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Hand Tool Headlines

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...

Be sure to visit the Hand Tool Headlines section - scores of my favorite woodworking blogs in one place.  Also, take note of Norse Woodsmith's latest feature, an Online Store, which contains only products I personally recommend.  It is secure and safe, and is powered by Amazon.

Hand Tools

Wonderful English Walnut

David Barron Furniture - 56 min 52 sec ago

I've just finished my latest batch of hammers and you'll notice a few intruders!

I made up a dozen in lovely black line English walnut, it's wonderful stuff. They are the same price as the rippled ash £32, they won't be going on the website, so first come first served!

The walnut came from a friend of mine who specialises (bordering on obsession) in English walnut. See his website http://www.primetimber.co.uk/news/
Below is cabinet I made from a selection of top grade woods from Andy, all cut from the solid.

Categories: Hand Tools

What Gets Measured, Gets Managed

  Getting back to the rules of change for a moment, in order to change something, we have to take note of where we are in relation to where we’d like to be. Once we observe, and set those two parameters, how do we know...
Categories: Hand Tools

523 Bathroom cabinet part 2

Matt's Basement Workshop - 1 hour 41 min ago

bathroom cabinet construction
In today’s episode we’re moving along on the bathroom cabinet by constructing all three doors. The two on top and the flip down version below.

All three are a form of frame and panel construction, but the biggest difference is in how I chose to assemble them. For the two larger doors up top, the panel is actually 3/4” plywood glued to the stiles creating one large piece.

Then for the flip-down door I used a more “traditional” construction technique and turned to a rail and stile router bit set to create the joinery.

Once all the doors were constructed, we also need to drill the holes that will make up the adjustable shelving system behind the two doors on top.

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Categories: Hand Tools

Hi Wilbur, I have 3 Japanese chisels now that I have set up more or less per instructions on the internet. One thing I can't figure out though is the reason that the back of the chisel should be flattened with a flat metal plate and polishing powder...

Giant Cypress - 1 hour 53 min ago

The downside of using a waterstone for the initial working the back of a chisel (or plane blade, for that matter) is that this is a task that is usually done by a coarser (less than 1000 grit) waterstone. Overall, coarser waterstones dish more quickly than finer grit waterstones, and so you run the risk of putting a slightly convex surface on the back of your chisel.

The flat steel plate and powder method has the advantage of the flat steel plate remaining, well, flat in use. The disadvantage is that it tends to be a messier process, since the powder tends to roll off the plate, and has to be refreshed every so often. Having said this, I should mention that I haven’t used this method very much, but I do have alternative ways of working the back of a chisel.

For me, if I need to flatten the back of a chisel or plane blade, if a 1000 grit waterstone isn’t working fast enough, I’ll use either my Atoma diamond plate that I use for flattening waterstones, or 80 grit Norton 3X sandpaper on a granite plate.

If you’re getting decent results with your waterstones, there’s no need to get the flat steel plate and powder. If you are not happy with the results you’re getting, then I would look into it.

VIDEO: Hand Cut Dovetails Part 14: Join the Pins and Tails

Wood and Shop - 2 hours 7 min ago

VIDEO 14/15 of Joshua Farnsworth’s free hand cut dovetail video series shows how to join the pin boards to the tail boards to form the complete dovetail box.

This is a very detailed tutorial designed to teach beginners how to become expert at dovetailing by hand. It is offered as a free resource to encourage the revival of traditional woodworking.


This detailed video series was inspired by a 5 day class that I took from Roy Underhill and Bill Anderson: world-renowned experts on traditional woodworking with hand tools.

Which traditional hand tools should you buy?

If you need advice on which hand tools to buy (and not buy), then definitely read my 13 category buying guide article: “Which Hand Tools Do You need for Traditional Woodworking?”

