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Hand Tools

Moxon’s Jointer Plane

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 3:30am

Moxon’s jointer plane. Ever wonder why the handles look so odd on the plane? I don’t think they’re particularly British. These illustrations were borrowed from the French.

This is an excerpt from “The Art of Joinery” by Joseph Moxon; commentary by Christopher Schwarz. 

The jointer is made somewhat longer than the fore plane and has its sole perfectly straight from end to end. Its office is to follow the fore plane and to shoot an edge perfectly straight, and not only an edge, but also a board of any thickness; especially when a joint is to be shet [shot]. Therefore the hand must be carried along the whole length with an equal bearing weight, and [al]so exactly even and upright to the edges of the board, [so] that neither side of the plane inclines either inward or outwards, but that the whole breadth be exactly square on both its sides. Supposing its sides straight, [then] so will two edges of two boards, when thus shot, lie so exactly flat and square upon one another that light will not be discerned between them. It is counted a piece of good workmanship in a joiner to have the craft of bearing his hand so curiously [in this way], even the whole length of a long board. And yet it is but a sleight [task] to those [where] practice hath accustomed the hand to [it]. The jointer is also used to try tabletops with {large or small}, or other such broad work. And then joiners work as well upon the traverse with it, as with the grain of the wood, and also angularly or corner-wise, that they may be more assured of the flatness of their work.

Its iron must be set very fine, so fine, that when you wink with [close] one eye, and [look at the iron with your open] eye, there appears a little above a hairs breadth of the edge above the surfaces of the sole of the plane, and the length of the edge must lie perfectly straight with the flat breadth of the sole of the plane. [With] the iron being then well wedged up and you working with the plane thus set, [you] have the greater assurance that the iron cannot run too deep into the stuff; and consequently you have the less danger that the joint is wrought out of straight.


Proper edge jointing. Whether you use a straight or curved iron, this is the proper way to joint an edge. The fingers of your off-hand serve as the fence against the work.

In Moxon, the primary job of the jointer plane seems to be working edges to make them straight and true. Not only to make them pretty but to glue them up into panels.

Now here is one area where Moxon vexes me. Moxon calls for the jointer plane to have an iron that is sharpened perfectly straight across, like a chisel. And the way you correct an edge is through skill – Moxon says it looks hard to the layman but is easy for joiners.

As one who has practiced freehand edge-planing with a jointer plane that has a straight-sharpened iron, I object. I think it’s easier to correct an edge with an iron with a slight curve. You can remove material from localized spots by positioning the iron to take more meat off one area.

This jointing technique with a curved iron appears in British workshop practice throughout the 20th century. It is today a fight as fierce as tails-first or pins-first in dovetailing. So give both jointing techniques a try and take your side. And just be glad Moxon doesn’t write a word about dovetailing.

One note here on long-grain shooting boards. Moxon doesn’t mention them, though they are frequently mentioned and employed starting in the 18th century. When you use a jointer plane with a shooting board to true an edge of a board, the iron of the jointer plane can be either curved or straight.

Both approaches work.

Several of my contemporary hand-tool woodworkers have suggested that perhaps Moxon simply could not see that the jointer plane’s iron is slightly curved. And indeed, the curve used on the edge of a jointer plane’s iron looks straight if you don’t show it to a second piece of straight material. However, I prefer to simply take Moxon at his word here. The joiners he observed use jointers with straight irons.


Criss-cross. Working corner to corner is a powerful technique for flattening a board. You can work both ways, though you’ll get more tear-out one way than the other.

Other jointer techniques in Moxon are quite helpful. He says you can traverse with a jointer and that you can work diagonally (corner to corner) across the grain with wide stock. Both of these techniques help flatten your boards because the jointer’s sole is removing high spots at the corners, which is commonly known as “twist” or “wind.” Note that Moxon says joiners use this for tabletops or other boards that are quite broad.

Other period accounts discuss other long planes. Richard Neve’s “The City and Country Purchaser” (1703) calls out two long planes: “The Long Plane,” which is about 24″ long, for faces of boards; and the jointer plane, which is about 30″ long, for edge joints.

Moxon’s instructions for setting a jointer plane can be interpreted as follows: Turn the plane over and sight down the sole. Close one eye. Peer down the sole and adjust the iron until you see it as a fine black line (about the thickness of a hair) that is even all across the width of the sole. That’s a good description of what it looks like. To my (one) eye, a hair’s breadth usually gets me a shaving that’s about .004″ to .006″ thick.

Meghan Bates

Filed under: The Art of Joinery
Categories: Hand Tools

working on the 044.......

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 12:35am
The plan was to pick up the 044 this weekend and figure out what I am doing wrong then. Thinking about what may have been the problem kept echoing in the brain bucket all day. When I got home tonight I tried a couple of things that were quick and easy to do. I'm still scratching my bald spot on a couple and I might have figured out a couple. Only long term results will  prove them right.

the 78 box
I am hoping that I have enough meat left to hold and keep the lid in place.

the Record 044 box
A 1/4" groove with roughly the same amount of meat left.

