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Hand Tools

had a senior moment.......

Accidental Woodworker - 4 hours 34 min ago
Some parts for my planes that I ordered came in today.  I still have a #4 chipbreaker for a Stanley iron that I'm waiting on but it is something that I can wait for. I ordered a chipbreaker from Lie Nielsen but I am still waiting for that 10 days later. That sent all the tracking info to my wife's email and since she hadn't ordered anything from LN, she deleted it. She couldn't find it in her trash so I'll have to call them and find out where it's at.

I bought them all
I emailed Bill Rittner and asked if he made the chipbreaker screws. That answer was no, but he said he had some he would sell. I bought two from him thinking I was golden. Turns out I lost two somehow, somewhere. I think they fell off the sharpening bench and got dumped with the shavings when I swept the deck. I noticed this seller on ebay offering chipbreaker screws and I bought all 5 he had for sale.

What surprised me about both sellers, was how clean the screws were. I usually get parts like this all rusty and ratty looking. These are all rust free and shiny. The slots aren't mangled and the screws all have good looking, well defined threads.

these 3 are all set now
I have four of the chipbreaker screws left. I need one more for the #4 chipbreaker in the mail and I'll have 3 left for spares.

everything has set up
I clamped the spreader at the bottom front because the bottom here was toeing outwards. I did this to keep it where it should be as the back brace set up.

removed most of the proud with the chisel - I then planed it flush
flushed the walnut to the bottom

checked my desk stock
Both of these are still flat and straight. I still don't know what the one on the right is made of. It kind of looks like ramin wood. I flipped the two so the opposite side was facing out for the next 24 hours.

lightweight but sufficient
This isn't going to be moved and it is plenty strong enough to support a monitor. I was thinking about putting a stretcher at the bottom front.

3/4" screw
I need some 3/4" screws to fasten the the top brace to the top plywood. These have a washer as part of the screw head.

ugly even if they won't be seen
found a lot of 3/4" screws
I didn't realize that I had so many screws in this size. I'll be using the oval head ones vice the flat heads.

found a piece of poplar long enough
sawing 1/2 x 1/2 notches
my senior moment
I sawed the notches on the wrong side. I can't believe that I didn't notice it and sawed it out. On a bright note, I got a snug fit on both sides.

I will have to use a wide piece after I fix this
I wanted to use walnut here
The notch I made to even it up on both sides ended up being 2". I would like to use walnut here to match the edge banding I did. This piece is too small - I can't saw it in two and glue it together to get the required width and length.

padauk is another choice
I can't get the walnut to work so I will use poplar. I'm not wasting padauk on something like this. I'll do that tomorrow because the lights are going dark now.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is a folivore?
answer - an animal that eats leaves

Handworks 2017 Countdown – 52 Days to Go

The Barn on White Run - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 4:10pm

Over the next six weeks I will be blogging about Handworks 2017 a lot, or at least my preparations for it to be sure.  I think we are at T-minus 52 Days before departure.

Over the winter Mrs. Barn prepared two full cases of packaged beeswax in anticipation of the event.  If all goes well I will not bring any back home.    One thing down, a bazillion to go.

I intend to demonstrate wax and shellac finishing during the event, so come by and say “Hi.”  I’ll be in one of the center aisle booths at the Festhall.

When a Tenon Snaps

Paul Sellers - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 12:26pm

Saturday 25th March 2017 So what do you do if a tenon snaps off when you least expect it? Such things happen, after all, and you have already invested good time in the buying and milling wood, forming tenons and even shaping the wood for its place in the whole. I have had it happen …

Read the full post When a Tenon Snaps on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Hello Perdix, You Old Friend

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 10:37am


Today Narayan Nayar and I took the train to Pompeii to look at a fresco that features Perdix, a Roman workbench and some adult content suitable for Cinemax. (“Oh my, I don’t think I have enough money for this pizza.” Cue the brown chicken, brown cow soundtrack.)

As we got off the train, my heart was heavy with dread. Yesterday, our visit to Herculaneum blew my mind but was disappointing in one small way: The House of the Deer was closed that day to visitors. The House of Deer had once housed a woodworking fresco that has since been removed and has since deteriorated. So all I was going to get to see was the hole in the wall where the fresco had been.

But still.

So as I got off the train this morning, I fretted: What if the House of the Vettii is closed? After a not-quick lunch that involved togas (don’t ask), Narayan and I made a beeline to the House of the Vettii. And as I feared, its gate was locked. The structure is in the midst of a renovation and was covered in tarps and scaffolding.

I peered through the gate and saw someone moving down a hallway inside. He didn’t look like a worker. He looked like a tourist. Then I saw another tourist.


We quickly figured out that a side entrance was open and they were allowing tourists into a small section of the house. I rushed into that entryway and waved hello to Priapus. After years of studying the map of this house I knew exactly where to go. I scooted past a gaggle of kids on spring break and into the room with the fresco I’ve been eager to see for too long.

