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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

An aggregate of many different woodworking blog feeds from across the 'net all in one place!  These are my favorite blogs that I read everyday...

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General Woodworking

Do you want to know a secret?

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 3:16pm

There are certain things in life that are exciting just because they are taboo, from tobacco, to alcohol, to women. I never thought that woodworking would make that list, but for me it has. A few months back I had picked up a few Ash and Bubinga boards with the intention of turning them into a smoothing plane over the summer. Of course, my woodworking plans were hijacked by an angry wife waging her own jihad against me and my hobby. But, over the course of an hour or so this past Sunday morning I managed to sneak in a little clandestine woodworking while my wife was out.

Like a member of the French Resistance, I kept up the front of being a fully capitulated citizen of my house, completely accepting the loss of my freedom, and fully okay with the enemy occupation of my dreams. Secretly I raged inside, ready to woodwork at the first given opportunity, and to remind myself that even though I was a prisoner, my heart could not be swayed. So when the opportunity arose I seized it!

Unfortunately there isn’t much else to tell as I did not get much accomplished. The Ash board I am working with is remarkably straight-grained, flat, and square, and there was very little I needed to do in order to prepare the wood. I sawed the “frog” board at 45 degrees, and the ramp board at around 60 degrees using my table saw. Because the wood is in such good condition, the saw cuts came out perfectly, and I needed to do nothing else but lightly sand both ramps using a sheet of 150 grit sand paper on my table saw bed. I then took the Bubinga board which I am using for the cheeks and cut it in half with a backsaw. I decided to end it at that, as I want the newly sawn wood to sit for at least a few more days before I mess with it again.

a future plane

a future plane



It’s surprisingly easy to make a functioning hand plane out of wood. Of course there are levels to how highly functioning that plane will be, and that part lies in the skill of the maker. But just about anybody can make a jack or scrub plane. The most difficult part for me will be making the recess for the cap iron nut. On the last plane I made I did it with a chisel and a router plane, and though it turned out just fine it took quite a while to fine tune the recess to where I wanted it to be. This time I think I will define the rebate with a chisel, remove the bulk of the waste with an electric router, and clean it up once again using a chisel.

I also plan on attempting some fancy curves. The last two planes I made work just fine, but they have a utilitarian look to them. I think this time I would like to try something new. As of now the plane sits at just over a foot long. After all is said and done I’m hoping for a plane 9 inches in length. If all goes well I should have the recess cut out and the plane glued up this coming Sunday. The fancy curves will have to wait until the following week. That is unless the gestapo my wife finds out.

Categories: General Woodworking

Can You Smell It?

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 2:18pm

For the last couple days, there’s been an odd and slightly offputting scent lingering in the air wherever I go (and yes, I’ve showered). I’m pretty sure it’s the ripe smell of panic. It just hit me that Woodworking in America is less than three weeks away (Sept. 12-14 in Winston-Salem, N.C.). In my brain, the conference is still months from now. In reality, it is fast upon us. I […]

The post Can You Smell It? appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking


The Barn on White Run - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 12:22pm

Periodically to take a break from sitting and writing, I get out of the recliner and hike up the hill to spend a little time puttering in the barn.  I am getting much faster at writing over time — I penned the thousand-word introductory essay for the new l’Art du Menuisier: The Book of Plates in about two hours, but still it is simltaneously exhilarating and tedious.  Since I know I have to get back to work to stay on track, my times in the barn are short and the activities brief and episodic for several more days.


In addition to periodically loading the solar wax melter to purify more beeswax I grab a scrub plane to continue the flattening of a maple slab I glued up several winters ago.  It is destined in short order to become a Roubo-hybrid bench in my barn studio, perhaps even under the east bank of windows.  The “hybridization” of the bench will be in the form of another Emmert K1 vise, a tool I consider unsurpassed in the bench world.