It's as tight as I can get it
This is the way I left it from yesterday. I went to tighten it expecting it to be loose and it wasn't. I can't pull the rod back out but at the same time I can move it L/R.

rod pushed away - see the gap
rod pushed the opposite way - gap on the opposite side now
size of the rods are the same
hole is about .01 larger
I am not a machinist so I don't know if this would be an allowable tolerance. The other arm isn't nearly as wiggly nor does it have the same gaps. Maybe this is a deliberate machining step?

movement in the far one and a lot less in the near one
making sure the fence is parallel to the skate
I assumed since this plow has two arms, that once the fence thumbscrews are tightened, it would be parallel. Not so with this plow. Repeated loosen and tighten cycles all yielded a taper with the high water mark at the toe and the low water at the heel.

no more wiggle in either arm
This surprised me. Even without the fence tightened down on the arms, there was no movement in the fence rods. Part of the machining design of the tool?

first groove started
I went L to R monitoring the fence contact with the edge. I'm still batting 1.000 on the first groove.

almost a 1/4"
a 32nd less in the middle
same at the end
I thought that this would be the opposite of what I got. Maybe I'm not correlating this in my mind the correct way.

groove run #2
Fence is off the edge. I didn't see this happening. I sensed it more that seeing it at first. I had a build up of shavings and when I cleared them I saw this.

the fence is still parallel to the skate
swapped out the rods
I am trying out the rods from the Record 405 in the Record 044. They measure the same and I have the same wiggle problem with them. But with the fence on, the wiggling is gone.

changing my hand position
This is how I've been holding my left hand on the plow. My forefinger resting on the fence, thumb on the fence thumb screw and remaining fingers wrapped around the rod. I am thinking that maybe when I come from the R going to the L that I am applying pressure and cocking the fence somehow.

new way of holding and applying pressure
This way doesn't feel as good as the other way but I am going to try it.

appears to be working better
Got the groove started L to R and I am still tight against the edge. It has been about here that I see a gap between the fence and the edge of the stock.

tight on the L
tight in the middle -ish area
 tight at the right and keeping the throat clear
I normally keep the shavings where they spill out. This time I've been keeping the throat clear so I can see if and when the fence goes off the edge. I plowed two more grooves and both came out good. I plowed both grooves without any problems. The fence stayed where it should have and my grooves were straight and square.

Two grooves don't mean I solved this but it is a start. Only repeated making of good grooves will tell me that.

flushed the pins/tails and plugged my holes
lid rough sawn to length and width
I'll sticker the lid and do the fitting and trimming tomorrow.

I knew I should have left the shop
I wasn't going to saw out the bottom but I tried to squeeze it in. I also tried to saw out the lid with almost no over hang this time. Sawing on the wrong side of the line removed what little wiggle room I had. I caught that half way through the cut. I'll try it again tomorrow.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that a full moon is ten times brighter than a half moon?

The Big Deal about Chopping Boards

The Indian DIY & Woodworker - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 8:44pm
Chopping boards for healthy living

In meat shops all over India, butchers still use a tree stump, usually from the Neem (Azadirachta indica) tree as a butcher's block. There is a reason for this: end grain wood self-heals and lasts a long time. Moreover, the natural oils in the wood of trees such as Neem are anti-bacterial.

There has been a shift towards plastic chopping boards in recent times because they are easier to clean and handle. However, they seem to have a problem: knife cuts scour deep fine lines on the plastic which can get clogged with minute quantities of food matter.

Even a minute quantity of food matter lodged inside the fine cuts in a chopping board will spoil and breed moulds and bacteria, including toxic ones that could cause chronic digestive ailments.

This is one reason many people today are going back to using wooden chopping boards particularly the end-grain ones, which are very durable and inhibit the growth of bacteria and fungi.

I have gone back to using wooden chopping boards but never got around to making an end grain board. I used regular Pine for making my kitchen boards which is not such a bad alternative.

Recently, I picked up a thick cross section of Neem which I decided to turn into a chopping board. Some of the cracks required filling with epoxy and the bark had to be taken off. The top and sides were smoothed by several hours of serious sanding.

Filling cracks with epoxy
After a lot of sanding

Adding pads

Paraffin - a food safe oil

Pouring Paraffin

Paraffin soaked

In Use

I attached four rubber pads in the base to and finished it with Paraffin Oil purchased at the local chemist. Paraffin oil has medicinal uses and is food safe. A bottle costs about Rs 150. I allowed the oil to soak in and dry in the sun for a few hours. It was then ready for use.

My wife was somewhat unnerved by the appearance of this rather large chopping board (three inches thick and two feet at its widest). She argued it would be difficult to move around but I assured her she would get used to it.

In retrospect it does seem rather large and takes up quite a bit of counter space. But the good thing is it will probably last us a lifetime!

Indranil Banerjie
12 January 2018
Categories: Hand Tools

Why Make Things with Your Hands featuring Ben Strano - M&T Podcast 05

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 5:34pm


This episode of our podcast is the first to feature a guest. Since our friend, Ben Strano of Fine Woodworking, was up in our neck of the woods this week, we invited him to join us in a discussion about the importance of hand skills and making things with personal meaning. And because Ben is not only a passionate woodworker, but he is a tech-nut, we also discussed how both print and digital media support those two vital things for this next generation of woodworkers. Ben describes his work behind the scenes at Fine Woodworking and tells us about what it’s like working with the woodworkers he looks up to most.

