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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

An aggregate of many different woodworking blog feeds from across the 'net all in one place!  These are my favorite blogs that I read everyday...


Jessica Wickham and the Art of Woodworking

Giant Cypress - 1 hour 51 min ago
Jessica Wickham and the Art of Woodworking:

Meredith Heuer:

How did Wickham become a woodworker? The daughter of an architect, studied cultural anthropology and then, a few years after college, moved to Tokyo. “I was so moved and energized by the prevalence of super high quality hand made objects that you find in everyday life in Japan,” she recently said in an interview in The Artful Mind.

To teach herself how to use traditional Japanese hand tools such as chisels and planes, she made her own toolbox. “It took me a whole year,” she said, “working slowly, trying to understand the mysteries behind these amazing tools.”

Custom Sharpening – Bevel-ups and Jack Planes

Paul Sellers - 2 hours 38 min ago


Hi Paul,

I recently bought a LA jack plane from LV and I was wondering something : would you sharpen the bevel of your BU plane like your BD plane ? I’ve search on the internet and I even watched all your videos on sharpening + your DVD. I didn’t find what we could call a definitive answer.  Can I use the convex bevel technique ? How much camber do you need more on the BU plane ? Do I really need more camber on the BU plane ? Could you please enlighten me a little more on sharpening BU plane iron.

Thank you,




Well, in my experience, using the LV planes and other makes over several years now, makes me ever conscious that woodworkers often look for additional planes to somehow cope with what our present arsenal of planes might seem ill-equipped to handle. Surprisingly, and you might be glad to hear this, the fact is some woods will not plane well no matter the plane used, the iron used or the skill of the worker. Sharpness is of course always the most key element and especially is this so with BU planes. I say that to say it’s not necessarily the pitch of the blade the presentation of the bevel up or down or any other such thing although either plane can work better over the other in certain circumstances. With so much information out there coming from “experts in the field” and novices alike it is indeed difficult to know what’s essential, what’s preference alone and what biases are out there that have little or no foundation beyond just one person’s opinion. Our modern day versions are of course nothing new except to claim better engineering standards with some innovative addition as a sort of copyright quirk. Replicated #62 planes are now available as import copycat knockoffs from Asia via the Woodcraft’s Woodriver version, Quang Sheng or Amazon and eBay selling Stanley’s own current version of their old plane or Lie Nielsen in the USA. Only Lie Nielsen is domestically made to the USA. All others are imports from Asian makers who have by the way upped the anti in terms of quality I must say. I suppose it’s true to say that they either all copied the original or one another or they are made in the same factory somewhere. Only the LV is original as an original design I believe.  One day we will see true innovation in plane making that creates affordable functional working working models again but as they say in Texas, “If it ain’t broke don’t fixit.” Oh, I think you can also choose to buy an old and original model #62 for a hefty sum more than the newer versions, but I am sure whichever you choose you will fare well.

There are of course issues with all of the planes and when you run them side by side you see them, but sharpen them up well, adjust them accurately and such, and you may not find one any better than the other.


There may well be differences between irons you will need to know about as different irons are made from different steels, Hard, softer, harder. I suggest that go with the O1 steel cutting irons as they need less sharpening and take a good edge. With the O1 steel plane irons you sharpen them exactly the same in general as you would a standard Stanley or Record bevel-down iron. Same bevel angle, everything. That’s if you are in fact using the O1 blades and not say A2 steel irons which are harder and more brittle. On A2 irons I suggest a steeper pitch of around 35-degrees as a minimum as the edges fracture more readily and even at that they will need more frequent work and lots of it to reestablish the cutting edge.

Reading between the lines becomes ever important when considering plane makers. Most if not all of the bevel-up low-angle plane makers, sellers and so on currently producing and or selling BU planes will write in their promotions stating the plane irons are ground and polished out at 25-degrees primarily to prove that the planes present the lowered bevel cutting edge at a the lower angle than the bench planes with bevel down irons installed, which are generally bedded on a regular bed of 44-degrees. This really isn’t altogether true. They state that the combined angle will be 12-degrees for the bed and 25-degrees for the iron and so total the two out as a presentation of 37-degrees. In reality the cutting edge is quite weak and you’d be better off grinding and polishing out at at least 30-degrees on an O1 blade and the very least 35- degrees for A2 blades. DSC_0058That would mean the O1 steel iron would present very close to the bevel down plane at 42-degrees and the A2 iron would in fact be higher at 47-degrees.


