makes a respectable pair of eyes, with nostrils and mouth of proper thorough-bred character; he jags the back of the neck in the proper way to form a mane, and makes, not a tail, but a little recess to which a tail may comfortably be glued.

The tail is a separate affair. An endless ring of horses’ tails is first turned in a lathe. A much smaller slab, smaller in diameter and in thickness than the other, is cut into an annulus or ring; and this ring is turned by tools on both edges and both sides. When bisected, each end of each half of the ring exhibits the profile of a horse’s tail; and when cut up into small bits, each bit has the wherewithal in it for fashioning one tail.

After the carver has done his work, each horse receives its proper tail; and they are all proper long tails too, such as nature may be supposed to have made, and not the clipped and cropped affairs which farriers and grooms produce.

This continuous ring system is carried faithfully through the whole Noah’s Ark family. One big slab is for an endless ring of elephants; another of appropriate size for camels; others for lions, leopards, wolves, foxes, dogs, donkeys, ducks, and all the rest. Sometimes the ears are so shaped as not very conveniently to be produced in the same ring as the other part of the animal; in this case an endless ring of ears is made, and chopped up into twice as many ears as there are animals.

Elephants’ trunks stick out in a way that would perplex the turner somewhat; he therefore makes an endless ring of trunks, chops it up, and hands over the pieces to the carver to be fashioned into as many trunks as there are elephants. In some instances, where the animal is rather a bullet-headed sort of an individual, the head is turned in a lathe separately, and glued on to the headless body.

If a carnivorous animal has a tail very much like that of one of the graminivorous sort, the carver says nothing about it, but makes the same endless ring of tails serve both; or they may belong to the same order but different families—as, for instance, the camel and the cow, which are presented by these Noah’s Ark people with tails cut from the same endless ring.

Other toys are made in the same way. Those eternal soldiers which German boys are always supposed to love so much, as if there were no end of Schleswig-Holsteins for them to conquer, are—if made of wood—(for tin soldiers are also immensely in request) turned separately in a lathe, so far as their martial frames admit of this mode of shaping; but their muskets, and some other portions, are made on the endless ring system.

All this may be seen very well at Kew; for there are the blocks of soft pine, the slabs cut from them (with the grain of the wood in the direction of the thickness), the rings turned from the slabs, the turnings and curvatures of the rings, the profile of an animal seen at each end, the slices cut from each ring, the animal fashioned from each slice, the ring of tails, the separate tails from each ring, the animal properly tailed in all its glory, and a painted specimen or two to show the finished form in which the loving couples go into the Ark—pigs not so much smaller than elephants as they ought to be, but piggishly shaped nevertheless.

All the English toymakers agree, with one accord, that we cannot for an instant compete with the Germans and Tyrolese in the fabrication of such articles, price for price. We have not made it a large and important branch of handicraft; and our workmen have not studied natural history with sufficient assiduity to give the proper distinctive forms to the animals.

The more elaborate productions—such as the baby-dolls which can say “mamma,” and make their chests heave like any sentimental damsels—are of French, rather than German manufacture, and are not so much wooden productions as combinations of many different materials. Papier mâché, moulded into form, is becoming very useful in the doll and animal trade; while india-rubber and gutta-percha are doing wonders.

The real Noah’s Ark work, however, is thoroughly German, and is specially connected with wood-working. Some of the more delicate and elaborate specimens of carving—such as the groups for chimney-piece ornaments, honoured by the protection of glass shades—are made of lime-tree or linden-wood, by the peasants of Oberammergan, in the mountain parts of Bavaria.

There were specimens of these kinds of work at our two Exhibitions which could not have been produced in England at thrice the price; our good carvers are few, and their services are in request at good wages for mediæval church-work.

We should be curious to know what an English carver would require to be paid for a half guinea Bavarian group, now before us—a Tyrolese mountaineer seated on a rock, his rifle resting on his arm, the studded nails in his climbing shoes, a dead chamois at his feet, his wife leaning her hand lightly on his shoulder, his thumb pointing over his shoulder to denote the quarter where he had shot the chamois, his wooden bowl of porridge held on his left knee, the easy fit and flow of the garments of both man and woman—all artistically grouped and nicely cut, and looking clean and white in linden-wood.

