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This afternoon I was gluing a part of the grip I sawed off back on the moulding plane. While I was gluing up I thought to myself, how much simpler it is to use these small dispensable bottles than it would be using those large ones that come with the glue.
It’s easier to hold in my hand and I actually use less. Old Brown Glue on the right will expire on 17th of this month, however it doesn’t mean that it will go off in three days. I’ve kept in a cool dark place for the last 12 months. If it’s runny out of the bottle and it isn’t a hot day then it’s probably gone off, but that still isn’t a good indication if it has. I usually go by smell and hide glue if gone off has the smell of a dead carcass.
I buy 50 ml (1.75 ounces) bottles from a $2 store, not sure what you would call it overseas. For hide glue, heating it up in a small bottle is quicker than it is in the large standard bottle. It’s also cheaper to buy the large 20 oz bottle than it is to buy their smaller ones. I know people prefer to buy small bottles of the stuff but it’s not good economics to do so. If you use the stuff regularly then you will have many refills at a fraction of the price and your not throwing your money on what costs a lot and that is shipping fees.
Once the bottle empties don’t throw it in the bin, unless you’ve emptied the large ones. If you have, don’t refill the smaller bottles with newer fresh glue because these glues are organic and you don’t want to contaminate fresh glue with old glue.
Here’s something that’s going to blow your socks off. I just had a delivery from Star Track. The driver is an owner driver (contractor), he told me that a small parcel costs $1.40 to deliver in my case it was a DVD. I paid $12 for this delivery! So think about it, I pay $40 for shipping for the fish glue and $20 for OBG because it was within Australia. Imagine how much I save because I buy the larger bottles than if I had of purchased the smaller one several times in a year.
Recently I was a presenter at the SAPFM Blue Ridge Chapter on the topic of saw sharpening. I would not call myself an accomplished saw sharpener mostly because my results are inconsistent, generally due to the lack of hours at the task. But there are times when the result is excellent, for example my favorite old back saw that I last sharpened sometime in the 1980s and has cut hundreds of joints since, and remains sharp and the cuts crisp and clean.
Using some oversized props I reviewed the notions of tooth spacing and shape (rake, and fleam), and how these come into play for crosscutting and ripping at varying degrees of scale, precision and effectiveness.
I the moved through the nearly unlimited options for holding the saw during sharpening, and finally set up to actually doing some sharpening under less-than-ideal conditions of a large lumber warehouse with diffuse illumination. I find that getting the lighting correct is perhaps the most important thing when sharpening a saw, and this setting wasn’t it.
My explanation of the process was certainly better than the actual sharpening during the demo, but I think the attendees got the idea.
As an aside, I was delighted I had my petite Roubo bench with me and realize that it has become a treasured part of my traveling side-show kit, as it fits neatly into the back of my S-10, is moved easily with a hand truck, and performs most excellently.
I've been working with wood since I was a kid. I took my first woodworking class at the 92nd Street Y when I was 6 years old. I've been taking classes and building stuff for over 35 years. For the last 17 I have been working at Tools for Working Wood. In that time, new tools and new techniques have come on the market. By and large I have ignored them in my personal work. However, I haven't ignored everything, and my methods of work have in certain areas changed dramatically for the better. I'll break up my list of ten things into three posts so I don't drone on and on here.
I learned on Arkansas stones and I still use them for sharpening carving tools. I really love the feel of the stones. But during the 1990 - 2010 era, I mostly used water stones. Over the years I used many different brands, but nonetheless all water stones. I still use water stones in the kitchen for sharpening knives, but for woodworking tools and when I teach sharpening I use diamond stones do all the rough work. I use an 8000 grit finishing stone at the end because I don't think the 8000 grit diamond stones are nearly as fine, but diamonds do everything else. You can read about my experiments here.
Diamond paste works well but it's too messy for me, and I worry about getting it into my eye. I don't use lapping film, although it's great and popular. For the amount of sharpening I do, it's not practical: I would just blow through too much film. I think lapping film is best for low cost-of-entry on a professional system and for traveling. Some people love lapping film because it's largely maintenance free. It also works well for odd profiles, but it's not for me. The major problem I used to have with diamond stones is that they would wear out quickly and weren't flat. The DMT Dia-Sharp stones solve the latter problem, and by not using them to flatten water stones I solve the former problem. DMT makes lapping plates for flattening water stones, but currently I don't have one (I should but I don't).
