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Hand Tools

In The “First Time For Everything” Category

The Barn on White Run - Thu, 05/02/2024 - 6:03am

For the past dozen years I have been mothballing the barn’s microhydroelectric system once we get a few consecutive days with daily highs below freezing, usually in late November, then de-mothballing the system once we get to spring-like weather.  I learned a painful lesson the first year when I thought I could keep it running all winter long.  The result of that error was replacing 600 feet of spiral fractured 2-inch PVC line when the water inside froze solid.  Since following the newer strategy I mostly limp through the winter on the output of the solar panels.

As I reassembled the water line every spring, roughly a quarter mile of 2-inch PVC, and walk it top to bottom every year I would find some damage to repair, from ground upheaval (it is truly astounding how much the ground moves in the creek bed ravine over a winter here), extreme water flow during a heavy winter rain or snow melt, or (mostly) fallen trees.  Thus, my bringing the system online was usually a two- or three-day event.

Not so this year.  When I hooked up the water line from top to bottom, for the first time ever there was no damage!  Yes, a few of the soft joints had loosened and needed to be snugged up, no big deal other than getting pretty soaked, but other than that it was a couple hours of good exercise hiking up and down the creek bed.

Let the water and the electrons flow.

Categories: Hand Tools

Japanese plane setup (Wilbur’s version) - V: smooth like butter

Giant Cypress - Thu, 05/02/2024 - 3:28am

There’s one other aspect of sharpening that is in play here. Besides getting the edge to a zero-radius, the surfaces that come to that zero-radius should be as smooth as possible. The good thing here is that any woodworker should be comfortable with that idea for tools, because any woodworker understands using sandpaper to smooth a wood surface by going up through the grits. The same principle applies with sharpening.

At this point, I’m going to stay away from the actual method of sharpening (waterstones, diamond plates, oilstones, Scary Sharp, etc.) because the principles are the same. So for the purposes of this discussion, I’m going to use the term “widget” for the method of sharpening.

To get a better idea of what’s happening, here are some models of an edge tool that should show why getting a smooth surface is important.

This is an edge tool that has been sharpened with a relatively coarse grit widget. The coarse grits leave large scratches in the surface of the bevel and back of the tool.

The surfaces still come to a zero-radius, but this edge is not optimal. The large scratches results in little microteeth. The fact that the scratches don’t line up results in a little wavy profile on the edge. And if one of those microteeth break off, or get rolled over, you no longer have a zero-radius edge at that spot.

Now let’s move on to a less coarse grit widget, much like you might go from initial sanding at 80 grit to 120 grit.

The surfaces still have scratches, but the scratches are smaller. Again, there’s a zero-radius, but some waviness can be seen. The edge could still be improved. Let’s keep going.

Moving to the next higher grit widget continues to improve the edge. Let’s keep going.

And here’s the Platonic ideal of a sharp edge — two smooth surfaces, coming together at a zero-radius. This is a sharp edge, making it easy to cut through wood. And this edge will last a long time, as there are no miniature peaks to fail as the tool is used.

In fact, sometimes it’s said that there’s no use sharpening, say, a chisel to a very fine degree, as the first chop will destroy the edge. This model indicates otherwise — the further you go in sharpening, the more durable the edge will be. My experience tells me the same thing as well.

So that’s the goal.

toy/blanket chest pt V............

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 05/02/2024 - 3:12am

 Had a good day in the shop but I didn't get everything done that I had on the to do list. I was happy with the progress I accomplished and I even got a post lunch stroll in. There was 99% dark cloud coverage but I saw a sliver of blue sky so I walked. I also had checked the rain radar to make sure no rain clouds were hiding on me.

Tomorrow I have an appt at the VA at 0800. I hate appointments that early because I have to drive Rte 10 during rush hour traffic which will be worse because of the construction. I'll leave my house at 0630 to avoid all that crappola. I'll eat breakfast there and read a book until my appt is called.

 2nd one done

I don't think it took me more than 20-25 minutes to chop the tails on this. 


I could have done the pins on the long sides too. The long side is shorter then the height of the workbench. I still think I called it the right way doing the tails on the long sides.

 knifing the pins

I don't use a pencil anymore to mark the pins from the tails. I like the knife line and I use that to guide my sawing of the pins.

 baselines knifed

I've been doing the pins this way for a while now and I will stick with it. Instead of sawing the verticals and then knifing the baselines, I knife them before I saw. This way I go directly from sawing to chopping.

 sawing the verticals

Looks awkward but it wasn't. I was able to saw all the pins without having to switch and move it to the other side of the vice.

 wee bit tight

I couldn't fully seat them because the tails/pins were too tight. I didn't have a warm and fuzzy about not snapping off a pin/tail so I backed it out.


It took two strokes on each pin to fully seat the tails/pins. I lost a chip from a tail so I'll have to dutch that after the carcass is glued up.

 2nd corner

There is a bit of bow in this end panel causing the tails/pins not to fully seat. They went together with a few thumps from a mallet. I had to trim a few pins with the rasp too.


I was expecting gaps but there aren't any. I'll take and carry on smartly. I'm learning not to get headaches trying to figure out things that I can't explain.


Had a good AM session. I got the 2nd long side tails chopped along with the pins on one end panel. The goal was to get the chest glued up in the PM session.