No English carver would dream of such a thing at such a price. However, these are not the most important of the productions of the peasant carvers, commercially speaking; like as our Mintons and Copelands make more money by every-day crockery than by beautiful Parian statuettes, so do the German toymakers look to the Noah’s Ark class of productions as their main stay in the market, rather than to more elegant and artistic works.

Charles Dickens (Editor)

All the Year Round – April 8, 1865

Illustrations from:
The Gardeners’ Chronicle and Agricultural Gazette – March 27, 1869

Links for further study:

Johannes Geyer – Reifendreher

Die Sendung mit der Maus

—Jeff Burks


Filed under: Historical Images
Categories: Hand Tools

T minus 1

ZK Project Notebook - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 8:57pm
Down to the last drawer, I feel like drawerzilla, thirty drawers is a lotta drawers in one case, especially when there are about 20 different sizes. Good thing I didn’t make the case any taller, I’m going to have to … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

“That’s all right!”

Pegs and 'Tails - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 4:08pm
I had just finished dinner at a local hostelry the other night with my friend Haydn, when a young woman he knew spotted him and came across to join us. After the introductions, Haydn asked “So what have you been … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Truth of the Day: Plastic Finishes

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 3:42pm

sawbench_finish.jpgI don’t write much about finishing because Bob Flexner has done that for us. “Understanding Wood Finishing” is one of the core books that should be in every woodworker’s library. Read it once through and then refer back to it when you wander into uncharted territory.

Bob has a reputation as an iconoclast, a rebel or a curmudgeon, depending on who you talk to. As someone who edited his column in Popular Woodworking Magazine for many years I can say this: He has no tolerance for BS, marketing, marketing BS or romantic naming conventions for finishing products. And unlike other authors who write about finishing, Bob does not sell his own finishing products.

We are constantly bamboozled by finish manufacturers who push “tung oil,” “Danish oil” or whatever on us without telling us what actually is in the can. Finishing is not complex. There are only a few ways that finishes cure. And once you understand the differences, then finishing becomes as straightforward a skill as flattening a board.

During the weekend I had to look something up about fixing orange peel in a film finish and stumbled on a remarkable fact in his book. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies.

“Myth: You often hear polyurethane disparaged as a ‘plastic’ finish.

“Fact: All film finishes, except possibly shellac, are plastic! Solid lacquer, called celluloid, was the first plastic. It was used as early as the 1870s to make collars, combs, knife handles, spectacle frames, toothbrushes, and later, movie film. Phenolic resin, called Bakelite, was used to make the first plastic radio cases. Amino resins (catalyzed finishes) are used to make plastic laminate. Acrylic resin (water base) is used to make Plexiglas.”

Flexner then goes into detail about how modern varnishes were developed.

Sweet mother of mystery, this book is only $15 at ShopWoodworking. Buy it and read it.

— Christopher Schwarz


Filed under: Finishing
Categories: Hand Tools

Prevent a Cut Nail Explosion Disaster

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 2:00pm

The only downside to using cut nails is they can split the work, especially when used near the ends of boards. While a properly sized pilot hole will usually prevent splits, there are times when the gnarly grain of the wood wants to split anyway. Cut nails also will split your work if you use a nail size that is just too big for the boards at hand. And that […]

The post Prevent a Cut Nail Explosion Disaster appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Skottbenkar i Skaun i Sør-Trøndelag

Norsk Skottbenk Union - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 12:28pm

I dag har eg vore ein runde for å sjå på hus og verktøy i områda sør for Trondheim. Eitt av stoppa var på det flotte anlegget til Skaun Bygdamuseum i Skaun kommune i Sør-Trøndelag. Her har dei samla ei rekke interessante bygningar frå området og samla gjenstandar. Eg spurte sjølvsagt etter om det var skottbenkar i samlinga der. Det viste seg at vår kontaktmann på museet hadde ein skottbenk heime hos seg og meinte det også var ein på museet. Etter eit lite søk spora vi opp ein komplett skottbenk, tre lause bukkar til skottbenk og to skottoksar. I tillegg var det ei rekke andre høvlar som verka å høyre saman med bruk på skottbenk.

