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This is a collection of all the different blogs I (try to) read.  A whole bunch!  If you have any comments or suggestions feel free to use the CONTACT page to get a hold of me.  Thanks!

Be sure to visit the Hand Tool Headlines section - scores of my favorite woodworking blogs in one place.  Also, take note of Norse Woodsmith's latest feature, an Online Store, which contains only products I personally recommend.  It is secure and safe, and is powered by Amazon.


General Woodworking

Biltong Slicer #1

goatboy's woodshop - 6 hours 53 min ago


I haven’t had time to post for a while – lots going on – but I thought I should drop down a couple of lines on how the Biltong Slicer project is going.


This is the design I eventually came up with, and as you can see the design features that set it apart from the other one are: 1. the blade is integral to the 1chandle, 2. the base is shaped, rather than oblong, 3. the cutting board is more rustic than the original, and 4. the base includes a bowl, for the slices to fall into.

I began by making templates for the component parts, first on tracing paper, then onto 6mm ply. This is so that I can reproduce the parts if I should make a mistake, or even if I want to build another one in the future – you never know!

1eI then cut the components from a raggedy piece of walnut on my new Sawyer’s Bench, resawed them where necessary using the Kerfing Plane and Frame Saw, and dimensioned them. I did the same with the zebrano and acacia until I had the five main components i needed.

Then, using a gouge, I carved out the depression for the bowl, scraping and sanding until I had a decent finish. My next job will be to chop out a thin mortise for the blade and drill holes for dowels to join all the pieces together.


1b  1d  1f  1g

Filed under: Projects Tagged: biltong slicer

my granola recipe.......

Accidental Woodworker - 7 hours 50 min ago
Here it is Scott, my take on granola. I started making my own because I didn't like the offerings in the stores. I like the trail mixes but they are light on the oats (which I like) and heavy on the fruit and nuts. After I made my first batch many moons ago I haven't bought from the store since. It takes about an hour total before you're munching on it's crunchy goodness.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees
Put a sheet pan in the oven on the middle rack  and while the oven is preheating....

Dry Ingredients
3 cups of rolled or old fashion oats - this is one thing you can't substitute
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp of kosher salt
3 tbsp of light brown sugar
1/4 cup of shredded coconut - if you use roasted coconut skip adding it here and add it with the fruit and nuts at the end. I like to bake/roast my coconut because I like the flavor/crunch of it over it being uncooked. This is optional.

Mix this together in a big bowl and set aside - you'll be adding the wet to this so make sure it's big enough for that and for the mixing to come.

Wet Ingredients

1/4 cup of canola or veggie oil (corn oil would probably work too but I haven't tried that yet - I also want to try peanut oil and a flavored oil like walnut but they are expensive)
1/3 cup of honey
1 tsp of vanilla
1 tbsp of Grand Marnier (orange flavored liqueur) this is optional and there other liqueur flavors too

whisk these ingredients together until the honey and oil combine

Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until the oats are evenly coated
Spread the mixture out on the sheet pan in a thin even layer
Cook for 15 minutes turning the the sheet pan at the half way mark

After 15 minutes take the pan out of the oven and turn/mix the granola and lay it out evenly and put it back into the oven for another 15-20 minutes. I cook it until it gets to the brownness I like which is closer to 20 minutes with my oven. It will continue to brown after you take it out so it may take a bit of experimenting with your oven to get it to the level you like. Browner = crunchier

After you take it out of the oven let it cool for about 20-30 minutes. I found that if I start mixing it up after about 5 minutes and do that a couple of more times that the granola doesn't stick as much to the sheet pan as it cools. The honey will stick to the pan like glue to wood if you wait till the very end to mix it.

After it is cool to the touch add the fruit and nuts of your choice. The original recipe I got this from called for a 1/2 cup each of nuts/seeds and fruit. Not enough for me and I go nutso here.
I like raisins - I don't measure this I just eyeball it
Dried cranberries - I use the ocean spray ones as I think they are the best. They are moist, chewy, and packed with flavor. I throw in a boatload.
Walnuts - I like these and I add a lot of them. I also like pecans and mix these two sometimes. Peanuts are another nut I like alone or mixed.
Roasted unsalted sunflower seeds. I don't like the salted ones as they tend to make the granola too salty for my taste.
You can also add other fruits, seeds, or nuts of your liking.

I usually end up with about 2 cups (eyeball measurement) of fruits and nuts. I mix this in with the granola on the pan and then add it to a air tight container. I am not sure how long this keeps as the longest it has ever lasted for me has been 4 days. This will make about 4-5 cups.

Enjoy and you'll find that it's cheaper to make and better tasting than the stuff you buy in the stores.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What year did Disneyland open?
answer - 1955

Blacker Table Top, The Plan

McGlynn On Making - 9 hours 9 min ago

The next step in the construction of the Blacker table is to build the table top.  I’ve already glued up the wood for the main section, but need to run to the lumberyard for some thicker Sapele for the breadboard ends.  In my plans I originally made the top 3/4″ thick and the end caps 7/8″.  When machining the stock I left it thicker, at .930″ because it looked better, but that’s thrown a monkey wrench into my plans.  I need the end caps to be 1/8″ thicker than the top, which I can’t get out of 4/4/ material.  It also complicates making the fixture to cut the slot for the spline.  It seemed like a good idea at the time though, I like the extra visual weight of the thicker top.

I also decided to make the breadboard ends wider, going from 2″ to 2.5″.  This was in part aesthetics, and in part wanting more “meat” for the attachment screws.  The screws hide under the ebony plugs on the outside ends and drive into the tips of the tenons.  Since the tenons protrude 1.375″ into the ends, and I’ll need about a 1/4″ mortise for the ebony plug that leaves me a 1/2″ of wood in between.  Enough, but barely I think.  I may shorten the tenons by another 1/8″ just to be sure.