The 18″-wide maple slab was out-of-flat by more than a quarter inch and I do not own a power planer that large and the darned thing is just too heavy to take to a friend’s shop where a planer that large sits.  A few minutes of scrubbing here and a few minutes of scrubbing there adds up, and now the slab is flat enough to start laying out the legs.


Ten feet away my old Roubo bench I built for my conservation studio at the Smithsonian, where the climate control was perfect all theim time,  developed a 1/2″(!) crown once I moved it to the unregulated environment on the south side of the barn.  I will also will be taking a whack at that as a vigorously physical respite from writing.

Another fortnight or less and the first draft of VIRTUOSO will be done.

Pondering Details – or Outlay for Inlay

McGlynn On Making - Tue, 08/19/2014 - 7:21am

Last weekend I worked through most of the design for an Arts & Crafts bookcase, to the point where  I’m pretty comfortable with the scale, style and proportions.  I think the joinery is going to be rock solid.  I have some concerns about getting the sliding dovetail to work properly, and about getting clean through mortises, but otherwise the construction is relatively straightforward.

What’s missing?  Aside from some spectacular and unusually wide Quartersawn White Oak planks, I need to sort out the accents that will make this piece “pop”.  I want to have inlay on the back splashes (at least) and a subtle but coordinated stained glass design for the doors.

Most craftsman furniture had relatively simple, abstract geometric inlay designs.  My understanding is that these are generally attributed to Harvey Ellis.  There is even a place (Mission Furnishings) that reproduces these designs in veneer sheets to glue down to a substrate.

There cabinet doors with veneered "inlay" (marquetry, really) panels

There cabinet doors with veneered “inlay” (marquetry, really) panels

Many of these designs were vertically oriented, fitting onto door stiles, table legs or chair slats.  That’s a small conundrum, as the area I want to decorate is horizontal.  There are a couple of “textbook” Ellis designs for horizontal areas, like this one:

Original Ellis' design

Original Ellis design

And others that could certainly be adapted.  The veneered panel seems like a simple approach, especially if I could click on a web page and have a canned design delivered that I just need to glue down — but it’s not as satisfying.  I also want a design that will coordinate with whatever I do in the stained glass for the doors.  I also know that I’ll  be dying this piece, and the idea of masking the inlay to keep it from getting colored isn’t a satisfying feeling.  I can just see the dye leaching under the masking stencil and ruining the inlay.  Ick.

Another Ellis design

Another Ellis design

There is another factor, which is that a lot of Greene & Greene furniture had delicate inlay designs using wood, shell and metal, and I want to learn how to do that myself.  I’ve been greedily gathering videos, images and articles for a while, and I’m eager to try this out.  William Ng has taught a class on G&G Inlay in the past, but I don’t see it on his 2015 schedule (rats!).

Detail of inlay drawing from the Thorsen house

Detail of inlay drawing from the Thorsen house

Some of the G&G inlay was silver wire and shell and relatively simple design, like on this table and chair from the blacker house.  The weaving vine and petals on the leg are obvious (if not completely clear), but you will need to look closer to see the matching detail on the table top.  In fact, I want to make this exact table as a practice project to learn inlay. (I wonder if my wife will let me get away with that before the bookcase?)

One example of G&G inlay

One example of G&G inlay

Other Greene & Greene inlay was significantly more complex, like this example from a desk done for the Pratt house in Ojai, Ca.  The tree was inlaid in different species of wood, left proud of the surface and carved.  I love the organic feel and the Japanese influence of the design.

Detail of an inlaid desk done for the Pratt house

Detail of an inlaid desk done for the Pratt house

My understanding of the process is the the individual pieces are cut out and then either singly or as a unit scribed onto the surface which is then excavated with a tiny router bit and chisels.  The inlay is then glue into place, and either sanded flush or textured.  Obviously any dying would have to be done before wood was inlaid, although metal and shell could be done before dying.

I found a video that demonstrated the process of doing a flush inlay nicely.  I’m definitely going to buy a tiny router base for my Foredom tool and give this a try soon.