Shortcuts to Dovetail Videos 1-15:

Too Busy to Sharpen

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - 5 hours 1 min ago


I criticized a carpenter working for me recently for using dull tools. He excused himself by saying that he had been too busy to sharpen them. He had been working for weeks with a dull saw, and with a plane which had notches in it, leaving ugly ridges on the boards he was planing.

He had probably wasted more time in working with dull tools than would have been required to sharpen them several times, to say nothing of the inferior work he was turning out.

There are multitudes of people who never do good work because they never prepare for it, never put themselves in a position to do good work—they never sharpened their tools; never trained themselves for it, and they go through life botching their jobs…

Orison Swett Marden

North Judson News – December 24, 1914

—Jeff Burks

Filed under: Historical Images
Categories: Hand Tools

What Will Become of Me?

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 10:26pm


A tall pine-tree had been cut down in the forest, and dragged away to a back yard, where it now lay chopped into blocks of wood for fuel, piled up on the top of one another. Near the yard, on the other side of the hedge, was a garden with a green lawn, and out amidst the foliage there peeped forth a charming villa, where a family from the neighbouring town were wont, during the summer months, to come to live, and inhale the balmy air and bask in the country sunshine.

During the long, dreary spring the wooden logs had plenty of time to reflect on their future, but the majority of them were agreed that there was not much to reflect upon, for the fate of a log of firewood was once for all decided, and could not be altered.

“We are not good for anything else but to be chopped up into little chips, and consumed in the large fire-place,” one of the blocks of wood said to the others.

“It is, alas! our pre-ordained destiny,” sighed another.

“We, the offspring of the forest, cannot attempt anything nobler than to become fire and flames, and to boil the pot,” added a third.

But one of the little blocks that was without either flaws or cracks, and which was lying there by itself, so white and pretty, could not agree in its mind that it would not become anything better than charcoal and cinders; and when it heard the disconsolate talking of its comrades, the little white block begged to differ: “Who knows what one is good for!”

But the others considered that it only spoke in pride, and said, “We shall meet again—in the fire-place.”

The guests from the town arrived at the villa. A journeyman threw down the pieces of wood from the big pile, he sawed and cut them into little pieces, preparing one log after another for the fire-place.

“Kneech, krasch!” said the logs as they were being chopped into little bits; and when the servant girl carried them into the kitchen, they all whispered to the little white log, “It will be your turn next.”

One day the owner came into the back yard, and had his little son with him.

“Now we will knock them with the axe, and hear by the ring whether there is a good piece of timber among them,” said the father, and hammered away on one piece of wood after another.

“No good, no good, only to burn!” all the blocks answered. But soon he came to the little white log, and it had quite another sound.

“Knock on, knock on, fit for anything!” it chimed in the wood.

“There we have one with a good ring in it. Let us take that one,” said the father; and he commenced at once chopping large chips from the log, both before and behind, and on both the sides.

“I shall burn as I am, entire, but you will be chopped into contemptible sticks,” said a crooked twisted bit of a branch with spite. But though its fibres were terribly cut every time the axe fell, still the little white log thought, “One must be shaped and formed before one can be fit for anything in this world.”

And, after every cut from the axe, the form of the log became more spruce and handsome. From a log it was soon formed into the shape of a ship’s hull, and carried away to the carpenter’s workshop, and with a screw affixed to the carpenter’s bench, to suffer more pains in the clutches of various tools.

“She will be a fine clipper,” said little Harry, with delight, when after a couple of days he came into the carpenter’s shop, and saw how the uncouth log gradually had been transformed into a trim little boat, with smart prow, deck and mast.

“I know now what will become of me,” thought the little boat with feelings of exultation, and was quite impatient to be let loose from the screw of the carpenter’s bench, and to be launched out on the limpid waters.

And soon it was completely rigged, the shrouds reaching from the top of the mast down both sides, and out on the bowsprit in perfect fashion.

“There is still something very important wanting, before I can proceed out on the watery main of my own accord,” said the boat.

Then the sails were hoisted, white and flapping. “These are my wings,” it thought; “but still I want something more.”

