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Hand Tools

Structural Integrity Paranoia

Journeyman's Journal - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 4:36pm

I built this for my wife oh about two decades ago for her 20th birthday, how time flies. My daughter has this now and it’s in tact and it hasn’t fallen apart nor has the stain faded. It looks the same as the day it was made.

I made it from radiata pine and stained it with rosewood mahogany. The finish I used was my dad’s 15 year old automotive clear lacquer. They say old paint won’t stick but it hasn’t worn off after 20 years unlike the gloss I bought 15 years from a big box store. That’s the difference between industrial made finishes and the finishes made for the DIY’s.

Some of my woody friends said the rails will snap because there isn’t much meat due to the scrolled leaves. I suppose they would of snapped if you stood on the table or even sat in the middle, but if you use it as it’s supposed to be used then it won’t and it hasn’t and never will.

The moral of this story is:

Don’t be afraid to experiment.

Don’t fret too much over structural integrity, even nails (cut nails) will hold a toolbox together for a couple of hundred years.

I build a table back then that 5 ft square, it was a split top hinged lidded table. We used to place DVD’s in one half and children’s toys in the other. It was held together with wooden nails and the tabletop was doweled at 2″ spacing. My kids were jumping on it, dancing and even I who was overweight then stood and jumped on it several times, the darn thing never broke.

If the table was built from chipboard it would of snapped like a twig. If it was built from MDF it would’ve snapped like a twig. That’s why IKEA furniture and any furniture made from chipboard and MDF rarely last very long.

Categories: Hand Tools

Bridge City Tool Works Introduces New KM-2 Kerfmaker…

Bridge City Tools - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 11:53am

Drivel Starved Nation!

You talked and we listened. Over the past couple of years we have received numerous requests for a larger KM-1 Kerfmaker. I am pleased to announce that I finally got around to designing one. And in the process, we have made it better!

If you are new to our Kerfmaker tool, we conceived and patented this device several years ago and over this time it is our number one selling tool. Here’s a video of how the original KM-1 works–the KM-2 Kerfmaker is no different;

The KM-1 Kerfmaker is limited to a maximum stock width of 2 inches. The KM-2 Kerfmaker will allow you to make cross laps and other joints with stock up to 100mm (4 inches) in width. Here’s a pic;
KM2 700

It is a scaled up version of the KM-1 with the exception of the two magnets you see embedded in the end of the two referenced faces. These magnets firmly hold the the KM-2 in place so you do not need to by hand. This is incredibly handy. Here’s a pic of the setup using our new magnetic reference stop (you clamp this in place). As you can see, the KM-2 can be used with this stop either in the vertical or horizontal position;
KM2.12 700

KM2.13 700

With a wider capacity, you can now use the KM-2 with a dado head and the KM-2 can be calibrated to any kerf size up to 25mm in width. Pretty cool. Hey wait, there is more! The magnets allow you to stick the KM-1, and the stop, directly to your saw. Pretty cool again.

So, what does this mean for the KM-1? I really don’t know as of this writing but I am entertaining the thought of adding the magnets to the KM-1 with a magnetic stop that fits that tool the next time we make them. The magnetic base really is a huge benefit in use. The KM-2 closed is 182 mm in length, 44 mm tall and 16mm thick and gauges stock width up to 100 mm with a maximum kerf of 25 mm. FYI.

We will open up pre-orders for the KM-2 the second week of September with delivery in early December. The whole set-up will be around $100 bucks.

In other news, we are making an incredible new tool that has caused some confusion, mainly because I did a crappy job of explaining how it is used. I actually explained my reasoning to my two dogs and they looked at me like I was an idiot. Let’s try round two…

Pictured below is our new Universal Gauge;
UG_L and UG_R.1 700

The tool at the top is the LEFT version of this tool (UG-L) and the unit on the board is the RIGHT (UG-R). If you are using this tool to set-up a table saw, you would use the RIGHT version if your blade tilts to the left, and the LEFT version if your blade tilts to the right. The confusion we created is for those woodworkers who want this tool but will not use it on a table saw, so here is the definitive answer to “Which one?”

See the unit on the piece of wood? It is the UG-R (R for Right). If you were going to scribe a line along the bevel arm, which hand would you use. If you said LEFT… BINGO! If you are right handed you will want to order the unit in the top of the image. Make sense? Regardless, this may up being my most favorite layout tool, my shop at home is really small.

