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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

Woodworking blogs

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - 12 hours 2 min ago

I subscribe to a good number of woodworking blogs, with nearly every one of them being written by an Amateur. I enjoy reading about what other woodworkers are building, and their opinions on the subject. That being said, I don’t know if I have a favorite. I used to enjoy the Lost Art Press blog and at one time considered it my favorite, but for a long time I stopped reading it, mainly because of some of the comments/commenters. Since that falling out, I’ve read few, if any professional’s woodworking blogs.

My question to the readers of this blog is: What is your favorite woodworking blog? And, if you feel so inclined to tell me: Why is it your favorite? I really only ask for one reason, and that is I am always looking for new material to read, and I like to think that if you are reading my blog, then we probably have at least a little in common, and that includes what type of woodworking blog we enjoy. So I would appreciate any feedback. Thanks.


Categories: General Woodworking

Does the Arts & Crafts Cycle End with the Greenes?

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - 12 hours 9 min ago

I can’t swear to there being a “cycle” for every Arts & Crafts woodworker. I can only speak to my own experience and add that I have had many nods of agreement when sharing my philosophy. I began building Arts & Crafts pieces, because the sturdy simplicity spoke to me, and the beauty of the quarter-sawn white oak was all the embellishment I required. A gentle curve here or there […]

The post Does the Arts & Crafts Cycle End with the Greenes? appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Nail Polish and Coat Hangers: October Tips from Sticks in the Mud Workshop

Highland Woodworking - 13 hours 10 min ago

Welcome to “Tips From Sticks-In-The-Mud Woodshop.” I am a hobbyist, not a professional, someone who loves woodworking, just like you do. I have found some better ways to accomplish tasks in the workshop and look forward to sharing those with you each month, as well as hearing your problem-solving ideas.

Tip #1: RED NAIL POLISH

Everyone who is patient raise your hand. That’s what I thought: nobody. Well, except for you, in the back, and I thought you looked a little strange. I am with the majority, having no patience, especially with electrical plugs. When I am ready to plug in, I want to plug in now!

  the round part goes in the round hole, and it directs the other two where they belong.

NO body is going to make a mistake with these: the round part goes in the round hole, and it directs the other two where they belong.

The 3-prong jobs are easy; even those over 40 with “too-short arms” can see which orientation is correct for them. These newfangled double-insulated tools, however, with their polarized plugs just don’t create enough contrast to tell the wider blade of the plug from the narrow one. Now, you could just try to put it in, then turn it over when it doesn’t go.

Everything’s a little fuzzy.  I think I have some glasses around the shop somewhere.  Which one is the wide one?

“Everything’s a little fuzzy. I think I have some glasses around the shop somewhere. Which one is the wide one?”

But who has time for that? Then, some manufacturers feel the need to buck the international standard when they incorporate cord-holding moldings into their plugs. On most tools the side with the holding loop lines up with the grounding hole, but not always!

The manufacturer of this Craftsman vacuum, who shall remain unnamed, thought it would be smart to put the cord-holding loop on the side opposite the ground hole.  Why?  Just to be different?  Just to annoy me?

The manufacturer of this Craftsman vacuum, who shall remain unnamed, thought it would be smart to put the cord-holding loop on the side opposite the ground hole. Why? Just to be different? Just to annoy me?

My timesaving solution for this problem is to paint red nail polish (why, yes, it is the shade I usually wear!) on the side of the plug that coordinates to the grounding hole.

Cover the entire surface so that you will see at first glance which way to orient the plug.  Use multiple thin coats.  Nail polish dries quickly, you can finish an entire plug in 15 minutes.

Cover the entire surface so that you will see at first glance which way to orient the plug. Use multiple thin coats. Nail polish dries quickly, you can finish an entire plug in 15 minutes.

Technique: Like any paint job, multiple, thin layers work best. Maybe it’s the cheap nail polish I bought, but it took me 5 coats to get really good coverage. The stuff wears like iron, though!

