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Hand Tools

Three of Thirty Six Views of Mount Fuji →

Giant Cypress - Tue, 03/26/2024 - 3:28am

Three of Thirty Six Views of Mount Fuji →

On the occasion of a complete set of Katsushika Hokusai’s “Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji” being offered for auction by Christie’s, Joel Moskowitz offers some great information and insights on them, including this tidbit:

The complete set actually consists of 46 prints because Hokusai added 10 prints to the series. If you’re thinking of adding the series to your own walls, bear in mind that Christie’s has set the estimate between 5 to 7 million dollars.

So if I win the lottery, I know what I’ll be shopping for.

Been Lookin’ For This

The Barn on White Run - Mon, 03/25/2024 - 7:51am

One of the thrills of incursions into the Evilgoogle Empire via the satellite of Youtube is coming across an instructional or demonstration video that was at the very least unexpected or unknown.  Sometimes it is the result of a long search, that search can be keyword or descriptor directed.  But when the subject and title are not English or even Western alphabet but rather Eastern in character it becomes a matter of sheer luck as YouTube cycles through videos of related topics for referral.  Sometimes it leads to new videos, sometimes it leads to videos posted years ago that I had no way to know existed such as this one linked below.

For the most part urushi lacquerwork is applied to a wooden substrate, either wooden boxes or trays or turned bowls, with the occasional foray into furniture pieces, for example in the work of Gonroku Matsuda.

For I’ve long been searching for video about a peculiar lacquerwork technique that fascinates me, the analog to sculptural papier mache’, using urushi instead of oil or paste to assemble the creation.  I have long held this candy dish (above) to be one of the most beautiful objets d’art I have ever seen, unfortunately not in person.  It was made with this urushi-laminate technique, albeit using fine linen cloth instead of paper.  Classically this method involves draping urushi impregnated fabric (or paper) over a previously sculpted (unfired?) terra cotta core, then excavating the terra cotta once the form is achieved.

The technique demonstrated in this video uses sculpting clay and plaster for moldmaking steps in a manner I find both fascinating and fully do-able.

Categories: Hand Tools

sunday doings.......

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 03/25/2024 - 3:17am

 I finished watching all the 'young' Inspector Morse seasons and a couple of other crime series, both from Germany. One of them, Nordic Murders, I liked a lot but it only had 4 episodes and that was it. I'm now into season 5 on Inspector Morse and I'm finally getting around to it. I found the first couple of episodes so so but it has picked up and I'm enjoying watching them now. I'm averaging 2-3 episodes a day and there are 9 seasons to view. I've been checking on what to watch next but nothing has caught my attention yet.

 lost it

I don't know where it disappeared to. I stopped here and started cleaning up the shop to see if I could find it. When I took this apart I forgot to remove it first so it mostly likely ended up in a black hole somewhere on the shop floor.

 got lucky again

Found it under the bench hooks but not the 1/8" spline. That is ok because making a new block matching the existing 1/8" groove is the tricky part. Cutting a new 1/8" spline is gravy work.

 cleaning up the carcass

All of the stock has a bazillion teeny straight spaghetti bumps on each face. The planer knives have several nicks in them. Once this was done it was on to glue up.

 it ain't flowing

The shop temp is back to 61F (16C) but the glue didn't like it. I had to refill the bottle and the glue coming out of the gallon jug was flowing like molasses in winter. After I filled the bottle I warmed it up with my heat gun. That improves the flow a lot.

I went back and forth on hide or white glue and I went with white glue. I felt like I would have enough time to get glue on the tails/pins and dividers before the glue starting going off. In hindsight I should have used hide glue for the extra open time.

 headache time

I did a couple of dry fit ups and never saw this headache that popped up once the glue went on. This vertical divider is bowed and it isn't tight at the front neither. The back gap is bigger than it though. I put my deep reach clamps on it to suck in.

 this side is dry fitted

This glue up wasn't going as planned and I regretted not using hide glue. This side behaved dry fitted and I was leaving it dry while the rest of the carcass set up. No headaches with these dividers when I glued them in several hours later.

 it is square -  top and bottom

The other side has a slight bulge in it about the half way mark. Once the glue has set up I will plane the 'hump' until it reads square.


I almost lost this glue up. I was using a mallet to drive the divider in and I went too far. I thought the back had to be flush but it only had to be flush on one side. I didn't remember that when I driving it home and blew out the front edge on the middle shelf. I also split and cracked the bottom but it didn't break out. Another 'to do' once the glue as set - probably tomorrow because this frazzled me.

 good or worse

The drawers will hide a lot of this because they will be flush with front face. I can't pull this out to get glue in it.

 the back

I shortened all the dividers 3/8" at the back to make room for a frame. I haven't decided on whether to use a bridle joint or miter at the corners. The panel will be 1/8" plywood and that will allow this to be viewed 360 and give it a finished look. The frame will be about 3/8" and will be slightly proud of the back so I will be able to plane flush it.

 dado holes

I did the dadoes before I decided on the back detail. Thinking ahead I would have made the dadoes all stopped so they wouldn't show on the back face.