Look for an email soon regarding our FREE SHIPING OFFER on the Gyro Air Dust Collector that runs through October 15th.

Some 15 year old kid with illegal fireworks deliberately (through ignorance I presume) started a forest fire in the beautiful Columbia Gorge east of Portland last weekend. You cannot imagine how bad the air quality is here, the worst I have ever seen and I was here when Mt. St. Helens blew. I mention this because if you are a parent or a grandparent, this is great teaching moment to inform those you love that their lives can change in an instant and that every action has an unintended consequence. This fire is unbelievably tragic and right now it is about 40,000 acres and is 5% contained. Ugh!


The post Bridge City Tool Works Introduces New KM-2 Kerfmaker… appeared first on John's Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

We Are Open this Saturday (Sharpenday)

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 7:07am


The Lost Art Press storefront will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday with lots to do and see. In addition to giving free sharpening lessons, we have:

  • Eight blemished Crucible dividers at half price ($90, cash only)
  • Four prototype (fully functional) Crucible holdfasts for half price ($60, cash only)
  • A bunch of blemished Lost Art Press books (also cash only)
  • T-shirts, stickers etc.
  • Copies of the deluxe “Roubo on Furniture” to examine and buy.
  • Our complete line of Lost Art Press books (credit, cash or check)

The store is located at 837 Willard St. in Covington, Ky., 41011. If you are coming with a spouse or family, consider brunch at Otto’s or Coppin’s (in the Hotel Covington). Get a beer at Braxton Brewing down the street and marvel at all the development along Pike Street (we got in here just in time!).

— Christopher Schwarz, editor, Lost Art Press
Personal site: christophermschwarz.com

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Steve Latta: Woodworking at the College Level – 360w360 E.248

360 WoodWorking - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 4:10am
 Woodworking at the College Level – 360w360 E.248

In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking we hear from a woodworking professor at Thaddeus Stevens College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. You may better know him as Steve Latta, woodworker, Fine Woodworking contributing editor and the guy who, in my opinion, brought inlay back to the forefront of woodworking. Steve is in his 20th year teaching this craft to those in college – and he’s doing a damn fine job if you look at the results.

Continue reading Steve Latta: Woodworking at the College Level – 360w360 E.248 at 360 WoodWorking.

I visited the George Nakashima compound last weekend again for...

Giant Cypress - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 3:18am

I visited the George Nakashima compound last weekend again for the first time in a while, which included a lovely tour led by Mira Nakashima. I told Mira that every so often I’ll have a fantasy about getting a plot of land and building a house, most likely a timber frame house, in an area like this. I also told her that my wife’s usual response to this idea is, “Right. Where are the Chinese grocery stores?”

Mira told me that there’s an H Mart about a half hour drive from the Nakashima compound. Looks like the plan has a second life.

all the woodworking is done.......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 09/07/2017 - 1:42am
The lid for the 71 box is done. This almost completes the woodworking for this box. It appears I fibbed a bit with my blog post title but I have an excuse. I should have said all the major box making woodworking is done. I still have to make some doo-dads for the irons, etc etc. I bought a 1/4" and 1/8" iron for the router today from Lee Valley. Until I get them making doo-dads for the 3 parts is on hold.

changed my mind on this
I think the best way to stow this in the box is to thread a hole and use the fence screw to secure it. That is the big rub though. I think that the fence screw is a 12-20 (not 100% sure of that) and I came up dry trying to find a tap and die in that size. I found a few promising leads but they all dried up quickly. I was surprised with that because one lead from the WWW had been posted in july.

If I can't get a tap I'll try using the screw itself to thread the wood. This is either pine or maybe fir but the wood is soft regardless of what species is it. I don't think it will be a problem using the screw as a tap.

sizing the width
The double tic marks at the far end is the middle between the sides. I lined up the joint line on the board with that and marked the groove onto the board.

rabbet laid out
I have been making the lid rabbets a 1/2" or wider and this time I made it 3/8".  A 1/4" will be buried in the groove leaving a small 1/8 gap on both sides.

started the rabbet with this plane
tried to use this one to finish it
Trying to use this plane was a failure. It took me a while to dial in the depth and then the cut wasn't so good. I didn't have enough projection of the iron on the inboard side which is important to have on a rabbet plane to work properly. This plane wasn't tracking in the first wall but making a new one. I sent it aside and I'll have to practice more with it before I try it again.