And finally, I did the layout for the inlay that goes in the top.  It is similar to the design on the legs, 1/16″ Silver wire for the main stem, 1/32″ wire for the smaller stems, silver and copper “buds” and Abalone leaves/petals.  It’s slightly abstract, but I like it.

Design for inlay on top

Design for inlay on top

Updated rendering with all changes

Updated rendering with all changes

So my to-do list includes sourcing wood for the breadboard ends, figuring out the jig to make the spline slots, making the breadboard ends and doing the top inlay.  I’m hoping to get the breadboard ends sorted out tomorrow and get on to the inlay by Sunday, but we have some family plans too so we’ll see how it goes.


Categories: General Woodworking

Nelson Platform Bench

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - 11 hours 37 min ago
Nelson Platform Bench

Editor’s note: During his time design director for Herman Miller, George Nelson recruited a series of talented designers including Ray and Charles Eames, Isamu Noguchi, Robert Propst and Alexander Gerard. During Nelson’s tenure, Herman Miller produced numerous iconic designs including, the Eams Lounge Chair, Marshmallow Sofa and Noguchi coffee table. And, as the literal foundation for the modern cabinetry system featured in Herman Miller’s 1948 catalog, George Nelson’s own platform bench is […]

The post Nelson Platform Bench appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

day 2 of slow work.......

Accidental Woodworker - 15 hours 12 min ago
I felt much better this morning but I still had some residual aches here and there. I definitely won't be pushing the envelope again tonight. I think I have enough to do with busy work that I can wait on the bread boarding of the table top.

I have decided that I am going to do my bread boarding like Will Myers did on this table here.  I could do this with a corded router but I want to try and do this by hand. I think if I take my time and leave myself a generous oops factor I'll be ok.

attaching the drawer fronts
The first step for me was to find the center of the drawer opening and the drawer front. I marked these on blue painters tape.

one use jig
To make sure that both drawer fronts are set down from the top rail the same distance I made a simple jig. It is two pieces of scrap pine I glued and nailed together at 90 degrees. The front piece sets the height of the drawer on the apron. It ended up being roughly centered. I didn't go into anal mode trying to get it to be exact. This will be under the overhang of the table top and not readily seen. I just wanted to make sure that the drawer front covered the opening on all four edges.

cheap ^%!$#*(;@^#) 8-32 screws
I couldn't get the handle to screw on. At first I thought I had drilled the holes wrong but I knew that wasn't true. I had tested and did a dry run already which came out ok. Then I thought I got some saw dust or wood chips in the hole. That wasn't it neither. These cheap, crappy screws bent on me.

I had drilled the hole in the drawer box to be a snug fit for the screw. It bent from me tapping it home with my mallet. I could bend these screws with just finger pressure. Total pieces of crappola. I tossed both sets of these and replaced them with 8-32 screws from my stash.  Those didn't bend.

rethinking the handles
These handles really blend into the drawer fronts. Maybe I should swap them out for something lighter that would be more visible?

been thinking of this most of the day
Wednesday night after dinner I went back to the shop to check this. That was about 2 hours after I had applied the first application and this time it felt hard to the touch. Before dinner it had felt a bit soft and I was concerned about the ebony dye interfering with the epoxy setting up. That didn't happen and I applied a second helping so I could do the leveling it tonight.

it worked
I found a few things written about using epoxy to fill voids, knots, splits, etc on the WWW. What was missing was how to flush up the epoxy.  There wasn't a lot of step by step verbiage on the matter anywhere. I thought of sanding and scraping this first but I opted for the small block plane. This will be it's first use after sharpening the iron.

I wasn't sure what to expect here. I had built up the epoxy so that it was proud of the surface. I did that because I didn't want any craters. The block plane did a great job of shaving the epoxy flush. I couldn't tell a difference between planing this or wood. The feed back from the plane felt the same to me.

planed and scraped
I didn't get a before pic of this but it came out perfect to my eye. This looks like all the other small black gum pockets that cherry has.

two divots
The one in front of the plane was a divot caused by scraping glue. The small one to the right was caused by Mr Clamp.

planed and scraped the second set of epoxy fills
These two sets of epoxy fills were the small ones. The next 3 are the knot holes that all went clear through the table top.

the before shot of the two biggest ones
the biggest one flushed
Planed just like a piece of wood with the added bonus of not having to read and plane with the grain. This is mostly black but you can see several flecks of the cherry shavings in it also. I like how this turned out.

#2 big knot hole done
I am so happy with how this epoxy fill came out I could wet myself. They don't look out of place and blend right into the top. The base being black isn't working against me on this neither. One big potential headache over and done with in my favor.

making a practice dowel
I want to get a visual on the dowels for the bread board. That starts with knocking the edges off and making a point on one end. Then beat it through the holes until you get a dowel.

5/16" on the left and 1/4" on the right

The board is the same thickness as the bread boards I'll be using. I like the look of both of them but I think I'll be using the 5/16" ones. This isn't carved in stone yet so it may change.

gluing on a stiffener
I already proved that this gluing riser made out of 1/2" plywood is every bit as good as my old 3/4" thick ones. However, I am getting a warm and fuzzy feeling having these stiffeners glued on. I'll do the other one tomorrow. Then I'll have to find some scrap to use on the other one.

my drool book finally got here
I could do a few other things tonight but I have to start reading this now. I may actually start the bread boarding tomorrow. Of course I'll take an Alleve before I do that because I'll have to move the table top off the base and onto the workbench.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What are the most frequently landed on properties in the game of Monopoly?
answer - the four railroads

The 50th issue of The Highland Woodturner

Highland Woodworking - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 9:58am

mayhwtWe’ve hit a milestone with The Highland Woodturner: 50 issues!

This month’s 50th issue focuses on the educational aspect of woodturning with several authors sharing their love of teaching.

