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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

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

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Hand Tools

Making My Toolbox – Truing and Sizing My Wood

Paul Sellers - 1 hour 44 min ago

DSC_0023I’ll be making a couple of these toolboxes, one for this blog and the other for the filming. The methods will be about the same although there may be some variance if I see the need for some practical or necessary reason of improvement.

To start with, in this blog I am using up a board of laminated stock I bought from a carboot sale a few months back. £10 for two 2′ x 8′ boards was to good to pass up, knots or no. You may be buying such stock for yours too or gluing up your own boards to create wider stock. This is indeed pretty knotty but it still will work easily and is also fine for a toolbox and especially one I am likely going to paint with milk paint or something like. This box was painted too and stripped at some point before waxing it.

My box is to replicate the existing above and I must thin the boards down from their 13/16” thickness to just over a 9/16”. I’m going to leave it slightly fat so that when I plane up the outside when the box is fully jointed it finishes out at 9/16” dead. One thing for sure about this craftsman, he was conscious of weight and new that when a box, even a smaller one like this, is fully laden with tools the weight becomes critical. 

The cut sizes for the box:

Front and back  9/16″ x 12 3/4″ x 32 3/4″ long

Ends 9/16″ x 12 3/4″ x 13 11/16″ long


First I trued up one face and took out the distortions of twist and cup until flat. A #4 smoother works best for this. I marked the face with the facemark.


For planing the edge true I used a jack plane, but the smoothing plane would have worked for this just fine.


I checked for squareness as I went.DSC_0045

Once the face and edge were trued and squared I used the panel gauge to mark the width and then ripped down the line leaving it full enough to plane to dead width.


I planed the overall width and checked for exactness.


Using the marking gauge set to 9/16” I scored my lines onto the ends and edges.

DSC_0078 DSC_0107

I used my scrub #4 to remove the bulk of the thickness planing directly across and tangentially to the run of the grain. The final strokes I finished with a #4 smoother.

DSC_0097 DSC_0098

I cross cut the board to length using the knifewall  to get close to exactness and then trued up the surface with a #4 smoother.


I usually put the paired boards together for this, especially on thinner stock as this increases the registration surface to reference the plane to.


Now that the boards are planed to thickness, trued parallel and squared I am ready for laying out the dovetails.

The post Making My Toolbox – Truing and Sizing My Wood appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Tomato Harvest

TW Design Shop - 2 hours 57 min ago
In the last few weeks I've been busy picking tomatoes, attending farm festivals, and working on ferments for a blog Sarah and I have started working on called Culture-Shock. It's been a very busy time.

Here is just a small quantity of the tomatoes we've pulled out of the garden. These are mostly Amana Orange which is a lovely bright orange, sweet, low acid tomato. We have made paste, soup, and pureed some up into fermented hot sauce. As well as given many away for friends and family. 
Categories: Hand Tools

Treasure Box Series II Progress

WPatrickEdwards - 4 hours 6 min ago
Treasure Box Series II Nearly Complete

The day Kristen and I left to fly to Winston Salem, Patrice finished cutting out the ebony background packet and was ready to start putting it together.

This Treasure Box is twice as difficult as the first series Treasure Box, and it includes subtle complexities that makes it even more challenging.   Patrice and I have worked together on this project for an entire year to get it to this point, and we hope to complete the project, with four identical boxes by the end of this year.  Or sooner, if possible...

After the success in selling all four of the first series, we were encouraged to start working on the next series.  I selected the original box from a web search and began working on the box construction.  You can search back in this blog to see how long ago it was that I was cutting the full blind dovetails for the corners.

We decided to do the interior in bloodwood veneer and we found a nice large and colorful bloodwood board in Oregon to cut down for the solid partitions to match.  The design includes three birds, each different.  Two are sitting in trees inside the box itself.   One is on the top outside center, surrounded by bone inlay.

Patrice refined the overall design using illustrator, which produces a line composed of very small dots.  It is essential to use a dotted line to cut the pieces properly.  That is because we are using the Classic Method to produce these boxes, and, if you have been following this blog, you realize we are "cheating."  What I mean by this is that the original box, made in the late 17th century, was made using the Painting in Wood process.  With this process, you only are able to generate one copy of the design at a time.  In order to made these boxes "affordable" we are using the Classic Method, which the French perfected in the mid 18th century, and with that process we can make multiple copies all identical.

They look like Painting in Wood, but the fit is perfect since the saw kerf is eliminated, so an expert would be able to determine that they are not "of the period."