rabbets dialed in
The lid slides in and out easily. If I pick the box up the lid will slowly fall out which is what I was shooting for. By the time I'm done shellacing this, the fit will be just right. Squaring up the rear of the lid is next.

back squared up
 This plane is getting dull but it spit out a lot a nice looking full length shavings.

speed bump
The front of the box is a few frog hairs lower than the groove bottom on both sides. I tried to dial this in but it is something I am not doing good with. I erred on making it close as I could without going below the front.

the fix
I planed two shallow pass rabbets on each edge to compensate for it.

lid sawn to rough length
I still have to plane this front edge at a 45 and leave a small flat. I want some wiggle room and a strong 32nd should do it. I also don't want the front to go pass the front edge.

chamfer done
The bottom edge of the chamfer is in line with the bottom of the rabbet.

1/2" astragal on both sides
used the shavings to burnish the astragals
front of the lid is done
I planed the front of the lid in a slightly rounded way. I came in from the end to the middle from both sides until the outside edges were flush with the end of the grooves.

made the lid proud of the top
I purposely made the lid this way. The astragals will blend the sides in and a small chamfer on the back will do it there.  I marked the back where top of the box is.

lid marked
 One thing I don't want is to have is the bottom of the chamfer to dive below the top of the box.

took my time
I didn't want to have any blowout on the beads and I did pretty good there. Now I have to erase a pencil mark on end grain.

thumb catch done
I remember my first one I did. I agonized over trying to get the sweep of the oval perfect. I think that one took me over 10 minutes. This one was done in less than 2 minutes.

this box eats up a lot of real estate in Myles's tool box
Tomorrow I'll have to start something new. This toolbox needs a till or a lift out tray.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
The painting,"Arrangement in Gray and Black No. 1", by James Whistler is better know by what name?
answer - Whistler's Mother

Video on correct consistency of fish glue

Journeyman's Journal - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 10:40pm

Here is a short video of fish glue flowing off the stick. Watching is sometimes the best description.

Categories: Hand Tools

Hand Tools are Not Slow

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 6:46pm

Hand tools are not slow. 

This afternoon, after Mike and I ditched the granite work because of a downpour, I went to the shop to prepare table parts for a presentation I am doing on Friday at the Yale University Furniture Study (Registration full, sorry). The presentation is titled “Efficient Handcraft” and will focus on pre-industrial methods for efficient furniture making. I will bring parts of a table at each stage of the process so that I can demonstrate the whole process in the time allotted. This afternoon’s prep involved ripping out two legs and two rails from rough-sawn pine, planing both legs square, laying out and chopping two of the mortises, tapering one of the legs on two sides, planing the rails’ faces, laying out and cutting four tenons, fitting two of the joints, shaping pins and drawboring one of the joints, and cutting and paring the two pins flush.

This took me one hour. And I figure this base is almost 1/3 of the way complete (i.e. ready for finish). 

This time in the shop reminded me of two things:

  1. Our “Tables” Apprenticeship video is still under production. It’s proven to be much more of a time consumer than we anticipated. With the new shop raising, and shipping Issue Three out at the end of the month, we will be hard-pressed to get much time to work on it. But every spare minute Mike has, he’s editing that video. Promise.
  1. I will again be teaching the “tables” weekend workshop from this summer at Lie-Nielsen this next summer. We don’t have dates yet and they don’t have their workshops listed yet. I will also be teaching a five-day version of this class at Port Townsend School of Woodworking in spring. Stay tuned for all those details.


Categories: Hand Tools

Interpreting A Desk – The Templates

The Barn on White Run - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 6:02pm

Many, many months ago I was commissioned by a client who asked me to create an interpretation of an early 19th Century desk.  I approached the original artifact caretakers, requesting a set of the drawings I knew had been made for that artifact.  My request was declined, so my first task was to derive a working set of designs based mostly on images from the web.

About the time I was set to begin work on this project I crossed paths with an angry wheelbarrow, and the resultant broken hip left me out of action for many months.  One thing I could do was sit at my laptop and noodle up some templates.  I started with the images from the web and the handful of measurements that were also on-line and got to work.  My importing the pictures into Photoshop and distorting them I got something resembling “face on” images for the critical elevations.  Still, some was spitballing at this point with details to be resolved at a later time.

