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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...
All of these are available for immediate shipment. Click on the heading of each saw for more pictures. Specifications and order buttons for each saw are on my Ready To Ship page.
Filed 15 ppi rip.
Filed 13 ppi rip. Left-handed (stamp and bolt heads on what is usually considered the backside).
Filed 12 ppi hybrid.
When we set about purchasing our new site it was spring and there were predictions for a glorious summer, ideal for making a start on this new venture. The purchase did not run smooth though and if a delay was imaginable then it happened; the valuer couldn’t understand where the property started or ended, and the solicitor forgot to send off forms, then filled them in wrong, then forgot to send them off again…
I put the process to the back of my mind as best as possible because I wasn’t prepared to get over excited for something which may not happen. It was suggested that the issues must be an omen and perhaps the whole thing was simply never meant to be and whilst I didn’t go for this myself I did start to have doubts.
Today though, the reality has finally started to sink in for me and all doubt has gone. I feel now that everything about this property is right for us even if there is no end to the amount of work to be done – I can finally be excited!
Thinking back, the summer we had seemed far to hot to be grafting outside and what’s better than manual labour for keeping us warm this winter?!
While Richard’s been busy finding an hour here and there to plan out his workshop I’ve been weighing up all of the clearing that we’ve got to get done. There are several roofs around the site which have given way many years ago and now lie collapsed under a carpet of ivy and moss. There’s no rush to get this done as they are far away from the buildings we want to work on first but everything’s going to feel much more safe and organised with it clear so I’m going to start chipping away at it on afternoons. In a quick rummage today I’ve found that many of the tiles have survived unscathed so it’ll be worth going through and salvaging them. It’s a shame it gets dark so early but then we will be having the shortest day next week so that excuse won’t last.
I’m also working away at building our new website for this blog to help separate out the content in to clear categories. The changes are going to make it easier for those who’d like to follow along with the woodwork but avoid posts on our work at the barns and vice versa and I’ll be getting this up and running very soon.
Moulding planes that would have this in particular are those with quirks of some sort that need a sharp area of a profile to project from the sole. Side bead planes are a good example of this. However, the sharp edge of a plane that receives high wear such as a rabbit or filister plane would commonly be boxed since its edge would be presented to the work repeatedly. At other times you may see the inside corner of a complex profile moulding plane's integrated fence being boxed since the fence would be pressed against the stock to keep the profile in position during the cut.
|Cove with fence boxing and side bead with boxed quirk|
|Rabbit plane with persimmon boxed edge|
So where can you get boxing wood? It is a real challenge. So I am going to help you identify some wood that is native to the US that you may be able to find that is appropriate for boxing. I am also going to share a source of Buxus Sempervirens that is sold here in the US currently.
First off is a native source that is the only North American tree in the Ebony family. It may be a surprise but it is Persimmon (Diospyros Virginiana). This wood is possibly in your backyard or neighboring forest and you didn't even know it. It often goes unnoticed because the forest grown trees may not bear fruit since they don't receive enough sunlight if they are in the understory growth with taller trees around. These trees often don't grow in groups and are sparsely populated in the forest. This could be due to an animal such as a deer eating the fruit and then the seed germinates wherever the droppings land. Generally I find the trees growing along the tree line to an open area or a path through the woods rather than out in the middle of the forest.
Here are some pictures of the most important way to identify the tree, the bark. You need to know what the bark looks like because very likely the tree that is big enough for you to cut down for lumber will be too tall to see the leaves well. The forest grown trees will be slim and tall with the foliage grouped near the top. Also the best time to cut most trees is during the winter months while the foliage is lost.
|~9"ø Persimmon bark|
|~14"ø Persimmon bark|
|Plain sawn Persimmon|
On tools for Christmas Presents
Wood is an inexpensive commodity even though we do complain about the prices we pay. It’s cheap in this one way; from a short board of wood and with three tools like those in this blog, you can make several projects ranging from cutting boards to spatulas and walking sticks to spurtles. The techniques are about the same throughout but the projects will keep you busy and entertained as you and they, those you give the gifts to, train their hands to work using them.
When my boys were small, as young as three-, but mostly five-year olds, they came in my woodshop to work alongside me. It was a wonderful 20 year period for me and for them when they came in every day to make something from wood. I taught hundreds of other children throughout the same period through the very same process and delivered a system of training for children that really works well.