It rained off and on all day on saturday. It was mostly on than off and buckets of rain came down. This AM when I got up the temp was 28F (-2C) and all the rain puddles were frozen. It is the end of march and trees and shrubs are budding and we still have ice and frosty mornings.

accidental woodworker

Jim Kingshott

Journeyman's Journal - Sun, 03/24/2024 - 11:34pm

Kingshott books and videos were produced in the 1990s, and I still find them to be an invaluable source of information. Today I purchased his book The Workshop: Designing, Building, Equipping Paperback – 1 March 1994. You can’t find it on Amazon but I did find it on Abesbooks, and it was only US$2.75 plus postage so it worked out to be about AU$26.
You may be wondering who this character is, right? Well, he was a master cabinetmaker, even though I don’t like to use the term “cabinetmaker” to refer to those who make kitchens. He made furniture, and he was darn good at it too. His name wasn’t Jim; he was born Raymond John Kingshott on January 7, 1931, in England.

He grew up amongst woodshavings at his grandfather’s workshop. He was apprenticed as both a carpenter and cabinet maker in the 1940’s at A. J. Tracey & Co. Ltd., making him one of the last individuals to emerge from the system prevalent before World War II.
For over 50 years, Jim worked in the woodworking industry, making everything from coffins to aeroplanes, and until recently, he was apprentice master to the woodworking trade apprentices at the Royal Aircraft Establishment at Farnborough.
Jim’s forte was the making and use of handtools. He was a true master craftsman and probably did more to encourage traditional woodworkers in the UK than anyone else. He wrote and made several books and DVDs in the 1990s. One of the DVDs I was lucky enough to find on YouTube.

There seems to be quite a collection of old, forgotten videos on his page

The book I purchased and mentioned above is one I’m looking forward to reading. I’ve never been satisfied with the layout of my workshop, and I’m hoping to gain some good information to help me out.
He has about ten books he’s written, and I will provide the link to them here: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/955208.Jim_Kingshott

You cannot buy from the link provided, but if you search the title, some of them are still available. There are three books of interest that I’m eager to get my hands on: “Making & Modifying Woodworking Tools,” “Sharpening,” and “Woodworker’s Guide to Joints: An Illustrated Guide That Really Shows You How to Make Perfect Joints by Jim Kingshott (June 27, 1), paperback. The last one is more out of curiosity to see just how Jim executed each joinery technique by hand. I’m sure there will always be something new to learn.
For over 50 years, Jim worked with wood, from making coffins to aeroplanes. Had he still lived today, he would be 80 years in the trade.
Jim died on February 25th, 2002, after a long battle with cancer.
Jim’s grandson, Allan Kingshott, followed in Jim’s footsteps and is a qualified carpenter/joiner. So the family tradition of working wood continues.

Categories: Hand Tools

Chair stuff: one opening in class & a new video series

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Sun, 03/24/2024 - 9:21am

PF ladderback Mar 2024

Two things about chairs – first off the Jennie Alexander-chair class Joel Paul & I are teaching at Pete Galbert’s had an opening last week, we filled it, then got another student who had to drop out. So a last-minute opening still stands in that class – April 8-13 Rollinsford, NH – more fun than you can stand. And a chair too. Details here – https://www.petergalbert.com/schedule/2020/7/13/make-a-chair-from-a-tree-with-peter-follansbee-8brcj-7b62n-xafjp-mglkm


walnut brettstuhl Feb 2024

The other is a new vimeo-on-demand series that I just posted about making an “alpine” chair, or “Brettstuhl” – I’ve made about 8 of them in the past 3 or 4 years and they’re a chair that I really enjoy learning about. The video is about 3 1/2 hours long, with one more section (about carving) to be posted within the next 2 weeks. The price is $50 – subscribers to my substack blog get 20% off – if that means anything to you…

a trailer for the series:

Here’s a 4-page PDF showing some of the geometry and other details – not plans, but some pertinent information. This is here whether you buy the series or not – because I can’t be bothered to figure out any other way!

The link to the vimeo-on-demand page https://vimeo.com/ondemand/follansbeebrettstuhl

and a link to the substack blog – https://peterfollansbeejoinerswork.substack.com/

good progress today.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 03/24/2024 - 3:20am

 I threw caution to the wind this AM and went to the shop to work even though my wife was still checking the inside of her eyelids for light leaks (she was still sleeping). I wasn't a complete idiot and I didn't use any power tools and did noiseless piddly things until she got up. I got most of what I wanted to get done today and I only had one brain fart to deal with.


The dado is almost a 16th wider than what it should be. This is visible when the drawers are opened or removed. I scrounged around the shop and found a thicker divider replacement.

 did better on these

I used my brass 1/2" set up bar to size the dado above. I used the actual divider on the bottom two. Both of them were a wee bit snug and I had to plane the dividers to fit.

 it bit me on the arse

I had this nagging me in the back of the brain bucket. This divider is tilted slightly to right from the bottom up. I can see it isn't square and the 90° was small enough to fit here and confirm it. Trying to fit drawers into a non square opening is a ROYAL PITA. I know because as I learned how I had to do it numerous times.

 gauge stick

I sized this stick to be a snug fit on the left corner of this and it was the same at the center too.

 frog hair off

I could probably have forced it with a thump but I didn't. This opening is now carved in stone and I'll deal with it as is. The top/bottom being out of parallel is an easier fix then the vertical ends being off 90°.

 bottom check
The bottom stick was the same across the entire opening at the bottom.

 fixing the out of square

I thought these planes were going to be the panacea for my woodworking. I've had them for several years and I doubt I have used even once a year. Today they proved to be useful widening the dadoes. I opened up the left side on the top and the right side on the bottom one. I did that to get the center divider standing square.

 it worked

Jimmy Diresta says if it looks square, it is square. I do confirmation due to the age my peepers.

 square at the front too

IMO this is where it matters the most. The back is important too but I think the divider also being square to the front edge to the back edge ranks close to the top too.