To cut out the background for the top, Patrice had to first cut out the elliptical bone cavity around the center bird.  Then he had to take apart the package and install the bone strips in each background.  Since the four backgrounds then had to be put back into a packet absolutely perfectly, with a new design placed on the front of the packet, there had to be some way to keep the alignment of each layer without any error.  I suggested using pins which would be placed in holes that were first drilled through the first packet.  Then Patrice was able to keep the second design in the right position by locating these pins.  It worked perfectly.  Absolutely zero error.

So, after cutting the packet for over three days, full time, he was ready to start putting the pieces together.  We flew to Winston Salem on a Wednesday.  On Thursday night we were looking for a place to eat and walked into a crab shack around the corner from the hotel.  As we looked at the menu, we were dismayed to find everything was fried.  When the waiter arrived and asked us what we wanted, we said "anything organic and anything not fried."  He kindly said, "You are in the wrong place.  You need to go down Liberty Street on the other side of the interstate and eat at Willows."

Boy, was he right!  We ended up eating there four nights in a row and enjoyed every bite.  For example, here is the "Grilled vegetable Napoleon -layered puff pastry, with grilled asparagus, grilled portabella mushrooms, grilled artichokes and fontina cheese, finished with roasted red peppers."  I had it twice!

Excellent Food Properly Presented
So, as Kristen and I sat and enjoyed our delightful dinner together on Thursday night, I received the first photo of the marquetry that Patrice had just put together.  Kristen actually cried when she saw it and I stopped breathing for a few moments.  It was just too beautiful!  I know how the masters in the 17th century felt when they looked at their work.  One part of the brain (the technical side) focuses on the slight defects that are always present.  The other part of the brain (the artistic side) just smiles, knowing the satisfaction of a job well done.

To quickly review how we got to this point, I will briefly summarize the process we used.  After Patrice had completed the drawing, I laid out 32 different packets of sawn veneers and coded each part of the design with the appropriate wood.  The top has nearly a thousand separate pieces, and each had to have a color, keeping in mind the overall goal of making it look authentic.  I then glued each piece of the paper to the packets and fed them to Patrice, who was kept busy cutting 4 layers of each element over nearly a month of work.

He is responsible for placing each piece in hot sand to create the artistic shadow, as I no longer have the patience to do that part of the work.  It is an essential part of the process, but very tedious.  Patrice has the eye and understands exactly how the final result will look.  He did a great job.

At this point all the sides for the four boxes are assembled and all the tops are nearly ready.  The inside marquetry is done and glued down.  There is one last issue to resolve: green bone.

If you look closely at the marquetry you will see that a lot of the places where leaves should be are empty.  These spots will be filled with green bone leaves.  Also, in these places you can see small strips of ebony crossing the empty space.  These strips are "bridges" which are a feature of the Classic Method.  By leaving "bridges" in the design, the various elements of the background can remain exactly in the proper place until the worker is ready to install the proper element.  The worker just cuts out the bridge and installs the leaf, in this case.  We will do that as soon as we complete the process of dying the white bone a proper green.  Green bone elements were a very popular feature in late 17th century work.

I am so proud of this recent work that I want to show you some closeups, even though the work is not completely done.  Note you are looking at the back side of the marquetry, which is being assembled with hot glue on an assembly board which is covered in stretched Kraft paper.  When all the parts are in place, any gaps which remain will be filled with mastic.  Then we can remove the panels and finally glue them in place on the outside of our boxes.

We are very fortunate that three of these boxes have been sold and paid for.  That means that there is only one Treasure Box Series II which remains available.  It is our hope that we will find a patron who is able to purchase the last box and perhaps donate it to a museum.  We believe that this work is worthy of being in a museum where it can be enjoyed by the general public.  I think it is very important in this modern disposable world that the public has the chance to view objects which will stand the test of time.  This work is equal to that produced centuries ago, as we have been very faithful to the craft.
Categories: Hand Tools

Treasure Box Series II Progress

Antique Refinishers, Inc. - 4 hours 6 min ago
Treasure Box Series II Progress
Treasure Box Series II Nearly Complete

The day Kristen and I left to fly to Winston Salem, Patrice finished cutting out the ebony background packet and was ready to start putting it together.
This Treasure Box is twice as difficult as the first series Treasure Box, and it includes subtle complexities that makes it even more challenging.  ...
Categories: Hand Tools

a box distraction

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - 4 hours 52 min ago









It begins with this little box I made. Had been practicing chip carving in butternut & pine. Turned it into a box that right now holds small sharpening stuff. Nailed construction. 

