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While Katy’s soft wax is great for furniture surfaces – especially interiors – she has a new devoted customer: Crucible Tool. Unbeknownst to me, Raney and John have been using the soft wax on our improved-pattern dividers as the final finishing step.
In fact, Raney asked me to make a big batch for him so we didn’t waste so many little 4 oz. tins.
If you’d like to give soft wax a try, Katy has a batch in her etsy store that is ready for shipment. The wax is $12 per 4 oz. tin. I use it on drawers, turnings, chairs and even as a final topcoat on oil finishes.
— Christopher Schwarz
P.S. We hope to have a new black soft wax soon. Oh, and about the photo of the cat: The wax had nothing to do with the hair loss.
Filed under: Uncategorized
I chose HANDWORK as the title of our magazine as it best describes what we do, but as I tried to register the name yesterday through ASIC they tell me a little old lady has taken this name. Not only did she take this name she registered multiple spellings of handwork. So, now I need another title for the magazine and I tried several others;
- Handcraft – taken
- Handkraft – taken
- Handcraftd – taken
- woodworking with hand tools – too long
- woodspeak – available pending my payment
I personally like WOODSPEAK as a title, I think it's unique and we are speaking about wood and when we work our wood speaks back to us.
So what do you think?
Do you like it?
Do you have any other names that would be a better suited title?
Lets brainstorm together, I only have a few days to register that name.
One more has been added to the pending payment list and I think this one is pretty good also
"BenchWork". That title pretty much covers everything we do.
Your responses to the last blog came as no surprise. As people accept the ever more mundane of mass making, skills automatically become dumbed down. Manufacturers that once had loyalty on a more local level have gradually sold out and what we thought was still being made domestically by local skills was hidden behind bland …
Drivel Starved Nation;
It seems that whenever we introduce a tool that is not “traditional” factions of the woodworking community, using their internet bullhorn, feel compelled to condemn the effort as heresy, an egregious assault on our “woodworking heritage”. These anachronistic views to me, and to us as a company, are about as much fun as pre-chewed food. Ideas evolve and so do tools — at least I like to think so.
New ideas are almost always the result of a changing perspective. And this is what I believe we do best, we rattle the cage of conventional woodworking wisdom with tool ideas that either attack or improve functionality deficiencies, inconvenience and work-flow efficiency, all with an underlying passion for aesthetics. Ironically, nobody needs any of these tool ideas… except me.
When I started my furniture making career back in the mid-1970′s, my small basement shop evolved into a 2,000 sq.ft. woodworking studio located in an old defunct furniture factory which still resides in a huge Portland gully. My view was Interstate 84, which was about 75 yards away. That shop contained all the “traditional” purchased hand tools you can imagine, and I despised many of them.
Back then, I had no idea I would eventually become a tool maker, but I do remember cussing under my breath about squares that were not square, block planes that needed half of a day of work to be functional (maybe more), and particularly my Record shoulder plane — that plane could not be used for more than 10 minutes without causing hand pain.
I remember being acutely aware how my store bought tools shared a collective ugliness which I surmised was the result from pragmatic cost compromises. Little did I know I was littering my brain with seeds that would eventually become Bridge City Tool Works.
Fast forward some 40 years later and I now have two shops — and it is not as luxurious as it sounds. In the skunk lab at Bridge City I work primarily at a stand-up bench I built in 1977 (it is from my original basement shop). This shop is full of Bridge City stuff and working space is small and precious. There really is not much room except for one little tool prototype project at a time. We are so cramped here that the table saw has to be moved to utilize the entry door cavity for ripping long boards. I suspect you understand what I am talking about.
My home shop is a back bedroom of my house which houses my Jointmaker Pro. There is another stand-up bench in the garage, but it quickly attracks clutter with important items like dog food, light bulbs and currently, window washing paraphernalia. The garage is also home to our dogs “Hyatt Suite”. In other words, working in my garage is next to impossible.
With this in mind, my tool design perspective has changed and you can see it in our latest design, the UG-1 Universal gage (which, by the way is a stupid name — I lost the vote here). Currently I am interested in working with as few tools as possible to accomplish my needs because I don’t have the space, nor the patience to find, then put away what I need for whatever project I am working on.
To be sure, I am rarely a fan of multi-tools and I own several, the most important of the bunch is the one I carry on my bicycle. That said, it seems multi-tools are full of compromises so when I set out to design one, it is not out of ignorance, I really want to solve my space constraints and simplify my work-flow in the most uncompromising way I can conjure.