 Roald RenmælmoDette er ein av tre like lause bukkar til skottbenk som er i samlinga på museet. Desse ser ut til å ha vore brukt med lause langbord. Foto: Roald Renmælmo

Lause bukkar til skottbenkar har vi funne ein god del av i Sør-Trøndelag og nokre av dei har vi skrive om tidlegare på bloggen. I tillegg har vi ein komplett skottbenk frå Leksvik som har liknande oppbygging som nokre av dei lause bukkane. Tradisjonen i Skaun er også tydeleg på at desse lause bukkane er delar av ein skottbenk og at det er berre langborda som manglar.

 Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo

Den komplette skottbenken har total lengd på 8 alen, har 30″ arbeidshøgd og har to bukkar som held oppe langborda. Han vert stramma med skruvar.

 Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo

I samlinga med snikkarverktøy var det to særs fine skottoksar som eg fekk fotografert. Begge har lister som er avtagbare og som er festa i sida.

 Roald Renmælmo  Roald Renmælmo

Det er nok framleis mykje spennande som ventar på å bli oppdaga i Sør-Trøndelag. Her er det mykje å boltre seg i for medlemmane av Norsk Skottbenk Union.


Categories: Hand Tools

My Tool Collection, Part 2: The Preston 1393s And Its Clone…

The Kilted Woodworker - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 12:19pm
Like most things in life, it’s best to start at the beginning, so that’s how I’ll handle the first real post of my beading tool collection (where I don’t go off on other woodworkers; sorry about that, tool hoarders; still friends, right?). And like most of my favourite tools, my beading tool collection begins with […]
Categories: General Woodworking

Customer projects from Australia.

David Barron Furniture - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 11:33am

Michael sent me these pictures, he is a member of the Cooroora Woodworking Club in Cooroy in Queensland Australia. The club has its own saw mill and above you can see a board being lifted off after being cut. It looks like an Alaska type saw with a pair of guide rails to keep it running true, particularly useful on the initial cut. They get most of their wood donated by the council so it's effectively free timber, I wish we had a club like that around here!


Here are a couple of nice projects made from the proceeds of the saw mill.





Categories: Hand Tools

Dutch Chest Lessons

McGlynn On Making - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 10:48am

Building the Dutch Tool Chest has had some important lessons for me.  Aside from the obvious “make sure the dovetails all face the same way”.

First, the one that bugs me most, is get decent lumber.  I got Common Pine (“whitewood”, a very soft pulpy wood-like material), which cupped after I got it home.  By the time I dressed it the “1 by 12″ (.749″ out the door) was closer to 5/8″ thin.  This doesn’t leave enough for nailing and dadoing in my view.  It also continued to move around after it was flattened, and is super soft.  I wanted Select Pine but the home center has been out for several weeks.

A consequence of the soft, thin boards is that the cut nails I’m using caused blow out in several spots as they went into the pre-drilled holes.

Wrought-head cut nails.  I like the look, the blowout on the endgrain, not so much.

Wrought-head cut nails. I like the look, the blowout on the endgrain, not so much.

Something else I’ll do differently is to put the back on after the drop-front is fitted so I can glue on the brackets for the sliding latch more easily.

Drop front ready for battens and some shaping on the catches for the latch bar.

Drop front ready for battens and some shaping on the catches for the latch bar.

I had a bit of a struggle with the boards on the back.  I decided to go with tongue and grooves instead of shiplap.  Problem #1 was my tongue and groove plane doesn’t make a joint that works right off the plane.  The tongue is too big (or the groove too small).  It’s problem with the cutter width, I’ll need to replace something there.  I also installed the boards from the top to bottom.  Bad call, I should have started at the bottom, and not cut the bevel on the top board until it was ready to go otherwise.  Live and learn.

One of the reasons I wanted to do this project was to dust off my hand tool skills and take a break from the crazy detail of marquetry.  I tuned up my coffin smoother, it leaves a super surface now.  That’s a great feeling, it works better than my metal smoother with a more carefully prepared blade.

Smoothing parts for the drop front latch.

Smoothing parts for the drop front latch.

This tool chest is going to get a coat of milk paint and go into service as storage in the house.  I’ll make another one to use when I go to woodworking classes.

Dovetails fit nicely (picture is after rough planing them level, cleanup still to do)

Dovetails fit nicely (picture is after rough planing them level, cleanup still to do)

Without grading on a curve, this will be a B-minus project when it’s done.  Everything will be functional and square, but the details aren’t quite a nice as I’d like.  I’ll do another with either select Pine, or maybe some VG Fir I saw at the wood store.