butternut top

That led to this one. Not very practical for holding carving tools; which is what it’s doing right now. they slide around when you open the drawer. It will be re-assigned soon.

pine closed pine partly open pine fully open pine drawer detial pine lid


Then, two things happened. No, three. I finally met Winston James Burchill, who has been kind enough to send me some of his chip carvings – and I saw these two boxes; the Pennsylvania one in a book, the Swedish one on the web. 

chip carving

chip carving by Winston James Burchill



The minute I saw this box in the book Paint, Patterns & People I knew I would make some. It’s just taking me a while to get to it. http://villagecarpenter.blogspot.com/2011/03/paint-pattern-people-book-review.html


PA box

painted box, Pennsylvania; early 19th century

This Swedish one is slightly different; its removable end board is at the same end the lid slides out from. Makes construction  a little easier, I think. 



pained box, Sweden, 1806

Now, I have one underway that will be chipcarved instead of painted. But I am going to make more; and will paint one too. Because I have never seen one in the flesh, I am making up the construction. I haven’t made the drawer yet. 

poplar w dts

poplar open

poplar end off

poplar workings

Gotta run out to Heartwood & teach the oak boxes. I still love them, too. Don’t worry.



Miniature Vise Grips

Hamler Tools - 5 hours 33 min ago

Here   for more pictures
Categories: Hand Tools

Plate 11 Bench Co. at Woodworking in America 2014

Matt's Basement Workshop - 7 hours 49 min ago

This year at Woodworking in America I had a chance to visit with Mark Hicks of Plate 11 Bench Co.. We talked before at a Lie-Nielsen Tool Event at Jeff Miller’s in Chicago so it was great to see him again.

Roubo workbench kit

Image courtesy of Plate 11 Bench Co.

As part of my adventure with the folks at Highland Woodworking, we shot some footage of Mark talking about the genesis of the Plate 11 Bench Co. and what makes his workbenches a great option for woodworkers.

Enjoy the video and be sure to stop by the Highland Woodworking blog for pictures of the Plate 11 Bench Co’s split-top Roubo bench also available.

Help support the show – please visit our advertisers

Categories: Hand Tools

new level

Old Ladies - Pedder's blog - 9 hours 34 min ago
Daddy hasn't just a saw problem. There is a level problem, too.

Categories: Hand Tools


Two Lawyers Toolworks - 9 hours 36 min ago
This is my latest try in saw making, with just a little help from Klaus. Klaus drilled the holes for the screws and suceeded in a little trouble shooting. But everything else happened in my downstairs. That feels happy and sad at the same time. Happy, because there is hope for future saws from TLT and Sad, because enjoy the coworking with Klaus that much.
Das ist mein aktueller Versuch im Sägenmachen mit nur noch kleinem Beitrag von Klaus. Klaus hat die Löcher gebohrt und einen Patzer von mir repariert. Aber alles andere ist in meiner Werkstatt passiert. Das ist ein bisschen fröhlich und ein bisschen traurig zur gleichen Zeit.

Categories: Hand Tools

Olav's Chair - Finished!

Toolerable - 11 hours 24 min ago
There was a nice note in my inbox from Olav today along with a couple pictures:

      Hej Brian!
           Mission accomplished, Sir.
               This piece of gargantuaesque artwork got a coat of blended linseed oil and tung oil.
                      Hoping the best for you and your chair.
                             The big CHairmaker shall be with you.
                                  With regards


I think his chair turned out spectacular.  He based this one off of this photo I posted on my blog a while back, a chair that was on an antique dealer's page:
Photo courtesy Paul Dunn Antiques.
This was my favorite chair out of all of the historical examples I posted on an earlier blog.  I was really hoping someone would make it, and it is the one Olav picked.  He really did a nice job on this reproduction, down to the shape of the seat.  He also chose to leave the seat unsaddled, just like the original.

By the way, Olav was really taken with John Brown's book.  He mentioned to me in it that he loved John Brown's phrase, "The Great Chairmaker in the sky."
Categories: Hand Tools

Dozens of 19th Century Craftsmen at Work...

L'ébénisterie Créole - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 9:30pm
19th Annual Harvest Days at the LSU Rural Life Museum
September 27-28, 2014

In less than a week the LSU Rural Life Museum will hold the 19th annual Harvest Days Festival in Baton Rouge, LA. The Festival consist of dozens of 18th & 19th Century Craftsmen that will be busily working in their respective trades of Black Smithing, Timber Felling and Hewing, Pit Sawing, Timber Framing and Log Home Building, Traditional Pirougue Building, Traditional Bow and Arrow Making, Soap Making, Candle Making, Open Hearth Cooking, Cane Crushing and Syrup Making, Old Time Children's Games, as well as several other trades, crafts and pastimes.

