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Hand Tools

A Walk in the Woods in August

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 6:15pm

Meanwhile, back in Ohio…

I was walking in the woods one day, as I am wont to do, when I came across this fruit on the ground:


I’ve mentioned previously that I’ve never seen a butternut tree around here, but this looks suspiciously like a butternut (Juglans cinerea). I looked up at the trees over the spot where I found the nut, but there were definitely no butternuts (or black walnuts, either), although there were several hickories.

A typical hickory fruit is more spherical, such as this shagbark hickory (Carya ovata):


Mockernut (C. tomentosa) fruit are similar, but they’re distinguishable when you open them up:


The mockernut, on the left, has a large kernel surrounded by thin flesh, while the shagbark on the right has a small kernel and very thick flesh.

I opened up the mystery nut, and on the inside it looks very much like a mockernut, albeit aberrantly shaped:


It’s definitely not a butternut, as the shell of a butternut is deeply grooved, much like this black walnut (J. nigra):



Here’s another hickory; I believe that it is a bitternut (C. cordiformis), but I can’t get near enough to the tree to pick one off and look at it closely:


There’s another kind of hickory around here that I didn’t mention back in the June installment, because I hadn’t come across an example. But now I have:


The shellbark hickory (C. laciniosa) has bark that’s peely like shagbark, but in smaller pieces. I probably would have passed right by this tree had I not noticed the fruit. The fruit of the shellbark is round and huge, almost the size of a tennis ball. Unfortunately, this one was standing in a swamp, and I was not willing to search for a fallen nut in the fetid water. (I will only go so far for you, dear reader.)

Other trees setting fruit in August are black cherries (Prunus serotina):


And yellow buckeye (Aesculus flava):


The fruit of Ohio buckeye (A. glabra) is more spherical, and sparsely covered with short spines.

Late summer is mushroom season in the Appalachian forests. There are mushrooms at other times of year, too, but the peak is in July and August. One of the most sought after is the golden chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius):


This is one of the few wild mushrooms that I’m willing to pick and eat. There are a few inedible and even poisonous species that are vaguely similar, but a telltale identifying characteristic of the chanterelle is the presence of small ridges, in place of true gills, on the underside of the cap:


This is a destroying angel (Amanita virosa):


You can probably guess from the name that it’s one you shouldn’t eat. It and its close relatives are the species most often responsible for mushroom-related fatalities. Its toxicity is especially insidious because by the time you experience any symptoms, your liver and kidneys are pretty much gone.

The destroying angel is pure white, but other Amanita mushrooms are not. Like the other members of its genus, there is a distinct “veil” on the stem, and the base of the mushroom appears to emerge from an egg:


Here’s another veiled mushroom:


I wasn’t able to figure this one out; maybe Amanita or Lepiota. I don’t think I’ll eat it.

This one is a bolete; I believe that it is Gyroporus castaneus, the chestnut bolete, but I’m not 100% sure:


I didn’t get a good photo of the underside, but in place of gills, boletes are covered with tiny, close-packed pores.

Many Russula mushrooms, such as this short-stemmed russula (R. brevipes), won’t kill you but are not particularly good to eat:


Interestingly, they can become infected by a parasitic fungus, Hypomyces lactifluorum, which causes them to turn bright red, whereupon they’re known as lobster mushrooms. Apparently, in this form they are much better tasting (I’ve never tried), with a seafood-like taste (appropriately enough). I’ve seen lobster mushrooms in these woods before, but couldn’t find any this year.

The stalked scarlet cup (Sarcoscypha occidentalis) is tiny, but is so brightly colored that it’s easy to pick out, growing on fallen twigs on the forest floor:


Not all mushrooms look like mushrooms. The jellied false coral (Tremellodendron pallidum) is closely associated with oak trees:


We can’t have a false coral mushroom without also having a true coral mushroom, so here’s a crested coral (Clavulina cristata):


I found these mushrooms growing on some hardwood mulch in my front yard:


It took quite a bit of research, but I think I’ve correctly identified them as Hohenbuehelia mastrucata, the wooly oyster mushroom.

I’ve avoided writing about grasses, mostly because there just aren’t that many that grow in the woods. They’re also usually pretty hard to tell apart. But one common grass that grows deep in the shade and is easy to identify is eastern bottlebrush grass (Elymus hystrix):


I found this flower growing in my yard:


It’s an orchid, spring lady’s tresses (Spiranthes vernalis). Despite the name, it often blooms in late summer. While researching it online, I discovered that there was no record for this species for Athens County in the USDA PLANTS database, so I submitted photos and other documentation, and now there is.