Notable Links from this Podcast:


Categories: Hand Tools

Bridge City Hardware Adoption/Warehouse Sale Launches Monday, Jan. 15th

Bridge City Tools - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 1:23pm

Drivel Starved Nation!

The last time we had a warehouse/hardware adoption sale, and some of you likely remember, all hell broke loose.

First, our site slowed to a crawl, which caused buyers to press the “submit order” button several times. Behind the scenes we were getting paid for each button push. Over the next week, we refunded over $250,000 to those impatient buyers.

While the site was having fits, we notified our IT contractor who said “no problem” and then quit on the spot. We had to find a new IT company in 24 hours. In hindsight, I think it would have been way more fun taking the money and spending a month or two running from the FBI.

This year, we are liquidating all of our partially assembled rosewood and brass square blanks. Unless you are only interested in reclaiming the rosewood for other purposes, you need to be warned that this is not like buying a LEGO kit. There is work involved. (BTW, we have had this rosewood since 2000, long before it became illegal.) We are also selling brass square blades and there is no guarantee that the brass will fit in the slotted blanks on sale. In this case, you will need to buy some brass and hand dress to the slot if ours is too thin. It is work, and it is fun. And to make it a bit easier, the fine folks at Popular Woodworking have given us permission to share the step-by-step instructions on how we made this incredibly popular tool. You can download the original color article PDF here.

Most of this stuff has been sitting in totes since 2000 so don’t be discouraged by the dirty look, they clean up like new. Regarding the pricing of the hardware, we should be approximately 30% – 50% below comparable prices if you can find this stuff elsewhere.

Here’s a sneak peek at some of the stuff going on sale and no, the ruler in the image is NOT included;


















There is another 150 items or so that we are liquidating. AND, we have an added bonus, any order over $150 will receive a $45 discount coupon code good towards our award winning Chopstick Master.

Lastly, Consuelo asked me to share the Warehouse sale rules;
Expect a lot of interested individuals who will be participating in this custom hardware adoption sale. With that in mind, our website may be extremely slow and phone lines will be extremely busy. Please make sure to read the following reminders, rules, and tips:

1. All the items are sold on a first come, first served basis. Items cannot be placed on hold nor be shipped with other open orders. We cannot combine shipping for multiple orders placed.

2. For those who live near our headquarters in Portland, OR, we are not offering will call/pick up orders as all the sale inventory is located in a fulfillment center.

3. Once inventory of an item is sold out, we do not anticipate having more of the same product going back in stock in the future. There may be a handful of new items that will be added at a later time, but majority of the clearance items in this sale will be released when the sale begins.

4. There is only one price available for each clearance item. No other additional discounts (such as the Founder’s Circle price) apply.

5. Even if the website may be slower during this time, ordering online will yield a better chance of successfully completing an order than calling our customer service line to try to speak with someone to place the order.

6. If you have forgotten your password and are having trouble resetting it online, send us a quick email and we will respond as soon as we can with one that works. We recommend doing this BEFORE the sale begins so that you aren’t rushing to get into your account to order when the madness begins.

7. Please make sure that the billing address you are going to use to create the order matches exactly the address that your bank card has on file. Do NOT put both the physical address and PO BOX on the address line, as only 1 address type is correctly associated with your card. In this day and age of credit card fraud and vulnerabilities, we do our best to make sure that your security is protected and that the billing address always matches the card that is used to make transactions on our website.

8. For those who are unfamiliar with our ordering processes, please note that in stock items will always create a separate order number from a pre-order item, even if it is placed in the same shopping cart. We indicate the splitting of orders in 3 different places: below the “Proceed to Checkout” button on the Shopping Cart page, under the “Submit Order” button on the Check Out page, and in our FAQ page on our website.

9. It is possible that items can sell out while you are filling your shopping cart. An alert should populate to let you know if inventory has run out for an item when you click on “Proceed to Checkout” in the shopping cart page.

10. How do I know if my order was successfully placed? Once the “Submit Order” button has been clicked, you should be redirected to a new page displaying the order number. Remember: the website may be extremely slow during this time and you may need to wait for the new page to refresh in your screen. If it did not generate an order number and you are uncertain if the order went through, click on the “My Orders” tab on the left-hand side. If your order was successfully placed, it will display it on the very top of the list with an order number, the date it was placed, and the list of items included in the order.

11. We will do our best to get back to you immediately and resolve any inventory or order errors. We appreciate the extended patience, especially during the first few hours of the sale period.

You might want to check and see if your login credentials are current and have fun. The sale will go live on Monday morning, Jan 15th at 9am PST.

Don’t press submit more than once


The post Bridge City Hardware Adoption/Warehouse Sale Launches Monday, Jan. 15th appeared first on John's Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Bits & Bit Stock

360 WoodWorking - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 12:00pm
Bits & Bit Stock

I just posted a new presentation by Ron Herman for members at 360Woodworking.com. Way back in 2017 (sure seems like a long time ago, huh?) Ron did a video on braces and drills. The new release, Bits & Bit Stock dovetails into the 2017 presentation.

