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Hand Tools

good saturday output.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 01/07/2018 - 2:53am
I spent most of the day in the shop. It's been a long time since I have gone from 0600 to 1700 with just a break for lunch. I got a few things done, made a few mistakes (part of the learning curve) but I didn't go postal. It was something that I don't have a lot of experience doing. In hindsight maybe I should have waited and practiced on scraps first. But I've always been a balls to the wall kind of guy who isn't afraid to try something.

Today's post is pic heavy so grab some popcorn and enjoy the slide show.

Record 044 box almost done
5 coats of shellac on with one more to go.

leaving the saw till box as is
I won't be painting or shellacing the inside edges.

bought new latches
lightly clamped in the middle to keep it closed
spacers to position the keepers R/L
used my Stanley driver - worked great on these smaller screws
lid needs a chain fall
this was a pleasant surprise
This worked driving the two slotted screws without any hiccups at all. I was expecting the driver to fall out of the slot in the screw and dance all over the box.That didn't happen and it drove the screws all the way without falling out or having me reposition it.

guide for setting the handles
This box needed something to help pick it up. The top is only 6mm plywood so that is too thin for a handle. One handle on each side will do the trick. I just eyeballed the center of the handle with the jig.

I'll get used to seeing the clean inside edges
same spacers used for the square till box
a handle isn't carved in stone yet
I'm not putting one on as of now. This box is small and relatively easy to pick up and move without one.

last step - making a finger recess to help pull this off the magnets
inside look
I am still looking to get a 4" Starrett square but I am calling this done for now.

The home for his toolboxes for now (this is temporary)
chopping the pins on the 78 box
pretty good fit off the saw
X marks where the groove goes
Houston, I have a problem
The first groove went off without a hitch. The second is total crappola. It looks like I did it blindfolded and with one hand tied behind my back.

the fix - glue in a patch and run the groove again
planing the patch to fit
good fit - glued it and set it by the furnace
no more blue shop towels
Most of my 'towel' needs in the shop involve wiping up or off something. I don't need the expensive blue shop towels for that. Out with the blue and in with the white.

cheapest multi pack towels at Wally World
I paid a couple of dollars more for 8 of these over 2 blue shop towels.

time to fix this
My 2nd paper towel holder and it is hard to remove the dowel when it comes time to change the roll. I've been tolerant of it because I have to change it infrequently. 

drill a 5/16" hole in the blind hole    the left hole is a through one

tie off a short 5/16" dowel by the hole
When it comes time to change the roll, I will stick this dowel in the hole and that will push the paper towel rod out so I can grab and remove it.

had chinese for lunch and this has set up enough
the same thing happened again
I am and did do something wrong. After thinking about it for a while it came to me when I was writing this post. The grooves I did without any hiccups (044 box), I started plowing the groove at the left end and worked backwards. The two grooves I screwed up and got garbage with, I started at the right end and worked toward the other end. Going from the left end to the right end gives a place for the whole skate to ride against. Starting at the right end and going to left end, the skate doesn't have much of the edge to ride against.

This groove is toast, again, and will have to be shit canned. I can't save this and I'll have to make another side or a whole new box. I tried making a new side first.

I had two extra pieces the same width as this one
squared the ends and got the length
it is easier marking the tails off of the pins
I don't think this is going to change me from being a tails first dovetailer.

I had to label my waste
This is the opposite of the way I do dovetails. So to avoid a bit of crying, I labeled the waste which I normally don't do.

good fit here off the saw
No particular problems sawing the tails off of the pins. This way you have to follow your lines. With tails first you don't.

this one is a bit tight and I had to trim the pins
had the problem here again
I didn't realize at the time I was doing this wrong. I had a hard time keeping the fence up against the edge and the skate riding where it should. I have 4 plow planes and this is the only one I've seen or had this hiccup with. Albeit, I don't have a lot of time on the pond with it and I'll have to remember this for when I show Miles how to use this.

haste makes waste
Not starting at the far end was mistake #1. Mistake #2 was me not flushing the bottom before I ran the groove. Lucky for me that the top was almost dead flush on the corners.

warming up the hide glue
glued up and it's square  - didn't need a clamp on this
Record 044 box is done
I put this away in Miles's toolbox. I'll be using this again and I'll also be putting it in the queue to be cleaned up and made pretty.

making the roll around dolly for the chisel cabinet
stock shot to length and the ends squared
marked the half laps so damaged areas would be removed
everything laid out
trying to split out all the half laps
this turned out to be the wrong way to do this
I should have come down from the top with the grain. At least I had stopped this in time when I saw the split running into the knife line. Won one and lost one.

the bottom one is the only good one
The bottom one has been cleaned with a router to the knife line. The others need help and 2nd one from the top was given last rites.

it seems I wasn't doing as good as I thought
On one side I was away from the knife line and the other I ran past it. Out of 8 half laps only one is ok with the rest beyond salvage. What looked kind of flat and straight when splitting turned out to look like ten miles of a bad dirt road.

switched to machines
Whacked out a set of bridle joints on the tablesaw. Sawed the cheeks on the tenons.

a little too snug
good fit after some work with the tenon rasp and chisel
tenon is too thin
I turned the R/L knob on the tenon jig the wrong way and made one leg with the tenons too thin. I was going to glue two waste cheeks on but they are 1/8" too short. I sawed the practice tenon cheeks off and glued them on. It will have to be tomorrow before the dolly is done.

accidental woodworker

Trivia corner
Did you know that the ancient Egyptians invented the toothbrush?

