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An aggregate of many different woodworking blog feeds from across the 'net all in one place! These are my favorite blogs that I read everyday...
Following my post about building your own saw, a couple of people asked about instruction. Here’s one inquiry and my snarky, self-promoting response…
Andrew from Germany asked:
I have been considering making a back saw for some time, but have been a little intimidated by the process. Do you know of any good video resources or books that detail the process? I like videos for the simple fact that I am a visual learner.
Funny you should ask, but yes, I do know of a resource. Me!
I just completed filming two projects with Popular Woodworking Magazine, one of which is two hours of video instruction for an on-line class on how to build your own backsaw from the very kits I spoke of yesterday. In addition to the videos, students who sign up for class (hosted by PopWood, of course) will be able to ask questions and get assistance through live video interaction with yours truly, and post questions with other students in an online forum.
Class size is limited (to about 25 I think), but after the launch, anyone will be able to purchase/stream/download the videos anytime and build their saw. Plus, you can email me questions at your leisure.
The PopWood video team is editing the videos now, and we’re negotiating a launch date for the class, but it looks like sometime in June. Stay tuned for more details.
I’m only a few days away from heading to Des Moines for the first ever “Weekend With WOOD“. I love the idea that a magazine I’m already a fan of is opening their doors and welcoming attendees to a jam-packed event where you’ll learn so much from some amazing instructors.
I’ll definitely be sharing as much of my experience as possible with everyone. For sure there will be full-length posts when I get back, but there will also most likely be plenty of Tweets, Facebook & Google+ posts all weekend long live from the event.
One event that may not sound like the type of thing you can’t wait to sign up for is the WOOD editors panel discussion on Saturday afternoon. This is an opportunity to ask the editors whatever is on your mind about the magazine.
I imagine there will be plenty of questions about what it takes to put the magazine together each month, but I’m curious to see what you might ask if you had an opportunity. IN FACT…I could be that opportunity FOR YOU?! Do you have a question you’d like to ask the editors of WOOD Magazine? Send it my way and I’ll share it with them and then report back what I find out.
Either leave a comment on today’s post or EMAIL ME.
You'll have to visit the BBC site to see it, I hope it works outside the UK too here is the link
Portrait presumed to be Alfred de La Chaussee
Musée du Berry – Bourges, France
19th century oil on canvas
Roubo bench in the dining room?
Anything is possible if you dress the part.
Filed under: Historical Images, Workbenches
I am in need of some scorching sand for heat shading veneer and for hardening goose writing quills. I got a couple of cups of sand from a friend, it was left over from an out door cook oven. It is coarse construction sand and was in need of cleaning.
I first ran it through a coarse sieve [12 wires per inch], the stuff that didn’t make it through went into the garden. I then ran the sand through fine brass screen [20 wires per inch]. The stuff that didn’t make it through I separated out and saved it for future use, thinking I would still need to wash it when I was done.
Everything that fell through the fine brass wire screen contained all of the fines and dust, which I assumed I would have to wash it and dry it out. As I was pouring the sand from one container to another the wind blew some of the fine dust away. Now I was winnowing the sand and in about 15 minutes it was very clean. I didn’t have to wash it after all.
The size of the sand really does not matter for scortching wood or hardening quills, but it is nice to have two different sizes of winnowed sand.
I decided that I would have (approximately) two 3" drawers, two 2 1/2" drawers and two 1 1/2" drawers. The bottoms of the drawers are going to be in slips, and they will use up 1/2" of the depth.
I am still thinking about the drawer joinery. My question is this: Am I really going to create 6 half-blind dovetailed drawers for a tool chest? I watched a video of Rob Cosman making one half-blind joint in seven minutes. I am not that proficient at them and they would definitely take me a whole lot more time than that and possibly more than one try in some cases. By the way, here are a pair of videos with some really innovative techniques for making half-blind dovetails that I ran across:
Half-blind dovetails, part 1
Half-blind dovetails, part 2
It would never have occurred to me to use a scraper and drill press this way.
