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Hand Tools

A Better Shop Knife

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sat, 09/23/2017 - 11:55am


I lost my shop knife while we were unpacking at Handworks this spring, and I have been on a quest since then to find its replacement. (The company that made my now-lost knife no longer exists.)

I am dang picky about knives. I’ve carried one every day since elementary school. So it is no small thing when I say this: I am glad I lost my favorite knife at Handworks because now I have a Kershaw Link drop-point knife in gray aluminum blackwash.

Here’s what I need in a knife:

  • One-handed operation – I need to be able to quickly close and open the knife with zero fuss.
  • The blade has to lock in the open position for safety.
  • It has to be lightweight and compact.
  • It has to have a belt clip.
  • All the components need to be incredibly rugged. I hate flimsy knives.
  • Oh, I also dislike flashy materials or things that look like a Klingon’s wet dream.

That is a tall order, and I rejected a lot of knives until I found the Kershaw Link. What makes the knife even more extraordinary is it is made in the U.S. and can be found for about $40 retail. (I bought mine on sale for $31.)

The blade is stainless steel, but it takes a good edge and is plenty durable when cutting wood, wire and whatever shop material is asking for a stabbing or a slashing. Totally recommended.

— Christopher Schwarz, editor, Lost Art Press
Personal site: christophermschwarz.com

P.S. This is not a sponsored post. We don’t believe in that crap and buy all our products at  retail.

Filed under: Personal Favorites, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Making an infill plane from scratch 2, initial considerations.

Mulesaw - Sat, 09/23/2017 - 10:03am
I have more or less decided that the overall size of the plane will be something like a Stanley No 3 or a No 4.
There are many different designs of infill planes out there, but I don't want to make anything too wild. Nor do I want to make a direct copy of someones plane. But given the many planes that exist, it is quite possible that mine will look like some other plane after all. But that is OK with me.

Our reasonable well stocked supply of plane building material (flat steel bar) allowed me to go for a 1/4" x 2"3/8 for the sole (6x60 mm) and 9/32" x 2" for the sides (5x50 mm).

They are in regular black steel colour meaning that there is a bit of crust on the steel left from the manufacturing process. I have tried to immerse them in some vinegar together with the blade, to see if that will remove it. I doubt it, but it is worth the try.

I was thinking about the grain orientation for the infill parts. I guess that the reason for the wood to be placed with the grain running in the length of the plane is that in the very likely event of wood movement due to differences in moisture, you will not have the sole distorted.
Maybe the sides will become a little bit loose or they will expand a little, but the sole should stay flat that way. At least that is how I see it. So my wooden parts will have the grain running in that direction.
My plan is to use some sort of pipe inserts in the infill parts, to minimize any impact of wood movement.

I'll aim for a blade angle of 45 degrees, It should make a good allround plane (if I succeed). If the angle is a bit off I doubt that it will matter much.

Sketch with some major measurements.
The angle of the blade is closer to 60 degrees,
and the rear tote looks like crap, but it will have to do.

Blade, chipbreaker and screw in vinegar.
The plane material is in there as well.

Categories: Hand Tools

M&T Shop Building: Sheathing the Roof and Packing Up

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Sat, 09/23/2017 - 6:15am

Friday morning was the first day of fall and, boy, did it feel like it. The characteristic crisp nip in the air, the breeze, and even geese migrating overhead: All of it was right on cue. John had to head back to Vermont and Mike went to the Common Ground Fair with his family so Luke, Isaac, Matt, and I attached the roof sheathing to the rafters. We spent all day nailing these gorgeous 200-year-old hemlock boards in place. Because they had already cut, fit, and labeled the boards before bringing them up, the process went smoothly.

The patina in these boards is sacred to this crew. Because they’ve worked so hard to de-nail, power wash, repair, straighten edges, and lay these boards out they are very careful not to scratch the beautiful interior show surfaces. They explained that their process involves standing all the boards in a circle to organize them by color and select them for optimal placement on the roof system. They do their very best to hide all shadow lines from their original rafters. For this project, the crew was pleased to find they were able to hide all but a few of the faintest shadows on a few boards. (In case you haven’t noticed yet, this is not regular carpentry, this is more akin to art.) Just before dark last night, the last bit of tar paper was laid over the sheathing and the crew left for dinner.