This month’s issue includes:

Making a Tapered Reamer– Curtis Turner has begun the journey toward making his own Windsor Chair and to start, he has made his own tapered reamer. In this article he discusses the different steps he took to create this project.

Celebrating Woodturning by Teaching– Temple Blackwood celebrates our 50th issue by sharing his love of teaching. He discusses his teaching process for a first time woodturner and the process of turning a ceremonial gavel.

Show Us Your Woodturning– This month we are sharing the beautifully turned bowls created by Jeff Greenberg. On many of his bowls Jeff incorporates beautiful inlay designs and colors.

Phil’s Turning Tip– This month Phil’s tip is to take a turning class, whether it be at Highland Woodworking, John Campbell Folk School, or get some instruction from your local woodturning guild.

All of this and more in our 50th issue of The Highland Woodturner!

The post The 50th issue of The Highland Woodturner appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Models From “New Woodworker’s Guide to SketchUp”

Bob Lang's ReadWatchDo - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 7:21am
The “New Woodworker’s Guide to SketchUp” is entirely digital. If you want a paper and ink version, you can print out the pages, but then you’ll miss out on the embedded videos and links within the PDF. This post details … Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

Cheap Saws – Part 2

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 5:36am
Cheap Saws 3

In Part 1, I discussed my reasons for owning disposable saws. Here are some other considerations, including cost. First, please don’t assume this is a knock at quality saw makers. There are many who are  producing top-notch products, and vintage saws can be restored as perfect users. But if you’re an occasional sawyer… The photo above an extreme case, but does illustrate a point. I could purchase 10 saws for […]

The post Cheap Saws – Part 2 appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

I'll be working in the slow lane......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 05/21/2015 - 1:33am
I took monday and tuesday off from work and spent both days in the shop. When I woke up tuesday and wednesday morning I felt like crap. I was sore and aching  all over. I think my eyebrows hurt too but I can't be sure on that. I couldn't figure out why - I was on vacation and I thought I was taking my time working on the table. It turns out that I wasn't wearing my T-shirt that had the big red S on it.

the cause
I am not as young as I think I am nor can I do the things I did just a few short years ago. Well not all day long anymore. Moving this table top around was why I felt so bad. This is very heavy and awkward to move. Add to that I had to be extra careful not to drop it, chip it, bang it, or other wise cause any misery to myself. I was asking muscles I haven't used for a while to pony up and they protested on me. I think today and tomorrow I'll try to do things that don't involve me moving the table top or using my eyebrows.

I need 12 pegs for pinning the bread boards

I stopped counting after 21
I'll save the making of the dowels for later. I still have to decide on a size and I'm leaning in the direction of 5/16" right now. I think 1/4" is too thin for the 1" thick bread boards.

filling the holes is the next batter
two drops of ebony stain
I used this epoxy and ebony stain before but I don't recall the actual application. I don't know if it stood the test of time or not. We'll see how this one shakes out.

seems to be mixing ok
filled in five holes - the initial look is ok
case hardened
This is the tapered offcut from the tapered rip cut I did on the table top. The end slammed shut and stopped the saw blade dead. I pulled it out and did it again with the same result. Two saw cuts and the end still is slammed shut. I had to finish this saw cut with the bandsaw - much to dangerous to try and do on the tablesaw.

reinforcing cleats on my new gluing risers
I'm not sure I'm going to use these as they did some pretty good stupid wood tricks already.

got momentarily distracted
I saw an example of this on Tico Vogt's blog here and I'm giving it a try.  I have a wagon vise that I use now and I like it. But at times the vise handle gets in the way of the planes, especially the #7. This will work for doing boards on edge but not the face. For that I'll have to figure out something myself.

offcuts from the opposite side
I sawed a 45 on the ends to dress them up some.  Gluing these on the bottom should beef this up considerably. I didn't get to that today and I'll add it to the slow thursday shop time.

been about 45 minutes
I'll be adding a bit more to this one. This was the biggest hole I had to fill. Out of the 5 holes that I filled with epoxy, I will have to refill 4 of them. I'll do that tomorrow and give this epoxy 24 hours to set up. When I checked this it still felt a little soft. That could be a problem if the ebony dye keeps the epoxy from setting.

I got another coat of shellac on the drawer fronts and I'm stopping there. I want to get two more coats of shellac on the base also. That sounds like another job for slow thursday shop time.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
In 1945 Eleanor Roosevelt came in first in a Fortune magazine poll to determine the most famous woman. Who came in second?
answer - Betty Crocker a fictitious character made up for promoting General Mills products in 1921

Chuck Bender, Great Woodworking Instructor or Greatest Woodworking Instructor?*

The Furniture Record - Wed, 05/20/2015 - 9:32pm

At 9:05 Monday morning I hear a voice telling us “You’re behind schedule!” Class started at 9:00.

The voice was that of our instructor, Chuck Bender. The us was the first three students of 360 Woodworking’s hands-on classes. The what is building a Pennsylvania spice box. The where was at the 360 Woodworking complex in West Chester township, Ohio. The why was…  because we could? It seemed like a good idea at the time?

The point Mr. Bender was trying to make was that as many times as he had taught the class at his Acanthus Workshop in Pennsylvania, no one had ever finished the box. His hope was that by the end of the week we would have the carcass finished, dividers installed, door and hardware installed and maybe one drawer assembled. The only hard deadline was that at 5:00 PM Friday, we go home.

For those of you who do not have the distinct privilege of knowing Chuck Bender, let me give you some background. Chuck has been building furniture since he was 12, so he claims. For ten years he worked at Irion Company Furniture Makers leaving as head of their chair and casework production. Since 1991, he has earned the reputation as a builder of the highest quality18th century reproduction furniture. In 2007, he started the Acanthus Workshop to become a woodworking mentor, instructor and author (content producer?).