3rd corner

None of the tails pins meshed off the saw. It took me 3 dance steps trimming the pins with a chisel and rasp before they did.

 needs helps

Had to trim the 4th corner before the chest was dry fitted. It is going to take more than two clamps to seat the tails/pins. This end of the chest is worse than the other. 

 clamping cauls

I made four clamping cauls to put pressure directly on the 8 tails per corner.

 glued and cooking

The 'fingers' on the cauls are shy of the width of the tails at their widest. 

glued and cooking

These don't require any long clamping time. All that matters is the fingers are secured to the base. I'll still let these cook until tomorrow. I'll do the glue up of the chest probably in the PM session. 

I had a lot of fun trying to get the chest diagonals the same. It was frustrating because I see sawed with one being long and than being short. After fighting it for nearly a half hour I finally got them within a 16th. 

IKEA flat pack

I didn't want to chance leaving it dry fitted and not being able to knock it apart tomorrow. 

 don't like them

These certainly look and feel like they could handle 40lbs of dead weight. I don't like the mechanism for opening and closing it. This is for the boys so that the lid doesn't slam shut on their fingers. This one is overly complicated in closing it. I'll order some gas strut lid stays.


It is obvious to me that these are metric with inch conversions. There are lots of way to employ these. They are made for kitchen cabinetry doors etc.

 whittling away at it

Got one more Eric Sloane book crossed off. I have seven more to go on this list but I'm not sure that is it inclusive. Mr Sloane wrote and coauthored a lot of books starting in the late 1950's. I got this list by looking at the 'books by this author'  lists in all my other Sloane books.

accidental woodworker

Is it a Coincidence

Journeyman's Journal - Wed, 05/01/2024 - 4:43pm

The picture on the left is from Amazon, and on the right, I made it. I find the similarities strikingly similar. Is it just a coincidence, or was it intentional? The Amazon product was made in China, but not necessarily designed in China.

The car industry is notorious for knocking off each other’s designs. Have you noticed this? A new car comes out, and within the year, a whole bunch of other cars get released; they all look similar to one another. There are cars out there that have similar look to Mercs and BMWs

Whether they did use my desk organiser as a base model design to work from or if it was just a coincidence, I don’t mind because someone somewhere out there thought what I made was so awesome that it was worth incorporating into their own product design. I personally find that an honour, and I didn’t have to have 300k subscribers on Youtube to get it or 3 million likes and followers on Instagram to be noticed. I’m just plotting along and quietly doing my own thing.

Categories: Hand Tools

toy/blanket chest pt IV............

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 05/01/2024 - 3:41am

 Noticed that my productivity of late has been a little on the lean side. Today I had another slowdown because I forgot to do my grocery shopping this AM. I'm going to have to annotate my calendar so I don't forget it again. That blip managed to grind the shop session doings almost to a standstill. I did manage to get a few things accomplished but not as much as I thought I would.

I also didn't get my post lunch stroll in neither. It has been dark with rain threatening clouds for the past two days. The cloudy days aren't going away any time soon neither. The forecast has cloudy skies out to saturday after next. That puts a damper on the strolling. I don't like walking in the rain or being threatened with rain while walking.


Squaring up the end panels kicked my arse. I started see sawing with the edge tapering back and forth on me. I ate up a 1/4" before I got the last edge flat, straight, and square. Glad that I had 4" of wiggle room on the end panels.

which one?

Eyeballed the F/B and the end panels to determine which one got tails and which one got the pins. Which one will be easier to lay on the other one to knife the pins from the tails drove that. Decided that the Kewpie doll prize goes to the F/B getting the tails and the end panels getting the pins.

 pit stop

Sharpened and honed the 3 chisels I will need to chop the pins and tails. I do the initial strokes on the 100 grit runway. That tells me how the bevel looks being held in the honing guide. I keep stoking until I raise a burr. From there I go to the 3 diamond stones finishing on the 8K japanese water stone. 30-40 final strokes on the strop and I was ready to chop tails and pins.

 went into overtime

I left the shop at 1530 today. I got the front or back panel tails chopped and cleaned up. Maybe tomorrow I'll get the carcass done and glued up. Fingers crossed on that.

I had to buy an universal remote for the living rm TV. I got it from Amazon and it came without any instructions or batteries. The problem with it is the TV has several inputs - one Cable TV, 3 RCA inputs, 3 HDMI inputs, and one USB. The 2nd headache was I didn't know how to select the TV HDMI input from the DVD player. I found it by hit/miss last night. I sat down in front of the TV and pushed every button on the remote until I got the 'TV input selection'. The DVD player was in the 5th position. Just need the DVDs from across the pond to get here but it does work.

accidental woodworker

August Class at Galbert’s!

David Fisher - Carving Explorations - Tue, 04/30/2024 - 9:52am
I’ll be teaching a bowl carving course at Peter Galbert’s school in Rollinsford, NH, just 12 miles from the Maine coast, August 12-17, 2024. Pete and I have talked about this possibility for a couple years, and I’m so happy … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Carved box class, September 2024

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Tue, 04/30/2024 - 4:56am

[sorry for the assault – if you read my substack blog, this is a copy of one there – just brief announcements – particularly one about a class in September. These days I only teach a few times a year and just wanted people to have a heads-up about enrollment.]

carved box, oak & pine April 2024

I just finished this box yesterday – and this morning I see that Galbert has announced the new class I’ll be teaching at his shop in the September. When I was there a few weeks ago we settled on reviving the carved box class, first one in two years. It’s going to be Sept 9-14. The class is small, 6 people. We’ll be able to delve pretty deeply into the carving – that usually amounts to maybe half of our time. Lots of practice, then pick a pattern and carve the box.