We all know the grandeur portrayed in movies such as Gone With the Wind but those were only a small faction of the population of the charming South - most lived much simpler lives. The LSU Rural Life Museum is dedicated to those early settlers, slaves, farmers, tradesmen and plain country folk of old Louisiana.

All of the demonstrators are experts in their field and are looking forward to sharing history, telling you stories of what the past was like for your ancestors and answering any questions you may have.

The Rural Life Museum is home to the largest existing collection of Vernacular Louisiana Structures, an impressive display of Lower Delta French Furnishings, the most extensive collection of Material Culture items from 18th & 19th Century Rural Louisiana and was placed in the Top 10 Outdoor Museums in the World by the British Museum.

Visiting the Rural Life Museum truly is a step back in time and on no week-end more so than this one.

I, of course, will be demonstrating Lumbering, Hewing, Pit Sawing, Log Cabbin Building, and Shingle Making. I will also be speaking at length about 18th Century immigration to Louisiana particularly to the German Coast.

John Blokker, an accomplished Timber Framer and Historic Preservationist, will be demonstrating Timber Frame Building and will be constructing large Norman Trusses just as they were historically. He will surely speak, with his own unique flair, on whatever related topics come to mind. I have it on good authority he will also be showing a bit of his collection of early Gulf Coast red bricks that were hand made from the banks of the Mississippi and each with their own special characteristics.

Ray McCon, an experienced traditional woodworker and bow builder, will be there with his travelling shave horse and various hand tools to wow you all with his boyer (bow building) skills and talk about the history of bow building and it's uses by various cultures.

As noted above there are many many craftsmen all worthy of note but I think you get the idea.

Come on down and visit! The museum can comfortably handle a couple thousand visitors at any given time and we will see 5-7 thousand guests over the week-end. If you prefer to avoid crowds I suggest coming early Saturday morning or late Sunday Afternoon. We will be open from 8am to 5pm both Sat & Sun.

Sept 27th & 28th, 2014
8:00 am to 5:00 pm each day

Regular Museum admission charged.

LSU Rural Life Museum
4560 Essen Ln.
Baton Rouge, LA
(225) 765-2437

© Jean Becnel, 2014. 
The material found herein is the sole intellectual property of it's author(s). 
Reproduction of this information is strictly forbidden without the written permission of it's author(s)

Categories: Hand Tools

A Place for Nothing and Nothing in its Place

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 8:24pm


The two most influential people in my life as a woodworker have been Charles H. Hayward, the finest woodworking writer of the 20th century, and Carl Bilderback, a union carpenter and tool collector in La Porte, Ind.

I count on Hayward to guide me in the shop. I count on Carl to tell me the truth about my writing, my woodworking and life in general.

CarlI met Carl when he phoned me at Popular Woodworking to tell me that a short article I’d written about a block plane was seriously flawed.

“What you wrote was right,” he said. “But you don’t know that you’re right or why you are right.”

Carl’s startling and entirely correct observation (it’s difficult to explain, but it involves Leonard Bailey and patents), led to a friendship that is more important to me than any tool I own or anything I’ve built or written.

Even more important than Carl’s ability to tell me the truth has been that he is – hands down – the most generous person I’ve ever met. I’ve watched Carl give away dozens of tools to young woodworkers to start them in the craft.

When he showed up at the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event in Cincinnati this spring, I hugged him, and the first or second thing he said to me was: “I have a miter box. Who should I give it to?”

But he does this without seeming like some saint. Ask him about Oprah Winfrey and screws, and you’ll get an off-color story that will make you spit your drink through your nose.

If you’ve ever met Carl – or if you haven’t had the pleasure – I encourage you to watch this hour-long video where Slav Jelesijevich and Carl paw through his basement shop and shoot the crap about tools and woodworking.

You’ll get to see some tools that will amaze (four panther-head saws?) and get a taste of Carl’s humor, deep knowledge of tools and loyalty to the Mid-West Tool Collectors Association. (And by the way, if you aren’t a member, fix that. As an anarchist, I can say it is one of the few organizations I’m proud to be a member of.)

Most of all, hold onto the Carls in your life. They won’t be around forever, and we all could use a regular dose of truth and generosity with no chaser.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Personal Favorites
Categories: Hand Tools

Side table Glue Up

orepass: Woodworking to Pass the Time - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 3:43pm

A beautiful morning to spend a couple of hours dovetailing the upper rails to the legs of the table. Then I began the careful process of erasing all of the pencil marks, chamfering the bottoms of the legs so they don’t splinter and a quick sanding.