Shop safety: This tip could save your life

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 3:19pm

… or “I never said I wanted to go surfing.”

Every so often something reminds you that serious injury is only a heartbeat away.

I had one of those experiences yesterday in the shop. The culprit: a scrap of plywood — well, that and a moment’s inattention as I walked across the floor after answering a phone call.

I’d been using the plywood scrap, an offcut of the prefinished maple I use for kitchen cabinet carcases, as a spacer to hold drawer slides at the requisite height while I screwed them in place. I had my camera and tripod set up nearby, to document the process for the book about kitchens that I’m working on for Lost Art Press. After installing the slides, I took the spacer out of the cabinet and set it on the floor without another thought.


The offending piece of scrap (here with finished side up), with Joey for scale.

As I crossed the floor to return to work I inadvertently stepped on the piece of plywood, which happened to be lying with the finished side down. I might as well have stepped onto a sheet of ice. It was one of those slow-motion moments as my mind assessed the likely result: “My head is probably going to hit this concrete floor.” Fortunately, while my mind was analyzing the situation my body was taking action. I felt my torso jerk up and around,  saving me from the fall.

But ouch: a sharp stab from left hip to right shoulder. No concussion, thankfully, but hello, my old friend Muscle Spasm. It’s off to the chiropractor Monday morning.

Lesson learned: Never leave prefinished plywood on the floor, especially with the shiny side down.–Nancy Hiller, author of Making Things Work

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Walnut Jewellery Chest, progress.

David Barron Furniture - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 3:02am

Even though the parts are quarter sawn I always take the precaution of allowing free air movement on both sides. The time taken to make this board is well worth it, particularly as it may be a few days before I work on this project again.

Here are the grooves cut for the base, drawer runners and rear panel. This looks simple enough but great care was needed and I made up a scrap board to check all the dimension before cutting. The grooves were cut in two passes with a 4 mm router bit.

The top, three drawers supports and base were all cut to identical size on the table saw. Then to ensure a very slight taper (wider at the back) I used three stopped cuts on the shooting board on each edge followed by one through shaving. I marked the boards very carefully as if I got one of the tapers the wrong way it would be disastrous.

I then marked the depth of the tenons on the 3 supports and the base with a wheel marking gauge and used the same setting to mark the baseline for the through dovetails on the top. This ensures that fit of all five horizontal components is perfect. The tenons were cut to a snug fit on the shaper, just shy of the line and this was finished off with a sharp chisel. This was extra work but yields very clean shoulders.

Obviously the tenons were too long and these were trimmed back to just under 4 mm to fit the grooves. Above is the finished tenon.

Next it was time to mark out and cut the dovetails, all 17 of them. I used my double saw blade (see recent post) against a small square to ensure the tails were both square and perfectly even. I'll be cutting these free hand, a job for another day.

For anyone wondering what the finished chest will look like, here is a version I made a couple of years ago.

Categories: Hand Tools

this storm was in bad mood......

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 01/06/2018 - 2:42am
Back about 5 years ago(?) the amount of snow I have now is what I got over a one week period. We had 3 snowfalls separated by a few days that dumped a mountain of snow. Yesterday I think we got all of that in one shot.

I got up at 0500, edited the blog and posted it, and then headed outside to shovel. Yesterday I tried twice to shovel to stay ahead of it but the wind drove me back inside both times. This AM the wind was wimpy compared to the gusts yesterday. I also had two surprises when I went outside. Both the car and truck were almost bare and someone had plowed my driveway and part of  the front walk. In spite of my good fortune, it still took me over two hours before I was done shoveling.

that's all the snow that was on my wife's car
my truck had snow on the passenger windows only
See the mountain on the right side? Almost all of that came from the end of the driveway. A third of my driveway end was blocked (by the snowplowing) and I had to dig that out and deposit it along here. I burned up a few calories this AM.

front walk and the end of my driveway
I tried not to pile the snow up at the end because it makes it hard to see on coming traffic. I had to complete the sidewalk from the front door down to the far end of my property. Manny had plowed from here to the front door and the driveway up to my truck which saved me a lot of hours. I also dug out the fire hydrant that is right at the end of my property. The last bit of shoveling was to dig an access from the road through the snow so UPS etc can get to my front door.

There is more snow forecasted for monday just in time for the morning commute. Which incidentally will be my first day back at work. I didn't get to the shop until after lunch. All that shoveling made my hands feel funny and I could barely hold my coffee cup. Arthritis sucks big time.

it's the record 044 box
 Flushing the top and bottom (one at a time). Small blockplane evens the corners and the 5 1/2 flushed it 360.

bottom had some twist
The top was ok.

using Miles's 78 to make the rabbets
I used Miles's dovetail saw, the 044 to make grooves, and now the 78 is batting next to make rabbets. I should have used his bench planes too and made it 100% made with his tools.

first rabbet isn't too good
First hiccup was me thinking using this 78 was a no brainer. There is a learning curve with every tool regardless of having other tools that do the same thing. I noticed that the 78 was running away from the shoulder. When I looked at it the corner it was rounded and stepped. I knew what the cause was so I checked it.

the iron shifted on me
In order to get a clean 90° bottom corner, the iron has to be slightly proud on this side. I had done that but the iron moved as I use it. Which means I didn't tighten down the lever cap enough to hold the iron in place.

used this rabbet to run a knife line on the opposite side
I ran a knife line because on the other side I'm running against the grain. The knife line will help with tear out.

shavings look nice but.....
I am definitely at the bottom on the up hill side of the learning curve. I checked my depth and I had to go another 1/8 inch plus. The rabbet here looked ok but that changed as I went deeper in depth.