In my next post I will explain all of the uses I have planned for this tool and will objectively (as much as possible anyway) grade each of the functions of this cool little tool! You will be able to agree or disagree, but I think the dialog might be enlightening.
It’s always a pleasure to hear what one’s instruments are doing and I recently caught up with this small steel-string guitar that I made nearly 5 years ago for Poppy Smallwood. Based on a Martin OO model with 12 frets to neck, it’s made of English walnut and has a sitka spruce soundboard.
(More photographs here, if you want to know about its construction.)
Poppy has been playing the guitar in all sorts of places, making a reputation for herself as a singer and songwriter. Here she is performing one of her own songs for BalconyTV against the background of St Petersburg.
You can hear several more of her songs on Soundcloud.
For as long as I have been writing about woodworking, I have wanted to build a dugout chair. I first encountered the form in one of the many furniture books we had a Popular Woodworking Magazine. Soon after I started working at the magazine in 1996 I began poring through the books whenever I had a spare moment – attempting to get up to speed with all the different furniture […]
If you have a week free beginning September
18th – yes I know it’s barely a month away – 360Woodworking has the perfect woodworking vacation for you. There is one bench open for a hands-on class building a Pembroke table, a furniture form that spanned over a century and was interpreted differently by the tastes and styles of the various designers of the age.
In the class as you build your table, you’ll learn multiple methods to taper legs, how to work with stack-lamination techniques for the curved parts, basic veneer work, how to lay out and cut the oval top complete with drop-leaf joinery and inlay and how to make knuckle joints for the fly rail – come ready to work to build this iconic piece of period furniture.
I listened to a BBC Radio 4 programme with a presenter named Jenny Murray talking about 17 crafts on the ‘Red Endangered List’, where certain crafts are in danger of disappearing. Of course we have seen crafts disappear because there was no use for them anymore. John Seymour wrote a book about the Forgotten Crafts …
|plugged the groove holes|
|didn't get 100%|
|there is a lid in there|
|both sides have some twist|
|got one face flat|
|sizing the overhang on the ends|
|got a ton of tear out|
|made mess of this|
|my 5 1/2|
|washers for clearance|
|only gluing about 1/2 way|
|working on the big drawer front|
|cleaning out the sockets|
|first one fitted|
|the ugly gap|
|making my blind groove|
|sizing the back to match the front|
|dry fitlooks good|
|drawer slip overhang|
|a look see|
|new look for me|
|small drawer parts sized and ready to dovetail|
|front done and ready to do the back|
|I said oops|
|way too tight|
|ready for glue up|
|lid ready for finish|
The back top edge of the box has to be rounded over to allow the lid to open and close. That is what is delaying getting this out the door today or even tomorrow.
|one coat on the box and lid|
A good day in the shop and it was a wee bit difficult getting myself out of my chair when the wife said dinner was ready. I felt like things had rusted in place and I needed to oil the joints to free them. i think my age is catching up with me.
This federal holiday was first observed in 1894. What is it?
answer - Labor Day, celebrated on the first monday in September. Canada's Labor day is celebrated on the same day too.
I'm clearing out some old planes, all have faults that would be easy to fix. First up an unhandled Spiers smoother, a good user.
Next a Norris A 71 missing its rear handle.
And lastly a Spiers parallel smoother again a good user
All start at 99p so bargains to be had. Due to the weights I'm afraid it's only postage (or collection) in the UK
Chance meetings abound at Handworks, while talking with Jim and Mike at Mortise and Tenon Magazine, I took the opportunity to grab a photograph.
Jim and I were laughing about asking someone to grab a photo of the three of us and we asked the first person wandering up to the table. After the picture was taken we continued talking and the conversation moved to clamps and quickly a business card appeared in my hand. Our photographer, Keith Clark was the owner of Dubuque Clamp Works.
Readers of my blog surely know that I am a huge fan of Dubuque Calmp Works. Learning more about the clamps I left the conversation even more impressed by their commitment to materials and quality. I purchased my clamps through Lee Valley Tools and have been extremely happy. There are many other places they can be purchased as well.
One of the ideas that’s been crashing around in my head for years is that vernacular furniture – what I call the “furniture of necessity” – is divorced, separate and independent from the high styles of furniture that crowd the books in my office.
This idea is not commonly held.