They’re coming back this morning to tidy the site and load their trailers for the drive home. Although I am so happy that the frame is now up, I’m sad to see this week end. We’ve gotten so close with everyone on this crew and will miss their company. I’m usually such an independent person that hiring someone else to do something I think I might be able to pull off on my own has felt strange. On this side of the raising, though, I know that there is no way on earth I could have done anything close to what these guys have done. I’ve learned so much this week working alongside them and in our discussions about the next steps of the project.

Thank you, Luke, Matt, Isaac, and John for your hard work this week as well as during the weeks leading up to this raising. This frame is not a play house. It’s not a silly “man cave” or pool house that we feel indifferent about. This building is the future of our business, the new home of Mortise & Tenon Magazine. All our articles will be written and edited here, our videos will be filmed here, and our workshops will happen here. Many years of hand tool woodworking will take place within these walls, guys. Thank you for the care you’ve taken with this restoration. Your conscientious workmanship honors the craftsmen who built it over 200 years ago. We hope M&T’s use of it will continue to honor the work of their and your hands.

- Joshua


Categories: Hand Tools

Lovely Brown Oak

David Barron Furniture - Sat, 09/23/2017 - 2:31am

At EWS there was a stall selling some lovely boards of quarter sawn brown oak. Although I have enough wood for the rest of my life, I just couldn't resist! Where the beetle infestation has only partially taken effect, it sometimes shows stripes of dark brown which is referred to as tiger oak in the trade. The stripes were even more pronounced on the other side of this 2" thick board, so the vast majority of this 0.8 cube slab (10 board feet in US) is fine useable wood. On enquiring as to the moisture content it was tested at 35%, so basically green. I have dated the board  and will have to wait at least two years before it can be used, but it will be worth it.

Categories: Hand Tools

Stanley 2358 done......

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 09/23/2017 - 12:37am
It's done. After sitting unloved for months and with relatively few calories expended, I have a miter box. I also have a Stanley 358 miter box but that one is missing a lot of parts. It was also used and abused, and put away wet. Needless to say, it has a few issues. The big plate saw I have came with that miter box. Now that I have a functioning miter box we'll have to see if I use or just look at it.

I was looking at Lie Nielsen's miter box saws with the thought of maybe buying one. The largest saw they offer is 28" long with a 4" saw plate that is 0.032 thick. Both of the miter box saws I have are 0.045 and 0.048 thick. They are also longer than 28". LN is the only maker of saws that I know of that offers miter box saws but they state their saws will fit Langdon or Miller Falls miter boxes. I can't remember which of these Stanley bought out?

pretty much even
The back one is bit higher on the left side and there is a solid contact with both on the bench. I whacked the back one down until it matched the front one. Why is the front one longer on the left?

replaced the phillips head screws
These screws are a 1/4-20 and I have a lot of these. I'm replacing the crappy PH screws with the slotted one that has a much larger head with a fair size bearing surface. It looks to be 3 times the PH bearing surface real estate.

the far left and near right are high
it was awfully close
When I flipped the box up onto it's feet, it was almost a four point contact. In hindsight, maybe I shouldn't have corrected it the way I did it. I gave the two high feet a whack with the hammer and checked it. It took a couple more before I got a perfect no rocking 4 point contact.

This miter box frame is cast iron and cast iron is strong but not as strong as you might think. It is very easy to stress it causing a break or crack. I didn't think that far ahead when I did my love taps on the feet. What I should have done was check the lay of the land, remove the feet and whack them, put them back on and check it. Start the dance steps again if I didn't have a 4 point contact.. Sometimes you get lucky.

front saw guide post
I am missing the screw on the back post and this one is the front one. I screwed this all the way down to see if I could get the $25 saw closer to the base.

blurry pic of the screw
I am not 100% sure of what this screw is for but it will raise or lower the saw guide post. Doing that raises or lowers the height of the saw relative to the base. The missing screw in the back post explains why there was at a slant front to back.