  Like any paint job, multiple, thin layers work best.  Maybe it’s the cheap nail polish I bought, but it took me 5 coats to get really good coverage.  The stuff wears like iron, though!

The same technique works on anything that plugs in. I used it on this lightbulb adapter so I quickly know which way to turn it to plug it in.

Tip #2:  COAT HANGERS

No Southern-fried Southern boy wants to be called a Yankee, but we share the characteristics of shrewdness and thrift. Thus, each month we include a money-saving tip. It’s OK if you call me “cheap.” 

Coat hanger, coat hanger, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. No, this won’t be a treatise on 1000 ways to use coat hangers (yes, I looked it up, it’s supposed to be written as two words unless you’re from the land where “women glow and men plunder,” where coathanger is said to be preferred).

  1. Need a long drill bit? If you’re drilling through something relatively soft, like wood or insulation board, cut the bottom part of the coat hanger off, restricting yourself to just the completely straight part. Cut one end square and the other end on the most acute angle you can.
    A light wiping of WD40, machine oil or even Vaseline will lube this “drill bit” for easier entry.  Shown is the chisel point version, but you can also sharpen the tip on your grinder for even easier, faster entry.

    A light wiping of WD40, machine oil or even Vaseline will lube this “drill bit” for easier entry. Shown is the chisel point version, but you can also sharpen the tip on your grinder for an even easier and faster entry.

    Wrap your fist around the middle for support to prevent bending. Using discretion, don’t push too hard or run the drill too fast, either of which could cause you to lose control. Now, the business end can act as a chisel-point bit and if you need a guide to show you where to come out on the opposite side of a wall, drill away. As always, be sure you’re not going to hit electrical wires or water pipes. This baby will drill right through Romex and PVC.

    I needed to know where to drill outside on the roof to put these lag bolts into the rafter.  With this guide I was right on target.

    I needed to know where to drill outside on the roof to put these lag bolts into the rafter. With this guide I was right on target.

  2. If your stud finder isn’t giving you clearcut direction, this “drill bit” will allow you to define the edges of a stud without making gigantic holes.
  3. A coat hanger is the repairman’s chewing gum. I have brazed many a muffler and tailpipe with nothing more than an acetylene torch and a hanger.
  4. Speaking of repairs, the soft metal of a coat hanger will assume almost any shape you want. I once had a broken fan belt and no time to go to the store for a replacement. Using tip #1 above I drilled a hole either side of the rent in the belt. I then cut a U-shaped piece of hanger, passed it through the holes from the “pulley side,” and twisted the ends together on the outside. It worked so well on the fan that I forgot to replace the belt for months.
  5. Genetically incapable of discarding anything with future value, I keep a collection of hangers previously used.
    These are all “gently used,” but stand ready for their next service opportunity.  I even keep the ones I’ve used for drill bits as long as they aren’t damaged in use.

    These are all “gently used,” but stand ready for their next service opportunity. I even keep the ones I’ve used for drill bits as long as they aren’t damaged in use.

    Straightened, but with the hook still on the top, you can hang almost anything from them. They are great for painting small, medium, even large items. In the area I use for painting, there are a kazillion (Sorry, Steve) nails in the I-beam rafters.

    These nails are permanently in these ceiling joists in the painting area, always ready to be pressed into service for hanging.

    These nails are permanently in these ceiling joists in the painting area, always ready to be pressed into service for hanging.

    Because it’s an open and well-lighted area, I can spread a plastic drop cloth to catch most of the drippy paint.

    What?  Sure, it’s beat  up.  And patched.  You thought I’d throw it away after I used it once?  You must be new to the column!

    What? Sure, it’s beat up. And patched. You thought I’d throw it away after I used it once? You must be new to the column!

    For little bitty items, like these finials, you can screw a hook into the mounting hole, gang two or even three hangers together to get it down to a comfortable working height, and paint away.

    For little bitty items, like these finials, you can screw a hook into the mounting hole, gang two or even three hangers together to get it down to a comfortable working height, and paint away.