Glue up went without a hitch until I tried to insert one of the lower rails upside down. Fortunately the mistake was obvious and quickly rectified. With the clamps In place there was little do do except begin gluing up boards for the top.

Not sure how to finish but I am considering a natural look without stain to match the coffee table a made last year.

Categories: Hand Tools

Exciting WIA Week in Winston Salem

Antique Refinishers, Inc. - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 11:14am

Exciting WIA Week in Winston Salem

Fortunately, I had decided to arrive several days in advance of the WIA conference and stay a few days after, so Kristen and I were able to spend some quality time in old Winston Salem.  In fact, the last time I visited Winston Salem and MESDA was in 1978, during one of my several trips to visit East coast museums and historic settlements....
Categories: Hand Tools

Exciting WIA Week in Winston Salem

WPatrickEdwards - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 11:14am

Fortunately, I had decided to arrive several days in advance of the WIA conference and stay a few days after, so Kristen and I were able to spend some quality time in old Winston Salem.  In fact, the last time I visited Winston Salem and MESDA was in 1978, during one of my several trips to visit East coast museums and historic settlements.  I am sorry it took so long for me to return.

The weather was great, in fact, with only a slight spot of rain and moderate heat.  While I was away, on the other hand, San Diego had a heat wave, with several days above 100 degrees.  Poor Patrice had to work at the bench, building the top of our Treasure Box (Series 2) while I got to wander around from place to place, thinking perhaps I should have packed a sweater.

Last year, during this time, I was teaching at Marc Adams school, and only had a short time late on Saturday to get away.  I broke several speed limits driving from the school to Cincinnati to see the WIA event.  As it turned out, I got there about 30 minutes before it closed, with just enough time to get my signed copies of Roubo from Chris.  As it turned out, I also had to sign a few copies, since I wrote the Forward.  The best part was that I got to have a nice dinner with Roy later that evening.

This year, I was a speaker, and presented two lectures to a rather enthusiastic and supportive audience.  The first was a talk on "Historic Marquetry Procedures,"and went through basically 500 years of the traditional methods used to create this art form.  The second was "Building and Using a Chevalet."  At the start of this lecture, I mentioned that I have been working for nearly 20 years to introduce this unique tool to woodworkers in North America.  Then I foolishly asked if anyone in the audience knew about this tool.  When nobody raised their hand, a person in the back shouted, "You haven't been very successful!"  As they always say in law school, "Never ask a question you don't know the answer to."

I shared the lecture room with Roy Underhill, which is always an experience.  As I was setting up my talk, he was putting his things away.  They had scheduled a half hour break between speakers.  Just about the time I was ready to start, Roy had the brilliant idea to "introduce" me. You probably already know he can be theatrical, to say the least.

He said the first time we met was at the Salton Sea, and there was a stampede of brine shrimp.  Tim Webster was sitting in the audience, and had the quick thinking to pull out his camera and video it, posting it on YouTube soon after.  I was speechless and had to hold my tongue, while he went on and on, creating a story that was more and more amazing.  My mike was turned up to the max and when I did comment it was way too loud.  Near the end I asked him to turn down the mike, and he crawled under the screen to adjust the volume.  I thought I had a quick wit, but there is no way I can keep up with Roy when he is "on."

Here is the video: Underhill introducing Edwards

While I was having fun in the lecture hall, Kristen was in the Trade Show, where we had a booth for both the ASFM school and OBG.  She is a master of working these shows, and I am very grateful for her talent, as I usually lose my voice and patience trying to compete with the noise.

Of course, Roy had to stop by and pick up some glue...

At the end of the show, they gave away a rather expensive band saw.  I wondered if it would fit in the overhead compartment on the plane, but fortunately I was not in the contest to win it.  However, they asked all the speakers at the show to sign it.  I asked, rather incredulously, if they really want me to sign a power tool?  They insisted, so I did.  You can see my name, with the comment added "Use hand tools."

After the show Kristen and I went to MESDA where we had a nice private tour with Daniel Ackerman.  We also enjoyed a private home tour by Tom Sears, both of which are members of SAPFM.  We had dinner with Jerome Bias, who is the joiner at Old Salem, and then visited him at work, where he demonstrated his Roubo veneer saw.

Across the hall Glen Huey was using the foot power lathe to make some turnings.

All of this activity was in the Brothers House, and it was full of woodworkers from the show, having a great time sharing stories.