I took the above photo ten years ago, and I haven’t seen it blooming since. I don’t know if the plant is still around or not. It’s very inconspicuous when it’s not blooming.

After a couple of slow wildflower months, activity begins to pick up again in August. Because it’s still pretty dark in the woods, most woodland-associated wildflowers are found either in open spaces within the woods, or along the margins.

There are many, many species of goldenrod (Solidago), and they can be very tricky to tell apart. One of the earliest to bloom is the aptly-named early goldenrod (S. juncea):


It’s hard to tell from the photo, but this one is easy to identify by its narrow leaves without toothed margins, along with small offshoot leaves that grow out from the bases of the main leaves.

The widespread goldenrod that we see along roadsides and in open fields is tall goldenrod (S. altissima). It’s sometimes called Canada goldenrod, but that name is also used for S. canadensis. You’re probably aware that there are many plants that have been imported from elsewhere into North America, and that have turned out to be extremely invasive. It works both ways, as Canada goldenrod has wreaked havoc in Europe and Asia, even leading to the extinction of several species in China.

The common evening primrose (Oenothera biennis) grows in grassy openings in the woods:


The Carolina horsenettle (Solanum carolinense) is a member of the nightshade family, and shares the same five-petaled “beaked” flowers that all nightshades have:


Look closely, and you can see the thorns covering its stems and the undersides of its leaves. All parts of the plant are poisonous, but the tomato-like fruits are the only part that might kill you.

I’ve mostly let nature take over the yard, and as a result, tall ironweed (Vernonia altissima) has started showing up:


At first, the deer would munch off the leaves before the plants got very far along, but now there are enough of the plants that I get lots of flowers. And it really is tall; this particular plant reaches well above my head.

It’s a stretch to call butterfly milkweed (Aclepias tuberosa) a woodland wildflower, but it’s one of my favorites, so you get a photo anyway:


– Steve Schafer

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Quitting time

Owyhee Mountain Fiddle Shop - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 3:40pm

I spend most of my time in the house, where my shop is, hunched over the bench, worried about bumps or awkward curves in my carving, thinking this new batch of varnish really isn't the right color.  Sometimes I'm practicing tunes, wondering if I'll ever learn how to play the fiddle.

It's nice to quit for the day, step outside, and see something that just is what it is.  Knocks me down a gear or two, and that's a good thing.

Categories: Hand Tools, Luthiery

Collapsible Trestle Table

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 1:03pm

About two years ago, my wife was planning a family get together at our home. She asked me if I had anything to use as a table for extra seating. I mentioned we could get two sawhorses, a sheet of plywood and throw a table cloth on it. I am from rural North Carolina so this is a more than adequate type of table. Of course if you have any faith in Mr. Schwarz’s research, it has been an acceptable form of table for may other folks as well for centuries.

My wife would have none of it; a couple days later she came in with a blow-molded plastic table with metal legs from one of the big box stores. It was an abomination. The folding legs worked OK, it was not terribly heavy, but it was just wrong. It looked like very-near future landfill material. It made it through the family gathering but did get me to thinking about something that would serve the same purpose but made of wood.


After after some thought, I came up with a trestle table that is assembled with wedges. The base is held together with four wedged tusk tenons and the top is attached to the base with four tapered dowels that work like removable drawbores. It can be assemble or broken down in a minute or so, with no tools other than a mallet or hammer and can be stored in a closet.



The base is made of yellow pine construction lumber with oak feet. The top is of white pine with breadboard ends. It’s strong, stable, not too heavy and can be set up quickly when needed. Or, it can be left assembled and used daily as this one is.



I filmed a video on making this table, “Building the Collapsible Trestle Table” that is available at Wood and Shop’s store (here) as a digital download or DVD, preview (here). The video was filmed and edited by Joshua Farnsworth (considering the substandard talent he had to work with on these projects, he works miracles with video) who I also filmed two previous projects, “Building the Portable Moravian Workbench” and “Building the Shaker Candle Stand”.

— Will Myers





Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

The Secrets of the Back Iron

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 12:14pm


This is an excerpt from “The Wordworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years: Volume I” published by Lost Art Press.

The back iron of the plane is of the utmost importance. It will often happen that, because it has not been given proper attention, the plane will not work properly, or possibly not work at all.



The function of the back iron is to control the condition of the shaving that the plane makes. Not that one minds what happens to the shavings, but that, in being removed, they have their effect on the surface of the wood. The power of the arms expended in making shavings is shared between cleaving off the part of the wood from the solid mass and in destroying its stiffness as it passes up into the mouth of the plane. A shaving would not pass comfortably up into the mouth of the plane if it were not fractured on its outside at fairly regular intervals, and it is the function of the back iron to do the fracturing.