    Longer items, like this handrail, can be hung lower, or horizontally, for easy access.  Note that two straightened hangers are used to accomplish the desired height.  The screw hook in the middle makes a handy way to stop the item’s movement while applying finish without touching the wet surface. Longer items, like this handrail to the left, can be hung lower, or horizontally, for easy access. Note that two straightened hangers are used to accomplish the desired height. The screw hook in the middle makes a handy way to stop the item’s movement while applying finish without touching the wet surface.

  6. The metal in coat hangers is soft and malleable. That can be good or bad. Depends on your planned usage. The softness of the metal makes it easy to cut with even the least sophisticated tool, such as the shear in the jaws of your slip-joint pliers. On the other hand, if you want to take a piece out by fatiguing the metal, you will be at it for a while. Hard, brittle metals lend themselves to better success with that method.
    Because the metal is soft, I was able to shape it into these hangers.

    Because the metal is soft, I was able to shape it into these hangers.

    On the other hand, soft metal is easily bent, so making these hooks for jack stands, the angle had to be very acute.

    On the other hand, soft metal is easily bent, so making these hooks for jack stands, the angle had to be very acute.

    Coat hangers make a great twist tie.  Okay, so they’re not quite as easy to use as the ones from the grocery’s produce department, but they are a lot more substantial!

    Coat hangers make a great twist tie. Okay, so they’re not quite as easy to use as the ones from the grocery’s produce department, but they are a lot more substantial!

    CLICK HERE to go back to the October 2014 issue of Wood News Online

    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 DrRandolph@MyPetsDoctor.com. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

The post Nail Polish and Coat Hangers: October Tips from Sticks in the Mud Workshop appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Forest To Furniture Demonstration

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - 13 hours 17 min ago
This last weekend I had the pleasure to demonstrate again at the Castlerock Museum of Arms and Armor in Alma Wisconsin. This time I had been invited to join the team of Tom Latane and Paul Nyborg as we showed the historical process of taking a tree and turning it into furniture.

We had a nice selection of finished pieces and examples. An impressive little collection of work If I do say so myself.


Tom demonstrated the early parts of the process. Taking the fallen tree and riven or pit sawn pieces and breaking them down into workable stock.

Hewing away with the adze

Putting your froe into it

planing to thickness

Checking your work
Paul visited with the crowd about joinery techniques, mortise and tenons and drawbore pins while he worked on refining a sizable timber that's to make one leg of a spring pole lathe.

Working the timber down with a slick


Working with a scrub plane.

A well deserved rest leaning against the nearly finished leg of his spring pole lathe. The thing is massive. 
I demonstrated mostly carving in a period style. Talking about the different techniques, giving pointers, and explaining that no. . . I do not have classes lined up to teach. Something I should think about looking into. I should probably ask Peter Follansbee's blessing first.


The panels I carved ahead of time for display. My first true foray into green riven white oak.
What a pleasure to work with. 
 As a kind of fun thing to play around with, I used the a bit of time lapse photography to show the process of carving one of these panels. It makes for a fun and quick little video.


Thanks to Tom and Paul for letting me pal around and make some woodchips with you.

Ratione et Passionis
Oldwolf
Categories: General Woodworking

The Modern Split

Tools For Working Wood - 17 hours 20 min ago
I was at the Met this past weekend with a guest, and we ended up in one of the 20th century galleries that I almost never visit. On display among the paintings were four 20th century chairs (from the left). The "Zig Zag" chair by Gerrit Rietveld (1937), an armchair by Koloman Mose (1903), the "31" armchair by Alvar Aalto (1931-32) and the "DCW" Side Chair by Charles Eames (1948).

By the very fact of the display, the Met shows that it considers these chairs important landmarks of 20th Century furniture design. But to me, the chairs also signify the shift in furniture craft: from the craftsman making furniture for a client to the designer making furniture specifically for mass manufacture.

