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Hand Tools

Making a handle for a pocket knife 2

Mulesaw - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 10:09am
I shaped the handle using a round and a half round file to get close to the shape that I wanted.

Before sanding I needed to drill the recessed holes for the heads of the screws.
I ground a drill like a router bit and mounted in our drill press. I had marked out where it should go and then I drilled very carefully. The first result was perfect. But in the other side f the knife, a small chip broke off, and I had to glue it back on with some super glue. I have ended up making the handle just a little bit too thin in the forward end of the knife, because the screws are setting against the threaded piece inside before reaching the wood. It is maybe 1/50" too shallow, so I doubt that it will have any effect on the general use of the knife. But the problem is that I know it..

After that I sanded with the different available grits that we have out here, ending up with a purple and a green scotch brite pad together with some olive oil (because that is what I could get my hands on)

Finally I sharpened the knife and put it back in the drawer where I found it.

It has been a quick little project, and there are lots of possibilities for improvements, but The important thing was to get a feel for how this Bubinga is to work with, and I have a better understanding about that now than prior to the project.
The knife itself seems to have been constructed so it would fit a plastic handle. That made it a bit difficult and necessitated the addition of an aluminium piece in the back of the handle. both to act as a distance piece and as a way of securing that end of the blade/spring unit.

I am pretty sure that there are pocket knives out there more suited to re-handling than this one, so if anyone is interested in trying it out for themselves, I suggest getting something that was meant for a wooden handle.

A positive thing about making handles is that it can be done with a very limited tool set, and it doesn't require a lot of shop space. But I am not quite as attracted to that sort of woodworking as to e.g box making, so I doubt that I will turn into a full time knife maker.

Glamour shot of the end.

Before oil and final sanding and without screws.

Small blade and large handle.

Oiled and finished.

Oiled and finished on the other side too.

Categories: Hand Tools

Other Anarchist Designers

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 9:48am


When I wrote “The Anarchist’s Design Book” during a five-year period, my hope was that my explanations of staked and boarded furniture forms would inspire other woodworkers to take up the tools and produce their own variations.

Lots of woodworkers have built the staked sawbench, backstool, chair and worktable. And, in the boarded category, I’ve seen a lot of bookcases, tool chests and six-board chests during the last two years.

My favorite response to the book, however, has been among those who took the designs in the book and pushed them further. I truly think that staked and boarded forms have few limits. You can make almost anything you need for your house with these techniques. And (here’s the best part) these techniques are extraordinarily fast – rivaling the pocket screw and Domino in the speed department.

If you’d like to see how others are approaching these pieces, here are some links.

Brendan Gaffney, the new managing editor at Popular Woodworking Magazine, has been churning out staked projects for his new apartment in Covington, Ky. Check out this entry that discusses his pieces. I like how he modified the chairs with a lower crest, clipped the corners on the worktable and added a splash of color to the set.

Greg Merritt at Hillbilly Daiku has been turning out some fascinating variations, including his sewing table, his version of the staked stool and a side table with an underhung drawer. Greg pushed the aesthetic of these designs with his pyrography, color and additions of rope.

Jason Thigpen at Texas Heritage Woodworks is currently working on a staked armchair (so am I). We are taking totally different tacks, and I can’t wait to see how his comes out. You can see a lot more examples of these forms on Instagram by following the #stakedfurniture hashtag.

Also exciting to see: People teaching classes based on these designs and their adaptations.

If you have links to other people who have adapted these designs, post them in the comments below. Your link might just inspire someone else to pick up the tools.

Final note: I like to mention every now and again that my designs are “open source.” Use them however you please. Make copies or change them. Sell your work. The only “no-no” is reproducing the book and selling it….

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

P.S. There will be a third book in the “anarchist” series. But it’s too soon to discuss it (no it’s not “The Anarchist’s Birdhouse”).