All the details are on Galbert’s website – https://www.petergalbert.com/schedule/2020/7/13/make-a-chair-from-a-tree-with-peter-follansbee-8brcj-7b62n-xafjp-mglkm-lrd5m

the most important one is this: Enrollment for this class open on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 at 8:00am on Galbert’s site. (not here, not through me).

That’s the same time enrollment for Dave Fisher’s class opens there, so if you get shut out of Dave’s, you can sign up for mine as a consolation…

On another note, lately I’ve strapped myself to this desk so I can assemble a website – it’s still a work-in-progress, but it’s coming together. I needed a place to stick stuff that stays put – here it is thus far:


This guy arrived yesterday, I’ll go see who got in last night.

Baltimore oriole

toy/blanket chest pt III...........

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 04/30/2024 - 3:21am

 I had my annual peepers exam today and it got a bit dicey. While examining the inside of my right eye she saw a lump in the macula. It was suspicious and it didn't give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. The doc came in and confirmed the lump and had a scan of it done to establish a baseline to compare it to next year. The good news is after she reviewed the scan she said it was nothing to be concerned about. Having macula degeneration in my golden years would have sucked pond scum. Fingers crossed that it doesn't change on next year's exam.

 ready to unclamp

I wanted to squeeze in as much as I could before I left for the eye exam. The pupil dilation drops have been getting worse the past few years.

 brass piano hinge

It is 30" and the chest will be around 36". I don't see the need to have this the exact same length as the chest. With it shorter it will be partially hidden in a rabbet.

 forgot these

I was digging through my hinge stash and I came across these two. I like the ones I ordered because they have an adjustable resistance from 18 to 40 pounds.

 second choice hinges

These are kind of lightweight feeling but I have used them before with good results. They are no mortise and are practically brainless to install (good fit for me). The only hit I have with them is they don't come with screws - they take a #4.

 the winner(s)

They are sized for 3/4" stock and the are dead nuts secure when screwed home. I only have two of them and I want to use 3 of them for the chest. I ordered 3 more from Lee Valley today along with a green sanding block.

 not swaged

The rabbet for this would be close to a 1/4" deep. This is what killed it for me and I switched to the other ones.

 from Woodpecker

I had a homemade plywood version of this and when I saw this on their site I pulled the trigger on it. Never warmed up to them and never really learned how to set them up. I tried a couple of times and they went airborne. Dug them out today to eyeball the size of the chest so I can pick a size for it.

way too deep

I like the length (R/L) and the height but the depth is too much at 24"+. I will shave it down to 18".

 the magic comes next

This part of any project build still gets my motor to the red line. I can see the completed project easily in my mind. Taking each board and working it to fit in the project puzzle has a high for me that no drug could match.


I am committed to this being painted but this lid would look awesome left natural against a painted carcass. That idea will fall on deaf ears though.

glue joint

These glue ups are shaking out to be the best I've done. There is almost no proud in the glue joint from end to end. I'll do the final smoothing and cleaning of the panels before I glue them together.

 front/back batting first

This is the shorter of the two and it will determine the length. Squaring each end and then I'll use this one to set the length of the opposite side piece.

 getting the length

The length of the front/back will be 35 1/2". The opposite ends lined up pretty good. Getting panels square isn't a problem for me. The headache comes when I have to match two or more of them.

 wee bit proud

The right side ends are square and the bottom edge is flush too. I marked this with a pencil and planed down to it. I used my Lee Valley bevel up jack plane to square the ends. It is what I use the plane for 99.99% of the time. None of my other bench planes will plane end grain as easily or smoothly as it does.


The front and back are flush on the ends and on the reference long edge. After I square up the end panels I will rip the panels to the final width .

I tried to work in the shop with sunglasses because the shop lights were giving me a headache. I had to wait a couple of hours until I could bear the lights in the shop. Tomorrow I'll get the end panels squared up and maybe get started on dovetailing.

accidental woodworker

toy/blanket chest pt II............

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 04/29/2024 - 3:21am

 came overnight

This is a region free DVD player that I got from Amazon for $39. I also bought the entire BBC Spiral series and I should have that sometime around may 9th. I stopped watching season 5 of Spiral because there were too many holes in it. I didn't get to see any of season four and season 5 builds on it. I'll pick it back up when I get the DVDs from across the pond.

toy/blanket chest lid

This is pt II of this build series. Yesterday (pt I) I got all the stock prepped for glue up and today I added the lid to the mix. Might as well get all the glue ups done at the same time.

 carcass glued and cooking

I am going to resist the urge to play with these in the PM session. I will let them cook overnight and start on them in the AM tomorrow.

 being a PITA

The straight edge said both glue joint edges were straight, square, and flat but there is a gap. The outside edges by the end were tight but the middle was open. A clamp wouldn't pull it shut so I had to plane and trim the outside ends several times before the gap went away.

 needed some help

The boards weren't down flush with the clamps on these two clamps. I had to use clamps to pull them down and keep them touching the bar clamps.

 base stock

Decided to go with the width I wanted for the base stock. I like this width and I think it is a better fit with the overall size of the toy/blanket chest. The chest is not super sized but the scale of the base fits the scale of the toy/blanket chest.

 weren't up to the task

I'm glad I eyeballed the glue ups because the lid had some daylight between the bar clamps and the lid. The big boy besseys had no problems pulling it tight and keeping it tight.

 how so close

The width is 24" which more the enough but the length was only 33 1/2". The length of the toy/blanket chest is going to be around 36" so I'm a few frog hairs shy. Just as well because this is oak veneered 1/2" plywood and this stuff sucks pond scum. I made a road trip to Lowes to get a 1/4 sheet of 1/2" plywood.

 funny looking plywood

This is called Blondewood and this face is white. It almost looks like a paint but I was not a 100% sure of that. This was $26 and the same thing in birch was $3 more. I stuck with this because it is the bottom of the toy/blanket chest and isn't that visible.