The Bender as lecturer.

The Bender as lecturer.

in 2013, he moved west to become the senior editor at a popular woodworking magazine. In 2014, Chuck, Bob Lang and Glen Huey formed 360 WoodWorking – a new concept in woodworking education.

We students were there to see what it all meant. It was a good class. It was actually a great class. This class allowed me to work the way I work in my shop. I enjoy the hand-tool focused classes I have taken but breaking down and dimensioning lumber goes much more quickly with tools that plug in. As another woodworking sage pointed out, it is good to have hand tool knowledge so that you are not forced to use power tools, but you can. Options are good.

We (students) could pretty much work at our own speed. We would start the day at roughly the same place, diverge during the day and somehow end the day at roughly the same place. Chuck wasn’t hovering but letting each find their own path. He was there to bring us back if we went to far afield and most importantly, drive us to lunch.

The spice box not finished.

The spice box not finished.

The spice box not finished with the door open.

The spice box not finished with the door open. Drawers coming soon.

Chuck breaks things down into manageable segments while keeping in mind the big picture. He does a good job of explaining while not being afraid of letting our eyes glaze over occasionally. it is good to make us think and figure out a few things for ourselves.

Unfinished spice box with poplar back.

Unfinished spice box with poplar back.

Did I mention Glen Huey was there too serving as shop and teaching assistant, social media documentarian and lunch consultant. We couldn’t have eaten without him.

Doesn't it look like we had fun.

Doesn’t it look like we had fun.

This class was also the first chance I had to try out my new (second) Moxon vise. This is a new design by local wood machinist Mike Payst and built in a Triangle Woodworkers Assoc. weekend workshop.

I brought both of my Moxon vises and used the new one.

I brought both of my Moxon vises and used the new one. I also brought a smaller one.

So, Chuck Bender, great woodworking instructor or greatest woodworking instructor?*  Well, he is at least pretty good. I need to take more classes to say definitively. Your results may vary.

*With apologies to Stephen Colbert. If you don’t know what I mean, don’t sweat it.

Nearly All The Bells And Whistles.

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Wed, 05/20/2015 - 9:31pm

The new workbench I bodged into place last fall needed some of the bells and whistles attached if I was going to make serious use of it this year. After all a bench isn't a bench without the handful of workholding devices that make life easier.

In my book a bench needs three things

1. Dog and Holdfast holes. Drilled where appropriate.

2. A Leg Vise. This is going to be yet forthcoming. I can't make up my mind on which hardware to buy (or how to earn the extra scratch needed)

3. A Plane Stop. As some of you remember I received this Perfect Workbench Punctuation last fall from Tom Latane.

A little while ago I managed to drill my initial holdfast hole locations and set about installing the plane stop.

I started by making a 3"x 3" Square hole in the bench top and milling down a blank of clear white pine to fit snugly. I know what you're thinking, isn't that supposed to be made from hardwood? I guess the answer is yes but there are a lot of "suppose to do" things I just ignore. I think it relates to issues with authority in general.

To go along with the new plane stop I made a few new notched battens or "doe's feet" from some 1/2" plywood scrap. Since these photos I've also glued a third sheet of 150 grit sandpaper to the underside to increase the grippitude.  

Yes it will scratch the workbench top but no worse than errant saw and chisel marks. This is a workbench not a sacred altar to thumb twiddling. The sandpaper improves and already great tool. It's not like I've gone to the blasphemy of hitting the whole top with a toothing plane. (Oh wait, I just ordered a toothing plane from Hyperkitten

In the meantime, still pre-leg vise, I've been using the plane stop and a wooden hand clamp for edge planing. It works well in most cases and I'd almost fore-go my dreams of a Benchcrafted leg vise if not for the sliding deadman I built into the new bench. 

Well that and eventually working with wider stock. 

Everything was working well, until the pine block holding the plane stop dried out a tiny amount, or the bench top changed a little around the stop hole. Not much but enough to affect the movement and make it loose especially when it's set around 1/2" high or lower, which is most of the time. I thought through my solutions, from making a new block to installing some ball catch or spring plate hardware. 

In the end I went a bit low tech and simply glued a couple sheets of heavy sketchbook paper to two faces of the block like it was a sheet of veneer. 

Problem solved as quick as the glue set up and I trimmed the paper I was back in business. There is still a little slop so I'm considering adding another paper thickness or so to refine that, but it works much better now at any rate. 

Ratione et Passionis
Categories: General Woodworking

Contest: Show Us Your Tool Chest

Highland Woodworking - Wed, 05/20/2015 - 6:00am

In honor of the recent publication of Virtuoso -The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of Henry O. Studley, an in-depth examination of one of the most beautiful woodworking tool chests ever constructed, we are having  a contest!

For your chance to win a FREE copy of this highly in-demand publication, all you have to do is submit a photo of your own “tool organization system” with a brief description. Now, we understand that not everybody has a tool chest like Studley, or maybe you don’t even have an actual tool chest and that’s okay! For the purposes of this contest, we want you to submit a photo of how you organize your tools. Whether it is in a tool chest like Studley’s, a tool box, a cabinet drawer, your mother’s heirloom dresser, or a plastic storage box, we want to see it!

The H.O. Studley Tool Cabinet

The H.O. Studley Tool Cabinet

The winner will be chosen by our resident blogger, Terry Chapman, so if you need to find ways to impress him, feel free to read any of his past blogs to find out his likes and dislikes.

You can either post your photos as comments on this blog entry, or email them to

Contest ends on May 31st, 2015 at 11:59pm EDT. Let us know if you have any questions and GOOD LUCK!

The post Contest: Show Us Your Tool Chest appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

vacation is over......