The conventional wisdom is this: Chippenton Sheradale invents a style of furniture that is Neo-Classical Chinese. So he publishes a pattern book to illustrate his new pieces, and the style becomes all the rage. All of the rich people want pieces in Neo-Classical Chinese to replace all the pieces in their houses that were Neo-Chinese Classical.
So the local cabinetmakers oblige and (as a result) can all afford new chrome rims for their carriages.
Rich rural farmers see the pieces in the new style and return home with the crazy idea that they should also have pieces in the latest Neo-Classical Chinese style. So they get Festus, the local cabinetmaker, to build them a Neo-Classical Chinese chair. But Festus uses Redneck Maple (Holdimus beericus) because Festus can’t get New Money Mahogany (Stickusis inbutticus).
Oh, and Festus takes some liberties with the new furniture style to please his rural customers, who want a series of cupholders in the arms that can accommodate a Bigus Gulpus.
Then the poor farmers see the Redneck Maple Neo-Classical Chairs owned by the rich farmers and ask their local carpenters to make copies, who also make changes to the design (a gun rack on the back). And then the dirt farmers see that chair. And so on.
Meanwhile, back in the city, a furniture designer draws up a pattern book for Neo-Gothic Romanian furniture. The cycle begins again.
All this sounds plausible because it has been written down in almost every book of furniture history ever published. The rich make something fashionable, and the poor imitate it until the rich become annoyed or bored. So then the rich find a new style, which the poor imitate again.
The only problem with this theory of degenerate furniture forms is that the furniture record doesn’t always go along with the theory.
I think there’s furniture that is divorced from the gentry. Furniture that is divorced from architecture. Instead of beginning with a pattern book, it begins with these questions: What do I need? What materials do I have? What can I make that will take little time to build but will endure (so I don’t have to frickin’ build it again)?
For several months now I have been plowing through “Welsh Furniture 1250-1950” (Saer Books) by Richard Bebb and have been thrilled to find someone who thinks the same way. Bebb has done the research on the matter when it comes to Welsh furniture. And he has convinced me that I’m not nuts.
In the first section of Vol. I, Bebb deftly eviscerates these ideas like a fishmonger filleting a brook trout. It’s an amazing thing to read. I’ll be writing more about Bebb’s research in future entries, but if you want to get right to the source, I recommend you snag your own copy of this impressive work.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: The Anarchist's Design Book, Uncategorized
I’m speechless, gob smacked, never saw it coming. I’m honoured and humbled.
Getting ready to go over all the types of Japanese saws at Frank Klausz’s shop.
I had a bad one yesterday where 3 days of working on a drawer got flushed. I thought I was doing good but not looking to check myself cost me big time. I made an error today (different than a mistake) based on an assumption. I thought something was square but it turned out it wasn't. I didn't lose anything there but it could have been as painful as yesterday's.
Mistakes and making them are part of life and woodworking. I kind of thought I made enough in woodworking already but that keep on a coming. At least the flavor of them is changing but it would nice to finally meet my quota on them.
|making drawer slips|
|didn't come out too good|
|lot of work on this one|
|got a bead I can use elsewhere|
|one set of slips done|
|plow a groove on both edges|
|saw them out on the inboard side of the groove|
|clean up the faces next|
|ganged together and planed|
|this part matters|
|final check and tweaking the fit|
|labeled and stowed|
|new small drawer front on the right|
|planed to thickness|
|thought I was planing square with this|
|loose fit in the opening|
|two drawer sides|
|I have some cup to remove|
|one side is flat and not rocking|
|this side is twist free|
|this side has some twist|
|found my assumption was wrong now|
|from the LN 51|
|I can see the chip without help|
|new small drawer front|
|a me box|
Here I finally got it, so I gave it a try. It is definitely a time saver and speeds up things over doing each one separately.
|sawed and chopped|
|off the saw|
|grooves done and the interior cleaned up|
|went nutso on the clamping|
|more spare parts|
|for Bob D|
Who is Nolan Bushnell?
answer - the founder of ATARI and Chuck E Cheese
Taking online courses in any subject, including woodworking courses, is the future of learning. It’s convenient. Bring the course directly to you. (There’s a free example posted below.) But in woodworking, being tied to your computer when you need to be in the shop practicing your new found skills is problematic. This week 360Woodworking.com took steps to alleviate that problem. The newest offerings are downloadable courses presented as a PDF with embedded video that plays whenever opened in Adobe Reader.