I made a promise to myself not to wait another 30 years before returning to Winston Salem.
Categories: Hand Tools

English Field Gates—Finished

Benchcrafted - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 11:08am

Here's the story behind the two English field gates we built over the last couple weeks.

Traditionally these gates were used to contain livestock, but they are also quite popular nowadays for containing human livestock and livestock of the horseless (carriage) variety. We're using them to hopefully prevent deer from wandering into a garden.

I first took a serious interest in these types of gates when I stumbled on an article by Paul Sellers in an issue of Woodwork magazine (#116.) The aesthetically pleasing form of the gate, which stems from its engineering caught my eye immediately. I quickly started looking for an opportunity the build one.

I did a fair amount of research while designing the two gates, here's some of the more interesting aspects of what I discovered.

- The gates are traditionally made from air dried oak.
- The harr stile (hinge stile) was usually made from a piece with a natural bend (crook) for the most strength.
- Only the harr stile and the top rail are made from massive timbers. The rest of the gate is made of lighter, thinner stock.
- The top rail tapers in both in width and thickness to reduce weight at the latch stile.
- The joinery is robust: through wedged tenons and drawbored mortise and tenon.
- The hardware is blacksmith made

The gate is superbly engineered to prevent sag. The harr stile, top rail, and angled brace form the rigid structure, and the rest "hangs" from this structure. The top rail diminishes is both thickness and width from hinge to latch to reduce the weight at the area it can do the most damage. The drawbored joints keep everything immobile. I'm a big believer in super rigid construction. Once a joint starts to get even a little loose, there's little keeping it from getting worse.

In addition to the article in Woodwork, we also referred extensively to Alan and Gill Bridgewaters's Building Doors and Gates (Stackpole Books) This book provides loads of design and engineering advice, as well as construction techniques for building these traditional gates (plus many more styles). It even provides info for setting the posts the traditional English way so they will last longer than you and likely your children. It's a fantastic book with solid info on classic techniques. Not your typical weekend warrior "Time-Life" stuff. You can preview the book via Google Books, but if you plan to build a door or gate sometime, buy the book.

So with all that tradition in mind, here's what we did differently.

We used western red cedar instead of oak. We have a small sawmill that will cut oak to order, but we couldn't wait for the wood to get even partially dry. We needed the gates before winter. So we spent a morning at (get ready) Menards and picked through their entire stock of 6x6 western red cedar. We were able to get all the thick stock for the gates (and then some) out of the 6x6 material. All but one stick was dry. I'm guessing they don't move a lot of this stuff, I bet its been sitting there for some time. We resawed the 6x6s to get the final 3"x5" pieces for the hinge stiles and top rail. The 1"x3" rails and angled braces came out of 2x6 material that we ripped and planed down. These came from 16' boards that were 90% clear and straight. When selecting dimensional lumber I always buy the longest, widest boards I can, they are in every instance better quality than the shorter stuff. The grain on some of the stock was so excellent I was tempted to resaw it into soundboards. The dark color is supposedly more rot resistant. All but one board was deeply red. And yes, we did save big money at Menards, paying just over $2 a board foot for the cedar.

We only tapered the top rail in its height. We wanted to keep the latch stile full thickness to speed and simplify construction. I wasn't too worried about the loss in weight savings with the lightweight cedar.

We cut the top of our harr stile off and glued it to the side of the stile to get the crook. We made sure to position the lag screws in the main part of the stile and the not the added portion.

We did through wedged tenons to join the top rail and latch stile. Everywhere else we cut blind drawbored mortise and tenons with straight-grain white oak pegs.

Both gates were assembled with West System epoxy, and we also sealed the end grain at the bottoms of the stiles with the same so they didn't wick up moisture from the snow or rain. West System is the only epoxy we use around here. We like to buy the quart can of resin, pair that with a pint of hardener (we use fast most the time) and finally the pump set, which meters out exactly the correct amount of resin and hardener everytime. It seems expensive, and you do loose some epoxy if all you do are small jobs, but we've found that the added cost usually evens out if you consider the higher cost of buying syringes, which eventually go bad anyway. The West System last for years, and its top quality. It's the stuff boat builders use after all.

We tried to find the best hardware we could find without going broke. We sourced this from Snug Cottage Hardware. They have a great selection specifically designed for heavy gates like this, as well as free plans to build a number of different gate styles. And almost everything is available hot dipped galvanized and black powder coated (that's what we bought.) We've bought the black painted garbage from the big box stores before. It rusts. That's not a problem if you like that look, but we wanted these to stay black and hold up. The carriage bolts that tie all the 1x3's are stainless. We spray painted them black to match the stuff from Snug Cottage. It would have been ideal to connect the hinges via through bolts, but it was impossible with the attachment at the corner of the buildings. We opted for exterior Spax lags, also spray painted black to match. We oriented the hinges so the gates hang on the lags in a shear arrangement, there is only weight on the threads when the gate is open. Overall span of both gates is 122".