Looking at our recent findings in more at-the-real-bench work this could all be thrown out because we realise more and more that both sides of the cutting edge do indeed fracture and cause even higher angles and this is a problem on bevel up planes because edge fracture on the under face, the larger flat face, means the blade soon starts to ride the bevel of the blade as the edge fracture moves from a presentable angle to the point (or the edge) where the actual edge can no longer reach the wood. This then means many more frequent sharpenings than the conventional bevel-down planes. On a controversial element, I find only minimal differences between bevel up and bevel down planes when it comes to working the planes and when I take the planes to the wood, regardless of thick and thin irons, BU or BD, both planes seem quite parallel in cut quality and ease. If there is a difference in favour of BU planes then it’s indiscernible to me.

Below shows the camber I like on all my plane irons. This method has proven to serve best for and was the preferred method used for centuries by craftsmen.

DSC_0047 DSC_0048

Above images show the bevel and flat faces of the LV iron showing rounded corner edges.

At the end of the day then, bevel-up, bevel-down is a matter of preference for a particular task. I like using both plane types and enjoy the luxury of choice. If I ever had to choose one plane it would always be the bevel down plane, but that doesn’t mean the BU planes have no place. Indeed they do and they are of great value.


Above you see thin and thicker irons side by side with the corners rounded to prevent any step down on wider boards.

The BU plane iron meets the same demands as the bevel down and you should treat the iron the same way after determining the pitch of the bevel in relation to the steel type if you so decide to change it. That is the corner can be rounded slightly to eliminate tram lines ion the surface when planing boards wider than the iron. If you only intend to use the plane on a shooting board which i cannot imagine why you would unless thats all the work type you do then keep the corners square. You can also camber the iron slightly along the length or width of the cutting iron for pure smoothing if you want to. One sales outlet describes the Quangsheng BU jack plane as the “Swiss Army knife of planes”, I suppose because they offer three cutting irons with the plane sharpened at different bevel pitches. Not sure if that meets the same criteria really, but I like the humour.

The post Custom Sharpening – Bevel-ups and Jack Planes appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

I Went to the North Carolina State Fair and All I Got Was This Odd Business Plan

The Furniture Record - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 9:54pm

It has become a tradition for us to attend the NC State Fair on the last Sunday of the run arriving around 9:00 AM. It’s not to crowded, lots to see and also the place we get our annual flu shots. Tradition.

This year we were there for the food. Not really. The highlights were a BBQ pork stuffed jalapeno (well cleaned) dipped in hush puppy batter and deep fried, served with sweet potato waffle fries. (Unfortunately is was good.) Did I mention the jalapeno was bacon wrapped?

The food we didn’t try was the Twinkie stuffed with a Twixt, wrapped in bacon and fried. Or the Krispy Kreme hamburger (Thank you, Paula Dean.) Or a deep-fried anything else.

Walking around looking at my fellow attendees, I was once again astounded by the number of selfies been taken, and many in predictable places. Slowly a business plan started forming in my twisted mind. Let’s say you are the Chief Digital Officer of a magazine publishing company, let’s just use Taunton Press  for this blog. You have the need to find new ways to promote your products online. You fear that there are web pages out there that aren’t promoting your e-commerce sites.

My idea is sponsored photobombers. For those not in the know, photobombing is the fine art of inserting yourself into other people’s pictures. Often without their knowledge or permission.

Speaking of without permission.

Speaking of without permission. Apologies to Mike Peters and Mother Goose and Grimm.

Send attractive young people out with t-shirts with large corporate logos to photobomb as many unsuspecting civilians as possible. Just sit back and watch your logo starting to show up in hundreds of Facebook and Instagram images. I haven’t quite figured out all the monetization but that should come in time.

Tomorrow, back to furniture like things, promise.

La Forge Royale Price List

Benchcrafted - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 8:20pm

Ever on the hunt for vintage French woodworking stuff, we recently scored a 1949 price list for Pierre Feron's A la Forge Royale woodworking tools catalog.

I haven't had much chance to translate any of this (I need to learn more French. Louis, are you there?) but I did try to translate some of the prices from 1949 francs to 2014 dollars. I found this chart which lists several currency conversions since 1948. Then I went to this site to see what it would cost in 2014.

