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Hand Tools

Marking, cutting, and mortise gauges, part 3

Heartwood: Woodworking by Rob Porcaro - Sun, 01/01/2017 - 10:43pm
panel gauge
These conical and half-conical markers are strictly for use along the grain. There they make a wider groove than a knife point that is easier to see on its own, and easier to fill with a pencil to improve its visibility. I keep the half-conical marker installed in my panel gauge because it is a […] 0
Categories: Hand Tools

Marking, cutting, and mortise gauges, part 2

Heartwood: Woodworking by Rob Porcaro - Sun, 01/01/2017 - 5:51pm
Titemark gauge
Is there a gauge that works well both across and along the grain? Yes, but there are compromises and it depends on the wood. What we are looking for here is an all-around gauge. For this, I suggest the Titemark gauge or one of the gauges made by Jeff Hamilton of Hamilton Woodworks. The Titemark […] 2
Categories: Hand Tools

The Octagonizer Gauge

Hillbilly Daiku - Sun, 01/01/2017 - 4:04pm


The most recent episode of “The Woodwright’s Shop” has Roy Underhill and Christopher Schwarz discussing staked furniture.  Part of the discussion is how to layout and cut octagonal tapered legs.  Just before CW starts the explanation of how to layout an octagon with a compass, Roy pulls out a gauge that he jokingly refers to as a “Octagonizer”.  Of course my ears perked up with interest.  The gauge seemed to work much like a center marking gauge in that it registered on either side of the stock. The difference being this gauge had two marking pins and established the extents of a regular octagon.  Not much more than that was presented in the show and I was left wondering about this gauge.  I have several octagonal tapered legs in my future and a gauge such as this could prove handy.

After consulting the Google, I found that this gauge is a common boatbuilding tool referred to as a “spar gauge”.  The gauge is used to layout a regular octagon on a spar blank to aid in the rounding process.  It is also quite large.  Much too large for working on small leg stock for staked furniture.  So I did a little more digging.

Turns out the pin arrangement on the gauge is based upon the proportional relationship of the corner of the square that is removed to create the octagon.  More in-depth information can be found here.  Using the Pythagoras’ theorem, you find that the proportional relationship of the sides and diagonal of this waste corner if, 1 : 1.41 : 1.  So with a little math you can make any size gauge you desire.


With this information in hand I sat down at the drafting table and worked out a design for a scaled down gauge for furniture sized legs.  This morning I put that design to the test in  the shop. I scrounged up a small piece of maple, a couple of finish nails and made myself a octagonizer for laying out octagonal legs for my staked furniture projects.



It’s really simple to use.  Place the gauge on the wood and rotate it until the guide pins make contact with opposite sides of the stock face you are marking.  Then either press down to create marks or slide the gauge to scribe in the extents of the side of the octagon on that face of the stock.  Repeat for the remaining three faces of the stock.  Then connect the points on the end of the stock to delineate the octagon.  In the photo below I used a compass to layout the octagon and verify the accuracy of my new gauge.

This thing is fast and accurate.  You really only need to mark points on one side.  Then take a pencil and set your finger gauge to one of the dots and quickly mark all faces of the stock with that setting.  If you like to taper your legs before creating the octagon, this gauge will automatically adjust for the taper as you scribe down the stock.  How slick is that?

Anyway, of course I made a construction drawing.  I included a chart with a few different sizes that will handle varying thicknesses of stock.


I also dipped my toe into the cold, deep, dark video making waters.  Depending on feedback and interest I may attempt to put together another video on the making of one of these gauges.  Constructive criticism only, please don’t mock my piss-poor video skills.  LOL

Greg Merritt

Categories: Hand Tools

Goodies to Fill My Tool Chest!

Toolerable - Sun, 01/01/2017 - 11:32am
I had a very nice Christmas and holiday season with family and friends in Germany. Since I was home, I thought I would take the opportunity to bring back to Spain some more goodies which should help fill out my tool chest here.
I wound up having to pay extra as this duffel bag was nearly 30 kilos!
This is difficult for me, as I would really like to bring a LOT of stuff here, but it just doesn't make financial sense, and I can live without many things.

