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Hand Tools

For Marc Spagnuolo: this is a nice video of a trestle table...

Giant Cypress - Sun, 03/12/2017 - 8:38am

For Marc Spagnuolo: this is a nice video of a trestle table build.

For Matt Cremona: this is a nice video of designing with live edge slabs.

For Shannon Rogers: this is a nice video of a project with contrasting woods.

For Christopher Schwarz: this is a nice video of some chairs made with staked legs. (Wait for the end.)

For readers of Giant Cypress: this is a nice video of a woodworker who doesn’t know you can’t use Japanese tools on hardwoods. Also, he never sits on the floor.

(Thanks to Jeremiah Rodriguez for the link.)

Restored National Cash Register

MVFlaim Furnituremaker - Sun, 03/12/2017 - 6:03am

Last summer my Dad gave me his old cash register he was storing in his basement for the past thirty years. I was glad to take it, but I had no need for it so, I decided to sell it on Craigslist.

 photo ebay008.jpg

My Dad told me the cash register was handed down from the family as it was used in his uncle’s store. My Grandfather opened up a hardware store back in the ’50’s in Detroit called Flaim Hardware and my Dad would work there as a kid. I originally thought that the register was used in that store, but apparently not. This register is much older than the 1950’s.

 photo ebay014.jpg

I sold it to a guy on Craigslist who restores old cash registers the same way I restore old tools. He asked if I wanted to see pictures of the register as it was being restored and I told him I would love to, so he emailed me them during the process.

 photo PB080017.jpg

He took the entire case apart and cleaned and oiled all the mechanisms so that they would work properly.

 photo PA300015.jpg

Once everything was cleaned and working, he polished the brass case back to original form.

 photo PB140009.jpg

Since he restored many registers before, he had the appropriate parts that were missing off the register. He added the brass bar just above the drawer and a new $.05 key. All the price keys were cleaned inside and shined up nicely.

 photo PB140012.jpg

The entire registered shined back to life and looked better than ever. I’m glad the register found its new home as it’s nice to know there are people out there that can take objects that are just sitting around in people’s homes collecting dust or rotting away and bring them back to life. Much the same way I do with old tools.

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good day in the shop......

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 03/12/2017 - 5:05am
I stayed in the shop until almost 1800 today. It's been a very long time since I've done that. I was sitting at my desk doing nothing and nodding out. I had something glued up and the excuse I was using was I had to wait for it set up. Since I didn't want to nap, I got up off my fat ass and waddled down to the shop. Turned out to be a good thing and I got a lot accomplished after that.

after dinner friday night
I glued up the two bridle joint leg assemblies for the typewriter desk so I could work on it today.

marked these wrong
I wasn't thinking when I marked the faces of these pieces getting the slot mortise and I didn't need to do that.

erased them when I did a 6 sided clean up

squared up the ends of the typewriter plywood
layout batting next
At this point, I still hadn't decided on how I wanted to fix the legs to the plywood. Initially I wanted to be able to take it apart or hinge the legs somehow to fold it flat. Too much of a headache to do and it's mostly because of the thinness of the plywood. If it was 3/4" thick I would have tried a few of my ideas.  I still have to brace the leg assemblies somehow but now it'll be a permanent fix.

half lap this onto the leg assemblies
I could then glue this to the underside of the plywood. I like this but I am thinking of putting in drawers and this would be in the way.

idea # 4,569
Gluing an extra piece of wood to the leg assembly and then gluing all that to the plywood once the first one has dried. Doing that would increase the glue surface area and make it stronger. This wouldn't interfere too much with my drawers but I scrubbed this one too.

making rabbets
Decided to go with a brace at the back with the leg assemblies glued into the rabbets.

shoulders were a bit out of square
just glue
If I were to screw this from the back of the rabbet into the leg, I would be hitting end grain. I think glue alone will be good enough for this. I don't anticipate moving this once it is on my desk at work.

going with this
Briefly entertained putting a stepped rabbet here to hide the end grain. But it won't be easy to see once it is in use.

glue along
The thickness of the plywood dictates that this be a glue only connection. I glued the back brace to the plywood and the long grain portion of the leg to plywood too.

the back brace will hide 99% of the tear out here

gluing it up in steps
Step one is gluing the back brace. Once this has had a chance to set up for a few hours, the plan was to glue the legs on.