By importing these manipulated Photoshop images into a vector drawing program, in my case CorelDraw, I was able to ascertain the various measurements and contours I needed for the construction templates.  If I was either younger or more computerily cognizant I would have use SketchUp, which I believe can do most of this processing almost automatically, but at this point in my life I am trying to forget computer applications, not learn new ones.

Should you be in a place to need construction details, measurements and proportions based solely on photographs it is best to have images where the camera is square to the desired face of the furniture, at point zero on both X and Y axes, with the longest possible distance from the object .  From there it is a piece of cake to get the details darned near perfect, provided you have at least one or two firm dimensions known.  At some point upcoming I will write bout the best way to capture the images with an eye towards creating drawings, but I have not written that missive yet.

For this project I was able to derive all the dimensional and profile details I needed, so soon enough I was off to the bench.  Working in the manner to which I was accustomed from my time in the pattern shop I drew out the detailed drawing at full scale on a sheet of clean plywood.  Once I was satisfied with the results it was time to get started with the building.

But first I needed to gather the necessary lumber.  Stay tuned.

Another Mystery Solved

The Furniture Record - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 9:16am

We have two hummingbird feeders hanging outside our breakfast area. Our cats enjoy watching them feed and I am constantly amazed by their aerobatics and dogfights (bird fights?) Seems hummingbirds don’t get along all that well.

Unfortunately, the hummingbirds prefer the cheap copper toned available from Home Depot. We have tried nice, more expensive feeders but all are rejected. Are these feeders really cheaper when they rust so quickly and need to be replaced annually?

Over the weekend, our feeders started emptying themselves overnight. 2/3 to 3/4 full at dusk and empty at dawn. Hummingbirds don’t feed that much overnight. I’ve heard that some bats might feed there but emptying them both? Suspecting leaks, I brought them in for testing and put last year’s out. In the morning, the old ones were empty with one screw-on base on the ground.

The next step was technology. I place one of my Nikons on a tripod and programmed it to take a picture every two minutes and left the outside lights on at sunset. I got a whole lot of this picture:


Two feeders, no waiting. Reflections are annoying but this ain’t art.

At 10:41, I got this:



First racoon we have seen in the eight years we’ve lived here. Deer. Opossums. Rabbits. Squirrels. Chipmunks. Cyotes, Foxes. Groundhogs. But no racoons.

Might explain what happed to all the asian pears…

DSC_8843 - Version 2

Can racoons get Type II Diabetes?


finishing up the 71 box.......

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 4:21am
It's been a wee bit chilly in my part of the universe over the past week or more and tonight is forecasted for the low 70's. The night time temps were hovering around the 55 to 60 degree mark. I wonder if the two hurricanes are screwing up the weather this far north. Irma looks like it is going to be a bitch of hurricane. I don't recall ever hearing of a cat 5 one. No gender bias implied here. Harvey was the last name and it was a female name batting next for this one.

plow plane box is done
I got 6-7 coats of shellac on this and that is sufficient for a shop box. It has a nice sheen and it should afford more than adequate protection.

inside peek
sizing the lid
I sawed off the large piece and kept the smaller one. That will make less for me to plane to thickness but still have enough to saw and fit it.

top has no twist
There is no twist but there is a small bit of cup. The two outside edges are high but the opposite face is flat.

reference face
I went straight across the long way 4 times before I got a continuous shaving going end to end. After that I crisscrossed L to R and then R to L. I finished it by planing the long way back and forth until I got continuous shavings side to side.

ran a gauge line 360
The gauge line at this corner is a little higher than the other 3. I marked this with some X's and avoided planing it until the other 3 corners matched it.

one lid planed to thickness
It isn't sized for the width yet and I'll do that tomorrow. I want this to sticker overnight before I do that.

doo-dad for the depth stop - sawed a step for the shoe
had to do some gouge work
The back of the depth shoe isn't at a right angle to the rod. It is pitched forward a little and I had to remove a bit at the back for it to lay flat on the step.