While his short video is packed with great hand-tool information, as is always the case, what I found particularly interesting about this video is how in-depth Ron gets as he differentiates between Jennings and Irwin bracing bit patterns – one is faster when excavating a hole, but that increased excavation comes at a price.

Continue reading Bits & Bit Stock at 360 WoodWorking.

Lie Nielsen No 7 Plane

David Barron Furniture - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 9:40am

I've been getting by without a long plane, but the time has come to put that right. A lie Nielsen No 7 jointer arrived from Classic Hand Tools yesterday. This is going to be great for edge jointing longer pieces on my shooting board as well as flattening my work benches.
While I was at the Barnsley Workshops many years ago this was everyone's plane of choice but I remembered that only one of the planes they had up till point had a truly flat sole. It was going to be interesting to check mine.

Here it is against my 2' Starrett straight edge, with a light shining behind, showing a gap to the rear of the mouth opening.

Using my thinnest feeler gauge of .0015", it just slid under. Although this is a tiny amount and probably well within tolerance, I wanted a flatter sole.
I must point out that with the gap behind the mouth, the plane would have performed just fine without any fettling.

I checked the table of my Felder table saw and it was dead flat. I stuck down some 150 grit with spray adhesive and carefully rubbed the plane along in one direction only. I kept the paper clean and then lubricated with WD 40 and after about 5 minutes it was flattened.

Turning to the blade, some initial flattening of the back showed a slight hollow just back from the edge which made flattening much faster. It seemed too even to be just good luck and I'm guessing this was done deliberately to help preparation.

The blade is ground at 25 degrees, so the job of final honing at 30 degrees was easy and quick. You can see a slight curve on the blade which I prefer, even for edge jointing (I will delve into this another day!)

With the back prepared you can still see some of the grind scratches but they are back from the edge. Cleaning up the edge of some rippled sycamore produced a lovely surface and the blade really sang.
I think we are going to be friends.

Categories: Hand Tools

something is awry......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 12:57am
Awry is the word to use in polite company for this problem. In my shop it was what the #@!(%&;**%$@!!%^(&;^##) is wrong with this plow plane? I used the Record 044 again today and the results were less than pleasing. I plowed the grooves by starting at the left end and working backwards. First groove was good but the second one went south on me.

groove #2
 Starting end of the groove on the second one. The outside wall is thin at this end.

right side end is thicker
Houston, we have a gap
Something escaped me here and I don't know what it was. There is a gap along the entire edge where as when I started this the fence was up tight on the edge. I thought I was tight against the edge L/R for at least the first couple of passes.

I can see a difference the outside walls - one is tapered and one is parallel
I can not get the fence up tight against the edge and have the skate in the bottom of the groove. The skate should be ride in the bottom of the groove up close against the inboard wall of the groove. With the skate where it belongs, the fence should be tight against the edge. Not here sports fans.

first thought was the skate or the fence isn't straight
A hair over 3/8ths at this end.

a 16th off on this end
The fence is not parallel to the skate. Now, the question is why isn't it parallel with the skate?

back rod is square
Both the skate and the fence are flat and straight along their entire lengths.

front rod is off square
I tried to make another groove in some scrap and ended up with crap. Try as I might, I couldn't keep the fence up against the edge as I plowed the groove going left to right. So I thought this was the problem but I'm not sure. My first groove in the box was spot on but the second one and the third practice one were both toast. Something went wrong after the first groove and before or during the second one.

When I checked the front rod again, I noticed that it was wobbling in the hole. I checked the screw securing it and it was a bit loose. I have had fence securing screws loosen on my other plow planes making similar looking grooves. I was a wee bit discouraged after this so I set the plow aside for now. I'll revisit this on the weekend and I'll check out my loose screw theory.

I fixed the grooves in the box on the tablesaw because I am not making a new side nor a new box. My groove is a lot wider than I wanted it but that is what it is. The top web is thinner than what I would do but in order to even out the grooves, that is what I ended up with.

I glued, squared the box, and set the box by the furnace to cook. It had just started to make steam so I at least lucked into that.

#4 parts plane
This cost me $30 and I have spent that and more just for an iron and a chipbreaker. I am taking a woodworking class in June and I'll need a smoother. I'll rehab this one for that trip. I feel better taking this rather than one my shop planes. If it gets lost, broken, or stolen, I'm only out a few dollars.

most #4 irons are about 8 inches long
Lots of blade left to sharpen on this iron.

badly pitted but mostly away from the edge
There is a little pitting along the edge of the back side of the iron at the bevel. I am hoping that I will be able to lap it out. If I can't, this iron is toast.

tote is cracked almost 360
still connected on this side
The Plane Collector uses gorilla glue for his tote and knobs repairs. I'll have to get some when I go to Lowes.

first time for everything
I've never had this stud come off in any of my previous plane rehabs. The brass adjuster knob is stuck on the stud and it looks like I'm in for some fun getting the knob off and the stud back on.

japanning looks to be close to 100%
There is one rust spot on the cross brace just in the front of the throat. Other than that it looks like some simple green and a good scrubbing will be all this needs.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know it takes 17 muscles to smile  (this muscle count depends upon your source, it goes from a low of 6 to a high of 62. 17 was about the average but no one knows the exact number)