This is where I stopped and got some lunch. After lunch I was 'waiting' for the glue to set up and started playing the nodding game.

moldings for the desk
I glued the legs on to the plywood and flipped it over. I ripped out these from a scrap of  1/2" oak.

these will be glued to the plywood hiding the edges
flat piece for the back
The back brace is flush with the back edge so the L shape molding won't fit there. I am going with this flat piece just to complete the molding on all four edges.

needed some bullnose work
There were some ridges on one half of this. I removed them out with the bullnose plane.

on a roll
Decided to start on the box for holding my LN side rabbet planes. The dimensions of this box are pretty much the same as the cardboard box they came in. I added a 1/2" or so for the joinery and the lid and bottom.

tails laid out
getting rid of my training wheels
This gizmo makes a kerf that is the same width as the kerf of my dovetail saw. Made it easier to get the top cut square across. I'm confident that I can saw square now and I don't need this.

it is working
This is the first time I have used this bench hook and it didn't move on me. I set it with this mallet. This is the first time I've used a mallet to set the hook.

what I normally use
I have to whack the crap out of this for it to hold. It is a crap shoot and it almost always slips on me as I chop the tails and pins.

it usually slips this way
It is very annoying to be pushing into the wood and it slips and moves laterally on you. I chopped both the tails and the pins and it didn't slip or move once. The first time that has happened for me. I was planning on not putting holes for these on my new bench but I'll reconsider it now. I'll be using the mallet again to see if it still works and it wasn't a fluke.

This is what I get for being lazy. When I did the layout on the pin board, I did it twice and ended up with two lines on this tail. Instead of erasing them, I thought I would mark the one I needed to saw on. I didn't mark the correct one and I didn't saw on the right one.

flushed the bottom so I can groove it
making a stopped groove
This part of the groove I can end to end. I do have to be careful on this end that I stop before I hit the tail. I did that on this one.

missed it on this one
I did get an 'aw shit' out but it didn't help. I nicked the top of this tail.

only a small chunk missing

stopped groove ends
These two will get the stopped groove. I plowed what I could and this is mostly a guide line for laying out the rest of the groove.

first marking gauge
I set this so that the back of the disc is up against the top wall of the groove. I ran that from stop line to stop line.

2nd marking gauge
I set this one to bottom wall coming from the top of the board. I did it this way so the flat part of the disc was against the wall and the beveled part was in the waste part of the groove.

needed a third gauge
The front piece is a 1/2" narrower so I couldn't use the 2nd marking gauge. I set this one the same way as the other two. Having the partial groove made by the plow plane helped a lot  with setting these 3 marking gauges.

chiseled the stops at both ends first
made it about 3/8" long
I didn't want the chisel to slip and blow out the end. 3/8" worked ok giving me an adequate safety factor.

it wasn't that difficult to do
The biggest challenge I found in doing this was holding the chisel correctly. Because it is so small it took some concentration to make sure that I wasn't skewing it left or right and that the bevel was flat on the bottom of the groove.

first one done
pretty clean
I tried hard to keep the top edge of the groove clean and tear out free.  My first try and I'm pretty happy with the result.

the plywood fits
partial dry fit
The groove on the left was done with the plow plane and the right one with a chisel. The right one is tight and clean and the left one is a bit gappy. Acceptable, but it doesn't look like the plow plane one.

bottom finally fitted
This is bottom #2. Bottom #1 became too narrow while I was trying to fit it. #2 took me over 30 minutes to fit but I finally got it.

I'll fit this divider tomorrow
After I get this fitted, I can glue this up.

lesson learned
I didn't realize it but this box is almost a square. Two of the sides are a few ticks over an 1/8". That led me to trim the wrong side on bottom #1. On bottom #2 I marked one side and one side of the box to keep me straight on what to trim.

Unless you live in Arizona or some other sensible state, today it spring ahead on the clocks. And the rumor on tuesday's snowfall is 20"

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Who was the first ML ballplayer to win a batting title in 3 different decades?
answer - George Brett did it in 1976, 1980, and 1990

Curved Dovetail Box Magazine Article

David Barron Furniture - Sun, 03/12/2017 - 3:09am

The latest issue of F&C is out now (no 256, April 2017).  My article on the making of a curved sided dovetail box is featured if anyone would like to have a go at this technique.

