Hand Tool Headlines

The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator


Be sure to visit the Hand Tool Headlines section - scores of my favorite woodworking blogs in one place.  Also, take note of Norse Woodsmith's latest feature, an Online Store, which contains only products I personally recommend.  It is secure and safe, and is powered by Amazon.


Hand Tools

It’s Black and White Woodworking Reality

Paul Sellers - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 12:33pm

I’ve given it my best shot so far. For 25 years and few more I’ve given it my best shot and I’ll keep giving it my best shot for as long as I can. Seeing things in black and white somehow dispenses with the peripheral and gets you to the core issues and that’s what …

Read the full post It’s Black and White Woodworking Reality on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Two-Foot Rules

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 11:54am

One leg of this scale has been cleaned with lanolin. The other has been wiped with wood bleach, which lightened the boxwood but didn’t affect the markings.

This is an excerpt from “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker” by Anon, Christopher Schwarz and Joel Moskowitz.

The two-foot rule was the standard measuring device for woodworking for hundreds of years. The steel tape was likely invented in the 19th century. Its invention is sometimes credited to Alvin J. Fellows of New Haven, Conn., who patented his device in 1868, though the patent states that several kinds of tape measures were already on the market.

Tape measures didn’t become ubiquitous, however, until the 1930s or so. The tool production of Stanley Works points this out nicely. The company had made folding rules almost since the company’s inception in 1843. The company’s production of tape measures appears to have cranked up in the late 1920s, according to John Walter’s book “Stanley Tools” (Tool Merchant).

The disadvantage of steel tapes is also their prime advantage: They are flexible. So they sag and can be wildly inaccurate thanks to the sliding tab at the end, which is easily bent out of calibration.

What’s worse, steel tapes don’t lay flat on your work. They curl across their width enough to function a bit like a gutter. So you’re always pressing the tape flat to the work to make an accurate mark.

Folding two-foot rules are ideal for most cabinet-scale work. They are stiff. They lay flat. They fold up to take up little space. When you place them on edge on your work you can make an accurate mark.

They do have disadvantages. You have to switch to a different tool after you get to lengths that exceed 24″, which is a common occurrence in woodworking. Or you have to switch techniques. When I lay out joinery on a 30″-long leg with a 24″-long rule I’ll tick off most of the dimensions by aligning the rule to the top of the leg. Then – if I have to – I’ll shift the rule to the bottom of the leg and align off that. This technique allows me to work with stock 48″ long – which covers about 95 percent of the work.

Other disadvantages: The good folding rules are vintage and typically need some restoration. When I fixed up my grandfather’s folding rule, two of the rule’s three joints were loose – they flopped around like when my youngest sister broke her arm. To fix this, I put the rule on my shop’s concrete floor and tapped the pins in the ruler’s hinges using a nail set and a hammer. About six taps peened the steel pins a bit, spreading them out to tighten up the hinge.

Another problem with vintage folding rules is that the scales have become grimy or dark after years of use. You can clean the rules with a lanolin-based cleaner such as Boraxo. This helps. Or you can go whole hog and lighten the boxwood using oxalic acid (a mild acidic solution sold as “wood bleach” at every hardware store).


Here I’m using a zig-zag rule and a carpenter’s pencil to lay out the cuts on the pine stock for the Packing Box. I dislike zig-zags for this work because they don’t lay flat. They have the precision of a hand grenade.

Vintage folding rules are so common that there is no reason to purchase a bad one. Look for a folding rule where the wooden scales are entirely bound in brass. These, I have found, are less likely to have warped. A common version of this vintage rule is the Stanley No. 62, which shows up on eBay just about every day and typically sells for $20 or less.

The folding rule was Thomas’s first tool purchase as soon as Mr. Jackson started paying him. I think that says a lot about how important these tools were to hand work.

Meghan Bates

Filed under: The Joiner & Cabinet Maker, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

A Designed World

Northwest Woodworking - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 6:56am

Folks have a dread about learning design. They feel that it is somehow beyond them. They are not artists. They are not creative enough. They lack the weird curiosity to be a designer. Or the hair.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Think back to your dreams last night if you want weird.

Design is not an immediate skill, but like throwing a baseball you can do it even at first. Your throw may be ungainly or downright ugly or straight into the ground. But you can throw. So too can you design, however badly at first. But like baseball, how many throws did you have to make to first before you could zing it there? Hundreds, maybe thousands. The same is true with design, but make the practice fun and you will succeed.

If you want the thrill of designing your own work, then you learn to practice its vocabulary. Learn the things that make up a good design: form, pattern, details. Study great design, design that appeals to you, and then reverently steal from these good sources. For after all, that is what good design is: reverent theft.

We have been stealing from nature for centuries as this ancient wooden sculpture from China shows.


Horse at PAM






Categories: Hand Tools

A Woodworker Goes Into A Bar…

The Barn on White Run - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 5:49am

A woodworker walks into a brew pub, glances around,  and spots another woodworker across the room.  As the first man approaches the second, words ensue.  In a few seconds the second woodworker clenches his hand into a fist and sticks it right under the nose of the first man.