If all grain were parallel with the surface a back iron would never be needed (see Fig. 2). It is its slope that causes it to tear out

The breaking off of the shaving not only facilitates the removal of the shaving from the plane, but it does something that is even more important; it destroys the strength of the grain of the shaving, so that the natural tendency for the part that is removed to split off cleanly is checked.

To explain this by analogy, if a slice of a length of deal were chopped with an axe, the fact of the axe acting as a wedge would largely cleave off the piece as at A, Fig. 1. If the part already separated were snapped across by the introduction of a sort of back iron, the liability to split would be greatly lessened, as at B, Fig. 1. If we apply this illustration to the cutting iron and back iron of a plane, we shall see that the work of the back iron is to reduce the tendency to split.


This fracturing takes up a larger percentage of the energy expended than will at first be appreciated. As a consequence, the back iron is set close to the cutting edge only when the mixed nature of the grain renders it specially liable to tear out. Thus, quite a lot depends upon so arranging the back iron that it will give the results required with the most economical expenditure of time and labour. Time spent in planing can be very wasteful.

In planing off stout shavings of deal, the back iron is set well back, say, a full 1∕16 in. If the back iron were 1∕4 in. up, the curl in the shaving would not be sufficient and the grain might split out; probably a bare 1∕8 in. will be the utmost at any time that it will pay to keep the back iron up. One-sixteenth in. will, in practice, be satisfactory for an average run of work, especially so far as the jack plane is concerned. This distance will, however, be too much for material that is inclined to tear out, especially as the finishing stages are approaching. In fact, for a piece of curly grained mahogany, the back iron should be about 1∕64 in. only from the cutting edge.

A further important point regarding the back iron will be that there must be no flaws in it, for in the course of time the impact of the shavings against it is liable to cause this defect. With planes that are finely set, a certain slight jaggedness will at length appear along the edge of the back iron. This should be corrected with a fine file.

The back iron must also fit close down to its cutting iron when it is screwed in place; if there is the slightest space anywhere shavings will clog so that the plane will work both slowly and badly. Another point to remember is that the back iron should be a trifle round, so that the distance back from the cutting edge is parallel (for the edges of all cutting irons must also be slightly round).

Meghan Bates

Filed under: Charles H. Hayward at The Woodworker
Categories: Hand Tools

3 Campaign Pieces for Sale

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 10:53am

I’ve recently completed a handful of campaign pieces and have some extras I can sell. All three pieces were built as part of articles I wrote for Popular Woodworking Magazine, and so I am selling them at a discount. I don’t want these sitting around.

As always, all pieces are made and finished entirely by me. No subcontractors. Even the leatherwork. All prices include shipping in the United States. International customers are welcome, but shipping will be quite expensive.

All pieces are first-come. If you want one, send me a message through my personal site. Ask all the questions you like. But the first person to say “I want it,” gets it. I take PayPal, checks and mutant chickens as payment.


Walnut Campaign Stool, SOLD
This is about as nice a campaign stool as I’ve made. The legs are turned from air-dried Tennessee walnut. The black leather is English-made bridle leather. The tri-bolt is from Lee Valley. This stool includes a black leather carrying strap, which cinches the legs when the stool is folded up. Approximately 17” high. Shellac finish.


Maple Campaign Stool, PENDING
This campaign stool was made in the flavor of my pieces from “The Anarchist’s Design Book.” It features hard maple legs that are tapered octagons. The black leather is English-made bridle leather. The tri-bolt is raw steel made from off-the-rack components. Approximately 17” high. Shellac finish.


Curly Oak Bookstand, PENDING
This clever campaign bookstand fold flat and telescopes open. It features solid brass hand-filed hinges and locks. The leather is brown latigo from Pennsylvania. This is based on an original 19th century piece from Mascart & Cie in England. The piece folds from about 14” wide to more than 20”. Height (unfolded) is 14”. Finish is shellac.


You can complain about my prices (too high/too low), using this link.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Campaign Furniture, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

No Cell Phones!

Paul Sellers - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 3:27am

This past Friday it seemed, immersed in a unique silence of sorts that slowly descended on the workshop, men and women gathered around my workbench. My tools were sharp and ready to task and I watched the gathering shuffle onto their stools to find comfortable positions. To describe this sense of remarkable quiet would be […]

Read the full post No Cell Phones! on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

a puttering saturday......