It includes an exploded drawing with all dimensions as well as a full description and lots of pictures.

There is a very good article on the Williams and Cleal Furniture School in Devon showing some of the fine work they do there. I've visited the school and set up and the atmosphere seems to make it a great place to learn.

A two page article on preventing tear out with a hand plane is very interesting, exploring the benefits of a higher angle, tight mouth and a finely set cap iron, although not necessarily together.

An interesting article by Jim Hooker (appropriately) on the sharpening and use of various types of scrapers.
In this issue there are also articles, on hand engraving, Lie Nielsen honing guide, the Geffrye Museum, Robert Ingham, decorative mouldings, antique furniture and planning techniques.

Categories: Hand Tools

The Damaged Pinky

MVFlaim Furnituremaker - Sat, 03/11/2017 - 7:06pm

If you know me, then you know I don’t do woodworking for a living. I’m actually a sales rep for one of the largest building manufacturers in the country. I sell patio block, mulch, and concrete mix to Lowe’s and Home Depot’s in the Cincinnati, Dayton area. Unfortunately, I got hurt at work.


Part of my job is to get my stores ready for spring by making patio hardscape displays on the shelves of the garden department. While in one of my Home Depot’s, I removed the old display and had to put a shelf in its place. In order to get the beam locked in place, I had to hammer it down so that the little nibs would lock in the hole properly. I got the right side of the beam hammered in place, when I was working on the left side. Being right-handed, I was using my left hand to hold the beam against the rack pushing it forward while swinging a mallet with my right arm. Just as luck would have it, hammering across my body, I barely nicked my pinky finger with the end of the hammer. Had I not been swinging so hard, it would have just caused a blood blister, but because I was wailing at the beam with such force, the blow blew the tip of my pinky open. As soon as I felt it, I knew it wasn’t good, but I didn’t know how bad the cut was until I went to the bathroom to clean it up. Once there, I realized I had to go get stitches as I could I open up the top of my  pinky finger.


I traveled to a nearby hospital where they put five stitches in my finger. I also found out through x-rays that I broke my bone as well. I have to wear a splint for the next month. I always thought that if I ever cut one of my fingers open, it would be from a band saw blade,  chisel, or a knife. I never thought it would be from the brute force of a 3lb drilling hammer.


The stitches came out last week and I should be fine in about a  month. I’ll need to keep the splint on my finger as the bone heals, but it’s not a big deal. The protrusion of the splint from the top of my finger keeps me from hitting my pinky on objects. I take off the bandage everyday and clean the wound. You can see how much my finger has swelled from the blow. I feel stupid for hitting my finger, but it was more of an accident than anything.


‘Hammerschlager’ – the Local Rules

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sat, 03/11/2017 - 6:24am



Tonight we’re playing a variant of the Hammerschlager game made popular by Mike Siemsen at Woodworking in America. We’re playing at Rhinegeist brewing. Schlaging starts at 8 p.m. and ends at 10:30 p.m. The prize: The last of our “With Hammer in Hand” letterpress posters.

Hammerschlager is a game of skill played with a stump, a cross-peen hammer and nails. Two opponents take turns attempting to sink a nail using the peen side of hammer. The first one to sink the head flush or below the surface of the stump wins.

Here are the local rules for the game tonight.

  1. If you break or abuse any of the equipment (especially the hammers), you’re done – disqualified.
  2. You may face a particular opponent only once. Period. In other words, you cannot play against a person more than once. Once only you shall face a particular opponent. Don’t cheat.
  3. You start the stroke with the peen of the hammer resting on the stump.
  4. If the nail is knocked crooked, your opponent may straighten the nail to vertical before taking his or her turn.
  5. The loser of the round marks the winner’s forearm with a slash using a marker (provided). The person with the most marks at 10:30 p.m. wins the poster.
  6. The winner of the round is allowed to face the next opponent immediately. The loser has to return to the back of the line and find another opponent.
  7. All disagreements are settled by the judge (me). Decisions are final. It’s just a stupid game. Don’t make me hate you.
  8. This is not a drinking game. You may drink while you play if you like, but drinking is not required, requested, suggested or smiled upon. It’s just a dumb game.

See you tonight.