The main reason for the switch to diamonds is that I am a lazy sod who is always in a rush. My water stones got out of flat. Water was sloshing everywhere - I didn't do the needed regular flattening and I didn't have a good place for a bucket of water stones. I love Arkansas stones a lot, but for regular chisels and plane blades, I find them slow. For carving tools, diamonds can replace a medium India stone, but diamonds, while cutting fast, leave scratches which would add in a step or two.
I grew up on Titebond. Back in the 1980's we all felt so superior to those DIYers who still used - horrors! - Elmer's glue, while, we used real wood glue for gluing up our projects. And it was yellow too! What I hated then, and now, about Titebond is that if you ever got it on the wrong spot, you'd have the big hassle of cleaning the wood so that it could take finish. I still use Titebond for gluing Dominos and some other general tasks. But if there is any risk of surface contamination, I much prefer hide glue. Being mostly transparent to finishes = a massive time-saver for me. I don't use hot glue. I suppose I should, but I don't have a place to put the glue pot. I do most of my woodworking snatching odd moments and I just can't think ahead to soak glue pellets. (Why is it that every time I think of the word "pellets," I think of hamsters?) But Old Brown Glue is great stuff, is real hide glue, and put putting it out in the sun or on a radiator for a minute makes it perfect to use. So that's what I do.
When I first studied woodworking, it was generally accepted that sawing dovetails by hand was perfectly acceptable, but milling timber and cutting it by hand was a waste of time -- and really impossible to do well. However, in the early days of TFWW, I needed to build a couple of projects and for the first time I didn't have access to a table saw. At the same time, there was a major revival in backsaw manufacture, and a real re-evaluation of handsaws in general. On those early projects I ended up sawing lots and lots of maple by hand, and by the end of the project I was reasonably good at it. These days, I am much more likely to grab a handsaw than to wander back to see if the bandsaw is free. For plywood, I use a Festool plunge saw, but for everything else, I pretty much use our Hardware Store Saw. (I have wonderful Disston saws in my toolbox, but the display Hardware Store saw is physically closer and cuts faster). These days I expect myself to cut square by eye. Then normal procedure is to use a shooting board to complete the job (if real accuracy is needed).
I'll continue my list next time. What's on your list? I love traditional methods for doing stuff. I love history and the feeling that I am walking in the footsteps of those who went before us. On the other hand, I have limited time do build anything. and I value efficiency. I personally like developing hand skills rather than getting single purpose tools, and I am continually learning. So that's why I've change the way I work, and I will continue to change (I hope).
Pete Wells, in the New York Times:
Ed and I, having eaten a pizza and a half each, shared a single panna cotta. Then he asked me again: “Are you going to say that the best pizza in New York is in New Jersey?”
I am, Ed. I am.
Reason #62 why New Jersey is better than New York.
|not the title senior moment|
|it's a snug fit side to side|
|top of the scrap is the bottom of the bearer|
|getting the length of till|
|sawing the till parts to rough length|
|long side is about 3/16 too long|
|the same with the ends|
|choices for the bottom|
|first handle idea|
|the blog title senior moment|
|almost bottomed out|
|cutting it down|
|enough room to screw this in/out with my ham hock fingers|
|I would need a stubby|
|glued with hide glue - this will be done tomorrow|
|the man in brown came|
What is the birthday flower for November?
answer - chrysanthemum
Periodically, not too often enough to be overly concerned, someone makes a statement about this or that, types in IMHO and moves on. You know that there is nothing humble about it really, just a comment tossed over the shoulder as they walk away from any kind of accountability for it. “Too much glue!”, one …
If you’ve read issue two of HANDWORK you’ll understand why it’s a pain to sharpen thick A2 and O1 irons. It’s a necessary evil, but one that can be slightly minimised though.
After re sawing a board you’re left with a rough surface and I can’t tell you how painful it is to put a freshly sharpened thick iron it. So, by chance I happened to find a cheap Stanley in my shed. I don’t know when I got it or how much I paid for it but it was there sitting in the bottom of my old toolbox in OK condition.