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 05/20/2015 - 1:57am
Tomorrow I go back to work and the upside is that it'll be a short week for me. These past two days I got a lot done on the table and I have no doubts that I'll be driving this up to bean town on the due date in June.  On the other side of this coin, this is the first vacation I've taken since my last trip to Amana two years ago. I've taken a few solo days off here and there to break up the work week but not the 4 in a row I took this time. I think I may take a week off after this table is done and do nothing but watch the sun make it's transit across the sky.

the first batter
Homemade granola with lots of nuts and fruit. Can we say yum in unison? I was not procrastinating here by making this. I eat a lot of this and I ran low before I went to Amana. I munch on this rather than filling the pie hole with cookies and candy.
squaring up
I saw this set up on Tico Vogt's blog here. Before I saw this I was going to clamp the table top to the bench and use my #4 and plane it free hand square.

portable shooting board
I used the LN 51 for most of it and the jack at this end to avoid blowout. This worked very well and I got it straight and the edge is square to the top.

reference edge and side are 90 degrees
time to pony up to the sharpening bar
I need to sharpen these before I can plane the other long side and end. I don't need to do the #112 now but I might as well. If I don't do it now I'll be doing it later.

final step is setting the iron
I've gotten into the habit of doing this when I sharpen my plane irons. It's not something I think to do when I reach for it to use.

other side straight and square but is it parallel?
measurement at the reference end
38 3/8"
It's off a 1/16" over 7 feet. I find that acceptable. It is also something that you can not see by looking at it. What you can see is square and straight and I got that. Another point I'm looking at - are the ends 90 degrees to the sides? I may be out in left field on this by myself but I don't see that as being necessary.

Close to square is good enough. I'll be bread boarding the ends and I think having the ends square on the edges and straight so there isn't a gap between them is more important than it being 90 degrees square at the corners.

card scraper action
I like the surface that the card scraper leaves behind. I think the only sandpaper I'll be using on this is to give it some 'tooth' before I put on the shellac sealer coat.

this is something new
I like mineral spirits over paint thinner. This is something that my father always used so I don't have a concrete reason why one is better than the other. But I have never seen mineral spirits that looks like milk? This stuff has some viscosity to it also. It is definitely not thin and colorless like the mineral spirits I'm used to seeing.

2 quart slow cooker
This is a brand new, still in the original box, slow cooker. All the paperwork is still in the box along with all the packing materials and the warranty card. I got this from the Salvation Army goodwill store for $8. I'll have to check out the temperature because this will hopefully be my hide glue cooker.

got the recipe from Joshua Klein @ The Workbench Diary blog
temp on the high setting
opposite end squaring
I can get this corner dead nuts at 90 but the other side is a few annoying degrees off. Even though it is out of square, it is straight end to end. I'm going to leave it as it as is with the straight edge and one square corner.

table top is ready for bread board ends
It's handy having the base to use so I can have the workbench free to work on the bread board ends.

the bread board candidates
I like the color in the left board but it has too much cathedral grain to make a suitable breadboard. The right one has somewhat straight grain, it's wider, and it's what I'm using.

cross cut done and now it's ripping time
 I cross cut this 4 inches longer than the width of the table and now I'll rip out two pieces 3" wide.

planing down to the gauge lines
two breadboards 3" wide by 42" long
temp on the low setting

breadboards are the next risk factor
setting the toys now
I used a piece of the table top I sawed off to set the mortise gauge. This wasn't necessary as the table top and the breadboard ends will probably be different thicknesses. What will be important is that I gauge off the same reference for both.

I put the 3/8" groove cutter in the plane and set that. The first run had the iron set too deep as you can see from the thick shavings. The second run nailed it.

it fits
I have the 5/16" mortising chisel in the mortiser and my eagle eye thought it was the 3/8" one. A check with the 3/8" shows the iron and the chisel are good match. These two are ready to go.

The plan on the breadboard ends is to plow a 3/8" groove 1 1/2" in from the ends on both sides down to the gauge lines. Once that is done I'll split out the tenon and clean it up with a plane.  I'll saw out the tenons on the table top. Next batter will be making a 3/8" groove in the breadboards followed by chopping the corresponding mortises. I hope that I'll have this done by this coming monday.

the final temperature on warm
I was expecting more of a temperature variance between the three settings. It appears to be working and the warm setting looks to be the one to use. I got one part of the hide glue equation, the second part is buying some hide glue and mixing some up. Until then I'll use this to heat up the hide glue I have now.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is a tittle?
answer - the '.' over the letter i and j.

H.O. Studley’s Tool Sepulcher.

Tico Vogt - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 6:01pm

My take away from visiting the iconic cabinet is that it is a misnomer to call it his tool chest. Among the many viewers and commentators I heard the word shrine bandied about. Roy Underhill used mausoleum in his Saturday morning skit. The word that came to my mind was sepulcher, “a receptacle for sacred relics.” Here was a man who sought to call upon the skills of a lifetime in furniture, cabinetry, piano and organ building, and put them to work in the service of creating a final resting place for his beloved tools, not to create a working environment for them.

R S Tico viewing Studley Tools

(Photo courtesy of Scott Meek who didn’t realize I was standing there gazing at the dovetails of the upper door corner, contemplating why Studley chose to have the flared dovetails on the horizontal rather than the more logical vertical door element.)

Many thanks to Don Williams and his merry crew of Studley impersonators, the Lost Arts Press, and the good folks at Benchcrafted for a stellar exhibit.

Mike M next to H O Studley

A spectral figure: Mike Mascelli dressed in period garb supplied by the same clothier used by H.O.S. Photo courtesy of Ted Smathers.

here come old flat-top

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 6:01pm

Boxes. we use them around here for everything – textiles, papers, stuff in the kitchen like candles, batteries, phone chargers, books, collections of shells & bones, who knows what else… I’ve made lots of boxes like these. Lots.

