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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

This "aggregator" collects all of the woodworking blogs I read every day - or try to anyway!  Enjoy!

Thank you to everyone who contributed towards Walt Quadrato's battle against cancer!  Their fundraising goal was met.  Our prayers are with you, Walt!  

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Hand Tools

Your Assignment Today…

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - 5 hours 56 min ago


The lessons inside “By Hand & Eye” cannot be learned by reading alone, any more than you can learn to cut dovetails from a book.

You must put pencil to paper so the book’s ideas about proportion will become physical things on the page before you. Then the ideas will be in your fingers – not just your mind. When I was editing “By Hand & Eye,” I had to perform these exercises to gain entrance into the heads of Jim Tolpin, George Walker and the pre-Industrial artisans. (Many of the exercises were done at a bar in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport, which generated a lot of odd looks from fellow passengers.)

It was well-worth doing and has absolutely made me a better designer.

This week we had a reader who was struggling with the first drawing exercise in the book called “Making a Visual Scale.” In that exercise, you are asked to make seven rectangles using a compass, straightedge and pencil. Tolpin and Walker are purposely a little obtuse about the process to make the rectangles because it’s important that you make a small mental leap yourself.

To help the reader, George offered a small nudge on his blog yesterday in this entry. If you have been struggling with this exercise (or skipped it – naughty, naughty), here’s the chance to wake up your inner eye this Saturday. Give it a cup of coffee.

For those of you who don’t own the book, here are the four pages from the book in pdf format so you can try it yourself.


If you like this sort of thing, you are going to be thrilled by an upcoming and inexpensive workbook from Tolpin and Walker. The workbook answers this question: Can you learn design from a cartoon dog? More details to come.

— Christopher Schwarz

P.S. “By Hand & Eye” is back in stock in the Lost Art Press store after we sold out of the last printing.

Filed under: By Hand & Eye, Downloads
Categories: Hand Tools

How to Make a Mirror Image of a Design

Mary May, Woodcarver - 6 hours 35 min ago

Mary May - Woodcarver

Some may accuse me of being a woodcarving purist in many ways. However, I am also practical in that when I have to get a job done, I take advantage of the modern technologies available to make my life a little easier. Let’s say, for example, that I have finished carving a complicated acanthus leaf design and I want to make an exact duplicate – only in reverse.

Here’s how –

Step 1: Take a photo of your carving

Step 2: Put your photo file into your computer photo editor

Step 3: Make a reverse or mirror image

Step 4: Print out the reversed photo image –

Step 5: Take this to your shop so you can view in the correct position. This way you don’t have to turn your brain inside and try to figure out the details in reverse. Trust me, it’s NOT easy.

This is a reversed photo image.

This is a reversed photo image

This is the original.

This is the original image















One way to transfer your design in reverse is to make a plastic or cardboard template of half the design and turn it over to produce the other half. This works for repetitive and symmetrical designs that are used more for tracing around the outside edges of designs.


You can also use a thin type of paper (tracing paper or velum) with a design drawn on it. Turn the paper over and you should be able to see the design through the paper in reverse. You can then trace it onto your wood with carbon paper or transfer paper.

Can’t think of anything else at the moment. Just trying to help so you don’t hurt your brain!

If you have any other ideas of working with reverse images, please share!

Rosewood in April

  I’m happy to say I’ll be back at Rosewood Studio, in Perth, Ontario from April 27th to May 2nd 2015. It Starts with a Box~ 6 days to create your masterpiece using only hand tools. Here are some details: Starting with dimensioned stock, students...
Categories: Hand Tools

Vise jaw liner

The jaws of the traditional tail vise on my old Ulmia workbench seem to the eye to meet accurately but there must be a minute misalignment because in use the grab on the work piece was slightly inconsistent across the full area of the bare jaw surfaces. Paring or scraping tiny corrections on the end […]
Categories: Hand Tools

Workbench and assembly bench covers

Heartwood: Woodworking by Rob Porcaro - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 10:59pm
As the parts of a project approach completion, dings and scrapes are increasingly interrupting and protection becomes a greater issue. For relaxed efficiency it sometimes helps to cover the workbench or assembly bench with cushiony material during glue ups or other work toward the end of a project. Over the years, I’ve tried various materials […]
Categories: Hand Tools

Making a Panel Saw (Part 3)

