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I had to do some errands and for those I had to wait until 0800 for Lowes to open and then 0900 for BJ's to open. While I was waiting for Mickey's big hand to move I did my laundry and some shellac work. I still get agitated when I have to hurry up and wait but doing something helps to calm me down. Getting the Preston chamfer spokeshave done was the only thing I was able to check off in the C column.
|shellac for the 78 box|
|my Lowes haul|
|it's a good fit - thumbscrew from the Preston chamfer spokeshave|
|two pieces of 1/2" plywood|
|preview of the cabinet|
|about 27" off the deck|
|about 32" where it will live|
|all of my tool boxes from under the laundry table|
|I'll have to make a smaller box for this|
|this will be going away finally|
|gluing up the tote|
|I think this will work|
|I had to drill two barrel nuts to act as spacers|
|right side hole that the rod will go in|
|the plane body hole|
|my 10mm clock bit|
|still won't exit|
|I made this box in march and didn't put on any shellac|
|the first 078 plane box|
|Preston chamfer spokeshave done|
|the before pic|
I'm not sure yet whether I'll give this Miles or keep it for myself. The only problem I have with it is there aren't any irons for it. I've been looking for one since I got it. As a chamfering tool this works very well. The fact that it is adjustable makes it a very versatile tool so maybe I should give it to Miles. It would be a relatively safe tool for him to use even at a young age.
|gluing the tote up|
|3 pieces of tape applied|
|the cabinet footprint|
|a lot of damage here|
|2nd piece of plywood|
Did you know that Pinocchio had two pets named Figaro (cat) and Cleo (goldfish)?
Go Do It “I can’t saw straight to a line.” ‘No,’ I said. “I was the worst in class in school.” ‘You couldn’t be. Everyone else says the same.’ I replied. “I couldn’t get the saw to go straight, and the plane, you should have seen the wood after I’d done!” ‘Oh, really. It’s probably […]
Over the past few months, I’ve been making these Ohio signs and selling them in my wife’s booth. They’re a simple thing to make. Just cut the wood in the shape of Ohio, then glue and staple the pieces to a plywood back. Originally I used old pallet wood to make the signs, but the past few batches I made them with old fence boards.
Last week, when I was helping my wife moving things around in her booth, she told me that some of the signs had warped. Worried, I grabbed a few of the signs to look at them. Because we had such a hard cold spell, the antique store was kicking up heat to stay warm. Apparently, the dry heat sucked all the moisture from the signs making them bend up. Even the top of an old bench my wife was selling warped.
When examining the sign, I realized I made two rookie mistakes. The first mistake I made was that I painted the wrong side of the fence board. I should have fastened the wood crown-down so that the board wouldn’t warp upward. The second mistake I made was that when I fastened the boards on the plywood, I spread glue all over the plywood back making the wood unable to expanded and contracted. Embarrassing to admit I know. When I first made these signs, I made them from old pallet wood that was a lot narrower than the wide fence board I used here. I thought my wood was dry enough to make them in the same process, but I was sorely mistaken.
Wanting to fix the sign, I ripped apart the plywood back and removed all the staples from the wood.
After cleaning the back of the pieces, I saw how the widest board on the sign was warping in conjunction with the others.
I decided to shave off the high spot in the middle with my scrub plane so the warping wouldn’t be as noticeable when I remade the sign.
Then, instead of spreading glue all over the plywood back, I laid a bead of glue down the center of each piece of wood so the wood could move. I then attached the plywood back to the pieces with 1/4″ crown 5/8″ long staples.
With everything back together, I was happy how the sign laid flat again. I really don’t mind if the boards warp a little bit. After all, the sign is supposed to look old and rustic. I just don’t want the whole thing to curl.
I resist making jigs like I resist going to the dentist. So when I do break down and build a jig, it’s going to be something with a dial indicator and lasers. No, that’s a lie. It’s going to be something dirt simple but solves my difficulties completely. I build a lot of chairs with spindles that run between the seat and the armbow. The best way to drill the […]
I was looking through my tools cabinet today and saw these three Japanese chisels tucked away (I have far too many hand tools!). They have been well used but well looked after with a good patination and no rust.