This might be Mickey Spillane’s telling of a episode a the recent Lie-Nielsen tool event in Covington KY.  Of course there is much more background to the tale.

The two woodworkers in question were Dr. MichaelCD and me.  Michael is a professor and practitioner of the healing arts, particularly as they relate to the repair and rehabilitation of injured hands and wrists.  We have been corresponding regularly since I broke my arm last year.  His counsel has been a Godsend, especially once he convinced me that I was working too aggressively on my rehab exercises and was actually retarding the progress.  Once I learned to ease up a bit the progress was much faster.

While at the LNT event he gave my wrist and hand a through going-over.  The break to my radius bone was so close to the wrist (about 1″ up from the base of the thumb, in the narrowest part of the forearm) and of such a nature that the cast had to be quite snug and restrictive with my hand at a peculiar angle to facilitate the bone knitting properly.  As such it pushed all the swelling downward into my wrist and hand, hence my struggles at rehabbing them.  As the orthopedist noted when  examining the x-ray, my lifetime of working with my hands has resulted in every joint being afflicted with arthritis and they did not take well to the incursion of the extra fluid mass being inflicted on them.  (At the same session the bone doc asked me when and how I broke my wrist.  When I replied with a quizzical look he pointed to the x-ray image.  “All this debris here and here indicates a broken wrist, and the fragments are well-worn so it was a long time ago.”  Huh, who knew?)

At the end of the day in Covington I bestowed Michael with a whisk broom and the best meal we could find close by, a time of grand fellowship.  That’s the way health care should be.  Now if only they could figure that out in Mordor on the Potomac.  In parting he gave me a new finger flexibility regimen that I have been following with much success.

Oddly enough the part of arm/wrist/hand rehab that is usually the hardest (rotating the hand relative to the elbow) went very well and fast for me, while the more simple and easy recovery (hand and finger dexterity) is something I still wrestle with.  It gets better every day as I notice something new I can do; roll the toothbrush in my hand, put in my contact lens, use a credit card reader, unscrew the gas cap in the truck, and finally today, using a spring clamp for the first time with that damaged hand.  At this rate I expect these hurdles will be distant memories by the time I hit the First Anniversary.

But for now, thanks to Michael I am well past the 90% recovery mark, and find my effectiveness in the shop at almost 100%.  To top it all off, my left arm and hand are by necessity much more facile than they were a mere six months ago, in the end yielding greater aggregate hand skill than I started with.

How much more blessing can a fellow take?

Mark Arnold on North Bennet, SAPFM & Sgraffito – 360w360 E.229

360 WoodWorking - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 4:10am
Mark Arnold on North Bennet, SAPFM & Sgraffito – 360w360 E.229

In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking Mark Arnold of Boston Woodworking discusses his time at North Bennet Street School, editing and writing for American Period Furniture and a woodworking technique known as sgraffito, which he’s teaching at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking in late June 2017.

Join 360 Woodworking every Thursday for a lively discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more). Glen talks with various guests about all things woodworking and some things that are slightly off topic.

Continue reading Mark Arnold on North Bennet, SAPFM & Sgraffito – 360w360 E.229 at 360 WoodWorking.

William, you have a good knowledge of Japanese woodworking tools even though you are base in America. I am from Borobudur, Indonesia but based in Thailand and Singapore. I like to ask where can I see your portoflio work that is done by Japanese tools....

Giant Cypress - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 3:58am

Thanks for reading! I really appreciate it.

I don’t really have a portfolio of the stuff I’ve built, but this is probably the nicest thing I’ve made so far. It’s a Bible box, an item that was common for 18th century Colonial American households to have, especially in the Pennsylvania region. Despite the western design, I made this all with Japanese tools.


I’ve only been in Singapore once, and that was for a meeting for work, so I didn’t have time to scope out woodworking resources. One thing I would highly suggest is to join a local woodworking club. Even if no one uses Japanese hand tools in particular, someone there will be into hand tools, and you can learn a lot that way. The internet is great, but there is nothing like seeing woodworking done in person to help you out.

Honey Dipper-000-Lathe Project 

Hillbilly Daiku - Wed, 04/26/2017 - 7:00pm

In my ongoing quest to learn to turn and, to a lesser extent, shrink my mountain of offcuts I present the next beginner project that I have tackled.  The Honey Dipper.

There is not much to say about the honey dipper, the name pretty well sums it up.  It is another simple lathe project that lends itself to beginner success.  There is ample opportunity for practice with basic shaping and working with the parting tool.  The honey dipper can be any shape or size that your imagination can contrive or available material will support.  However, I thought I should at least set forth a goal.  Part of the skill building for me is to develope the ability to execute whatevere desired shape and size that I want.  To that end, I worked up a design drawing for a simple honey dipper.

I’m not going to show photos of the progression.  What I will show are the first two honey dippers that I have turned on the lathe.  The first one is the prototype prior to the design drawing.

Here is my first attempt at matching the design drawing.

As you can see, its not an exacting execution.  It is, however, a perfectly acceptable and functional honey dipper.  I’ll keep trying.

This is one of those quick 15-20 minute projects that can be done whenever I just want a few minutes in the shop.  I need to find a basket or build a box to start collecting these type of projects in.  I think they will come in handy as gifts.