I still don’t have a handle on the inlay design to use on the bookcase, but I’m staring at lots of stained glass and inlay designs (and pottery, tile and textile patterns) looking for inspiration.  Once I get a better bead on where I’m headed I’ll add some designs to my CAD model and see how it feels.  For now I’m going to watch that video again…



Categories: General Woodworking

I Like Wall Boxes

The Furniture Record - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 8:40pm

I like wall boxes. It could be because they are things I can afford. Or things that I can make quickly. Or I just might like wall boxes. A few months back I walked through the local antiques mall and noticed the dealers there also had a fondness for wall boxes.

There was this rather large one:

This box is a bit more complex than most. Click to see details and a different views of the knobs.

This box is a bit more complex than most. Click to see details and a different views of the knobs.

All these boxes have rather interesting knob. Like this smaller one:

Smaller, simpler wall box. Feet indicate it might not technically be a wall box. Click to see the square knob.

Smaller, simpler wall box. Feet indicate it might not technically be a wall box. Click to see a square knob.

Here is a smaller box with interesting details:

Box has interesting, carved ornamentation. Click to see the faceted knob.

Box has interesting, carved ornamentation. Click to see the faceted knob.

All these are possible future projects. Eventually.

This piece made me think it might be contemporary:

Something from Bassett?

Something from Bassett?

until I looked at a drawer:

A Knapp joint. Covered in a previous blog..

A Knapp joint. Covered in a previous blog..

This means is was most likely made between 1890 and 1900. Not contemporary but not ancient.

Who made it is not a mystery:

It's a Paine. From Boston.

It’s a Paine. From Boston.

And a  gout rocker.

And a gout rocker.

Click HERE to see the entire set on flickr. Lots of interesting stuff in this one.

17th Century Woodworking, Peter Follansbee

The Craftsman's Road - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 5:09pm

Click here to subscribe on iTunes
Click here to subscribe on Stitcher Radio

On this weeks episode of the Craftsman’s Road Podcast we talk with Peter Follansbee .  Peter has specialized in 17th century woodworking, and is the author of ‘Making a Joint Stool from a Tree’, and many other 17th century woodworking related books. He has been featured in Popular Woodworking magazine, and teaches classes all across the united states. Peter just recently left Plymouth Museum after twenty years to venture out on his own. Check out up-coming classes on Peters web site(click on the above link),  let him know you heard him on the podcast.

Categories: General Woodworking

Logo .. hmmm ..

She Works Wood - Mon, 08/18/2014 - 6:45am
Here’s the latest mock up.  Still trying to decide if I like it better.  Thoughts?
Categories: General Woodworking

September is the time to make a carved oak box

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 6:37pm

This fall I’ll be teaching a class at Heartwood in making one of my carved oak boxes; and this might be the best shot yet at this class. The class size is small, about 6 students. As of right now, we are short of that number – we could use a couple more, so you could sign up and get in on a chance to delve into this subject in greater-than-usual detail. The class is Sept 22-26. The fall is my favorite time of year… 

We’ll be riving, carving and assembling boxes such as this:

carved box 2011

carved box 2011


Maybe this is the class to finally fit a till inside their box!




The setting is out of this world – I often get asked “when are you teaching in Massachusetts?” and this is my one-and-only right now. But it’s not eastern-MA with its congestion, noise, strip-mall mentality; this is bucolic western, far-western Massachusetts. It’s at the Heartwood School for the Homebuilding Crafts in Washington, Massachusetts. Those of us out in eastern MA have to look Washington up, because  we’ve never heard of it. It’s that nice. It’s all uphill for me, Washington in in the Berkshires, near the highest point of I-90 east of South Dakota. I live on the Jones River, about 15 feet above sea level.

I was a student in a timber-framing class there in 1984 – Will Beemer dug out a photo to prove it. Bottom center, head down, arms up. skinny, scruffy me. 

PF at Heartwood

Here’s more about the school – it’s quite a place.


Here’s the photo tour of the place: 


Fall in the Berkshires – I’m bringing my binoculars too. Come join us.