That being said, I do have a nice batch of "nice-to-haves" here now.

Noticeably absent are any western saws. They didn't quite rate high enough on the list of priorities to replace anything in this bag. I am making do with my Ryobi Dick saw. Also missing are more chisels. I find that the three I have (in sizes kinda small, kinda medium and kinda big) are all I need at the moment.

Unloading the above bag, I thought I would document what was in there after I took out the boring stuff like t-shirts and underwear.

This first photo shows from left to right, my home-made tapered tenon cutter ala Tim Manney that I made a couple years back to match my tapered reamer that is already here. Not shown is the blade that gets attached with a c-clamp. There is also some sandpaper backed with foam that Pedder gave me, a few belt buckles for leather work, a couple of maroon and gray scratchy pads, some ebony scraps, a hunk of wenge, some leather wax, and a buttload of slotted screws and Roman nails that I got from Dictum. I bought three bags of the biggest ones they had which are 2 1/2" long. They should be great for clinching.
Next, I brought back my spokeshave roll which I left there after taking it to Denmark. I finally found the blade to my adze, which was safely hidden in a pocket of the tool roll I forgot was there. - Do yourself a favor and don't get old.
I also brought my 5/8" WoodOwl bit which should be great for staked furniture. I also bought some new tiny Proxxon drill bits, and I bought a new tapered drill bit for pilot holes for the Roman nails. For good measure, I threw in my flush cut saw, too. It's small and light.
This wasn't in the bag, I had brought it here a few months ago. I think it is a type 10 #2. There is a few things wrong with it for collecting, but it should make a fine user. It came with that ugly front knob, so I replaced it with a vintage replacement. This plane will hopefully soon get rehabbed and put to work.
My plow plane and a set of blades in a case I made for them long ago.
A mongo 1 7/8" skew rabbet plane. I haven't had good luck with this one yet, but perhaps I can get it working well. This picture also has a pair of dividers (I love me some dividers), a French side-bead plane, and a low-end block plane probably made by the Ohio Tool company.
I have been really missing my 6" adjustable square, so I brought it back. I chose these planes as they aren't my nicest and best ones, but should work well and can be sold when I leave Spain. There is a Sargent VBM 409, which is the same size as a Stanley #4 (I rehabbed this one a while back and it works great), and a #8 sized Sargent jointer. I'm not sure exactly which one it is, I'll have to do some investigating. I got it in this condition as a bargain from eBay. The previous owner rehabbed it, and did a fairly nice job. It should be easy to get this thing working well. I have never used such a big jointer before, so I look forward to getting to know it.
Last of all, I got some wood in the bag. There is a pretty board of black wattle that was sent to me from Austrailia, a chunk of mirabella from Denmark, some quarter sawn oak, and a few bits of American birch for an upcoming project, and also to replace the pine locks in my chest with. I just feel better about a hardwood for these. While I was at it, I made some more of the lock pieces that are attached to the drop panel of the chest out of ash. I'll use these to replace the pine ones that are currently on it. A little overkill never hurt anything. Also in this photo is The Essential Woodworker book, and a bunch of cribbage board pegs.
Not bad for a buttload of tools in a checked bag.

Next I'll have to set up the insides of my chest. I have to figure out how to get all this stuff in here.

Categories: Hand Tools

Best of 2016

360 WoodWorking - Sun, 01/01/2017 - 10:26am
Best of 2016

This weekend we all said goodbye to 2016. (I’m happy to see it behind me because it was a great year from my perspective.) And of course, we are all anticipating what’s down the road for 2017. Before we get too far along that road, I want to remind you that you cannot forget the past 365 days, especially the projects and techniques we read about throughout the year. To that end, I’ve gone back through the archives to pull out and present the best of 2016.

Continue reading Best of 2016 at 360 WoodWorking.