Just need to trim the lid and get some hinges to complete this one.

Just need to trim the lid and get some hinges to complete this one.

 


Categories: General Woodworking

The Down to Earth Woodworker: An Exception to my 5S Standards

Highland Woodworking - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 7:00am

“Set In Place” is the second “S” in 5S implementation. It encompasses the arrangement of tools and supplies in logical ways. But woodworkers who have taken a class with me and are utilizing the principles of 5S to make their shop time more efficient and fun know that we don’t just “Set In Place,” but we also learn to “Set Back In Place Clean & Ready To Go.” Putting a tool away when we are finished using it keeps our workspaces clear and uncluttered and allows us to work safely and concentrate more fully. Taking a few seconds to clean the tool before storing it keeps our storage areas clean and we save time because the tool is ready to use the next time we need it.

Thus when someone asks how my shop stays so neat and clean I repeat my 5S mantra, “Put tools and supplies away when you are through using them!” But there is allowance for one occasional exception to this rule.

When making cope and stick cabinet doors, I always start with the coping cut. Fiddling around with shaped backer boards to curb the blowout on a cope cut always seemed like a waste of time, so for me “rails/copes first” makes sense. When all the rails are made (and a few just‐in‐case extras) I change over to the sticking bit and make all the long grain cuts in rails and stiles at one time.

A shortage of clamps (who really has enough?) means I have to glue‐up doors in batches. Recently I was gluing up the fourth large batch of a large door order and came to one where I had failed to rout the sticking cut on the stiles. How did that happen? Trust me, I checked everything twice (or thought I did) before I unplugged my router table, disconnected the dust collection, and rolled it out of the way. Fortunately, though, I had left the sticking bit in the router, all set up and ready to go. Whew!

If a project includes a complicated or “finicky” setup, it is okay to leave the setup in place until you are sure… very sure… you have all the parts you need. This should be relatively rare though, and 99% of the time, putting things back where they belong when you are through using them is a good “5S” work habit.

Want to learn more about 5S and how you can gain more space, have more time, and enjoy your workshop even more? Check out my 5S class at Popular Woodworking University.

5sclass

The post The Down to Earth Woodworker: An Exception to my 5S Standards appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Plywood versus solid wood for drawer boxes

Matt's Basement Workshop - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 6:00am

I’m very near completing Madison’s tall dresser, at this point the only thing complicated I have left to complete is the construction of the eight drawer boxes.

Originally I intended to build them entirely from solid wood (and the plans for the project reflect this choice) but at the last minute I’ve decided instead to use a high quality Baltic Birch plywood.

High quality plywood equal better components

High quality plywood equal better components

Why plywood instead of solid wood? Two reasons:

  • Plywood only requires that I cut the components to their final dimensions versus potentially resawing the thinner thickness from a thicker board, followed by jointing and planning it to size.
  • For the amount of time they’re going to be viewed I’m not worried if anyone notices they’re not solid wood.

I’ve come to the conclusion over the years that while solid wood drawer components give me a sense of continuity, in that all the parts in the construction are solid wood and not “engineered” materials, sometimes the amount of time and effort I have to invest in creating them can be better spent elsewhere in the project.

Of course there are some limitations to what I can do with plywood when it comes to joinery, actually that’s not true, you can do almost exactly the same things it’s just that you may have to approach them differently.

For example, I probably wouldn’t handcut dovetails for a drawer made with plywood sides, but it’s possible to machine cut them if you took steps to minimize any tearout on the face veneer.

But this isn’t a concern for me considering I usually don’t handcut dovetails for drawer boxes. I’m no longer a huge fan of them, which is a whole other post on its own (here’s a hint, I think they’re overrated…beautiful, but overrated.)

I will admit that probably the number one advantage of solid wood over plywood might be the fact I don’t have to worry about crappy/thin veneer faces, or the part becoming delaminated over time due to bad manufacturing but other than that I can’t think of anything more that would convince me it’s overtly superior.

Of course if you’ve had a bad experience with plywood for these reasons then it’s probable you might not have worked with a good quality plywood yet.