Got the end grain end of the vertical divider covered. I used a 1/8 plywood spline to do this. I'll glue it after I do the carcass.

 needed a new divider

The dado was wider then the original divider. This stock had to be glued up to get the height I needed. This one is a couple of frog hairs wider and I had to plane it to fit. It was close to lunch when I glued this up and I fitted it after lunch.


The same way I covered the top divider I did for this bottom one. I will repeat it for its sibling on the left. The horizontal dividers left will show long grain so I don't have to do anything with them.

 four more dadoes left

I am liking how this evolving. I am liking the two narrow top drawers. I have already thought of a lot of tools I could put in them.

 had to flush them

I was going to leave these proud and flush them after the carcass was glued up. I had to do it here so I could layout for the last two horizontal divider dadoes.

 loving this square

I had to flush it so the combo square would lay flat on it. The combo square was on the outside edge of the carcass with the blade extending over to this vertical divider.

 first two dadoes done

Got a snug fit on both the L and R dadoes. Two more to go before I can call it done.

 dicey work

The dado runs with the grain and it was not easy chopping it in either one. Decided to run the grain front to back because I didn't have any 1/2" thick stock that I could use with the grain running top/bottom. 

 my brain fart

I was careful laying out the dadoes for this. The left one has it's dado too high - I chopped it on the wrong side of the layout line.

 made a new divider for the left side

I got lucky because I have a lot of scraps of 1/2"-ish stock piled about the shop. I got the new one made lickety split.

 2nd gauge stick

This is what I used to lay out the bottom edge of the dado for the horizontal dividers. I saw that I hadn't put an X on the waste side of the dado that I screwed up. Did it for the other 3 but I missed this one.


I wonder if there is a better way to layout the dadoes? None them aligned and could be marked in pairs. I only had one go south on me and it was a quick fix. Tomorrow I plan on gluing this up and monday I'll start on the drawers. 

accidental woodworker

Chambered Body E-mando now completed.

A Luthiers Blog - Sat, 03/23/2024 - 9:48am

I’m glad to say that the latest e-mando has been completed and as I write this, it’s in transit, on a 7500 mile adventure!

Below is the last video in the series and some nice photos!

Wood, a poem

Working By Hand - Sat, 03/23/2024 - 8:22am

Behold the wood
where life has drawn
lengthwise a river
crosswise an island, surrounded
by concentric years.
Behold the darkening knots
like shadows of birds’ eggs
in nests that have tumbled
from living towers that have fallen.

Harry Martinson (Swedish poet, 1904-1978)

Categories: Hand Tools

Spoon-Size Milk Paint

David Fisher - Carving Explorations - Sat, 03/23/2024 - 6:38am
You don’t need much milk paint to paint a spoon handle. I wanted to have several colors on hand to create a flexible pallet, but didn’t need to buy the colors in packages large enough to paint a chest of … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools


Old Ladies - Pedder's blog - Sat, 03/23/2024 - 5:40am
I got this pictures from the US:
But the good news: The saw made it completly unharmed.....
Categories: Hand Tools

Dovetail saw karelian Masur birch

Two Lawyers Toolworks - Sat, 03/23/2024 - 4:31am
Dovetail saw karelian masur birch 250mm long 45mm deep 17 tpi RIP Present to a veteran. Pedderhttp://www.blogger.com/profile/12692353908068506678noreply@blogger.com0
Categories: Hand Tools

getting aggravated......

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 03/23/2024 - 3:16am

 My wife is currently writing up a history for a client. She has gone back to the 1600's and is writing info on each of the client's ancestors. The downside is she likes to start working on late at night and goes past 0200 some nights. I got no problem with that part but the downside is she sleeps late. Some mornings she doesn't get up until 1000-ish. That means I can't go to the shop until after she wakes up. Which means I don't get a full day in the shop. Which means things get stretched out. Which means a ten minute job is taking me 2 days. I can go on but it would be pointless. The good thing is that she told she is almost done with it.

Today she got up at 0940 and I got to the shop at 1000. I worked for an hour and broke for lunch and my walk. I got back to the shop at 1330 and killed the lights at 1520. Needless to say I didn't get everything in the grand plan for thursday done. Good thing I'm retired and don't have to punch a clock.

 getting wee bit cool too

It was a frosty 23F (-5C) this AM. It doesn't look like it is going to warm up until the end of next week. The low overnight temps translate into the a cool shop. It was still 59F when I killed the lights.

 dry fit went well

No problems doing the dry fit. I clipped the back edges of the tails on all four corners. This is something I usually don't do but I don't mind doing it with half blinds. Definitely made fitting the tails easier, especially with bottoming them out.

 the first one

This is the middle horizontal divider and it is the first batter. I need this one in place before I can layout for the other 10 dadoes.

 2nd batter

I need dadoes on the right and left for four small drawers that go in the bottom and their horizontal middle dividers.

 clean up batter

These will be the last dadoes to do.


There is about 1 1/2" of snipe on this end of the board. I got lucky in that I was able to saw it all off as waste. If that didn't happen I would have made the dado to fit this end.

 LN screwdriver

I remembered to try out my new Rob Cosman router screws. They fit the small LN router too. 