And then the rudder was affixed, for without that the boat would have been helpless, and not able to steer a right course. “Now I feel myself safe; now I long to leap along the crested billows,” said the eager little ship.

And young Harry took her in his arms and carried her to the creek. His father accompanied him, and all, big people and little folks, whom they met on the road turned and went with them to the shore to see the little boat sail across the tiny bay.

Amid exulting shouts and cheers, the little boat was launched. The wind swelled the sails, and, as if it were a swan, it was borne along the waves, now raised aloft on their surging crests, now descending their foaming valleys. The water glittered in the sunlight; the foliage of the green trees mirrored itself in the serene waters on the side of the creek from which the gentle wind came, and where the waters were unrippled.

“Such happiness I never dreamt of!” thought the boat, and listened with delight to the praise bestowed upon her by all for being so trim and smart.

“See how she dances on the waves—my pretty yacht!” exulted little Harry.
“A regular clipper!” said the father, and then smiled.

“She seems as if she were almost a living being!” said one of the lookers-on.
And the little skiff almost jumped along the billows for very joy to hear these praises; but suddenly she stopped—thought a moment—turned, and steered towards land.

“Right you are, you little skiff, sweep along the shore again; we have forgotten the most important thing of all,” said Harry’s father.

And the boat landed again. A tiny piece of blue silk with a yellow cross was hoisted to the mainsail. It was the Swedish flag!

“Now at last you are fully equipped,” said the father; and louder and lustier rose the cheering of the onlookers as the tiny schooner sailed afresh across the bay, and the flag waved in the wind.

“The blue flag with golden cross speaks of the blue sky and the golden sun that shed their lustre over the country of my birth!” exulted the little boat, and felt her heart beat with joy that she had believed in her true calling from the very first, until now at last it had come to pass that she had emerged from her obscure and lonely sphere to become admired and loved, and carry the Swedish flag to honour and glory.


From the Swedish of Richard Gustafsson
(Translated by Albert Albert)

Chit-Chat by Puck:
Tea-Time Tales for Young Little Folks and Young Old Folks – 1880

—Jeff Burks

Filed under: Historical Images
Categories: Hand Tools

Folded Backs and Two Guys In A Garage

The Norse Woodsmith Blog - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 8:54pm

Two Guys In A Garage Tool Works is a pair of guys who happened upon a supply of spring steel scraps and, being woodworkers who loved hand tools, they hated to see the “scraps” going to waste - came upon the idea of re-purposing the steel into usable tools for the hand-tool crowd.  Card scrapers, specifically...  

As time has gone on, they've branched out into supplying spring steel plates for those who want to make their own hand saws, first supplying plates for stair saws then later expanding to larger saws and also saw-tooth pattern plates. Their plates come now with teeth pre-punched in a wide range of PPI and are ready for sharpening and setting.

I've linked to their web site before - Dom maintains an excellent library of saw handle templates online free for everyone to use.  I see they have also added brass split nuts and screws to their list of available products, which means they are only lacking one thing for all of the metal parts of a saw - the back!

It would seem they are now ready to remedy that.  Recently I was fortunate enough to be on a list of folks sent prototypes of their folded backs to evaluate and provide feedback. I am honored they would choose me as one to look at them. Here's what arrived:

Two of their prototype backs, and two 3" x 12" dovetail saw plates.  The sawplates have teeth stamped out at 13 PPI ready for sharpening and setting.  The teeth are wholly consistent, straight, and with a good rake angle for getting you started,

Using one of Dom's templates, a pair of their split nuts, some wood and one of their handle templates (or make your own) you have everything you need to make your own backsaw.  

For my part of the review, I’m to look at the quality of the folded back prototype to see if I can help out with any suggestions or comments.  I thought hard about how best to approach it...  I have a couple dozen different brands of backsaw to choose from, here you can see the three saws I chose to compare their new offering against that I feel are good examples of the types of back they are trying to emulate in one fashion or another.