So let's try to price a toothing plane, a "rabots a dents" from the second page of tools in the La Forge Royale catalog reprint from MWTCA. The price is 525 francs for the shorter toothing plane in beech (the least expensive wood). IN 1949 one U.S. dollar was worth 3.3196 francs. Divide 525 by that and you get $158.15, in 1949 dollars. In today's dollar thats $1581.71. Unless "Hètre" is French for "Stanley #1", something is definitely wrong here. (Hètre means beech, Charme is hornbeam, Fruitier is obvious)

So let's assume the prices are in cents, or "centimes". So 525 centimes would be 5.25 francs. That translates into $17.42 in 1949 dollars, or $174.22 in 2014 dollars. That seems more realistic.

Here are a couple links to download the price list and catalog. The catalog document has been around for some time (Schwarz posted it years ago) but this is the first time the price list has been online to my knowledge.

La Forge Royale (Feron era) Price List 1949

La Forge Royale Catalog (Feron era)

Categories: Hand Tools

Milling Complete. Whew!

The Workbench Diary - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 5:19pm

I’m not sure if you remember but I am in the process of building a timber frame studio on my property. Every once in a while I get asked about how it’s going. To be honest, things got bogged down for a while. Because I decided to cut the logs off my property and mill them with friends, things got complicated. We were able to get some done but (long story short) I eventually had to switch gears. Fortunately, my good friend Bill Turner down in Stonington offered his help. Bill has an incredible circular saw mill from the 30s. This old beast is a powerhouse.


With some help from my friend Nathan, the three of us got through 50+ logs today. That completes the milling stage. That is a lot on weight off my shoulders now. Once I get my brother in law to haul the logs to my place next Tuesday, I will be on my own... free to work at my own pace. I tell you, coordinating people and equipment has been hair pulling from day one. I know the joinery will take me a bunch of time but I am really looking forward to being able proceed solo. Hopefully I can make good progress on the joinery this winter but, at this rate, I make no promises.

Categories: Hand Tools

18th Century, Birth of Design, Furniture Masterpieces from 1650 to 1790

Pegs and 'Tails - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 3:35pm
An exhibition From 28 October 2014 to 22 February 2015, the Palace of Versailles is hosting the exhibition “18th Century, Birth of Design, Furniture Masterpieces from 1650 to 1790” in the Africa and Crimea Rooms. The exhibition offers a glimpse … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Last Call for the CT-18 Dual Low Angle Smoothing Plane …

Bridge City Tools - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 3:17pm

Drivel Starved Nation –

This is a courtesy announcement that we are assembling the last 40 or so CT-18 Dual Low Angle Smoothing Planes. We have approximately 10 boxed and ready to go, and the balance will be assembled next week. Based on the previous 17 Commemorative Tools, these will be gone forever in the next couple of weeks.

Since this is the end of the run, I hope you enjoy my final thoughts through the following assembly images…

There are three investment cast components in this plane, the body, the rear tote and the lock lever. All are cast from stainless steel. For those of you not familiar with investment casting, a split mold is built (they run between $10 – 20K$ each) for each part. Molten wax is poured into the mold and when solidified, the mold is opened, the wax form is removed and is dipped repeatedly in a ceramic slurry creating a hard shell. The wax is melted out of the shell and molten metal fills the cavity once occupied by the wax. This is a simplified version of these steps but you get the idea. For these reasons, this process is also known as the “lost wax” casting process. The vast majority of contemporary jewelry is made with this process.

The castings are CNC machined, bead-blasted by our suppliers and the sole/throat plate are ground dead flat on special custom made jigs. We do all the fit and final finish in our skunk lab. The first thing that happens to the casting is the dressing of the heel and nose of the plane body on a vertical belt sander.

Dressing the heel of the CT-18 Plane

Dressing the heel of the CT-18 Plane

The tape you see is protecting the finish ground sole from damage during the dressing and assembly steps.

Once the ends are dressed and the sides grained (horizontal belt sanders with custom ground platens) the very first thing we do is insert a United States penny in a body cavity. This is a tradition (when physically possible) with all Commemorative Tools and is a gesture of good luck to our customers and reminds all of us at Bridge City how lucky we are to have the customers we do. It is retained with a low viscosity adhesive…

The lucky penny inserted.

The lucky penny inserted.

At this point, the throat opening is deburred and the throat plate is adjusted if necessary. A stainless steel threaded stud is adhered to the throat plate boss which will eventually receive the front tote.