I cleaned it up and flattened the bottom and didn’t do anything else to it. The iron sharpened in a jiffy because it’s thin. I don’t do any finish planing with it, I use it just to take the roughness out and then finish the board off with the rest of my planes.
I still have to sharpen several times in a day, but prepping the board with this cheapy means I save on a couple of trips to the sharpening station.
One of the best parts of this job is answering angry emails from disgruntled people. Hahaha. Just kidding. One of best parts of this job is working with independent artisans and artists to do stuff that would make my former corporate overlords crap their Brooks Brothers suits.
This month we’ve been working with the supremely talented and creative Andrea Love, a Port Townsend, Wash., artist who specializes in stop-motion animation. You might remember her from this fantastic short for Hand-tool Heaven, or her work from “By Hound & Eye.”
As we were finishing up the latest book by Jim Tolpin and George Walker, titled “From Truths to Tools,” Jim proposed using some sort of adaptation of William Blake’s “The Ancient of Days” on the cover. It’s a fantastic image, but getting it to work on the odd-sized book cover was going to be a challenge.
Then Andrea, who illustrated and lettered “From Truths to Tools,” volunteered to make a watercolor adapted from the Blake painting that would fit the cover – and wrap around the back of the cover, creating a gorgeous package. And she did it in just a few days.
If I had suggested commissioning a painting for a book cover at any of my former jobs, I would have been labeled as a mentally defective, half-witted and spendthrift loon (to be fair, I am a loon).
We hope to get this book off to the printer on Friday and start taking pre-publication orders this weekend (details and pricing soon).
— Christopher Schwarz, editor, Lost Art Press
Personal site: christophermschwarz.com
Filed under: From Truths to Tools, Uncategorized
Sho Spaeth, in his article “Obsessed: The Fight for Real Cheese” on the Serious Eats website.
One of the themes I come back to when thinking about the differences between Japanese and western tools is that the differences aren’t because Japanese toolmakers came up with a wacky plan to use laminated construction in chisels and plane blades. That same approach was used by western toolmakers back in the day.
The difference came in how the western world embraced the Industrial Revolution. Laminated steel construction for edge tools couldn’t be easily automated in a factory production environment. So instead of continuing to make a high quality tool, compromises were made in the name of ease of manufacturing.
I like typing a Stanley tool. It's cool to see how it progressed from initial production to what you are holding in your hands now. The progression of the 71 was interesting. The special attachment didn't show up for over 10 years.
|been a day it should have set up|
|won't fit where I want it|
|it barely fits here|
Another problem is the weight is now all concentrated on this side of the box. Not a deal killer but there isn't much I can do about it.
|the lid clears the irons|
|still no screws for the fence|
|got a 16th now|
|bearer on the chain side|
|the till side|
|this looks to be enough room|
|grecian ovolo on the bottom, the top one I don't the name of it|
|better choice for the bearer|
|this should work|
On the Universal Product Code (bar code), what is signified by the digits 2 to 6?
answer - the Product's manufacturer as assigned by the Uniform Code Council
One of the topics that will be covered in the third issue of The Lost Scrolls of HANDWORK will be moulding planes. I’ll show you step by step method of building a pair of No.4 hollow and round using the French build method of the 18th century. It’s a lot easier building a pair of no.14 than it is the more useful smaller ones like the no.4.
The French method is about the cutting a Rebate/Rabbet so you can make the mortise and then laminate that cut off part back on. So there will be some sawing to do and that part isn’t all that easy. For one you need to sset the saw kerf perfectly straight and then maintain a vertical angle throughout the cut. One way you could do this is to use a kerfing plane, but since I don’t have one and really don’t need one a shoulder plane works very well. I do plan on making a kerfing plane in the future, but for now I know I don’t need it.
The first thing you need to do is strike a line about a 32nd in from the desired depth.
Then with the shoulder plane or a rabbet plane if you have one lean the plane to the left side to create a kerf for the saw to rest in. Do this a few times but not too many unless you’ve allowed plenty of over hang which I’ll go into more detail in the article.
Once your satisfied that you have a deep enough kerf, place your saw in it and very lightly pull back whilst maintaining an upright vertical position. Use the saws reflection to judge by eye if your vertical or not. I’m refraining from using the word “perfectly” vertical. I know it’s not possible to be perfectly anything working by hand so do the best you can and try and be 90° to the surface.