Tools that inspire

Design Matters - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 3:44pm
Note how the mechanism clamps to the beam via a wear plate

Note how the mechanism clamps to the beam via a wear plate

I’m a tool user – not a tool collector. However, I do have a soft spot for antique dividers and drawing tools. When some old buzzard moans,  ” They don’t make em like they used to”  it’s hard to find a better example than vintage drafting tools. Today I picked up these late 19th century German Silver trammel points. The detail is amazing.  Like many of these tools the craft of making them grew out of instrument making, so there’s a lot of crossover with watchmaking, surveyor, and navigation tools. Note how they clamp on the beam and DSCN3693have a wear plate to grip without marring the wood. I also like the design in the turnings. I can almost imagine that pattern in a table leg. Anyone have experience polishing German Silver?


George R. Walker

Back To The . . . Whatever.

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 9:40am
By most people's definitions, my wife and I are both trained artists. Our relationship started in the art room of what used to be, a progressive looking high school that paid a lot of attention to art and technology classes. (Sadly I know this is not the case any longer) Together and apart, we've taken more formal "art" classes than most people who graduate with an "art" major. 

It seeps into my woodworking some, but truthfully neither of us have made much use of this training other than raising our girls. We've consciously tried to bring them up to be imaginative creators and makers with pragmatic roots. There is a lot of drawing, painting, and sewing that goes on in my home. The sense of this has ramped up recently as I've been more visibly drawing myself Sitting at the drafting table, doing illustrations of joinery and other concepts to accompany the book I'm working on. 

You can read more about it HERE

My activity has seemed to spur more drawing activity by the girls, and some light arguing about who gets to use the Drawing Board. Our portable drawing board is 24" x 30" edge glued maple boards with oaken breadboard ends and a handle screwed to one side. It's a holdover from our art room days and we only have the one. One board and three daughters is problematic. 

The old soldier drawing board. It's been around a while.
Two of the three girls had birthdays coming up, we purchased new sketchbooks, drawing pencils, and kneaded erasers and I built some new drawing boards. One for each, including the non birthday girl. 

I picked up a section of 1/2" sanded plywood from the box store. Searching through the pile I actually found a show face that had a some curly figure to the grain. Back at the shop I cut the ply into three blanks 17 1/2" x 11 1/2", then I used the table saw to cut 1/4" x 1/2" rabbets all around the border. 

I ripped down some 1" thick black walnut into 1 1/4" wide pieces. planed them flat and smooth and plowed grooves to accept the lip of the plywood'e rabbet. 

I mitered and fitted the walnut into frames around the plywood. glue into the plowed grooves and some finishing brads to hold the frames in place. 

You may wonder why I used 1" thick frames and 1/2" ply. In essence the rabbet acts as a bare faced tenon and provides more strength to the joint, but it also leaves a slightly less than 1/2" recess in the back of the boards. With a couple of wide rubber bands,(a common accessory to drawing boards) they can easily place a sketchbook and maybe a tin of pencils in the recess and carry the whole thing by the handle where ever they want. 

I finished the boards with danish oil and a light furniture polishing wax and added a single screen door handle to one side. 

A fun little weekend style project that my girls will use for many years. How much better does it get. 

Just one more decent sized shop distraction to handle and I can get back to the medieval furniture I've immersed myself in lately. 

Ratione et Passionis.
Categories: General Woodworking

Four-squared Boards

Woodworker's Edge - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 6:25am

2M4A2095I needed a single board for a project that I’m building in an upcoming issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine. The only surface I need to look good is the front edge which faces the front of my cabinet. With no milled lumber available other than a few natural-edge cutoffs, I laid a straightedge on two of the cutoffs to remove the natural edges, made cuts at a band saw, jointed the edges and glued the two boards together to make one. A great method to stretch lumber on a project.