From the top to bottom they include a post war 10" Disston, a John Cockerill from around the turn of the last century, and a fairly recent Bad Axe saw with a blued steel back.  Side by side with the TGIAG backs on the lower left, here's an end view of all:

In shape, the TGIAG back is most similar to the post war Disston, while in size it is similar to both the Cockerill and the Bad Axe.  The latter is fully folded and pressed flat, while the former (both the Disston and Cockerill) are more "ankh" shaped and hold the saw plate primarily along its edge.  It's debatable as to which way is better, though my thoughts tend more preferring the "ankh" shape.   Having the blade held in a "pinched" back I believe allows for less slippage and a more firm grasp of the plate than the other method.

There are two difficulties with that shape you should be aware of.  The first is fitting the back into the handles rebate for it - as the shape is not square, you may need to accommodate for it, depending on the design of the handle and how far the back fits into that rebate, as seen here in a saw I was making some years ago.

That back is pressed flat so has a consistent width along its entire depth.  It's not an issue if it isn't - it's just something to be aware of when making your saw.  An industrious soul might grind the length of the back so it is flat along its length.   It’s my understanding they are working with their machinist on flattening the profile (to straighten the slightly “bulbous” shape to something more evenly shaped for their upcoming offerings. IMO that is the only detractor to their prototype, and it’s a small one, in my opinion.

The other thing to be are of probably isn't going to affect anyone who wants to make their own saw, but the shape is such that any stamp made into the metal would deform the back and make it unusable.  It's for this reason that I chose the flat-folded method in the backs I made.

For how well the TGIAG back is made...  Made from .090" steel, it was straight and consistent along its entire length, and the blade fit snugly into place.  Removing the blade from the back was difficult, but not impossible - which is just as it should be.  The edges are smooth, no rough spots.  Dom informed me they were looking into using smaller shims to make the gap even tighter, but I don’t believe it to be necessary.

The thickness of the post war Disston steel back was thicker than the TGIAG, the other two were approximately the same.  On other saws, the .090" would be about average - some thicker, some thinner, but the thickness Dom & Company has chosen is a good one, in my opinion.  For a finish, it would be nothing to buff up the steel to a mirror shine - another option would be to blue the steel, or just to leave it as it is.  There is also talk of them adding stainless and brass backs as well - we can only hope, but these are an excellent start.

Conclusions:  These are a good deal if making your own hand saw is something you are interested in.  Let me explain.

A quick re-cap may be in order... As readers may remember, I made scores of hand saws for time a few years back.  At the time, there were no places to get the parts, and there were only a couple of custom sawmakers in the trade (and they weren't sharing).  I was moderately successful and very proud of what I accomplished - but I lacked the real resources I needed to bring the level of quality to where I wanted without a large amount of effort.  Make no mistake, it was a great learning project for me, and I did get OK at making the saws - but it took quite a bit of practice to get there.   

I started off by recycling and re-using the steel from old handsaws, then later used new spring steel like the kind TGIAG is now selling.  I tried making my own split nuts using just tools available in my woodworking shop (I'm no machinist).  The backs I folded myself using a homemade metal brake I made out of angle iron and door hinges.   

Fast forward a few years.  Now there are several "boutique" sawmakers on the market, and there are a few that sell sawmaking "kits", but you are pretty much limited to a kit that is a copy of a particular saw they sell.  Dom and TGIAG, with the addition of a folded back, open up a full range of possibilities to the amateur sawmaker previously unavailable.  Virtually any configuration you want and you won't need a mill to cut a slot in the back nor a fancy (or not-so) homemade brake to bend the back.  The hard work is done and at a reasonable cost (they haven’t set a final price for their backs yet but if they follow their current levels it should remain a good deal), even when compared to other saw kits available on the market.

The folded saw backs from Two Guys In A Garage are not available publicly  yet, but Dom assures me it will be soon.  Keep an eye on their website for more information, and for other products they currently offer. 

Have fun building yourself a custom saw!