I’m the first to admit there’s some sticker shock when you see the price for a full sheet of a high quality plywood. But once you’ve experienced the results you get when you cut it to dimension and install it into place, you’ll immediately realize why it’s well worth paying a lot more for something that works as well as it does!

What’s your worst plywood experience? Was it the face veneers just falling off? Delamination? Large patches or voids? Share them in the comments below.

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Categories: Hand Tools

Home made shooting jig

Hackney Tools - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 4:05am

Another craftsman-made design from Colin Sullivan, this time a nice modification that makes a standard S/S plane into a much more useable shooting plane, much like the Record T5, but perhaps with a better handle. Colin writes:

The main weakness with an ordinary shoot board is the way the plane can easily be tipped over and spoil the stop. To overcome this I have given the plane a sliding track section it fits into. Now the plane can be pulled and pushed with out the need to hold it up against the work. The sliding section is 3mm thick ply profiled to fit the plane and fixed to another piece of the same ply underneath. The lower piece of ply runs in two guides. The plane I use is a no.6.5 which is quite heavy giving the momentum required. To make things easier I have added a vertical handle to the plane, which is simply attached by a peg that fits in the curve of the plane handle. This jig is not only simple to make but easy to use and more reliable than the normal one. The Tools and trades History Society has a wonderful tool Museum at Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre where I can demostrate various tools and jigs I have made. I have a working drawing of this jig I will pass onto any one who wants to make one.

Record shooting plane homemade_1
Record shooting plane homemade_2
Record shooting plane homemade_3

Categories: Hand Tools

WORK No. 158 - Published March 26, 1892

Work Magazine Reprint Project - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 4:00am

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"One thing is certain- the temporary scare will give the metal button workers another chance."




ARTICLES FOUND IN THIS ISSUE:
HOW TO LEARN DRAWING OFFICE WORK

ABOUT WORK AND POWER

HOW TO MAKE AN IMPROVED CAMERA STAND

POKER WORK, AND HOW TO DO IT

MEANS MODES AND METHODS

A HOPS PATTERN FOR BREAD PLATTER OR OTHER ARTICLE

SIMPLE CARPENTRY: PIPE RACKS

NICK NACKS

TRADE: PRESENT AND FUTURE
SCIENCE TO DATE

NOTES FOR WORKERS

SHOP


Disclaimer: Articles in Work describe materials and methods that would not be considered safe or advisable today. We are not responsible for the content of these magazines, and cannot take any responsibility for anyone attempting projects or procedures described therein.
The first issue of Work was published on March 23rd, 1889. The goal of this project is to release digital copies of the individual issues starting on the same date in 2012, effectively republishing the materials 123 years to the day from their original release.
The original printing was on thin, inexpensive paper. There are many cases of uneven inking and bleed-through from the page behind. Our copies of Work come from bound library volumes of these issues and are subject to unfavorable trimming, missing covers, etc. To minimize harm to these fragile volumes, we've undertaken the task of scanning the books ourselves. We do considerable post processing of the scans to make them clear but please bear with us if a margin is clipped too close, or a few words are unreadable. We would like to thank James Vasile and Karl Fogel for their help in supplying us with a book scanner and enabling this project to get off the ground.
You are welcome to download, print, and pretty much do what you want with the scan for your own personal purposes. Feel free to post a link or a copy on your blog or website. All we ask is a link back to the original project and this blog. We are not answering requests for commercial downloads or reprinting at this time.


• Click to Download Vol.4 - No. 158 •





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Categories: Hand Tools

Hi Wilbur, I have a set of cheap-ish chisels that I want to replace with probably Japanese chisels but I can't find many reviews about the various makers. Lee Valley sells some from Koyamaichi and I've heard of the Fujihiro but there seems to be tens...

Giant Cypress - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 3:38am

Hi Alex,

Since Japanese tools are a bit of a niche market in the woodworking world, reviews are few and far between. If you’re looking for a head-to-head shootout comparison review of Japanese chisels, you’re not going to find one. Personally, I question the utility of such reviews, but that’s another story.

I think the best approach for your situation is to decide on what size chisel to buy. I’d look at your current chisel set and pick the size you seem to use the most. Then talk to the various Japanese tool dealers out there, tell them that you want to buy a 1/2″ (or whatever size) chisel, and ask them which one would they recommend. They will probably ask you some questions about what kind of woodworking you do, your budget, and so on. One of those dealers is going to give you an answer that will resonate with you. Buy a chisel from that dealer, and see if you like it. If you do, buy more.