a little more than a 1/2" shy
I got the $25 saw to get a lot closer to the base. I can screw a 3/4" sub base to the existing one without losing any capacity.

the cut with the $25 saw I forgot last night
the $25 saw has a 3 1/2" plate
I don't know the age of this saw nor the maker. In my Stanley catalogs, the smallest miter saw plate is 4" so maybe this one has just been sharpened down to this?

the big plate saw fits - it has a 4 3/4" plate
Before I put the handle back on, I wanted to make sure it fit.

these hold downs
Stanley calls them 'stock guides'. Whatever they are called, they work surprisingly well. I made several cuts at 90 and 45 just using the stock guide and had no problems with stock movement. I did have a few problems holding the stock with my free hand and sawing. I had a hard time holding the stock steady as I sawed.

sawed a 90 and then a R/L 45
pretty good for off the saw with a molded profile
The molded profile doesn't match up but it's square.

better profile fit and still square
These are the two off cuts from the R/L miters.  All the saw cuts except for the first pic, were all done with the big plate miter saw.

found a piece of plywood for a base
it pays to be a pack rat
it's new home for now
The miter box is done. With the base screwed on I now have something I can put in the dogs or use bench hooks to secure it. That will keep it from dancing around as I try to saw something on it.

both saws will live here
For now I'll be using the $25 saw unless I have to saw anything deeper than 3". The underside of the spine on the big plate saw has scallops on both sides. One side has more than the other. When pushing the saw back and forth through the guide posts, the scallops cause it to jump up and down. It makes sawing a bit harder to do. The action is no way as smooth or as bump free as the $25 saw is. Both saws are within an 1" of each other in length so I am not losing any capacity in that direction.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is the last element on the periodic table?
answer - Ununoctium                                              

Making an infill plane from scratch

Mulesaw - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 1:37pm
I don't often make tools, and if I do they are mostly some quick dirty solutions that are just needed for one special operation.

My friend Brian Eve over at Toolerable often have great ideas like "the June chair build" etc.
He once suggested that we made an IPBO (Infill Plane Build Off), where we would simultaneously build an infill plane and blog about it.
I decided that I couldn't wait anymore, so I am just going to start building an infill plane from scratch out here.
Brian and anyone else interested in building any type of infill plane are more than welcome to join in. It doesn't matter if it is made from a kit, or from scratch or a remake, it can be a rabbet, a smoother or a panel plane etc.
If you are building one, leave a comment with the address to where you are documenting/describing your build, and I'll post it here so people can see how everyone is doing.

Actually my build won't be completely from scratch, since I brought a plane iron with me for the bild.
It is an old E.A. Berg iron that was in a box I bought filled with all kinds of planes. Most of the planes were incredibly crappy, so the deal itself was not that good for me, but this could potentially make it better.

I have looked at various planes for inspiration, and I have a rough idea about how I would like it to end up looking. I would have preferred brass for the sides, but we haven't got any brass like that out here, so I'll try to make it out of some regular flat steel bar.
My newly purchased bubinga will be used as infill material. Once I get that far, I'll see what I can come up with to use as lever cap , and I might make some sort of Norris style adjuster as well.

My plan is to first get the iron cleaned up,and then I need to start making some sketches and eventually settle on a design.

Length 6.75", width 1"5/8

The lower part is hard steel, the upper part softer.

Not terribly abused iron.

Categories: Hand Tools

Clue # 2 for New Bridge City Thingamajig….

Bridge City Tools - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 12:59pm

Drivel Starved Nation-

Here’s your second clue to the thing that will make Bridge City the laughing stock of the internet…

If you guessed bent stainless steel wire you are correct! The longer version is about 90mm in length.