It’s a miracle this fresco has survived – not just the eruption of Vesuvius but also the looters and custodian that decided (on behalf of Charles III) which images to keep and which ones to destroy. (Why destroy a fresco? According to the Archaeological Museum of Naples, many were destroyed so they didn’t get into the hands of “foreigners or imitators.”) The royal collection preferred figurative scenes or ones with winged figures. For some reason, this one stayed in place and has managed to survive.


Narayan spent the next 40 minutes photographing the fresco in detail. The photos in this blog entry are mere snapshots I took with my Canon G15. His images will be spectacular.

OK, enough babbling. I need some pizza. Thank goodness they’re only about 4 Euro here.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Roman Workbenches, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Crisscross Solo Blems

Benchcrafted - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 9:33am

Just a heads up in case you're in the market for a Crisscross Solo and you're coming to Handworks.
We'll have a few blems available at the event for a discount price of $79. We usually don't have to offer blems or seconds because we usually catch them early on in the process. This time a few Crisscross arms made it all the way through powder coating. Here's the issue with these. During the casting process the moulds get transported from the mould-making area to the pouring deck and every now and then a mould gets jarred and makes the lines in the castings you see above. It's completely cosmetic. The arms function as intended. A few of the arms got the royal treatment at the powder coaters as well. The middle one above shows the result. You may need to run a file or drill bit through the holes to get the pins to pass. These will be priced at $79 and are available only at Handworks. If we have leftovers, we'll post them here for sale after all the hubbub is over.
Categories: Hand Tools

a few new spoons for sale, March 27 2017

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 8:08am

I’ve been slowly working my way through a pile of cherry spoon wood. All but one or two of this batch is from the same tree. And most all are crooks, bent/curved sections which lend the spoons their shape.

A couple of these got picked by people on a waiting list for spoons. I never intended there to be such a thing, but sometimes I get requests between postings of spoons for sale.

spoons listed are here https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-for-sale-march-2017/  or at the top of the menu on the blog’s front page. Leave a comment here (the page for some reason doesn’t accept comments…) if you’d like to order a spoon. Paypal is the easiest way, or you can send a check. Let me know which payment method you prefer. The price  includes shipping in the US, otherwise, we’ll calculate some additional shipping costs.

All the spoons are finished with food-safe flax oil. If for some reason, anyone is not happy with their spoon, just contact me & we can do a return/refund.

thanks as always,


changed lanes......

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 12:52am
I was working on the new bookshelf project but I put on the turn signal and made a lane change. I will work on the bookshelf as I can but my main impetus now is finishing the stand up desk for work. I did a couple of days standing up and I couldn't believe the difference when I went home. My butt cheeks didn't hurt and my metal hip side felt a bazillion percent better.

I nixed getting the VA supplied stand up desk version because it won't work for me. It will elevate the monitor and keyboard/mouse up and down but that is it. There is no provision for working on paperwork at the same time at an elevated position. If all I was doing was computer work this would work. But over half of what I do doing the day is dealing with paperwork first and then feeding all that into the scanner and onto the computer.

oh dark thirty sunday morning
I didn't have high hopes that this would be flat.

still bowed
This is an improvement of what it was the previous day. I could attempt to glue and screw a base to this that would also act as a strong back and pull it flat. Since this is/was going to be my stand up desk, I need it to be flat from the git go. I also want a warm and fuzzy that it will stay that way too.

This will go into the wood pile to be used from something else. For the desk it's use is toast and I'll buy another 2x4 sheet of plywood.

monitor base frames
Out of the clamps and they are laying flat on each other. No twist and no rocking from either one. I did these on the tablesaw mostly because I want to get this done as quickly as I can. I know that I couldn't make a bridle joint this small by hand nor as quickly as I did on the tablesaw. I won't be using bridle joinery on the big desk. For that I will most likely use mortise and tenon.

blurry pic of a proud tenon
I didn't take this into account when I made the frame. I cleaned up the insides with a plane before I glued it up. They are sticking up about a 32nd strong and they would make a difference if I was making this frame a specific size .

possible big desk base stock
I squared this stock up over a year ago for what I don't remember. There is more than enough stock to make the base ends. I just need stock for the long rails.

flushed and cleaned up the frames

the monitor base top
The first two pieces of walnut have set up and I sawed off most of the overhang. I don't want to accidentally break them off while I glue on the last two pieces.

trimming the first two pieces flush
The two pieces of walnut are proud on both sides of the plywood. If do one side like this I could possibly break off the other side in a way that would make me very unhappy.

not a problem now
I put the cauls I used to glue the walnut on under the plywood. They elevated  the walnut clear of the bench on the opposite side.

cutting and fitting the last two walnut strips
I squared up one end and marked the length directly off the plywood. Since this is so thin I did all the cutting with this marking knife.

quick, easy, and I got a clean edge
I repeatedly scored the strip of walnut and leaving the square in place, I snapped off the waste. I still kept the square there and used the marking knife to clean up the snapped off end.

the proposed bracing
The bottom poplar piece I am changing to 1/2" plywood so I don't have to deal with expansion and contraction from solid wood. The back brace will stay poplar and I'll dovetail that.

two pieces of 3/4" plywood
At 0755 I was in the parking lot of Home Depot sipping a Starbucks waiting for it to open. I bought two pieces of 2'x4' by 3/4" thick plywood panels. The one on the left is birch plywood and the right one was $6 cheaper and I don't have clue as to what it is.