I usually tilt outboard, not inboard
The other end looks as bad so I was consistent in the tilting. The other problem is I went too deep, even discounting the low point of the tilt. This lid is toast. And my first rabbets with the 78 are toast too.

the other rabbet
This end of the rabbet is high and the blurry pic I took of the other end was low. I made me a tapered rabbet with the 78.

iron moved again on me
Not all bad news using the 78. The iron is sharp and worked great making a boatload of fluffy shavings. I need to play with the setting the iron and how to keep it secured once I set it. It is a nice plane and I'm sure that I'll master it with a few more road tests. I kind of have to because it's me that will be showing Miles's how to use it.

Record 044 box
This confirms it. I have been chopping a bit ham fisted on the first round moving the knife wall.

sawing out the 1/8" plywood bottom
lots of curly Qs'
On the crosscut I got some fuzzies but nothing like I got from the rip cut.

glued the plywood bottom on
new lid stock being checked for twist
using the 10 1/2 to make the rabbets
I naturally grabbed this and it made me think. I like using this to make rabbets and I do pretty good with it too. I think I'm so comfortable with this because it is very close in use to my other bench planes.

flat, straight, and  almost square
bullnose work
Used this to make the rabbets square and planed the inside shoulder to the pencil line.

both rabbets are square end to end
plywood bottom flushed 360
lid fits and slides in and out easily
The lid is 3 frog hairs high of the back. I planed it until it was flush with the top back.

lid sawn to length
layout for the thumb catch
I usually miss doing this at this point. Here it easy to get my center, the two outside edges, and the distance from the front.

beveled the front edge
The bevel makes running square lines from the front edge a bit dicey.

astragal didn't work
the rabbet isn't deep enough
This is the first box I made like this where I have had this problem. It didn't occur to me to check it first. I thought I was ok based on all the boxes I've done in the past but there is always one small detail waiting to bite you on the arse.

LN beading plane
The smallest bead in the set is too large. I was hoping that I could scratch a bead over the one I tried to make with the wooden plane.

found a beading iron that may work
doesn't fit in the Lee Valley plow
The iron is too long for this plane.

I used the Record 405 to run the 5/16" beading iron over the partial profile I had. It doesn't look pretty but I am going with it. There are some extra rabbets but I was able to make a bead on each side. Missed getting any pics of that action.

You have to look close to see the boo-boo
thumb catch done
rounded the front edge of the lid groove
I like the rounded look here over leaving it squared off. I think it compliments the bevel I planed on the front edge of the lid and the bead on the lid rabbets.

screw for the depth shoe
I have to remove this in order to get everything to fit in the box.

everything fits and the lid closes
I had to remove the depth shoe screw so the iron box would fit.

came up with a different interior arrangement
I didn't want to remove the screw on the depth shoe so I can fit everything in the box. I don't mind taking the fence and fence rods off but a thumbscrew is too easy to lose.

the change
This raises the plane body up and holds it flat and horizontal in the box. I can leave the screw on the depth shoe and fit the iron box on top of the plane body.

the both of them will fit in Miles's toolbox
The 044 box is on the bottom and the sides for the 78 box are on top of it. I will have just enough room for both of these in the bottom with maybe a frog hair of clearance. The Stanley router plane box is on the far right.

Stanley #135
This came in today with the afternoon mail. Because of the storm I was not expecting this for a few more days. Note to self - ask Bob D before I buy another tool I've never seen before.

This is not what I thought it would be. Three flat blade drivers so this was made before Henry Ford made phillips or cross point screws.

the adapter fits it!
I thought it was a big as the one on the left
would not drive this #8 x 1 1/4 screw without a pilot hole
even the Craftsman didn't like doing it
It did it but I had to use two hands on the driver in order to screw it in.

road test #2
Tried doing it with a pilot hole. It helped but it wouldn't drive it anymore than a 1/3 of the way. I tried it with wax on the threads to help on the second try but only managed to get it 1/2 way down.

had to use the big driver to set the screw and to remove it

evolution of my box making
Rabbeted joints with the plywood bottom held in grooves.  I made boxes like this for over 30 years.

my attempt at a sliding lid box
This box is made of plywood so my goal was to do something with the front end to hide the plywood plies. I've made a lot of boxes (solid wood ones too) like this with varying degrees of ugly lid ends.

the bottom
Plywood makes a good box but hiding the plies can involve a lot of tedious work applying solid wood banding to hide it.

What's next?
Boxes in this style have been found in 2200 year old Roman ship wrecks. That goes a long way as a testament to it's viability.  I haven't seen anything better than this and I look at every box I see.

two coats of shellac
I'll steel wool these tomorrow and put on two more coats. Then the Record 044 box will be done.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that the state song of Kansas is 'Home on the Range'?

Teaching Historic Finishing At MASW

The Barn on White Run - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 4:42pm

Right after the conclusion of the Parquetry workshop at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking I dove in again with three days of Historic Finishing (reminder to self — DO NOT do this again.  The logistics of changing horses mid-week is a headache you can do without).  This class had more than a dozen students, and the enthusiastic feedback had led Marc to ask me to develop an expanded  week-long workshop on the same topic, which we will do in 2019.

I’ve pretty much got this workshop dialed in, as I do with Parquetry, so there is a fairly fixed syllabus here.  The emphasis is on processes and work habits rather than having a “completed” project at the end, concentrating on shellac spirit varnishes and beeswax applications.