Norse Woodsmith saws photo courtesy Cian Perez




Happy Easter from Giant Cypress and the nuns at Ladywell...

Giant Cypress - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 2:20pm

Happy Easter from Giant Cypress and the nuns at Ladywell Convent.

Latest Shop Addition

Plane Shavings Blog - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 1:35pm
Rockwell lathe on oak stand.

Rockwell lathe on oak stand.

The old Rockwell lathe above is my second lathe. It has served me well for some years, but it had some issues. I have turned many a knob and chisel handle on this old machine. Because of it’s weaknesses when some shop money became available I decided to sell it and buy a new one.

The new Jet lathe.

The new Jet lathe.

After doing some research I settled on the new Jet 1221 with the stand. I gave up some length between centers but got a lot more machine. It is heavier and more robust and on the stand it is much more solid than the old Rockwell. It has variable speed. A feature that I really like. It is so quiet in operation that I can actually hear the tool cutting which is great feedback as to how the tool is working.

Though I did loose more than a foot of length between centers if I do get to turning furniture legs I can add a bed extension and a base extension and have more length than I gave up.

My only complaint is the soft start feature. I’m not a patient guy. When I turn the spindle on I don’t want to wait for it to get up to speed. This, however is a minor drawback I will learn to live with.

Overall the Jet is a great machine and I have no regrets on it’s purchase. Highly recommended.

As always, thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment.

Categories: Hand Tools

Inaugural Meeting of the Tidewater SAPFM chapter

Anthony Hay's, Cabinetmaker - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 11:02am

The Society of American Period Furniture Makers has a new chapter catering to eastern Virginia and North Carolina.

First of all, a special thanks to Bill Caillet and the folks at the Norfolk Woodcraft for their hospitality and letting SAPFM use their classroom space. Also, getting woodworkers out of the shop can be a Herculean task, but thanks to Roger Hall, we had over 30 people.

Roger Hall opens the meeting.

Kaare Loftheim answers questions about the Benjamin Seaton Tool Chest. In the background to the left you can see the full chest with saw till. The chest is on permanent display in the Hay shop and if you’re interested, Jane Rees’ book on the Seaton tool chest can be purchased through The Tools and Trades History Society, www.taths.org.uk.


Ben Hobbs of Hertford, North Carolina and the 2011 Cartouche Award winner brought 2 chairs. He discussed the process of measuring a chair and important measurements used to build templates.  Mr. Hobbs has a bespoke furniture business and conducts workshops at his shop in North Carolina on building these chairs, hobbsfurniture.com 


Mr. Hobbs’ Reproduction of an Edenton, North Carolina Armchair, 1745-1765 MESDA and Colonial Williamsburg both have versions of the 18th century chair.


Kaare and I brought a van full of furniture made by the Hay shop over the years. I’m showing a drawer pulled from the Gentlemen’s writing Desk from the Hay shop wareroom.


Ray Journigan demonstrates the layout for a flame finial that sits atop a tall case clock he’s built. Ray also discussed the process of carving a swan neck pediment and matching it to the side molding. Ray teaches classes on these subjects at the Woodcraft in Norfolk.


Ray’s Clock.


Shawn Nystrom brought in his 19th century cabinetmaker’s tool chest complete with tools. It proved these things were not lightweight and portable. Forgive the comparison, but it was like a circus clown car. Tools kept coming out of this box. In the photo to the left, there are 4 trays packed with drill bits, chisels and small hand tools.

The mission of SAPFM is to pursue the following goals:

  • To create a forum for the understanding, education, and appreciation of American period furniture.
  • To develop and encourage the use of standards and ethical practices in the reproduction and conservation of period furniture
  • To offer membership to all with an interest in period furniture
  • To assist members with the identification and location of resources including people or organizations having specialized expertise
  • To conduct public exhibitions for the recognition of members’ work.

If you’re interested in information on SAPFM, goto their webpage: www.SAPFM.org 



Categories: Hand Tools

As Close to Easter Eggs as I’m Going to Get.