I had looked on Amazon last night for single hex screwdrivers and I didn't find any. I don't want to buy a set of them because I already have 3 sets (two metric one imperial). I'll try McMaster because I still haven't bought the screws and star washers for the bandsaw. 

You can exert a lot more force with the hex wrench than with a slotted screwdriver. Not sure if it will be the same with a hex screwdriver but it will be more convenient than a hex wrench or slotted screwdriver. The screw is brass and the iron is steel (of some type) so it won't cause any harm to it.


The Cosman screws doesn't fit the Stanley small router plane (mine was made in England).

 keeping everything together

The closed throat router is the one I use the most and I have a rather large herd of router planes (12 last count). I got one Cosman screw and the 3 LN ones in the envelope. Might as well keep it in the biggest router plane box.

 first dado fits

It isn't as snug as I would like but it is self supporting.

 both sides fitted

The plans called for the top and bottom to extend beyond the sides by 5/8". That detail played havoc with me trying to figure out how to do it. Instead I'm going for the front to be flush top/bottom and R/L.

 little bit off

The plans call for the top drawer openings to be 1 5/8" and I'm a 1 3/4". I don't mind the two top drawers being an 1/8" deeper. It looks like I nailed the bottom two drawer openings but that might change depending upon how good I do on centering the horizontal divider there.

 No Mas, No Mas

Getting this vertical divider centered here kicked my arse. I played with it almost 30 minutes before I gave up on it. The right opening is a few frog hairs wider than its sibling on the left.


Which way to run the grain on the vertical dividers? This one of two needs to be about 4 5/8" and if I run the grain front to back it will expand/contract top/bottom. I usually don't bother with wood movement in widths of 3" or less. The other problem is I don't have any 1/2" thick stock 7" long with the grain running top to bottom. I got time to think about it and sort it out.

 the last dadoes

This horizontal divider is the last one to do. This will separate the two drawers here and on the other side. I need to make sure the vertical dividers (above) are fitted without any slop in them and that they are square every which way.

 more dado layout

I had to label the parts of the carcass so I don't layout and chop dadoes on the wrong face. This was a wee bit nerve wracking but double triple checking it a bazillion times worked this time.

 got it right

With this set of dadoes done I only have 4 more to go. Before I get to them I have to size and fit the dividers in these 6 dadoes.

 ignoring this one

This is the upper divider and it is less than 2" with the grain running front to back. I will glue a piece of pine to the end grain end and flush it with the front face.

 came today

This author wrote an article about linseed oil paint for the last edition of Mortise & Tenon magazine. When I saw he wrote a book on it I bought it. It is something that has a long history (goes back over 3000 years) and may be better than the paint available today. I would like to try my hand at making it some day to use.

accidental woodworker

fell short......

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 03/22/2024 - 3:23am

 My goal for today was to get the dovetailing done and the carcass dry fitted. I got one of the two done - dovetails. I finished the last pin sockets at 1515. Dry fitting the carcass will have to wait until tomorrow.

 didn't forget

Before I started the pin sockets I had to plane the rabbet over the tails. I don't mark this and just plane 3 strokes on each end.

pin layout

I tried my new 90° square and I like it. I'll be using this over my usual 2" engineer's square.

 used the Moxon

I tried to do this in the workbench face vise but it wasn't working. I've sawn the sockets as much as I could and finished the corners with a scraper. The scraper is from Lie Nielsen and it is the same thickness as the saw plate.

note to self

Me thinks I made the top web a wee bit too thin. I split 3 of the sockets and I glued them back together with super glue.

 good fit

I didn't seat this more than 1/2 way. I just wanted to get an idea of the fit and if it was going to together. I want to minimize how many times I seat the tails/pins because this is pine and I don't want to lose the snug fit I have.

 came today

These aren't exactly what I wanted. I like the size of the knob but I don't like how to attach them. I am not fond of knobs attached with wood screws. I have yet to have one not loosen through use. The site didn't have pic of them showing the back hole for the screw. I thought I was buying shaker knobs with a tenon.

 back in stock

I want to start putting string inlays in my boxes and I needed this. It has been back ordered for several months. I paid for it and told LV to ship when it came back in stock. As far as I know Lie Nielsen doesn't sell string inlay tools anymore.

 this worked

Backing up with this wood block worked for not splitting out the thin web when I used it. That thin web also doesn't give me much wiggle room for planing/sanding the top.

 last one

All four corners fitted up snugly. I didn't' escape gap free though. Fingers crossed that the glue will swell them shut.

 for tomorrow

I am thinking of using a stopped dado for the back. Another contender is a frame and panel which the more I think of it, the more I am liking it. I could make the frame out of 3/8" stock and use 1/8" plywood for the panels. I'll have to wait and see which way the wind blows me.

 on my desk after I killed the shop lights

According to the Canadian Post Tracking I wasn't supposed to get this until the 25th. These are replacement screws for Lie Nielsen router planes. Mine aren't chewed up yet and I have trouble tightening them with the LN screwdriver. Looking forward to give these the acid test. I don't remember the size but I will buy a handled ball driver for it off Amazon. 

I don't know if this new screw will fit in the small LN router. I'll find that out in the AM too.

The temp when I went on my walk today was 38F (3C). The wind was blowing hard and long out of the NW and it was )&@$^&%)*_)@ cold. I had to walk into the wind for the first half and have it blowing on my back for most of the 2nd half. I almost didn't go it felt so cold. 