Telegrams are so vintage...

I telegrammi sono così vintage...

With this post I want to present you my new Telegram channel: telegram.me/langolodispogliainferiore
Huh? What?

Con questo post voglio presentarvi il mio nuovo canale su Telegram: telegram.me/langolodispogliainferiore
Eh? Cosa?

Since the beginning. Do you know Telegram? It's a cross-platform non-profit instant messaging application and much more. It's similar to WhatsApp and Messenger, but much better and without Zuckerberg on the way.
Among other things it allows the use of "Channels" to send messages from one to many, such as with newsletters or Twitter.

Da capo. Conoscete Telegram? E' un applicazione multipiattaforma, senza scopo di lucro, per scambiarsi messaggi e molto altro. E' simile Whatsapp e Messenger, ma molto meglio e senza Zuckerberg tra gli zebedei.
Tra le altre cose permette di utilizzare dei "Canali" per inviare messaggi da uno a molti, come con le newsletters o Twitter.

Well, my intention is to use this channel to make short reports of interesting things about hand tool woodworking which I find here and there and which I think may be also interesting to others.
A blog post, a photo on instagram, an article in a magazine, a video on youtube, a flame on a forum, a new gauge for dovetail laser marking and anything else that currently I simply just pass to my friends only, now I put at the disposal of anyone who wants to.
I'll be a middle way between a pusher and a DJ.
The posts will be very short: a link and a brief description. And I promise you I will never post more than three a day, although, knowing my lazy nature is easier than they will be actually no more than three a week ("Decrease again!", my friends are suggesting me).

Bene, la mia intenzione è di usare questo canale per fare delle brevi segnalazioni di cose interessanti, che trovo qua e la, relative alla lavorazione manuale del legno e che reputo possano interessare anche ad altri.
Un post di un blog, una foto su instagram, un articolo su una rivista, un video su youtube, una flame su un forum, un nuovo gadget per la tracciatura laser delle code di rondine e qualsiasi altra cosa che normalmente mi limito a girare solo ai miei amici, ora la metterò a disposizione di chiunque voglia
Sarò una via di mezzo tra uno spacciatore e un DJ.
I post saranno brevissimi: un link ed una breve descrizione. E vi prometto che non ne posterò mai più di tre al giorno, anche se conoscendo la mia indole pigra è più facile che saranno effettivamente non più di tre alla settimana ("cala ancora!", mi stanno suggerendo gli amici).

Receiving these messages is simple, download Telegram on your smartphone via Google Play or Itunes and then click on this link: telegram.me/langolodispogliainferiore
From that moment all my new post will be automatically notified you (but notifications may be silenced eh).

Ricevere queste segnalazioni è semplice, scaricate Telegram sul vostro smartphone via Google Play o Itunes e poi cliccate su questo indirizzo: telegram.me/langolodispogliainferiore
Da quel momento ogni mio nuovo post vi verrà automaticamente notificato (ma le notifiche si possono silenziare eh).

Now, the first thing I want to recomend you to inaugurate this channel, is the series of post about ebonizing wood with iron gall ink written by Ralph J. Boumenot, the Accidental Woodworker, which can be found on his blog under the label "ebonizing wood".
Ralph is a great woodworker and one of the most prolific bloggers, but above all it is a good person who always has a good word or a good advice for those who need one. Thank you very nuch for all you do, Ralph.

Ora, la prima cosa che voglio segnalarvi per inaugurare questo canale, è la serie di post sull'ebonizzazione del legno con l'inchiostro ferrogallico scritti da Ralph J. Boumenot, Il Falegname Accidentale, che potete trovare sul suo blog sotto l'etichetta "ebonizing wood".
Ralph è un ottimo falegname ed uno dei blogger più prolifici, ma sopratutto è una brava persona che ha sempre una buona parola o un buon consiglio per chi ne ha bisogno. Grazie per tutto ciò che fai, Ralph.

Categories: Hand Tools


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