I had polished up and flattened the backs which were in need of attention and they came up very well, particularly the one with multiple scoops (san mai).
I don't know who the makers are, although I know Oochi makes similar flat tang chisels to the one in the last picture. Can anyone help identify them?
This giant banner at Bad Axe Toolworks made me laugh out loud. You know Roubo is catching on when the yardstick for a tool is its ability to cut the dovetailed leg tenons for a Plate 11 workbench.
|It looks to be about the same size as the fence rods|
I looked up 10mm rod stock on McMaster-Carr (another tip from Steve) and they have a lot of choices. They have chrome plated rods starting in 1 foot increments. I would like to get that but I'm not sure I have anything capable of cutting it. My second choice is 10mm A2 steel rod that I can get in a 5 1/8" long length. That should be good enough to use for fence rods. But first I'll have to fix the no passing through the hole annoyance.
|both ends beveled - Stanley 078 box|
|scraps on found on the deck to fill the gap|
|it fell inside|
|time to see if everything will fit|
|everything fits and I can close the lid|
|I don't like all the parts flopping around|
|won't fit - needs to be trimmed a wee bit|
|part one for the fence rod holder|
|glued and cooking|
|holder for the fence|
|the side of the box will be the back of the rabbet|
|glued in place|
|glad I checked it|
|making a holder for the depth stop|
|Stanley 131B came today|
|I thought the Craftsman one was big|
|holder I put on hold|
|difference in the drivers|
|kind of fits|
|it wiggles and moves a bit|
|not getting done today|
|body done and the wings were last|
|#4 plane totes|
|the last one|
Did you know that President James K Polk was the first president to be photographed?
Many aids and appliances for frame making and for making correct mitre joints have been given to the working public of late years, and the latest addition to their number has been Hodges Mitre Shoot, which is illustrated in Fig.2, and which is intended for planing up the joint after the wood has been cut to the proper shape by the means of the saw. The patent rights are held by Mr. E.R. Sibley, Whites Hill, near Gloucestershire, who, I am sure, will readily answer any question regarding the price at which the machine is sold, and respecting which I am utterly in the dark. I like to be in a position to mention the price of everything I am called on to notice, for to know the cost of an article is useful to buyer, seller, reader, and myself all round, and, in many cases, saves the putting of questions on this point and the answering of the same. The nature of the machine will be seen from the illustration. First, there is a rectangular frame or bed, with raised edges or guards, which is fixed firmly to the edge of the workbench, as shown by two screws. Attached to the frame is an adjustable bed, whose inclination forms an angle of 45° with the frame, and on this frame the moulding is placed after bring cut, in the mitre block, and secure by the vice, which grips it and retains it in position, the vice itself working in a small block attached to the adjustable bed. When the moulding is in position, the end may be planed up with the long plane shown in the illustration, and which is made of so great a length that it may be able to ride on guards formed by the raised edges of the frame and the top of the bed itself. As these guards are perfectly flat and square, it follows that the end of the moulding, when planed up, must be equally flat and square, The bed, as it
has been said, is adjustable, and should it deviate from the proper angle, it can be set correctly by loosening a screw at the back of the regulator, bringing it parallel with the sides of the machine, and then tightening the screw again. The regulator is at the bottom of the bed, and does not appear in the illustration. The points of utility claimed for the machine are, its capability of producing accurate work; causing no injury to mouldings; perfect adjustment by means of its rising and falling bed; the ease with which it can be worked; the possibility of reshooting the ends of a frame after two sides have been joined together; and its portability and the ease with which it is fixed. The machine takes moulding 4 in. and 3 in. deep.
I saw this interesting cradle at an auction recently:
American Primitive Cherry Cradle
Description: 19th century, two part form, dovetailed cradle with iron rod swing supports on a boot-jack foot base with metal handles.
Size: 32 x 40 x 15 in.
Condition: Later metal handles; surface scratches; small shrinkage cracks.