My Granddaughter and one of my Grandsons in the shop with me last year
There is now nothing I would change in these basic but important steps and so today I want to suggest a basic starter kit not for necessarily just for children but for any woodworker starting out in hand tool woodworking. The tools will last for a lifetime of use no matter the age of the recipient and I will combine this with a step by step how-to series on my blog to get them started. Mastering the skills they too will last the same lifetime of use.
Here is the first kit as a Christmas gift set to get others you know started out in the traditions of hand tool woodworking We also plan a video on tool techniques you can show on how to use the tools between now and Christmas; to go with the gift as our contribution to the present:
A coping saw
It’s hard to imagine but you can spend £100 on a coping saw, so forget that for now, you might want to consider that another time. A good coping saw can be had for around £10-15 via eBay, new or old.
We use the coping saw mostly for shaping. Because of the narrow blade you can turn sharp corners but mostly we use it for curved work in wood 1″ thick or less. Because the blade is thin and narrow, this saw type cuts through wood effectively and removes the waste from the wanted very quickly. I am going to suggest you look for an Eclipse. These have been around for decades and they are about the best there is. There are other makers too, but these are ones I have used forever.
I suggest a model known as a #151. You will probably not need one with a curved bottom at this stage so buy only a flat bottomed #151 spokeshave.
These tools are available new at a relatively low price, usually new or old will cost under £20 or $20 US. The best makers were the older Stanley and Record makes and these can be bought on eBay. They are virtually indestructible and even 50-year old models will still be good and solid. The spokeshave is really a side-handled plane and we use it to make the walking canes and staffs we made in our woodworkingmasterclasses.com a month or so ago. Currently we are using it for shaping the legs and arches of the workbench stool and so I think it is an invaluable tool for daily woodworking. In this case, to get someone started, it will be used to make some items I have designed to develop skill.
I keep coming back to this tool because it is so versatile and it’s also safe for young hands. The four in hand doesn’t necessarily explain what it is but this tool has four file-type surfaces in one simple piece of steel. It has a flat file, a round file, a coarser flat rasp and a coarser round rasp. By flipping the tool end for end or reversing the tool in the hand you access any one of the surfaces to present to the wood as needed.
The tool is inexpensive and it works well. At around £10 or $10 you have a method for refining work where either the spokeshave won’t reach or work.
The four-in-hand is a filing/rasping tool used to file or abrade away surfaces of wood to shapes you want to create. The coarse surfaces at either end are to remove stock quickly to both convex and flat surfaces. The file is different. This aspect of the tool, again at both ends of the file and on opposite faces to the rasp, smooths out the rougher marks left by the rasp-shaped areas. Generally, these finished surfaces are further refined by sanding, usually going straight to 250-grit sandpaper.
Yes, we use the tool for general shaping, but we also use it in awkward areas that cannot be accessed for shaping with the spokeshave. Though the ridges that cut the wood are angular and come to a cutting edge, these edges are not sharpened to a knife edge and so the tool is both safe highly controllable. Of course young children should always be well supervised but children also need stimulating to explore options as early as possible. Safety is your issue and mine. Take care of them and they will thrive safely.
On wood and stuff
You should add into this equation some chunks of suitably sized wood to get going with. Clear,straight-grained pine will be best for a starter pack. Perhaps 1″ thick stock;. 1″ x 2 1/2″ by 10-12 long. Two would be good. And then a piece of square stock 6-8″ wide by 10-12″ long. This will make a cutting board. You can make a pine granddad- or-nana stick from some pine too. Watch this space.
The post A Perfect Christmas Gift Set – Last Minute Suggestion appeared first on Paul Sellers.
Camil Milincu, a customer from Romania whom we've posted about before, sent us these pictures of a bench he just finished. Camil nailed this one. Here's his description:
I have attached some pictures of a bench I've finished. It's for a friend which had a tough request: all the stuff that's on my bench (seen here -ed.), but in 53 inches. The easiest thing to do was to chop the end vise. But since he might move to a bigger shop (and I hope he does), I had to come up with a plan to keep all the hardware intact. I've sunk the rails in the underside of the benchtop and made a deep recess for the screw. As I had to keep some wood for the leg tenon, the last dog had to be shortened. This explains the weird hole.
For this one the toothing plane was used only in the center of the slabs, leaving a smooth strip near the dogs.
Let's hope the next one will be a "regular" :).