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 11/05/2017 - 1:59am
My day started early in the shop this saturday. My wife had gone off to one of her dead people meetings so the day was mine to do as I pleased. On the way home from OT I made a pit stop at the store for cat food. I give the cats canned food every saturday morning and no one will ever convince me other wise that they don't know what day of the week it is. Saturday is the only day that they follow me around everywhere until I feed them.

Before I went to the shop I balanced my check book and tried to think of what I wanted to get accomplished today. When I got to the workbench I still had not made up my mind on what to do. So I puttered and doodled and wandered aimlessly around the shop. I got a few little things done but still no focus of what is the next project.

finished the libella first
There wasn't any spring back when I removed the clamps so I thought I was golden. The inside was still square but the outside wanders off and up the further it got from the half lap. I don't think it will be a problem but I'll have to wait and see.

I concentrated on keeping the inside square but I ended up with this gap. I chopped the 1/2 lap on the legs first and laid the brace in them. I then marked the brace directly off the junction between the two. That didn't seem to mean diddly squat because I still got a gap.

inside corner is still 90 - glued it up and set it aside
working on Miles's #6
This is the first frog I've rehabbed that didn't need a ton of work to flatten and raise a bit of shine on. After a few strokes I checked it and I had consistent scratches top to bottom. This is done after one grit and ready for paint.

prepping the plane body for paint
Since this plane isn't going to be used for a while and will be sitting idle in a toolbox, I'm going to put on a primer coat first. I'll spray the primer on but I will brush the top coats on. The first step, besides shaking the rattle can for a while, is to clean the body with acetone. I filled all the screw holes with extra parts so I don't get paint in them.

taping off the sides and bottom
This is blue painters tape. You don't want to use masking tape for this and especially so if you leave it on for a while. I plan on keeping the blue tape on for a while and when I do take it off it will easily peel off. And it won't leave behind a ton of tape adhesive residue like masking tape.

strops ready to be glued
Almost all of the curl in these has gone away.

could have used this
This has my friend Roger's number on it. He was a fellow vet who passed away a couple of years ago. I still can't bring myself to use it and I could have gotten all three backers out of this. I'll leave here for few days and put it back by the tablesaw.

I'm using hide glue
my current strops
I used hide glue on these and they have held up for the last 4+ years. One is glued to 3/4" plywood and the bottom one is MDF. I have been using and abusing these without any problems with the strops staying in place. The corners are still down and tight so I'm using hide glue again.

3 strops cooking away until tomorrow
painted the frog
I cleaned this with acetone first and no primer on this. I brushed on one coat of black and I will put on another coat tomorrow. I painted the yoke too and put a nail where the pin goes and nailed it a joist to dry.

looks better doesn't it?
The sides definitely will need a second coat but the back looks good with just one.

good even coat from toe to heel
 The top coat will come after I have sanded and cleaned up the cheeks and the sole.

original plastic bag and rust paper
this partial sticker isn't going to survive this clean up
I am not a collector and I really don't care one way or the other about this sticker. I want a user plane once I get the oily goop off of this. There isn't any way I can save the sticker so it's history. I feel the same way about the box but I'll hang on to it. I will put it with the box that my Record 043 small plow plane came in.

sandpaper did diddly
Before I can try and shine up the body, I am going to have to remove the oily crap on the plane. 220 sandpaper just gunked up on me sanding this dry.

mineral spirits bath time
I am going to soak the entire plane overnight and tomorrow I'll try and clean it up.

time to try something new
 I broke this hammer about 10 years ago and bought a new one. The both of these are Craftsman brand 8 ounce rip claw hammers. I think that this would be a good first hammer for Miles. It just needs a new handle and replacing one is something I've never done before.

drilling out the wood that is left
it's tapered
The top of the head is slightly larger then the bottom. I removed out the remaining wood with a metal punch.

the two wedges
I am not sure if these reusable or not. I am going to do a search for a handle and I'll see if there are wedges for sale.

traced the outline
The left one is the bottom opening and the right is the top. There is a small difference and I can see a taper from top to bottom by looking down through the top.

my plumb bob string options
Fish line, twine, and cotton thread. I don't like the any of these choices. I would use the twine but it's a braided, fall apart twine.  It was proving to be impossible to keep it together to thread through the hole in the plumb bob.

clever idea
The previous owner of this used a small piece of what looks like a pipe cleaner to act as a stop. This orange line doesn't feel like thread and it isn't braided. I tried twirling to see if I could do that and couldn't. I'll make a run to Home Depot tomorrow and see what they have in the way of mason's line.

Did anyone forget to turn the clocks back for the idiotic DST shift?