 USA company

It took a while but I found this on their website. They are a US company out of North Carolina. Their site states that one side is a defect free white wood and the opposite face is also a defect free wood. I like the second, non white face better. The white face would probably be a good paintable surface.

Tomorrow I will unclamp the glue ups, size the panels, and start on the dovetailing. I don't think this should take me more than a couple of days to knock out.

I bought a couple of lid stays and I'll have them next week (adjustable up to 40lbs). I have a lot of hinges that I can pick from to use but I'm thinking of using a piano hinge for the first time. I don't recall ever having used one although I have several of them in shop.

Felt good after the weigh in today. I behaved myself all week with what I shoved in the pie hole. I also walked everyday, monday to saturday for the first time in months. The reward was I lost 3.4 pounds. That leaves 12 more to shed to get to my goal of 185.

accidental woodworker

Japanese plane setup (Wilbur’s version) - IV: sharpening is a zero-radius game

Giant Cypress - Mon, 04/29/2024 - 3:18am

As we noted before, sharpening the plane blade is the first step in setting up a Japanese plane, as sharpening changes the geometry of the blade, which in turn affects the fit of the blade in the plane. Sharpening gets a bad rap among woodworkers. It’s often thought of as a task that is not a great use of time. “I want to do woodworking, not sharpening,” is a common saying adopted by woodworkers.

I think that’s a mistaken concept. Sharpening is woodworking. It makes your tool easier and safer to use. With a sharp tool, you’ll use less effort and have more control over the results you’re trying to get. By not sharpening, there’s an implicit acceptance of making your woodworking task harder to do, with less chance of success.

Besides, if it really was true that woodworkers want to avoid sharpening at all costs, we would all be using Japanese tools. The steel in Japanese tools really does sharpen to a finer degree and holds sharpness longer than western tool steels, while being no harder to sharpen than western tools. There are two reasons to prefer a western chisel over a Japanese chisel. The first is that you like the feel of a bigger chisel, as Japanese chisels tend to be smaller than their western counterparts. The second is that you want to spend more time sharpening.

The good news is, it’s simpler and easier than you think to get really sharp edges.

The hardest part about sharpening is understanding what “sharp” really means, especially if you are trying to do this outside of a real-world, live class or demonstration. The best way I can explain what “sharp” is from a distance is this:

You have a sharp edge when the two sides of your plane blade/chisel have a zero-radius at the point where they meet.

Please note that I’m not talking about flat, or a mirror polish. Sharpness is often defined in these terms, but I like to avoid them because they focus on factors that are less important.

This diagram of cross sections of an edge shows why flatness isn’t the most important thing. On the left, there are two edges that are both sharp. One has two flat surfaces coming together at a point with a zero-radius. The second one is the same, but the surfaces are curved. (Think of the edge of a kitchen knife or an ax.) Both edges are going to be sharp.

The middle part of the diagram shows the same cross sections, but with a bit of a round-over with a small radius where the edges meet. This is an edge that is starting to get dull. This happens both with the flat and curved sides. The small amount of dulling has nothing to do with how flat or curved the sides might be, just what is happening at the edge.

The right part of the diagram shows the same cross sections, but with a greater round-over with a larger radius. Again, the flatness of the sides don’t have much to do with what is going on at the edge.

There are a number of tried and true methods of assessing the edge, and if you keep the idea of a zero-radius point, they will all make sense. One method of assessing sharpness as you sharpen a tool is getting a burr to form. The burr only forms once you’ve abraded enough material to eliminate the roundness from the edge of the tool. If there’s some roundness left at the edge, the metal will continue to come off without forming a burr.

Another method is to move the tool under a light while looking down at the edge of the tool, and to look for a line of light at the edge. If you see a line of light, then you need to keep sharpening. The reason the line of light appears is that if the edge still has some roundness to it, at some point the roundness will reflect light from the light source, which creates the “line of light” effect. If the two surfaces meet at a zero-radius, there’s no roundness to reflect light.

There’s also the fingernail test. A sharp edge will catch on your fingernail. (If you use this test, please be careful.) If the edge has some roundness, the edge will skate along your fingernail. But if the edge comes to a zero-radius point, it will catch.

This is not to say that flatness and a mirror polish aren’t useful in the sharpening process. It’s just that they aren’t the most important things. They both have a role to play in sharpening. We’ll get to how and why soon.

beautiful day.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 04/28/2024 - 3:35am

 After I got up this AM I went grocery shopping. I am thinking of changing what I eat for lunch and just having a salad. I have been eating toast and soup and I think I'm ready for a change. For variety I'll throw in a frozen Healthy Choice meal. They have several (that I like) that are 250 calories or less. I am maintaining my weight and I'm not losing with the diet as it is. I still want to drop about 15 more pounds. I'm looking forward to seeing how I do on the scales tomorrow.

 took an hour

I have eight 1x12x5' pine boards for the next project - a toy box for Miles and Leo. It is going to be a blanket chest that the boys will use first. After they out grow it Amanda can use it as a blanket chest or for whatever. 

It took me that long to pick out the boards for the carcass. In the end I didn't get a good color/grain match so I stuck with making each side as good as I could. 

all for naught

My wife will be bringing it to NC at the end of may. That means more than likely she will paint it once she gets there. All the fussing and expending calories matching color and grain were a waste of time. Knowing that will make the glue up easier for me.

 first brain fart

I broke down the stock for the carcass. The chest will be 36" R/L, 22" deep, and 16" high. There will be a base so the height will be 4-5 inches taller. Made a miscalculation here that I didn't pick up on yet.