I hate the phrase “think outside of the box” I often think of the song “Little boxes, little boxes” and of course, “a box of rain to ease the pain…” (whatever that means)

I finished one of these desk boxes for the video (it will come out when Lie-Nielsen puts it out, is the answer to “when will it be out?”) last week. I have another 2/3 done. I have to shoot it for real soon…but these two quick shots give you an idea of what it looks like.

done box

done box inside


BUT while we shot that process, I added in some “regular” box stuff too. So in that case, I built this medium-size oak box, with pine lid & bottom. Maybe 15″ wide, 12″ deep. 6″-7″ high. (the blog title is to distinguish this box from the slant-lidded desk above)

here come old flat top

flat top side


And then there’s the Alaskan yellow cedar box I made while teaching up there.

yellow cedar

ayc detail


I’m over-run with the things, I’m going to photograph some, and post them for sale soon. Meanwhile – there’s several chances for students to come learn how to make your own.

First is a 2-day version – in this Lie-Nielsen class, we’ll bypass splitting the log into boards and go right to carving, then joinery (rabbets & pegs) – it’s coming up in early June. We have spaces left, so if you have just a little time, this is a good choice. It will be a small class, so we’ll have some chances to get some details in…  I brought up some outrageously good white oak last week – I might even make another box just because the wood is so good.

The full-blown, split-the-log-make-the-boards-then-make-the-box version is a 5-day class.  In England, it’s happening twice – July 13-17 in Warwickshire College then the next week, July 20-24th at Bridgwater College in Somerset. I’m hoping to get out & see some oak carvings while in England, it’s been a while since I was there. 10 years…

carved pulpit detailcarved pulpit detail

Back in the States, the full-bore class is happening in October at Marc Adams’ school – Oct 19-23. My first visit here…

“Here come old flat-top, he come groovin up slowly…”

In between times

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 5:17pm

It’s coming up on a year since I left my job as the joiner at Plimoth Plantation. While I was there, I often taught workshops during my vacations and other time off. Lie-Nielsen, Roy Underhill’s place, CVSWW, Country Workshops – but in that format, I only had a few weeks (or weekends) each year available to travel & teach.

froeMatt riving w Plymouth CRAFT last weekend


When I announced I was leaving the museum, I got offers to come teach in various places, in addition to the usual outfits. When I arranged my schedule last winter, I had no idea how it would work – on paper it seemed fine, once or twice a month, travel to teach. One long, maybe one short class each month. Now I’m in the midst of it, and while it’s great fun (Alaska! Are you kidding?) what I didn’t compute is the time between to unpack, decompress and then turn around & get ready for the next one.

matanuska trip

I’m not complaining, just saying “here’s why there’s little on the blog these days…”

I was thinking, I’m home now for 3 1/2 weeks, before I head down for to Roy’s. Except this coming weekend I’m at Connecticut Valley School of Woodworking, then next weekend I have a one-day presentation with the Plymouth CRAFT group, then the weekend after that, I’m back at my 2nd home this summer – Lie-Nielsen for making a carved box. THEN, I have to hit the road & go to North Carolina!

mortising from on highConnecticut Valley School of Woodworking

The plan is to do some woodworking tomorrow & shoot some pictures. I’ll let you know what happens.

How am I supposed to get some birding in? I haven’t even had time to ID this warbler from Maine…


Ending Radio Silence – The HO Studley Tool Cabinet Exhibit

The Barn on White Run - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 4:17pm


After almost a week of silence, due to my consuming activities with the life-changing dream-come-true HO Studley Tool Cabinet Exhibit, I am back on the, er, air?  Over the next couple of weeks I will be reminiscing about the exhibit, but there is something you can help with.

I was sorta busy all the time since mid-week last, and actually managed to not photographically document my activities very well.  Especially the public hours of the exhibit when I made over two dozen presentations to the roughly one thousand friends I was able to share it with.  So, if you were there and have a *few* pictures you could share with me, please drop me a line here.  Pictures of demonstrating the guts of the tool cabinet or of the docents interacting with with visitors or visitors studying the collection intently would be especially appreciated.  Also pics of the LAP booth/tables where the book was sold, or where Jason was selling tickets and polissoirs at Handworks.

Your selfies? Not so much.

Stay tuned.

Workmanship of Screwing up (2)

McGlynn On Making - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 12:02pm

When building furniture it’s pretty common to have a series of operations that together will make the final component part.  As an example, the legs for the table I’m building involved first prepping the rough sawn stock, then making the stepped mortises, adding in the square holes for the ebony plugs, cutting the indents in the bottom of the legs, shaping the tips of the legs and finally doing the inlay and finish sanding.

Rough Stock

Rough Stock

Mortises all cut

Mortises all cut

Leg indents & shaping of the bottom

Leg indents & shaping of the bottom



At any step in the process it is possible to make a mistake, and some of these mistakes are difficult to recover from.  Careful work and some specific techniques can help prevent mistakes.  Skill and experience help, and techniques like carrying an extra part along in the process can help.  In making the legs I had enough stock for two extra legs, so I was able to quickly recover when I put the mortises in the wrong place on one leg by making another replacement leg from the extras.

Sometimes mistakes still happen, even with skill, experience and careful work.  When cutting the slots on the inside of the skirts for the top attachment buttons I had a serious problem.  The spiral up-cut bit I was using was (apparently) not tight enough in the router.  On one of the skirts it pulled loose and climbed through the skirt effectively ruining the skirt.  I could try and fix it, or make another skirt.  I chose to repair it by drilling a shallow hole with a Forstner bit and putting in a face grain plug.

Here is the problem, the router bit climbed out of the tool and broke through on the front of the part.  I've already drilled one hole for a face grain plug, after it's installed I'll drill an overlapping hole to cover the rest of the slot.