Anyway, there you go.  Another simple beginner project for those of us just starting out and possibly a fun quick project for you experienced turners.

Greg Merritt

Categories: Hand Tools

Pole Lathe Notes-3

Hillbilly Daiku - Wed, 04/26/2017 - 5:25pm

Well the leather sewing machine belt drive cord gave up the ghost.  A little disappointing that it only lasted about three weeks of moderate use.  Rather than waste my remaining leather cord, I made a trip to the Big Box and bought a fifty foot hank of 7mm solid braid polyester cord.  I let you know how this stuff holds up.

This next bit is about an accessory.  Once I started using this lathe it became immediately apparent that it would be impossible to turn short lengths of wood or oddly shaped pieces.  There would be no area on which the drive cord would run in those instances.  What I needed was a drive mandrel that would serve to accommodate the cord and transfer that energy to the workpiece.

After doing a bunch of searching online, I came up empty.  There is plenty of information to be found on creating a drive mandrel for bowl turning on a pole lathe, but practically nothing about a mandrel that was independently supported from the actual workpiece.  So I did a little head scratching and sketching and came up with an idea that seemed promising.

My idea is essentially the same as the drive pulley on a typical treadle (flywheel) lathe except I only need to have a bearing to support the end of the mandrel.  There is no need for thrust bearings.  The existing dead centers continue to serve in that capacity.  In use, the drive mandrel and the workpiece are “pinched” between the existing dead centers.  The bearing mounted on a removable puppet serves to support the juncture of the mandrel and workpiece.

So I ordered a 1-1/2″ bore flange mount bearing and a 1MT drive center off of fleabay.

The mandrel I turned from hard maple.  I sleeved each end of the mandrel with copper to prevent splitting and add durability.  A 1-1/4″ copper slip coupling has a 1.9ish outside diameter and was a friction fit to the bearing once I added a shim fashioned from aluminum tape.  The 1MT drive center was installed in a stepped hole same as the dead centers.

The tricky bit was getting everything to line up along the same centerline.  Time and patience paid off and everything lines up reasonably well.

The thing works great!  The bearing is new and arrived somewhat stiff, so it takes a little more spring and little more effort to push the foot board.  The bearing is beginning to loosen with use though.  I also needed to put together a smaller tool rest.  The new one is about 5″ wide and utilizes the same locking base as the the large one.

Now I can turn just about any length of wood I want.

A short clip taken before the drive cord swap.

Notes 2 Greg Merritt

Categories: Hand Tools

lie-Nielsen Event in Madrid

Toolerable - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 12:44pm
Today I had the pleasure of taking the fast train to Madrid for an LN event at Comercial Pazos in Madrid, Spain. In Europe, there aren't a whole lot of businesses that sell woodworking hand tools, so it was neat to visit the single one in Spain.

The shop itself is not big, but it's crammed to the gills with cool stuff. I'll definitely go back.

Curtis Turner was the LN representative, and his knowledge of woodworking was fascinating to all who attended. He was hosted by two Spanish woodworkers, Lorenzo and Israel.

Here are some photos of the day.

Categories: Hand Tools

Making a Shop Apron - Finished

Toolerable - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 10:48am
The main thing I learned from this project, is sewing a project as big as this by hand isn't as much fun as it sounds. I spent several days on this project, one stitch at a time.

The good news is I now have a super cool shop apron. #8 duck canvas (or 18 ounce canvas) is some seriously stout stuff. It should last a long time.

One bit of feedback I got from Instagram was white is a bold color for a shop apron. I disagree. It is very traditional. At least all of the old pictures of woodworkers from the 19th century show them with a white apron and a tie.

I don't think I'll wear a tie while I work wood, but perhaps the white apron will motivate me to keep it clean.

Since the last post, I just had to sew on the leather straps and join them together somehow. I had to sew six straps to the apron in order to get the straps to cross over the shoulders and a waist strap.

I joined the leather on the cross straps with some Chicago screws I had laying around. I made some extra holes so I could adjust it, but I figure this is my apron, and once it fits, it shouldn't need adjusting. The waist strap I joined with two snaps, so it can be easily fixed and unfixed. The waist strap doesn't have to be super tight. I wanted to not have long straps dangling all over the place.
It should be a good apron.
I realized I didn't have enough straps treated, so I cut a bunch more. Veg-tan always looks a little creepy to me, so I thought I would treat it with boiled linseed oil. It darkened up nicely. I expect once it completely cures, it should lighten up a lot, but the color now is really cool. I could tell it isn't cured even after a few days, because every time I pierced it with a needle, some oil came out. Hopefully it will not need to be replaced.
Leather treated with BLO on top, plain untreated veg-tan on the bottom.

Treatment consisted in soaking the belts in BLO for 20 minutes or so.

I've never actually sewed leather before.
I did all of the sewing on this project with a Speedy Stitcher. I bought it a long time ago, and have yet to have used it. It works pretty well. Except it's not so speedy if you have to do so much sewing.
Using the Speedy Stitcher.

A loose ring keeps everything in place in the back.