I only had stock for one long and one short side of the carcass. Got confused thinking about two boards and four sides. I straightened, squared, and flattened one edge and then ripped the boards to width on the tablesaw.


2nd brain fart dawned on me here. I ripped all the boards to a width of 8 1/4". I only had to rip 4 of them. Originally the chest was going to be 18" high but now it is 16" which is probably a better height for the boys.

 this sucks

I'm glad I haven't gone back to Harbor Freight and bought anymore of these deep reach clamps. I tried to use them to clamp two boards together for planing and it was basically useless. Instead of drawing the two boards together, the screw was pushing the upper and lower arms apart. Disappointing to see but oh well at least they didn't cost a lot.

spring joint

These were the last two boards to plane the glue joint. This one ended up being a spring joint even though I wasn't shooting for one. The end were tight and I had gap in the middle. After planing and checking it several times I wasn't seeing any improvement. Put a clamp on it and less then a 1/2 turn of the screw closed the gap.

 base stock?

I could use this for the base but I wish it was an inch wider. The shorter ones I can use for bread board ends if I decide to use them. If not I have two more picture frames coming up in the queue. This is the left over from carcass stock.

 5 left
All five of these have one brown knot in them. However, there is more than enough clear stock to get the top from two of them. I should be able to get wider base stock from the other 3 boards. For the bottom of carcass I plan on using 1/2" plywood.

I thought I would get the carcass panels glued up today but that didn't happen boys and girls. I spent the morning helping my wife out doing errands. I even got to help out with her dead people stuff. That was all muscle work moving boxes around and putting away books.

The new pedometer works a treat. The walk I do in the afternoon turned out to be 7403 steps and it took me an hour and 15 minutes (first day with the pedometer). Between this stroll and what walking I do during the course of the day should be put me over 10000 steps for the day. Without the stroll I was averaging 2000-2500 steps daily. I will keep to the current route and get an weeks' worth average step count. I would like to get it greater than 8k per stroll.

accidental woodworker

the locust tree

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Sat, 04/27/2024 - 4:53pm

That photo is from about a month ago – when some high winds finally knocked down part of this long-dying locust tree right next to my shop. The tree has been on my mind for a couple of years – and it presented some problems for the tree-crew. There’s no way to get a truck to it, no way to get a crane near it…this one had to be done the old way, climbing it and cutting it by hand. Our friend JS & his crew came and expertly and safely took the rest of it down. Now begins the cleanup.

Of course I’ll miss the tree, but it’s time had come quite a while ago. One piece I’ll miss the most is the perches the tree created right outside my shop window for all the birds that came by…I’ve begun compiling some samples. These are literally garden-variety birds, ones you can see most everyday here in the right season (some year-round) = they’re still around, but they won’t be perched right outside the window for a long time…

white-breasted nuthatch tufted titmouse American robin mourning dove house sparrow northern cardinal, female yellow-shafted flicker (female or juvenile) cedar waxwing catbird Baltimore orioles (males) Baltimore oriole (female)


Giant Cypress - Sat, 04/27/2024 - 1:58pm

Any weirdness you’ve been seeing on the desktop version of Giant Cypress is me mucking around with a new theme. With the old theme, new posts have sometimes been displaying in unexpected ways, because of the new post format that Tumblr implemented. In addition, the old theme had become less well-behaved on mobile devices. So I thought it was time to redesign the blog.

The new theme has all the components that the old one did. I’ve carried over many of the design elements of the old theme, which I think is nice. It’s more responsive, with an improved look on a wider array of different screen sizes, on mobile and desktop. I think it scans better now, as well as having a better balance between text and photos for posts. And then there were the many tiny tweaks that may or may not have been that noticeable, but were driving me nuts. That’s why I spent a good 30 minutes this morning chasing down why a dot was positioning itself a hair to the right from where I was expecting it.

Anyway, I think I’m done, and I hope you like the new theme. If there’s anything that seems off, please let me know.

one in, and one out.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 04/27/2024 - 3:18am

 Didn't get a lot done today. I am in between projects without seeing anything on the horizon. That changed when I asked Amanda if Leo and Miles needed a toy box. Based on the pic I saw of their family room, they could probably use more than one. So making a toy box is the next project coming out of Ralphie's shop. I'll make it so that once they get older it can be used for something else.

 this is done

I'll bring this to the Frame it Shop before lunch. 

 took some fancy two step

These were hinge bound and the lid wouldn't lay flat. I chiseled out the area in the bottom part of the hinge first. That helped a little but the hinges were still bound. I had to stick a piece of veneer under between the screw and the barrel. After that the hinge laid flat.

not in the way

I glued a scrap to the inside face to keep the sanding block away from it. It also allows the chain a place to fall. No hiccups pulling the sanding block in or out.

 needed a finger thingie

The lid overhangs the front but not quite enough to easily grab it and open it up.

 still not enough

This didn't help out as much as I expected it to. The overhang of the lid is in the way of the fingers getting to the bottom one.

finally done

Put a smaller finger grab thingie on the lid. This was what was needed - thumb or finger now have enough to grab onto to open the lid. Or I could have skipped this and just opened it from either end of the lid.

 needs some shellac

I got 3 coats on the finger grabs before I left to go see Maria.