Accidental woodworker

trivia corner
He died at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in Feb 1909. Who was he?
answer - the great Apache leader, Geronimo

‘Carving the Acanthus’ Will Ship Early

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sat, 11/04/2017 - 5:41am

CTA_mockup_1000We just received word from our printer that “Carving the Acanthus Leaf” by Mary May shipped to our warehouse yesterday, two weeks ahead of schedule.

That means our warehouse will receive the books next week and we should be able to start shipping out pre-publication orders at the end of next week or so. As a result, the special pre-publication offer will end on Nov. 13. So if you want a free pdf of the book in addition to the hardcover copy, order before then. After Nov. 13, the pdf will cost extra.

Double Book-release Party
We are holding a special book-release party for “Carving the Acanthus” and “From Truths to Tools” on Dec. 9 at the Lost Art Press storefront in Covington, Ky. Mary May and George Walker will be there to sign books, give presentations on their work and answer your questions. We’ll post details on this free and fun event in the next couple weeks. So save the date.

Next up for Lost Art Press
We have two books that are now being designed: Richard Jones’s opus on wood technology (still wrestling with the title on that one) and Joshua Klein’s book on Jonathan Fisher, “With Hands Employed Aright.” We hope to have both of these books sent to the printer by the end of the year.

A little farther down the pipeline: Jögge Sundqvist’s “Sloyd in Wood” and my greatly expanded edition of “Roman Workbenches.” Both are almost ready for the designer. It looks like 2018 is going to be busy.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Carve the Acanthus with Mary May, From Truths to Tools, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

is winter coming........

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 11/04/2017 - 12:35am
It was a wonderful day in the neighborhood. Clear blue skies with a few high wispy clouds and just a hint of a breeze. It is November 3, 2017 and the temperature today hit 73°F (23°C). The nights for the next few days will be in the low 50's and the T-shirt weather is forecasted to go into next week. I'm happier about this than a clam at low tide.

new sash lift came in
I should have gotten this one in the first place.

shiny brass
This is a substantial improvement over the the piece of crap that it replaces. How can you go wrong with shiny brass?

crap on the right
I glued a piece of wood on the back of this to act as a spacer. Sometimes these stamped pieces of crappola tend to dish in when the screws are tightened down.

much better looking now
It's a match with the lid lift and the handles on the ends.

for Miles toolbox
I think a bullnose plane is a useful plane to have. I bought this as soon as I saw on Jim Bode's tool site. I didn't pay what was written on the box. I know it isn't shillings because 20 shillings is equal to one pound so that dates this box to when the pound converted to the decimal system (100 pence = 1 pound). At today's exchange rate this would cost $3.47 american. Adjusted for inflation it would be about $26.  I wish I had paid that but I didn't.

Record 077
 I don't think that this was ever used even once. The entire plane is still covered in a protective film that has hardened and thinned out a bit. I thought the plane was covered with rust blooms in the pic I saw but there aren't any. I mistook the protective film covering the plane for rust.

out of the box
I advanced the iron and planed a rabbet. Other than trying to do it a straight line, I had no hiccups.

can't get a  fresher or newer iron than this
This is still covered with the oily film too. And it still has the original factory grind marks.

back side of the iron
I'm not sure what the spots are and my first step with this will be to remove the oily sticky crap all over it. I'll try a bath in mineral spirits first.

converts to a chisel plane - the only spot on the plane with rust
is that a shim?
I seem to remember that the thin shiny piece of metal is a removable shim. Taking it off closes up the mouth more. I couldn't get it off tonight but maybe after it is cleaned up I might be able to.

12" square
This square is 12" on the inside and 14" on the outside. The blade is 2" wide and straight. No bends or wiggles along the whole length.

outside edge is square
From what I just learned this plane is meant to be used on the inside and outside checking for square.

what wood is it?

From looking at this I would guess it is ebony. If it isn't ebony than it is some dark rosewood with no figure at all.

15" on the left, 12" on the right
The brass plates are very similar but I am not familiar with these types of plates that I could date them or figure out the manufacturer. The 15" square has no maker mark at all except one side has an owner 'X' carved in it.

maker of the 12" square
inside brass plates
These plates are different. The 15" one is screwed on and I can't see any screws or other type of fasteners on the 12" one.

not square on the in or out side edges
checking the outside edge - the bottom
the top runs out
the inside bottom - this looks promising here
runs in at the top
It looks like I'll be doing some filing on both of the edges to bring them into square.