Carpenters’ bowling alley expenses

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 6:09pm

I’m supposed to be putting together 3 lectures and planning 2 demonstrations. And finishing an article. And more. So I’m susceptible to distraction tonight. While looking for slides, I ran across these old notes I took about 15 years ago. Many years ago, I bought a few volumes of the Records of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters. An extravagant purchase, but with some great details about their goings-on. Here’s a snippet, I wrote a “translation” in parentheses for the many folks who might not be so nimble at deciphering the original:

Bower Marsh, editor, Records of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters, vol 4, Warden’s account book, 1546-1571

payd to Rychard burdn for iij plankes for the bowlyng ale xviijd  (paid to Richard Burden for 3 planks for the bowling alley, 18 pence)

payd for iiij lode of funders yearthe & the caryag for the bowlyng ale vs vjd  (paid for 4 loads of founders earth and the carriage for the bowling alley, 5 shillings, 6 pence)

payd to ij laborars for a day & di for caryeng owte of the funders yerthe in to the strett Redy for ye cartes & for caryeng yt in to or well yard xviijd

(paid to 2 laborers for a day & a half for carrying out of the fuller’s earth into the street ready for the carts & for carrying it in to our well yard – 17 pence)

payd for iiij lod of sope ahysses & the caryag iijs xd (paid for 4 loads of soap ashes and the carriage 3 shillings 10 pence)

payd for v busschelles of howse ahysses for the bowlyng ale xd (paid for 5 bushels of house ashes for the bowling alley 10 pence)

payd to ij men for the makyng of the bowlyng aly xxjs xjd  (paid to 2 men for the making of the bowling alley 21 shillings 11 pence)

Randle Holme’s description of bowling, from 1688 is:

Bowling is a Game, or recreation which if moderately used very healthfull for the body, and would be much more commendable then it is, were it not for those swarms of Rooks, which so pester Bowling greens, where in three things are thrown away by such persons, besides the Bowls, viz: Tyme, Money, and Curses, and the last ten for one.
Seuerall places for Bowling.
First, Bowling greens, are open wide places made smooth and euen, these are generally palled or walled about.
Secondly, Bares, are open wide places on Mores or commons.
Thirdly, Bowling-alleys, are close places, set apart in made more for privett persons, than publick uses.
Fourthly, Table Bowling, this is, Tables of a good length in Halls or dineing roomes, on which for exercise and diuertisement gentlemen and their assosiates bowle with little round balls or bullets.

Here’s Jan Steen’s skittle players, not technically bowling. But what we in the US think of as bowling these days.

Randle Holme again, describing the types of bowls:

Several sorts of Bowles.
Where note in Bowling the chusing of the Bowls is the greatest cunning, for
Flat Bowles, are best for close Narrow alleys.
Round Byassed Bowles for open grounds of advantage.
Bowles as round as a ball for green swarths that are plain and Levell.
Chees-cake bowles, which are round and flat like cheeses.
Jack Bowles, little bowles cast forth to bowl att, of some termed a Block.
Studded Bowles, such as are sett full of pewter nayles, and are used to run at streight Markes.
Marvels, or round Ivory balls, used by gentlemen to play on long tables, or smooth board Romes.

I saw these bowlers during my trip to England a few years back. I think this was near Royal Leamington Spa

Here is a 17th-century bowling ball, found during Boston’s famous Big Dig:

Read about it here: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/mhc/mhcarchexhibitsonline/crossstreetbacklot.htm 


Some Nice Furniture Pieces

David Barron Furniture - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 9:34am

Piotr sent me some pictures of some projects she has made, all by hand.

There are some interesting and skilful joints on this plant stand.

A nice jewellery box and below my favourite, a sushi plate in oak with sliding dovetails for the feet. Paired down simplicity but very pleasing on the eye.
Piotr is looking for an apprenticeship or similar, if anyone can help please let me know.

Categories: Hand Tools

Keep your bevel up--or down.

Oregon Woodworker - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 8:52am
I wrote recently that I decided to take my Veritas low angle smoother as the only bench plane in my travelling tool kit.  The main reason for this was that I have a set of four blades from 25 to 50 degrees and a toothed blade.  I reasoned that I would be able to accomplish a wide variety of tasks with only this plane.

In fact, the plan worked.  I was making drawers and preparing the stock by hand.  I could use a 25 degree blade for the end grain and a 50 degree blade for the face of the douglas-fir I was using for sides to avoid tearout.  Look at the tight shavings that it produced:

I could readily adjust the mouth in only a second.  The major downside was that I had to keep changing blades, which was kind of annoying.  You can in fact do woodworking with this as your only plane.

Based on this, you may expect I will now argue that bevel-up planes are the way to go, but that isn't the case.  Because of all the tearout I experienced with the slabs I was working on recently, I became a lot more sophisticated than I was with adjusting the mouth and chipbreaker on my vintage bevel-down planes and I am reasonably sure I could have accomplished equivalent results with them.  I'm not certain, but I suspect you can get a higher effective angle with a chipbreaker than the 62 degrees you can get with the Veritas plane.  The fact that it takes more time to adjust them isn't really an issue in a shop because you can have several set up differently.  You can have ten for the price of the Veritas plane and extra blades.