The weather has gone from being in the 50'sF (11C) to this. I saw frost by the back door this AM when I went grocery shopping. The overnight temps going into next week will be hovering around 32F (0C). Wasn't the first day of spring yesterday?

accidental woodworker

Here’s an Asian who rocks. And maybe moonwalks, too.

Giant Cypress - Fri, 03/22/2024 - 3:08am

Here’s an Asian who rocks. And maybe moonwalks, too.

Happy Friday!

Seat Blanks for Sale

Elia Bizzari - Hand Tool Woodworking - Thu, 03/21/2024 - 9:08am

I’ve been doing some spring cleaning. Yesterday and today I’ve been hauling pine seat blanks into the attic from where they’ve been air-drying outside. Before that, I was going through more seats upstairs, making room. The upshot is that I have found some surplus seats. They are surplus for various reasons. The white pine is either surplus because it has cracks (I’m selling it cheap for glue-ups) or because I found a pile of nice seats that I sent with Seth to the Handworks show in Iowa. Some of these seats came back, so I figure I might as well throw them in here. The rest of the seats are surplus because they are of a species that I am no longer interested in making seats out of. I’ve gotten lazy in my old age and don’t want to mess with anything but white pine and butternut. So I’m posting them here.

Please Note: I really don’t want to ship these seats. This is for a couple reasons. I don’t know how to grade these things. Plus I live in humid NC and, while the seats have all been air-dried for several years, they are still somewhere between 10 and 20% EMC. I don’t know what they’ll do if I ship them to the desert. All told, there’s too much room for disappointment. But if I can’t sell them otherwise, I might be willing to ship some of them without a warranty. It makes my nervous, but I need them out of here and they’re too good to burn.

With that in mind, here they are:

Buckeye: These are the widest seats I’ve ever had. The one in the photo is 27 to 29″ wide and well over 2″ thick. It may be close to 2.5″ The ones that I have carved had some curl – pretty, but tough. They also grew with a twist, which means they are more likely to twist. These broads are six or eight years old and still pretty flat, but that can still change. I have three boards, 5-6′ long. $4/bf

A stack of nice white pine seats. Came from Michigan. $70/seat (I definitely will not ship these, but these folks do)

White pine for two-piece seats: I have enough of this for maybe 10 or 15 seats. $3/bf

Elm: This stuff is very hard. It’s also rather pretty, in a greenish sort of way. Like all elm, it has interlocking grain, which makes it impossible to split (a benefit for seats), very hard to carve, and very likely to twist. Most English Windsor chair seats were made out of this stuff. I have a half dozen boards of varying widths up to 22″ or so. They’re maybe 6′ long. $5/bf

Walnut: This is mostly some stuff that I had sawn eight or ten years ago. It’s really nice walnut, air-dried with lots of color. Most of it is pretty clear. Some of it is 8′ long or so. $120/seat (this one has a couple cracks, so it’s $80)

The post Seat Blanks for Sale first appeared on Elia Bizzarri - Hand Tool Woodworking.
Categories: Hand Tools

cardiologist appt.......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 03/21/2024 - 3:34am

I like my cardiologist because he listens to my questions and answers them. He doesn't talk down to me or try to talk over my head neither. Its nice to have an understanding of why and what medications he prescribes for me but what they do for me. I spent about 40 minutes with him without feeling like I was getting the bum's rush out the door.

The upside of the visit is he is impressed with how active I am. He mentioned that he had trouble keeping up with me walking to his office. The downside is I'll have to start using a CPAC machine for my sleep apnea. He also told me to keep losing weight because that helps with A Fib as will the CPAC machine.

I have to go back on monday for an EKG because he stopped one med and started me on a new one. I'll ask him to put in the order for a CPAC when I see him again then. Not looking forward to that because my brother in law hates using his.

 totally different

The one I made for daughter #1 wasn't as wide (R/L) as this one. I like the proportions and drawer layout as is. This is about 36" R/L and 8" high. I might keep this for myself and use it in the shop for tool storage.

 some butt scratching

I have to make 11 stopped dadoes for the drawer dividers. The tricky part is they aren't all in line with each other. Such as the divider between the two drawer openings here. I will have to dry fit and square up the carcass first and then layout the dadoes, chop them, test the fit, and then assemble and dry fit the only thing before gluing it up. 

 I like this drawer

This drawer arrangement reminds of Gerstner machinist tool chests. This appeals to me because I like boxes first and drawers second for storing things. 

 keeping this

I rode the fence for a few minutes about dividing the top into 3 or 4 drawer openings. Since I like the overall look of the carcass I'm sticking with the Shaker Brother who designed (?) and made this in 1820. I wonder what these two top drawers were used to stow then?

 this sucks pond scum

The other two boards are still dead flat and straight. This is the bottom and it cupped after planing it to thickness. It is about a 16th off on the two outside edges. The bottom drawers will be riding in/out on this and it needs to be flat front to back.

 doing some layout

I am sticking or I'll try to stick with the drawer openings from the original. I did a rough layout to see how much I need to lose on the end panels. The end panels were running way long here.

 found my oops

I had sawn the ends panels to finished height and did the dado layout again and I was way off. The top drawer openings are 1 5/8" high and mine here were almost 3". It didn't dawn on me that I was doing the layout with the panel in the wrong orientation. Flipping it 90° fixed that headache. My drawer layout was still a wee bit off for the top drawer at a couple of frog hairs shy of 1 5/8.

 tails on one end panel done

I got this done just before lunch. I didn't want to start the other one and leave it partially completed. I'll pick this back up in the AM.