The post Clue # 2 for New Bridge City Thingamajig…. appeared first on John's Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Storefront Open Day, Oct. 14, Should be a Doozie

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 11:44am


We have lots going on at the storefront now, so if you wanted to pick a good weekend for a visit, Oct. 14 would be ideal. Here’s a short list of stuff to see:

  1. I’m building my reproduction of the Saalburg workbench right now. It should be complete (or nearly complete). Come check out the workholding and let us know what you think about our experimental archaeology project.
  2. I’m also making a crazy dugout chair – a style of chair that was popular in the British Isles in the 18th and 19th centuries (and maybe earlier). It should also be complete by then and will have some unusual details involving roadkill.
  3. We’ll have copies of the deluxe “Roubo on Furniture Making” and will be supplying commemorative bibs to keep your drool off them (just kidding about the bibs). If you want to see a book that exceeds all our others, this is your chance.
  4. Demolition has begun on the “Horse Garage” behind the storefront, which will become the machine room for my shop. Come see barren walls and debris!
  5. We’ll have a large load of Crucible dividers that are seconds. The have tiny cosmetic flaws and are $90 cash. And Raney has threatened to hang out and show off our next tool from Crucible.
  6. Finally, as always, we’re happy to answer questions about tools or techniques – or even give you a sharpening lesson.

Our storefront is at 837 Willard St. in Covington, Ky. The hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every second Saturday of the month.

— Christopher Schwarz, editor, Lost Art Press
Personal site: christophermschwarz.com

Filed under: Lost Art Press Storefront, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Dugout Chair Part 8, The Inner Bark

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 10:42am

Today I got smart and worked on this dugout chair before I took a shower – genius. Also, I found an easier way to remove the inner bark – with a chisel. Last night after dinner I went out to look at what one blog commenter has called “about the ugliest thing in woodworking history” and decided to see how easy it would be to chisel the inner bark away […]

The post Dugout Chair Part 8, The Inner Bark appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

The Silent Witness

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 9:12am

From “A New Library of Poetry and Song,” by William Cullen Bryant, The Baker Taylor Co., 1903

“Young people are often amazed at the tenacity with which older folk cling to their old furniture. They will take it with them from one house to another; usually to smaller houses, to bungalows or to a room ·or two as the family grows up and goes away and old age and infirmity increases.· With each move the furniture grows more unsuited to its surroundings, too big and clumsy by far, and the young people think how odd to prefer these things to the modern stuff so much more suited to their surroundings. Then the young ones go off, themselves acquire homes and start along the same well-worn path. And the old folk, left alone with the familiar things, find something in them far more precious than anyone could know; memories of children and friends, of old joys and sorrows, every line and scar with a story behind it, every fine polished surface the record of their own youthful vigour. For Time, the artist, is at work again, and this is perhaps his last, best gift to them.”

— Charles Hayward, The Woodworker magazine, 1936

Filed under: Honest Labour, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Meanwhile In The Next Room: Tuning Up The Ripple Molding Machine

The Barn on White Run - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 8:14am

While I was occupied with the Roubo bench slab in the center hall of the barn John was a dozen feet away in the classroom tinkering with the Winterthur ripple molding cutter.  When we gathered earlier as a group we identified a number of modifications that might serve to transform it into a reliable, precision machine.  I ordered all the materials and supplies we thought we needed for this undertaking so everything was ready to go for John to dive in to making these modifications a reality.

As a moment of review, the ripple molding machine is simply a contoured scraper being drawn across a length of wood, with either the scraper or the workpiece being undulated by some sort of linear pattern.  In short, a ripple molding is the result of controlled chatter.

In the case of this machine it is the cutter that remains fixed relative to the length of the frame, but which undulates up-and-down via a horizontal “follower” rod affixed to the cutterhead frame, pressing down on the pattern running the length of the machine frame.  We found in our earlier efforts that either the pattern or the follower ere being degraded and even destroyed by the very process of creating the moldings.

I do not know how this problem was dealt with historically, but for our applications we decided to replace the extant follower rod with a new rod and tiny roller bearings to instead ride along the pattern, transferring the up-and-down impulse without friction to the cutterhead.  John spent extensive time retrofitting the cutterhead to accommodate this modification without damaging or changing irrevocably the machine as it was presented to me.

After installing the new follower system John reported to me with a grand smile that it as a perfect solution to the problem, and would guide our design considerations as we move forward with new machines in both our futures.