The one area where I think the Veritas plane is superior is end grain.  Lee Valley says, "(i)ts low cutting angle of 37° minimizes fiber tearing, making it ideal for end-grain work."  I think that's true.  I was actually getting full width shavings on end grain, something I haven't figured out how to do with a bevel-down plane.  I have also found that it is much more comfortable to use on a shooting board than a bevel-down plane.  This isn't to say that you can't do great endgrain work with a bevel-down plane because obviously you can.

My bottom line is this.  You can get great results with either type of plane if you have the necessary skills.  I think the bevel-up planes may be slightly easier to learn to use.  When I am at home, I keep the Veritas plane set up for end grain work and use my bevel-down planes for most other purposes save for occasionally dealing with tough tearout.

I feel very fortunate to have these vintage planes:  #3,4,5,5 1/2, 6, 7, 10.  The only one I don't often use is the #6.  I wouldn't dream of parting with any of the others.  Same with the Veritas smoother.  I suspect that if I got into wooden planes I would feel the same way about them.
Categories: Hand Tools

Studley Tool Cabinet Molding Profile

The Barn on White Run - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 6:57am

I blogged recently about visiting my friend, Mister Stewart, and his ensemble of the Henry Studley tool cabinet and workbench.  One of the purposes of the visit was to get a better picture of the molding profile on the cabinet, but Mister Stewart did one better than that.  During his fabrication of the new workbench base he replicate exactly the moldings from the tool cabinet and gave me one of the scraps from that enterprise.  I finally got a chance to take a picture, and here it is.

If you would like a better resolution picture of the cross-section, drop me a line here.

The Unheated Workshop

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 4:00am

The temperature has been varying between really cold and OMG cold since the New Year, and unfortunately our indoor work temperature has reflected this. Our steel roll-up garage-style showroom door and super-high ceilings are major escape routes for heated air and our three gas powered reflecting heaters barely make a dent.

Are we part of a "proud" historic tradition? Amazingly, in days of yore cabinet shops in Europe and US, even in dank and chilly parts, were not heated.

Let's think about this for a bit. Iron stoves date from the mid 18th century, commonly available central heating from the end of the 19th. Light was essential for craft work, but glass windows were not common in Britain and the US prior to the middle of the 19th century. In the spring, summer and fall, craftsmen worked in front of open windows - a source of light and air. Rain was kept away by roof eaves. In the winter and in truly inclement weather, translucent oiled cloth over the windows gave some protection from the elements. Shutters secured the premises at night and when there was no work.

While fine sawdust from sandpaper wasn't much of an issue before the 20th century, sawdust from sawing and plane shavings did present a constant danger for a fire. And with all that dry wood around, any small fire could easily become a deadly conflagration. Thomas Chippendale's shop, for example. burned in a fire in 1755; although he rebuilt his shop, his personal fortune never recovered from the disaster. And so unlike those lucky blacksmiths who had forges and bakers who had ovens, woodworkers had to exercise extreme caution around fire. Even smoking was generally banned anywhere near the shop. Open fires of any sort were forbidden in shops -- and with that, no ready source of heat was available in shops.

Even in the 18th century, there must have been some small fires to keep the glue hot. The Joiner and Cabinetmaker (1839) describes the apprentice's job of preparing and maintaining the glue pot and makes note of the "serious accidents [that] have sometimes arisen" with improper care, such as when a "hot cinder sticking to the bottom has set the shavings and the shop on fire."

With the advent of iron stoves, it was possible to have some heat in a workshop. But the lack of insulation in the shop, and the probability of working next to the outdoor light meant that on a good day your back might have some heat on it but your front and hands would be freezing.

Fortunately, in the winter the workdays bowed to the reality of shorter daylight and were shorter too.

The funny part of all of this is that at the end of my workday I ride on a (mostly) heated subway and a centrally heated home. Up until pretty recently your frozen cabinetmaker went home to a house probably heated only by a fireplace in the kitchen and parlor. If he was lucky and well-to-do, maybe his bedroom had a small fireplace, but by and large, your workplace might have been freezing and your home was pretty cold too.

And don't get me started about the plumbing.

Apparently A Very Popular Design

The Furniture Record - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 10:34pm

If you have visited the web site of the Society of American Period Furniture Makers (sapfm.org)  recently, you have undoubtedly see this image:


Bob Stevenson’s Tambour Desk

From the SAPFM site:

Reproduction of a Seymour Tambour Desk with inlayed (sp?) Tambour. 
The original, by John Seymour, was made circa 1793-1796 in Boston, MA. 
It is now in the collection at the Winterthur Museum, Delaware. 

Plans by Robert Millard were used.

I have been to Winterthur and have this picture to prove it:

IMG_1827 - Version 2

The Seymour Tambour desk at Winterthur accessorized.

Their picture is better:


Nice picture. Better lighting.

There is also this desk at Bayou Bend in Houston, TX:


The pulls on the doors are different but you can see some similarities.