The starting point is this 24×48 panel building up multiple brushed applications of 1-1/2 pound cut shellac to about 18 layers over the first day and a half.  Getting this to “done” allows us to explore the detailing and polishing of the surface.

We used polissoirs for preparing surfaces and applying wax, and filled the grain with molten beeswax.  Then we made and used polishing pads for applying spirit varnish.

Each student got to address the problems of finishing undulating surfaces,

applying pigmented wax grain filler,

and even making historic sandpaper.

The giant panels were polished out with a variety of period-appropriate abrasives,

and one quadrant was glazed with asphaltum.

All in all, it was a great time of fellowship and learning.  How could it not be, we were finishing!


Out with the old

Owyhee Mountain Fiddle Shop - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 12:43pm

This is a violin top I made a couple years ago.  It was on a Guarneri del Gesu inspired violin I was making, and in the spirit of Paganini's del Gesu, "il Cannone", I left the plates thick.  An experiment.

As I was carving it, I uncovered a small branch in the lower bout, treble side.  Very frustrating to find it at that point in the process.   I did learn to look for the tell-tale sign, the cross-section of a branch on the outer edge.

Flustered but not defeated, I continued carving, being careful around the rapidly changing grain.  I managed to get under it, without much distortion to the arching.  The weird grain was still there, and I grew to like it somewhat.  It did bother me, wondering what sort of sonic impact it would have.

So then I went on.  Here it is at the point in time we'll call "X" with my Brothers Amati plate underneath.  I like to build two at a time.

So I finished both of them, strung them up.  The Brothers Amati I liked.  The del Gesu I hated.  Give it a couple weeks to stretch and compress.  Still hated it.  No volume, unpleasant tone.  Ok, it was an experiment, heavy plates.  And there was that weird branch grain.  Maybe it was to blame. So I pulled the top and thinned it down.  Put it back together.  Now it was louder, but still an unpleasant tone.  Matters were worse.

Took it to a show in Portland, Oregon.  Folks played it.  Other makers played it.  Most didn't mind it too much, but generally a polite bunch.  It didn't sell, but not many violins sell there in a good year.

Moved the soundpost around a bit.  Made a new soundpost.  Still hated it.

I pulled the top again.  Thinned the top more. Thinned the back.  Put it together and strung it up.  Now it was even louder, still hated the tone.  Nasal, maybe, though with a head cold or bad allergy.  Bad diction.  Like listening to someone with a loud, sloppy voice, telling boring, long-winded stories.

Was it the branch grain?  Nothing I did seemed to help.

Took it to Weiser.  Folks played it. Some were complimentary.  It didn't sell.  Not much did that year at Weiser, either.  Still, I hated it.

Brad Holst, a fellow violin repairer from Medford, Oregon, was there, had put a few of his violins on the table at my temporary shop at the Weiser Fiddle Contest.  He said: "What's the spacing between your upper eyes?"  42 mm, I answered.  "Hmm, " he said.  "I'd be curious to see what it measures to."

So I pulled out a tape measure, and it came out at 39 mm.

Back to "X" point in time.  I laid-out the terminal holes incorrectly on that plate.  Distracted by the branch, perhaps.  Well, shoot.  I kept the fiddle around for a couple months after that, then finally said "no" to myself.  I wouldn't sell something like that.  Pulled the top off, made a new one.

I still am not crazy about the tone with the new top, but I don't hate it now. I could even play it for a few weeks and maybe learn how to handle it.

I thought about keeping the old top, with its too-close eyes, in the shop as a reminder of my mistake.  Then, I realized, I make new mistakes every day, so don't need some reminder hanging on the wall. I'd rather have something nice to look at.

Last night's contra band rehearsal was at my place, a cold night, snow on the ground, so we had a nice fire in the fireplace, and cleared out some old debris, including not just that top, but a top from an old factory fiddle that had been badly cracked and put back together with Gorilla (TM) Glue.  That was not my repair.  I tried to clean it up and put it back together, but it was too far gone, and frankly not that good of a top to begin with.  So I made a new one for that old fiddle, strung it up, and it sold within a week.

Here's the old top, also on its way to the afterlife.

I was wishing for a viola top, to test whether they actually do burn longer.

Life goes on.  Things are created, exist for a while, then are gone, elements to be recycled into something else.  Here's a photo of some bread I pulled out of the oven while writing this blog post.

Categories: Hand Tools, Luthiery

559 Dice Tower and Tray “Highrolling Unicorns and Wizards!”

Matt's Basement Workshop - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 11:53am

Anyone who plays games involving dice there’s two things you always encounter; 1) they inevitably go flying off the tabletop, or 2) someone claims you threw them in a way that meant you were cheating. Aside from building a gaming table with raised sides like a craps table in Vegas your options can be limited on how to fix the problem.

poplar, dice tower, dice tray

poplar dice tower and tray with dice

A quick little project I built to help keep the dice in play is a “Dice Tower and Tray.” I made mine out of scrap poplar taking up space in the lumber rack and it only took a couple of hours on a Saturday afternoon.

Help support the show with purchases at online stores such as:

Categories: Hand Tools

Tool List – What to Buy? (Or Wait to Try)

Giant Cypress - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 11:08am
Tool List – What to Buy? (Or Wait to Try):

Megan Fitzpatrick does a great job with a list of what tools to start with for woodworking. But then there’s this:

Bevel-edge Chisels

My absolute favorites are a Japanese make that I can never remember (so I had a reminder on my computer at PW that I could look up. Oops.), but I also don’t think they are easily available. So among chisels you can actually get, I like the Lie-Nielsen Bevel-edge Socket Chisels.