Packing Gaps with Hide Glue

Journeyman's Journal - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 7:10am

You may look at the photos and say wow dude that looks like crap. Sure does and intentionally.  I purposefully made some gaps in these dovetails as an experiment to see if Hot Hide Glue would fill up the gaps.

I filled the gaps with saw dust first and then covered the surface with the glue.  It took somewhere between 30-60 mins before the glue hardened.  I know from experience with liquid hide that it should remain gummy for a couple of day if left on the surface, I think the urea has something to with the slow curing but I’m not entirely sure.  However, this isn’t the case with HHG and I actually didn’t know that before.

The glue has been hardening for about 5 hours now and I didn’t want to wait till tomorrow to see how it’s going.  So I’ve done the finger nail test and pressed into the gap. Sure enough it’s rock solid.

I know it’s appalling and none of us ever wants our dovetails to turn out like this, but it is nice to know that on the off chance we make a small blunder and have a small gap nothing as big as this I hope, that if packed with a little bit of saw dust covered with HHG that it will work.  I also sanded most of the glue away and the glue is still holding the dust as it seeped through the gaps and solidified the dust.

Well another effective examination wrapped up, another myth demystified and something new learned.



Categories: Hand Tools

Arts and Crafts classics at The Wilson

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 5:45am

Making Things Work

Please note: The following images are snapshots I took during my visit to The Wilson. They are used here with explicit permission, which required a lot of work and a fee, as described in a previous post. I respectfully request that you avoid gaily copying and using them for your own purposes.

The research for my book on English Arts and Crafts furniture (scheduled for publication by Popular Woodworking in May 2018) entailed a visit to England last winter. Aside from immersing myself anew in the architecture and scenery of the beautiful land that produced the Arts and Crafts movement, I needed to take measurements from a chair designed by C.F.A. Voysey in 1898.

While waiting for my appointment with the chair, I took myself on a tour of the museum’s other furniture offerings, which are many and awe-inspiring. I was especially interested in seeing details of how these classic…

View original post 140 more words

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

M&T Shop Building: Frame Complete!

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 3:38am

Yesterday we completed the frame. Matt suspended the ridge into place while Luke, John, and Isaac began assembling the round cedar rafters from one gable end. Luke said the first pair of rafters is the hardest, especially when they have diagonal braces and a collar tie to be installed along with them. After that gable end was secured, though, the rest popped into place without issue. As they worked through down the ridge, the manual lift help stabilize it and hold it at the optimum height (decreasing as they went along). This careful and methodical process was really impressive to watch. The whole process took several hours of careful adjustments and minor paring of the tails that were a hair too wide for their pockets.

By midafternoon the last gable was installed. We drove pegs into all the joinery and then the crew made tiny adjustments before heading out while Mike and I began preparations for the evening’s feast. At 6:00, the crew returned for the ceremonial tacking of the evergreen bough onto the ridge. Thus began the feasting.

We had a lovely candlelit dinner inside the frame, watching an incredible sunset over our pond. The frame was illuminated pink and purple from the awesome display. As the sun faded for the day, we sat down for a lasagna dinner and had a wonderful evening of fellowship with them and their partners. The night involved Dave Brubeck, children reciting Shakespeare, and many laughs around the table. As everyone packed up to drive home for the night, I felt like pinching myself. I am so grateful for this crew (my new friends) and the frame that they’ve restored for us. Luke, Matt, Isaac, and John are not only exceptional craftsmen but they are incredible people to spend time with. Mike and I are left inspired by the experience.

Today, Luke, Isaac, Matt, and I will be nailing the old sheathing onto the roof and laying tar paper. At that point, their job is all done and they will head back to Vermont. Mike and I will take it from there.

- Joshua


Categories: Hand Tools


Giant Cypress - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 3:08am


Stanley 2358 miter box......