Snaps are inexpensive, and these ones came with a tool and an anvil.
View of my best side.
The apron is extremely comfortable. I look forward to using it. I am fairly certain it should hold up for many years, especially if I continually forget to put it on.
I may want to carry a pencil, but for the moment I think it will be just fine without a pocket. If not, I can always add one later.

I've never really used a shop apron before. Please let me know if you use a shop apron.
Categories: Hand Tools

Making a Shop Apron - 1

Toolerable - Wed, 04/19/2017 - 10:40am
For something new and different, I've decided to make a shop apron.

The Frau has complained that I always decided to do woodworking while wearing my best clothes. I don't know why, but I've always avoided wearing a shop apron. I guess I'm just too cheap to buy a nice one, and the cheap ones tend to be a distraction.

Unlike this project...

I've never done very much sewing before, and didn't quite know how to go about it, so I did some googling, and came across a post from a sewing blog. It's good to have a place to start. The other place I looked was the shop apron page on Texas Heritage Woodworks site. Jason seems to be making the best shop aprons out there at the moment.

This project seems to be a good one for someone who has never sewn before. It's not too complicated, and has enough hems to make you want to never do another one again.

A sewing machine would make this project very quick and easy, except for the fact that I am using #8 duck canvas (18 oz.) requiring a heavy-duty sewing machine, and I don't have one.

I do have a Speedy Stitcher. I haven't ever really used it, so I suppose it's a great time to learn.
Working on making some hems with the Speedy Stitcher.
I made some measurements on my body, and then cut a piece of fabric based on the size of the material I had on hand. I free-handed the cutouts for the armpits with a pencil, folded the canvas in half and cut the same shape out on both sides.

Next is about two days worth of sewing hems. A professional seamstress I am not.
After a while, I could finally sort of do it straight.
I am certain that if I did more of this kind of work, a stitching mule would be a big help. This project should be a little rough, but I expect the apron to work just fine.
Finished with the hems!
Next I will sew on some straps I got off of a spare hunk of veg-tan leather. I wanted to see what would happen if I soaked the straps in boiled linseed oil, and so far they look good.
Straps soaked in BLO.
Hopefully this project won't take too much more time. And, hopefully it will be as functional as I am hoping. If not, I guess I can make another one.

But I hope I don't.
Categories: Hand Tools

An Easy New Panel Gauge - In English AND Spanish!

Toolerable - Wed, 04/12/2017 - 1:20pm
I am going to try an experiment with this blog post, and post it in both English and Spanish, which I am learning due to the fact that I now live in Spain. Apologies to you Spanish speakers for butchering your language. Hopefully, this will help me learn, and I would appreciate some feedback. ¡Viva el Tooleráble!

Voy a probar un experimento con este mensaje, y escribo en inglés y español, que estoy aprendiendo porque vivo en España. Te pido disculpas por matar tu idioma. Con suerte, esto me ayudará a aprender, y agradecería algunos comentarios. ¡Viva el Tooleráble!

I built a panel gauge about three years ago that I am very proud of. It only has two problems: one, it has a Chinese style blade that works great, but the mechanism I built to hold it in place is a little finicky, and the tiny ebony wedge I made to hold the blade in place is rolling around in the dust on my shop floor somewhere. The second problem is it is still in Munich with my old shop, and I am in Spain.

Construí un calibrador de panel hace unos tres años que estoy muy orgulloso. Sólo tiene dos problemas: uno, tiene una hoja de estilo chino que functiona muy bien, pero el mechanismo que he construido para manterlo en su lugar es un poco fino, y la pequeña cuña de ébano que hice para sostener la hoja en su lugar está rodando en el polvo en el piso de mi taller en alguna parte. El segunda problema es que todavía está en Múnich con mi antiguo taller, y estoy en España.

@haandkraft on Instagram posted a picture of a vintage panel gauge, and I really liked the design. It has an unusually wide beam which appealed to me.

@haandkraft en Instagram publicó una imagen de un calibrador de panel antiguo, y me gustó mucho el diseño. Tiene un astil anormalmente ancho que me atrajo.

I took a look around, found some suitable scrap, and started building.

Miré a mi alredador, encontré algunos desechos de madera, y comencé a construir.

I found a very nice pear scrap that used to be the leg of a safari chair I made a while back. There was a clear piece at the top that would suit.

 Encontré un desecho de pera muy agredable que solía ser la pierna de una silla de safari que hace un tiempo. Había una pieza clara en la parte superior que se adapte.
Pear scrap. Marking the first cross cut.
I decided not to hurry this cut, as I wanted to use this straight from the saw. It's not perfect, but it required no cleaning up as I intend to bevel an angle on this later. I didn't do that at this point because I wasn't sure exactly how it would all turn out.

Decidí no apurar este corte, ya que quería usar esto directamente de la sierra. No es perfecto, pero no requiere limpieza, ya que pretendo biselar un ángulo en esto más tarde. No hice eso en este punto porque no estaba seguro exactamente cómo resultaría todo.
My cross cutting is getting better.
I marked out the next crosscut which would determine the length of the stock. I didn't make the cut yet, because the extra length of the chair leg would assist me in chopping the mortise.