I went through every single piece of both of these plywood bins and I only found one flat and straight one in each. The one I bought yesterday came from Lowes and I don't remember if I checked it for being flat. I was more interested in getting a nice grain pattern. I got that but a pretzel for a board.

sticker plywood?
I'm real antsy to get going on this but I have to be patient. I will let this sticker here for a few days and see if I still have flat stock. In the interim I can finish up the monitor stand which I am going to apply a finish to. After I snapped this pic I separated these two.

the top brace details
I thought first of doing a 1/2 lapped, stopped rabbet here. They would hold the sides together and keep them from toeing here. But I didn't like the small area contact between the brace and the sides. Skipped that and I am going with a through dado that I'll glue and screw the plywood into it and get the same result. The plywood ends will be visible in the finished joint so I will edge band them first with walnut.

ends banded
I will apply the walnut to the long edges after I have the brace glued and screwed in place.

flush fit on the through dado
labeled the bottom
It is way too easy to become confused as to which side is up or down. And I need big letters because I have been known to ignore smaller penciled markings.

wee bit off on this side
I sawed inside of the lines because I wanted this to be a snug fit. I had planned on planing the plywood to fit the dadoes but I didn't have to do that on either side. On this side I did one saw cut leaving the line like I was supposed to. On the other side of the cut, I sawed right on the line.

walnut veneer
I dug this out of my pizza box of veneer. I can saw a small strip and use it fill the gaps.

I have a boatload of planes
Why can't I use one of them and make my own veneer to fill the gaps? That is what I did. I planed up 6 strips of varying thicknesses by adjusting the depth of the iron. Each of them is about 4 inches long and conveniently curled up.

it worked
 I got the gap closed up and a snug fit. Self supporting and this is ready to glue up.

rounding over the corners on the monitor top
the 3rd one
This is the third sliver I popped up sanding the the walnut. I am gluing it back down like I did on the other two with this glue. I put some blue tape on it and set it aside to set up.

I had striped walnut
I could see every place where I used the blue tape on this walnut. I wiped down all 4 sides with mineral spirits to remove any of the residue. After that I scraped them down to make sure I got all of the residue.

removing glue with a carbide scraper
The brace is glued and screwed in place so I can get on with the build. I don't like using a chisel to remove dried glue. I tend to dig in when I use it and I end up with divots. And you have to be extra careful dealing with the plywood because the face veneers are only 2 atoms thick. I like the control and finesse I seem to have with the carbide scraper.

marking for the brace
 In order to mark the brace, I need the frame legs to be square to the bottom. On this side they are leaning outboard and the opposite side they are toeing inboard.

now it's square
Now that it is square and in the final position, I can mark the shoulders on the back brace.

used a story stick
I don't like to use a ruler to mark two separate things the same.  I squared the line across the end and the story stick on the first one. I repeated that on the other side.

gauge stick
This is to help me saw the dovetails in the back. This is the same as the shoulder to shoulder length of the bottom brace.

kept things from dancing around as I sawed
I clamped this on the opposite side of the saw cut I was doing. It worked pretty good at keeping the ends stiff while I sawed.  Once I sawed one wall on both sides, I moved the brace to the sawn side and did the last two.

the moment of truth
too snug for me
I pulled this off and looked for any bruising was. I trimmed those areas and glued it up.

the last of the walnut trim pieces
The back brace is glued and clamped. The first of the two walnut pieces to be glued is going in.

left it proud on this side
I won't be able to trim any proud on the other side easily so I glued the strips on flush on that side. On this side I can plane it off end to end. And if I get a bit of tear out it will be hidden.

flush on this side

proud on this side
tight shoulders
The shoulders will be visible on this and I wanted them to be tight to the sides. I got that and the proud on this side I can chisel flush.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What were the first names used by Sir Arthur Doyle for Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson?
answer - Sherringford Holmes and Ormond Sacker

More Fun and Games!

The Furniture Record - Sun, 03/26/2017 - 9:14pm

Just when you think we know everything about gaming tables, more information surfaces. I was at the preview of a local auction house when I came across this rather chunky example:

Georgian Game Table 

DSC_6185 - Version 2

This lot has sold for $260.

Description:  19th century, mahogany, mahogany veneer, oak secondary, unusual dual hinged top with storage compartment, gate leg, cabriole legs with pad foot.

Most game tables have some style or elegance, not this one.The heavy apron and the graceless pad feet lack a pleasing aesthetic.

But that’s not why I called you here.