I didn't need the step but I had to do something to keep it from looking so plain.

it's a tight fit
It sticks out into the interior more than I want. This isn't where I want this neither but it is about the only spot that works. In other spots I tried, the router was in the way with putting it in or taking it out.

change two coming
I said in yesterday's blog that this was carved in stone. Tonight I broke out the stone breaker, aka the 3lb sledge.

this works

I'll keep this in the hole provided in the router for now.  When I think of something else, I'll do that. I want this in a holder so if I don't need it, it won't be flopping in the box.

fence storage
The plan is to make a half box for this to live in.

lots of stock in case I screw it up
I got the fence figured out but I'm not sure how to stow the screw and washer for it. I may have to buy a 12-20 tap because I would like to tap a hole for it and screw it into that. Of course that depends on whether or not the screw is actually a 12-20.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is the largest shopping Mall in the United States?
answer - The Mall of America in Bloomington,  Minnesota (it ranks 36th in the world)

Hello Wilbur. I recently discovered your blog. Amazing and informative. I was wondering if you can provide me some advice. I'm interested in purchasing my 1st kana but i'm rather hesitant as there are so many choices to choose from. Do you...

Giant Cypress - Wed, 09/06/2017 - 3:08am

Thanks for the nice comments. I really appreciate it.

My usual advice for the “How should I choose my first Japanese tool?” question, whether it’s a plane, chisel, saw, or what have you, is to contact the various Japanese tool sellers out there (here’s a list of all the Japanese tool sellers that I know of who know English well), explain what kind of projects you want to make, what kinds of woods you use, and see what their responses are. One of those responses will resonate with you. Buy your tool from that seller. You’re going to get a good Japanese plane regardless of which tool seller you work with. What you’re also going to get is a relationship with a tool seller that understands your needs and who you can work with, which will pay off in the long run.

As far as the blue/white steel issue, I like blue steel overall better for planes, and white steel for chisels. That’s because blue steel has more resistance to abrasive wear, which is what plane blades have to deal with. White steel, on the other hand, is generally easier to sharpen. For a chisel, I’m not as concerned with edge life as I am with being able to restore the edge more efficiently. But overall, the choice of steel is not as important as the blacksmith. Despite what I said above, my favorite finish plane is made with white steel.

If you are having trouble wrapping your brain around what I said about the white steel/blue steel issue, think about it this way. Choosing a Japanese tool based on white steel/blue steel issues is like deciding whether cherry or walnut is better for making a dining room table. The real answer is that Frank Klausz will make a better dining room table than I will.

Overall, a crack in a dai forms because there isn’t enough allowance on the sides of the blade to accommodate wood movement with seasonal changes, especially overall shrinkage of the dai year over year.. As long as you set up your dai so that isn’t an issue, I think you’ll be fine. What I would do is set up your plane as you normally would without worrying about seasonal movement to start. There will be a little side to side play. If the dai shrinks too much, use chisel on the side slots that hold the blade to provide a little more room for movement. Eventually you’ll get to a point where you won’t have to worry about it any more. There may be a little more side to side play than one of my planes, but your plane will work just fine. 

One last thing to keep in mind is that the dai is going to move regardless. My shop is in my basement, and we have central air conditioning and heat, so it’s as climate controlled as it can get. I still have to tune up my planes every so often. So even if your dai isn’t going to crack, you still have to deal with movement.

Bahco Files

Journeyman's Journal - Tue, 09/05/2017 - 9:18pm

I just purchased a Bahco file set from workshopheaven.  I chose this set because it was cheaper to buy as a set than individually plus you get a tool roll with it with an additional two pockets to fit my other two files.

I usually avoid sets of any type as you don’t get what you want, but I was very lucky that they offered exactly what I wanted.

The set comprises:

  • 150mm Smooth Cut.  A high quality double-cut smooth hand file, made from alloyed high-carbon tool steel. 6″ (150mm) from shoulder to tip, 15.7mm wide, 4.0mm thick, with parallel sides, one safe edge and one single cut edge.
  • 150mm Engineering Second Cut Round.  A true rat tail file, straight for 1/3 of the toothed surface at 6mm diameter, and then gently tapered for the remaining two thirds, down to about 4mm diameter at the tip. Second cut toothing provides rapid material removal and, with care, a surface that requires little or no further finishing.
  • 150mm Engineering Second Cut Half Round. Possibly the most versatile file you will ever own, for flats, hollows and sneaking into corners, the perfect combination of efficient cutting and a clean finish.
  • 150mm Smooth Cut Feather Edge File.   Strictly speaking the Bahco ‘wasa’ feather edged file is designed for sharpening saws, but it is one of those tools for which you soon find a multitude of other uses. The combination of shallow profile and very fine teeth create a superb finish in places that other files cannot reach.