The gates are finished with one coat of Sikkens Cetol SRD in natural color. We did a fair amount of research on this. The #1 choice for exterior finish is Epiphanes varnish. We have a friend who did his deck chairs with it several years ago and they still look great. The product is $45 a quart, and requires seven (!) coats. We ruled that out straightway. The Sikkens Cetol 1 and 23 is a two-step finish that is supposed to be extremely UV resistant. It's $85 a gallon, and you must buy a gallon of each. That was also out of our price range. The Cetol SRD gets great reviews, and is $45 a gallon. We were tempted to simply leave the gates unfinished, and they may eventually end up that way, but for $45 we figured we'd give the SRD a shot. It only requires one coat. Needless to say, we were pretty thrilled with how the gates turned out with the finish applied.

Next on the docket, Tony Konovaloff's trestle table from FWW #106. I've wanted to build this piece since the first time I laid eyes on it when I was 20 years old. We may have enough cedar left over to make it.

We shot some video during part of the build. No music, and little editing in this one. We wanted to show the natural pace of work more than anything, and also how sweet the new Glide is for holding big stuff. It's so great to be able to hold massive timbers with only a little flick of the wrist.

Categories: Hand Tools

A Cover Comes Together: ‘Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker’

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 8:53am


We’re in the homestretch with “Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker! A Novel with Measured Drawings.” Whew!

Today, I’m finishing the final full text edit and talking with the designer, Linda Watts, about the layout of the interior images and measured drawings (Linda, if you’re reading this, call me).

But perhaps most exciting is that I now know what Calvin and Verdie look like…because we’re nearing the finish line on the cover art. The cover I shared a few months ago? We couldn’t get the rights to manipulate the 1930s image – so we started over with a clean slate.

In hindsight, I’m glad; that gave us the freedom to present Calvin exactly as he appeared in Roy’s head (or at least the artist’s interpretation of how Calvin appeared in Roy’s head), and add other elements from the book to truly represent the story. (After all, despite the hoary saying, people often judge a book by its cover – so why not make it as perfect as possible?!)

We’ve been working with Jode Thompson, an illustrator based in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, whose other clients include Tylenol, Coca-Cola and Temptations Cat Treats (three things I buy regularly – how could I resist?).

While searching for an artist, I was looking for someone who could produce a 1930s noir detective novel look (think dark pin-up) with just enough of a graphic element to make it look 21st century. Jode’s work fit the bill in spades. And she nailed the treatment from the get-go, despite my crazy design brief:

So there’s this 1930s government employee who’s the supervisor of a group of women, all of whom are WWI veterans who are in some way disfigured by the war – and they’re all stronger than Calvin. They study manure. And there’s this femme fatal of sorts, Kathryn Dale Harper, with whom Calvin is kinda obsessed. She’s a radio star, and helps Calvin start his own radio show about woodworking. Oh – and Washington, D.C., is a character of sorts, as is Colonial Williamsburg. And Calvin has a shop in the clock tower of the office building where he works. It’s all sort of noir mixed with slapstick, and there’s a motorcycle. And it’s very funny. Calvin looks like Jon Cusack, Kathryn Dale Harper looks like Barbara Stanwyck and Verdie looks like Susan Sarandon (but with a prosthetic leg).

OK – it was more coherent than that.

Anyway, I thought you might like to see the short progression toward the final cover art. At the top of this post is the initial sketch.

After deciding on the first sketch, we wanted something that said “woodworking” and asked Jode to add the Washington Monument so the location was visually clear. So I asked her to add a dovetail saw in Calvin’s hand. Naturally, Jode chose a Veritas saw (she’s Canadian, after all). Nice saw … but not for the 1930s. And anyway, a dovetail saw proved too small. (Also, while I like the boots and helmet on Verdie, it was decided by the two parties involved who notice these sorts of things that high heels would be sexier.)


So Jode sent back a revision with a panel saw modeled after an early Disston model, heels and a title (we’re still mulling over the lettering style, and where to put Roy’s name).


Damn near perfect. At this point, Jode is working on the clothing for both Verdie and Calvin (to make it look a little more 1930s) and I’ll be talking with her soon about the lettering. In the meantime, she added a splash of color.