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 09/22/2017 - 1:26am
Finally did something with the miter box. It has been gathering dust since I bought earlier this year. I decided to see if I could get it together and start making sawdust with it. I had bought it already rehabbed for $$$ I don't remember and I had bought it for this reason and that it was complete.

almost forgot this
The last saw I sent out didn't have this shipping info in the inside of the box and I almost lost it in the USPS system. I unscrewed the lid to put the to/from in it and I found that I had deleted the shipping address I had gotten as an email. I will have to wait to get it again and this will most likely go out on saturday.

all the parts are here
This is what the seller told me. All the parts except for the saw but I already had one. In fact I bought another miter box saw I for $25. I'll be trying that one out in the box first.

axle hitch grease
I spread some grease on this and the same part on the swinging arm.

not lining up
I got the bolt holding the arm screwed in but the front end isn't aligned. There are two pins here, one large and one small that are the problem.

the angle detent
This is what is not lining up for me and not giving me a happy face. There is a small pin on the arm that falls into the detent to lock the arm. It isn't even close to lining up.

the smaller pin is for the angle detent
I didn't know what the larger pin is for right now. I thought maybe it was a bearing surface for possibly keeping the arm at a certain spacing between itself and the half circle with the detents.

the light bulb came on when I saw this.
I was preparing to take the arm apart at this end. I could see that the arm had to go further towards the back to align the detent pin with the detent holes. As I turned this on the side the large pin moved to this position. This obviously hooks on the half circle somehow and then the detent pin should line up with the detents.

how it has to go on
The hook on the big pin goes on the half circle on this end (or the other one). Doing this by myself was incredibly awkward and a huge, huge, PITA. I was swearing so much at this that even I was blushing. I tried raising it up on my gluing helpers but they won't high enough. Hanging it off the bench didn't work because the arm was at the 45°. I didn't have enough arms and hands to do it horizontally and still see what I was doing.  I finally got some joy with standing it vertically on one end. It wasn't ideal but I was able to get the arm hooked on the half circle and the bolt screwed down.

how it goes on
I had this very loose and managed to hold it in a detent while I got the bolt screwed in.

setting the tension
This screw sets how tight the big pin hook is pulled down onto the half circle groove it turns in. If you tighten it down too much, it pulls the detent pin down too. I tightened it to where it first started to pull the detent pin down and backed it off a 1/4 turn. I'll have to use it for a while until to get a feel for it before I change it.

I had taken this off first thinking it might have been interfering with setting the arm. It didn't and has nothing to do with positioning the arm in any way. I screwed it back down and set it on zero.

the base feet are toast
Only three of the legs touch the bench. I won't be able to screw this to an auxiliary base until I straighten them out and get a 'four' point contact.

$25 saw
It fits and it doesn't fit. This is as far as the saw will drop which makes it good for only sawing air.

found some help
The 2x4 raised the bed up high enough that I could saw a piece of scrap. The saw behaved much better than I expected. The sawing action was smooth and easy.  I was able to hold the stock and not have the saw grab and move it. The saw is also sharp and easily went through the stock with no hesitation at all.

multiple saw cuts
I only made one 90° and a bunch of 45° cuts (all from the right side). The face of the cut isn't a planed surface but the roughness of it isn't terrible. I would put it above a 80 grit sandpaper feel and below a 120 grit. I would be alright with using stock off the saw with this box.

this is a pretty good lucking dry fitted 45°
I can definitely live with this
supposed to have two of these
This is part of the system for setting the depth of the saw cut. I took off the two of them (one set on the front and rear saw posts) to see if I could get the $25 saw to sit deeper. It did nothing for that and I lost the back one. I unscrewed the back one by reaching over from the front and I dropped the screw which fell on the deck and this which landed where?

I checked under the bench where I keep the planes and hadn't fallen there. I swept the floor and piled the shavings up and sifted through them trying to find it. No joy. I then ran a magnet through it and I only found that my #6 screws I used on the shipping box are magnetic. I didn't find what I was looking for.

look what I found

I was screwing the parts back on the saw guide post when I saw it. There much tumultuous joy and dancing in Mudville.

what is this?

they are laying flat here
I didn't check it but I can't imagine the cast iron base on the miter saw not being flat. I was hoping one foot would be high making it easy to fix. It looks like I'll be putting them on, banging on them, until it lays flat. I'll try that tomorrow because now it's shop quitting time. Wrestling with the arm trying to get it on took more time than I thought.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What did Francis Crick and James Watson find in 1953?
answer - they are credited with discovering the DNA double helix

New Tool Coming from Bridge City! Here’s Clue #1…

Bridge City Tools - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 1:33pm

Driveled Starved Nation!