As I assembled the pieces, I thought back to classes in which I’ve taught woodworkers proper milling techniques using machines. Step one is to flatten a face. In my system, step two is to use a thickness planer to create a parallel face. For some woodworkers, step two is to square one of the edges while at a jointer, but I disagree. If you square an edge, does that edge remain square as you flatten the second face, especially while flipping the board end-for-end during the milling process to keep the exposed surfaces at equal moisture content? There’s a chance that it doesn’t – if your board rides up on an elevated edge of the planer bed, or if a small chunk finds its way under one of the corners as you send the piece through the planer, you could change the squareness of that edge of the workpiece. That makes step three, for me, to then create an edge that is square to both faces. It’s at this point that I often run crossways of students in the class.

Many woodworkers feel that it’s necessary (step four) that you rip the board at the table saw. Is it? The answer is that it depends. If you’re simply joining two or more boards in a panel glue-up, it’s not important that the boards are ripped into a four-square configuration. Why waste the wood. Make your step four at the jointer. In fact, one of the best techniques for hiding seams when assembling panels is to cut a board for a better grain match, which removes the four-square measurements from your board. If however, you’re preparing a board for use in your project, then make your step four at a table saw. You need to think through operations and not simply be guided by a set of rules. We all know that rules are to be broken.

If you’re preparing your lumber using handplanes, you need to go about the work differently. You also need to answer a question for me – what the hell is wrong with you? Milling lumber is grunt work. Use a machine for the grunt work and use your handplanes for finish work. C’mon man!

Build Something Great!


Categories: General Woodworking

How to Cut a Dado Joint with Hand Tools

Wood and Shop - Sun, 08/17/2014 - 3:01am


In my above video I show how to cut a simple dado joint with basic woodworking hand tools. What is a dado joint used for? A dado joint is used for securing shelves inside cabinets or book shelves.



Even though I have a nice tool buying guide (here), I’m still often asked for links to the tools that I use in my videos, so here is a list of tools that I used in this video:









In the dado video I show these basic steps:

  • Use a marking gauge to determine the distance of your dado joint from the edge of the board.
  • Hold the shelf piece against the other board, and hold the workpiece down with 1 or 2 holdfasts
  • Scribe the shelf piece onto the other board with a marking knife. This ensures a tight fit. Make a pencil mark so you’ll remember which edge goes into the joint.
  • Remove the holdfasts and shelf board then use a marking gauge to mark the desired depth of your dado joint: Approximately 1/3 – 1/2 of the way down.
  • Use a marking knife to create trenches for your backsaw
  • Use your cross cut back saw to cut close to your final depth
  • Use a bench chisel (smaller width than your dado joint) to pare out waste, but not all the way to your final depth.
  • Use a router plane (like my Stanley No. 71) to clean up the bottom of the dado joint and bring the joint down to its final depth.
  • Fit the shelf piece


This is a very simple way to make a dado joint and it’s faster (if making a couple dados) than setting up and shimming a dado stack on a table saw!




Uncupping a cupped top

McGlynn On Making - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 7:44am

I posted recently about how the top of the “Spider Table” I made 15+ years ago had developed a bad cup from the sun hitting the top surface and bleaching it out.  This caused the z-clips to pop out so the table was loose, and it was rocking on the base.  Not great.

The top of the table is badly cupped, there is at least 1/8" of light under the straightedge...

The top of the table is badly cupped, there is at least 1/8″ of light under the straightedge…

I sanded the top to remove any traces of the old finish (and stains and deep gouges), and led it face down on the garage floor for a week.  I misted it with water on both the top and the bottom once or twice during the week.

Tabletop, cupped side down on the floor.  I moved it off the MDF and directly onto the concrete after this picture was taken (and after I cleaned up the mess in the shop).

Tabletop, cupped side down on the floor. I moved it off the MDF and directly onto the concrete after this picture was taken (and after I cleaned up the mess in the shop).