Marqué el próximo corte que determina la longitud de la culata. Ya no hace el corte, porque la longitud extra de la pierna de una silla ayuda a cortar la mortaja.
Mark out stock length.
I don't have a 1/2" mortise chisel here. In fact, I only have three chisels, which suits me quite well. I decided to use this 1/2" chisel to chop the mortise. I will then lay out the mortise using the dimensions straight from this chisel.

No tengo aqui un 13mm formón de mortaja. Tengo solo tres formónes, que me queda muy bien. Decidí usar este 13mm formón para cortar la mortaja. A continuación establacer la mortaja con las dimensiones directamente desde el formón.
It looks like it is about 1/3 of the width of the stock.

Then it was just a matter of marking the length of the mortise. I chose a length just a little narrower than the width of the stick I had on hand to use for the beam.

Entonces sólo era cuestión de marcando la longitud de la mortaja. Elegí un longitud apenas un poco más estracha que la anchura del astil.
It just so happens, that I had a scrap of sycamore left over from the last Danish Chair Building Extravaganza that was just about right. Jonas milled the wood that eventually became this stick. He got the log from a tree that was in his Dad's front yard. In fact, here is an old picture of Jonas on his Moto Guzi with the sycamore tree that this stick came from in the background.

Tuve un desecho del sicomoro sobra desde el Danés Silla Construyendo Gran Espectáculo que estaba justo a la derecha. Jonas molió la madera que se convirtío en este palo. Él consiguió el registro de un árbol que estaba en el jardín de su papá. De hecho, aquí hay una vieja foto de Jonas en su Moto Guzi con el árbol de sicómoro en el fondo.
Jonas, his bike, his brother's old girlfriend, and the sycamore tree.
Here is the setup I use to plane this stick to the proper dimensions. I do not have a workbench, but I do have these two sawhorses. Planing this way while seated is actually quite comfortable.

Aquí esta la organización uso cepillar esta paloa la dimensión correcta. No tengo un banco de trabajo, pero tengo dos caballetes para serrar. Cepillado de esta manera mientras está sentado es bastante cómodo.
Planing setup.
It looks a bit ridiculous to plane with a giant #8 sized bench plane on this tiny bench, but it works.

Parece ridículo para cepillar con un cepillo grande, un #8 cepillo en este banco pequeño, pero funciona.
The reason I went to shaping the beam instead of chopping the mortise is I did not want to make all that racket on a Sunday evening. The next day, under cover of the neighbor's construction crew doing renovations, I whacked away.

Amoldé el astil mejor cortando la mortaja porque no quiero hacer el ruido en un domingo por la noche. El lunes, mientras los vecinos renovaba, yo corté ruidoso.
I did this just like any other mortise.
Using this delicate chisel was no problem. I just had to avoid prying out the chips like I normally would. As long as I chopped straight down and then pulled straight out, I could do a million mortises with this chisel.

El uso de este formón frágil fue no problema. Solo tuve que evitar curar las fichas como lo haría normalmente. Mientras yo cortara hacia abajo y luego tirara hacia afuera, podría hacer un millón de las mortajas con este formón.
Just don't pry.

See? It worked!

Without too much fuss, I was able to slide the beam into the stock. I should note that the mortise does not have to be a piston fit. In fact a tiny bit of slop allows the beam to move freely back and forth.

Sin demasiados problemas, pude deslizar el astil en la culata. La mortaja no tiene que ser un ajuste de pistón. Un poco de imprecisión puede el astil para moverse libremente hacia adelante y hacia atrás.
The beam fit to the stock.
Now I need a wedge. I thought about using a scrap of ebony that I brought along for another purpose, but decided that I should use a less expensive piece of wood just in case this whole project fails. Luckily, I found the perfect wood in a tip across the street while dumpster diving. Oak!

Aqui necesito una cuña. Pensé en usar un desecho del ébano que traje aquí, pero decidi usar una pieza de madera más barata. Por suerte, encontré la madera perfecta en el basurero al otro lado de la calle mientras dumpster buceo. ¡Roble!
Former bits from oak parquet flooring. Perfect wedge stock.
I printed a scan of the wedge from my previous panel gauge and taped it to my wedge stock. It was just a matter of sawing out the shape and refining it with a chisel and a rasp.

Imprimí un escaneo de la cuña desde mi calibrador de panel anterior y lo pegué en la madera de la cuña. Serré la forma y la refinando con una formón y una escofina.
Future wedge.
Double sided sticky tape wasn't ideal, but it is what I had.
There are probably neater ways to do this. I decided to just chip away with my small chisel to excavate the mortise for the wedge. I just marked out how far up on each side I wanted to go, and came in from each side.

Hay probablemente maneras más limpias de hacer esto. Decidí cortar con mi formón pequeña excavar la mortaja para la cuña. Marqué cada lado, y corté desde cada lado.
Making room for the wedge.
With some fiddling, it was ready in no time.

Con un poco de jugueteo, estaba listo en muy poco tiempo.

A less artsy shot.
Then it was a matter of cross cutting the waste from the safari leg off.

Entonces corté el desperdicio desde la pierna de la silla de safari.
I thought about a few different ways to make a pin. I first wanted to harden a nail, but I don't have a torch here. It was recommended to me to use a screw, as they are already hardened.