This is what is left over from the 2nd portable chest of drawers. I wonder if there is enough to whack out a second smaller one. I have some 1/2" thick wide stock for a carcass. I'll have to ask the wife how much longer the 2nd was and how short the 3rd could be.

 present for the wife

I have an obsession with clocks and boxes. I have made a clock for everyone in the immediate family. This one has never worked. The movement cost me $100 and I bought a 2nd one because the first one came damaged. The only thing that worked on this clock was the pendulum. I what to get this running and keeping time.


Where does all this time go to? I had no idea that I had made this so long ago. It has been on the buffet in the living room for 16 years.

 replacement movement

I have used two of these movements without any problems. The only thing I don't like about them is the have plastic hands. Plastic hands look like absolute crappola on a clock IMO.

 2nd movement

The first one I picked was a non pendulum movement. This clock has a leaded glass bottom so you can see the pendulum swing.

I remember these hings

They were expensive and I believe they came from White Chapel? I wanted something special for this clock. I struggled doing the mortises for them but it looks I did ok with them.

switched clocks

Changed my mind and I am going to get this clock going first. It has the same movement and has a pendulum. I stopped getting it running because it has plastic hands too. Non of the metal hands I had would fit it. I'm resigned to listening to the Bim Bam sound and looking at plastic hands.

came today

I don't know if there are 500 tables in here but I do know that the ones that are they are all in color. There is a mix with the majority being artsy styled tables. Nice to look at but not my taste. I have looked at it several times and I'll leave it on my desk until I have eyeballed all 500.

CPAP pillow

This is a CPAP machine pillow for side sleepers. That would be me. I always fall asleep on my left side. I got this because the divots on the ends are for the mask to have empty space under it. Good idea and it did work, at least the part for the mask. I tried it for 4 days and said NO MAS. I didn't like it although I tried hard to because it set me back $48. I put it in the closet for now and I'll try to use it again in a couple of months. Or if and when I come across it again, which ever happens first.

new pedometer

This one counts your steps and tells the time. That is it. It doesn't need an app, a computer or a cell phone. The only set up I had to do was set the time. You have reset it each day as it doesn't automatically do that. There is also no memory function, no calories burned, just how many steps. How refreshing. I'll road test it tomorrow when I go on my post lunch stroll.


 one back home

My wife sent a pic of this to the girls and they started crying. Amanda can't wait to hang this in her house. Both of the girls were very close to their grandmother and this is the all painting that she did that have. I'm not liking the blue/gray mat though. It doesn't go with the frame. This might be going back tomorrow to change it a green one.

accidental woodworker

What a day.......

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 04/26/2024 - 3:29am

 Had my CPAP appointment at the VA today and all is going well. He explained how the CPAP machine works in a language I understood. I had searched on line for one and had more questions after reading the offerings. Before I got the CPAP machine I was averaging 13.8 apnea episodes per hour. Going into my 3rd week with it I am averaging 2.1 apnea episodes per hour. The goal with the machine is 5 or less and I'm less than half. I am still getting used to the nasal mask and I'm still getting mask seal adjust alerts. Those are getting less and they are currently 12/20 with 20 being perfection. The score is rising albeit slowly.

The construction going to the VA was single lane in two of the three choke points. I'm glad that my appointment was for 1030. Rush hour in the morning must be a real mess to deal with. Going home was much better with no lane closures or being choked down from 2-3 lanes to one. Don't know how much longer the construction is going to take but I'll have to deal with it again on the 25th for my annual peepers exam.


Before I left for the VA I wanted to get another coat of shellac on the poster frame. One corner had some tear out still visible so I hit that again with a 120 grit sanding stick.

 left this one

I would have to sand/plane/chisel too much to remove this divot. I am leaving it as is. I might try filling it with some putty but I'll experiment on an offcut first. I want to see what the color difference is if any.

I got shellac on the frame and the sanding block box before leaving for the VA. That is all I got done in the AM session. My wife decided to sleep in this morning so I couldn't go to the shop and make noise. Just as well because the daily sudoku puzzle made me feel real stupid 3 times. Twice I made the same me-steak with the same number and twice I didn't catch until there were only 4 empty holes. I finished that just before the wife finally got up.

 poster is looking real good

 One more coat on the front and one more on the back and this will get a check mark in the done column. I should be ready to take this to Maria on saturday.

 almost done

All the shellac work is fini. I still have to put a lid stay on it and that will be in the finale tomorrow. I am still waiting to I buy the green sanding block from Lee Valley. The block is $30 and the total needs to be $50 to get free shipping. Haven't thought of $20 worth of anything that I need besides the sanding block.

Last tidbit of FYI. You Tube changed the 'home' page layout and I thought it sucked. As typical with them there were no fore warnings, it just appeared one day. I read that the premium You Tubers got it first. I'm a premium You Tuber only because I don't like the ads that You Tube randomly interjects in the vids. Today they switched back to the old format which I like. I'm used to it and more importantly I like how it looks. 

The new format looked undone and awkward looking. Hopefully they will keep this as is but I doubt it. I'm sure someone has to justify their paycheck by thinking up and implementing this crappola on us.

accidental woodworker

slow day......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 04/25/2024 - 3:31am

 Spent the morning running errands seemingly all over the state. It was cloudy with rain clouds closing in from the west so it was a good time to whack them out. I got my morning walk in also and going to Walmart at the same time. It didn't help though because I forgot a couple of things and I had to go back. The rain came around noon time but it didn't deposit much. When I left the shop in the PM the sun was out, the sky mostly cloudless, and the mercury was  up 68F (20C). Tonight the forecast is for the temps to be below freezing (0C). In my part of the universe that depends upon which of the weather seers you listen to. But all of them agree it is going to be cold overnight.

 inside chamfer

In for a penny, in for a pound. I put on my big boy pants and jumped into chamfering the inside edge. If I screw it up I'll start over again.

 no the same offset

The outside chamfer is 5/16" on the face and side. The inside chamfer is a 1/4". I went smaller in case I had to make it wider due to a hiccup.

 against the grain

I used my LN violin plane and a 1 1/4" chisel to do the chamfer. About 2" from each corner I had to use the chisel and on one end I was going against the grain. I took my time, had a sharp chisel, but I still got some ugly looking tear out.