— Christopher Schwarz


Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Williamsburg Snapshot – The Banquet

The Barn on White Run - Sat, 03/11/2017 - 6:00am


For me the great honor at Working Wood in the 18th Century was being asked to serve as the after dinner speaker.  Kaare had asked me to work with the topic “sometimes the old ways are the best ways” to which I gladly complied.  Of course I provided my own peculiar spin on the topic, but everyone seemed to laugh in all the right places so I guess it went well.

Of course the highlight of the evening was the scrumptious chocolate cheesecake awaiting me at my place on completion of the chat.

I got a lot of very positive feedback on the talk, and was even asked to summarize part of it as an article in next year’s American Period Furniture.  That section of greatest interest was a list of ten “assignments” I gave to the audience to stretch their handworking boundaries.  For some in the audience, perhaps even most, this was simple encouragement and validation, for others it was a legitimate challenge.

I will blog about each of those assignments individually over the next fortnight or so, but here is the list:

  1.  Restore an old tool to wondrous functionality
  2. Make a new tool and incorporate it into your bench work
  3. Learn to sharpen.  Really.  Everything
  4. Incorporate one (then all) of these traditional tools into your work — spokeshave, drawknife, scratch stock, toothing plane, froe
  5. Saw and prepare veneers by hand
  6. Learn to prepare, modify, and manipulate and use hot hide glue.  Then use it.
  7. Execute a decorative painted surface
  8. Make from scratch, from stock you prepare yourself, one of the following — parquetry, floral marquetry, Boulle-work, a Federal paterae
  9. Prepare a surface without the benefit of sandpaper, then apply a finish not using a spray gun, polyurinate, or cellulose nitrate
  10. Make a piece of furniture entirely without power tools, beginning with a piece of firewood or similar

more of the white stuff........

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 03/11/2017 - 1:03am
It is now the second week of March and the forecast called for a boatload of the white stuff to fall. Nothing came overnight and nothing started coming down here until 0600. The 3-5 inches was a big bust. Maybe a couple of inches fell but nothing stuck to the roads or sidewalks. We escaped the doom and gloom all the weather forecasters said was coming but we're not out of the woods. Winter still hasn't gone home and more snow is supposedly coming on tuesday. And it's going to be cold all weekend going into tuesday.

it's lumber core
This is an old kitchen door and I noticed this after the second cut.  It's a multiple wood strip door covered with a thick veneer on the front and back. That makes using this to make the legs useless.  It would as strong as a house of cards in this direction.

long ones are toast
I got the idea to make horizontal cuts on the doors giving stock with the grain running parallel to the long way. The concept was good but the execution sucked. Both short pieces are two long grain glued pieces. I didn't saw on the glue line. Trying to do that would be a huge PITA to accomplish.

I put the doors aside and used a couple pieces of 1x4 poplar to get the legs. I am doing most of this work on the tablesaw to whack this out as quickly as I can. At this point I was bit delusional thinking I could get this done to take it to work tomorrow.

layout done
I am using bridle joints because I can do all of the saw cuts in a tenon jig on the tablesaw. The slot mortise is the first batter.

outside cuts done
I tried to remove that web in middle with a chisel but it wasn't happening. The poplar proved to be a wee bit tougher than the 1/8" chisel I was using. I went back to the tablesaw and removed it with that.

sawing the shoulder
I sawed the shoulder by hand and I did the cheeks on the tablesaw in the tenon jig. I used this to set up the tenon jig so I could do all the others. I did the cheeks on the other side of this one and then sawed the shoulders. I had to do a bit of trimming to clean the shoulders. Much better sawing the shoulders first and then the cheeks.

last of the shoulder cuts, cheeks next

it's the law
You have to keep all the cheek off cuts until the bridle joints are glued.

one frame dry fitted
The top right corner is bit off and I'll have to trim that one. Other than that, the fit of bridle joints is ok and will glue up nicely.

typewriter and mouse desk
I made this taller than my guess-ta-mate measurements. I wanted the top of the desk to be 6" up and this is 6 3/8".  If I do have to shorten this I will take an equal amount off both ends of each of the legs.

I hadn't thought this far ahead in this build. How am I going to attach the legs to the bottom of the desk? I also have to come up with a way to stabilize the legs. They are going to need something to keep them from folding inwards or outwards.

Keeping the legs at 90° to bottom I don't think I'll have problems coming up with something. Attaching the legs to the bottom will take some thinking. This plywood is 3 frog hairs below a 1/2" and that isn't a lot of meat to screw into.