It is a four-legged table with the fourth leg being a traditional gate leg:


The hinged fourth/gate leg.

Note the sprung hinge on the right side. This is important.


The gate leg deployed.

The hinge is still sprung. Also note the screws on the lower table surface.


When you open the table, it’s round. Closed, it’s a thicker semi-circle. Geometry works.

DSC_6193 - Version 2

And here you can almost see the crack running 2/3 of the way across the table.

What caused the crack? The lower table section is hinged to the frame covering the storage below:


The storage below. This explains the chunky apron.


And here you see the crack and the hinge placement that keeps the opened table top from lying flat. Failure is always an option.

This isn’t the only design challenge. If one tries to access the storage area with the table closed, the sections stacked, when the sections are opened beyond around 30°, the table falls over. Empirically determined. The table is not very deep and when the weight is shifted too far to the back, bad things happen. If I recalled my vector analysis, I could calculate the tipping point.

I did not bid on this table.

On a more positive note, I found two examples of another method of table support. I reveal to you the extension gaming table:


A small extension table.


And here are the extension rails. Note the dowel pins.

I found the above at the Raleigh Antiques Extravaganza.

A few hours later I found this one at a Raleigh consignment shop:


Another extension game table. Two in on day after never seeing one before.


A view from above. The leg is not one piece but a glue-up.


The obligatory front view.

On the back rail was this label:


I always enjoy finding labels.

The dealer believes that these tables are from the 1930’s. A search for the patent shows that Patent 2,153,262 was granted April 4, 1939. There were simple practical and novel improvements in extension tables in Patent 2,316,448 on April 14, 1943.

Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 10.58.31 PM

Patent art for the extension table.

I couldn’t find much on the Big Rapid Furniture Mfg. Co. of Big Rapids, Michigan other than by their own admission they are Manufacturers of Medium Priced Furniture. They obviously survived beyond 1939.

Patches II

Pegs and 'Tails - Sun, 03/26/2017 - 8:50pm
Having read the earlier post Patches, Pablo Bronstein sent me a few pictures of a walnut escritoire in his possession with an unusual patch in its lower left side (figs. 1 & 2). Fig. 1. Inlaid quadrant ebony stringing. (Pablo … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

A Well-furnished Roman Sarcophagus

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sun, 03/26/2017 - 8:27pm

Although Roman furniture is well represented in frescoes, mosaics and sculptures few pieces of wooden furniture survive. The pieces we have for study survived in wet environments such as ship wrecks and wells or were carbonized and buried during the eruption of Vesusius in 79 A.D. Most of the carbonized pieces are from Herculaneum and were preserved and sealed in place by meters-deep pyroclastic material. Pompeii was not entombed as deeply as Herculaneum and contemporary records tell us that some residents (and looters) were able to go back and retrieve household valuables. From Pompeii we have a few plaster casts of the impressions left behind by wooden pieces.

Another source of Roman furniture came to light in 1930 in Simpelveld in the Netherlands when a man digging a foundation for a house uncovered a sarcophagus. The outside of the sarcophagus was not decorated, but the inside revealed a furnished villa for the deceased.

The Simpeveld Sarcophagus is in the collection of the Rijiksmuseum van Oudheden in Leiden, is dated between 175-225 A.D., made of  sandstone and measures 205 cm (about 81 in) in length. It is presumed the sarcophagus was made to hold the (cremated) remains of a wealthy woman.

Our reclining resident.

The woman is resting on a three-sided paneled couch, or lectus. Each end is angled outwards to facilitate a cushion and aid in the comfort of the recliner. A lectus (with variations to the number of sides) might be used for sleeping or dining, or both. As you can see they had turned legs.

At the end of the lectus is a roofed structure that some researchers think may be a depiction of the deceased’s villa. It may be something else entirely. The last piece is some type of open cupboard.

On the other side of the sarcophagus there is a sturdy stand with three large containers, an ornate round table, another stand with crockery and jugs (one with its neck turned outwards), a cupboard with doors, an open space and a cupboard with five niches.

The round table is a mensa delphica with three legs ornamented with lion heads and claw feet. In the photo above, right, is a similar table from Herculaneum.

The cupboard has frame and panel doors. Here also we have a similar example from Herculaneum with hingles made of a series of wood cylinders, similar to a piano hingle. And a drawer!

At the end, closest to our resting resident, are a curved-back chair and a chest with a keyhole. The chair may be a cathedra, which was known as a woman’s chair. Based on other sculptural evidence a cathedra may have been made of wickerwork.

Every home had a chest for storage of valuables. They were often bound with iron straps and were locked. Above is a chest found in Herculaneum.

I did not find any full photos of the opposite (short) end of the sarcophagus. It looks as though there are two other open pieces.

Without all the missing contents we don’t know which of the pieces would have been the lararium, or household shrine. If I had to guess my choice would be the open cupboard with the the five niches to accomodate a lamp, incense, salt and dishes for offerings.