Tip: If you need aid use a small square and lean your saw onto it as you pull back.
Repeat this two or three times and start sawing. Remember you bodies posture to ensure your keeping your saw straight. Don’t force the saw and don’t press down either. Let the weight of the saw do it’s job. Always keep an eye on both ends, another words stop periodically sawing and check to see if you are straight. The first 1/8″ is the most critical, if you get that right then the saw will continue to be straight throughout the rest of the cut. Unfortunately what I just said only applies when your sawing the cheeks and not to the shoulder. The cheek is the longest part and the material has sandwiched the saw which is serving as a helping hand to keep your cuts accurate. You can still stuff up though and wonder in the cut so keep your wits about you at all times.
Your saw will tell you if you begin to wander off your line, that’s the beauty of hand tools. The saw will begin to hang or bind in the cut, that’s an indication that you moved or are moving off the line.
You’re also need to clean out the dust between the teeth as you periodically stop to check on your progress, and don’t forget to blow out as much dust from the kerf as you can. Oil or use candle wax a gazillion times to make sawing easier. Remember the saw plate is sandwiched and there is a lot of friction going on.
As you can see in the picture below I’m 32nd off the line and straight as a ruler. I’ll finish it with a small shoulder plane. In fact this method is no different to when your make a knife wall for your crosscuts.
That is nice and straight. If you don’t achieve that first go, don’t fret too much over it as I don’t make perfect cuts all day everyday. We do stuff up and it’s all fixable. Remember though “practice makes permanent.” If you don’t know what I’m talking about read the second issue.
In the picture below you repeat the same for the cheeks as you did for the shoulder.
There will always be a need to clean things up with a shoulder or rabbet plane. You can even use a block plane and then finish it off with a chisel.
The point is though that you’ve cut down on a lot of cleaning and rabbeting woes using this method. It’s fool proof in my view, but that’s my view and probably you have a different opinion or better yet, a much better method of executing this operation.
In case you do don’t hesitate to offer your suggestment. I’m always open to learn a better way of doing things or just learning something new.
Last month we hosted Nancy Hiller, the author of “Making Things Work,” for an evening of literary readings, children’s games that got the local prostitutes worked up, and a beating of the “biscuit joiner that refused to die.”
Here are the details of the evening:
This was our first real literary event in our 11 years of doing business. I have found that typically, reading step-by-step instructions out loud from a woodworking book will not get women to throw their bras on stage. So why bother with readings?
Nancy’s book, however, is one of those special books that simply begs to be heard from the tongue of the author, like a David Sedaris book.
So we fed the audience beer and wine (no, we didn’t make cucumber finger sandwiches) and Nancy read selections from her book and answered questions from the audience.
If this were a typical literary event, this is when everyone would stumble home to cuddle with Proust, or cover their naked bodies with pages ripped from Jane Austen’s “Mansfield Park.”
Nancy had other ideas.
She concocted a game of “pin the tail on the dove.” Blindfolded participants had to pin a tail on a large-scale drawing of a dove. During the game, some of the local prostitutes watched us play the game through the window like it was surely a scene from “Eyes Wide Shut.” And as I blindfolded yet another middle-aged man and gently guided him to the back of the room by his shoulders, I got a big thumbs-up from the working women outside.
The finale was a pinata of a biscuit joiner that Nancy had made – filled with tiny plastic bottles of booze and little bits of ephemera that related to “Making Things Work.” Destroying the biscuit joiner took about 30 minutes of effort (and switching to a bigger stick).
And yay – this time the cops didn’t come.
Thanks so much to Nancy for being such a good sport and putting on a great evening. I hope we can publish a book some day that is worthy of another reading.
— Christopher Schwarz, editor, Lost Art Press
Personal site: christophermschwarz.com
Filed under: Uncategorized
Maybe you’ve heard of him or maybe you haven’t. His name is Bill Carter an Englishman gentleman, 77 years old and still makes planes by hand.
He makes wooden planes of all sorts including miniature moulding planes and he also makes infill planes and once again all by hand. No machinery used to cut the metal dovetails. A simple hacksaw, a blunt chisel and a file is all he needs to produce beautiful and very antique looking planes.