*** single tear rolls down cheek ***

How to Saw Straight

The Renaissance Woodworker - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 8:10am

Sawing Straight is Getting Out of the Way

Learning to use a hand saw and sawing straight isn’t a thousand hours or practice thing. Honestly a well tuned saw really wants to saw straight and we have to really fight it to make it deviate. So rather than spending hour after hour making practice cuts, focus on aligning your body and getting out of the way. Focus on relaxing and actually working less and the saw will do its thing. Within a few minutes of this you will be getting straight and plumb saw cuts. It is the initial set up and alignment and relaxing that is so important. Going through that set up is what this video is all about and I address several different types of saw cuts and how to prepare and execute the straight saw cut.

More Sawing Tips

    I referenced both of these videos during the session so make sure to check them out. Additionally I have a lot of sawing related content here on my site and do a little searching or looking under the techniques menu will find you some additional gems.

Categories: Hand Tools

My Willow Phase

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 5:13am


The unpleasant funny thing about visiting your family during the holidays is encountering your former woodworking self.

I’m in Charleston, S.C., with my dad this week and encountered my Late Willow Phase, a time during the 1990s when I was obsessed with rustic furniture. I had honestly forgotten about this phase (unlike my leather trousers phase).

For a couple years I drove around in my Volvo 240DL station wagon cutting willow switches out of ditches on the Westside of Cincinnati. I stored all these sticks in buckets in my shop, giving it an arboreal look. Using a drill and a tenon cutter, I made dozens of chairs, trellises, frames, anything you could fashion with sticks and tenons. It was my first pleasant encounter with bending green wood.

One Christmas we planned to visit my father in Arkansas. Lucy and I were broke, and my dad already owns everything he needs. So I took an afternoon to make this little footstool for him from a scrap of white pine and discarded willow switches from a chair project.

And here it sits today (I took it out on his porch for a photo). And for something that I threw together in a day, it’s not half-bad.

Phases can fade away or end abruptly. This one had its throat slit. One day I got a letter from a family that makes willow furniture with a bunch of photos of their beautiful pieces. The letter said: “We’ve seen your stuff. It sucks. This is what willow stuff should look like. Please quit.”

I did.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Personal Favorites, Uncategorized, Yellow Pine Journalism
Categories: Hand Tools

Fraudulent use of my guitar label

Finely Strung - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 3:03am

Earlier this week, I was contacted by Serhat Köse from Ankara, Turkey. He had spotted a steel string guitar, which he thought had been made by me,  for sale on the mobile classified app Letgo  and he wanted to know more about it.

Although the guitar carried my label, it certainly wasn’t an instrument that I had made and I’m puzzled how the label got into it. The label was designed for me several years ago by Gill Robinson, an artist who is also a classical guitar player, and I had enough printed to last the rest of my guitar-making life. I’ve got a stack of them in my workshop but the only way in which they leave is when they’re glued inside a guitar.

I wrote about my new labels on this blog back in 2012, so perhaps whoever put it into the guitar for sale in Turkey obtained it from that post. It didn’t occur to me then that I needed to watermark the labels to prevent fraudulent use.  But, of course, I have done so now.

Serhat sent me this photograph of the guitar. Anyone thinking of buying it should know that the label inside is a fake.


no humming, no buzzing......

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 01/05/2018 - 2:38am
Where I live it gets cold in the fall and winter months. Fluorescent lights do not like cold weather and the cheap ones like it even less. When it gets cold, fluorescents like to buzz like a swarm of angry bees. And when they don't buzz, they have an annoying hum. This was my constant companion in the shop for the longest of times. Even though I've lost a lot of my hearing, those two sounds I had no problems hearing. But no more.

Last year I came across some 4 foot double LED shop lights for cheap ($15?). I bought enough of them to replace every single buzzing/humming fluorescent I had in the shop. I saved two fluorescents to put in the boneyard but I shitcanned them. Ocean State Job Lot is still selling these LED lights and I'll buy two more for the boneyard.

 Do you know what I hear now? Nothing but the radio. It is wonderful to go to the shop, turn the lights on, and not hear that fluorescent dance music anymore. Not only is the noise gone, the light output has increased a bazillion percent. When I first put them in I was amazed with the brilliance of the light.I wasn't sure that I would get accustomed to but I did in a very short time - less than 2-3 days. If you are on the fence with LED lights, hop off and trot off to the store and buy some.

Oh and I forgot to say that the LED lights are instant on. Fluorescent lights also tend to lag coming on and have a diminished output in cold weather.

sharpened the 1/4" iron
 I'll be using this iron to make the groove for the sliding lid so it batted lead off this morning.

a Eureka moment
I didn't fully understand what this was for until today. I had been getting annoyed with it mostly because the iron wouldn't fit in the plane. The screw is used to keep the iron up tight against the plane. The shoulder of the screw lines up against the edge of the iron keeping it oriented at this bevel angle and the lever cap gizmo secures the iron.  I had been doing this without realizing that is what I had to do.  This screw will come out wide enough to put the 9/16" iron in it. The slotted knurled part of the screw is captive and will only extend out to accept the width of the largest iron.

the Lee Valley plow plane
The Lee Valley plane has the same feature but it is a bit simpler in design. I was having the same annoyance with this plane too.

finishing the big plumb bob
Both are reading about the same amount of being out of level. The black line is centered and squared on this edge.

the up/down plumb is dead on
The string is barely touching the front edge of the standoff.

got this R/L plumb fixed
I had to play with wedge on the right side to get this plumb in the vise. Now I still have to find a home for it.