So in a few more days, we should have the cover illustration completed, the interior layout done, back cover copy written and the whole thing ready for final review. Then it’s off to the printer (casebound, smyth-sewn binding, acid-free paper, printed in the U.S.A., etc. etc.).

It should be WILL be in the Lost Art Press store before Thanksgiving (United States Thanksgiving, not Canadian Thanksgiving – sorry Jode).

— Megan Fitzpatrick

Filed under: Books in the Works, Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!
Categories: Hand Tools

Pégas Blades, Good Books, Other Stuff

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 7:25am


For those of you who missed my blog entries on Pégas blades (here), the bad news is that Tools for Working Wood is temporarily sold out of these outstanding, durable and less-expensive Swiss-made coping-saw blades.

The good news is that Knew Concepts now has 60 packages of the 18-point skip-tooth blades, which they are selling for only $5 per dozen. Go here. I cannot say enough good things about these blades.

Also, ShopWoodworking.com now has the four-volume set of “The Practical Woodworker” in the store in paperback. The set is $65 and will ship in late October or early November. If you missed out on the hardback set, which was excellent, this is your chance to add these books to your library.

“The Practical Woodworker” is a collection of writings from early 20th-century authors on handwork. Just about every aspect of the craft is covered in the four books. Need to build a crate? A chicken coop? Learn French polish? It’s all in there. It’s one of the first places I consult when I’m looking for a technique or plan.

Oh, and the other stuff? “l’Art du menuisier: The Book of Plates” goes to the printer on Monday. And Roy Underhill’s “Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!” is about a week away from the printer. Megan Fitzpatrick, the editor of that book, will post an update on the cover this weekend (right Megan?).

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Calvin Cobb: Radio Woodworker!, Saws, To Make as Perfectly as Possible, Roubo Translation
Categories: Hand Tools

A Dutch Funeral Chair

The Unplugged Woodshop - Tom Fidgen - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 4:26am
  I received a letter from a reader in The Netherlands yesterday who wanted to remain anonymous, but shared this quick letter and a couple of pictures of a funeral chair he recently completed. He built this chair following the plans from my last book,...
Categories: Hand Tools

Guest Column: A Hand Plane from the 17th Century

The Indian DIY & Woodworker - Sat, 09/20/2014 - 3:50am
Model of the Vasa
I went to Stockholm for some work, and while there I had the chance to go to the Vasa Museum. Herein lies the story, partly about Vasa, and partly about hand tools. Ok more about Vasa and a little about hand tools.

Vasa was a largest wooden war ship built in Stockholm in 1628. It was built at the behest of king Gustav II Adolf, who not only happy having a large ship, but wanted the tallest ship as well. The story goes that on August 10th 1628 all the people from Stockholm were given a holiday to see this ship being launched and sail from the shipyard to the main Stockholm harbor.

Needless to say everything went off well at the beginning, until slight wind caught the sails as it left the shipyard and the ship listed to port. The sailors were quick to release the sails, and the ship righted itself. As it progressed further into the channel, the sails caught an even bigger gust. Not by much, but little bit bigger. The ship listed to port again and, because all the gun ports were open, started to take in water. And a lot of it. This further accentuated the list, and more water came in. It is said that within a few minutes the ship sank about 50 meters from the coast. Some 30 odd people died.

And it remained there for over 300 years until salvaged, almost intact in 1961.

This part of the nautical history, though appealing, was not interesting. What happened next was that an inquiry was held, under the chairmanship of the king's cousin, to determine how this could have happened. As usual the contractors blamed the tendering process, the sailors blamed the quality of material and the high command blamed the contractors, the sailors, the tendering process and the quality of materials. Eventually nobody was brought to book for this very visible, very public, and very international catastrophe. Does this remind anyone of a handy political party today that has done a similar whitewash on a very visible, very public and very international debacle?

OK enough of that. Amongst the wreckage they found people's skeletons, some with their clothes still on. They also found large number of tools from carpenters, shipwrights, and other trades. Some of these were found almost intact. The picture on the side is an example of one such tool. It's a smoothing plane. It's a beautiful little tool, little more than about 6 to 9 inches. It was made of a dark wood, looked heavy, and was wonderfully shaped.

Vasa's Wooden Plane
What was evident was the obvious attention and pride that somebody took to make this tool. Notice the ornamental carving in the front, and the curved bevel handle in the rear to make it easy to hold this tool. Imagine also that on that huge ship there was somebody whose job it was to smoothen all the woodwork. I find this very compelling.

By Umaji Chowgule
20 September 2014
Categories: Hand Tools


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