The Rietveld and Mose pieces were designed to be made in a typical cabinet shop. We sell a great book about Rietveld, complete with plans, and you can pretty much make everything in his book with a fairly basic shop. I am not familiar with Mose, but the Mose piece is also pretty accessible. It's woodworking. I get it.

The Aalto and Eames pieces were designed for manufacture. Their clients were furniture corporations, not a person. To make either piece, you would need forms, presses, and equipment. Even if you only want to make one chair, you would still have to make molds and forms for the bent plywood. Most of the work is in the forms, and once you have done that, making multiples is fairly easy.

The Aalto and Rietveld pieces date from about the same time, but it's clear to me that Rietveld is looking backward at the A&C movement and its idea that furniture should be accessible to anyone to build. Aalto, on the other hand, is looking forward to the disconnect between the factory, which can manufacture his flowing designs, and the individual maker who is then left in the dust.

Now, before you point out to me that most American furniture was made in factories, let me point out that the furniture factories of the early 20th Century America made traditional furniture the traditional way -- just faster, with the aid of machines. Stickley made his A&C furniture in a factory, but he published plans so that any competent shop, amateur or professional, could make a copy. (Maybe not as efficiently, but certainly as well.)

These chairs document the two paths furniture has taken in the past century. It's not about traditional versus modern design. It's about designing for mass production versus designing for small production. I am not saying mass production is bad, just that the designs for mass production don't leave room for traditional workshops. And so the modern small shop is caught between two worlds: a desire to explore the limits of craft, and the mass vocabulary of manufacture that people are used to and have come to expect.


Marquetry Day Two

McGlynn On Making - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 7:51pm

Today wasn’t much fun honestly.

I spent most of this morning sawing out the rest of the pieces of the first packet, and was really struggling to follow the line with the saw.

Besides the obvious difficulty of cutting on the line, there is the added challenge that as you cut around a section it becomes loose in the packet and you have to tape it back in place and support it as you go.  If you move the saw and any part isn’t adequately supported, the pieces break and shoot out the back.  Ask me how I know.  Luckily we’re able to balance the Joy of Sawing with the Thrill of Crawling on the Floor Looking for Broken Bits of Veneer.

The challenge this morning was mapping out how we’re going to cut out the central area of this project.  The parts have to stay in the packet after cutting to support the surrounding parts.  Without falling out, and without slipping between the other layers and getting re-cut as part of another line.  The order of cuts, turns and backtracks is carefully orchestrated.  Add in several strategic scotch tape reinforcement operations and you have a formula for a stunt that ranks up there with some bizarre yoga headstand.

We started with a strategy session on sawing, mapping out the direction and order of cuts.  The double-ended arrows indicate "traverses" where you cut past an intersection, then back up generally two intersections and cut around from the other direction.

We started with a strategy session on sawing, mapping out the direction and order of cuts. The double-ended arrows indicate “traverses” where you cut past an intersection, then back up generally two intersections and cut around from the other direction.

Sometimes the saw seems to have a mind of it’s own.  I’ll be right on the line, then I’ll be way off the line – just that fast.  It’s frustrating, I feel like a preschooler who wandered into college calculus.  In fact, it reminds me far too much of attending college calculus.  OK, first please integrate img55, then saw out some tiny parts from 1/28″ thick veneer using a blade that is .010″ thick.

Apparently the lines are just a suggested place for the saw blade to go...

Apparently the lines are just a suggested place for the saw blade to go…

After lunch we opened up our packets, prepared an assembly board and glued all of our misshapen bits of veneer face down onto some kraft paper.  I’m not sure what the next step is, hopefully soaking it in petroleum distillates and lighting it on fire.

We started in on our next next project, drawing our own faces by tracing a high contrast printout of a photograph.  I don’t like having my picture taken, so having to saw out a marquetry packet of my own image is some kind of sadistic double-whammy.  Hopefully tomorrow will go better.