The Alaska Woodworker - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 10:08pm
I got a bit of work done on the handle this week.  I used chisels, gouges, and spokeshaves to remove the saw marks on the outside of the profile and the inside of the grip. I started the rasp work, and promptly remembered that the last time I made a saw handle I swore I […]
Categories: Hand Tools

French Marking Gauge

The Workbench Diary - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 5:59pm

I recently made this marking gauge taken from Dean Jansa’s Popular Woodworking article from 2009. My other wooden gauge is of the English screw-locking variety and I was always happy enough with its performance. That is until I saw Bob Rozaieski’s video. When I watched him set the French gauge entirely with one hand, its efficiency became immediately apparent. It locks by wedge action so that once you have your depth aligned, you can press the wide end of your wedge with your thumb. With it secured by thumb pressure, one quick tap on the bench top drives it in tight. To release, tap the small end of the wedge on the bench. Also, the wedge is captured when the arm’s installed so you don’t have to worry about the little guy falling out during your work. I’m happy I finally made this gauge. If you haven’t tried one, watch Bob’s video and then make one for yourself. You won’t regret it.


Categories: Hand Tools

Who was Sloyd and what was so special about his knife?

Blue Spruce Toolworks - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 2:32pm

Everyone needs a Sloyd knife in their shop.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFirst a little background. Sloyd was not a person. Sloyd is a word derived from the Swedish word Slöjd meaning handiwork or crafts. Therefore a Slöjd Knife could be considered a knife made for handiwork or crafts. In our context, Sloyd generally refers to an educational system developed in Sweden in the 1870s to prepare a student not only for a possible future work in a trade but also to prepare him for life in general.*  The Sloyd system used a series of exercises to develop skills and confidence beginning with simple tools and tasks and slowly progressing to more advanced work.  The Sloyd knife was one of the first tools to be taught, a foundation that all other skills were built upon. It is interesting to note that most currently available “Sloyd” knives are not patterned after the original design. The original design utilized a straight cutting edge with a tapered blade and a front that came down at an angle forming a blunt point. This is an excerpt from, “The Teacher’s Hand-book of Slöjd by Otto Salomon, 1892″:sloyd knife 3I can see several advantages to this design for a general shop knife.  It is much easier to sharpen and maintain due to the straight cutting edge and the geometry makes for a nearly ideal striking knife. It can also be used to carve and add details to projects. The handle design, though simple, is very comfortable and easy to hold. The original Sloyd pattern was well thought out and with a few minor modifications makes an ideal shop knife. Heck, guys could even shave with it if you stayed out in the shop too long and needed to look your best when you finally went home!

There are very few versions of this original style available to woodworkers today so Blue Spruce Toolworks designed a slightly updated version that is a great addition to any shop. A sharper point is not as user friendly for young learners however it can be useful for easily marking into corners. The sharp point is also useful for penetration and cutting and breaking down cardboard boxes, slicing tape, cutting leather, etc. The addition of small, curved flats on the handle sides helps prevent the knife from rolling and gives an easier grip. The same general design was used to make a smaller version that we call a joiner’s knife because it also works very well laying out joinery. It is a marking knife for those that prefer a more traditional knife pattern for marking rather than a double bevel spear point pattern.


Both knives utilize a traditional 1095 high carbon steel blade heat treated and tempered to a fine grain and a hardness of Rc58. The double bevel is ground and honed and comes sharp and ready to use. It is easy to sharpen with any traditional sharpening method such as oil or water stones, abrasive paper or powered equipment. The blade is coated with a durable ceramic coating to provide long lasting corrosion protection and a distinguished look. The handles are turned from nicely figured maple that has been infused with an acrylic resin creating a good balance to the blade and adding durability to the handle. A ceramic coated brass ferrule nicely finishes off the joint between the blade and handle.  These knives will be a foundation in your shop and give a lifetime of service. We have an optional leather sheath that can be worn on your belt or pants and keeps the knife handy and ready at a moments notice.


The Sloyd Knife is available for $85, the Joiners knife for $70 and the sheath for $30.  We have a special introductory offer of $175 if you buy all three; save $10.

Visit our website for more details or to order:  Sloyd and Joiner’s Knives


Other News:

We have Bench and Butt Chisels back in stock!!!!

I will be at the Lie Nielsen Hand Tool Events in Portland and Seattle in February, Handworks in May, and WIA in September. (Rumor has it that I may be speaking at WIA this year)

As always, I look forward to hearing from you and hope to see you at an upcoming show.