I won't be taking this to work tomorrow so I'll have time to figure something out. Now it's time to get ready to go out for fish 'n chips.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Who was Ray Tomlinson?
answer - he is regarded as the inventor of email

restored by mapputta

Old Ladies - Pedder's blog - Fri, 03/10/2017 - 11:45pm
A friend of mine from UK send me new pictures of restored saws.
My favorit moses eadon:

I like the way he brings the blades to shine without that thick glossy look.
(that is the hard, labour intensive way.)

BTW you can buy his saws via ebay!

Categories: Hand Tools

Holier Than Thou (or Me)

The Furniture Record - Fri, 03/10/2017 - 11:24pm

The two better local auction houses each had an 18th century Bible box in the same week’s auctions. As best I can recollect, neither has had a Bible box before. Both of them having one in the same week is really unusual.

The first one up is this:

Eighteenth Century English Bible Box Desk


This lot has sold for $230.

Description: Mid 18th Century; 10.75 inches height, 23.5 inches width, 16 inches depth; made of old English oak, has fully carved front panel of interlocking scrolls, interior has two upper fitted drawers, has original hand forged butterfly hinges, and locking clasp, constructed with hand forged rose head nails, overall condition is outstanding and original.

This one could be used as a writing desk. The lid is plain and it has a pencil ledge.

And the other auction house had:

English Relief Carved Bible Box


This lot has sold for $550.

Description:   Mid-18th century, oak, top and hinged lid with chip carved edge, wrought iron hinges, the lid is relief carved and dated 1740, open interior with three upper horizontal divisions, front with relief carved stylized dragons.

This one has a carved lid:


Must have been made in 1740 unless it’s a stock number.

Not useful as a writing desk unless you just plan on writing Post-Its.

The first one has two drawers in the gallery:


Two drawers but no tills.

Oddly, the drawers are not dovetailed:


You don’t need dovetails when you have nails.


The second box has a divided gallery:


Shallower but is it too shallow for drawers?


The first one has a single board back with some interesting bead details:


No fancy joinery, just nailed.

The second has a single board back without decoration:


Nothing to see here but a crack. Also nailed.


Front edge has decoration on the first:


Tastefully scalloped.

Plain edges on the second:


Here, the lid is scalloped. Base molding is a nice touch…

One of them followed me home.

Actually, I had to go back and get it.

The Birthin’ Is Done!

The Barn on White Run - Fri, 03/10/2017 - 6:22pm

In my hands this morning…

I am not displeased.


Understanding & Choosing Antique Router Planes

Wood and Shop - Fri, 03/10/2017 - 6:21pm
In this video tutorial Bill Anderson shows how to choose antique router planes when you're hunting around at tool swaps, eBay, or flea markets. He also helps you understand the different types of router planes and features to look for. The full DVD, where Bill shows how to choose, refurbish, tune, and use all sorts of

The One Tree Project

David Barron Furniture - Fri, 03/10/2017 - 10:54am

Back in 1998 a 179 year old oak was felled on the Tatton Estate in Cheshire and leading craftsmen were asked to design work using very part of the tree. By 2001 the completed work was gathered in and an excellent book was published, see above. Prince Charles wrote the forward to the book. It can be bought second hand on Amazon, enter 'One Tree Merrell'.
One of the standout pieces was the Dory Shelves (below) designed by Petter Southall which harks back to his training as a boat builder in Norway. This one off piece has come back to the market and is for sale at his lovely showroom in West Bay Dorset for £4,950. In comparison to the work he currently sells this is a relative bargain and I'm sure will represent an excellent future investment as well as a lovely piece to own.

Another stand out piece is the Romanian Chest which was Alan Peters last significant piece before his sad decline and passing. I was lucky enough to see this when I visited Alan's wife Laura and it was subsequently bought by the Craft Study Centre in Farnham where it was briefly displayed before being locked away in one of their warehouses, shame.

Matthew Burt made this lovely fluted hall table.

Branch oysters were used to make this top, one for the catwalk only!

Robert Ingham made this bench cleverly combining angles curves and straight lines.
I've heard another one tree project is being planed and I very much forward to seeing the results.