6mm iron holder
a little more than half the iron is in the holder
I'm going to glue it here
labeled it before I glued it in the box
carefully laid out my half laps this time
much better
I am dead nuts flush on the two but I'm slightly off on the ends.

wee bit of crap at the bottom
I have two choices to clean this up. A chisel or a tenon plane.

cleaned both of them with two swipes of the tenon plane
my leg spread
This is going to be a big ass libella.

nutso glue up with hide glue
My half laps are dead on square and I wanted the glue up to be dead on too. There isn't much more to do to complete this. Install the horizontal brace and saw the bottom of the legs off at a 45 will complete libella #2.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What US college has the oldest medical school?
answer - Univ of Pennsylvania

Issue III link now available

Journeyman's Journal - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 2:46pm

Guys, I’m really sorry, but wordpress didn’t publish the link.  I set it to auto schedule publish, but I learned now that it needs to be manually linked under the category.

Just in case it disappears here is the download link

Issue III

Categories: Hand Tools

Light, and sympathetic strings (in the future)

Owyhee Mountain Fiddle Shop - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 12:37pm

Glancing light is a great tool for violin making.  With it, you can see how many (many, many) bumps one has on a surface, and it can even direct you towards how to remove them.  As I stepped outside the other evening, near sunset, I noticed these autumn leaves on our carport floor.  Note the shadows cast by these not-quite-flat leaves.

I decided to try my hand at making a Hardanger fiddle.  With some online research over the years, a plan from the Guild of American Luthiers, and a photocopy of the English translation of Sverre Sandvik's "Vi byggjer hardingfele", I decided to plunge in.  Since I expect I'll have enough problems with the basic mechanics, I decided to simplify some of the decorative details, such as the scroll. Instead of the traditional dragon, I wanted something like a canoe prow.  To get things uniform, I followed the Lancet arc, here described in "By Hand & Eye" by Geo. R. Walker and Jim Toplin.

It's a decent book, with practical methods for creating shapes in spaces.  My one quibble with the book is that the authors imply, maybe even state, they are not measuring when using a divider or a compass.  While it's true they are not reading a number off a ruler or tape measure, and then not using written math to divide or multiply, a divider is a elegant and exacting way to lay out work.  It is measuring, with extreme accuracy and precision -- assuming your divider or compass stays tight.

Their book is worth having.

Categories: Hand Tools, Luthiery

Vol.1 Issue III Out Now

Journeyman's Journal - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 7:00am


In the top right hand corner you will see a tab called “HANDWORK Magazine” Don’t click on it just over your mouse over it and a drop down menu will appear. Choose whichever issue you wish to download.


Categories: Hand Tools

The Mortise & Tenon Podcast: Episode 01

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 6:51am

Mike and I have resisted for a while now (too many commitments already) but finally feel able to commit to periodic podcasting. You can listen to the first episode above and look for future installments here on the blog or at our SoundCloud page. Feel free to offer your feedback below. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

In this episode, we talk about the shipping out of our new Issue (#3) as well as the new book in our store: Zachary Dillinger’s With Saw, Plane & Chisel as well as two new stickers (one of which is soon to be revealed).

We then discuss the progress on our new timber frame workshop.

Links mentioned:
Books mentioned:

There is also an excerpt of our recent Ask M&T YouTube video “What is a Fore Plane?”


Categories: Hand Tools

Divide This!

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 4:03am


…says the Italian renaissance astronomer Galileo Galilei to a young student as he demonstrates a pair of proportional dividers. So how do these ingenious scaling devices work? The answer is embedded in the geometry of the sectioning of a circle. Here’s an excerpt from “From Truths to Tools” (shipping now) that presents an intuitive understanding:

Dividers 1

Dividers 2

Dividers 3


Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

First Episode of My Workbench Online Today

Paul Sellers - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 3:48am

Yup! Here it is. It seemed a long time coming but drawings, cutting list and episode one just went out and I hope you enjoy this as much as I did and that you will indeed let me know your progress. So here you can make your own and follow exact instructions as you watch […]

Read the full post First Episode of My Workbench Online Today on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

The Best Marking Knife - The English Woodworker

Giant Cypress - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 3:18am
The Best Marking Knife - The English Woodworker:

Richard Maguire:

I stumbled across some Japanese knives, did a bit of an ‘ip dip’ and chucked one in the basket. It turned a boring order of glue and screws into bloody Christmas. Blimey Charley, the knife was perfect.

it's a libella........

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 11/03/2017 - 1:25am
I got a few comments on what the name of the 'A' thing is.  Sylvain traced it to the Egyptians and Diego said he saw one in a museum in France. I located my book on Roman Woodworking and I found it in there too. I knew that this was a level but I wanted to put a name tag on it. I'm sure the Egyptians had a name for it but I couldn't find it so I am settling for the Roman one. And I'm sure Rome borrowed this from some other culture and called it a libella. This type of level has also been around since dirt was invented. I wonder if the ancient Sumerians invented it. Or if they got it from the Gods as a gift as their cuneiform clay tablets says it was.