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Olliver Sparks Plane at EWS

David Barron Furniture - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 9:18am

Ollie Sparks had some of his beautiful planes on display at EWS including a small, numbered batch of miniature smoothers. Based on the rare Norris no 21 this is his interpretation.

Ollie cast the bronze body himself and even turned the bolts on his lathe.
The lovely infill is Honduran rosewood.

As usual the mouth is extremely tight and despite it's size is a very usable plane.
It is 3 1/2" long x 1 1/4" wide with a 1" blade bedded around 52 degrees.
This plane is mine but I believe Ollie has one left from the batch priced at £700 if anyone is interested.

Sadly I don't own an original Norris 21 but this A14 has a similar rear end and will give you a sense of scale.

Categories: Hand Tools

September spoons for sale

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 7:49am




I’ll be updating my workshop-teaching schedule soon with some Plymouth CRAFT classes and looking toward next year (we’ve started planning Greenwood Fest already!) In the meantime, I have a few spoons (and one bowl) for sale this time – if you’d like one, just leave a comment and we can take it from there; paypal or check is fine either way. Woods this time are birch, cherry & walnut. All carved with hatchet, knife and hook knife. Finished with food-grade flax oil. Prices include shipping in US. Elsewhere additional charge for shipping. Click the images to enlarge. Thanks for you interest, if you have questions just leave a comment or send an email.


Sept spoon 01; black birch.

L: 10 1/2″  W: 2 3/4″



Sept spoon 02; black birch,

L: 10 1/2″   W:  2 5/8″



Sept spoon 03; black birch

L:  10 3/4″  W:  2 1/2″


Sept spoon 04,

L: 12″   W: 2 7/8″



Sept spoon 05

L:  11 1/2″   W: 2 3/4″


Aug spoon 01 –

this one was my favorite from last time. Didn’t get picked. Might be the price tag…but this is as good a spoon as I can make. cherry, crook. This spoon blank left me with a very long, narrow bowl. Overall a long spoon. Great crook shape, I couldn’t resist.

L: 13 7/8″   W:  2 1/8″


Sept spoon 06

Walnut. I’ve been riving up some walnut for joined stools, and got some bits here & there to try for spoons. Radially split.

L:  10 1/2″  W:  2 3/4″


Sept spoon 07, walnut (see above)

L: 10 1/2″  W: 2 7/8″


Sept spoon 08; walnut

L: 10 1/2″  W: 3″


large cherry crook

The last of these over-sized cherry crooks.

L: 13″  W:  4″


The cherry bird bowl. I have more of these underway, but won’t get to them for months now – I have a lot of furniture work ahead of me. The bird bowls come from great curved crooks.

L: 15″  H: (at front) 7 1/4″


Festool USA – Opening Soon

MVFlaim Furnituremaker - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 7:49am


Festool will soon be offering reconditioned tools.

Completing Workbench Mortises (a semi-misadventure)

The Barn on White Run - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 5:17am

When I last left the oak Roubo bench 4+ years ago it was still quite  ways from being done (one of the great benefits of building a bench a la David Baron is that it can get done in a week).  The leg tenons were all cut, but only two of the dovetailed mortises and none of the rectangular mortises, so clearly a lot of drilling and chopping was in store.  There was nothing exceptional about the task or process other than it required flipping the top a couple of times to get the job done.  The last two dovetailed open mortises took about an hour to knock out.

Drilling and chopping the closed mortises went smoothly.  For three of the four.  And the fourth?  Grrrrr!  For some inexplicable reason I switched from a Forstner-style bit to a long auger bit for my drill, and it went astray.  Not just astray but bound tighter than a drum and would not move forward or backward (a theme that was not yet fully played out).  After a lot of fussing and fuming I was eventually forced to drive it through the other face using my sledge hammer.  Sheer brute force.  I was reminded of my late friend Mel Wachowiak’s quip, “With enough force you can pull he tail off a living cow.”  Or drive a 7/8 auger bit through an inch of solid oak.