Here's a thought. I have no aversion to using quality baltic birch plywood for the drawer bottoms and there are obvious advantages to doing so. They can be glued in solid and, in so doing, will add tremendous strength to the drawer. On drawers this shallow, a glued-in bottom would take a lot of load off the corner joinery. I am not sure that sides pegged in a rabbet in the front wouldn't be more than strong enough. I admit to a vague feeling that they would be uncraftsmanlike. A disadvantage is that this design requires making a rabbet on the edges of the undersized plywood so it will fit precisely into the groove.
What would you do?
I remember years ago when I first started making saws and how hard it was to find parts. No one sold brass backs or saw hardware or saw plates. If you wanted to make a saw you had to fabricate the parts yourself, or scavenge them from old saws. And neither is too much fun when all you want to do is make a saw and not get an internship in a machine shop.
Fast forward to 2013 and the wonderful reality that is the 21st Century American Hand Tool Renaissance.
Thanks to a small number of enterprising people, and the growing demand to resurrect and revitalize our appreciation for meat powered tools, we now have several commercial sources of excellent quality parts and supplies for saw making.
I use parts from all of these suppliers and can personally vouch for every one. These are the same parts that I use every day in my shop. They ALL offer top quality and awesome customer service:
Saw Plates, templates, plans and more: TGIAG.com
Complete saw kits, backs and fasteners: BontzSawWorks.net
Saw Kits, split nut fasteners and driver bits: ToolsForWorkingWood.com
Saw Fasteners, supplies and filing aides: BlackburnTools.com
So what are you waiting for….get building!!!! Any schmuck can build a saw. Believe me….if I can make one, so can you. And if you’re a bit nervous about jumping into the whole project then you’re in luck again, because I also teach a two-day class at the Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking on making a backsaw from rough components.
And starting with this next class in July, we are now offering students the option to choose the size of their saw! That’s right…..thanks to Ron Bontz at Bontz Saw Works, students now order their saw kits directly. You can pick any saw you want, from a tiny 8 inch dovetail saw to a monster 18 inch tenon saw (though I recommend starting with the 12 inch backsaw kit). Let Ron know your preferences when you place your order. Then just bring the kit with you to class and I’ll show you how to turn it into a top-notch tool. It’s a blast. And you certainly don’t have to take the class to buy a kit from Ron, or parts from any of the suppliers above.
Check out the details on the saw building class: Build a Backsaw July 20-21st
And just to make the whole experience a little more fun, I’ll now be adding a ’Gallery’ section on the blog to post pics of saws made by students, readers and fellow saw lovers.
So get building and keep in touch.
Greg Knopp had contacted me earlier about fixing up a Japanese plane that he had. From the photos he sent me, it looked like it was in nice shape, except for one thing: the blade protruded a good ways past the mouth.
As it turns out, I have a Japanese plane that does the same thing.
This sometimes happens with Japanese planes. What I think happens is that the body shrinks over time, which effectively lowers the bed as the wood moves away from the position that it originally was in when the blade was fitted to the plane. As the bed lowers, it allows the blade to sink further into the grooves that hold it in place, resulting in the excessive protrusion you see above.
There are three ways to deal with this situation.
1. Make a new body for your plane blade. My guess is that’s more work than you want to do. It certainly is more work than I would want to do to fix this issue.
2. Grind down the blade so that it no longer protrudes out of the mouth like that. That would be a bit waste of a good portion of your blade, and you would have to do a lot of grinding, resharpening, and tapping out the blade. That’s also a lot of work.
3. Raise the bed by gluing a thin shim in place. A thin piece of cardboard has often been used for this. Some people swear by copier paper, business card stock, or index cards. Others would resaw a thin piece of wood. Once you do that, the blade shouldn’t be able to go all the way down. Then start rescraping the bed to allow the blade to drop down again.