This approach worked really well for me when I was starting to get into Japanese tools. More importantly, you’ll get something even better than a good chisel out of this. You’ll get a relationship with a tool dealer that you can trust, and that’s going to be really valuable in the long run.

Even if you don’t see what you are looking for on a website, I would encourage you to contact the dealer anyway. One time I needed a hammer, and I contacted Iida Tool. The only hammers they had on their website were real artwork pieces, and out of my price range. I asked them if they had any other options, and long story short, two weeks later I had a hammer from them.

As far as the Fujihiro chisels go, those are the chisels I have, and I think they are terrific. For me, they hit the sweet spot between price and performance. The edges last a good long time, and they are easy to resharpen. That’s pretty much what you want in a chisel, Japanese or western. Looking at the chisels as they come out of the box, it’s clear that attention was paid to the details of making the hollow on the back and the filing of the body of the chisel. The handles are very nice, and the rings are hand forged and have a cool faceted appearance from the hammering. If you’re looking for a review, hope that helps.

the seven P's........

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 03/26/2015 - 1:09am
I first learned about the seven P's in the Navy when I was assigned to my first submarine. My Chief (Navy talk for boss) indoctrinated me into the meaning of the seven letters. What are they? Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. This was the Navy and there has to be some bodily function/part referenced here. I learned real quick to have all my ducks lined up and all quacking in unison when I talked with him about planning.

Twenty years out and I still remember him pounding this concept into my brain bucket. I don't always adhere to it by making a "Proper" plan but I usually try to plan ahead. I just wish I could enforce this in my woodworking and maybe cut down on the brain farts I occasionally have.

Why bring this up on a woodworking blog post? I have been following an auction site on line and over the past couple of years I have made a few online bids. I have never won one and I'm guessing that I've made 10-12 bids so far.

When it comes to winning something, I am the guy who is the one right before or the one right after someone else who wins the prize. I am not lucky and the only thing I have ever won in my life was a raffle for a free dinner. When I went to collect my free repast, the restaurant had closed and gone out of business. So when I bid on a couple of lots this time I was expecting to be the loser again.

Serendipity is a word that you don't see in print that often. It's meaning is "......the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for...." Serendipity whacked me upside the head twice today. Once to say hello and then again to get my attention.  I had bid on two lots of tools and I won both of them.  I got two valuable and agreeable things when I had only sought one and was expecting none.

Now if I had listened to my Chief and used the 7 P's on this bidding I wouldn't be having heart palpitations right now. I got the email this morning from the auction site telling me that I had won one or more of my auction bids. I never expected to see that I had won both of them. And I certainly hadn't planned on that being charged to my credit card.

I had thought of taking one of my bids down but I never win anything so I let them be. I won each bid for a few dollars shy of my maximum bid on each lot.  Bidding is something I learned from my grandmother who dragged me to a lot of auctions. Her advice was to never bid over a preset limit. My preset limit was my maximum bid on one lot, not the two of them.

I guess I know where my OT dollars will be going for the next few paydays(please don't stop it). On my next on line bid I will make sure to use the 7 P's and only bid on ONE lot.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What political party did Abraham Lincoln belong to when he was elected president?
answer - the Republican Party

Dedicated Moulding Plane(s)

Musings from Big Pink - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 4:48pm
Once I set up a tool and get it perfect it goes in a box and out the door.

There are times when the last part of this process is harder than others. Sometimes I really have a hard time putting the plane in the box. 

I posted a few commentaries regarding spring angles for dedicated planes last week. The first is here, and addendum is here.

We settled on the final plane and I completed sharpening it today. It will ship tomorrow.

What's different about this time? Well, every time I make one of these dedicated planes I half-heartedly wish the customer backs out and I get to keep it. This plane had my attention once it was decided that we're springing the plane. The profile will fit well into my various presentations. I liked the profile a lot so I cut the line/back log and made one for myself.



Come check it out at Handworks in May. 

Here are a couple more that I recently made.

"Get 'em ready, put 'em in a box. Repeat."


"Oh, the plane is working great! Just as I like it. Put it in a box. Repeat."