This blew out a chunk of the face adjacent to the mortise, leaving me less cheery than you might expect, my anger being tempered only by the fact that all this damage took place on the underside of the slab. An hour later I had knitted together all the splintered wood and glued it back in place to leave overnight.  In the end it was a patience-expanding experience.

The good news is that the repaired place (epoxy and shavings filled) held up perfectly when chopping the mortise in that area.  The repair felt just like the adjacent wood and held a nice crisp corner with no chipping or fracture.

So now the mortises were all done and seemed to provide a nice snug fit, and I was looking forward to driving the legs home in the morning.

Oh, about that…

Woodworking Tips With Asa Christiana – 360w360 E.250

360 WoodWorking - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 4:10am
Woodworking Tips With Asa Christiana – 360w360 E.250

In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking Asa Christiana drops back in to talk about woodworking tips published in his book, “Build Stuff with Wood.” Topics include how to improve acid brushes to what are the best castors for shop carts. Plus, the the idea of moving woodworking beyond a solo event, and the benefits thereof are discussed.

Join 360 Woodworking every Thursday for a lively discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more).

Continue reading Woodworking Tips With Asa Christiana – 360w360 E.250 at 360 WoodWorking.

shipping box done....

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 09/21/2017 - 1:13am
Over the past few weeks I've been reading what I can about the art of hammering kinks out of saw plates. I am sending one out to be done and I have two unkinked beater saws that will become scraper stock. I am thinking of trying to kink them first so I can practice on them. From what I have seen and read, it doesn't appear to be rocket science requiring a PhD to do. I can probably with practice do it but I don't want to practice on my grandson's saw.

another after dinner outing
The glue had set up on the bottom so after dinner I  came down to the shop and screwed it. I removed the screws from the corners as they weren't needed anymore. The glue and screws on the bottom will hold the box sides in place.

replaced the screws with miller dowels
I split all four corners driving the screws in which was expected. I didn't predrill because I use spax screws which are pretty good for not needing a pilot hole. I still haven't found a screw that will drill into end grain without splitting it. With or without a pilot hole.  I forced some glue into the cracks and clamped them. This is where I started tonight in the shop.

foam insulation
This was the packing material that was used to ship my miter saw to me. I'm going to reuse it on my saw.

This piece of scrap is the same thickness as one side of the saw plate to the outside edge of the handle. This will keep the saw plate straight in shipping to and from.

I'll put a piece of foam on top of it when I ship it

sawing this is as easy as ripping a piece of paper
didn't even clog the teeth
the most important part
A couple of years ago I had shipped a saw out to Bad Axe to get sharpened. Mark told me to protect the horns on the handle. He said these often came to him broken.

sawed the proud off on the bandsaw
The box isn't a nice rectangle. It is wider at one end then the other to better fit the shape of the saw. This is the wide end.

ready to address and ship
I sanded all the edges and ran my fingers along them to make sure there weren't any catch points. I marked this side as the one to be opened.

The big storm we were supposed to get turned out to be the big bust. The forecast was for 3-5 inches of rain and 50 MPH plus winds wednesday night. When I went to work this morning it didn't even look like it had rained. And I saw no wind damage anywhere on the drive in to work. The next few days will be cloudy with off and on rain until sunny skies come back on saturday. What I went through is nothing compared to what the people in the south had to endure.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is a milquetoast person?
answer - someone who is meek or timid

M&T Shop Building: Raising the Frame Day Three

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 7:43pm

Today began with finishing the bird's mouths for the rafters to seat into. Because the original roof system was damaged in a fire, Luke salvaged materials from other Vermont frames that weren’t going to be restored. Because the replacement ridge mortise layout was different than the original, the plates needed to be cut to match the ridge. While Mike and I cut the bird’s mouths, the rest of the team made preparations for the plates’ raising including installing a temporary deck on the second floor joists.

Once the rafter joinery was complete, Matt lifted the first plate up to the posts and we began guiding it down into place while holding the six braces in position. Due to some unexpected wracking of the frame, the plate wouldn’t quite seat onto the last post. Some careful help from diagonal come alongs brought everything into alignment. With a few wraps on the plate, it seated securely onto the tenons.