Here is the problem, the router bit climbed out of the tool and broke through on the front of the part. I’ve already drilled one hole for a face grain plug, after it’s installed I’ll drill an overlapping hole to cover the rest of the slot.

Completed repair

Completed repair.  You can just barely see this when you look closely.  I think once the table is finished and assembled it will be invisible.

I don’t know what the moral of the story is, other than stuff happens when I’m in the shop.  And I’m probably not the only person that has things go wrong.  It’s what happens after that matters, both in repairing the mistake and learning from the mistake.



Categories: General Woodworking

Shop made Fidgenian Frame saw – part 1

Je ne sai quoi Woodworking - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 7:47am


The next traditional saw on my list to build is a frame saw. You might remember that I have completed a 12″ bow saw and a 700 mm Roubo-esque cross cut bow saw already. After some research I decided to use Tom Fidgen’s (The Unplugged Woodshop) design as inspiration for my version. Tom is an icon of note as far as I am concern and that was enough reason for me. He produced two excellent videos on how he built his frame saw (see the link profided if you are interested.

For this project I chose Kershout (Pterocelastrus tricuspidatus) which is ridiculously hard with a specific gravity of > 1 (it sinks in water). The third picture show the end grain of a small piece. I tried to count the year rings and got to about 120. This gives you an idea of how slow it grows and why it is so dense.



The usual lamination process I have to endure to make up stock with appropriate dimensions.



The rough stock before work started.



Living in Africa means I have to cobble together my own hardware for the saw. A scrap piece of mild steel angle iron seemed to fit the bill. As you can see I am no welder, but we all have our little problems.




My shop built Jack plane came in handy to square up the parts.




I have been struggling to saw off smaller pieces of stock like this perfectly square. Since I received my holdfasts I tried this approach and it improved my accuracy immensely being able to see the two lines you are sawing. You then flip it over and repeat on the other side.



Dual tenon design, ala Mr. Fidgen.




I like making a small notch with my chisel to start the crosscut saw.



My shop made bow saw removed the waste between the two tenons.



Dual tenons necessitates dual mortises.




Now the fun part will start. Shaping the saw will be the topic of the next riveting installment in this series.


Snakes And Wood In The Unlikeliest Of Places

Highland Woodworking - Tue, 05/19/2015 - 7:00am
You just thought I screamed when I saw the baby possum.
When I looked up and saw this snake skin in the un-likeliest of places, I immediately froze.
I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Our practice doesn’t include exotic animals, but I knew enough about snakes to know this one wasn’t alive.  Still, I was instantly terrified.  I knew, at some point, its live owner had been here and could still be lurking.  Maybe even right here!

I couldn’t believe my eyes. Our practice doesn’t include exotic animals, but I knew enough about snakes to know this one wasn’t alive. Still, I was instantly terrified. I knew, at some point, its live owner had been here and could still be lurking. Maybe even right here!

Standing on a ladder, it reminded me of when I worked in microwave communications electronics.  Our teachers always told us, “It’s not the big voltage that will kill you.  You’ll be careful around it.  But the little voltage, if you let your guard down, will startle you, make you jump, and you’ll inadvertently throw yourself into a high voltage circuit.”  I could just picture myself seeing a real, live snake and falling off the ladder in response:
“What killed ol’ Jim?” asked one mourner.
“A nonpoisonous snake.”
In the March, 2015, issue of Wood News Online we published a tip designed to save you space while making the most of scraps of wood you want to save. The gist of the tip was to use the area between ceiling joists for storage.  By arranging materials appropriately, you can store anything from big-enough-to-fit to small-enough-to-sit-on-top-of-the-big-stuff.  Of course, there’s a practical limit to how small you really want those smallest pieces to be, yet, it’s ultimately a personal decision.
For example, I have some redwood that came from the sign that stood in front of our veterinary practice for 24 years, until Hurricane Katrina knocked it down.  I’ve made some projects out of that wood that are priceless to me.  Not everyone is sentimental, much less about wood, but I am, so I have saved some pretty small pieces of that redwood just in case I have some use for a tiny bit of it somewhere.
As you can see, some of these redwood pieces are really small, some are really rotten, but every scrap holds a memory, and stands a chance to be fitted into a project someday.

As you can see, some of these redwood pieces are really small, some are really rotten, but every scrap holds a memory, and stands a chance to be fitted into a project someday.

The 2x12 redwood boards that made the rails of our pre-Katrina Animal General Hospital sign were planed, sanded and glued up to make this simple, rustic headboard.  The engraved phrase came from a Delta Airlines SkyMall catalogue advertising a needlework project.  I wrote down the expression while on a flight to see our grandchildren, and kept it tacked to the shop wall for years before finding the right place to use it.

The 2×12 redwood boards that made the rails of our pre-Katrina Animal General Hospital sign were planed, sanded and glued up to make this simple, rustic headboard. The engraved phrase came from a Delta Airlines SkyMall catalogue advertising a needlework project. I wrote down the expression while on a flight to see our grandchildren, and kept it tacked to the shop wall for years before finding the right place to use it.

My Grandson Charlie’s stool was made from cutoffs of the same 2x12 redwood.

My Grandson Charlie’s stool was made from cutoffs of the same 2×12 redwood.

This sign hangs in the automobile-parking area of our garage, which shares space with the woodworking area.  There’s a story that goes with the inscription underneath, but that’s another post.

This sign hangs in the automobile-parking area of our garage, which shares space with the woodworking area. There’s a story that goes with the inscription underneath, but that’s for another post.