What is more interesting it the method of suspension of the cradle body:
What was confusing was the description of this being a “dovetailed cradle”. I believe that I am eminently qualified to find dovetails, yet I found none. Look at the cradle for yourself:
I am truly disturbed by the apparent discrepancy between the written and the observed. I know that the people that write auction descriptions are highly trained experts that in many states are licensed or certified. Believe me. I am starting to believe that the fault is in me. The dovetails are there and I just can’t see them. I hope that’s the case. I would hate to see someone lose the job over this…
Just a friendly reminder, since this is a rather new product, that we now have complete Classic Workbenches in stock and ready to ship. Barring any serious supply delays, we now have Classics "on the shelf" at all times. So there is, theoretically, no lead time.
This bench is built exactly to our Classic Workbench Plans (available here) and completely assembled, ready to work. The bench is delivered "in the white" which means you can use it as is, or apply a finish of your choice (sparingly please, this isn't period furniture!)
Price is $2600, and that includes one Crucible Holdfast, which we also now sell ala carte.
Building a Windsor-style rocking chair with Greg Pennington at Pennington Windsor Chairs was, to date, my favorite woodworking project. It opened up a new, very physical, very engaging side of woodworking I hadn’t before experienced. I loved using a wedge and sledge hammer to split the tree. Not only did it make me feel strong, it also helped me to better understand how wood works and how to get the most strength possible out of a single piece of wood.
Making a chair is, I think for most woodworkers, a major benchmark for progression in their craft. Having seen the Patriot, and being quite comfortable in the realms of square furniture, I really had no intention of ever making a chair. It seemed like it was a whole other skill and toolset than I currently possessed, and I am always wary of casting my net too widely and bringing no genuine knowledge or practiced skill to a craft. As they say, a jack of all trades is a master of none! That is- until I was offered the chance to take a class with some of my dearest friends in the shop of renown chairmaking instructor Greg Pennington.
For me, woodwork has always been motivated far more by relationship than by finished projects. I’ve found the best way to get to know people deeply is by joining them doing something they truly love. My journey as a woodworker started at my grandfather’s workbench. He was a pretty quiet guy most of the time, but he came alive in his woodworking shop. I loved my grandpa, and spending time with him meant spending time pulling and straightening nails, sweeping sweet cedar shavings off his shop floor, or just watching him work. After my grandfather’s passing, when I was twelve my love for woodworking was re-awakened just a six years ago as a way to spend time hanging out at my sister’s house and getting to know my new brother-in-law as he taught me about using handtools to build furniture. Woodworking then became the connection point for another precious older gentleman, 97 years young, who would go on to become an adopted grandpa of sorts and mentor me further. Then I found the maker community on Instagram, which opened up a whole other world of deep frienships with other folks passionate about making things with their hands. I met leather workers, farmers, musicians and blacksmiths, and my desire to see their eyes light up when talking about something they truly loved led me to start tinkering in those crafts as well.
I mention all this because yes, I built a chair, and yes, sitting and rocking in a chair I quite literally found within a tree stump in just a matter of weeks with a few handtools feels pretty awesome, but far more awesome was spending a week learning from a master. Greg loves what he does, and his eyes sparkle when he talks about every step and technique that bring an heirloom quality chair out of a fallen oak tree. The week I spent in Nashville at Greg’s school was quite literally one of the best weeks of my life. Greg was an incredibly patient and skilled instructor. We worked hard with our hands, we talked about everything under the sun, we drank beer, and we laughed until our ribs were sore. And, at the end of it all, somehow, I’d become a better woodworker with a greater understanding of how wood works, and I got to bring home a chair.
This project involved a lot of firsts for me, first time using a shavehorse for it’s intended purpose, which was especially helpful a few weeks later when it came time to build several for the woodworking school I work at. It was my first time riving wood, and I learned about how to predict and correct for grain runout. I learned how to properly use a spokeshave, how to be braver when roughing out stock because it results in so much LESS work later, how to turn square stock into an octagon and then round, and how to drill compound angles with space lasers. I got way more creative with securing round stock in vises designed to hold square stock, I learned how to make and use wedges effectively, and I confirmed that the sanding and finishing process of a chair is just as miserable and loathsome a task with chairmaking as it is with every other woodworking I’ve done in the past.