Each file is fitted with a wonderfully comfortable Holtzapffel pattern Walnut handle with solid brass ferule.

Free 6 pocket Canvas Tool Roll to keep your files clean and tidy, with room for a couple more.

What interested me was the feather edge file aka “wasa” what ever that means. The seller claims it’s designed to sharpen saws. What type of saws? It got my eye when I browsed through his website and am lucky it appeared in the set.  It looks interesting and I’m looking forward in seeing first hand as to how it performs.  It has very fine teeth and they claim it gives and unbelievably smooth finish.  I wonder?   The only file I forgot to add to the list was a square cut.  Oh well next time I suppose.

Files are really one of the most useful tools in the shop and not just for metal work.


It cost me with shipping around AU$85 (British pounds 52). I noticed PayPal currency converter isn’t correct or they choose to charge you more.  I took a gamble and used my card’s currency converter as they didn’t state how much it would be. Ironic isn’t it?  It paid off as I saved $5.

It’s a shame I cannot locate individual Bahco files in Australia.  Bahco files are as good as the old Nicholson’s once were.  Nicholson today produces rubbish.  I bought some over a year ago and not only didn’t they perform well, but blunted very quickly.  After Paul Sellers recommended Bahco I never looked backed since.

The sad state of many tool shops and probably this is a worldwide epidemic of the uneducated clueless salespeople, is that they don’t know the quality of the tools that their selling.  If they did, they wouldn’t stock Nicholson and therefore it would force Nicholson to improve their standards.  Clueless salespeople mislead clueless people and if a clued on person challenges them, then they’re ignored and brushed off to the side.

I could of kept my money within Australia but instead I was forced to go overseas. Financially it’s a loss for both, materialistically I got the best.  I will always buy the highest quality tool I can afford, and if I can’t afford it now then I will patiently save up for it and buy it when I can.  I will never settle for second best, those I leave for everyone else.

Categories: Hand Tools

New M&T Shop Building: Granite Foundation

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Tue, 09/05/2017 - 7:49pm

Now that Issue Three is at the printer and my edits to the Fisher book are complete, Mike and I have begun getting things ready for the new M&T shop frame to arrive on the 18th. We started the morning staring at a pile of granite foundation blocks. We gathered small log rounds, pry bars, and all other manner of tools to muscle the 100 linear feet of granite into place on the gravel pad. After we got a few pieces in place, a stone mason friend of mine, Ken stopped over on a lead from a neighbor. He showed up to generously share his experience and knowledge of the finer points of moving large stone. With his help, we made pretty quick work of it.

We squared up the corners and began fine tuning the straight lines by the end of the day. At that point, we began shooting ideas around for the best way to determine level on these blocks. As the words were still in our mouths, another good friend of mine, Adam drove up and shouted, “Hey! What are you guys doing?” “Building a new shop. Come over and help!”

After parking his truck, Adam joined in our planning session and announced that he has an antique transit that we could use. “Do you want me to go get it?” he asked. Are you kidding me? Of course!


Adam drove up the road to his house to retrieve the transit and immediately set it up on site. I’ve never seen one of these things at work. Pretty cool. Within 15 minutes, we had level measured on all four corners. Tomorrow (in the rain, probably) Mike and I will level the blocks and put the few remaining in place. Once the blocks are leveled, we will build a conventionally-framed deck that the shop will sit on. We’ve got to hustle because the 18th is not that far away!


As we work on this part of the project, Luke Larson and his crew at Green Mountain Timber Frames have been restoring the frame. The 24’ x 26’ beech and chestnut hand-hewn frame was built in Pawlet, Vermont around the year 1800. In the 1980s, it was given to a local Grange to use as their meeting hall. There was a lot of gutting work done at that time but no one messed with the frame.


About a year ago, Luke purchased the house (read his blog entry about it here) and he and his crew carefully disassembled it for restoration. The frame was in great shape with the exception of the rafters and ridge beam, which suffered fire and leak damage. When I found out about this frame and discussed it with Luke, he asked what I'd like to replace the rafters with. I told him I wanted old material, as close to the original roof system as possible. He did some digging and came up with a five-sided pine ridge beam almost the exact same size as well as round cedar rafters from a barn in Addison, Vt. virtually identical to the original. He and his crew have replicated the original roof system using these reclaimed materials. They’ve taken great care to leave the original surfaces unmarred. They’ve also de-nailed and washed all the 1-1/4”-thick sheathing. As Luke put it, “There is nothing like the patina of old boards.” Totally agree.