Yesterday I checked it, and guess what?  It’s flat (well, flat-ish).  The cup is completely gone, although there are some small waves in the surface.  But it’s hugely better, the pictures don’t do the improvement justice.  I can do a bit more sanding today to smooth out the surface and get rid of the coarse sanding scratches, then layer on more finish.  I start with linseed oil, and probably spray a shellac topcoat next weekend.

Look Ma, no more cupping!

Look Ma, no more cupping!

Categories: General Woodworking

Country Workshops

Rundell & Rundell - Sat, 08/16/2014 - 6:51am

With sadness I read Peter Follansbee's blog post on the terrible loss of Naomi Langsner's husband Teo Reha in a logging accident. Particularly as I had spent time at Country workshops only a few weeks prior myself.

Out of respect to the Langsner family I'll keep my post on Jeff and my visit to Country workshops brief.

On leaving John and Nancy's home, we merely made a right hand turn from their driveway onto the Langsner's and wound our way up to the workshop. A beautiful old two story barn style building looking squarely down a valley in the Southern Appalachian mountains 

We arrived knowing that Drew was running a class that day, but had still welcomed us to visit. We spent a little over an hour there that day. 

Drew took time from his class to talk with us, which I'm very grateful for. In that short time we covered a lot of ground, classes, shaving mules and a lot of other stuff in between. And just as I've seen previously, you can see and sense the passion Drew speaks with when talking about what happens within those walls.

But outside of the conversations, just being there, in a place that has been the source of inspiration for so many others before me, was quite something. I'm sure I'll be back there sometime. There's too much to learn from Drew not to.

Categories: General Woodworking

Not Quite Radio Silence…

The Barn on White Run - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 7:23pm

… but certainly blogging quietness.

I’m in the midst of the critical phase where I am weaving the final threads and honing the organization of the VIRTUOSO manuscript.  I spent yesterday and today working into the night on the chapter on Studley himself and the winding path the ensemble took to arrive to us today.

That means I have completed the first draft of the introduction, the biography and provenance, the tool inventory with commentary (well, mostly, I have some questions to answer with the microscope in a couple of months), the chapter on the bench and vises is more than half done, the section on Studley’s Masonic heritage is due in a day or two from Spider Johnson, I have a good start on the woodworking-popular-culture chapter, and the conclusion is finished.

I hope to have the first draft complete enough in a week or so that I can send it to Narayan so we can start 1) picking out the mere multitude of pictures from the book from among the bazillion we have, and 2) outline the photographic and informational needs we have for the upcoming final trip.

Stay tuend.

SketchUp Class in Maine, September 8-12, 2014

Bob Lang's ReadWatchDo - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 6:21pm
In a few weeks I’ll be traveling to Maine to teach a week long SketchUp class for woodworkers at the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship. The class will be held September 8-12, 2014. There are still a few spots open, so … Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

Designing an Arts & Crafts Bookcase IV

McGlynn On Making - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 11:45am

So, where was I?  That’s right, trying to sort out the details on the joinery on the Craftsman-styled bookcase I’m designing.

I had the overall structure together, and I’d just shortened the through-tenons.  Originally the tenons we about two inches narrower than the bookcase was wide, so they nearly cut the case sides in half.  That would have been an unfortunate moment in the shop when I realized that, right?

So I changed the single wide tenons into two narrower tenons, and that took care of that.  But I still had the niggling concern about the overall strength where the wide pods joined the main unit, and to a lesser extent the strength of the center unit.  Except for the through tenons, the other shelf-to-sidejoinery was just short stub tenons.  And in they configuration, most of the glue area is long grain to end grain, not ideal.  So here is where we left off:

Previous version of the Bookcase

Previous version of the Bookcase

My concern is that there isn’t enough structure to keep the side pods from pulling out of the center unit, the only thing keeping it there are the 3/8″ long stub tenons on the ends of the shelves, back splash and toe kick.  The solution, I think, is to put some mechanical strength into that joint.  The best way I can think of is to substitute a sliding dovetail joint for the stub tenons.