The second plate was a tad trickier because of some severe twist that developed over its lifetime. Luke shimmed and compensated for this in the shop restoration but during assembly it needed further help to seat properly. More come alongs and sledge blows (onto sacrificial scrap wood) and the second plate was successfully installed.

The rest of the afternoon was spent final shaping and installing the pegs in the rest of the frame that hadn’t yet been pegged. John installed the largest pegs (the original 1-3/8” size) into the plate but the rest of us used 1-1/4”, 1”, and 3/4" for other parts. Eden even got to drive a few of the lower pegs.

Tomorrow we’ll finish the last few pegs and then turn to the ridge and rafters. The incredible five-sided pine ridge and cedar round rafters were salvaged from barns not far from the original frame and are near identical matches. In fact, one of the original rafters was salvageable and is being put back into the frame. We expect to complete the frame tomorrow and begin sheathing the roof. The sheathing process will likely extend into Friday morning.

- Joshua


Categories: Hand Tools

Correct Hide Glue Ratio Mix

Journeyman's Journal - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 7:09pm

I see innumerable recordings on YouTube innocently giving out the wrong information on the ratio mix of water to granules.  Why are there so many mislead? My own particular musings to this is were all gaining from each other. In the event that one source puts out deluding data, at that point it spreads like an infection tainting thousands consistently. My issue with some YouTube recordings is the mundane, relentless, unconcerned, easygoing, detached demeanor they take towards the art.

For this situation I will just allude to shroud stick. You hear words like “oh I don’t measure how much water I use, I just pour it in and cover the surface.” That’s not by any stretch of the imagination how it goes and the reason they say this, is they don’t realize what is the right proportion blend.

On the off chance that you’ve perused my magazines you will see antiquated articles revealing to you the right proportion blend is 1:1. It doesn’t state what looks great to the eye. They additionally don’t take this nonchalant disposition towards the art where I’ve heard some say on the off chance that if it looks square then it must be square. I believe this attitude is just an exterior facade to influence the viewer into believing or at least make it appear that hand tools are a no fuss operation.  Rip it and tidy up the edge with a couple of swipes of your plane and Bob’s you uncle. This is implausible, unrealistic woodworking.

Today is my roster day off so I don’t want to spend too much time on this as I’m under the gun to go back to the build for the third issue. So I’ll simply demonstrate to you a progression of photograph’s and afterward you’ll realise what the right proportion blend resembles.


Lo-and-behold I didn’t take a photo of it mixed! Unbelievable.  I’ll try to describe it to you, but if you mix 1:1 you’ll see what it looks like.  The water level should just cover the surface of the granules. Not flood it or drown it but just cover it.

What’s additionally imperative is the nature of the granules and I’m referring to its quality.  I purchase mine from Patrick Edwards; he gets it from Milligan and Higgins. I don’t know Behlen items whether they utilize Milligans and Higgins and simply slap their own particular mark on it or on the off chance that they make their own. In any case, Milligans and Higgins is a trusted and experience organisation and if it’s sufficient for Patrick an incredible Marqueter with 40+ years of knowledge and experience at that point it’s adequate for me.

_DSC1701_DSC1702 If I’ve offended someone in this post then toughen up.


Categories: Hand Tools

Frankly, These Guys Are Kicking A@$

360 WoodWorking - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 4:47pm
Frankly, These Guys Are Kicking A@$

This week, beginning on Monday, I have a couple of woodworkers in the shop building Pembroke tables. Frankly, these guys are kicking A@$. It’s been only three days and the Franks – that’s right, both guys in the class are named Frank – are owning these tables.

As you can see in the photo, the tables, complete with oval drop-leaf tops and fly rails with knuckle joints, are all but finished. Because they plan to breakdown the tables to transport them back to their shops, they decided to build without assembly, which is why the aprons are not yet installed.