Best regards and Happy Holidays,
I would probably have gone on indefinitely without a bench vise were it not for a related decision. As I've posted before, I am 6'2" with long arms and I built my bench 34" high following the expert guidance I read at the time. The net result was that I did much of my work on a bench raiser and a Moxon vise on top of the bench. I wasn't comfortable working on the bench itself. It wasn't until I read several blog posts by Paul Sellers strongly arguing that the right bench height for someone my height is 38-40" that things changed. I put my bench up on 4x6 blocks as an experiment and was instantly convinced. I am not trying to convince you; all I am telling you is that for this woodworker he is absolutely right. Now that the bench is high enough for me, having a vise on the bench makes sense.
Having spent a lot of time thinking about vises and using a Moxon vise exclusively convinced me that a twin screw vise is right for me (which isn't to say it is for you). My first choice has always been to build one using the huge, beautiful wooden screws from Lake Erie Toolworks, but at $418 plus shipping and handling I just could never justify it. Were money no object, this is what I would do. They look great and are in keeping with the historical character of the Nicholson bench. I explored making my own wooden screws but, for various reasons, decided against it. As a result, I turned reluctantly to steel screws.
There are three ways to go with steel screws that I considered:
- Just buy two steel screws like these. Inexpensive, straightforward, effective but the two screws operate independently;
- Buy the Lie Nielsen twin screw vise. Elegant, expensive, complex, seemingly difficult installation;
- Buy the Lee Valley Veritas twin screw vise. Less elegant, less expensive, less complex but still involved installation.
The next question was whether to mount it as an end vise or a front vise. Bob Rozaieski of The Logan Cabinet Shoppe installed a twin screw face vise on his Nicholson and I see a lot of advantages to using the skirt as the rear jaw. This is the traditional position for a vise on the Nicholson workbench. On the other hand, Lee Valley clearly thinks their vise works best as an end vise, I have used it that way at their booths and I liked it. A disadvantage is that it basically forces you to locate the bench away from a wall, but that is what I like anyway. The Nicholson bench design easily accommodates this vise on the end and I like keeping the skirts open. As I will explain, an end vise installation essentially fits my bench like a glove. I don't think I will ever again use a vise as much as most woodworkers do because I have gotten used to working without one for a lot of what I do and prefer it, so an out of the way location is fine for me. Knowing that it can be removed with almost no trace, I decided to try it as an end vise.
If it sounds like I am uncertain about all of this, it's because I am, but it was time to make a decision. I knew it would work great, but I wasn't sure it would look great on a Nicholson workbench and that bothered me a lot. In the end, I think that it is a tribute to the Nicholson design to see how well it accommodates new technology. In fact, I think the vise works better on a Nicholson that it does on Lee Valley's own bench. You'll see why in the next post.
The lengthy directions that come with the Lee Valley vise contain an admonition to follow them exactly stronger than anything I have encountered since my third grade teacher Miss Shults. Here is a sample: "It isn't a lot of fun to follow instructions exactly but this is one time when it will save you a lot of grief." The entire last page is taken up with a flowchart of what to do if the vise doesn't turn well after it's installed. I think the day job of the guy who wrote these instructions is machining Lee Valley's planes, because he has exacting standards of precision. I suspect the directions result from dealing with customers whose installations didn't go well but, having completed my installation, I think they are a bit overwrought. After all, the vise is designed to skew one full turn and you are directed to make the jaws 3/16" out of parallel, so there clearly is some tolerance. Nevertheless, the directions are clear and carefully written, so it is a good idea to pay attention to them. Worked for me.
I am writing a separate post with pictures about the installation. As for those of you who think this is a terrible thing to do to a Nicholson workbench, I understand where you are coming from.
Reader: “How flat does my workbench need to be?”
Me: “Flat enough to work.”
Reader: “But how will I know when it’s not working?”
Me: “You will know.”
And really, that is all there is to say about the topic that is meaningful. But as this is a blog, I am going to add some more words so you feel you are getting your money’s worth.
Workbenches don’t have to be all that flat to function well. Even if you have significant low spots that you can detect with your hand or eye, the bench can still be perfectly functional. Why? Several reasons.
We don’t use all of the benchtop surface for high-tolerance work. Consider the areas where you handplane things. That’s your “special place.” It needs to be flatter than the areas you don’t use. Example: I don’t have a tail vise on my oak workbench, so I don’t care about the extreme right end of the benchtop.
Second: The wood we work is stiff. So even if your special place is wonky, a typical 3/4”-thick board will behave just fine there. (Plane an 1/8”-thick board there and you will have a different experience; but I don’t plane 1/8”-thick boards on a benchtop.)
Last week, my oak workbench stopped functioning. My special place was in disarray. What had happened was this: The top had shrunk, and so the end grain of the front left leg was interfering with the planing stop. I knocked down the end grain of the leg with a jointer plane in less than five minutes, and my special place was ready for work. But because I am mostly Teutonic, I was compelled to dress the rest of the top.