I decided to go the thin piece of wood route. I’ve tried paper and cardboard before for this task, and found that when it came to rescraping the bed, the scraping was much less predictable than I liked. I’d often try to remove a small bit of the paper or cardboard, and come away with a bigger chunk than I wanted.
The first step is to get a thin piece of wood. I had a scrap of hard maple available, and resawed it to get a thin piece that was a strong 1/32” thick.
As it turned out, the shim was not quite even all the way across, but that’s not critical. I’m going to be shaving away at it anyway to fit the blade when this process is all done.
Next, I needed to cut it to fit the bed of the plane. The first time I tried this, I did a lot of trimming, then fitting, then trimming again. Eventually I realized that I already had a template for the shape of the bed.
I used the plane blade to trace an outline on the shim, and cut it out slightly oversized. Then I trimmed the edges with a plane until it fit nicely in the bed.
I used a liberal amount of hide glue, and set the shim in place. To apply pressure, I used the plane blade, and tapped it in with a hammer.
The plane blade now sits a good 1/4” short of the mouth, even with vigorous tapping with a hammer. In the above picture, the shim can be seen past the end of the blade.
I checked the shim around the mouth of the plane from the underside just to make sure that the shim was seated on the bed. Once the glue dried, I could pop the blade out, and start rescraping the shim to fit the blade to the plane just as I would if I was setting up the plane for the first time.
On today’s show, we’re talking about restoring a cupped table top, a box for severed fingers, using router bits with shapers, t-slot miter bars, compact table saws, bevel angles on bevel down planes, jointer options, dado blade safety, and designing difficulty.
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The scale also has the instructions printed on it, which will be especially handy when years of breathing epoxy fumes degrades my ability to remember basic instructions or do simple math.
Comments, questions or topic suggestions?
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For the rest of the shownotes including any links, voicemails, and emails; along with contact information and downloads for today’s episode, visit www.woodtalkshow.com.
It falls through the Sawing and Axe Violence,
The fresh, joyful free Forest;
What Wonder, when at last the Tree takes revenge.
And his Murderer is sawed in Pieces.
The World is inverted!
Fliegende Blätter – 1852
An illustrated weekly magazine published in Munich.
Filed under: Historical Images
We're pleased to announce a new addition to out line of planes - the Side Bead. I love these planes, very simple to use, and you dress up a simple project into something very sophisticated quite quickly. Drawers, panels, corners - you name it, there's an opportunity for a bead!
Megan Fitzpatrick of Popular Woodworking magazine ordered one recently and placed a little review here - I think she was quite pleased with it.
The planes are initially available in 1/8" and 3/16" sizes, perfect for most smaller scale cabinet work. Price is £150 each or the pair for £280, available now on our website.
In some high technology circles there is an expression they use when engineers move too quickly to launch a project. They have “go fever” and are willing to overlook horrible mistakes in order to launch a product. When teaching woodworking – especially casework – I find that most students need to take down their protective netting, … Read more
As has been mentioned here before, imitating tortoiseshell on furniture has been achieved with varying degrees of realism down the centuries. The tortoiseshell backgrounds of japanned work often consisted of nothing more complex than daubs of opaque black paint on an opaque coloured (predominantly red) ground, while original standalone testudinal painted finishes usually exhibit more artistic accomplishment. As with grained wood finishes, a proportion of absolute painted tortoiseshell finishes developed into an art form in their own right.
All the same, great strides were made by a number of artists to more accurately recreate natural tortoiseshell, which process involved laying metal foil (brass, gold or silver) on a substrate over which were laid numerous coats of coloured translucent varnish.
Venetian born Joachim Becher developed a method of extracting tar from coal which he used (in conjunction with asphaltum and pitch) to tint varnishes for simulating tortoiseshell.