Pensé en algunas maneras diferentes de hacer un alfiler. Quise endurecer un clavo, pero no tengo un soplete aquí. Se me recomendó usar un tornillo. Ya están endurecidos.
A screw!
I drove the screw into a piece of scrap so I could hold it while shaping the point on my diamond grinding plate.

Conduje el tornillo en un desecho de madera así que podría sostenerlo mientras moldeando el punto en mi placa de molienda de diamante.
I rounded the tip the best I could, then flattened one half on the edge of the plate. After I had the rough shape, it was just a matter of going through the stones until I was satisfied.

Redondeé la punta, entonces aplané media la punta en el borde de la placa. Después tuve la forma áspera, Fue por las piedras hasta que quedé satisfecho.
Shaping a flat on one side.

I think it turned out OK.

Es muy bien.

Close up of the point.

I marked a point in the center of the end of the beam, and drilled a pilot hole.

Marqué un punto en el centro del extremo de la astil, y perforé un agujero piloto.

Starting the hole with an awl.
Then it was just a matter of inserting the screw until the tip poked out and was oriented right.

Puse el tornillo  hasta que la punta salió y se orientó correctamente.
Actually, this is oriented 180 degrees backwards.
Once I am happy with everything on this cutter, I will saw off the end of this screw. In the meantime, if it needs to be backed out to be adjusted, the screw head will come in handy.

Una vez que esté feliz con todo en este cortador, voy a ver fuera del final de este tornillo. Mientras tanto, si necesita ser retrocedido para ser ajustado, la cabeza del tornillo vendrá en práctico.

Making a test mark.
It works great. The stability of the wider beam makes a difference. The pin makes a nice crisp line.

Funciona muy bien. La estabilidad del haz más ancho hace la diferencia. El pin hace una línea nítida.

The line is deep, and one-sided.
I finished it by burnishing some beeswax on it with a pollisoir.

Puse el acobado en él puliendo un poco de cera de abejas en él con un pollisoir.
I am happy with how this turned out, and look forward to making another!

Estoy feliz con cómo resultó esto, y esperamos hacer otro!

Categories: Hand Tools

Experiment: Making My Own Cold Bleached Linseed Oil

Toolerable - Thu, 02/23/2017 - 2:52am
I was always happy with standard boiled linseed oil (BLO). It's got a lot of great things going for it: it's widely available at any hardware store, it looks great as a finish on it's own, it can be combined with other things to make different finishes, it makes a great wipe-on finish, etc.

My only beef with it for a long time is the smell.

It turns out that BLO isn't boiled at all. Nowadays, raw linseed oil (which works as a finish, but takes weeks to dry making it unhandy) is mass produced by adding metallic chemical drying agents such as manganese and cobalt which through the magic of chemistry makes the linseed oil dry relatively quickly.

A quick internet search produced a Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for some BLO, which includes this:

Effects of Overexposure:
Inhalation:  Vapors may cause irritation of the respiratory tract.
Skin:  Prolonged or repeated skin contact may cause irritation or dermatitis.
Eyes:  Contact with eyes may cause burning and tearing.
Ingestion:  Ingestion of large amounts may cause gastrointestinal irritation.
Chronic:  Not Available.

Overall, it looks pretty safe. But not totally. I wouldn't drink it.

Then, I was ruined by Dictum. They sell a Swedish cold-bleached linseed oil.
Linseed oil from Dictum. Also, some great smelling turpentine balsam, and some natural tung oil from Denmark.
This stuff is great. No chemicals, it smells great, and it works fantastic! After a little bit of research, I think I know how this was made, and I am going to try to replicate it in my apartment.

What could go wrong?

The first thing I found was this great YouTube video by Joe Besch:
His website led me to a page on Tad Spurgeon's website. Mr. Spurgeion's passion is oil painting, and shares on his site how oil paints made by the old masters were made from linseed oil.

I figure if this is good enough for the old masters, it should also work for woodworking.

Enough blah-blah. Let's get to work:

First, instead of pressing my own flax seed, I ordered a liter of pure, quality raw linseed oil from El Barco, a local paint shop in Valencia.
Raw linseed oil.
Once it arrived, I went for a walk down to the beach. Joe Besch's video shows him adding sand, salt and marble dust to his mixture, but after reading Tad Spurgeon's notes, I am convinced that plain sea water and some sand from the beach should work great. These additives, from what I can figure, are to help purify the final oil similar to running water through a sand filter purifies the water.

I'm not sure, and if you would like to try it, I'm sure you'll have success using only tap water.
Believe it or not, you can buy sea water at a local grocer for 3.99/liter!
It was a bit stormy, but my trek was successful.
beach sand and seawater. And who-knows-what.
There was some dreck in the water, so I filtered it out with a paper towel.
Filtering the sea water.
Then I washed the sand by filling the jar with tap water, fixing the lid and shaking like crazy. I dumped the water out and repeated until I didn't feel like doing that any more.
The clean sand.
Likely, I used way too much sand. I think much less would have worked just as good. Once I dumped the liter of linseed oil into my two liter jar over the sand, I figured it was too late to take some out and we'll just have to see how it goes.
Next I dumped in my raw linseed oil.
Then, I topped off the jar with sea water. I would have liked a 50-50 mix of oil and water, but this is where we are. I think it should do something.
Oil on top, the water sank below it, and the sand is on the bottom.
Next I shook the jar like crazy until everything was mixed.
After the mixture was shaken. Not stirred.
Over the next couple of hours, I shook it up again. Joe Besch suggests three times.