Likewise, I have some oak tongue-in-groove flooring with an interesting backstory.  My wife bought some really cheap bedside tables from the “real wood” store, but she needed more top surface on hers.  The best I could come up with for short-term use was an old lauan panel I’d attached to some 2x4s with a picture-frame molding around it.  It was so ugly that Brenda covered it with a red cloth, awaiting a suitable and appropriate top for her “real wood” chest.
That task dwelt on my honey-do list for a long time until, one day, I got the idea to go to Lowe’s for some oak flooring.  I could just glue and nail it to a substrate, attach the top, and with a little sanding and some finish Brenda’s new table surface would be ready to reveal itself to the public.
At Lowe’s, I looked around, but I couldn’t find any oak flooring.  Third in line for the attention of the Lowe’s employee on duty in the hardwoods department, I waited, only to hear him say, “Oh, we don’t carry that.” “Oh, well,” I thought, I would just have to find out who does.  Then, I heard a sweet female voice behind me, saying: “Excuse me, sir.  I don’t mean to butt into your business, but I heard you asking about oak flooring.  I have some.  Does it have to be new?  My husband and I salvaged it from one Katrina-flooded house to use in another Katrina-flooded house.  If you would like to come by and look at it, just call me.  Here’s my address and my cell phone number.”
Now, this lady didn’t know me from Adam, yet she stood there with her little six-year-old daughter beside her, giving me her address and phone number, like it was 1946.  There is still a little trust and innocence in the world!
We met, she showed me the old floorboards, and I knew I had found a treasure trove.  “Take whatever you’d like, but we still need about this much,” she said, motioning to a small portion of the stack. Well, “stack” might be a little generous.  “Pick Up Sticks,” the child’s game, comes to mind when trying to describe the way the boards had been haphazardly thrown into the old garage.
I did some selecting as I went.  Some were curved along their length.  Many were twisted, and I do mean wickedly twisted.  Some were cupped.  Because these two homes were so close to the Bay St. Louis, MS, beach, they were probably underwater for days after Katrina’s winds were gone. Even the best pieces would require a good bit of milling. But, OH!  The character!  Worm holes, termite holes, nail holes!
This is what the oak flooring looked like before cleanup and milling.

This is what the oak flooring looked like before cleanup and milling.

Trying not to be greedy, I took about the square footage I thought I’d need for a big top for Brenda’s side of the bed and a small top for my side, plus about 50% for waste, plus about 15% for miscalculation. There were still a lot of boards left.
I could hardly contain my eagerness so I began to unload, sort, and stack as soon as I arrived home.  Decades of grit filled the grooves and clung to the tongues, so each piece needed to be steel-bristle-brushed by hand before machining.
As soon as the first board came from the planer, I knew I had some epic wood.
And, this is what those ugly boards turned into!

And, this is what those ugly boards turned into!

And a problem….
“How can I possibly put boards this beautiful atop a 1/4-inch-thick ‘real wood’ table?” I asked myself.  The obvious answer was, “I can’t, it would be an insult.”
Thus were born the oak bedside tables in the accompanying pictures. It took several forevers to cull enough boards for the top to make it reasonably flat and produce acceptable joints.  Grain-matching was out of the question, so I just tried to keep adjacent boards from clashing.
As you can see from the abundance of clamps, keeping this panel flat was a challenge.  Stiff, square steel cauls helped.  A glue with more open time would have helped, too.

As you can see from the abundance of clamps, keeping this panel flat was a challenge. Stiff, square steel cauls helped. A glue with more open time would have helped too.

As nice as it would have been to have solid wood for the sides, there just wasn’t enough material to make panels, but we are fortunate to have a good hardwood plywood dealer close by.  I didn’t think it would be possible to stain to match, so I just tried to coordinate.
When home center plywood just won’t do, it’s great to have a source for really good hardwood plywood.  No voids, no patches, no blemishes.

When home center plywood just won’t do, it’s great to have a source for really good hardwood plywood. No voids, no patches, no blemishes.

To make the top appear thicker I glued up a 10-inch-wide panel from cutoffs, then cut four strips and glued them along each edge, with a full-width board across the front.
Alan Noel taught me his wool-waxing technique via email.  CLICK HERE to read Alan’s column on wool-waxing.  The technique is as simple as applying wax with 4/0 steel wool and yields a surface with unbelievable smoothness.
The project gets Brenda’s seal of approval.  Like me, she’s sentimental, and using wood with a story for these two tables makes them all the more valuable.
Brenda was pleased with the final result.  A smaller, matching unit is on my side of the bed.

Brenda was pleased with the final result. A smaller, matching unit is on my side of the bed.

Oh, and the original “real wood” bedside tables?  They became rolling stands for our oscillating spindle sander and stationary mortising machine.  With drawers to hold accessories, they do a pretty good job.  I have mobile bases on every tool in the shop.
Not calling for heavy-duty function, these “real-wood” cabinets are up to the job of holding the oscillating spindle sander and stationary mortising machine.

Not calling for heavy-duty function, these “real-wood” cabinets are up to the job of holding the oscillating spindle sander and stationary mortising machine.

Thanks to the rigid portable bases that always fit because you determine the dimensions, they are very stable when in use, and just the right height.  CLICK HERE to purchase and find out more about them on the Highland Woodworking website.
As the backs of the units are several inches from the backs of the drawers, they just seemed to cry out for the space to be utilized for storage, so I attached some pegboard.  I haven’t found a use for it yet, so I tell myself it stiffens the thin “real wood” carcass.

As the backs of the units are several inches from the backs of the drawers, they just seemed to cry out for the space to be utilized for storage, so I attached some pegboard. I haven’t found a use for it yet, so I tell myself it stiffens the thin “real wood” carcass.

And, the snake skin?  I had to use a pair of pliers to pull it down.  I couldn’t bring myself to touch it.  Trying to figure out how he got there with no ladder, I inquired of a colleague whose practice includes a lot of exotic animals.  From a closeup of the skin he said it was probably a rat snake; we have a lot of them around our house.  He also sent me a link to a video showing just what good climbers snakes can be.
Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home. Questions and comments on woodworking may be sent to Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

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Categories: General Woodworking


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