One thing I feel lucky about is doing the order of operations for making things. It is a gift I am thankful for a lot. I just seem to know instinctively how and what to do and more importantly, the order in which to do it. Here I have to do the end panels first and then layout for the dadoes and chop them. Once that is done I can get the finished dimensions for the dividers.

I am still wrestling with what to do about the back of this drawer unit thing. I have never seen a pic of the back of this or any other one. I can use plywood or solid wood for it but how to install attach it is causing some headaches. More than likely the back will be a visible part of this so the back will have to have a finished appearance. 

A second wrestling match is the drawer bottoms. None of the drawers except the middle bottom one are going to have a lot of interior height to them. I am leaning in the direction of using slips but I'm stuck on what to use for the bottoms. My choices are off cuts from the drawers, 1/8" plywood, or so called 1/4" plywood. That decision can wait for a few more days.

 half blind dovetail rabbet trick

Over the past few months I have made a bazillion half lapped drawers using this rabbet trick. I won't ever make another half lapped dovetailed anything without using this technique.

 nailed it

I measured and set the fence on the plane and made two passes with it. The baseline on the tails is dead on. No hints of daylight on almost every tail/pin.

 laying out the dovetails

I missed the number of tails - I have six and the original has 5. I thought that if I wanted 5 tails I had to step off 6 times with the dividers. Now I know that if I want 5, I step off five. Will I remember this for the next time?

accidental woodworker

A Housekeeping Treasure (?)

The Barn on White Run - Wed, 03/20/2024 - 9:25am

A component of my routine in the shop these days is surveying, sorting, and dispensing of the tools laying here, there, and everywhere.  Now that I am in my 70th year and have two handy sons-in-law and soon to be two grandsons I am either dispensing or dispersing many of the tools immediately or presumptively.  Genuine tool sets for L’il T and the soon-to-come Baby T (for Baby Tyrannosaurus, the moniker for L’il T’s baby brother in utero, I suspect the final name will be different) are well underway.

One of the treasures(?) I came across was yet another infill plane, a truly challenging project for the future.  As near as I can tell none of the adjunct components belong together with the original chassis so I can assume great latitude in the restoration of the tool.  It’s raggedy but solid, so the end result should be solid but less raggedy once I get around to bringing it back to life.

Categories: Hand Tools

Three of Thirty Six Views of Mount Fuji

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 03/20/2024 - 4:00am
Mount Fuji from the mountains of TtmiMount Fuji from the mountains of Ttmi
Christie's auction house is currently exhibiting one of the few complete sets of woodblock prints known as "Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji" by the Edo-period master woodblock artist Katsushika Hokusai. The set, which was printed in 1830-1835, is Hokusais "most iconic print series," according to Christie's. The complete set actually consists of 46 prints because Hokusai added 10 prints to the series. If you're thinking of adding the series to your own walls, bear in mind that Christie's has set the estimate between 5 to 7 million dollars. These prints were made by printing from multiple carved wooden plates, each with a different color. This is hard to do. The prints' detail and complexity show the work of a true master of the craft. Of the set of forty six prints, three are of special interest to woodworkers.

The first of the three prints (above), "Mount Fuji from the mountains of Ttmi," shows two sawyers slicing up a giant beam with a gentleman at the bottom sharpening up a saw. I find it interesting that they are each using a one man saw, and cutting different kerfs. In the West, this would have been done with two-person saws, on a horizontally laid log, one sawyer at the top, another at the bottom. The log also seems to be pretty huge, and I don't know if this is reality or an exaggeration for the print - which could explain the absence of a two-person saw. In Toshio Odate's "Japanese Woodworking Tools" Odate shows a one-person timber saw, exactly like the one in the print, but no two-person saws. I do not know if two-person saws were a thing in Japan. While all the prints are fairly small, the detail in them is amazing. These close-ups are at most an inch across.

Mount Fuji from the mountains of Ttmi - Detail of Saw FilerMount Fuji from the mountains of Ttmi - Detail of Saw Filer

For any big sawing job, you would naturally want a saw filer sharpening saws as you worked so that you could switch to sharper saws during the day. This saw filer is focused on his job with his left hand steering the file and holding the saw steady, while the other hand pushes the file. The handle of the saw has been removed, though I do not know why.
Mount Fuji from the mountains of Ttmi - Detail of Top Man SawingMount Fuji from the mountains of Ttmi - Detail of Top Man Sawing
While the tooth profiles are draw in all the saws in the print, they seem more stylized than accurate. But both sawyers are putting their back into it and exerting a lot of effort.
Mount Fuji from the mountains of Ttmi - Detail of Bottom Man SawingMount Fuji from the mountains of Ttmi - Detail of Bottom Man Sawing

Fujimi Field in Owari ProvinceFujimi Field in Owari Province

The other two images were ones I'd never seen before. In "Fujimi Field in Owari Province," we see a bath maker at work (I am pretty sure it's a bath, not a large flat barrel). Baths are made essentially the same way you would make a large barrel, by tightly fitting the staves of the sides together. The maker is using an early predecessor of a Japanese plane called a Yari-Kanna to smooth the inside areas in which the bathers would lean against. This operation would probably not have been needed on a barrel.
Fujimi Field in Owari Province - DetailFujimi Field in Owari Province - Detail