Dave Jeske


*Author and Woodworker Doug Stowe has written several very good articles on Sloyd and how it moved to the United States beginning at the North Bennet Street School in Boston in 1989. If you are interested in reading more about it or how it is presently being used to teach young woodworkers, be sure to check out his website, blog and articles.



The post Who was Sloyd and what was so special about his knife? appeared first on Your Finest Work.

Categories: Hand Tools

Revising the Seat

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 1:00pm


Today I’ve been sketching a new seat for the three-legged backstool. Here’s where we are at 3:59 p.m. and ready for a beer after a long day of editing.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Furniture of Necessity
Categories: Hand Tools

Rake, splay and sighting the result

A Woodworker's Musings - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 12:56pm

What do a carpenter, who is trying to determine the length and cut angles of a hip rafter and a chair maker who is laying out the rake and splay of a plank seat chair for boring, have in common?  As it turns out, quite a lot.


Both craftsmen find themselves having to deal with a resultant angle.  This situation is caused by the fact that both the hip rafter and the chair leg are not simply angled in one direction.  They’re both angled in two directions.  To make matters worse, the reference surfaces may, or may not be visible.  What’s a body to do?  Well, imagine that the gods of carpentry have dropped one great big plumb line from the cosmos and use that as your reference.  I’m serious here.

Several years ago, I was reading a post on Peter Galbert’s blog, Chairnotes.  In it he mentioned a method of using simple geometry as a means of finding resultant and sighting angles when the rake and splay are known.  Anyone who ever bored holes for “plank” chair legs is familiar with the problem.  I, along with a great many other chair makers, are fortunate enough to own a copy of Drew Langsner’s book, The Chairmaker’s Workshop.  The book is a gift to mankind.  It is an incredible source of knowledge and worth any price you have to pay for it, if for no other reason than the rake/splay/result/sight tables in the back of the book.  I was always a little worried that I might loose “the book”.  Or, a good friend might want to borrow it and forget to return it.  The house might burn down.  I knew I could never replace the higher mathematical treasure that it contained.

Then I read Galbert’s post and a bell went off.  It was like I was “Pavlov’s” dog.  My salivary glands began to work.  I was overwhelmed with the warm feeling of familiarity.  I knew this theory!  I mean, hello!  Guys have been dealing with resultant angles long before Leibniz and Newton ever started being “pissy” with one another.  Think pyramids!  Simple geometry!  This was simply a geometric method of determining the length and cut angles of a hip rafter (without having to hand it up the ladder to the youngest member of the crew).  This was stuff my Grandfather expected me to remember.  If Hiram Abiff and Pythagoras could have met for a beer, this is the kind of stuff they’d be talking about.


Right now we’re talking chairs, stools – we’ll leave hip rafters for another time (but the principle is the same).  First consider the plumb line.  For this exercise the plumb line length will be equal to the height of the seat from the floor.  (If we were building a house, this would be the “rise”.)  Remember to take into account seat slope, if there is any.  Also, for the purpose of calculation, it’s probably a good idea to work from center lines, remembering the varying thickness of things like seat planks.  And don’t forget, if the piece you’re working on has varying rakes and splays for front and rear legs, you’ll have to make two separate calculations.

First, lay two perpendicular lines:


Then swing an arc equal to the length of the plumb line,through, at least, three lines:


Now, lay lines to form two right triangles, representing the rake and splay.  This can be done in degrees or any unit of measurement you care to use.  It may be easier to visualize the positioning of the triangles by imagining that you’re standing in front of and looking down at the chair seat (Remember the chair is “stage” right, someone else is sitting in it, not you.)  The rake is coming back toward you and the splay is running to the side:


Next, draw two 90 degree lines from the points at which the hypotenuses intersect the perpendicular lines:


Now draw a diagonal line from the center point to the corner of the rectangle.  This diagonal line is your sight line.  Next, raise a line at 90 degrees from the diagonal at the center point and construct the third triangle.  This is your resultant angle.


Unless your rake and splay angles are equal, the length of the hypotenuses will vary, with the resultant angle having the longest.  No more guessing at leg length (assuming your taper is correct or your shoulder is placed properly).