 2nd corner

Lost a big chunk here and this was the worse of it too. Difficult and awkward trying to smooth this out with the chisel.

3rd corner

This one I was able to use the chisel to smooth out about 80% of it.

 4th corner

This was the best looking one and the only one I got clean and smooth. The problem with the chiseling was the chip would follow the grain and dig down and deep. I had to work slowly and basically nibble it with the chisel work.

 getting there

I don't remember which corner this was but one of the keys to finishing it was to leave the layout lines for as long as possible. Before I started I had thought of doing a lamb's tongue but nixed that idea. I wanted the outside and inside chamfers to match.

 best tool in the shop

I made a fresh 120 grit sanding stick to clean up the divots/tear out in the corners. I was able to maintain the chamfer width and smooth away 99.9% of the divots and tear outs.

 looking good

I used the alcohol to erase the layout lines on the face and to wet the inside chamfer. I was able to see basically what the shellac would look like applied. All the corners looked good highlighted by the alcohol. I was happy with it and applying shellac was next.

two coats on

I will let these two dry completely and I'll eyeball the corners to see how they look. If there are any blemishes that didn't sand off the shellac will make them pop. I'll deal with them then.

almost done

The lid is done as is the outside of the box. The tray bottom is done. Next up is putting some shellac on the inside of the box and the inside of the tray. Another day and we can all ooh and aah over it.

Still haven't found Spiral season 4 anywhere on Prime. I think I went through every page and nada. The only way to watch season 4 is with MHZ streaming. That service dubs the character's voices (sucks pond scum). I would rather watch it with subtitles (I like subtitles). I chalked it up to a loss and I'm now watching season 5 which I bought the entire season. A lot of holes in this one because I don't know what happened in season 4.

accidental woodworker

Here’s a short video of how I use the plane tapping out tool. Hopefully this will give a better…

Giant Cypress - Thu, 04/25/2024 - 3:08am

Here’s a short video of how I use the plane tapping out tool. Hopefully this will give a better sense of how hard I’m hitting the blade with the hammer part of the tool. This corresponds to about how hard I hit the blade with a hammer if I’m tapping out that way.

if it looks like the tapping out tool is placed at an awkward angle, it is. This was so I could get a good camera angle. Normally it would be sitting directly in front of me on the bench.

At 27 seconds long, this video is worth 810,000 words.


Old Ladies - Pedder's blog - Wed, 04/24/2024 - 10:34am
I got a Keen Kutter K7 wich is an equivalent to a Stanly Bedrock #7 from www.tablesawtom.com via woodnet. Love that plane already:
Categories: Hand Tools

one is done......

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 04/24/2024 - 3:34am

 Another nice sunny day in RI. It was a little on the cold side due to winds coming out of the north. Tomorrow is supposed to rain starting in the afternoon so I'll try to get my walk done in the morning. I've walked a couple of times in the morning but lately I've been doing it after lunch. I still haven't gotten six days in a row walking due to weather but fingers crossed I'll be able to do it this week.

The heat is still coming on due to low temps at night. They have only been a few degrees above freezing. The temps aren't forecasted to be in the 40's over night until next week. I hope they come up sooner than later because I want to stop paying for heat.

didn't happen

I didn't come back to the shop last night. I don't recall even having that thought transit the brain bucket. I only have one more coat to put on to call this done.

sanding block box

I added clamps mostly to keep the miters closed up. I let it cook overnight until this AM.

 LV rounding tools

Used LV copies of the Stanley ones to round over the top edge of the bandings. They behaved this time I didn't rip out chunks rounding them.

 love hate this

I like how well this clamps but I hate the steel band. And especially so the winder thing that rolls it up.

 no wasted room

Getting this stowed back in this box always make me feel like I'm solving an enigma. I don't think I have stowed it the same twice ever. I was thinking of making a new box a few inches wider/longer but after I got it stowed I nixed it. It might still happen because I'm sure I'll run into the situation where no matter what I do I won't be able to fit all the pieces in and have the lid close on it.

 flushing the corners

The frame held even though I shook it like madman with his pants full of angry bees.

spline grooves

This is something that the tablesaw excels at. I have a lot of scraps to the right that were close to this 1/8" wide groove.

 fitting the splines

Plane and check the fit. Once I could bottom out the spline with hand pressure I was done.

 glued and cooking

The last splines I did, a couple of them had gaps. Not this time because I clamped them in both directions.

 poster frame parts

These will be the stops on the back of the poster frame for the poster to sit in. This way I don't have to put a rabbet in the frame.

 off the saw

Not too terrible considering the miters were hand sawn to a pencil line. I don't see how anyone can hand saw four miters and than be able to glue it square. Just one frog hair off of 45 on any one miter will throw it out of two being 90.

 shot the miters

I could have used butt joints for the stops because they won't be seen after the frame is hung on a wall. Miters are my nemesis and practice makes perfect. Although in my case it is coming together rather slowly.

 wee bit too short

I had a massive brain flatulence attack with these stops. They should have had a 13" and 19" inside measurement. I made them the same size as the inside measurement of the frame. DUH.