The ‘projecting genius’, Thomas Algood, (d. 1716), a Northamptonshire Quaker, applied brown lacquer [presumably asphaltum- or tar-based] over irregularly shaped pieces of foil to imitate tortoiseshell.
John Baskerville of Birmingham took out a patent for his simulated tortoiseshell in 1742, describing it as “An imitation … which greatly excells Nature itself both in Colour and hardness.”
The finish on my William and Mary chest of drawers adhered to the practice of building up layers of contrasting paint and translucent varnish to simulate tortoiseshell; however, this girandole attempts to replicate the work of these latter craftsmen using asphaltum and other naturally tinted varnishes over metal foil.
Due to the complexity (and presumable cost) of foil-and-varnish tortoiseshell, it was normally reserved for smaller, more intimate objects for the bed chamber and parlour.
While my chest’s distinct painted finish displays considerable depth and a charm all of its own, it can’t compete with the chatoyance of the girandole’s finish. It’s quite mesmerising and virtually impossible to describe in words or portray in pictures. In the early morning sunlight, the deep scarlet flickers to searing yellow with the merest shift of the body.
The frame and looking glass have been sympathetically aged and I’m just awaiting the arrival of the candle arm castings to complete the girandole.
 HUTH, Hans, Lacquer of the West – The History of a Craft and an Industry 1550-1950, The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1971, pp. 111-112.
 JONES, Yvonne, Japanned Papier Mâché and Tinware c.1740-1940, Antique Collectors’ Club, 2012, p. 43.
Filed under: Mirrors & Girandoles Tagged: asphaltum, foil, girandole, Joachim Becher, John Baskerville, pitch, tar, Thomas Algood, tortoiseshell
One of the more common questions I get is people looking for recommendations for infill materials and what the best sidewall material would be - from an aesthetic standpoint. That is a really tough question to answer - most infill wood will look great with either bronze or steel. So I usually ask them if they have a preference for steel or bronze or if there is a particular infill wood they are after. The answer to either of those questions can help the process.
In 2004, I found a stash of Ebony commonly called ‘Black & White Ebony’. There was one piece that stood out to me - it had great definition between the black and white sections and had that wonderful pillowing that Ziricote is known for. It was just large enough for 2 XSNo.4s and I roughed those sets out as soon as I got home. As soon as the dehumidification kiln was completed, they stayed in there for a few years and then back out onto the storage shelf waiting for a home.
After a recent conversation about pairing infill wood with sidewall material, I noticed these 2 sets on the shelf and decided to make these 2 planes to show the difference between steel and bronze with a common infill wood. I made a few ‘spare’ planes a couple months ago and the response was very positive, so decided the risk of making 2 more was not too high. Besides - I was curious to see them myself.
Here are a couple more photos of the pair and then some photos of the individual planes.
XSNo.4 with bronze sides and Black & White Ebony infill. The plane is 5-1/2" long, has a 1-1/2" wide, high carbon steel blade with a 52.5 degree bed angle. The price is $1,700.00 Cdn + actual shipping costs.
XSNo.4ss with steel sides, a stainless steel lever cap and screw, with Black & White Ebony infill. The plane is 5-1/2" long, has a 1-1/2" wide, high carbon steel blade with a 52.5 degree bed angle. The price is $1,850.00 Cdn + actual shipping costs.
There's been a fair bit of progress on the Japanese Lamp project, without, I'm happy to report, any dire or assorted 'cock-ups' , which for me, dear peruser, is a bit of a bloody miracle!
The first pic above shows the various smaller components hanging from a line and if you've ever been to Naples, you'll know exactly what they remind you of. Masking off the pre-glued Doms and suspending them from a cord means that I was able to finish all sides in one hit, using a couple of thin coats of matt Osmo-PolyX (great stuff by the way)
Once all the interior surfaces were dry and waxed, it was time for a trial assembly of the lower panels, made in Ipe, or Brazilian Walnut (band sawn veneers over 4mm ply). No real Doms used here, but 5mm bits of ash cut to the right size.