One thing to consider is each piece of furniture may not be to scale. For instance, if the cupboard with the frame and panel doors were of a larger scale it might be an armarium, for the storage of arms, and would typically be found near the entrance of a home. The armarium is the ancestor of the modern armoire.

The Simpelveld Sarcophagus is unique. Usually the decorative work on the outside of a sarcophagus is what interests us. There are often depictions of heroes from mythology, a bacchanal in progress, or scenes from the life of the deceased. For the Simpelveld Sarcophagus we have to look inside the thing and what do we find? A cosy Roman home packed with household goods and a reclining resident.

Suzanne Ellison

Filed under: Furniture Styles, Historical Images
Categories: Hand Tools

Spring Pole Lathe-Part 3

Hillbilly Daiku - Sun, 03/26/2017 - 4:16pm

My day in the shop didn’t go as I has planned.  It’s not that anything went wrong, but I had gotten the order of operations a little out of order.  Originally I was going to cleanup the uprights and chop the mortises for the rail wedges.  As I was about to plane off all of my layout lines it dawned on me that I had better cut and fit the pivot arm first.

The pivot arm installs in a slot in the taller upright and rides on a 1/2″ diameter steel axle.  I also installed a bronze bushing to protect the soft wood of the pivot arm.  I purchased both the steel rod and the bronze bushing from the big box store.  Both needed to be cut to length

Since I was in metal working mode I thought I would have a go at fashioning a strap that will eventually connect the, yet to be made, spring poles.  In his book, “By Wedge and Edge“, Roy says the strap can be fashioned from a copper pipe that is cut in half along its length.  Ideally I would have a metal cutting blade for my turning saw, but I don’t.  So I was left to use my hacksaw with a fixed blade.  By loosening the blade I was able to twist the blade enough to cut away about a quarter of the 12” long piece of copper pipe.  Then I worked the remainder flat.  Just like that, I had a copper strap.

The pivot arm is fashioned from a piece of clear pine that I bought specifically for the purpose.  When I went to the big box I culled through the pile until I found a piece that had the grain running in the same direction as the taper of the arm.  I was really lucky and found an almost perfect match.

The axle partially installed.

The rest of my day in the shop was spent planing the uprights clean and chamfering every exposed edge.  I then reassembled what I have so far and manged to actually mark out for the wedge mortises.  The chopping of those will have to wait until tomorrow.


Part 2 Greg Merritt

Categories: Hand Tools

Do You Know What This Is?

WPatrickEdwards - Sun, 03/26/2017 - 11:33am

Made By Shaker Hands
In the previous post I mentioned my time spent visiting Hancock Shaker Village and my friendship with Faith Andrews, who was so kind to me.  She gave me many hours of her time answering my questions and showing me her personal collection.  It was as much spiritual as it was educational.

During one of my visits she opened a desk and took out a simple piece of wood.  It appeared to be a ruler, but it had no visible markings at all.  It was made from a wonderful piece of highly figured birdseye maple with a shellac finish.

She said to me, "I want to give you a gift.  This is something I picked up from the Shakers at Hancock many years ago.  It has always made me wonder what it was used for.  It must have a purpose, but I cannot figure it out.  Maybe you can."

As she handed it to me I immediately knew what it was designed to do.  I pointed out to her its specific features which proved my conclusion.

As I thanked her for her kindness, she said, "I knew you would know what to do with it."

End View Showing Profile 

If this object was recorded into a museum collection, the Registrar would note:

Solid wood rule, 14 1/4" long 1 1/8" wide 1/4" thick, birdseye maple, shellac finish.  Parallel sides in length, tapered profile on end from 1/4" to 1/8".  No visible markings on any surface.  Each end has 5 small notches at regular intervals on each face.  Origin: Hancock Shaker Village. Function: unknown.

5 Spaced Notches on Each End

Can you identify its function and finish this entry?  Send Your Comments.
Categories: Hand Tools

To Herculaneum

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sun, 03/26/2017 - 9:33am

Narayan shoots photos of a set of frescoes in Herculaneum.

No matter how much you read about a person, a piece of furniture or a place, the real thing is always different. Today, Narayan Nayar and I visited Herculaneum, the doomed coastal city in Italy that has changed the way I look at woodworking workbenches.

There are no workbenches at Herculaneum. But there was an image of one. Once. But it was cut from the walls of the House of the Deer, shipped to Naples where it deteriorated to the point where almost nothing of the bench is now visible. Still, the image (actually an image of the image) is incredibly important to me. It’s the first drawing of a holdfast that I know of. And it shows a low workbench being used for sawing – another critical clue.

So I had to visit Herculaneum and other sites involving the 79 AD eruption of Vesuvius. Not that I expected to discover “new” information about woodworking, workbenches or tools. But to give me some context for everything I’ve read for the last 20 years.

What was shocking? For me, it was the paint and the painting. I now need to do more reasearch on the surviving frescoes at Herculaneum, but I was struck dumb by the detail, clarity and color of what I saw today. Was it restored by modern hands?