Over the past several months I have alluded to a project I began on my work retreat last February. Today is September 21st and it is finished! I’ve been playing with the last physical prototype for about 3 weeks and I am pleased to share that we are going into our pre-production routine next week which includes sourcing and pricing. The pre-order window is still several weeks away.

Before I share our first clue, I am admitting that this project very well may make us the laughing stock of the internet–maybe you too. And if so, I could care less, this thing is so MUCH FUN! Actually, it is so much fun I will give you TWO clues today (isn’t that nice?), one a word and the other an image:

1) “Gesture”

2) Here is a little sub-assembly to keep your brain occupied until the next clue;

See the little red aluminum part? It is 47mm long. And the threaded shaft that is driving it is M6x1.0, Left-hand threads too. From those clues, you can size the rest of the assembly. (We have converted completely to metric here, so don’t read anything into this other than the Imperial measuring system is SO inefficient.)

The subassembly pictured also contains the following (not all are visible);
2 steel washers
1 retaining ring
1 spring washer
1 nylon washer
1 set screw

My only response to your comments will come from this short list;

really warm
What meds you on?
nice try.
Who gave you insider information?

I haven’t decided what the prize is going to be for guessing this invention… maybe a copy of the letter from my patent lawyer questioning my sensibilities…


The post New Tool Coming from Bridge City! Here’s Clue #1… appeared first on John's Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Block Planes

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 1:00pm

A modern favorite. Block planes get a bad rap from the hand-tool purists, but they are the proletariat’s favorite plane. They are simple to set up and use. And they are inexpensive.

This is an excerpt from “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” by Christopher Schwarz.

You can build furniture without a block plane. But why should you? The block plane is one of the greatest hand-tool inventions of the Industrial Revolution, in my opinion. With a block plane and a little skill you can accomplish almost any task. These tools trim end grain, face grain and whatever else you ask of them – and they do it even if the iron is a mite dull (thanks to their lower pitch). They are the most flexible plane ever manufactured. You can change the pitch of the tool with great ease and close or open the mouth with no special tools. And they are simple to set up.

Woodworking purists scoff at the tool, but I think that this is only because it doesn’t fit into their narrow tool list. If block planes had been invented in the 18th century, you can dang well bet that every re-enactor would be spouting off about how the block plane was the savior of the age.

In fact, I have to say that the block plane is one of my favorite planes because it was the first hand tool I ever used with great success.

When making my very first piece of handmade furniture, a sitting bench, I realized that I needed a way to trim the bench’s front and back pieces to the seat of the bench. I didn’t have an electric sander – much to my chagrin – so I decided to go to Walmart and buy a block plane. I don’t know where I got this idea; probably from my grandfather.

They had one block plane. It was a “Popular Mechanics” brand and was cheap and blue. I bought it, took it home and put it to work. It was not sharp. I did not sharpen it. It cut the pine surprisingly well. I can remember being amazed at the curly shavings that emerged from the mouth. I knew at that moment how powerful hand tools could be, even if wielded by a moron.

If you look at the history of block planes, you should be prepared for some enormous diversity and confusion. It seems that toolmakers made more kinds of block planes than any other kind of tool. I’m going to try to boil down the major features here for you, but be aware that I cannot cover every kind of block plane ever made.

Low Angle or Standard?
Block planes come in two flavors: low-angle or standard-angle. Low-angle tools have the iron bedded on a ramp that is 12° off of the sole. Standard planes have a 20° bed. Low-angle planes make it easier to achieve lower planing angles, which are nice for end grain. Standard-angle planes make it easier to achieve higher planing angles, which are nice for reducing tear-out.

The reason I always use a low-angle block plane is two-fold.