Having checked it all, there were three gluing stages to get to the point above, where a long 22" jointer was used as a 'super-smoother' to level each of the sides, after which the....
...router could be used (with an extended base) to make the rebates all round for the shoji panels. With the corners squared out, the exterior frame was polished and waxed. The eight little stubs were then individually marked with Roman numerals using a 3mm chisel...
...and if you click on the pic to enlarge it, you can clearly see the markings. This means that by aligning the 'III' on the shoulder with the 'III' on the frame, the stub, once shot in and sanded, will fit...
...exactly with no 'step' or overlap.
Clever, ain't it?
Once the stubs were hung out and polished (as before) they were glued in place...
...a pair at a time.
However, that's not quite the end of the saga, because I had a small parcel of Ipe left over and I found that it's one of the nicest cabinet woods that I've ever used in a long time. Being somewhat of a parsimonious old git I decided not to waste it, so I made a small...
...box out of it.
I bought a new push lawn mower the other day, and like a two year old at Christmas, I had much more fun playing with the box than with the mower.
I've spent lots of time thinking about the shaped of the spindles in the backs of chairs and because I use spindles, it's easy to get stuck thinking vertically. But the shape of the human body doesn't follow a singe vertical curve at every spot. So I started thinking about the relationships as they proceed horizontally. With the hardy cardboard, I mocked up this chair back by aligning four curves. It is surprisingly comfortable and sturdy.
Each curve is actually slightly cones shaped. It was easy and took only a half hour or so, but it confirmed a lot of what I have been doing with my spindles and encouraged me to go even further.
Here is the view of the back. I started by pinning the piece together with drywall screws and adjusting them as I saw fit.
Then I took the small blocks of plywood and spun the screws until the plywood was sucked tight to the cardboard. The single board clamped to the workbench puts the support in just the right spot so I can rest my weight on it. From there, I mapped out the spindle shapes and will be making some patterns and dummies to further test it out. We will be working with this more to design some chairs at the class that Greg Pennington and I will be teaching at Kelly Mehlers in a couple of weeks.
As you can see in the chair below, I have been highlighting similar shapes in the flat spindles of my chairs for some time now.
I've accentuated the chamfers on the spindles which adds a lot of interest to their blonde color.
And I opened up the goat paddock into the woods so my kids could climb rocks and eat shrubs.
This photo was recently sent to me by antique tool dealer Jim Bode. We were having a conversation at a local tool museum last Sunday when he mentioned a photo that was given to him by one of his customers. The image shows seven carpenters posing in a field with their tool chests circa 1910. These were full service country carpenters who could build a house from the foundation to the roof. They have the usual selection of handsaws, planes, bit braces, breast drills, augers, spirit levels, hammers, steel squares, mallets, chisels, etc.
The specialty tools reveal the range of their carpentry activities. The boring machines, framing chisels, lifting jack, and adzes show that they were still building mortise & tenon timber frames during an era when most of the country had long since converted to balloon framing. The expensive miter boxes and combination plane show that they were also doing exterior trim, cornice work, and possibly interior trim & flooring as well. The slate ripper is only used for roofing and siding.
The planes are a mixed group of cast iron and transitional. The wooden soled planes were often preferred by site carpenters because they dramatically reduced the weight of the traveling tool kit. Most of the transitional planes in this image are stock models, but one of them appears to be a user modified plane. It looks like somebody took the hardware off of a Stanley No. 26 Jack Plane and added their own custom four foot sole to make a super jointer.
As for the date, I suggest circa 1910 because the miter boxes in this photo appear to be Stanley models with patents issued in 1904. For that reason the photo can not be earlier than 1905. Several years ago I put together a research paper on miter box patents. If you need help with the identity or age of a miter box, then this document can help.
Miter Box Patents – (2812 pages – 160MB pdf) Right Click – Save As
- Jeff Burks
Filed under: Historical Images