Carbonized wood that was destroyed and yet preserved by the eruption of Vesuvius.

As Narayan and I walked around the ruined city it became clear that that modern people are both the saviors and sackers of the now-exposed stonework, plaster and frescoes. Narayan and I saw a little girl rummaging inside an ancient clay vase. Other frescoes were covered by Perspex and clouded by the sun and humidity.

I tried to tread lightly all day because Herculaneum is a non-renewable resource. But my tiptoeing is a drop in the bucket against modern air pollution, adventurous little girls and 2 million other visitors. Ultimately, everything turns to dust.

So the best I can do is to provide an account of what I saw that is unprejudiced by cultural or temporal bias so that future woodworkers will know why Herculaneum is a pile of rubble to be remembered.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Roman Workbenches, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Time To Clean Out Some Duplicates #2...

The Part-Time Woodworker - Sun, 03/26/2017 - 8:43am
I cannot tell a lie, I do not have a duplicate of this saw, it is completely out of the timeframe I try to stick to for my collection, its purchase was totally an impulsive action, and I’m selling it because it is too big for my usual scale of work so I have rarely used it. It is also a pretty good saw.

I bought this saw from an old guy who was pretty cool for an old fart. He was a retired high school shop teacher and bought it new for his personal collection back in the early 1950s. He said he didn’t use it often, but when he did, it was a joy to use. He didn’t lie either.

This Stanley No. 39-124 Mitre Saw is a beaut, well at least the plate is. It seems to hold its edge very well, it is straight and true, and does not have any rust or pitting that I can see. The 30” plate needs a little touch-up sharpening now as I have never sharpened it over the 12 years that I have owned it, not that it got used that much. I did use it quite a bit when I installed some crown moulding  for a friend. Man, it is a gorgeous piece of kit for a job like that. I don’t think the previous owner sharpened it too often either, as it is exactly 6” high from tooth bottom to back bottom, the same dimension etched into the plate – 30” x 6”.

The handle is a replacement I made from apple wood right after I bought the saw. The original handle taught me how Stanley transitioned from making great tools to making junk. They started with the handle. Man, was it a primitive, cheap looking thing, and not up to par with the plate at all. I actually commented to the original owner about it and he said he always wanted to make a new handle for it but never got the time. It was my first crack at making a saw handle, and while it isn't as nice as my recent two examples, it isn't bad. The stock I used was a tad thicker than the original handle, and the round-overs are actually round, so using the saw with this replacement is considerably more comfortable than if I had left it alone. It has been coated with who knows how many coats of shellac, but I have to admit that I didn't have the patience with finishing 12 years ago that I seem to have now. It is nice, but with a bit more sanding, it could be really nice. I never had any qualms about the user-made handle as this saw will never be considered a true collector's piece. It is and always will be just a nice user quality piece. See the photos to see the quality of the existing handle and you will agree with me that with a little finessing, but not much work, you could make it better.

Please view all the photos of the saw to confirm its quality.

Selling price is $70 (CAN) firm.

I will charge the purchaser exactly what the Post Office charges me for shipping, with no additional charges for shipping materials or my time. If you are in the Greater Toronto Area, it is possible that we can happily deliver it to you personally at no charge. 

I will only accept PayPal for payment.

I added a Coke can to this shot
to give you some perspective
regarding this saw's size.
It has a super clean plate with a clear etching.
The second side is as clean as the first.
This photo is trying to
show how straight
the plate and
back is.
It's a good looking saw...
...from any angle.
It still shows a super-strong etching.

Ok, my lamb is a little mute.
It isn't talking to me from this side either.
This was in the piece of Apple Wood that I made the handle
from. It does not go all the way through the horn. I liked
this, which is why I made sure it was included.

Let me know if you are interested in purchasing this saw at mitchell@liquiddesigns.ca


Billy Mitchell

Categories: Hand Tools

a diverse saturday.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 03/26/2017 - 3:38am
I do other things besides stuff in the workshop. I did a couple of other things today and they involved wood too. But neither of them were in the workshop, they just happen to involve wood. The first was my back door. The screws in the top hinge became loose again which causes the door to sag and not close. I finally got tired of tightening the screws and I was going to replace the screws after I drilled out the old screws holes and filled them with golf tees.

That was plan 1, iteration 3b, change 9, upgrade Z21-A, that quickly got flushed down the toilet. The reason why plan #1 didn't work was that I couldn't drill the holes for the new screws because the jamb for the screen door was in the way. And the door was drooping so I couldn't line up the holes in the hinge with the ones in the door.

size of the screw in the hinges
When I was hanging doors, I was taught by a german carpenter that in a 4 hole hinge, you always use at least one (and preferably2) long screw through the jamb and into the king stud. Repeat this same action for the hinges attached to the door. This door only had these piss ant 3/4" screws in all 3 hinges.

The one thing I didn't want to do was take the door down. It is an old, solid wood door and it weighs as much as battleship. I know this because I had to take the door off the hinges. I also blew out the lower hinge on the jamb. So I had to fix those screw holes along with the ones on the top of the door.