I’m still going to take very good care of Brother Langsner’s book.  But, should some blackguard, n’er-do-well, or thief in the night, separate me from that magnificent tome, I could probably “limp along” for a while.  Thank you Messers Pythagoras and Euclid.  QED

Categories: Hand Tools

You Asked About My Tool Cupboards

Paul Sellers - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 11:47am

I never thought my workbench would really be of much interest to others but then it was. Now you ask about my cupboards.

P1020341My tool cupboard is nothing special. It’s not a statement of craftsmanship but it is like most tool cupboards I would have seen throughout my formative woodworking years and especially during my time as an apprentice. A workshop isn’t supposed to look like a sterile kitchen and neither is a tool cupboard I might use either. I remember when I first saw the Fine Woodworking poster three or more decades ago, of the piano builder H.O Studley and his prized accumulation of fine woodworking tools and meticulous way he condensed them into a cabinet I was awestruck that the man had such reverence for his craft and expressed it in something as simple and as complex as a tool chest filled with his tools. P1020794 With every component part interlocked with perfect fitments, and admiring the work of art the chest itself became, I think the standard surpassed all others although I am of no doubt that there will be others out there around the world that may well also be extraordinary. The Studley tool chest, for all of its finery, looks to me like a working tool chest to be admired firstly for its functionality and harmony, and then for the fact that it was user friendly, and then for the fact that it was indeed used by the workman who made it with such love and care. These things matter.

So, the cupboard behind me (shown top) houses mixed tools two-thirds of which are my planes. My day to day planes are on my benchtop or on a mobile trolley I wheel to task by my bench as needed.DSC_0128

P1020797Occasionally I use the compass plane, 6th from the left left side, when I want to replicate an exact curve say for a window frame or door frame. I made some gothic arch pieces for restoration work for the National Trust’s Plas Newydd on the Isle of Anglesey a few weeks back. The plane comes in useful for things such as that. It’s also useful for creating forms for curved and laminated work too. To get exactness. Nearer the top I keep some planes for refining work.P1020827 Long planes like the 6 and 7. I don’t use them much but they come in from time to time. P1020796To the right on the same shelf are my different plough planes, not all of them, just the metal ones. They’re tucked behind the routers hanging on the front edge. I like to have the different types because they of course all feel different and so I might want the compactness of the 043 for tight spaces or just because I can cup it in the palm of my hand and use it singlehandedly. In this plough plane I use the smaller cutters like the 1/4”. In fact it’s permanently in there generally. For convenience. I have an 044 there too and I keep this with a 3/8” cutter in. the slightly bigger plough works well with wider cutters you see, because of the handle. It’s also a handy spot for router planes that aren’t hung so  I have a couple of hand-mades there and also a Veritas plough too.P1020686

P1020796P1020829On the top shelf you see boxes, some with contents and some empty. I have two or three 50s , a Record 4905  and some others. sandwiched in between are a wooden compass plane and a toothing plane I use for veneer work mostly. I keep two full bit rolls and two braces for the boring jobs. The wooden router over on the left is now one of my favourites. It doesn’t have an adjuster but you can pinch and tap adjust so easily it’s as quick as the adjustables with mechanisms and it always feels so good on the wood too. Inside on the underside of the shelf I have a small additional shelf that takes two of my inshaves that otherwise are hard to find homes for.

P1020825P1020824P1020822The angled plane shelf works for holding smoothers but these are ones I collected for different reasons. P1020807On the opposite side are my favourite specialist planes like shoulder planes and bullnoses, block planes and such. I like to see the old and the new side by side like that. Funny really, I use them equally throughout any given day.

P1020802On the inside of the left door you see two 80 cabinet scrapers and four spokeshaves. these again are my users. The blue Record 80 I have had from new and forever. I’m on the third blade in that so that’s quite a history of scraping.

A friend bought me the router in the middle and I haven’t really used it yet but I will.

P1020801On the opposite door are daily-use stuff like small hacksaws and sliding bevels. I keep a drawknife  handy too, even in a furniture shop like mine they are very handy. P1020840The cap iron is a treasure someone gave me as a present knowing my high regard for the brilliant inventor and tool maker Leonard Bailey. It’s marked as shown and records the date of the well-earned patent. I like the fact that he had the guts to go forward on what became one of if not the single most widely used and copied patterns of metal-cast planes in the history of the world. The counterculture of the time must have been phenomenal and yet no modern maker has come up with a better design despite the incredible access to the most advanced technologies including robots, CNC machines and of course the computer software for design. Leonard Bailey was an incredible designer and engineer.