second coat on the back of the chamfer wings
These are taking a bit of time to complete. I have no way to hold them so I can paint both sides at the same time. So I'm painting this side first and then I'll do the other side. I got the second and final coat of paint on the plane body. Tomorrow I'll work on shining up the non painted areas.

the storm came
The snow started coming down in earnest around 0830 and didn't stop until about 1600. The wind is blowing in some pretty powerful gusts causing a whiteout. I can barely make out my neighbor's house across the street out of my front window. I tried to shovel a couple of times but the wind won both times. I'll try to do it tomorrow when it is supposed be less windy.

screwed the lids back on
See a white line. It is not giving me a smiley face.

the front of the saw till box
it is clean looking
I purposely kept these edges paint and shellac free. The reason I did that was because once the lid is latched, it could fuse the paint or shellac together. I don't like the white line and I don't want to risk fusing the two halves together so will have to make decision on this. It's nice that I have lots of time available to do that.

same problem with the square till box
sawing tails on sliding lid box
I don't know which tool goes in this box but it doesn't matter. I can figure that out after it's made. Since I am only doing one box, I am sawing in the vise. The bench is crowded and I didn't want to clear it off to set the moxon on it. It made me think of making another bench just for doing joinery work. A bench where the moxon would always be ready to go. I'll have to search for hole in the shop that I can put it in.

this side is a wee bit tight
The other side went on off the saw. This side I had to trim the pins that had bruising on them.

seated almost
I still have to plow the grooves for the lid. I don't like banging the corners together and taking them apart any more than I have to. I'll save the final dry fit until after the grooves are done.

it still amazes me
After all the dovetails I've done, this step still gets my motor running in the red line. This is something I have done on my own. The tools I used were extensions of me that did my bidding and this was the result.

no bottom groove
I am gluing the plywood bottom onto the bottom of the box. Not my preferred way of doing this but it will save me about 5/8" on the height of the box. I need to minimize that on both the 78 and 044 boxes.

it's square
The inside of the box is where the lid goes and it has to be square. I didn't check the outside because it doesn't matter. The back dovetails are tight and staying put. The front has one big tail and I needed to use the clamp to fully close it up.

double, triple checked it with a bigger square  - glued it with hide glue and put it by the furnace
the Record 044 iron box
This iron holder box I put 5 coats of shellac on because of the figured walnut. This side on the top left has an oval patch that I missed when I made this.

board for the lid
I noticed a crack on the end of board and sawed it off. I banged it on the bench and this happened. I didn't see anymore evidence of a crack on the face or the end grain so I sawed out the lid.

banged the lid on the bench
Nothing broke or split so I sawed it off at the right spot.

had to remove some twist
I had to plane out a cup and a hump too. I am not that concerned with this being exactly a 1/2" thick as it is a lid for a tool box.

reference edges and one square corner
I'll do all of my fitting of the lid off of these.

sticker it here until tomorrow
dovetail tips
A friend of mine asked me to explain my dovetailing. There are a few tips I think would help him. The first one is to practice them. Dovetails are like anything else worth doing. It is going to take time, practice, and making a few mistakes along the the way. Tip #1 is to label the corners however you like.

I use the nubers1 through 4 and I always label the bottom. I do the bottom because it won't readily be visible and if I glue the bottom on, I don't have to erase anything. Tip #2, don't forget to allow for the half pin that gets sawn off. On those corners the label has to be set from the end a bit or you'll saw it off.

pay attention to the labels
Tip #3. Get in a OCD, anal retentive mood when you do dovetails. Get in the habit of doing the layout and sawing the same way everytime. I always saw my tails and pins with the outside facing me so any fuzzies from sawing will be on the inside.

Once you get in the habit of doing dovetails the same way you'll be surprised that you'll pick up on mistakes quicker. Something will not appear to be right and it usually isn't. Most of my catches have to do with me sensing a mismatch of the tails and pins (labeling).

tip #4
Get anal about keeping the reference faces together. This is where I usually make a mistake and catch it. I'll turn one of the reference faces 180. I always check the corner with the numbers to make sure they match. If one board is face flipped there will only be one number on the L or R corner.

the type of saw doesn't matter that much
Developing your sawing technique is more important than the saw used. You will learn to do dovetails with whichever saw you choose. I watched a You Tube video where the guy did a dovetail corner with a hacksaw and a screwdriver for a chisel. It's not the tools that make the joint, you do that.

tip #5
Here's the habit thing again. I always make my nick on the reference edge. I look for it when I lay my square on the reference edge to knife my lines.

tails done on box #2
I wasn't going to saw these out but I did. This is where I called it quits for today. Tomorrow I will make the lid, glue the bottom on, and figure out which tool this box is for.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that USDA standards state that a gallon of ice cream must weigh a minimum of 4.5 pounds?

What is a ‘Loose Tenon?’

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 6:28pm

Loose tenon disassembled

Some readers seemed confused by my description of assembling a benchtop with the help of a “loose tenon.”

The expression doesn’t mean that the tenon rattles loose in the mortise. Rather it means that the tenon is not integral to either piece being joined. It is like a Domino or a biscuit. It enters mortises in both pieces.

I drew up two illustrations to show how this works. The drawing at the top illustrates the joint when it is apart. The loose tenon is shown floating between the two components of the benchtop.

Loose tenon ASSEMBLED

The second illustration is an “X-ray” view of the assembled joint with 1/2”-diameter pegs piercing the benchtop pieces and the loose tenon.