The Furniture Record - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 8:24am

Well, it’s Easter here in the US, whether you are celebrating it in the religious sense, the secular sense or just annoyed because the Home Depot is closed. Not being able to send out any Easter Eggs, I will try to do the next best thing and share my pictures of painted chests.

(To bypass the expository content and go right to the photo set, click HERE.)

There seem to be four major categories of painting. First is just painting the chest to color it. Nothing artistic. Just paint.

Paint. Color. Nothing fancy.

Paint. Color. Nothing fancy.

Then there is faux graining. Making the wood look like something it isn’t. Better wood. More interesting wood. Some are more realistic. Some less so.

Simple faux graining.

Simple faux graining.

More elaborate graining. Creating a mitered panel chest.

More elaborate graining. Creating a mitered panel chest.

Decorative painting. Exploring ethnic and regional motifs.

Like this one.

Like this one.

Or this one.

Or this one.

Or this one.

Or this one.

Finally, there is what you might call the free form, abstract expressionism or “what were they thinking?” Such as:

Qué es? Yet compelling.

Qué es? Yet compelling.

Like faux graining only not quite.

Like faux graining only not quite.

Two for the price of one. Only twice as much.

Two for the price of one. Only twice as much.

You can see the entire set (now called an album) of 172 image by clicking HERE.

Soon, we will get back to the serious business of furniture exploration. But not today.

Nicholson Bench Project – Shellac on a workbench?

A Woodworker's Musings - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 8:16am

We’re getting closer to finishing this thing up and putting it into everyday service.  One question has been repeatedly asked; why are you using shellac for a finish on a workbench?

The normal thinking is that shellac is for fine furniture, musical instruments, carvings and objets d’art.  And, of course, the assumption is that the surface would be too reflective and “slick” for a workbench.  But the truth of the matter is that shellac provides a durable, protective film that will withstand the harshest treatment.  Recoating and repairing a shellac finish is very, very simple; just apply a new coat over the old film, as the alcohol solvent “re-wets” and “bites” into the existing film, creating a complete bond.

But the most significant reason to select shellac as a workbench finish is that it is fast.  I was able to put on four coats in something under three hours.  It would have taken me four days to put on four coats of oil.  This may not be important when you’re first building a bench, but when you decide to recoat an existing bench, you want to be able to get the job done as quickly as possible.  Time is money.


There is, however, one caviat.  If you’re using a shellac that has any color (orange, amber, garnet, etc.), you must be careful to apply very even layers to avoid lap marks.  Witness above.  I was using amber shellac (because that what I had) and literally “throwing it on” with a big, soft brush.  You can see the lap marks on the apron.  While this does nothing to diminish the protective quality of the finish, it does wear at my artistic sensitivities.  It’s a pretty simple problem to repair.  A little sanding or scraping on the apron’s surface, and a single coat of shellac, padded on, will take care of the problem.


While “rooting” through some old finishes, I found a can of One-Shot sign painter’s gold enamel.  The last time I used this stuff was in 1976.  No one, in their right mind, would use something that old, right?  Well, I opened the can, stirred it up and it looked pretty good.  Painted up a little sample and to my surprise it dried just like it was supposed to.  So I just couldn’t resist a little “faux gilding” on the date carved into the vise chop.  And, we do plan to replace the pipe handle with something a little more “appropriate”.


Categories: Hand Tools

A Kerfing Plane in Hong Kong

The Unplugged Woodshop - Tom Fidgen - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 4:39am
  I received a letter this week from Will, in Hong Kong. Will recently made a Kerfing Plane following the plans in my book, The Unplugged Woodshop. He used quarter sawn beech for the body, and the fence is trimmed with reclaimed teak from an...
Categories: Hand Tools

VIDEO: Hand Cut Dovetails Part 13: Clean the Pins

Wood and Shop - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 3:05am

VIDEO 13/15 of Joshua Farnsworth’s free hand cut dovetail video series shows how to clean the pins for a tight fit with a chisel.