The old stock roof sheathing was then laid out for optimum placement and labeled. This will make reattaching this sheathing after the frame is raised a breeze. They’ve also added collar ties to the gable ends and braces on the first floor to strengthen the frame even more.

Mike and I are beside ourselves excited about this frame. We plan to leave the interior unfinished with roughsawn old boards and the frame completely exposed. All the insulation will be built on the outside of the frame and then exterior sheathing attached to that. From the inside, it will look like an 18th-century workshop in all its rough-hewn glory. I’ve also purchased a pile of antique window sashes (with wavy glass) that we will be using.

Besides a quick trip down to do a presentation at the Yale Furniture Study this Friday, this is the rest of our year. We will be working on this over the winter, hoping to be completely moved in by spring. We’ll see.


This is to be the new M&T headquarters. In this shop, our magazine will be created, our videos will be filmed, and our workshops will take place. As goofy as it sounds, this is a dream come true. This frame exceeds all my hopes for a little shop of my own on my property.


We will be documenting this project extensively, so if antique timber frame restoration is something you’re interested in, follow along here and on our Instagram page. It promises to be a fun ride.


Categories: Hand Tools

All Hail the Versatile Doe’s Foot

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Tue, 09/05/2017 - 2:56pm

The doe’s foot – a block of wood with a “V” cut into it – is one of the most versatile and cheap appliances for your workbench. I have an article about this little gizmo coming up in the next issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine (look for it in the November 2017 issue, or perhaps subscribe). I work with a lot of odd-shaped parts, especially when I build chairs. These […]

The post All Hail the Versatile Doe’s Foot appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Oregon is on fire

Oregon Woodworker - Tue, 09/05/2017 - 11:37am
As I write this, hundreds of thousands of acres in Oregon are on fire and some of them are minimally contained after months of effort.  The one that saddens me beyond words is the fire at Eagle Creek in the Columbia Gorge.  This fire is near Multinomah Falls and many other falls along the beautiful Columbia River Historic Highway. Two teenage boys were tossing fireworks over a cliff along a trail.  Nearly 5,000 acres have been consumed so far, a number of communities have been evacuated and Oregon's only east/west interstate has been closed.  The fire is within a few feet of the historic Multinomah Falls Lodge and right next to the falls.  I go there to hike often.  It is a very special place to me, a place that calls me back again and again.  These were huge old trees, trees like the one that gave me my slab table and it will take a century for the forest to come back fully.  I will never see it as it was again.  Our house is about fifty miles away and we woke up to ash everywhere, the remnants of what used to be.

What can be done?  Here, nothing other than replanting.  There will always be a few teenage boys who do things like this.  I think the Forest Service can be faulted for not closing the area but this would have been hugely controversial.  It's hindsight.  Many of the other fires were caused by lightning strikes.

There is a bigger and more fundamental issue and the solution is beyond dispute.  Forest fire is a healthy and natural part of forest life here.  Experts study old growth forests and they see that there were several natural, low intensity forest fires every decade.  It can literally be seen in the trees and we can see the positive impact thereafter.  These fires remove brush and the "ladder fuels" that allow the fire to climb to the tops of the biggest trees and they thin the forest.  A century of putting out forest fires and not removing the overstocked trees and brush mechanically has created a situation in which the fires are so hot and intense that everything is destroyed.  You go to ponderosa pine forests in eastern Oregon where the brush has been removed and then "controlled burns" have been conducted at optimum times in late spring and just marvel at the health of the forest.  Contrary to what many environmentalists believe, this is what a natural forest looks like, not the overgrown tangle you see in many pictures.  I have seen old pictures of untouched forests in Oregon and they don't look anything like the ones we admire today.

I owned 40 acres of second-growth douglas-fir in southern Oregon that was tangled and choked.  The trees were way overstocked so they couldn't grow well and were susceptible to disease.  A forest fire would have moved through at unbelievable speed.  I did a lot myself and hired fire crews on standby to do the rest.  You just wouldn't believe what happened.  The remaining trees were "released" and they starting growing vigorously.  Forest health improved dramatically.