P1020794As a side, literally, I use a rolling cart for additionals needed throughout the day. It holds planes and clamps and cramps and boxes of screws, a frame saw. P1020795It works great for pulling to task and pushing out of the way and freeing up workspace. On the one hand it takes space, the other it makes space.P1020792

The post You Asked About My Tool Cupboards appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Matt's Carving Vise

Benchcrafted - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 11:04am

Matt O'Neill did a nice job on his Carver's Vise. Here are some pics.

We may do another run of these, but it all depends on demand. If you'd like to buy one, keep an eye on the blog, if we get enough requests we'll announce it here.

For what its worth, my carver's vise is parked more or less permanently at the back left corner of the bench at all times, directly opposite my Glide. It never gets in the way, and comes in quite handy for close detail work.

Categories: Hand Tools

partly done, mostly done

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 9:56am

Partly done.

partly done


mostly done. mostly done

Square the circle and see clearly

Design Matters - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 9:23am
Note the circles inside this bookcase which offers geometric clues to the proportions

Note the circles inside this bookcase which offers geometric clues to the proportions

Pre-industrial design books frequently employed squares, circles, and simple rectangles to convey the basic proportions in a design. Often these drawings show circles surrounded by squares and rectangles to help the reader quickly grasp the composition. A circle conveys that the space is equal in width and height (essentially a square) and combinations of overlapping circles easily convey a square expanding into a rectangle. The beauty of using these simple overlapping circles is that it’s easy to depict rectangles which have harmonic width to height ratios. Draw two circles where the diameters just touch the focal points and the surrounding rectangle has a ratio of 2 parts high to 3 parts wide ( 2:3 is a fifth in music).


This design uses a simple rectangle with overlapping circles to reveal a rectangle that is 2: 3

I often encourage students to draw these simple rectangles to help them visualize harmonic shapes, rectangles with ratios of 1:2, 2:3, 3:4, 3:5, and 4:5.

Let’s say you want to draw a rectangle that is 4:5 or four parts high by five wide. Historically this was called a square and one quarter square. Begin by drawing a circle then scribe a horizontal line through the center and extend it in the direction you want to expand. Then use dividers to step off the line into four equal parts inside the circle. Go back to your  compass and draw  an overlapping circle so the circumference of your second circle overlaps all but one quarter of the first. Surround both with a rectangle and you have a nice harmonic shape to use for the opening on a fireplace or the outline of an end table.

blog 001

Re: with the first plane that I find underhand

Re: Con la prima pialla che trovo sottomano

"How Do You Sharpen Your Pencils?" asked a reader to Paul Sellers.
He replied that most of his life he used a chisel to sharpen his pencils but he felt the graphite wasn’t good for his chisels and so he uses a crank sharpener now, also for the his students convenience.

I don't think that the mixture of graphite powder that compose pencils mines that crumbles crawling on a sheet of paper can ruin my tools, so when I need to make the tip to my pencils I use the first plane that I find underhand.

"Come temperi le tue matite?" ha chiesto un lettore a Paul Seller.
Lui ha risposto che la maggior parte della sua vita ha usato uno scalpello per temperare le sue matite anche se sentiva che la grafite non era una cosa buona per i suoi scalpelli e quindi adesso usa un temperamatite a manovella anche per la comodità dei suoi studenti.

Io non credo che la mistura di polvere di grafite di cui sono composte le mine delle matite, che si sgretola strisciando su un foglio di carta, possa rovinare l'affilatura dei miei utensili, pertanto quando ho bisogno di far la punta alle mie matite uso la prima pialla che trovo sottomano.

I keep my index finger resting on the tip of the pencil and then I pull both them not too fast on the sole of the plane.
I know it sounds a dangerous thing, but honestly I never cut myself even once in this way.
Whatyou say? You say that this is because my blades are not very sharp? ;-p

Tengo l'indice appoggiato sulla punta della matita e poi li tiro entrambi, non troppo velocemente, sulla suola pialla.
So che può sembrare una cosa pericolosa, ma sinceramente io non mi sono mai tagliato neanche una volta in questo modo.
Come dite? Dite che ciò dipende dal fatto che le mie lame non sono ben affilate? ;-p

In this manner you get a great chisel shaped tip and for the lovers of extra long tips, just reduce the angle of incidence with the sole et voilà, les jeux sont faits.