The decision to add this joint gives me loads more confidence in the structure of the design, but it also sets off a small panic attack because it’s not at all forgiving in terms of fit.  If it’s too tight it won’t go together — or worse will seize up during assembly.  If it’s too loose it won’t have the strength it needs.  There can be a lot more slop in a hidden tenon.

So the first thing I did was go look at how people make this joint.  It could be done with hand tools, but I doubt I’ll do it that way.  So the more common approach is to use a dovetail bit in a router to cut the slot and shape the flared tenon.  I looked at bit sizes and found a Whiteside bit that will make a large enough cavity without having to re-set the alignment to cut the groove wider.  When I do this, I’ll remove the bulk of the waste with a straight 5/8″ bit in several passes.  Then I’ll use the dovetail bit just to cut the walls and a shaving off of the floor of the groove.  I drew up a diagram of the joint in 2D to check out the router bit geometry and make sure it will work as I hope.

Mockup of the sliding dovetail joint I'm using

Mockup of the sliding dovetail joint I’m using

Once I’d figured out the process (at least the theory of the process) and finished talking myself into this change I updated the CAD model.  I removed the stub tenons on the two middle shelves in the sides and in the center unit, and added the dovetail.  I added the dovetail slot in the case sides and fixed up the model as necessary.  The top and bottom shelves on the side pods still have through twin tenons on one end and stub tenons on the other end.  I could change those to sliding dovetails too, but I don’t think it’s necessary structurally, and the setup would be slightly different because of the stopped rabbet for the back.  I might still change those, I’ve been know to reverse myself on occasion.

This is the view of the back of the unit, with the ship-lapped back removed.

Back of modified case showing sliding dovetails for the middle shelves.

Back of modified case showing sliding dovetails for the middle shelves.

There are a couple of other “tweaks” to the design too.

The top profile on the back splashes now has an elliptical arc, I think this is a nice improvement.  Ralph (Accidental Woodworker) nudged me in this direction.  It was something I wanted to try, and I’m glad for the shove.  It sorta wakes things up.

The doors are different now too.  I made the stiles and top rail wider by a quarter of an inch, and the bottom rail wider by a full inch.  I think the wider bottom rail is an improvement.  I added hinges and pulls – although I just made these pulls up, I don’t think you can buy them.  I’ll almost certainly having something similar but different (and commercially available).

Version 3 of the Bookcase

Version 3 of the bookcase design

The arc in the top of the back splashes looks more subtle than it is in this view.  In a straight-on view is more apparent I think.  Aesthetically, I don’t think I’m missing anything by omitting the through-tenons on the middle shelves.  I’m feeling pretty good about the overall visual impact and about the structural integrity of the unit.  I don’t think I have any problematic wood movement issues, and except for the sliding dovetails there isn’t anything too concerning in the construction.  The through tenons worry me a bit I guess, that might be fussy.

What’s left in the design?  A few details, mostly.  I want to add pins through the edge of the case sides to lock in the through tenons.  I want to try adding ebony pegs to the doors at the joints.  I want to play with adding  an inlaid design in copper and pewter to the back splashes.  And I need to design the stained glass panels for the doors.  Finally, I need to develop a set of plans that I can take out to the shop too – but that fairly simple since I have the whole think in 3D CAD, it’s just plunking parts on pages and organizing the dimension callouts.

Version 3 of the bookcase, front view, looking down

Version 3 of the bookcase, front view, looking down

Closeup showing door pull

Closeup showing door pull


Categories: General Woodworking

“Measure twice, cut once”- The Down to Earth Woodworker and his biggest mistake this year (so far)

Highland Woodworking - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 9:17am

legdetail1Every month in our Wood News Online publication, we feature Steve Johnson, the Down to Earth Woodworker, who provides a variety of woodworking project ideas, tips, and stories from his own recent experiences in the shop.

In this month’s DTEW column, Steve discusses his illegible handwriting, which started as a child and has never seemed to improve as he has grown older. Unfortunately, this has led to illegible graph paper plans for his current SawStop Outfeed Table project, in which he has ended up with table legs that are too long.