They’re not cheap though and I wouldn’t expect them to be, but as an investment if you could afford them they’re worth every penny.
On his website he shows how he makes them, a lot of great tips so worth a look.
After he’s gone these planes will be worth 4 times the price and it will only increase in value. It will be a sad day though as he’s probably the last tool maker who purely works by hand.
Yes it's here at last, the biggest and best, quality hand tool show in the UK, maybe even the world!!
The setting is in and around the wonderful 12th C Cressing Temple Barns in Essex.
Tool makers and demonstrators from around the world will be attending and this is one show not to miss, especially as this is the last!
See pictures from the 2015 show here
The show is open from 10.00 - 5.00 pm on Saturday 16th and 10.00 am - 4.00 pm on Sunday 17th.
Hope to see you there!
Alternative headline: Is it too early to start drinking?
Comment from a reader: I have to express my displeasure with your book sales process. For someone in search of increasing his/her knowledge of the craft, you miss a key point that I knew over my four decades as a teacher; books are meant to be used and consumed. Schools at all levels have a misguided policy of buying and reselling books, or renting books and fining students for any “damage” they imparted on the physical item. Books, in order to be truly useful to a learner, should be marked, highlighted, bent, etc. A book is meant to be used up.
For a woodworker hoping to apply knowledge in the shop, it does no good to have a collectable book, with cloth bindings and heavy weight paper. While I can appreciate that for some pieces of literature, instructional books that cost $40+ dollars are like creating an amazing workshop, then keeping it in pristine condition; no dust, no dents, no signs of use in fear of diminishing its original, valued condition.
The cheaper version of a PDF leaves one with the option of running back and forth between computer and shop, or printing out perhaps hundreds of pages to be transported and marked for reference. Neither is really a viable option in an instructional setting.
Making a more affordable paperback version would meet the needs of many, if not most woodworkers. If you were truly committed to educating those who wish to take up and preserve the craft, why would you not offer that option?
Response: Not sure what the point is you are making. I think what you are saying is that a book that costs $40+ dollars is by default a collectable and not used, dented and show signs of wear. We at Lost Art Press want everyone to use our books. All of my books show wear. We are not collectors, nor are we trying to create a market for collectors.
The books cost what they cost. We do the best we can with materials to produce a book that will last as long as the information contained in it. We also want the best information we can produce so given these two criteria the books come out at the prices we list.
We don’t build furniture with cheap plywood and MDF… we build everything we do with the best quality we can. I will grant you that both Deluxe Roubo books we put out could be collectibles, but that is why we do trade editions.
Lastly we are a business. If we don’t make money we stop producing books. We are not working so that everyone in the woodworking world can have the information we produce on the cheap. Our books are a bargain at the prices we charge.
And Back at Us: You either missed the point completely, or, more likely, the issue is about profit. “Books cost what they cost…” profound! My point is that it would be appreciated by many who seek instruction to have options somewhere between a PDF and instruction “printed on heavy #80-pound matte coated paper. The book is casebound and sewn so it lasts a long time. The hardback boards are covered in cotton cloth with a black matte stamp.”
The point is that masters of woodworking make their instructional materials available in paperback form for a reasonable profit. Why? For the preservation of the craft! For those who want to learn from someone as accomplished as Jim Tolpin, #80-pound matte paper doesn’t matter. It’s his revelations about the craft and its design that he hoped to pass along to others, not to have his work preserved in a cotton cloth hardboard cover. LAP’s 1st priority seems to be the profit to be made from selling a high item.
I don’t expect you to lower the price of these items; I’m just calling bullshit on what you’re attempting to do. Educators make knowledge more readily affordable.
Filed under: Uncategorized
Back to the auction gallery.
There were a few other auction items worthy of attention. First is this:
American Chippendale Blanket Chest.
Description: Late 18th century, white pine dove tailed case, lid with fishtail hinges and applied molded edge, interior with till to left side (lacking lid), base with two side by side lipped drawers, raised on ogee bracket feet with spurs.
Size: 29.5 x 48.5 x 23 in.
Condition: Wear and marring to top; missing lock; later pulls; feet have lost some height.
They called it a blanket chest while others might consider it a mule chest. The argument is that the drawers make it a mule chest but others say mule chests must be taller. Who knows?