Categories: Hand Tools

Shop Update for 3/10/17: Chopping a Through Mortise

The Renaissance Woodworker - Fri, 03/10/2017 - 6:46am

It All Comes Down to Working to Your Lines

This week I have a question about some through mortises so I figured I would just chop one. But to add an wrinkle, this mortise needs to be a bit wider than any of the mortise chisels I have and even a different size any type of chisel I have in my arsenal. So this mortise requires a bit more finesse to get it right.

How About Some More Mortise Stuff?

I’ve written/talked about mortising many times over the years and you can find many posts here on my site, but here are some suggestions:

Categories: Hand Tools

Making ‘Snap-to-line’ Templates

Paul Sellers - Fri, 03/10/2017 - 5:17am

Wednesday 8th March 2017 Making templates Templates can be made from a variety of materials, plastic, wood, man-made boards like plywood and MDF, cardboard and more. Usually templates are relatively small, a taper for part of a leg, arches for table aprons, spoon and spatula shapes, you name it. Whereas I always do like to …

Read the full post Making ‘Snap-to-line’ Templates on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

citrus acid bath results........

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 03/10/2017 - 12:32am
I feel like a lady trying to choose between two pairs of shoes. I like Evaporust but the more I use citrus acid, the more I'm liking it. I think this latest bath has pushed more over into the citrus acid bath camp. I do think that the both of them have a use in my shop. Evaporust for items that are going to be sitting idle for long periods of time is the way to use that. Tools I'm rehabbing to put back into daily use, citrus acid is the first batter.

0330 this morning
I did this one before I went to work this morning. I took it out, rinsed it off well, and sanded it lightly with 220 sandpaper. I raised a bit of shine which I like and then I wiped it down with jojoba oil.

the other side
There are a couple of blemishes/pits at the bottom that looked like deep rust pockets but they aren't. I expended extra calories sanding these two areas and nothing rusty came of it. Both sides are smooth to the touch and I couldn't detect any bumps anywhere. Leaving these in acid always makes me think the citrus acid is going to eat holes in the metal and leave it rough.

what I saw tonight
The water has taken on a slight greenish tint but other this, it looks like I left it yesterday. And the metal didn't seem to have been effected by this 24 hour bath.

ready to finish cleaning
I dumped the citrus acid in the driveway on a oil stain. I rinsed off all the parts well with hot water in the bathroom sink (I need to put a utility sink in the cellar). I also rinsed out the container with hot water and filled it up and put the parts back in it. They shouldn't rust while awaiting their turn to be cleaned.

#8 chipbreaker is the first batter
I sanded all the parts going in the long direction of the them. I only used 220 grit sandpaper. 320 and 400 was too fine and 180/150 left too large of a scratch pattern.

best I could do
The Damascus steel look at the top is what the rust had previously did to the metal. Someone had cleaned this before I got it. It is relatively smooth to the touch with only a few scattered bumps.

this side was completely rusted at one time
This can be still used as it is. All this rust damage won't effect it's ability to be a chipbreaker.

FYI tip
Citrus acid in an open cut burns and hurts like hell. So don't stick it in the citrus acid water.

final clean up
After I sanded the chipbreaker, I washed it with the orange cleaner. The last step was a few squirts of jojoba oil and rub down with the blue rag.

file work
This chipbreaker showed some signs of mushrooming caused by a hammer. I filed it to remove the slight ridges.

this was badly rusted at one point
smooth as a baby's butt
#4 iron before shot

other side before shot
the after shot
the 2nd after blurry shot
Not a good pic but there is no mistaking that this cleaned up rather well.

this bevel edge is chewed up a bit
It will take extra time to remove the chips but they aren't that deep or numerous.

the other #4 iron
Someone had recently sharpened this. From the look of it I would guess that it was done with a honing guide.

will it work on the screw?
It got it cleaner than what I had done with just a wire brush. This stuff works much better on brass though and excels on my stainless steel pots and pans.

This is the chipbreaker for a #4 and it has way too much spring or separation between it and the iron.

it is making shavings
I was able to screw the chipbreaker down to the iron but I don't think that I'll be using it. It is working ok but I don't like the force I had to exert to screw it down.

someone before me did this
Someone did some work on the leading edge of the chipbreaker. There is one chip that is stuck between the chipbreaker and the iron. I can't see any light but this shaving managed to work it's way between the two.

it fits now
Without the two being screwed together, it wouldn't fit in the slot. (It's the 4th one up from the bottom) It is a snug fit screwed together.  Look at the gap that is there compared to the other setups. This chipbreaker is toast.

computer desk stock
I am going to use the old kitchen cabinet doors to get the legs for the desk from. Cleaning up the plane parts ate up all my time in the shop tonight. It doesn't look like I'll have anything to bring to work on saturday but maybe the next one.