Honjo TatekawaHonjo Tatekawa, The Timberyard at Honjo, Sumida
Finally, we have "Honjo Tatekawa, The Timberyard at Honjo, Sumida." On the left side of the print, there is a huge pile of wood, carefully stickered and stacked to dry. A guy at the bottom of the pile is throwing a sawn board up to the man at the top of the pile to continue stacking. On the right another man is sawing more lumber into thinner boards. He has already started a few kerfs at the top so he won't have to move the board again past the support until he has sawn all the boards. Notice the little wedge stuck in the top of the kerf he is working on. It also seems that once he is done they tie together boards from the same log so customer can get matching grain if they want. It initially struck me that in both prints of sawyering that having the board on an angle, not flat, would be annoying and dangerous, but after a bit of a think it makes a lot of sense. The sawyers are all bending over to work but if the board was horizontal they would have to pull their saw straight up, which would be physically a lot harder. Having the board at an angle makes the sawing a lot easier on the back.
Honjo TatekawaHonjo Tatekawa, The Timberyard at Honjo, Sumida - Detail

PS - for information on the process used in creating these prints there are many great YouTube videos. But for a book - here is a book from 1916 on the subject of printing using Japanese block printing techniques.

it was looking good.......

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 03/20/2024 - 3:26am

 My day started out pretty good in spite of me rolling out of the rack late. I mailed out one of the planes to its new owner. I got the picture frame and painting to Maria and she going to remount the painting. If I had known that was a possibility things would have been different. I should have that in a couple of weeks. I also got all the stock for the first drawer unit thing to the thicknesses I need. All this before lunch. It was looking good.

 it is staying here

I am not hauling this back down to the cellar only to haul it back out in a couple of days. Especially so with it being so cold this morning. The wind was blowing out of the north and it was chilling me to the bone. I would plane a little and go back inside to warm up my fingers. On the upside the wind blew a lot of the sawdust away - less for me to sweep up.

 first run done

The top, bottom, and the two end panels were thicknessed to 5/8". All the others were planed down to 1/2".

 the other drawer stock

These are too short to run through the lunchbox planer safely. I will get the width close on the bandsaw and then plane the rough sawn face smooth and to thickness. These are all for drawers so I don't have to go nutso anal on them. Getting everything +/- a frog hair will be good enough.

 door clips

Getting these reminded me that I still haven't gotten the star washers or the one screw I need to install both of these on the bandsaw.

test cuts

The cuts aren't dead nuts perfect. The numbers on the gauge confirmed what my eyeballs saw. The cut is slightly tapered from the bottom to the top running out away from the left side of the blade.

 not good

I was having troubles (big time) trying to get the blade square to the table. The door opened and this is what I saw. The blade should be running in the center of the wheel (on the bottom one too).

Still having problems with the screw that tilts the top wheel which governs how the blade tracks on the wheels. I couldn't turn it when I had too. Even with slip joint pliers I couldn't turn it. Didn't want to do it but I had to take the top wheel off to investigate again.


This blows my thoughts on what I suspected was toast. I was expecting the end of this bolt to chewed up and impossible to fully screw out. Instead the end of it is almost brand new looking and no hiccups screwing it out and back in.


It goes from about the 1130 CCW over to the 0300 position. The problem was the wheel was hitting the inside cover in a few spots as it turned and I couldn't use the tilting screw to correct it.

 this ain't looking good

I can see why the tilt screw is stalling and won't turn anymore. Just one problem with different metals of different hardness that bear on each other. The tilt screw is basically trying to thread itself into this tilt arm.

will it work?

I filed the burrs off the tilt arm and filed a round over on the end of the screw. I'm hoping that with the sharpness on the end gone that it will turn on the tilt arm without trying to dig into it.

This wasn't my first choice. My first idea was to drill and tap a hole where the screw meets the tilt arm. I would then put something like a Tee bolt in the hole. The 'tee' part would then be a flat surface for the tilt screw to bear on and turn. And it would be replaceable if needed. This may still happen if this first fix goes south on me.

 paper check

I stuck a piece of paper behind the wheel to check for any binding. The wheel is close to touching it but the wheel didn't grab the paper anywhere 360.

It took me a lot of frustrating minutes to get the blade to track anywhere near the middle of the wheel. A lot of it had to do with the )(^($@$)(%* tilt screw. Much easier to screw in but getting the blade to cooperate and play ball ate up a lot of calories.


Finally got the blade square to the table. It seemed like even the bandsaw dust was being a PITA with squaring the blade. I can't argue with this - no daylight here is a good thing.

 needs some support

I noticed earlier that the far end of the fence was toeing out to the left as I pushed the stock through. I have piece of wood under the table and this one up tight against the fence. I saw no more deflection when I sawed a couple of more test pieces.

 test cuts

For the most part the offcut looked kind of ok. The taper I saw before is now gone but I can see that the top and bottom on each end aren't the same. It is minute but I can see it. Also didn't do the +/- math without the decimal point - confused me. I wanted to see what the numbers were from reading it with calipers.

 very close

I planed the bandsawn face and I am less than a frog hair off across the 3 of them.


Had another idea. Rather than shit canning the roughly 1/4" off cut from thinning the drawer sides I can use them to make drawer bottoms. The thickness is just shy of 3/16". I don't have a warm and fuzzy about using it for the 17" (L/R) drawers but I should be able to use this for the other 5 drawers.

 added and subtracting correctly

I redid the math and converted some fractions to decimal to visualize how much the cuts were. Everything is off less than a 64th to a 32nd on the first one I did (3rd from the top). I would be a lot happier if the numbers were all the same but I think the differences aren't enough to write home about. These were all measured off the rough bandsawn face too. If I remember it I'll take a second reading now that I've smoothed the bandsawn faces. 