Adjustable throat plate with tote screw attached.

Adjustable throat plate with tote screw attached.

The front tote is turned from aluminum, nickel plated and coated with black zinc. (We used to use black chrome, but the EPA shut down our local supplier). This finish is so sexy!

Front tote and transition washers attached.

Front tote and transition washers attached.

The lead screw is assembled next. This 72 TPI screw allows for extremely fine adjustments and works very well with the split brass pivot to create a backlash free adjusting mechanism. This may be one of the smallest snap rings you have ever seen…

The CT-18 depth adjuster components

The CT-18 depth adjuster components

Casting is an inexact process. The little tool you see below helps us size the distance between the supports to fit the clamping mechanism precisely.

A bolt and a connector nut are used to spread the uprights if needed.

A bolt and a connector nut are used to spread the uprights if needed.

Two wrenches are required but this works perfectly.

Two wrenches are required but this works perfectly.

The method of removing backlash for this plane is an old one, we are employing a split brass nut. In the image below, you can see how we receive them from our supplier and the two index marks which allow us to time the threads as they were made before being sliced apart…

The CT-18 anti-backlash pivot.

The CT-18 anti-backlash pivot.

Next, the bottom half of the nut is greased and secured into the plane body with a screw and nylon washer.

Split nut attached to plane body.

Split nut attached to plane body.

The other half of the split nut is positioned on the lead screw and held in place with a little grease…

Sticky grease has many functions...

Sticky grease has many functions…

The adjuster is now attached to the plane body. Several metal to metal adhesives only work on stainless steel after a lengthy “set” time. The screw retaining the split nut will not be cured for 24 hours… The backlash is adjusted over time on an as needed basis by tighten the two screws ever so slightly.


The blade clamp assembly consists of eight custom made components. Here are a couple of views of the assembly prior to insertion into the plane body…

Assembled blade clamp mechanism from the side.

Assembled blade clamp mechanism from the side.

.... and from the top

…. and from the top

The entire clamping mechanism is retained by two pivots which press fit into the plane body…

Inserting the clamp mechanism into the plane body.

Inserting the clamp mechanism into the plane body.

Next up is the rear tote. I literally spent two months on over 200 computer and and 3d printed prototypes before I decided on this design which occurred during my 2013 work retreat in San Diego, the last prototype was sculpted out of clay. The tote is cast, sent out to have the bottom milled, drilled and tapped. They were then polished, and masked with a heat resistant tape so only the two cavities could be powder coated. The tape is removed and we hand grained the sides and end. Lots of work but it is an incredible statement as well as being highly comfortable and functional.

A finished rear tote.

A finished rear tote.

Tape is peeled back to reveal the tote screw holes…


The CT-18 is now ready for cleaning…

The CT-18 ready for cleaning...

The CT-18 ready for cleaning…

Here is the last of the batch, waiting to find a home and it won’t take long





Lastly, I went home and thoroughly discussed the CT-18 Dual Angle Smoother with my confidant, Jitter Bug. Her reaction is below…IMG_0921IMG_0922

Life is not easy being your tool potentate!


The post Last Call for the CT-18 Dual Low Angle Smoothing Plane … appeared first on John's Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

the carved box with drawer further along

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 3:02pm

more work on the box with drawer. I’m making some of it up as I go along – when I saw the original, I was not really doing a thorough examination like I would need to actually build one. Like I need now… Here goes, just a bunch of photos, with brief captions. 

installing the middle board for the box section’s bottom

installing bottoms middle board

the last one you gotta give it a bop

give it a bop

in a groove in the rear, nailed to a rabbet at the front

1st bottom done

I turned the feet from green wood, left the tenons large. Trimmed now to fit. Here’s a test fit to see where to trim it

turned feet testing tenons

boring the holes for the feet, in narrow oak slats. An auger bit, nice clean hole. 

auger bit


Cross-thumbs grip to trim the tenons
cross thumbs

Then line it up over a hole in the bench, and knock it in

feet go in

Split the protruding tenon for a wedge. 


said wedge. 

The feet assemblies

feet ready

The bottom of the drawer opening is a pine board, planed to 5/8″ thick. Nailed to the sides & rear. 