We are supposed to get a snow storm tomorrow. 1-3 inches falling from about midnight until dawn. Then a break and 2-4 more inches ending around noontime. Sounds like lots of fun.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What player restriction is in effect in both polo and jai alai?
answer - no left handed players allowed

we’ll put some bleachers out in the sun and have it on highway 61

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 6:35pm

I only have a few photos for this post – I was too busy to shoot much…

I just got back from teaching two classes at North House Folk School in Grand Marais, Minnesota. http://www.northhouse.org/index.htm   Being thrown into an immersion experience like that at North House reminds me of my beginnings at Country Workshops in the 1980s.

One focus at North House is community, and it is quite palpable. The legendary pizza night, centered around the large wood-fired oven, and finely honed through years of practice is a memorable experience. The classes I was there to teach were part of “Wood Week” which as you can imagine means all the classes offered that week (8 in all) were woodworking. Other disciplines at North House include fiber arts, blacksmithing, food, boatbuilding and more.

All the students in my first class were named Tom. I think. Made it easier…

With three classes at the first session, and five the next, there was no shortage of inspiration, nor of comrades. The evenings were spent in large and small groups exploring spoon and bowl carving, looking at and trying out new tools, techniques, benches and materials. It seems that almost everyone (except me) also plays a musical instrument, so the spoon carving circles were on the periphery of the old-timey music circles. There was much overlap. The best nights ran much later than I could handle.

All the while, Lake Superior was right there, outside the shop windows, and lapping at the courtyard between the buildings. It’s a pretty big lake, I hear. Looked it.

I’m liking these large-group gatherings. Last year I went to three of them, Greenwood Fest in Plymouth, Massachusetts, Spoonfest in Edale, UK and Täljfest at Sätergläntan in Sweden. This one had a smaller crowd, but that lent it an intimacy that was nice. I still missed stuff – I got no photographs of the other classes, and few of my own.

Jarrod trying out Dawson Moore’s Spoon Mule:

Tom Dengler kept distracting me with his woodenware:

one of the oak carvings the students did…

I caught up with some old friends, and made some new. Like the other events, this one is run by many hands, including a group of young interns. Nice to see these young people exploring some type of creative outlet involving natural materials. There were a smattering of young people in the classes too, but no group gets higher marks than Spoonfest for adding youth and women to the woodworking community.

These creatures were more common than squirrels.

I had a day off early on, and took a long walk in a state park about half-an-hour away. If this tree were closer to the school, someone would have nabbed it by now…

North House is celebrating their twentieth year – get on their mailing list so you can be a part of their 2nd-double-decade.

Some of the many people there, apologies for not including everyone – there was a lot happening:

Jarrod Dahl, https://www.instagram.com/jarrod__dahl/

Roger Abrahamson,  https://www.instagram.com/rogerabrahamson/

Fred Livesay,  https://www.instagram.com/hand2mouthcrafts/

Phil Odden & Else Bigton  http://www.norskwoodworks.com/

Harley Refsal  http://www.northhouse.org/courses/courses/instructor.cfm/iid/86

Dawson Moore  https://www.instagram.com/michigansloyd/

Tom & Kitty Latane https://www.facebook.com/thomas.latane

Tom Dengler https://www.instagram.com/twodengler/

Frame Fight: Coping Saws vs. Fret Saws

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 4:40pm

A fret saw’s thin blade drops into the kerf left by any dovetail saw. Then you just turn and saw.

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

For those of you who chisel out your waste when dovetailing, this section is not for you. Move along. There’s nothing to see here.

OK, now that we’re alone: Have you ever been confused about which frame saw you should use to remove the waste between your pins and tails? I have. For years I used a coping saw and was blissfully happy.

Then I took an advanced dovetail class with maestro Rob Cosman and he made a strong case that a fret saw was superior because you could remove the waste in one fell swoop (instead of two). So, like any good monkey, I bought a fret saw and did it that way for many years.