Continue reading Frankly, These Guys Are Kicking A@$ at 360 WoodWorking.

Virtuosity At A Whole Different Scale

The Barn on White Run - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 4:38pm

My acquaintance Bill Robertson, maker of astonishing miniatures, is featured in a new TED Talk.  Watch, and prepare to be astounded.

Making a handle for a pocket knife

Mulesaw - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 3:27pm
As Brian Eve once noticed, whenever I am at home, my blog is pretty much dead. I don't do it on purpose, it just happens. I like to all sorts of things but to sit in front of a computer.

My family have given me a smart phone and I have accepted it, because they claimed that I could use it to take pictures with, and these would be instantly accessible on my blog.
Now it seems as though it is not the entire truth.
Brian told me that in order for the pictures to go automatically from my Iphone to Google, I needed some sort of app.
The problem is that I distrust app-stores of any kind. Technically I guess I distrust smartphones as well. So in order for me to get my pictures I have to email them to myself and then download them, save them in a folder, and then I can use the picture on my blog.
It is not that much easier than a digital camera in my opinion - but at least I have my phone with me most of the time, so perhaps there will be an increase in land based blogging in the future.

Enough abut modern technology, lets get to the interesting part:

I have been assigned to a different ship, and my schedule has changed at the same time, so that is why there has been a 9 weeks period without any real activity instead of the regular five weeks.
This new ship is currently in Africa, more exact Ghana.
As any sensible person reading this blog would do, the first things to investigate when knowing the job site is A) find out what vaccinations are needed for the area, B) find out what wood is available in that area.

Ghana Forestry Commission has an excellent site that tells you the name of the species in the local language and a lot of other information on the different types of wood that are native to the country.

I browsed their list and asked one of the local stevedores working on the ship if he knew where I could get some Bubinga.
He had a friend who did some woodcarving, and a after a bit of time I managed to explain to him that I wasn't interested in buying a carved figure of an elephant, but I would like to get some raw stock.
A bit more phone work, and I was presented with two really nice pieces of dense reddish hard wood.
I think it is Bubinga, but it could also be something else. I am not an expert on determining exotic wood species.
The two pieces each measure 3.75" x 4.5" and have a length of 24 - 28". I paid a total of 15$ for them, and I have no idea if that is above the market price down here, but I am happy, and the guy selling them seemed happy too. So I guess it was an alright deal for both of us.

In order for me to find out how this wood is to work with, I decided to make a wooden handle for a pocket knife that I found in a drawer in the engine control room.
The process itself was fairly straight forward:
I sawed off a thin piece of wood and flattened what would become the inside of the handle.
I placed the internal part of the pocket knife on the new handle parts and traced a handle shape.
A piece of aluminium scrap was filed to the same thickness as the internal part of the knife. That would become the back part of the knife.
Holes were drilled for the blade fixing screws and some 2 mm brass nails that were glued in like some sort of rivets and also for a 6 mm copper pipe that will eventually serve for a small line if needed.

My newly purchased Bubinga?

Plastic handled pocket knife.

Scrap aluminium.

Assembled and ready for shaping.

Categories: Hand Tools

Two Classes Left This Year

Paul Sellers - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 12:48pm

On Friday the doors open to the second to the last class of the year. It will be the first day of Autumn and it seems to have started right on cue. Tomorrow I will arrange the benches and the tools and all the wood is cut and ready. The students are coming from Sweden, …

Read the full post Two Classes Left This Year on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Dugout Chair Part 6, Remove the Rot

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 11:06am

My progress on the dugout chair has been stymied by rains from two hurricanes, building two Campaign bookshelves and laying out a forthcoming book on carving by Mary May. But today I fired up my angle grinder to remove the rotted interior of this silver maple. I don’t have a ton of experience with an angle grinder. But if you’ve used an electric router, then you’ll quickly get comfortable with […]

The post Dugout Chair Part 6, Remove the Rot appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Presents from the EWS show.