2nd bottom on

Then nail on the feet assemblies. 

feet go on

Here it is with the drawer front mocked in place. Some applied moldings will cover the pine bottom. Applied decoration on the sides to come…next time is the drawer. then moldings & lid. this thing weighs a ton…

feet w mock drawer


a few things left for sale – http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-and-more-oct-2014/

Maureen tells me the felt is going quickly too – https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts

New Dust Mask

Highland Woodworking - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 11:46am

Got my new dust mask yesterday.  I have not had a chance to really give it a trial yet, but it appears to be a real gem.  I used to have a Dustfoe brand mask and I used it so much I actually wore it out.  Unfortunately, they quit making them and you can’t buy one any more.  Highland has been looking for a replacement for many years.

Masks tend to fall into two categories, i.e. the whole face, gas mask type, or the little cloth mask which fits over your mouth and nose and fogs up your glasses. Prices range from over $300 down to $1.80 with effectiveness commensurate with the price.  What is needed is a good effective mask somewhere in a price range which does not interfere with usage.

The solution is the new Elipse P100 Dust Mask available now from Highland.  I tried mine on yesterday and it is a remarkable piece of equipment.  I happen to wear a beard, so getting a good airtight fit is sometimes problematic for me.  I have to tighten it up a bit more than I might if I were smooth faced, but the inhale valves are so flexible and smooth that it does not leak around the sides as I was afraid it might.  The exhale valve is totally flexible so there is no back pressure, therefore no effort to push air out of the mask.  I expect no problem with moisture in the mask and even with the beard it does not fog my glasses.  ( In fact, as I write this, I am sitting here wearing the mask to test it.  Good thing I live by myself, right?)


Elipse P100 Dust Mask

Technically, the mask is rated NIOSH P100 (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) and captures 99.97% of airborne particles and is resistant to oil.  For your own safety if you are doing something besides woodworking, then go look up the ratings and make sure you are being safe with this mask. For folks with a beard – or any facial hair – like myself, any respirator you see on the market is less effective so you can assume the claims of 99.97% won’t apply.

To put it on your face, grasp the front of the mask and then pull the bottom strap over your head and down onto the back of your neck.  Take the other strap with the wide headband and stretch that one onto the top back of your head and then adjust the straps to fit.  Cover the exhale hole with the palm of your hand, exhale, and you should get a bit of expansion in the mask before it releases air at the side of your face.  If you don’t get the expansion, then you need to tighten the straps to get a better seal.  Or shave.

When I bought mine, I went ahead and purchased an additional set of filters so I will have a replacement set if I ever need them.  The filters are made like an air cleaner in your car with a folded filter element which you should be able to clean by bumping it lightly or blowing it out with air pressure.  If it gets where you can’t breathe through the mask, then change the filter.  Duh!

All in all, an excellent piece of work and this one comes highly recommended.  Get you one and stop coughing.


The post New Dust Mask appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Houston Woodworking Show and Pop Wood Webinar Download Update

Heritage School of Woodworking Blog - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 10:40am

We were at the Woodworking Show in Houston last week and had a great time meeting old and new friends, admiring other master woodworker’s work, and demonstrating a whole variety of woodworking techniques: half-blind dovetails, dovetail markers (see our blog post on making one in the 7 drawer dresser project), inlay, and a small box. Thank you to everyone we met who’s […]

The post Houston Woodworking Show and Pop Wood Webinar Download Update appeared first on Heritage School of Woodworking Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

A Return of the Home Invasion

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 9:31am

This morning the crew from Popular Woodworking Magazine showed up to shoot photos of my recently built aumbry for an upcoming issue. While I’m always happy to shoot my own photographs, if they offer to send photographer Al Parrish, I roll over immediately. He is one of the finest photographers I’ve ever worked with. I also immediately purchase pastries – Al travels on his stomach. They started by shooting the […]

The post A Return of the Home Invasion appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

The painted door in the stable.

Mulesaw - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 9:19am
Today it wasn't raining, so I decided to move swiftly and paint the door.

I normally like to use oil base paint, since I haven't got much faith in latex /acrylic paints.
The colour is called Swedish red. It is a Danish produced paint from Esbjerg Paints. The label of this paint is called Arsinol, it is intended for outdoor use.

The paint has got some added thickener (I think it is called thixotropic), so it doesn't drip very much. It covers really well, so all in all I find it an OK paint.

The handle is placed high up on the door, but since the holding arrangement for the latch is also embedded in the brick work, I had to stay with that position.

The outside.

The inside.