But fret saws aren’t perfect. Almost all of them require tuning. You need to file some serrations in the pads that clamp the blade, otherwise it’s all stroke, stroke, sproing. Oh, and the blades tend to break. Or kink.

And fret saws are slow. I use 11.5 teeth per inch (tpi) scrollsaw blades, and it takes about 30 strokes to get through the waste between my typical tails in hardwood.

If you want to see a good video on how to tune up a fretsaw, check out Rob Cosman’s site. He shows you how to hot-rod the handle and bend the blade for the best performance.


Coping saws require two swooping passes to remove the waste. Drop the teeth in your kerf and make swoop one. Come back and make swoop two.

About Coping Saws

What I like about coping saws is that they cut faster. I use an 18 tpi blade from Tools for Working Wood. (I think they’re made by Olson.) The blades cut wicked fast thanks to their deeper gullets and longer length. It takes me 12 to 14 strokes to remove the waste between my typical tails.

The other thing I like about the coping saw is that its throat is deeper (5″ vs. 2-3/4″ on my fret saw), which allows me to handle wider drawers without turning the blade. Also, the blades of a coping saw are far more robust and almost never come loose. I’m partial to the German-made Olson coping saw. It’s about $12 and beats the pants off the stuff at the home centers.

The major downside to the coping saw is that you have to remove the waste in two passes instead of one. Because the coping saw’s blade is thick, it sometimes won’t drop down into the bottom of the kerf left by your dovetail saw. So you get around this by making two swooping passes to clear the waste.

One last thing: Some of you might be wondering why I didn’t discuss wooden bowsaws, another fantastic frame saw. At the time I was writing this book, my bowsaw was busted. First, one of the arms cracked after someone (no names) over-tensioned it. I fixed that. Then the twine busted and I didn’t have any on hand.

Since building the Chest of Drawers, I got my bowsaw back on its feet (bowsaws do not have feet, by the way) and it is giving my coping saw a run for its money. The fret saw still hangs dusty and lonely on the wall.

Meghan Bates

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

Don Williams! Beeswax! Pollisoirs!

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 1:55pm


I don’t think I’ve ever used that many exclamation marks… ever.

If you are coming to the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool event at Braxton Brewing on Friday or Saturday, look for Don Williams. He’ll be selling his excellent beeswax and mind-blowing polissoirs.

What’s a polissoir? Oh my. Go here and look around. It’s a simple pre-industrial finishing tool that will change your mind about wax finishes.

The polissoirs are handmade in Virginia by one of Don’s neighbors to Don’s specifications and are things of beauty. The blocks of pure beeswax are purified on Don’s farm by him and his wife. The wax is, pardon the expression, the bee’s buzz.

And if you want to learn (a lot) about traditional finishing techniques, just ask Don about his shellac collection….

The show starts both days at 10 a.m. Free admission. Great beer, coffee and conversations about woodworking and tools. What more could you want? A foot massage? Don’t ask me.

Full details on the event are here.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Finishing, Personal Favorites, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Williamsburg Snapshot – Wax Finishing

The Barn on White Run - Thu, 03/09/2017 - 1:30pm

Although I have attended the Colonial Williamsburg Working Wood in the 18th Century conference many times, this year was my first as a speaker.  I was asked to present the topic “Wax Finishes” which I did.  Alas, my time slot was only 45 minutes, which in retrospect pretty much everyone agreed was too short by some logarithmic value.  Still I did my best to rip through the basics at breakneck speed.

As with virtually every finishing talk I give I began by covering my “Six Rules for Perfect Finishing.”


I then blew through the topics of surface prep with a scraper and then a polissoir.  Truly this step has revolutionized my understanding and practice for finishing.

Then came the application of block beeswax as a grain filler and final finish, worked into the surface via vigorous rubbing with the polissoir, followed by scraping to remove any excess, and finally by buffing with a flannel.

I showed, all too quickly, the incorporation of both resin flour and powdered colorants to the beeswax grain fillers to impart either hardness or coloration.

Finally I approached the problem of voluptuous and carved surfaces, employing the boxwood burnishing stick and the polissoir, with impressive results given the few seconds I had in hand.

I got excellent and encouraging feedback, and the CW folks must have liked what they saw because I have been invited to return in the fall for three days of in-house hands-on training for the cabinetmakers, gunsmiths, and housewrights on the topic of historic finishing.



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