David Barron Furniture - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 9:14am

I was quite taken aback at the show to be given these lovely presents. The medjool dates came all the way from Israel, the bottle opener and beer from Dave Jeske from Blue Spruce. The expensive bottle of wine was handed to me in the middle of a dovetail demo so I didn't get a proper chance to say thanks.
Categories: Hand Tools

Repairing the Underside of the FORP Bench

The Barn on White Run - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 5:15am

With a little logistical cogitation John and I, both 60-somethings and neither of us mesomorphs, managed to maneuver the 300+ pound top of the French Oak Roubo Project workbench out into the light.  Immediately I was struck by both the magnificence of the 240(?) year old white oak slab, and the waney void adjacent to a glue line on the underside of it.  I suppose at one time I was just going to leave it as-is, an admittedly foggy memory going back four years, but given that one of the leg mortises needed to go right through the flawed region I decided instead to fill it.  I could have grafted in another piece of oak but instead fell back on a tried-and-true method of repair that I have employed several times in the past as it was especially well suited for a repair of this size.

I first sized (primed) the margins of the effected area with standard West System epoxy, thinned about 25% with acetone to get deep penetration.  One of the reasons for any potential epoxy failures, whether in adhesion, consolidation or filling, is that the epoxy does not penetrate adequately to knit the entire construct together nicely.  What then often happens also is that the density differences between the high density inelastic epoxy and the less dense, much more elastic wood, may result in a fracture at their margin when they are intimately bound together in a cyclic stressful environment.  The diluted epoxy addresses the first of these problems, the filling of epoxy with large wood flakes addresses the second.


In this case I ran a scrap of oak through the power planer to yield the typically large shavings you would expect from the machine.  I took handfuls of these shavings and packed them down into the void that had been previously primed with the thinned epoxy.

I then drizzled un-thinned epoxy on top of the wood flakes, then sprinkled on more shavings and packed them again through some wax paper.  I let the entire fill to harden overnight.

An additional feature of fills like this is that when the volume is large enough, the exothermic reaction of the epoxy hardening causes the adhesive to actually boil in place, aerating the  fluid as it hardens, reducing further the density of the hardened fill.  This is a very good thing.

The resulting repair is much closer in density to the wood, thus reducing the risk of a system fracture at their interface, and yields a repair that can be easily smoothed with a rasp or Surform tool.

The success of the repair can be clearly seen in the edges of the mortises I drilled and pounded through the slab and the repair (next blog post).  It held together wonderfully and had working properties nearly identical to the adjacent oak.

Ten Ways I am Doing Things Differently - Part 2

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 4:00am

I've been working with wood since I was a kid. I took my first woodworking class at the 92nd Street Y when I was 6 years old. I've been taking classes and building stuff for over 35 years. For the last 17 I have been working at Tools for Working Wood. In that time, new tools and new techniques have come on the market. By and large I have ignored them in my personal work. However, I haven't ignored everything, and my methods of work have in certain areas changed dramatically for the better. I've broken up my list of ten things into three posts so I don't drone on and on here. This is part two. Part 1 is here

Domino Joiner

When I studied in school, the idea of a powered joining system was an anathema to teachers and students of traditional methods. At the time, there weren't many options -- dowel joints were the most prominent. The Metropolitan Museum's Study Collection had Frank Lloyd Wright chairs that used dowel joints to hold the backs together. What made me notice this? The chairs were coming apart.

Towards the end of my studying time, Lamello biscuit joiners started gaining popularity, and by the 1990's biscuits had become the go-to method for joining cabinets. Many cabinet shops had stationary mortisers for floating tenons for stronger joints.