Then, let it sit in the sun.
After an hour or so, you can start to see everything separating nicely.
After an hour.
And the last photo is where we are this morning, after about ten hours of rest.

If you are wondering what you are looking at, you can clearly see everything settling in layers. The bottom is the sand, and the little black bubble looking things above that is actually clear water. It is heavier than the oil so it sinks to the bottom.

The yellow band is a layer of fat we've just rendered out of the raw linseed oil. I suspect this is the stuff that prevents raw linseed oil from drying quickly.

The brown layer on top is the good stuff.
The next morning.
No earlier than tonight, and likely tomorrow, I'll extract the top layer using a baking syringe that I bought for the purpose. The idea is to get the pure stuff off the top without any of the unwanted stuff below.

I'll follow Joe Besch's advice and do this process again with my refined oil. I imagine after a couple times of this, I should get some pretty nice quality stuff.

The last step is to let it rest in the sun for some weeks or months, and the yellow color will evaporate away.

For my purposes, it probably doesn't need to be crystal clear, but it will be fun to see how far I can take this.

There is likely to be quite a bit less than one liter of oil after this process, but what I have should be good.

I'm not sure if this will be worth it, but it is fun to see if it will work.

Keep an eye on this blog in the future, I plan to post on the results of this experiment over time.
Categories: Hand Tools

Bevel Up Jack Plane - Will It Work as Your Only Plane?

Toolerable - Sat, 02/11/2017 - 10:38am
A few weeks ago, one of my very favorite woodworking heroes, Richard Maguire, wrote a blog post about low angle planes. I've been thinking hard about this post for a while, because I have in the past advocated big time for my Veritas bevel up jack plane (BU jack).

I have to say that Richard's conclusions about the BU jack are spot on, 100%.

Does this mean I am recanting my endorsement of this tool? Absolutely not.
Richard's premise in his blog post is that BU planes work better than other planes at the extremes of the spectrum - basically that they do one thing really great. That is planing end grain.
This plane is really great at end grain.
I whole heartedly agree. They are much better at end grain due to the low angle possible with the BU design.

What about the rest?
Can one joint with this plane?
Well, I agree with Richard. Other planes do a better job at basic tasks than this plane. A 24 inch jointer does joint better than this jack plane. A dedicated jack with a cambered blade does better at hogging out lots of material than this plane. A #4 smoothing plane with a finely set chip breaker will do a better job at smoothing than this plane.
This thing works great shooting end grain. Did I already say that?
Then why do I endorse this plane so enthusiastically?

Well, I have to say that while those other planes do better at those tasks than this plane, the BU jack will indeed do them all.
I almost always do all my jointing with this plane.
A while back, I spent more than a whole year using only this plane and no other bench plane, for no other reason than to put my money where my mouth was regarding being able to build with an extremely limited tool set.

I had noticed that many great woodworkers had recommended "beginner's tool sets" that required many thousands of dollars to fill out before a beginning student could feel like they could do "proper" woodworking.

I thought that was baloney then, and I think it is baloney now. A jack plane (whether BU or bevel down, new or vintage), is a great first tool to get because of the versatility.

Other tools work better for those everyday tasks, but one plane instead of four can be a deal maker for a beginner.

After my exclusive use of this plane for the time I used it, I found out that "plane monogamy" (as Christopher Schwarz puts it), is a wonder.

Face it, there are all kinds of situations where even the largest hand tool shops require making a plane do a bit more than what's in it's name.

To be able to do these amazing tricks with a plane, one really, REALLY needs to know their tool.

I learned that it really is true that you can't buy skill by purchasing a new tool. One should learn how far they can push (get it?) a tool they have before deciding if another is needed in their situation.
Plus, using the same tool is faster: you already have it out.
There are a few things I do to make it easier on myself.

For rough work, I do my best to avoid having to thickness stock very much. My wooden jack plane with an eight inch camber on the blade hogs off wood like crazy and in no time flat. A BU plane is difficult to put a camber on the blade because of the angle of the bed. Taking 1/16" thick or thicker shavings isn't going to happen.

It will take medium sized shavings. If your wood is roughly the thickness you need it, and mostly flat to start with, it is a breeze to bring it to good working dimensions with this plane.

For fine smoothing, again, choose your wood wisely. This plane will easily achieve a finish quality surface without much work. Even without going crazy with steep sharpening angles. Make sure the blade is as sharp as you can get it, and you will be fine. At least until you try to plane against the grain. Even then, lighten the cut a little more and close the adjustable mouth as tight as you can.