From start to finish this adventure took me over 3 hours and I'm still not done. I'll be replacing the door and the jamb later on this summer. Part of the problem with blowing out the bottom hinge was due to rot. The door has been sagging for years, and I've putting band-aids on it for years, and now I have run out of them. The rot at the bottom of the door jamb is only going to get worse and contribute more to the door sagging. The rot is on the lock set side of the jamb but the hinge looked like it had some too.

brought a problem home
This was rocking on me at work so I brought it home thinking I could fix that. Just eyeballing the top of this is making me seasick. It has more waves and dips than a state 5 sea.

I'm two lines off
Each line that I can see represents a 1/8" of twist and this is about a 1/4". It was flat and straight when I glued the poplar bridle jointed base to it. I think the plywood sucked up and glue and buckled like this. This is the cheapest, lightest, plywood I have ever used. I won't be using this crap again.

had to check it to make sure
The plywood definitely twisted and it pulled the base out of square too.  I'll be making another of these but I'll be using solid wood.

monitor stand
The base for this monitor is birch plywood and the not crap from above. I am not going to glue the stand to the base. I am thinking of putting a cross piece that I will glue and screw into the top of the base. I will then screw that cross piece to the monitor base. I will also put a cross brace on the back to stiffen it up. I won't put one on the front so I can access to the space there.

The monitor base will be 13" up from the desk. The monitor will adjust upwards another 6". Between the two of them I can dial in a height where I can look straight into the monitor without bobbing my head.

all the joints are trimmed, dry fitted, and ready to glue up
glued up and cooking
Bridle joinery has a lot of likes to it. They are quick, easy to make, and self squaring. As long as you take your time to make accurate cuts, it will square up.

the main desk
I'll cut this 2x4 piece of 3/4 plywood down to 18" by 38". This will be my stand up to work at desk. I cobbled some boxes together at work to find a height that works for me. I don't want to be hunched over when I work on my paperwork. Working 13" up from my existing desk seemed to be the magic number. I'll use 3/4" stock for the base and that will be enough room to put foot levelers on to raise it up if I have to. I erred on the low side with this because I can raise it but lowering won't be as easy.

I won't be using this
The replacement I'm making is for my cube mate to use. I bought an under mount keyboard from McMaster-Carr. It is a ball bearing slide that locks in the open position. The big reason I bought it was because it is adjustable. It has a 3" up/down range of motion which will let me dial in the right height for the keyboard.

hiding the plies
I am wrapping the plywood edges of the base with some scraps of walnut. Since I don't like using nails or other types of fasteners on something like this, I'm using only glue. I glued on the first piece and after it has set for 15 minutes or so I'll glue another one on.

2nd piece glued on
ran long
Two of the walnut strips are about 1/8" thick and two are about a 1/16" thick. Rather then try and miter this, I put the thicker pieces on the front and rear. The thinner ones will be put on the sides. I ran the front and rear long so I could cover the end grain of the sides. Once everything is glued and cured, I'll saw off the long parts. I will flush them up and round over the corners. Of course I'll have to wait until tomorrow to do that.

new ebonizing method
I was reading up on how to ebonize and I came across one that used citric acid instead of vinegar. The author stated that citric acid is more acidic than white or apple cider vinegars. I'm game to try it out and see if it works. He also said that it eats up the steel wool a lot faster - I'll see what shakes out with that.

distilled water first
I don't know why I was in a hurry to get this going. I should have nuked it first and got it hot because the citric acid would dissolve better in a hot liquid.

about 1/2 of a 1/4 cup
lots of breathing holes
I covered the steel wool pad and I set this aside to do it's magic.

I took a break here and did my second non workshop wood related chore. I found some pruners and filed them sharp and went outside in the rain. I spent the next hour pruning my 3 lilac bushes. I removed all the dead wood and last years blooms that didn't fall off. I'll have to make another trip tomorrow with the big ass pruners to get a few crossed branches that are rubbing against each other.

After I came back in I was going to work on the big desk but that didn't happen. When I looked at it on the bench I saw that it was noticeably bowed. Bowed to the point of being useless to use as the desk. I clamped it down to bench and we'll see tomorrow if there is any joy in Mudville.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is the width of the train tracks in America based on?
answer - the width of ancient Roman cart tracks, 4 feet 8 1/2"

Emir Wooden Smoother for Sale

Journeyman's Journal - Sat, 03/25/2017 - 10:41pm

I’m offering my smoother for sale click on the link for more information and pictures.

From time to time I will post tools for sale, I’ll notify you when I do but it’s also a good idea to check periodically the items for sale page.


Categories: Hand Tools

Oil vs. Water Stones. One Year Later.