It took four passes with a jointer plane to true the top back to a state that is overkill.
I also had a small gap appear up near the planing stop. This has happened on many slab benches I’ve built before. I pushed some epoxy into the gap, a procedure I have covered many times over at my blog at Popular Woodworking.
Total elapsed time: About 45 minutes.
But that’s not the end of the story. During the summer I brought my daughter’s slab workbench back into my shop to use it for photography for “Campaign Furniture.” I haven’t flattened its benchtop for three years. It has been working fine, but I became curious and picked up a jack plane…
And now this blog entry is too long. I’ll finish it later. I have a date with a creepy janitor.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Workbenches
is for volute. The Oxford dictionary defines a volute as a spiral or twisted formation or object. For the furniture designer, a volute is a graceful way to terminate a line. No doubt inspired by the unfurling organic forms that abound in nature, volutes are employed in endless variety, from the massive scrolls that grace an Ionic capital down to countless tiny detailed carvings. Most of the historical design books include a section on how to generate a volute with a straight edge and compass. At first blush this seems a bit useless for a woodworker as the actual layouts in furniture are too small to layout with a compass, akin to neutering a hummingbird. For that small carved volute on the end of a chair arm, a freehand layout is needed. Recently I was speaking to a group at the Woodworking Workshops of the Shenandoah Valley and we discussed this freehand layout dilemma. I proposed a little experiment. First I had everyone draw a small volute freehand about the size of a silver dollar. Then we whipped out our compasses and walked through the steps to draw a large classical volute complete with all the hieroglyphics and voodoo. Amid all the stumbling and some cursing, I could hear the “ahas” bubble up as the logic clicked at everyone’s fingertips. Finally everyone executed another small freehand sketch, this time using using the knowledge they had just gleaned. Here’s one example of a before and after. With a little practice and this knowledge, anyone can quickly and easily draw a graceful organic volute.
George R. Walker
Nice eye candy from Joel Moskowitz.
It’s been far too long, but here is the second half of Gidvani’s 1946 book Natural Resins, about industrially important natural resins, with a large shellac presence therein.
I am starting to assemble the schedule for where and when I will be teaching in 2014. This list is partial; as of right now (Dec 2013) – I will update it as things get sorted out. Some of these places have their schedules posted, some are still in the works. I’ll also keep it as a separate page here on the blog for later access. Hope to see you out & about…
February 8 & 9, 2014 – Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, Manchester, CT. Carving 17th-century style. http://www.schoolofwoodworking.com/woodworking-classes.html#Speciality_Weekend_Classes Bob Van Dyke runs a great place there. Fun will be had. Watch in horror as Bob loses it when we look at period carvings, “All I see is faces” says Bob. 2 days of learning the tools to use, how to work with them this way & that, and generate different patterns. Layout, execution – folks usually carve about 5 different patterns, including one full-size panel version.
May 11 & 12, 2 days of spoon carving instruction at Lie-Nielsen in Warren, ME. My first-ever attempt at teaching spoon carving. I am really excited to tackle this. If you read the blog, you know I have been carving spoons for many years, and every day for the past few. Axes, knives & more – what fun. They will have the details up on their website soon. http://www.lie-nielsen.com/workshops/
August 4-8, 2014 – The Woodwright’s School, Pittsboro, NC. – This time, Roy has been kind enough (or nuts enough) to agree to us trying to make a small joined chest in a week. A mix of riven oak and sawn boards (maybe pine – we have some details to work out…) – it will be much like the joined chest we did on his show this past season. (flat lid instead of panels though – enough joinery already) Riving, hewing, planing – mortise & tenon, then grooves & panels. If it works, it’ll be something. Well, it’ll be something anyway…
September 22-26 – Heartwood School for the Homebuilding Crafts - http://www.heartwoodschool.com/coursefr.html WOW – I’ll teach right here in Massachusetts. I was a student at Heartwood back in 1984 – and now 30 years later I’ll be teaching the make-a-carved-box class there. Riving oak, planing, carving, assembly – another mix of riven oak & sawn pine. Assembly with hand-wrought nails, wooden pins, and a wooden hinge. I’m really looking forward to returning to Heartwood.
(Will Beemer was able to find a photo that had me in it from 1984 – I’m the skinny longhair sorta just behind/above the fellow in white overalls…head down, arms up.)