Categories: Hand Tools

Woodworkers Fighting Cancer Tool Auctions

Matt's Basement Workshop - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 9:00am

It’s no coincidence I’m posting this just before Halloween, Cancer is a monster and a horrifying disease. Thankfully there are some amazing strides being made every year in the battle against it. But it takes money to do the research, and that’s where we can all help out.


If you’re not able to participate in the Woodworker’s Fighting Cancer build-along this year there’s now the Woodworker’s Fighting Cancer Tool Auctions!

Thanks to some vary generous donations from the folks at Powermatic and our good friend Marc Spagnuolo “The Wood Whisperer” you have an opportunity to bid on either a Powermatic PM2800B Drill Press and a Phone Consultation with Marc

Auction ends October 31, 2014

Auction ends October 31, 2014

or a Powermatic PM1000 Table Saw (50”) and Call with Marc.

Auction ends November 7, 2014

Auction ends November 7, 2014

Or a BenchCrafted Leg Vise, 1 year subscription to TWW Guild plus Roubo Bench and Call with Marc.

Auction ends November 14, 2014

Auction ends November 14, 2014

Sure all three of these auctions mean the winners will be paying a much higher price for items they could ordinarily get elsewhere. But then we wouldn’t be able to say we were doing as much as we could to help find a cure for a disease that will most likely touch us or a loved one in some way during our lifetime.

To participate in the auctions or just to see the level of generosity of the bidders, visit the links above. Hurry, these end soon!

Help support the show – please visit our advertisers

Categories: Hand Tools

New in the Store: ‘Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!’

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 5:05am

CalvinCobb_Jacket6Roy Underhill’s woodworking novel – “Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!” – is now available for pre-publication ordering in the Lost Art Press store. The book will begin shipping on Nov. 10, and we are offering free shipping on all orders placed before Nov. 29, 2014.

The hardbound book is $29. The ePub version is $14. You can purchase both the hardbound version and the ePub for $36. If you order the ePub, you will receive your download immediately (in other words, you can begin reading the book today).

Go here to order the book. Or read on for more information on this unusual woodworking book.

What is That?
The first time I heard Roy had written a woodworking novel was when I visited his school in Pittsboro, N.C. Stuck to the corkboard above the school’s coffeemaker was a book cover that looked like something from the 1930s. The cover featured a redhead holding a handsaw, plus a dude holding a handplane and an armload of cash.

“What’s that?” I asked Roy.

“That’s the cover to my novel,” he replied.

Now Roy has a reputation for practical jokery. So rather than swallowing that piece of stink bait I just said something like, “Uhh….”

During the next few years of working with Roy, the topic of his novel came up several times, and I eventually asked him, “Is that real?”

He said it was, and that he even had a manuscript to prove it. Under a little duress, he found a battered, marked-up copy in his office. He explained that he had spent several years writing and polishing “Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!” but had set it aside when he didn’t get much interest from the big publishers.

I asked if I could borrow the manuscript. And that was what launched this multi-year project.

I know it’s a bit crazy to publish a woodworking novel with measured drawings. But this book is a jewel – well-written, fast-paced and simply funny. And with lots of juicy woodworking parts (and, yes, measured drawings for four projects). You can read the book’s plot description in our store, so I won’t repeat it here.

But allow me to answer a few questions that people have asked me about this book.

Will I learn any woodworking techniques?
Maybe? There are a few good descriptions of work in the novel, but the point of the book isn’t to help you cut a better tenon. It’s to entertain you and perhaps think a bit differently about your world.

Is it appropriate for kids?
Let’s just say that I’m not the best parent. I would let my 13-year-old read this book – no problem. I’d say it’s PG-13 for mild language and adult situations. It’s not “Dick & Jane,” nor is it “50 Shades of Wood.” I’d also say that if you are easily offended by stuff on television, then Lost Art Press books and this blog are not written for you.

Measured drawings, really?
Really. They are key to the plot. Really.

Roy writes fiction?
Yes, and very well. And to make sure this book has all the polish of novel from a major publisher, we hired Megan Fitzpatrick, a veritable fiction maven, to edit Roy’s book. We are all very proud of the result.

So if you like a good story, like Roy’s show or just like redheads riding motorcycles, we think you’ll enjoy “Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!

And now I have to think of something crazier to do than publishing a woodworking novel….