The people at the Forest Service understand this and they do as much of it as their budget allows, but it is a pittance compared to what is necessary.  We are willing to pay thousands of workers to fight forest fires but not to clear brush and remove ladder fuels in our national forests so fires can be beneficial.  This is what our Congress has done.  Tragic.  I so wish we would take care of our national forests.

Update:  Read this to be utterly disgusted.  Two fires have merged and the total is now 31,000 acres.
Categories: Hand Tools

Want to Pick Up Your Deluxe Book on Saturday? Here’s How

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Tue, 09/05/2017 - 10:44am

lap-roubo-pressmark-1For those customers who pre-ordered a copy of deluxe “Roubo on Furniture Making” and want to pick up their copy at our Covington, Ky., storefront on Saturday, here’s how.

  1. Send an email to help@lostartpress.com with the subject line of “Deluxe Pickup.” Let us know your name and address and any other identifying birthmarks (just kidding about that part).
  2. Come to the storefront on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Let us know your name and we’ll hand over your deluxe copy, plus a special treat because you saved us some shipping costs. (No, it’s not a hug.)

IMPORTANT: We need to know by 9 a.m. Friday, Sept. 8, if you are going to pick up your copy at our storefront. We’re going to transfer stock from our Indiana warehouse to Kentucky and will need an exact count.

If you’d like to purchase a copy of the deluxe Roubo on Saturday, please let us know your intentions and we’ll transfer a copy for you.

— Christopher Schwarz, editor, Lost Art Press
Personal site: christophermschwarz.com

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

For Sale: Benchcrafted Classic Workbench

Benchcrafted - Tue, 09/05/2017 - 10:09am

We have for sale a freshly-built-to-spec example of our Classic Workbench. Made entirely of hard rock maple, it's outfitted with our Classic Leg Vise w/Crisscross, Planing Stop and one Hand-forged Holdfast, For full specs and photos, see our Classic Workbench Plans page.

The bench is in the white, that is, we didn't apply any finish to any of the surfaces. You can either leave it that way or apply a finish of your choice (we hope you leave the top unfinished, or at most one coat of oil.) The bench is completely assembled and ready to use. 

The Benchcrafted Classic Workbench is constructed entirely with in-compression-for-eternity drawbored mortise and tenon. It's as solid as humans can make it, short of growing a tree in the shape of a bench. The bench is built to the highest standards of traditional German craftsmanship in the utopian village of Amana Iowa. Our collaboration with the craftsmen in Amana, along with our experience in traditional workholding has yielded a workbench that is truly heirloom quality, but offered at what we think is a very reasonable price. There are other bench makers out there who are offering stunning museum-quality, marquetry-encrusted benches with our hardware and designs (Frank Strazza and Mark Hicks among others.) We consider our flagship Split-Top Roubo as nearing the pinnacle of bench design (if there is such a thing) but we wanted to offer an essential bench built to high standards--an approachable but bulletproof tool for passionate enthusiasts that are perhaps just getting into the craft. Our principle bench maker has been building furniture at the Amana Furniture Shop for nearly 50 years. Needless to say, 150 years of woodworking tradition in Amana directly back to 19th century Germany speaks for itself. Many of the Amana craftsmen are multi-generational woodworkers.

The bench is available for pickup in eastern Iowa (contact us for details) or white glove delivery, in which the bench is wrapped in moving blankets, transported in a moving van used for furniture delivery only, then unloaded at your address and brought inside by the delivery techs. It costs a bit more to ship this way, but less than you might imagine.

Price is $2600. Delivery fees extra. 

If you're opening a school, community shop, woodworking club or refitting an existing facility with worn out or poor quality benches, please contact us, we can supply you. 

To purchase this bench, send us an email with your contact info to: info@benchcrafted.com
Categories: Hand Tools

Great Table Design

David Barron Furniture - Tue, 09/05/2017 - 9:14am

Joe sent me these pictures of his latest project made for the 100% design show on 20th - 23rd September.

The tables are made from ash with a stained ash top with glass and are very versatile.

A short while ago I did a post showing Joes ash chest of drawers and here it is finished.

He used one of my 1:6 dovetail guides for the many dovetails and has done a great job.

Categories: Hand Tools


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