Simple Green
I found the Simple Green at Ocean State Job Lot today. It isn't exactly what I was looking for but I took it anyways. I wanted the Simple Green degreaser formula and it says that on the bottle. This one doesn't so I doubt I got that. BTW for Steve - OSJL has the shop lights in stock again for $14.99. I asked the Manager of this one if they would ship between stores and she said no. But she said that other stores should have the same lights in stock.

round 2 of the stripper
I think that this will do it for stripper. I put some on the back of the frog and the yoke.

pile of shavings for round #2 cleanup
the shavings will clean up the stripper
The shavings worked well for this purpose. They absorbed the stripper and they acted like an abrasive and scrubbed some of the japanning off the metal.

forgot the before pic
I would guess-ta-mate that about 90% of the japanning on this is now gone. What little is left I am sure I'll be able to remove by sanding.

plumbline stick is done almost
Still no string for either of these. I looked at the mason's string at Ocean State Job Lot but it looked like it was too thick for the plumb bobs I have.  I am going to make another libella. I rushed in making this one and made a few assumptions that I think are now wrong.

the new libella
Three pieces of stock 1 x 1 1/2 x 16 is what I need for the new one. There aren't any instructions anywhere that I could find on making this. So what I am doing now is again mostly conjecture on my part as to the how and what. On the first libella I just eyeballed what I thought was a good angle, height, and spread on the legs and went from there.  That was mistake #1.

Mistake #2 was not taking sufficient care to layout the top angled half lap properly. I didn't layout the angle on each piece from the same spot and that is why they came out mismatched. That mismatch on the angle caused other problems with getting the legs even and the brace parallel with the bottom of them.

making a full scale pattern
Just about every picture I dug up on a libella showed the 'A' to be an isosceles triangle. I don't know that for sure but they sure looked like that. That makes sense to me as it makes it easy to make the 'A' as precise as I can. The half lap at the top will be at 90° and the leg bottoms will sawn at a 45° angle as will the ends on the brace.

Here I set the brace on the legs until the length of it matched the length of the two legs. Once this is glued up I can then lay a square on the brace and have it align on the apex with the legs. That mark should be where the plumb bob will hang too. I sawed the 3 parts for the libella and stickered them until tomorrow.

this is why Frank
The question was why couldn't I leave the iron in the plane?  I only have a slot in this piece of oak for the skate to fit in. In order to leave the iron in the plane I would have to chop a slanted mortise at 90° to the skate slot. I'm not sure that I could retract the iron high enough and still put the plane in the slot as is.

I am going to make the holder for the 6mm iron tonight. This piece is to match the angle of the iron which is 25° too.

4 of the 5 pieces to make up the iron holder
This is pretty much self explanatory. The small middle piece has the 25° angle on it. I will glue this in place so it's bevel is facing in. That way the bevel of the iron will be sandwiched between it and the back.

by saw, chisel, and sandpaper
Drew an arc on the top back piece first. I then sawed off most of the waste, chiseled it close to the lines, and smoothed it with sandpaper. I left all the pencil marks as this side will be glued  to the box hiding it all.

using the rapid fuse glue again
It did well on the walnut banding for the box so I'm going to try it here too.

all 5 of the parts
The bottom and top pieces are slightly oversized. Once everything is glued up and set, I will plane everything flush and square.

2 frog hairs of room on either side of the holder
backer for the holder
This may or may not happen. This will be out of sight inside the box so I don't see the need to make it pretty. But that hasn't stopped me in the past.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What are you if someone says you are gracile?
answer - you have a slender build

It’s OK (Good Even!) When They Hate Your Work

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Thu, 11/02/2017 - 4:59pm

The city council candidate was screaming at me through her phone as I sat hunched over my desk in the newspaper’s newsroom. “How about I pull down my pants and you come and watch me go to the bathroom?” she screamed. “You’d like that wouldn’t you?” This impolite invitation was issued after I inquired about a long string of tax troubles the candidate had suffered during the last few years. […]

The post It’s OK (Good Even!) When They Hate Your Work appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

A side rebate plane’s fence, fix solution

Journeyman's Journal - Thu, 11/02/2017 - 4:51pm

A side rebate (rabbet) plane widens dado’s (housing) or trench (Europe) and grooves, wow so many names for one joint.   Sometime a dado is a little too tight to accept a shelf or a groove for a drawer bottom needs to be a little wider for a perfect fit, this is where these planes excel.