1. The lower angle makes for a more compact tool that fits better in my hand. Your mileage may vary here.

2. With the low-angle plane you have a wider variety of planing angles available to you. You can achieve angles as low as 37°. Standard-angle planes can only go as low as 45°, if you want the edge to last more than a few strokes. Both planes can achieve high-planing angles. So the low-angle tools are more versatile.

So I see no reason to even own a standard-angle block plane. And I don’t.

Adjustable Mouth or Not?
Low-rent block planes generally have a fixed mouth, though there are some nice small block planes with fixed mouths. I prefer an adjustable mouth. Why? When I am using a block plane to true end grain, I don’t want the leading corner of the work diving into the mouth aperture. When I work in tricky grain, I will use every weapon available to me to attempt to reduce tearing – including an adjustable mouth.

And when I need to hog off material, I simply open the mouth as wide as it will go. Easy. If you have only one block plane, I recommend a low-angle tool with an adjustable mouth.

Lateral Adjustment or Not?
All block planes have lateral adjustment – you can tap the blade left or right to tweak the position of the cutting edge in the mouth. The question here is whether you need a lateral-adjustment mechanism, which can be as simple as a plate that shifts left or right to move the blade left or right, all the way up to a Norris-style adjuster that will control both the depth of cut and the lateral adjustment.

I find that all lateral-adjustment mechanisms that are supplied on a plane generally offer only coarse adjustments. The fine adjustments come from tapping the plane’s iron with a hammer. So to me, it doesn’t really matter if the plane offers some sort of formal lateral-adjustment mechanism. That’s because of the way I adjust a block plane:

• Sight down the sole and extend the iron until it appears as a black line against the shiny sole.

• Use your fingers to shift the iron left or right until the black line protrudes consistently from the mouth.

• Retract the iron to take up the screw-feed mechanism’s backlash. Then extend the iron a bit and use a small hammer to tap the iron left or right into its final position.

So do what you want to here. You don’t have to have a lateral-adjust mechanism. But it won’t hurt your efforts either.

Meghan Bates

Filed under: The Anarchist's Tool Chest
Categories: Hand Tools

Dugout Chair Part 7, The Bark Flies

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 11:57am

Before I could strip the bark off the dugout chair, I needed to shape the chair’s back. The bark had all my layout marks indicating the final shape of the chair. Armed with the TurboPlane, I smoothed out the steps I had cut into the stump earlier with my chainsaw. When I shaped the chair with a chainsaw, I sawed kerfs up and down the back of the chair that […]

The post Dugout Chair Part 7, The Bark Flies appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Krenov sawhorses

Oregon Woodworker - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 10:56am
Recently I decided to make a new pair of sawhorses to replace the traditional ones I made years ago.  I wanted them to be suitable for use with handsaws as I don't find sawbenches to be satisfactory.  I just don't find the position comfortable or conducive to accurate sawing and the old sawhorses are too high and long to use for handsawing in my shop.

As I often do, I started by searching for online images and was immediately attracted to a design by James Krenov.  They are functional and handsome in my opinion.  I really appreciate great design like this and knew I would enjoy seeing them in my shop as well as using them.

Of course, I had to put my own spin on them.  Since it is a felony in Oregon to build sawhorses out of anything other than douglas-fir, I used kiln dried 2x6s for my version.  I experimented with the height and decided thaThet 29" was about right.  Here is what I came up with:

The sides are mortised into the base and the stretcher is connected with wedged through tenons.

They nest together nicely so they don't take up much floor space when they are not in use.

 A nice feature of these sawhorses is that the stretcher can be used for a shelf, which I think will be very handy when I am assembling and finishing smaller projects.

To me, they are strong and look great.  I've tried sawing on them and am very pleased.  They were fun to build in about a day.

As I was building these sawhorses, it occurred to me that they would make a great project for an entry level course in hand tool woodworking.  Douglas-fir is inexpensive and easy to work.  The joinery is varied and moderately challenging.  They would serve as a good introduction to tablemaking.  I wonder if that is part of the reason Krenov designed them the way he did.  I've seen pictures of his school and notice that each of the students seem to have a pair at the end of their bench.
Categories: Hand Tools


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