Too late to run these through the bandsaw for today. I'll do that in the AM and start on making the drawer thing. Fixing the bandsaw again ate up 90% of my PM session time. Tomorrow isn't going to be much better time wise because I have an appointment with my cardiologist at 1300 tomorrow.

accidental woodworker

Were dovetails used on historic English chests?

Working By Hand - Tue, 03/19/2024 - 7:54am

When woodworkers build modern chests, they often use dovetails, and let’s face it – dovetails are extremely strong for this purpose, and they may be the most aesthetically pleasing of all the joints. But what about historic chests? In Ancient Coffers and Cupboards, [3] Fred Roe looks at how these were built from “the dark ages” until the 16th century. The coffer was a box of great strength, intended for the keeping and transporting weighty articles – essentially a strongbox, or small chest. Roe’s book contains numerous illustrations of these coffers over the ages, many ornately decorated. But how were these ancient chests held together? Were they festooned with dovetails?

The simple answer is probably not, or rather we don’t know.

As we know, the ancient Egyptians were already using dovetails in high-end carpentry. There is evidence from the Roman architect Vitruvius, in his Ten Books of Architecture (25BC) on the construction methods for roof beams, including the use of “dove-tailed tenons”. So it is possible that these methods were used in Roman Britain. But while we have this information, it’s a gargantuan leap from the ancient world to the more widespread use of dovetails in England starting circa 1600. Were the “Dark Ages” so dark woodworking didn’t evolve? We do know that much of the technology introduced by the Romans in Britain was lost in the years after their decampment. There is some evidence of the existence of dovetailed chests in England from early times. A monk present when the tomb of St Cuthbert (who died 687, but was reburied numerous times) was opened in 1104 observed that one of the chests containing the remains was “joined and united by the toothed tenons of the boards which come from this side and from that to meet one another, and by long iron nails” [2].

Fig.1: Dovetail joint from [3]

In Old Oak Furniture, also by Fred Roe [4], he talks about chests during the Gothic period (12th C-mid 16th C)- “they were always fastened together with wooden pegs or trenails, iron only being used for hinges, clamps, and locks.”. He goes on to say that dovetailing when practised at all, in the 13th and 14th centuries was done so in a secret form – it was carried out in a singular manner, being worked perpendicularly down the inner part of the uprights (stiles), so as to be invisible from the front (see Figure 1). This is basically a vertical sliding dovetail, with curved dovetails, seemingly a lot of work for a joint that was hidden (never mind the curves!). A series of small fan-tailed mortises interlocking with each other at the corners may be sometimes seen on late Gothic coffers, such as that in the church at Evesham [4] (see Figure 2). In England it was unlikely this form of dovetailing was practised before the start of the 16th century.

Fig.2: Visible dovetail joint ca. 16th century [4, p.137]

There is an excellent example of a barber-surgeon’s chest from the wreck of Tudor ship Mary Rose which sank on July 19th, 1545. Constructed of walnut, it has multiple dovetailed corners reinforced with nails. Other dovetailed chests were constructed of elm, oak, walnut and poplar. What is interesting here is that most of the chests on board the Mary Rose were of boarded construction, either butted or rebated and either nailed or pegged together [1]. During this period, dovetail construction was generally the purvey of continental furniture. Author David Knell makes the point that dovetail chests were imported into into England from places such as Germany and northern Italy during the Tudor and early Stuart period, although he also points out that there is no evidence the chests weren’t made in England (perhaps by immigrant craftsmen) [1].

The reality is that we really don’t know much about the history or evolution of dovetails. Was the English dovetail an offshoot of the sliding dovetail used in making early chests or did it evolve from the use of dovetails in English house construction? Was it integrated into British woodworking from the woodworking practices of immigrants craftspeople from the continent? A large scale study of the history of woodworking joints has never been undertaken. The only way to begin to understand the history of dovetails would be to investigate furniture joints throughout history. This doesn’t really tell us how or why, but it would give a picture of when. But it is also fraught with issues related to finding wooden furniture pieces from relevant periods.

Regardless of all these unknowns, the use of dovetails from 1600 onward had repercussions in the cabinetmaking industry. For instance the mortise and tenon joints used in building carcasses required lumber to be a minimum of 25mm thick, whereas dovetails would reduce this, likely to something more like 18mm. By the late 17th century, dovetails were a common feature in drawers, and by the mid 1700s, the broad dovetails sometimes hidden by mouldings had narrowed into finer ones.

P.S. The German word for a dovetail joint is Schwalbenschwanzverbindung, quite a tongue-twister! It is actually the German for a swallowtail joint, as on the continent there are various names including culvertail and fantail joint.

  1. David Knell, “Tudor Furniture from the Mary Rose“, Regional Furniture, XI, pp.61-79 (1997)
  2. Penelope Eames, Furniture in England France and the Netherlands from the Twelfth to the Fifteenth century, Furniture History Society (1977)
  3. Fred Roe, Ancient Coffers and Cupboards Their History and Description from the Earliest Times to the Middle of the Sixteenth Century, Methuen & Co. (London) 1902
  4. Fred Roe, Old Oak Furniture, Methuen & Co. (London) 1905
Categories: Hand Tools


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