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!
Categories: Hand Tools

The History of Wood, Part 26

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 4:00am


Filed under: Personal Favorites
Categories: Hand Tools

Colen Clenton - A Man and His Shed

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 4:00am
Colen Clenton is the maker of a range of really wonderful adjustable squares and other measuring tools that we have been proud to stock for many years. I've never met him in person but we have chatted on the phone about this and that for ages from our ends of the earth. When my son was born, Colen sent us a magnificent rattle made of she-oak. He's a wonderful craftsman and a wonderful guy.

This video shows Colen in his New South Wales, Australia, shed workshop. I'm writing this from a Manhattan high-rise but I can admire his very different lifestyle and of course the reverence for craft that we share. Colen began his tool manufacture by making tools for his own use that attracted the eyes of people who coveted them. He speaks warmly and encouragingly to others who would like to earn their livelihood with their crafts. And needless to say, his gorgeous tools are scene-stealing supporting players throughout the video.


One of the things I find most interesting about Colen's tools is that while they do exactly the same thing as many other measuring tools by other makers, their combination of design, materials, and execution makes them feel wonderful in the hand and amazingly satisfying to use. Watch the video and see how Colen's values and life choices are reflected in his tools.

We stock the complete line of Colen's tool here.

Questions Answered – Spring Edge Edge-jointing Boards

Paul Sellers - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 1:59am


Paul (and Team)

I was curious if you could give us your thoughts on spring joints.  I’ve seen them mentioned in various places when discussing panel glue ups.  I think I understand them in principle.  By creating the slight concavity in the middle of the two boards to be joined, the ends are automatically pulled tight during glue up.  My questions have to do with the purpose of such a joint and if they are practical for everyday use.  Does this make for a tighter joint?  Does this help to reduce the number of clamps needed for a glue up?  Is there any benefit in strength of the joint compared to joining two parallel edges or even match planed edges?

Thanks for all you and your team do!



This was first presented as an article in one of the famed US woodworking mags back in the early 90s I think, but the concept originates from the days and centuries before we had screw-threaded cramps or clamps. The idea is to create as you say an even convex along two long board edges and then glue along the edges to form wider panels.

DSC_0030 DSC_0027

The panels can then be clamped using only two clamps or you can use two timber dogs or nail dogs as they are also called to pull the two ends tight, which automatically pulls the joint gap-lessly together along the centre section and indeed along the whole length of the joint line. Of course the convex only has to be small, the article showed a lot, but any slight, slight belly works and the more belly you have the greater the applied or necessary pressure to either end to close up the gaps. The problem that can occur with too large a gap is the boards can result in a dishing hollow, so get the camber as slight as possible if you choose this method.DSC_0010

The practicality of it was that you didn’t need too many clamps; two only per panel as I said.


Dogs were indeed commonly used for such glue ups; I have several pairs and they can be useful to have because some times clamps don’t work in some situations.DSC_0008


The dogs had the angles inside and this effectively applied pressure on the extreme end of the board and pulled the two together as shown above.

Also, it’s good to remember that screw-threaded clamps were not at all always as common to woodworkers as they are today and so were not commonly used in earlier centuries. Wedges and dogs took care of many glue ups; and also remember that that was the age of no alternative glue to animal glues such as hide and fish glues either. Glues such as PVA and epoxies are new kids on the block. These old glues were different in that they ‘snatched’, which meant that during the cure the glue ‘pulled’ surfaces together.


The most common of all methods for jointing for edge joining was not clamping, wedging or dogging but simply rub-jointing. This is where we rub the two glued edges to be joined along one another moving one back and forth against the other, which is held in the vise, until the glue is evenly and thinly dispersed. During this process the glue gets as thin as possible between the surfaces and then, at a certain point, the glue ‘grabs’ or ‘snatches’ and the parts no longer move.


Leaning two or three sticks inclined and sighted in against one another (to ensure no twist in them) against a wall was a resting place for the glued boards to stand leaning in toward the wall on edge but flat against the sticks. The boards were left unclamped until the next day when full cure was achieved. Of course this latter method, being the more common of, all meant that the board edges were first trued by plane exactly and with no gaps or convexed edges. The practice of convexed edges may well have been common in earlier centuries purely because of the lack of screw-threaded clamps or even nail-dogs. Dogs work remarkably well, but of course they leave their telltale square holes in the endgrain of the boards.


For some work this is of no consequence.


Once clamps or dogs are applied the boards at the other end open dramatically because of the compression of the cells. It’s a good idea to have the clamps or dogs in place and started so the boards don’t part too much as shown.