You can find out more about Steve’s SawStop Outfeed Table project, as well as read the entire Down to Earth Woodworking column for August, HERE.

The post “Measure twice, cut once”- The Down to Earth Woodworker and his biggest mistake this year (so far) appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Brusso Hardware

She Works Wood - Fri, 08/15/2014 - 7:31am
For many of my project I use Bursso hinges/hardware.  Its quality stuff that I got turned on to by Marc at the The Wood Whisperer.  The hardward is substanical quality brass and they even include the proper size steel screws to pre-thread your brass screw holes. A couple weeks ago they sent out a call […]
Categories: General Woodworking

Lawn Mower Blades: HSS, O1, A2, or PM-V11 (No Furniture Content)

The Furniture Record - Thu, 08/14/2014 - 8:15pm

Before my required weekly appointment with the lawn, I had to do some deferred mower maintenance. It is a self-propelled mower that had lost the self part. It was even hard to push. The teeth on the inner rim of the wheels and been mostly ground off. The bigger problem was the the the remaining tooth stubs would bind up against the drive gear and not propel, self or otherwise. The replacements of the wheels and the dust shields was uneventful. This surprised me.

While the mower was on the bench, I decided to check on the blade. I am ashamed to admit when I removed the blade, I had to stop and try to figure out which edge was supposed to be sharp. I don’t think I had been cutting the grass as much as annoying it.

What the blade is supposed to look like.

What the blade is supposed to look like.

As I was sharpening the blade, I started wondering if I would need to sharpened less often (more than two years) if the blades were made out of better steel. High speed steel (HSS) is a good material for general cutting tools but won’t hold an edge as long as other choices. A2 (air-quenched) is a very hard steel that holds an edge longer but is harder to sharpen. O1 (Oil-quenched) is easier to sharpen but doesn’t hold an edge as well. The chromium content of O1 is less than that of A2 steel and will also rust more readily. And finally Lee Valley’s PM-V11, the relatively new powdered metal alloy. Between A2 and O1 in hardness. The claim is that the powered metal is finer grained and more durable and impact resistant. Might be useful in a mower blade. In that Lee Valley already has a gardening line of products, I should be able to talk them into making the blade.

Now some of you engineer types might have issues with my proposed blade improvements. I will attempt to address them all below.

1. Expense – Rough calculations make me think that a high-speed steel blade would be around $300, A2 or O1 around $400 and a PM-V11 close to $500. If I only have to sharpen it every three years it might be worth it. One way to cut costs is to use the old method of laminating an expensive metal edge onto a cheaper blade body. Planes and chisels used to be made this way and I believe that some Japanese tools still are.

2. Brittleness – Harder steels tend to be brittle. One might think that an A2 mower blade hitting a rock at full speed might cause a catastrophic blade failure. I think after five years I have hit all the rocks that there are to hit. One solution might be to again laminate a hard edge on a softer blade. For additional safety, I might want to have a steel mower deck and not an aluminum or plastic one.

Based on the above discussion which steel would you recommend? (My first poll. How exciting!)

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='http://s1.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/shortcodes/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader'));

For my second poll, how do you sharpen your your mower blade?

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='http://s1.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/shortcodes/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader'));

It is easier to see where you mowed with a sharp blade. On the other hand, it is much easier to see shat you missed with a sharp blade. Now there is that whole oil change issue. I read somewhere that you should change your oil every 3000 miles. I’ve had the mower six years and even counting the year I had to mow the lawn of the house we owned and lived in and the house we owned and didn’t live in, I don’t think I have 3000 miles on it. If you believe the Car Talk guys, Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers (Tom and Ray Magliozzi), I should be able to get 5000 to 7500 miles between changes. It will be interesting to see if the engine fails before scheduled service.

Air filter wasn’t that bad. When I blew and banged it a bit, I could see the paper pleats.

Next, back to furniture.


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by Dr. Radut