Fair Woodworking - Sat, 03/25/2017 - 9:58pm
  Beyond all things in woodworking, sharp is king. If it’s not sharp it doesn’t matter, and anything that can’t make it sharp is not worth your time. If you are new to sharpening, stick with what you have unless it really doesn’t work. I’ve noticed over the past few years, that a number of […]
Categories: Hand Tools

Spring Pole Lathe-Part 2

Hillbilly Daiku - Sat, 03/25/2017 - 7:42pm

Confession time…if you follow me on Instagram, then you know that I started this lathe project a week ago.  I’m little behind on my blogging, but I’ve been running a little time management experiment this week.

It is exactly five minutes between my house and my work.  As a result, I come home for my lunch hour most days.  Usually I eat something, check the news and catch up on reading blogs (another thing I’m behind on).  Anyway, I decided to try getting in twenty minutes of shop time while on my lunch hour.  So every day this week I set a 20min timer on my phone and headed for the shop.  Its been a nice break in my day to get in a little wood working.  More importantly, it has been surprising how much I can get done in that short twenty minutes.

Once I had the mortises in the uprights I turned my attention to the three rails.  Two will be the ways and form the bed of the lathe.  The third rail serves to stabilize the assembly.  Each of these rails will eventually be secured with wedges in a tusk tenon arrangement.  The two bed rails have single-shoulder tenons and work in unison when wedged tight to keep them square to the uprights.  The lower rail tenons have two shoulders that will keep it square.

Once I had the tenons laid out, I sawed the shoulders.  I opted to split off the bulk of the waste.  In hindsight, it would have been quicker to saw it off.  This SYP is stringy and will not split work a darn!  Which will make for a strong assembly, but tedious going for waste removal.

Next I worked on the feet.  I made these feet much taller than Roy’s version.  Which is part of how I’m gaining a little extra height.  The remainder of the extra height is in the uprights themselves.  The connection between the upright and the foot is a thru, spit tenon.  Which ment that I needed to chop a mortise through 180mm (7″) and keep it square and plumb.  Not my best design choice.  This depth is the limit for my chisels, but I managed to pull it off in both feet.


The tenon was formed as I described above for the rails.


I’ll be glueing these feet in place, but also opted to add square drawbore pins.  These aren’t actually necessary, but a little extra structure never hurts.  Plus a little practice never hurts either.  To chop the required square holes I fashioned a plug to fit into the mortise.  The plug adds backing and keeps the inner wall of the mortise from being splintered out.  I should have waited on this step though.  I’ll explain why in a minute.

I’m shaping the feet with a Japanese inspired shape.  My original plan was to have a shallow arch at the bottom center of the foot.  (This is why I should have waited on locating the square pegs). I saw that I had a couple of knots in these pieces, no big deal.  What I hadn’t noticed is that one of them was dead and loose.  I saw that I could eliminate the knots by changing the shallow arc to a deeper shape.  Ideally the drawbore pins would be closer to the shoulder of the tenon than to the end of the tenon.  Changing the shape of the cutout will shift my pins about 12mm(1/2″) closer to the end of the tenon.  Not a big problem, I’ll just have to lessen the offset so as not to over stress the tenon.

At any rate, I laid out my desired shape with a compass and cut it out with my turning saw.  The shape was then refined with a sharp chisel and spokeshave.

Lather, rinse, repeat.

Finally, I ended my day in the shop today by fashioning the required pins and wedges.  I made these from white oak.

OK…that brings this blog and you up to date.

Tomorrow I’ll chop the mortices in the rail tenons and fit the wedges.  I also hope to clean up the uprights and feet with a plane and assemble them.

Part 1 Greg Merritt

Categories: Hand Tools

lämmerzunge - lambs togue

Old Ladies - Pedder's blog - Sat, 03/25/2017 - 3:15pm
Klaus was so kind to take over the difficult parts of the work on theses handles. The slot for the back and the slit for the blade.

Klaus war so nett und hat schlitze für Blatt und Rücken in zwei Griffen gemacht.
Schonbacken mit neuem Leder von Brian.

Protectorcheeks with new eather from Brian.

Werkzeuge zum Anfertigen der Lämmerzunge. Auch unsere neue Sehrfeinsäge.

 Tolls for the lambstongue. Including ournew very fine saw.

marking - markieren
Sehrfeinsäge in action
Schnitt 0,2mm - cut 0,2 mm (0.008")
wieder anzeichnen - marking again
grob aussäge - saw coarse
Iwasaki file - Iwasaki Feile
zweite Seite
und wieder markieen
Der Rest ist eher Schnitzen. Dazu kommt als erstes der Schleifstein auf die Bank.

The rest is carving. First step: Honing stone on top of the bench.
Categories: Hand Tools

Customer box from Denmark.

David Barron Furniture - Sat, 03/25/2017 - 10:15am

Jesper from Denmark sent me these pictures of a little oak box he made for his partner.
After making a dovetail alignment board, this was his first attempt at a dovetail project and he looks to have done very well.

The box was used to present a gift certificate as congratulations for passing her PHD in architecture, very touching.

Here is Jespers dovetailing kit of tools, he looks to have everything he needs there.

Categories: Hand Tools


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