Try to guess what this scraping plane I recently made will specifically be used for. Hint: the answer is in the picture.
Categories: Hand Tools

Bonhams – The Scottish Sale

Pegs and 'Tails - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 4:40pm
Bonhams are conducting The Scottish Sale in Edinburgh over the two days of the 15th and 16th of April, 2015. Amongst the furniture on offer is this Edinburgh-made George III mahogany bureau bookcase, attributed to London-trained Francis Braidwood (1752-1827). George … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Lea leaves us for Slovakia tomorrow

Paul Sellers - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 3:04pm

There’s not much to this really, and yet there is.

P1040666_2Tomorrow Lea (pronounced Leah) will leave us for the fourth time. She made several things including an unusual replication of the 19th century splay lagged table we made on woodworking masterclasses last year. I think all in all she has been with us for three months now so that’s quite a concentrated period of solid making time. When she returns she will stop in to see her parents in Prague and I said it will be nice that she can show her mother what she made. She said, “Yes, but she will say, ‘Why woodwork?’” Leah smiles at me and then quotes her mother further. “Isn’t woodwork for men?’ ” I’m sure there is significance in the question, but I have learned all too often that people assume one thing when it can be entirely another.

P1040439The month has passed quickly for all of us and having Lea here has been wholly enjoyable and it’s because I know for me it’s been because I see something in Lea that may not be obvious to Lea’s mother. I’ve been mentoring Lea through three or four projects this visit. I watched her finish her table, and it’s got complexities in it’s constructs that defy more modern methods. As she worked I saw not only examples of her very fine workmanship; some of the best I’ve seen really, but the hidden beauty of pure resoluteness. What she has is essential to craftsmanship and I think the assumption is that woodworking requires more heavy handedness perhaps more typical of carpentry and joinery whereas Lea worked the whole time with very careful consideration for all that she did. she worked with gentleness and care with firmness and diligence, patience and kindliness. Her thoughtfulness and total attention meant mistakes were almost none. P1040453_2These are characteristics she’d developed by her own personality of self-discipline; characteristics I see but all too rarely in a power-driven world that’s so distorted the face of real craftsmanship. What I liked too is that she would apply the same care and concern to timber-framing, joinery and heavier areas of woodworking. She’s that type of woodworker you see. Anyway, it’s been very fine having her with us.

I asked Sam to stay on for a year or so with us. He said he could and he would. He too shares the same characteristics as Lea does. I will show you what they’ve made soon. Currently he’s making his workbench. It’s a rite of passage for every woodworker.P1040864

Phil and I are of course together every day as we work alongside one another most of the time. I think I know I speak for him when I say our lives have been all the more enriched by these two young people.

The post Lea leaves us for Slovakia tomorrow appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Update: ‘Virtuoso: The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of Henry O. Studley’

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 03/25/2015 - 1:11pm

pair_L1000547

If you’ve wondered why I’m losing my hair, it not entirely genetics. It also has to do with our upcoming title, “Virtuoso: The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of Henry O. Studley” by Donald C. Williams and Narayan Nayar.

The good news is that the book is in capable hands. We have Wesley Tanner (of “To Make as Perfectly Possible” fame) designing the book. And it is beautiful. We have photographer Narayan Nayar processing all the photos and dialing in the color for the press we are using. Plus I, Don Williams, Megan Fitzpatrick, Jeff Burks and others have been fine-tuning the text to make it as clean as we can.

What’s making me crazy, however, is the deadline. We have to get the book to the printer by midnight Thursday to ensure that it will be delivered in time for Handworks and the exhibit of the Studley tool cabinet and workbench in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

It will be a squeaker.

We plan to open pre-publication ordering for the book on Monday. The title will be full-color, 8-1/2” x 11”, 216 pages, and printed on beautiful and heavy matte paper with a stunning dust jacket. The price will be $49. We hope to offer free shipping for domestic customers who order before the press date, but we’re still running those numbers. Our kids have to eat, and I need to buy a 50-gallon vat of Rogaine.

We also plan to offer an option where you can order the book now and pick it up at Handworks – that will be the first place the book will be released to the public. More details on the ordering process over the weekend.

— Christopher Schwarz


Filed under: Virtuoso: The Toolbox of Henry O. Studley
Categories: Hand Tools

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