This is a very detailed tutorial designed to teach beginners how to become expert at dovetailing by hand. It is offered as a free resource to encourage the revival of traditional woodworking.


This detailed video series was inspired by a 5 day class that I took from Roy Underhill and Bill Anderson: world-renowned experts on traditional woodworking with hand tools.

Which traditional hand tools should you buy?

If you need advice on which hand tools to buy (and not buy), then definitely read my 13 category buying guide article: “Which Hand Tools Do You need for Traditional Woodworking?”

Shortcuts to Dovetail Videos 1-15:

And they lived happily forever after..

Mulesaw - Sun, 04/20/2014 - 2:26am
I planed some grooves in the sides and the ends. Then I planed the bottom so that it could fit into the grooves. 
Everything was sanded and the corners were sawn of the bottom to make room for the posts.

I started by glueing up the headboard, and put in a small headless brad to reinforce things a bit. Then I did the same thing to the foot end of the bed.

The sides were attached to the posts of the headboard and the bottom was slid in. After that the foot end of the bed was attached. 

All that is needed now are a bunch on mattresses, a pea and a princess. Then the fairy tale can begin over and over again in the mind of my niece.

The fairy tale bed on the floor of the control room.

What did I learn about the build:
-It is a quick build that can be made together with children if it has to be.
-Nailing the bottom on will probably give a more stout construction, but either my bottom wasn't wide  enough, or the ends were too wide.
-A little paint and some gold enamel on the crown will make the bed more "royal", after all princesses do like pink, cream and gold colours (as far as I remember from when my daughter was younger).
-I had to struggle some to find the motivation for this build. I have to accept the fact that I prefer making chests and slightly larger pieces. So I guess that I will have to give in to that feeling and start making something along those lines.

Categories: Hand Tools

Wood - Delhi’s Vast Timber Market

The Indian DIY & Woodworker - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 8:22pm

The north western end of New Delhi is home to what must be the country’s largest timber market. The market is situated in the outskirts of the city along the Rohtak Road at a place called Nangloi. 

Nangloi Timber Market (Delhi)

I decided to explore the place with fellow woodworker Joel Michalski, a American from Wisconsin who is currently in Delhi on assignment. The two of us took the Delhi Metro and after a couple of changes got on to the line that ends at a place called Mundka. The market starts near the Nangloi stop and continues several kilometres till Mundka and beyond. 

From the Metro coach we could see miles and miles of warehouses full of timber of various kinds. There were trucks loading and unloading and containers at places. 

Timber Warehouse

Almost all the wood sold here is imported and comes in straight from the ports in Gujarat. Hundreds of large importers get shiploads of timber and distribute them all over north India.  This is one reason why bulk buyers prefer to pick up their requirements from here.

Unloading Timber

We found that the bulk of the wood being imported these days is cheap Meranti, Pine and similar varieties. These cost between `500 and 700 a cubic feet.

A Large Timber Stockist

The bigger yards stock a wide variety of more expensive African, Burma and Nagpur teaks as well as some Western species such as Red Oak, Ask and Maple. These are significantly more expensive and the best Burma Teak, for instance, can cost as much as `3800 a cubic foot.

Variety of Wood Species

It felt great to be in these huge timber yards with their aroma of fresh wood. Joel took a bunch of photos which he agreed to share. All the photos are by him.

A Bandsaw in Operation

Indranil Banerjie
20 April 2014
Categories: Hand Tools

West Dean Dovetailing Course.

David Barron Furniture - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 8:06am

I've been preparing for the forthcoming course and this is what we will be making.
The box carcass is beech and the lid is spalted beech. The sides have all been cut to size and I've grooved them to accept the base, this allows the students to get straight into the dovetailing without spending time on stock preparation.

The end grain beech gives a nice contrast which shows off the dovetails without being too showy.