Then Festool introduced the Domino into the US in the first years of the 21st century. It was a portable, accurate machine for installing floating tenons. This was a game changer. I was so impressed with Festool's innovation that when I opened TFWW, a center for hand tools, I decided to add Festool to the mix. Over the years as a Festool dealer and user my faith in the system hasn't been challenged. We routinely use Dominos in our own shop for all sorts of construction. There are cases where manually cutting a mortise is easier, usually when working with bizarro angles, and there is the satisfaction of chopping a mortise by hand. The system isn't cheap, either. But for me, the Domino me is an enabler of projects I would not ordinarily have the time for.


I am getting older - better than the alternative - and for the past five years or so I haven't been able to see detail. My eyesight has been bad since third grade, but worsened with time. About ten years ago I started wearing continuous bifocals for reading. I also have a pair of computer glasses for focusing on my computer screen and reading . Close-up work become impossible until I re-discovered what everyone else in the same situation had already re-discovered: Magnification! Specifically, the Optivisor, which we now stock. They are surprisingly comfortable. I use a number 5 (2 1/2x magnification) with a headlamp. It makes a huge difference for small work. For just doing things like sharpening a saw, lesser magnification a #2 (which only magnifices 1.5x which isn't much at all) is a game changer for me. The lower magnification gives me a greater working distance which is nice. I wear them over my glasses. They are US-made and are of sufficiently high quality so I don't get eyestrain. I don't know what I would do without them. The game changing was especially sweet because between the time I noticed I could not do close work anymore and getting the Optivior, I went through an unhappy period of thinking that my woodworking days were behind me. I live in an apartment and I don't really need more furniture, but carving and miniatures have always held an attraction. I had been hoping that I would become good enough at relief carving to really enjoy the results of doing it - something not possible without magnification.

Flake Shellac

My first encounter with shellac was with a small bottle of hobby store shellac that might have been purchased during the Eisenhower administration. When I tried to use it during the Johnson administration it seemed to just lie there and not dry at all. Shellac was a mystery until maybe ten years ago. At that time I started understanding the difference between what you got in bottles pre-mixed, and what you could do if you mixed up shellac flakes with good alcohol yourself. While I had seen French polish in museums, it was only then that I saw fellow woodworkers finish their work with French polish. For the first time I really understood how wonderful shellac could be. Since that time I basically have three go-to finishes. Finishing oil, for anything that I want a matte finish on and anything walnut. Polyurethane from a can, for anything I just need to keep clean of fingerprints and I don't care about. And fresh shellac, mixed up from de-waxed shellac flakes as needed, French polished, or just brushed on and rubbed out. That's my classy finish. I still love my oil finishes but a shellac finish is just classier on so many levels.

That's all for now. More to come next time. What are your gamechangers?

toolbox 99.99% done.......

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 09/20/2017 - 1:35am
I am done with upgrading the toolbox woodworking wise. The last 0.01% left is to paint the dust shield banding I put on. I will also paint the rest of the tool exterior again. After it has been painted I'll put on a couple coats of satin poly. That will make it easier to clean the dust off of it. I'm looking forward to filling it with tools for Miles.

done right

These are the dovetails I expect of myself each and everytime I do them. On the times I fail to meet this standard, I have to use epoxy.

top edge flushed and cleaned up

till fits and slides easily R/L and L/R
Now the woodworking is done.

small gap
Both tills are up against the handles on the big till leaving this space.  There really isn't enough room to reach down beneath and take tools out. The space will allow moving either till toward the middle and lifting it out. You can then place the till onto the other one and have access to the bottom till.

the determining factor
This 12" steel ruler drove the size of this till.

the way I wanted the rule to go
The ID of the toolbox is  12"  so there wasn't any way I could have made a till to fit the ruler this way.

got his herd of planes in the box
I'm glad for this. The planes are a lot safer now in the toolbox then living on the dump table under a towel.

it's temporary home
This doesn't have many tools in it and it is heavy. I am not sure the handles I have on it will be able to handle picking it up fully loaded. Something I'll have to keep an eye on.

first temporary home
I keep the vacuum cleaner here and my standup to use dustpan and brush so it got ruled out. Eventually the toolbox will be stowed underneath the table on the left. I've got to clean that space out and find a new home for the crappola I have there now.

is it ok to change your mind on tools
I have used this marking since I went whole hog into hand tool woodworking about 6 years ago. It took me a while to get used to it and there haven't been any instances where I couldn't use it. One frustration I have with it is sharpening it. You have to keep this wicked sharp at all times in order to get optimum performance out of it. Sharpening a spear point, free hand, is not that easy for me to do.