One thing I really liked about chairmaking is how many of the tools can be made with some rudimentary knowledge of blacksmithing. So, of course, as is always the case for me, In completing this project, I somehow added about fifteen others to the “someday” list, so look for those in the coming months and weeks.
Check out my new YouTube video on my chairmaking experience by clicking below!
**Photos in this article are by Fell Merwin, and by Melissa Morrison**
My recent trek around Flyover Country included an intersection between my path to my home town in southern Minnesota (the tropical part) and LaCrosse, Wisconsin, home to Mark Harrell and his ambitious enterprise Bad Axe Tool Works. I’ve been collaborating with Mark for some time on the development of a frame saw/sash saw with the promise that he would put one in my hands.
As the owner of two c. 1800 four-foot frame saws I was delighted to share the particulars about them with anyone who wanted to know. Their details are spectacular, from the hand forged hardware to the forged plates in near-perfect condition. (by that I mean there are no kinks or missing teeth, there was plenty of surface rust and the teeth needed touching up)
Like other saw makers, Mark contacted me some time ago and I took the time to talk with him at length about the vintage saws I have, in addition to the diminutive version I made for myself. Mark was particularly interested in a model halfway between my vintage big ones and my new smaller one, and we worked out the details over many emails and phone calls, an interchange I welcome from any tool maker who wants my two cents worth. To this point my only fee is that I get one of the tools in question if they ever go into production. I think Bad Axe might have had this model at Handworks 2017, but I was so busy I could never get to their station once they got set up, so this was my chance.
Accompanied by The Oldwolf, Derek Olsen, we arrived late-morning. And the saw geek-dom commenced. Behind this modest door and awning is a buzzing hive of saw making.
Mrs. Barn and I got a quick tour of the facility, getting the opportunity to meet and greet each of the the sawmaking elves there.
I was especially impressed with the classroom they have set up there for saw making and sharpening workshops. Mark definitely has the leads for mondo saw sharpening vises and setters.
Then we got down to the real fun as Mark brought out several models of saws for me to play with. I already own two Bad Axe saws, including a custom made dovetail saw I commissioned and that has now become ensconced in their product line. Under Mark’s watchful eye the playing commenced, and it was glorious!
Our exploration of the topic continued almost non-stop and we were torn between talking about saws, and sawing.
Then came the “official” purpose of the visit, taking delivery of my own Bad Axe frame saw based on Roubo, my old saws, and my new one, with a bit of Bad Axe special sauce tossed in for good measure.
It performed perfectly right out of the box and will be integrated into my shop work as soon as it gets home.
More about the visit in the next post.
I did 3 checks on each plane. #1 was checking the fence rods for wiggle. All had some with the Record 044 being the worse and the Lee Valley being the best closely followed by the Record 043. Check #2 was looking at the parallelism between the skates and the fences. Good point here as all planes passed this. The final check, #3, was did the fence stay parallel to the skate at a distance of a 1/2"?
|used a 1/2" set up bar|
|then I checked the heel of the fence|
|almost an 1/8" off from the toe|
|setting the heel to a 1/2" on the 044|
|it's wider at the heel|
I am aware of the fence slipping along with the depth shoe slipping too. Checking the screws between grooves is something I do out of habit with this plane. I haven't had any problems with the grooves as long as I keep an eye on the fence rod screws.
|Lee Valley plow|
|not perfect, but the closest one|
|it's looser at the heel|
The Lee Valley is #1. Easy to set up and use and the fence maintains parallel to skate the best. None of the planes were perfect with the parallelism but it was the closest one to it. I just got this one so I don't have a lot of time on the pond with it.
The Record 043 comes in second. It can be a bit finicky setting the iron but once it is set, it seems to hold without any further checking. All planes didn't have any problems with the iron slipping in use. I like this for plowing grooves on small stock. It shines doing that. The fence on this plane slips too but not as badly as the others.