There are other things coming up, some museum lecture/demos; one at Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts in NC – in March. Haven’t been there in ages. I’ll also add another class at CVSWW – this one a 3-day class in making a carved frame-and-panel. So some carving, and some joinery for those too smart to tackle 16 or more mortise & tenons! I’ll get that sorted soon, sorry Bob. The 2-day open house at Lie-Nielsen in July – I missed it in 2013, so cleared room in 2014.
I’ll flesh this listing out as it gets more details.
The funny thing is that this adage is also true when it comes to hide glue in the rough.
In order for the future hide glue to keep warm during the cold months they are fitted with stable sheets. These take up an impressive amount of space in the saddle room, and when they are wet they take forever to dry if they are not hung upon something. In an attempt to keep SWMBO happy, I have offered to make an oversized peg board for this task.
Part of my reason for offering to make this project is that I rediscovered how much fun it can be to turn stuff on the lathe. So I wanted to turn some more.
The pegs are mostly made out of white thorn that I have salvaged from our own hedge once I cut it back quite drastically. A few of the pegs are made out of apple. White thorn is almost as easy to turn as apple, and I had a lot pieces lying around of an appropriate thickness.
The length of the pegs from end to the start of the tenon is approximately 6". The tenon is 1" except for the first peg I made, which I made it 11/8". I switched to 1" after testing the two drills and found that my 1" drill was superior.
The first frame for the foot board came together today and I was reminded of times past when I made field gates. What we call five-bar gates here in Britain. These gates are made from Oak and last about 50 years. This bed will not have weather to deal with and so it should last for about 150 years plus.
Cutting the tenons goes quickly enough and I know some of you in Germany have been mocked by your co workers because you want to use hand tools instead of machines. As I said in my response, there will always be co workers that mock you and peer pressure will always be with us. Ignore them and they will go away. Machinists take a different track and in some cases equate this to the whole of life because woodworking is about getting the job done and getting it done yesterday. The journey is of no significance and “never mind smelling roses.”
I enjoyed my day and wouldn’t trade a minute of it for the old tenoners I used to use all day. I used a combination of tools and here I can show you the strategy a little differently and more closely. I saw down the cheeks with my hand saw and that’s straightforward enough. I stay away from the line about half a mil. I cross cut the shoulders using the knifewall first and the use the tenon saw to cut through to the cheek. The surfaces have saw kerf in the cheeks. This is standard and par for the course, but the next steps give me a pristine surface that’s flawlessly smooth. Yesterday I showed you the adaptation of the router with the elongated plate to extend the sole for tenon surfacing. This method relies on the chisels and shoulder plane to trim down the inner corner and then the same use of the smoothing plane to level and smooth the whole cheek.
I lay the shoulder plane on its side to trim the shoulder. I push all the way up to about 1/4″ from the opposite side and stop. If I go all the way through, there will be blowout on the out-cut. Instead, I stop, and then I use the chisel to finish the cut from the face. It usually takes only a couple of strokes to perfect the shoulders using the shoulder plane.
I fit the tenon to the mortise and keep the end square until all shoulders are fitted. This top rail has an angled haunch so that the protruding tenon doesn’t go to the top of the post. The other details will unfold as we go. I don’t want to describe this feature now as one picture soon will reveal the whole.
This is the tenon entering the mortise hole. I Like this picture.
And you thought I was going to make a Wilbur Pan joke. Shame on you. I’m going to unsubscribe to your comments.
If you don’t use sanding sponges while finishing, you might want to give them a try. When I started at Popular Woodworking, we used stearated (lubricated) sandpaper (which is expensive) between coats of film finishes.
Ten years ago, contributor Troy Sexton showed me how he used sanding sponges with great results. And they cost much less money. I still have the first one I bought on the way home from Troy’s. It doesn’t cut as well as it used to, but it’s still got some life left in it.
I’ve also bought a couple new ones (spendthrift, I know), including this #320-grit 3M sponge, which I quite like. It is firm enough to handle flat surfaces. And it is thick enough and pliable enough to handle turnings (except the really tight areas).
Armed with these sponges, I can ignore the oft-repeated advice to work in a dust-proof and CDC microbe-free clean area.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Personal Favorites
Every time I purchase lacquer at a professional paint store, I have the following conversation. Me: “Could you put that gallon in the paint-mixing machine for a couple minutes? That will save me some time.” Employee: “I’ll do it, but you won’t like it. You’ll create bubbles in the finish.” Me: “I’ll risk it.” I’ve … Read more
Before. A Stanley 9 1/2 curca 1889-1898 (type 8a)