Bayou Bend offered the following explanation:

The tambour desk was a new and innovative form that reflects the increasingly important place of women in American society in the early 19th century, as well as the growing international influence on American furniture design. Rather than relying on English design sources, the desk appears to be related to a small group of furniture influenced by contemporary French models, in this instance the bonheur du jour, or small writing table, of the Louis XVI period (1774–1793). The desk enjoyed great popularity in Boston and in the cabinet making centers north of the city. Exhibited in the Federal Parlor at Bayou Bend, this example bears the script initials “TS” and is similar to a desk with a paper label bearing the names of John and Thomas Seymour. Although these relationships strengthen the attribution to the Seymours’ shop, they are not sufficient to attribute the desk to a specific maker. Thomas Seymour’s own advertisements specify that the furniture was made not by but “under the direction of Thomas Seymour.” Whether this elegant desk represents the work of an individual or a group, the accomplished results epitomize the cabinetmakers’ sensitive interpretations of the Neoclassical style in America, through the drawer pulls of English enamel, light-colored inlay, and delicate inlaid swags on the sliding tambour front.

Then, at a local auction, I saw this:


 This lot has sold for $310.

Federal Style Inlaid Tambour Writing Desk.

Description:  Circa 1900, bench made, white pine secondary, two-part form, upper case with unusual inlaid tambour doors featuring bell flowers and columns, opening to a divided and drawered interior with line inlays, hinged writing surface with felt lining, over two graduated cock beaded drawers with line and corner fan inlays, square tapered legs with repeating column and bellflower inlay.

Size: 46.25 x 34.5 x 18.5 in.

Condition:   Missing one interior pull; tambour doors with separation at ends; later felt lining.


And with the doors open.


A closeup of the inlaid tambour door.


A view of the gallery.

Different than the Seymour’s but in 1900, they might not have had plans by Robert Millard to work from.


The prospect with bill boxes. Note the missing pull as described.


Looks like there once might have been something in there. But not now.

One does have to wonder who made the reproduction in 1900? It was a time of colonial revival. But Federal revival?



we're in a heat wave.....

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 4:11pm
The weather is just ridiculous. We have gone from negative single digit temps to a toasty, 42°F (5.5°C) at 1700, according to my porch thermometer. The temps are supposed to rise with the highest temp coming on friday. It is a welcome respite and it gives my old furnace a chance to catch it's breath.

almost down to the last step
I sanded the left side removing the paint I got on it. I repeated it on the right side. I am doing this first to see if there is any touch up to be done after.

the edge I'm concerned about
I sanded this flat and I still see black at the edge and no light reflections. That is what I wanted to see.

this gets painted first
The area at the bottom near the flat is hard to see and paint when on the magnet. I held and painted it first and then put it on the magnet and finished it.

tricky areas done
The top part is easy to see what I am painting. I will sand the flats tomorrow to remove any errant paint and do the final check on the paint job for all the parts.

sawed and chopped the pins and tails
I had to trim  the pins on the #3 corner but the rest went together off the saw.

this long side is slightly high
This is high enough that is will stop the plane from turning the corner. I flushed this first with a block plane than used my 5 1/2 to do it 270. (there is no front part so I lose 90)

before I flush it
I want to make sure that this fits before I go any further.

there is much joy and rejoicing in Mudville
how it will be stowed
I will have to take off the fence rod, fence, and the depth stop to get this to fit in the box flat. Because of the space restrictions I have in Miles toolbox. I can only fit a flat, thin box in there so that is why I have to take it apart.

it was a continuous shavings until I picked it out of the plane
I flushed the top because I need that done so I can use those edges to plow the grooves. I'll do the bottom after it is glued it up and before I glue on the plywood bottom.

dropped the plane and bent the fence rod
I can see it bent here but when I tighten it down as much as I can, it's square to the plane body. Go figure on that. I'll have to buy another one and I'll buy a spare for just in case.

a wee bit of twist
The near right and the far left are high.

twist free
It was almost 1700 so I knocked off here. Tomorrow I want to get the grooves plowed and the box glued up. The nights are still cold with the furnace kicking here so I'll have a warm spot for the box to set up. If I have anytime left I'll work on the finishing the chamfer spokeshave. And I still have that #6 waiting to be sanded shiny too.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know the number of teeth in the baby set is only 20? The second adult set has 32.

My Convoluted Route To Lost Art Press

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 11:49am
Richard Jones - 208-Chlorociboria-MKuo

Chlorociboria fungus, which causes green stain in wood. Photo courtesy of Michael Kuo.

Editor’s Note: As Richard states below, his tome on timber technology is, indeed, nearing the finish line.

For some people it appears it’s easy to release a book. Publishers occasionally give the impression of falling over themselves to offer improbably favourable deals to those such as C-list celebrities for their as-yet-non-existent but soon-to-be-ghost-written vacuous blathering.

I don’t fit that category, but by 2014 my behemoth was near completion – nearly 180,000 words and more than 400 figures.

How to publish it?

Self-publish? Nope. I lacked the skills. It had to be a real publisher.

I didn’t expect finding a publisher would be especially challenging. My optimism, perhaps, came from earlier publishing experience. My woodworking articles had appeared in magazines since the 1990s. A first submission sold quickly at first attempt and success continued. All but one or two articles sold easily, sometimes twice – once in the U.K. and again in the U.S.