Lee Valley throw away
 This marking knife is actually pretty good. I have sharpened it so much I changed the spear point profile. It is like the Energizer Bunny, it just keeps on going. It's a spear point and that means hard to sharpen, especially so being a small one. That and wishing the plastic was wood is killing this one. Although lately I have been using this one much more than the big spear point.

old time marking knife
I bought this from the Best of Things and it took me a long time to fettle the business end. I used it for a while and set it aside. It's been promoted again to head of the class. This is, or will be Miles marking knife but I'm going to give it a try again in the interim.

back is flat and shiny
this is what I've come around to again
I like this broad flat surface to run the knife against something. It was originally why I bought it but I was turned off by it's small size. I have since gotten use to small size marking knives by using the Lee Valley throw away.

cleanly incised line and easy to see

clean and neat line too
Of the three marking knife, this was the easiest one to make a line with. It is sharp right now and I know when to sharpen because it will drag when making a line. All three make the same incised line but the old time marking gauge is the only the didn't leave any fuzz on the exit. The LV knife left the biggest one because it must have picked up a burr.

my squares are getting chewed up
This is another reason why I want to try using the old time marking knife (again). I am hoping that it's broader contact area will stop me from doing this. With the spear point knives I tend to tilt the knife and catch this edge.

I also have a Lee Valley spear point marking knife with a wooden handle I forgot to snap a pic of. The business end of that has a broader, shorter profile than my big knife. I tried that for a few days and put it away. I didn't like that one at all.  I will try to do all my marking with the old knife for now and see what shakes out with it.

one of Miles panel saws
This saw has a few kinks in it. I am sending this out to have the saw plate straightened and filed for a rip cut.

Miles saws
L to R, the kinked crosscut, crosscut, and a dull rip with no set.

11 TPI
This is the small rip saw and it is the only one that has the TPI stamped on it. All three saws have no etch at all that I can make out.

I like the hang on this saw
This will get filed for 7 TPI rip. I think that the teeth may have to be punched for that.

getting an idea for the saw till size
It looks like a 25-26" ID will do for the length.

as is it is 6"
Wiggle room and some kind of holder will add a couple of more inches to the width ID.

until I make the saw till
shipping box
I could not find a cardboard box that approximated the size of the saw. I am making a custom one out of scraps.

screwed the corners
I will glue and screw the bottom on and just screw the top. Once the bottom has been glued and screwed, I'll remove the screws from the corners.

glued and cooking
I'll finish this tomorrow.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What are Stratocumulus, Stratus, Cumulus, Cumulonimbus clouds classified as?
answer - Low Level Clouds (0 to 1.25 miles)

M&T Shop Building: Raising the Bents Day Two

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Tue, 09/19/2017 - 2:07pm


This morning the crew gathered at 7:00 and devised a plan for raising the next three bents. The members between the bents are connected to each other with a 24’ long joist and so it was assembled as a unit and raised into place with a manual lift. The next bent was assembled on horses on the ground and carried into place by Matt via telehandler. This process continued all the way through to the fourth and final bent. Happily, there is little to report on because everything went so smooth. Even the twist in the joist between bent two and three was easily pulled into proper alignment.

By the end of the day, we had all four bents assembled. Tomorrow, we plan to put a temporary deck on the second floor and install the 26’ long plates with their braces onto the eve walls. With the plate in place, we can finish pegging the bents together and release the come alongs. After that it’s rafters and ridge pole! We’ll see how far we get tomorrow.

Tonight we feast and then rest before the next exciting step!

- Joshua


Categories: Hand Tools


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