There are several versions and makers of these planes, I believe Stanley only produced two of the No.79 and the 98 and 99 which Lie Nielsen now produces. 98_99

Then there was Edward Preston, whom Veritas based their design on and not to forget record. When Preston left the tool making scene, Record took over the production of the Preston planes.

Some time ago I began my hunt for a decent no.79 and I found one on eBay. I can’t remember what I paid for it, but they’re stupidly expensive now. The one I found was in near perfect condition. Here are the eBay pictures I downloaded at the time.

Whoever bought it must have thrown it in the toolbox and forgotten about it.  It’s rare to see these planes in such good condition. Well, I was lucky. There is another version of the no.79 you should avoid. They have slotted round screws instead of the thumb screws like I have.


I suspected at the time that the slots in the screws would wear out through repeated use, so I asked my friend Tony as he has one and he hates it for that reason alone. Tony’s tool chest was featured in Jim Tolpin’s book “The Toolbox Book.” page 28.  He fits over 400 tools in his chest and it weighs in at a whopping 400lb (181.43kg). That’s an entire workshop of tools he can carry to any job site and only taking up a small corner in the back of his pickup.
Let me see anyone do this with modern machinery.

Anyhow, the purpose of this blog was not to go into any detail about different versions of the side rebate planes, but to discuss a manfacturer’s flaw in the fence and the quick solution I came to fixing it.

So even though it’s basically new for a vintage plane, it still had a manufacturing fault. The fence wasn’t 90° to the surface of the plane. This rectification was on my to do list for many months, but I didn’t give it much thought on how to fix it since I don’t have a square metal block, I’ve left as is till this morning.  My day typically begins at 4 am when I’m not working my other job, this is the best part of the day as your mind is fresh with new ideas and it’s peaceful as the world is still asleep. It’s very serene.

I started off with a pair of pliers trying to bend it into shape and all I managed to do was create small teeth marks ruining what was once a pristine surface.

If Stanley did their job right in the first place, I wouldn’t have had to do this.

So, I kept bending it like a moron not realising that I was also creating a hump in the middle.  Now I was frantic and I looked around in desperation for anything that was square that could handle a beating and there she was. My lathe.

I threw a square up against the outside face and no go, so I tried the inside and alas she’s square.



I placed the fence against the metal bar on the lathe and with the hard part of a rubber mallet I struck several light blows across the surface.

Yes, it worked! The fence is square, but the hump is still there. To fix that I used a normal metal hammer and got rid of the hump.


Had I given this proper thought beforehand, I wouldn’t have left teeth marks on a pristine surface. Lucky for me these marks are not sharp where it would mar the work. Surprisingly though they are smooth as a baby’s butt.

Is this a must have tool?

It’s a toughie to answer, yes and no. Yes, when you need one and I have used it more often than not, but it’s not an everyday “usage tool.”  I think it’s one of those tools you tend to forget you have until the day pops up when nothing else will work as the tool you forgot you had.

Categories: Hand Tools

The Horse Garage Chronicles

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 11/02/2017 - 3:50pm


With a bruised right rib and something seriously wrong with my elbow today, I thought about titling this blog entry: “Burn Horse Garage, You Sputum of Satan – Ptttttth, I Hate You – Love Chris.” Instead I decided to focus on the ridiculous aspect of this project: What I will do to create my workshop.

During the last 12 months I have failed to install the new screen door for the front of our house. It’s an easy job – probably only half a day. But apparently I’d rather spend weeks mired in rebuilding concrete block walls, heaving old mattresses to their doom and ripping out 40 square yards of disgusting detritus all for a 25’ x 30’ bunker to hold a few machines and a wood pile.

For the last three years I have neglected to make and install 5’ of moulding on the stairway of our home. It’s an insanely easy bit of work. I could do it with moulding planes or a router in an hour or two. Lucy would be so happy. But no, I’d rather rip out weird tile and ceiling boards for four days straight. (Asbestos? I hope not.) All for a dark cave that is as inspiring as a Communist debriefing room.

Our house’s lamppost and doorbell haven’t worked since the Clinton Administration. The risers of our stairs need a quick coat of paint. My office walls need to be painted after a plaster repair five years ago.

I’m a horrible person. And apparently I am also a sociopath because I don’t care. Today we spent hours restoring the jambs of the Horse Garage – resetting them to their original place in 1906. We filled all the nail holes with an all-weather putty. We sanded. Scraped. Primed and painted.

Honestly, this blog entry could be entered into evidence in a divorce proceeding.

And that’s fine. I deserve it.

As long as I get to keep the shop.

— Christopher Schwarz

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


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