In questa maniera si ottiene una bellissima punta a scalpello e per gli amanti delle punte extra lunghe, basta ridurre l'angolo di incidenza con la suola et voilà, les jeux sont faits.

Categories: Hand Tools

Today’s Article: Real World Woodworking Jigs

360 WoodWorking - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 7:26am
Jigs or other devices that make work faster and more predictable are a staple item in most working shops and a bread-and-butter item in any woodworking publication. Far too often there is a disconnect between making work easier and making more work for the sake of creating a jig with too many pieces of T-track, […]

enough fooling around

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 7:00am

It’s raining instead of snowing today. No fun watching rain fall, thus time to learn this carving design, so I can teach it later

carving begun


center panel


Maximizing Heat Generation From Kerosene Heaters

The Barn on White Run - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 6:40am


Now that I’ve got the space envelope dealt with via isolation and insulation — i.e. keeping the outside out and the inside in, a concept I invented  — let me turn to how I deal with the third point of the triangle, namely generating heat.  As a facilities designer once told me, “If your envelope is tight enough you can heat the space with a light bulb.”  Well, mine isn’t, and besides, in the Age of the Nanny State incandescent bulbs are apparently part of some crazy scam having to do with Gaia Apocalypse.  You just can’t make this stuff up sometimes.

Anyhow, I had long been skeptical, at best, about kerosene heaters in a tightly enclosed space.  After talking to my friend Dennis, whose hardware store I have patronized since the days when his dad was in charge, I decided to take a chance and give it a try.  They do have the distinct advantage of being relatively inexpensive to purchase, especially if you buy them in late March like I did, and before the current anti-energy regime in Mordor on the Potomac they were cheap to run (this witless cabal promised to raise fuel prices to the moon, and they did their best to keep that promise!).  But I was concerned about the stench of them in a closed shop, and their ultimate safety from fire and toxic fumes.

As I have learned in the past months these concerns, while not irrelevant, are not of the level I had thought.

Regarding the odor of the kerosene heaters, I learned that all kerosenes are not alike.  Some are stinkier than others, and even if they are K-1, I can tell the difference between local kerosenes.  I naturally purchase mine from the better supplier.   Second, it is really important to keep a clean wick in the burner.  If you notice the smell of burning kerosene when you first come into a heated space, you need to think seriously about swapping the old wick for a new one.  I plan to make it a routine to swap out mine at the end of the winter every year.  And third, I make sure not to hit the “Off” lever on my heater until after I take it out into the unheated (and better ventilated) part of the barn.  This is because the wick is on a spring loaded rack, and it snaps off in an instant when you hit “Off.”  This means that the hot wick frame will volatilize some of the kerosene on the wick and introduce a tiny bit of the kerosene vapor into the air.  It’s not a hazard, but it does stink.

As for fire risks, they seem to be pretty small as almost all modern kerosene heaters have automatic cut-offs when the units are jostled hard or even if they were knocked over.


In use I employ a few enhancements for my heater which in my observation increases dramatically it utility and efficiency.  These allow a single 18,000 BTU heater to keep a 3000 cubic foot space comfortably usable, but not quite to the level of cozy.

First, I removed the carrying handle from the unit and placed it instead on its own rolling cart, complete with a handle made from hardware store pipe.  This allows me to move the heater without having to pick it up or handle it directly.  Second, and perhaps the most important thing, I placed a couple of fire bricks directly on top of the combustion chamber.  The bricks heat up and then radiate the heat into the space rather than working solely by convection.  I feel that this increases dramatically the efficiency of the heater.  Yes I know it does not “create” more BTUs, it just captures them and distributes them differently, and in my experience, better.

I add even more thermal mass with an octagonal shelf of 1/4″ aluminum diamond plate resting on the top grill.  This not only increases the heated mass and thus the radiant heat distribution, but it beneficially disrupts the convection coming up through the combustion chamber and distributes it more widely by diverting the hot air around the shelf, pushing it out into the room.  Besides, it’s nice to have a warm shelf for the glue pot to sit on, and sometimes my tea kettle for tea (or hot chocolate if Mrs. Barn isn’t watching).

So, how well does it work?  I think pretty darned well.  There are times when I am only in the shop for a while, or first thing in the day before the cast iron stove gets cranking, and the kerosene heater raises the temperature in the shop 15, 20, or even 25 degrees.  That is not bad.  I find that in the dead of winter I use about 1/10 of a gallon of fuel per hour with the kerosene heater, which for me works out to about $20/week.  From where I sit, making a cold shop usable space for $20/week is a great deal.