Some interesting details:
Till lid is missing. Saw cuts were used to make the dados for the till and mortises for the hinges:
The breadboards on the lid are very narrow and really seem to be wide moldings more than ends designed to keep the lid flat.
Interestingly, they are attached with through tenons:
For a minute I thought the tenons were wedged but a closer look showed me that it wasn’t a wedge but a pinned tenon that suffered a break in the end grain where the pin came too close to the end of the tenon:
I like the pulls…
Next up is this:
Cherry Dovetailed Blanket Chest
Description: 19th century, hinged top with applied rounded edge, interior with till, applied molded base with turned peg feet.
Size: 23 x 38 x 18.5 in.
Condition: Later hinges with break outs and repairs; moth ball smell to interior; surface scratches.
There carcass is dovetailed. Really. Email me if you need to see the pictures.
I haven’t shown any secret compartments for a while so I owe you this.
There is a till on the left. Thetill appears shallower than the till front board would lead you to believe:
Not all that much or a secret really.
Note the arc of a groove on the chest’s lid caused by using the till lid as a stop.
Odd to find a boarded chest at a “better” auction but, here it is:
American Grain Bin
Description: 19th century, white pine, hinged lid, divided interior with two compartments, straight legs from the solid with half-moon cut.
Size: 26.5 x 30 x 16.5 in.
Condition: Rat chew to lid and front boards; tin patch to left side.
This piece had some remodeling done:
George III Chest of Drawers
Description: Early 19th century, mahogany, pine secondary, converted originally from a commode / wash stand, now with four graduated drawers, with a bracket foot base.
Size: 30 x 26 x 20 in.
Condition: Converted from wash stand to chest of drawers; later pulls; wear and chipping.
You see, in this chest, the two doors were rebuilt into two drawers. Original lower drawers are dovetailed:
Improvised upper drawers are dovetail-free:
Looking at the upper drawer fronts tells the story of its origin:
In review, this chest was initially built with two drawers below with two doors on top. The doors were cut up and converted into two drawer front giving the chest four drawers.
I like this sring pull, too.
Finally, apparently no recent blog of mine is complete without a Hitchcock chair. This blog is no exception:
James L. Ferguson’s Hamilton College Hitchcock Chair
Description: Late 20th century, black lacquered wood with gilt and painted decoration, back support with early scene of Hamilton College and signed S. Marshall, stenciled on seat rail “L. Hitchcock, Hitchcocks-ville Conn., Warranted” and gilt signed “James L. Ferguson ’49, Charter Trustee 1973-1988.”
Size: 31 x 24 x 16 in.
Condition: Some scuffs and light wear; overall good estate condition.
And here is the obligatory picture of the genuine stenciled logo:
I didn't get much done in the shop today but I did have a late day burst working on the 71 box. I figured out how to stow the three irons. I am still waiting on the screws to come in for the fence so that will hold up being 100% done with the box. Maybe I'll get them tomorrow.
|made a change with the banding|
|this will replace it|
|checking the two pieces|
|4 1/2 feet of molding shavings|
|yikes! the left hand molding came out like crap|
|right end molding (bottom) came out ok|
|4 1/2 isn't wide enough to use on the jig going R or L|
|surprisingly, this worked very well|
|I had to take one more trimming run|
|this should be more than enough wiggle room|
|right corner dialed in to set the short side|
|first rough cut and check|
|sneaking up on the fit|
|an hour later|
|I'm happy with this fit|
|off the saw|
|how I snuck up on the fit|
|how I kept my placement of the molding|
|clipped them off close|
|box lid lightly clapped shut|
|two sides done|
|one more piece and this will be done|
|the 71 box|
|got an idea for stowing the irons|
|nailed the miters|
|I screwed this down rather then glue it|
|two of the screws broke off|
|I can hide these two|
|first screw hole hidden|
|using hide glue for this in case I need to reverse or repair it|
|my iron storage idea|
Tomorrow I will plane and clean this up. I think I might have enough room on the right to put the fence there. If I don't I will make something else to hold the fence. I glued this and set aside to set up.
The US $500 bill was discontinued in 1969 but they are still legal tender. Whose picture was on it?
answer - President William McKinley