“Loose tenons” have many other names, including “slip tenons” or “floating tenons.” All these terms are accepted in woodworking journalism.

Hope this helps.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Workbenches
Categories: Hand Tools

New Book | American Furniture 1650 to the Present

Pegs and 'Tails - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 1:40pm
Oscar Fitzgerald, American Furniture, 1650 to the Present (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2017), 630 pages, ISBN: 978 144227 0381, $130 / £85. Drawing on the latest scholarship, this comprehensive, lavishly illustrated survey tells the story of the evolution of American … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

DIY Marking Gauge

Owyhee Mountain Fiddle Shop - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 1:24pm

Not my idea, probably an old one at that, but simple and effective.  An adjustable marking gauge you can make in a few moments.  Good for putting that running dent in the wood, something to cut to.  The little screwhead lets allows you to get into the curves, which is nice at this point in the making.

Handy little adjustment tool, too.

Categories: Hand Tools, Luthiery

Loose Tenons & Workbench Tops

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 11:36am


We think of loose tenons as a modern joint, but it is far from it. Early Greek and Roman boats were made with loose tenons that were pegged to keep the hulls together.

I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that Richard Maguire also used this same technology to glue up his benchtops (read all about that here). I’ll be honest, I’ve always relied on glue alone (when I didn’t have a monumental one-piece slab top).

But my view changed a couple years ago when we got a bad batch of epoxy and several benchtops delaminated. If I ever have to glue up a slab benchtop again, I’m adding loose tenons.

Interestingly, Maguire doesn’t drawbore the loose tenons in his tops. He states: “a draw bored peg here would have been much weaker than this straight through approach.” I do believe I will be experimenting with this joint – both drawbored and not – to see for myself.=

Maguire wasn’t the first to come up with the idea of loose tenons in a benchtop (though I heard it from him first). Recently I got to inspect an early 20th-century French workbench from La Forge Royale that used the technology.


This commercial workbench was surprisingly rough in manufacture. Joints were deliberately overcut throughout to make the bench easy to assemble. The “breadboard” ends were merely nailed or screwed on. No tongue. I could go on and on. It’s still a great workbench (and still standing after 100 years), so I’m not knocking it. But I was surprised.

Despite the rough construction, the builders took the extra time to add loose tenons in the benchtop’s joint. That fact says a lot to me as to how important a detail they thought it was.

So it’s worth a thought for your next workbench.

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

Filed under: Uncategorized, Workbenches
Categories: Hand Tools

The (Almost) Final Step with the Horse Garage

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 11:14am


I have never been so happy to hear from a roofer.

After 10 weeks of waiting for my number to come up, Brian the Roofer called to say his crew will begin the job Monday afternoon or Tuesday morning.

Barring rain or a visit from the Angel of Death, I’ll have a new roof by the end of the week and will then set up my machines. That should take a day at most. I don’t have a lot of machines, and they (with one exception) are easy to move.

The only thing left to do is install the mini-split to control the climate in the workshop. The wiring for it is ready – so it’s a one-day job. (And until the mini-split gets installed, I’ll simply freeze my butt off when I work.)

Ever since moving my workbench to the storefront almost two years ago, I’ve been slowed down by having two shops. Though I don’t do a lot of machine work, there were times that I had to drive home to use the drill press for a very particular hole and then had to drive right back to the storefront to continue working.

Though I don’t live far from the storefront (4.2 miles), the route always has a chance of jackknifed semis or cornholed motorists on the stretch that locals call “Death Hill.”

When I was planning out my new shop, I half-considered writing a series of articles about the process. Then I realized that I think most people make it a lot more difficult than necessary. And by putting a lot of effort into the shop, they actually make it more of a pain to use in the long-term.

If you’d like to read my brief thoughts on setting up shop, check out my entry at my other blog at Popular Woodworking Magazine. Here’s the link. (Side note: I’d like to offer a huge thank-you to all the people who read my blog there – the monthly pay I receive is an important part of our family budget. And according to the traffic numbers, 2017 was a good one for my blog there.)

Now back to dreaming of my membrane roof.

— Christopher Schwarz

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

Lovely Walnut Cupboard

David Barron Furniture - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 8:45am
 Nathan sent me these pictures through of a fine cabinet he has recently completed. He had intended it to be wall mounted, but at 12"deep he realised that it would be better on a stand, which is currently being designed.

It's a nice touch to use a waney edged board for a shelf and the beautifully shaped handles below look very tactile.

Categories: Hand Tools

Cresting Grain Direction

360 WoodWorking - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 7:56am
Cresting Grain Direction

Last year – that seems so long ago – when I posted about the five facts of fretwork mirrors, I received a few emails asking about the different observations. The most asked about was observation #4, grain direction of the cresting.

If you were left wondering about that particular observation, here’s the scoop. There is a better glue connection when matching long-grain to long-grain, and an end-grain to long-grain connection lacks a significant hold.

Continue reading Cresting Grain Direction at 360 WoodWorking.

big storm coming.......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 01/04/2018 - 3:22am
The weather situation in my part of the universe is going from bad to worse. Today was a heat wave with the temp getting above freezing but tomorrow it's turning into liquid fecal matter up to my armpits. There is storm coming and it is bringing a boatload of the white fluffy crap. Over the past two days the forecast has gone from 2-4 inches to 18 inches. After the storm passes on thursday afternoon the weekend temps are then predicted to be coldest we have seen so far this year.

The temps we have seen in the past week for december are about the lowest I can remember. Forget having positive single digit temps, we are heading for negative single digit temps. This weather forced my wife to leave a day early for her annual business trip. She is headed for San Diego this year and I doubt that it has ever snowed there.