My final concern was health, but once I thought about it I realized that the primary byproducts of kerosene combustion are soot and water vapor.  I don’t mind the water vapor at all, and as long as I use premium kerosene and have a clean wick, it’s not a problem.  Still, I keep a carbon monoxide monitor hanging on the wall a few feet away, generally a good idea whenever you are using open-combustion heat source in an interior space.

In short, I am exceedingly pleased with how my kerosene heaters perform (I actually have two, but only use one in the studio with the other out in the main barn space for whenever I need localized heat for something).  I’m even thinking of getting a much smaller one to keep in the bathroom which isn’t heated, the use of the unheated bathroom bringing back memories of using the open air privy in the dead of winter when my dad was pastoring a tiny country church in Minnesota.  Now THAT was cold!

Up next, supercharging my cast iron stove.


PS  As I head up the hill to the barn, it is snowing sideways.  Literally sideways.  We are expecting several inches of snow and 50 mph winds today.  It is good to have heat!

Could You in a Box ?

The Unplugged Woodshop - Tom Fidgen - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 4:26am
One could argue that life begins and ends in a box. From the cradle to the grave~ The basis for so many of our furniture designs. It starts with a box...A box. A box with legs. A box with drawers or a box with doors.
Categories: Hand Tools

WORK No. 150 - Published January 30, 1892

Work Magazine Reprint Project - Fri, 01/30/2015 - 4:00am

I think versions of this yarn have been going around for some time. I know my dad had one. It's also sounds to me like a very Roy Underhill kind of story. Stop me if you've heard this one:

Get it? Awesome. My dad is an architect; so the version I heard from him went like this:

One day a client walks into the office. Passing the table of the first draughtsman, he pauses. The draughtsman is tapping away on a floor plan with his pencil, making a dark and regular stipple pattern. "What's that?" asks the client.

"That's poché" says the wry little draughtsman.

"I want some of that on my house!" bellows the exuberant client.

FYI: Poché refers to the the filled-in, or otherwise patterned areas of architectural drawings. A classic example would be the heavy blackened part of a floor plan indicating the thickness and composition of the masonry walls. There's a painfully convenient illustration in this week's issue of Work. For a better explanation of its practical use today, Plinth & Chintz have a helpful glossary entry.

In all fairness, I had to look up Beaumontage, as well as Hard Stopping. As it happens, Shellac Filler Sticks are considered hard stopping. That is to say they are made for color-matched filling and repairs in woodwork, but aren't so soft as one would consider putty. Contributor 'Lifeboat' gives a fairly solid set of instructions for their useful application, as well as a recipe to try when storebought beaumontage won't answer, or isn't handy.

At this point, a better blogger would attempt some kind of segue into the following material, but I'm not going to bother. The notorious contributor 'Opifex' has made a carpet page of the cover story, and gives a brief survey of his source material. I can say from some experience that interlacements and similar motifs borrowed from Hibernian ornament make for supremely fun carving. Just keep a careful eye on the incisions around the intersection points, or you'll need a heap of beaumontage to fix your mistakes. -T









Disclaimer: Articles in Work describe materials and methods that would not be considered safe or advisable today. We are not responsible for the content of these magazines, and cannot take any responsibility for anyone attempting projects or procedures described therein.
The first issue of Work was published on March 23rd, 1889. The goal of this project is to release digital copies of the individual issues starting on the same date in 2012, effectively republishing the materials 123 years to the day from their original release.
The original printing was on thin, inexpensive paper. There are many cases of uneven inking and bleed-through from the page behind. Our copies of Work come from bound library volumes of these issues and are subject to unfavorable trimming, missing covers, etc. To minimize harm to these fragile volumes, we've undertaken the task of scanning the books ourselves. We do considerable post processing of the scans to make them clear but please bear with us if a margin is clipped too close, or a few words are unreadable. We would like to thank James Vasile and Karl Fogel for their help in supplying us with a book scanner and generally enabling this project to get off the ground.
You are welcome to download, print, and pretty much do what you want with the scan for your own personal purposes. Feel free to post a link or a copy on your blog or website. All we ask is a link back to the original project and this blog. We are not answering requests for commercial downloads or reprinting at this time.

• Click to Download Vol.3 - No. 150 •

Categories: Hand Tools


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