The lid simply tilts to open, which is very discreet, if anyone prefers adding a handle this can be accommodated.

The inside of the box will be lined to support the lid, involving plenty of use of the shooting board.
I expect everyone to complete this project in the two days, so for those of you coming please make sure your tools are sharp so that we can crack on from the start!

Categories: Hand Tools

Rose Tools scanned catalog archive added to Articles

Blackburn Tools - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 6:06am

Rose Tools put an extraordinary amount of time and effort into scanning a number of catalogs over the years. While the original website hosting this resource has been taken down, Rose Tools has given permission to host them on the Articles page of my website (and elsewhere). Donna Rose Allen still maintains an active website devoted to quality new and old tools.

The scanned catalogs represent a large sampling of tools from approximately 50 different companies, and spans nearly a century of manufacturing. They are an invaluable primary source of information for both common and uncommon tools.


A big thanks goes out to Mark Stansbury of FoleyFiler.blogspot.com for doing the heavy work in saving these catalogs, and to Donna Rose for making the scans available.

Rose Tools scanned catalog archive

Categories: Hand Tools

I do it wrong

The Saw Blog - Sat, 04/19/2014 - 6:06am






There. I said it. I file saws the wrong way. I  feel better.

You must be wondering what the heck I’m talking about. Let me catch you up…

Some history:

The old texts on saw filing are clear. They indicate you should never file a saw only from one side. They all unanimously say that you should file every other tooth and then flip the saw around in the vise and file the teeth you skipped from the other side. I don’t do that. I file a saw all from the same side. Why? Because when I was learning to file saws, that was the way that made sense to me. And I’m certainly not the only one…many saw makers and saw filers today file all from one side. I can’t honestly remember what possessed me to start filing this way…it certainly wasn’t my idea.

As I’m writing an article for Popular Woodworking Magazine on saw sharpening, I find myself thinking more and more about this topic (thanks to the good-nature antagonizing of my friend Carl).

But what are the reasons to NOT file a saw that way? I have heard a few…

1) Filing from one side of the saw dulls the file faster because you have to file into the teeth leaning towards you, which causes more wear on the file teeth.

I think this is a silly point. The gullet edge of the file is what wears out first and destroys a file. The extra wear to the face edges is completely irrelevant…they stay intact long after the file is useless regardless of how you file teeth.

2) Filing from one side of a saw alone puts all of the filing burrs on the opposite side of the saw teeth and will cause the cut to steer to that side when the saw is used.

I have filed hundreds of saws. The only case where I have found the above argument to be true is in dovetail saws and similar saws spaced 14 points and finer. These saws have fine teeth that can be affected by the burr, but an extra side jointing pass or two on the burr side of the tooth is a simple remedy. The burr created on teeth coarser than 14 points are unaffected…I’ve found that they are large enough to overcome any discrepancy.

3) You cannot create saw teeth with independently shaped back bevels (sloped gullets) filing from one side of the saw.

I would say this is mostly true. But for 95% of woodworkers, I don’t think it makes any difference filing independent back bevels on your teeth. For most work, the benefit is negligible. Can you gain a small advantage in your work with independently shaped back bevels? Sure. But to me, its like the difference between a Corvette and a Ferrari. Is it really worth it? I don’t think so.

This whole argument may be like the tails vs. pins first argument with dovetailing: it’s simply a matter of preference and opinion. There is more than one way to skin a cat. And I love skinning cats. :)

But as much as I like torturing small domestic pets, I like free thinking all the more. Because I am stubborn, naive, and foolish, any wisdom I have gained in life has come from making so many mistakes that success was the only option remaining. What drives me in my business and in craft is the hope that I never stop learning, never stop improving and never stop questioning tradition. I would rather be comforted by a small token of marginal truth hard-won through years of trial and error than bask in the glory of unimaginable wealth blindly accepted from a benevolent master.

What the heck does that mean? I like doing it wrong. Wrong feels right to me.





Categories: Hand Tools


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