I had my truck winterized and I had to pony up almost a grand to do that. I had the coolant flushed and replaced and the heat in the truck is working better now. Before the coolant change, the heat output was tepid at best. The heat coming out of the vents now is hot enough to make jiffy popcorn pop. I'm glad that I got it done before the storm hit.

An oil change and four new sneakers rounded out the winterization. I should be good for a couple more winters now. Especially so with new brakes 5K ago and a new battery a few months back.

walnut should be set
After the funny stuff that happened with the rapid fuse glue, I clamped this and set it by the furnace overnight. Normally I let it set a few hours and then play with it. It didn't seem to have been weakened in any way. I couldn't pull the long piece off so whatever problems I had with it yesterday had no effect on the final result.

it's a snug fit
I wasn't easy putting the lid on this. I had to shift into Cro-Magnon mode to do it.

dialing in the fit
I want a snug fit but a snug fit that I can put on and take off with just a wee bit of muscle. I sanded only the edge at the top for about an inch down. Checked the fit and repeated it until I got the snug, slip fit, I was looking for.

irons out of the EvapoRust, rinsed, and blown dry
EvapoRust darken the irons
These were shiny and bright before their bath. I could sand them again but I don't know what effect that will have on the treatment by the EvapoRust. I think I'll put some oil on them and stow them in their box as they are. It will be some time before Miles gets to play with them so it may be best to do this for the long term storage.

will it fit now?
it fits
It was a tight fit and the lid slipped over the irons ok.

not so good taking the lid of
The lid is holding on to most of the irons when the lid is removed.

the problem
This is an exaggeration, but there is a slight bellying in of the two sides. That is pinching the irons and holding them as the lid is removed. It doesn't hamper putting the lid on other than making it a bit snug.

sanding stick to the rescue
I started by sanding the bigger bottom part. I used the snuggest fitting iron to check my progress as I sanded.

this iron won't go down
I tried another iron and got the same result. The space to the left of the iron is ok. The spot where the iron is and to the right of it, isn't. Something odd - if I take out all of the irons and just put one in, I can put in anywhere along the whole slot with no problems. No sticking at 3/4 of the way in and I can slide it in and out easily.

the smallest, last iron, won't fit
sanded the lid but needs more work
you can see which irons were used the most
The 1/8" iron is the longest one so I am surmising that it was the one used the least. (on the bench hook)

still grabbing irons
After sanding the bottom part and still having a few tight spots, I filed it. That worked on getting most of it but the file couldn't get all the way to the bottom. So I'm back to square one here with both the lid and bottom grabbing irons.

a problem iron
This iron is thicker then the rest of them. Not only could I see it, but when I put against each of the other irons, I could feel it. I filed this iron until I couldn't feel a difference between it and the other irons.

made a new sanding stick with 60 grit
put a piece on the other end, opposite side
The slot in the lid and bottom wasn't wide enough for this sanding stick with 60 grit on both sides.  I started the 60 grit sanding on the bottom. When I could put the irons in to the bottom and turn it upside down and have the irons fall out, I switched to the lid.

finally done
Once I had sanded the lid slot open some, I glued another piece of 60 grit on the opposite side of the stick. Then I sanded both sides at the same time. Getting the irons to fit this box took a lot more time than the other two I did. I made this one the same way as the others so I don't know why this one was so difficult to do.

the iron adjuster knobs fit the other screw stems
chamfer thumbscrews
The thumbscrews don't fit in the adjuster knob. I was planning on going to Lowes to buy some 6mm washers but I had no transportation and it's too far to walk to. With the storm coming it'll probably be this weekend before I can get there.

#0, #1, and #2 Grace square drive  set
I got a Lee Valley gift card for xmas and I bought these for Miles's toolbox with it.

got a drill index too
I bought him a hand drill so he needed a drill index. It is a basic set from a 16th up to a 1/4".

ratcheting screwdriver square drive adapter
This will increase the abilities of the ratcheting screwdriver beyond it's phillips and two slotted driver tips.

this doesn't look good sports fans
They aren't even close to looking the same. I got this one based on looking at the picture on the Lee Valley site. This one is for a Stanley #131 ratcheting screwdriver. The screwdriver I have coming is a Stanley #135. The Craftsman one I have now I don't know if there is an equivalent Stanley for it. I don't know who made it for Craftsman. And the business end of it doesn't match the Stanley 131, 133, or 135.

seems to fit and lock in place
it fell out
As it turned, this promptly fell out. My second ratcheting screwdriver will have to be a #131.

ready for paint
I painted the plane body and it's hanging out by the furnace. These are in the on deck circle. After I got these painted I put a coat of shellac on the square and saw till boxes.

dovetail layout for the 78 & 044 boxes
These boxes are roughly the same size and the layout will be the same. I did the spacing of the tails by eye but laid  them out with a dovetail jig. I laid out the tails on one side and then used that to transfer the tails to the other one.

gang sawing
I saw this blue tape trick on a blog (?). Before this I had problems getting the a decent cut because I couldn't get and keep the two pieces aligned. The blue tape solved that problem. The benefit of gang sawing means the sides are symmetrical and interchangeable.

this sucks
It has been over a year since this last happened to me. My line didn't line up all the way around. That means I didn't knife one line off of a reference. I think I got the line knifed correctly on the second try. I'll have to wait and see how the final joint comes together.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that Rafer Johnson was the first black athlete to carry the American flag in the opening procession of the Olympics?  (Rome,1960)


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