2nd set

I used a left over piece of 5/4 pine to get both sets of the stops from. I'll save the first set for a future frame. Used the #7 to clean up the sawn edges.

 me-steak #2 upcoming with the stops

This is the rough sawn miters and I had more than enough wiggle room. I shot the miters clean and smooth and found out I had made another boo boo.


The stops will be positioned a 1/2" in from the inside face edge all the way around. I used the pencil marks on the frame to get the lengths of the stops. Then I proceeded to saw each one wrong. I held the stops flush with the inside edge when I marked them. I should have set them on the outboard side of the pencil lines.


The long points align with the pencil lines but in the wrong direction. I had more 5/4 pine to whack out a 3rd set of stops but I thought of way to use these.

 another mitering job

This is the back and this would fill in and make the corners 90°. I had off cuts from the stops to use for them too.

 kind of worked

The two mitered faces weren't in perfect alignment. The chisel worked but didn't because the top piece moved as I chiseled straight down.

 first chiseled corner

Got a gap but it will be against a wall and will never seen light. I still want this joint to look good and it is good practice.

 sanding stick to the rescue

Worked a treat and not only smoothed the end grain, it came out gap free. I had my happy face on.


No problems doing one miter and the second one was doable but with caution. I had to do it blind and hold it in place with two fingers.

in the way

The pencil line represents where I wanted the chamfer. The nails where in the way so I had to settle for a smaller one. I saw a chamfer detail like this on a frame my wife was shitcanning. I liked the look of it and I'll be doing it on all the frames I make like this.


I was able to make the chamfer as wide as I wanted on the face side of the frame.


I offset the spline groove from center because I knew I was putting a chamfer on the frame. I have chamfered a frame where the splines popped out planing the chamfer.

 first coat of shellac

I got the first of 3 coats on the back of the poster frame. Made a lot more progress on this than I expected. I will finish this frame before I go to the Frame Shop and pick up the painting that is finally done (mat was back ordered). I should be done with it by friday at the latest.

 needs something

I want to put a chamfer on the inside edge of the frame. I also want it to run around the entire edge. I can plane some of but I don't have a plane that will do inside corners. I'll have to think on this overnight.

 got 3

The lid is starting to show some coverage and shine. I might be able to get by with one more coat.

only one glamour pic (done)

My wife liked this one. She called it cute which means I she likes it. She can't use it because it is too long by several inches for where she wants it to live. I'll ask Amanda if she wants it. If she doesn't want it I'll stick it in the boneyard.

accidental woodworker

Japanese plane setup (Wilbur’s version) - III: Tapping out

Giant Cypress - Wed, 04/24/2024 - 3:28am

[Note: this step should not be needed with a new Japanese plane, but you never know. And It is an important part of sharpening and maintenance as you use your plane.]

Now that the plane blade is in better shape, we can turn to sharpening. The first thing to check with sharpening a Japanese plane blade is the hollow on the back. The back of the blade is where the hard steel layer is. When sharpening, if we were to work the entire back, that would be a real chore because of the hardness of the steel. The hollow is there to make this much easier, as only the flat part behind the cutting edge needs to be dealt with.

As the blade gets sharpened, however, eventually the flat area gets narrower, until it goes away, as on this plane blade. This isn’t as much of an issue with a chisel, because of the difference in how the hollows are constructed between plane blades and chisels. To fix this, we can tap out the blade. 

Tapping out causes much angst among woodworkers looking to use Japanese planes. I think that’s partially because that the traditional method of tapping out using a hammer and an anvil or some other supporting surface has the chance of disaster if the hammer blow hits too close to the edge. In my experience, that’s a bit overblown. If you have the hand-eye coordination to do woodworking, you’ll be able to do this task. 

The other issue is that the physical act of tapping out is hard to convey in words, especially regarding how hard to tap the blade with the hammer. I’ll do my best.

I’ve written elsewhere about using a hammer and an auto body float as an anvil for tapping out, and that system still works well. Since then, I found a device that makes tapping out a bit easier for people who don’t do it all the time. And to be honest, it’s easier for me, too. Here it is.

This device has a hammer head that comes to a point, mounted on a hinge. The blade is held in a carrier by two bolts.

The blade is positioned over a small rounded surface that serves as the anvil. This is located under where the point of the hammer will come down. The carrier slides in a track that allows you to move the blade back and forth.

By fixing the blade in the carrier, it can be positioned so that the hammer comes down in exactly the spot you want it to of the tapping out process. To get started, I put some pencil lines on the bevel side that corresponds to the flat area on the back that needs to be reestablished. 

Then I can use the device to start tapping. The point of the hammer is positioned about 2/3 to ¾ of the way up from the edge. I’ll start tapping with the hammer while sliding the plane blade back and forth, concentrating on the area that I marked with the pencil lines.

It’s hard to quantify how hard I’m hitting the blade with the hammer, but it’s probably in the ballpark of how I would be hammering a finish nail into a piece of pine. You will leave little dents in the soft layer of steel.

After some tapping, the bottom hard steel layer will be pushed down. You can see this by working the back of the blade after tapping. The flat area behind the cutting edge gets reestablished pretty quickly.

More interestingly, you can see the deformation of the blade from tapping out by working the bevel side of the blade with a coarse stone. The shallow hollow in the middle was created by the tapping out process.

And after more sharpening, that hollow goes away.

Is this device necessary for tapping out? No, but it sure makes it a lot easier. And given how simple the device is, it might not be too hard to rig up something like this on your own.


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