The Record 405 is in third place. It is a multi-purpose plane and I bought it mostly to make grooves. This was my first 'plow plane' and it served me well. I stumbled and learned a lot using this plane. It hasn't gotten a lot of use since my acquisitions of other plow planes.
The Record 044 is dead last. I realized today that Paul Sellers uses a Record 044 in his woodworking videos. I doubt that he has the problems I am having. I tend to be brain dead about these things and my stubborn streak had already kicked in. It will be a while before I give up trying to figure out how to get this plane to perform as advertised. If I can't, I'll buy a Lee Valley for my grandson and pass this one on.
|new bottom stock|
|lots of wiggle room on this bottom|
|fitting the top before I glue the bottom on|
|planing the rabbets|
|ubiquitous blurry pic|
|shallow rabbet on the bottom of the lid for that thin web|
|fitting the lid|
|I think I got the side to side|
|it is tight to the top of the groove on both sides|
|wee bit past half way|
|fitted - slides in and out easily|
|wooden astragal plane fit in the rabbet|
|laid out and chopped my thumb catch|
|big gap here|
|the pencil line is the thickness of the filler|
|bottom glued on and cooking|
Did you know that the most binge watched TV show is the Game of Thrones?
A recent trip to the Midwest for a variety of family gatherings provided a chance to drop in on Derek Olsen of Oldwolf Workshop fame. Derek’s is a fairly recent entrance into my orbit, but our friendship is fast and strong. He was first among the multitude of friends who volunteered to help with the 2015 HO Studley exhibit, and his account in The Bank of Don is brimming.
The stop for fellowship was a delightful one as you might expect.
Derek proudly showed his impressive library of furniture history books, his shrine to Studley, and his still-in-development shop in the garage next to where he and Mrs. Oldwolf moved in recent years.
After our time there, we headed down the road (actually only a few blocks) to some time of saw geek-dom at Bad Axe.
But that’s for the next post.
I managed to garb a couple of hours this afternoon on the walnut chest. With the glue up gone well, it was time to start fitting the drawer parts. The sides were cut to length and then individually shot into their openings. The aim is for a fit that neither binds nor rattles.
Next the fronts were shot into their respective openings, this fit needs to be very tight.
Next the backs were knifed from the fronts and these were trimmed to exactly the same size.
I then planed up the inside surfaces with my favourite Bill carter plane and applied two coats of melamine Lacquer. Next time I'll be routing the drawer bottoms and cutting the dovetails and through tenons.
Good chairs stay together forever if the chair maker understands what wood does.
They know it will move, and use this to their advantage.
Bone dry legs going into a slightly wetter seat.
The seat drys over time, the legs take on a tad of moisture and everything stays tight.
A good furniture maker knows that he was born cock-eyed for a reason.
Trust out of square.
Beautiful photo essay by Christopher Payne and Sam Anderson on the way the General Pencil Company makes pencils, right here in New Jersey. This process may be mechanized woodworking, but it’s woodworking nonetheless.
The iconic pencil that most people think of is the Ticonderoga, which is now made outside the U.S. Buy General instead!
Brendan Gaffney sent me this incredible video – likely from Vietnam – where woodworkers are building stair components using a low workbench as a router table.
The low bench is exactly what you’d see in an ancient Roman or Chinese workshop. Most intriguing to me is the V-shaped bench stop at the end of the bench. It is exactly like the Chinese “palm,” a workholding device that Suzanne Ellison dug up and helped me research for the upcoming book “Ingenious Mechanicks: Early Workbenches & Workholding.”
Seeing it in use as a router table is amazing.
The entire video is interesting. The music, however, will make you batty.
Please do not leave a comment on the lack of “workshop safety” in this video. I will delete them. In showing you this video I refuse to open the door for criticism of their work, tradition or culture. You might think that you’re a more evolved being, but that’s really just your Superman Underoos talking.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Ingenious Mechanicks, Uncategorized