For jointing, I find this plane to be long enough to joint nearly anything I can throw at it accurate enough for gluing up a panel. It does take some skill. One will get good at making edges flat eventually with this tool. Just keep checking with a good straight edge, and practice removing the parts that aren't flat. Follow that up with a fine shaving from one end to the other. I find it rare that I need to pull a jointer out for edge jointing anymore.
In conclusion, I would just like to agree with Richard again that this plane shouldn't replace everything in your plane corral. However, if you are looking for your first bench plane, this might be a good place to start.
Categories: Hand Tools

Wall Shelf Build Off - Part VII - Final - Or Is It?

Toolerable - Tue, 01/31/2017 - 4:42am
Sunday turned out to be very busy for me in the shop. So busy, that I found it too difficult to keep up with my progress here. I did, however, post a few pics on Instagram.

I finished the shelf, but did not yet finish the drawers that were supposed to be an integral part of the design. It looks a little funny with that one strip of dark wood on the divider. That's because that is the same wood that will be the two drawer fronts. Maybe I can get them in over the next few days. In the meantime, I'll submit this shelf as it was Sunday night when I completed it.

Here are some pics of what I did on Sunday after my last post.
I have an idea for the divider that requires stopped dadoes. It's only a little more complicated than through dadoes.
No router? No problem.
Except this part. This part was a little harder.
Not perfect, but this will suit just fine.
All parts for the carcase are done.
I wanted to pre-finish the parts, so before glue-up I burnished all of the pieces,
And applied a home-made soap finish.
This was actually the only parts I glued. Everything else is only nails.
First I lay out the nail holes. I learned the hard way that pencil lines are hard to get off after nailing.
Drill pilot holes with a tapered drill bit.
Insert the nails,
and drive them home.
I had a hard time figuring out how to lay out the nails for the cross-piece. The top of my shelf is angled, so measuring wasn't simple. And, I wanted to leave too many pencil marks off of the finished side. My solution? Lay out from the inside of the joint.
I marked where I wanted the nail holes, then drilled with the tapered bit just until...
It starts to poke out the other side. Then...
Put the joint together and drill the entire pilot hole.
Everything is together surprisingly well!
Now it's time for the back. I cut three pieces to length.
Then I used my self-made ship lap plane. This thing is coming in way more useful than I ever thought it would.
Once the ship laps are done, lay out the pilot holes and drill.
Nailed it!
All that is left is to trim the top pieces. I used a jack plane and a flat bottomed spokeshave.
Finished! At least, as finished as it will get for this Build-Off.
The last step I took on Monday morning was to photograph my masterpiece in the sunlight. If it isn't the best shelf ever seen, at least it will be photographed in a spectacular location!
It involved a hike.
But the view is great!
Make sure you go over to Flair Woodworks and vote for your favorite shelf builds from last weekend!
Categories: Hand Tools

Wall Shelf Build Off - Part Six - 14:00 Day 2

Toolerable - Sun, 01/29/2017 - 4:54am
Wow. Two o'clock already.

Today so far has been a lot of little stuff that you can't really see any progress with.

Hopefully I'll be able to nail the carcass together soon and get started on the drawers.
I figured out why this toggle doesn't close right - a crack!
Easy fix with hide glue. On to regular programming...
Working on the spacer.
Glued a dark bit to the front.
Top rail being rabbeted in.
One step closer to glue up!
This spacer goes between the two drawers.

Categories: Hand Tools

Wall Shelf Build Off - Part V - 20:15

Toolerable - Sat, 01/28/2017 - 11:27am
And I'm done for the day. Time for dinner.

Before just dropping my tools like I usually do, I had to ask myself, "What would Alex do?"
Trying out the newly sharpened rabbet plane.

Oh, this is way easier than doing it with only a saw and a chisel!
Saw and chisel for a dado is easy, though.
What Would Alex Do?
I was hoping to get just a little farther today. Nail this together and maybe before that to put some finish on these parts.

I guess that will have to wait until tomorrow. The Frau hates it when I pound nails on Sundays. Maybe I'll have to send her to the beach or something.

Just so I know where I left off and don't jump ahead tomorrow, the next steps are to cut some stopped dadoes in the shelves for the center support/drawer divider. Before I install that, I have to laminate a strip of black wattle to the front of it so everything is pretty. ONLY THEN am I permitted to finish these parts and then nail them together.

Categories: Hand Tools

Wall Shelf Build Off - Part IV - 18:30

Toolerable - Sat, 01/28/2017 - 9:31am
Not sure how much more patience the Frau will have for me working tonight. It doesn't look like I'm getting too far, but the carcase is nearly roughed out.
Cross cutting shelves to length.
Right length.
Now they are the right width.
Here's a sneak peek of the finished project.

Categories: Hand Tools

Wall Shelf Build Off - Part III - 17:00

Toolerable - Sat, 01/28/2017 - 7:58am
The day is going by fast, and I'm not near where I want to be yet. It should be expected, though, with such a late start and interruptions and all. It will get done.

Time for coffee and pastries.

Categories: Hand Tools

Wall Shelf Build Off - Part II - 14:15

Toolerable - Sat, 01/28/2017 - 5:20am
Well, I have an hour long Spanish class at 14:30, so I have to take a break.

It's coming along, I should be done in about a week or so.  :o)

Categories: Hand Tools


Subscribe to Norse Woodsmith aggregator - Hand Tools