How hard could it be to sell a book? I was about to find out. There were possibly 10 unsuccessful attempts to find a publisher, a frustratingly slow process. It’s perhaps unwritten, but I’m convinced there is an ‘unofficial’ code of conduct between an aspiring author and a publisher. You send sample text to one and they sit on it for months, then they reject it. You move to the next publisher and do it all again. Try sending your manuscript to multiple publishers simultaneously – remember the ‘code of conduct’ – and word seems to get around the small world of craft publishers swiftly, and you’re blackballed by them all.

Eventually, a publisher bought the publishing rights, paid the advance and then … dissembled and prevaricated. A year later they changed their mind and relinquished the publishing rights. I was back on the dispiriting merry-go-round of publisher hunting and rejections somewhat softened by comments such as, “Great manuscript, but, er, not for us.”

Finally, a stroke of luck, or perhaps destiny – I don’t know. A couple or so years ago I asked Lost Art Press to review my manuscript. They expressed interest, but at that time were overwhelmed with ongoing projects. They felt it would be unfair to me to hold my manuscript for probably years until they could turn their attention to it, so they said I should try other publishers. Come spring of 2017, I’d unsuccessfully tried more publishers, and then contacted Lost Art Press again, explained the situation and, well, what was the worst that could happen? Another rejection maybe? I was taken aback: Their response was rapid and positive. And here we are, barely six months later, seemingly very near print ready.

— Richard Jones

Filed under: Timber Book by Richard Jones, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

2018 Barn Workshops

The Barn on White Run - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 5:23am

Here’s a list of the Barn workshops I’ve pencilled in for this year.  I will blog in greater detail shortly.

Historic Finishing  April 26-28, $375

Making A Petite Dovetail Saw June 8-10, $400

Boullework Marquetry  July 13-15, $375

Knotwork Banding Inlay  August 10-12, $375

Build A Classic Workbench  September 3-7, $950

HTT016 – Are Hand Tools Really That Slow?

Giant Cypress - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 3:58am
HTT016 – Are Hand Tools Really That Slow?:

Bob Rozaieski does a great job talking about how hand tools are a lot more efficient than you may think, and how to get there with your hand tool set. And if you’re not subscribing to his podcast, you really should.

back to the grind......

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 2:29am
First day back to work and it made me long for the day I retire. The past two weeks recharged my batteries and gave me a preview of my anticipated retirement. Back at work and I forgot that I can't access a lot of my  blog functions anymore and editing it is one. Another is answering comments. When I couldn't edit it I tried to do it on my phone which was incredibly frustrating.

My biggest problem with my blog is I can't type as fast as I think up the dribble. I tend to leave words out as my biggest omission. I did correct 2 mistakes with the blog on my phone but I stopped after that. I'll have to add proofing/editing to my morning routine before I leave for work.

shop distraction
I am looking forward to watching and learning from this DVD. Joshua said this video is how an all hand tool built table would have been done in the 19th century.

I love the way Jane packs her tools for shipping
bought a new jack plane
I don't need this but the price was too good to pass up. I already have a type 11 jack plane and this one is intended to be a parts plane.

the iron
It is clean and rust free on both sides. It has a good length that will give a few years of service. It has been sharpened and it is shiny.

chipbreaker is looking good too
interior of the plane
It is a little dirty and grungy looking but the japanning appears to be close to 100%. The tote and knob are drop dead gorgeous looking and defect free. The frog and the frog screws are rust free which is something I don't normally see. The only maybe problem I saw was that the lateral adjust is loose and flopping back and forth.

it's got a corrugated sole
I have noticed that for the most part that corrugated planes, regardless of the type or number, tend to sell for less than flat bottom sole planes. It doesn't matter what site I see them for sale on neither.

$8 for round nose 8" dividers
It was a bargain I couldn't pass up for being so cheap.

it's a Starretts to boot
it has a speed nut
One hell of a bargain for $8 I'd say. I wasn't expecting a speed nut.

my current #5 in front
One of the first parts I will swap out are the front knobs. I am not a fan of the tall knobs and most all of my other planes have low knobs.

road test yielded nice shavings
found my hard drive magnets

double sided taped them to this scrap
I think is going to work well
The magnets raise the wing up just enough so that I could paint right to the edges.

great tip from Gerry
The magnets were strong enough to hold these while I painted them. I will have to save this board because I'm sure that I'll use it again.

flushing the plywood bottom
done (?)
Three of the sides have some tear out that is still there even after planing them. Debating whether or not to put some shellac on this or put it in the lunch room as is. I'll wait and think on it.

sawing the proud off
bit proud on the bottom
Since this is on the bottom I am leaving it as it is. Both pieces are proud at the ends but it doesn't effect the integrity of the dolly.

put three screws in each half lap from the top
Made a countersink and ratcheted the screws home. I drove #6 x 1" screws and the ratchet just barely drove them into the countersink. The pilot hole was made with a birdcage awl. Next time I'll make a true pilot hole.

painted parts drying by the furnace
plane body has been done for a few days
If I hadn't found out about the magnet trick from Gerry, I would have hung the chamfer wings on coat hanges and painted them. That would have been a frog hair or two away from being a PITA.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that astronaut John Young (he died today) was the only NASA astronaut to have flown in the Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle programs?


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