Below you can see that the method is effective as the nearest clamps are 36″ apart and yet the glue can be seen in the mid section.


I suppose the point here is is convexing the board or boards better than clamping? My answer would be probably no. I have always found it best to go the extra mile and remove all contention between parts so long as it relies on me. Yes the boards will hold, but it may well have been more a lazy way with good and plausible excuses. We generally work to move the materials we work to their extreme limits as say we do in the fitting of dovetail joints and mortise and tenons and also in making musical instruments such as cellos and violins, guitars and so on. That is, we want extreme fits of perfection for tightness without splits or too much pressure and so on. It’s always a thin line, pun intended. After we have created the harmony between the parts they are united in the common cause of serving the owner and it’s at this point when what we make is subjected from here on to the highest levels of stress imaginable. A chair is scooted, cocked, leaned back on with an excess of 150lbs every day and all day in some cases. And a violin with strings taut and played is stretched to its most extreme limits in the hands of a maestro. Creating harmony relies on the crafting artisan to ensure he has done his utmost to remove any and all contention so that what he or she makes can indeed withstand the pressures of life.

The post Questions Answered – Spring Edge Edge-jointing Boards appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

The Great Tumblr Experiment

Toolemera - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 8:46pm
Even though the lack of an 'e' in Tumblr annoys me to no end, Tumblr has become a major player in the peculiar world of social media. Even businesses, both large and small, have begun to use Tumblr blogs to extend their reach into our brains. Thus, the nascent Toolemera Books Tumblr Blog. Not really so big an experiment but annoying to another end in finding a theme that worked for me. Work it I did. More customization is needed but that can wait until another day. Till next, Gary
Categories: Hand Tools

Brilliant or Bull-shxx?

The SawWright - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 6:12pm

When I first jointed this saw and looked at the previous filer’s geometry, I didn’t know if I should be impressed or horrified…

crazy tooth 006 (3)

All of the bevels on these teeth are parallel and facing the same direction…which strains the credulity of the filer at best.

But what if, instead of not knowing what he was doing, this guy was in fact on to some crazy advanced (for the early 20th century) tooth form that created a flat topped but skewed point on each tooth?

Ya….I quickly came to my senses as well. Clearly, this guy was filing at an angle to the saw blade on every tooth, one after the next, instead of filing straight across.

But it does make me wonder sometimes when I come across weird geometries like these…how many wonderful techniques have we lost that will never be known again? And if we did re-discover them, would they only appear ridiculous to our 21st century sensibilities?


Categories: Hand Tools

Design Workshops Far and Near

Design Matters - Tue, 10/28/2014 - 5:26pm

By Hand & Eye Graphic

Education is learning what you didn’t even know you didn’t know.

Daniel J. Boorst


Game changer! That’s the comment I hear most often during a “By Hand & Eye” workshop. Lights click on, gears start to mesh, and frustration and doubt gives way to confidence and big smiles. Folks who shied away from curves can’t wait to do some off road woodworking. I have one more workshop this year and 2015 is beginning to take shape. Consider signing up for an experience that will influence every aspect of your woodworking. This weekend I’ll be traveling down to The Woodworker’s Club in Rockville Maryland for a Saturday session with the Chesapeake SAPFM chapter and then a two day design workshop on Monday and Tuesday.  There’s still a few spots available for the two day. 2015 workshop dates are firmed up but not yet open for enrollment. I’ll post when signups begin, but for now you can mark your calendar.


  • Saturday Nov 1st Rockville Maryland – Presenting to the Chesapeake Chapter of SAPFM, The Woodworkers Club
  • By Hand & Eye Workshop, Nov 3-4 (Monday and Tuesday) The Woodworkers Club, Rockville Maryland. Sign UP


  • By Hand & Eye Workshop, Jan 24th- 25th, R. Grell Fine Woodworking Workshops, Hudson Ohio. Details coming soon.
  • By Hand & Eye Workshop, Feb 13-15th, Southwest Center for Craftsmanship, Pheonix AR. Details coming soon. 
  • Design presentation, March 28th-29th, Northeast Woodworkers Association Showcase, Sarratoga Springs, NY. Details coming Soon.
  • By Hand & Eye Workshop, Oct 17th-18th, Marc Adams School of Woodworking. Details coming soon.

George R. Walker




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