Materials for the next project.  3mm backer board, 1.5mm front board and four contrasting pieces of veneer to make four portraits.  I'm not clear who would want one portrait of me, much less four, so I'm not sure I understand the point here.

Materials for the next project. 3mm backer board, 1.5mm front board and four contrasting pieces of veneer to make four portraits. I’m not clear who would want one portrait of me, much less four, so I’m not sure I understand the point here.


Categories: General Woodworking

Ingenious Folding Ladder Built by Roy Underhill

Wood and Shop - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 6:44pm

 

In the above quick video Bill Anderson and I show how Roy Underhill’s famous “folding ladder” works. Roy’s design is based on a folding ladder used by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello. You can learn more about Thomas Jefferson’s folding ladder here.

thomas-jefferson-folding-ladder-roy-underhill-woodwright2

Here’s the best price for the season 8 DVD of “The Woodwright’s Shop” where Roy shows how to build this ladder: here or here.

thomas-jefferson-folding-ladder-roy-underhill-woodwright-bill-anderson

What amazing woodworking inventions have you discovered?

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO JOSHUA’S FUTURE ARTICLES & VIDEOS!

Autumn

The Barn on White Run - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 6:21pm

cIMG_7313

In previous years our sporadic presence in the mountains often meant that we missed autumn, which comes and goes pretty quickly.  The trees reached full color only a week after beginning to turn, and will be gone in another week.  When the sun is shining the maples are practically neon.

cIMG_7318

I continue to chop up trees, and this is maple the first large tree I felled completely by myself.   It was about 60’tall and 18 inches at the base.  I definitely need a larger, more powerful chain saw.  The firewood inventory continues to increase, the local habit is to have next year’s firewood pile sitting and seasoning through the coming year.  I’m thinking I may be approaching that point fairly soon.

Also I am moving the tree line back to the southwest of the barn.  In winter the trees, even though devoid of leaves, are thick enough such that I loose sunlight by about 2.30.  I’m hoping that by moving the tree line back 100 feet I can extend that by an hour.

cIMG_7314

The Fred West Commemorative Tool Chest- Made by Andrew Gore

Highland Woodworking - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 10:19am

While at WIA 2014 a few weeks ago, we came across the Fred West Commemorative Tool Chest made by Andrew Gore of Andrew Gore Woodworks.

We caught up with Andrew at WIA and he discussed the significance behind the chest and what was included inside of it. Below is our video, as well as a transcription for the parts that are hard to hear.

My name is Andrew Gore from Andrew Gore Woodworks in Kansas City, MO. I specialize in customized work as far as tool chests and relief carving with a lot of color added to it.

Back in the Spring of 2014, I was approached by Mark Harrell from Bad Axe Tool Works and Scott Meek from Scott Meek Woodworks in regards to coming up with a commemorative tool chest for a really good friend of ours, a guy named Fred West from West Chester, PA. Fred was a spokesperson for the hand tool industry. He was a supporter of hand tool makers and woodworkers like myself and he was very encouraging and inspiring for us and really pushed the level of woodwork that we do.

Unfortunately, Fred had a very short battle with a rare form of cancer and passed away in January of 2014. This Spring I was approached by both Scott and Mark about coming up with a commemorative tool chest to remember this guy, that could ultimately be filled with the finest hand tools that were available. I was given a lot of free reign as far as the design and the appearance of the chest. The whole idea is for it to be a museum quality tool chest; museum quality in the tool chest itself, but also museum quality in the tools that are inside of it. It needed to be an opportunity for an unsuspecting person to receive the generosity that Fred showed all of us by his giving and caring for us, his friends.

After a lot of brainstorming and putting everything together, this was the first-ever Fred West Commemorative Tool Chest. Some of the makers involved who donated their tools to the chest include:

The total value of the chest is somewhere between the $5500-6000 range and at 12:30 today (9/13/14) there will be a drawing to give it away for free as the first commemorative tool chest to an unsuspecting woodworker that was participating here at WIA.

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Below are several additional links about the Fred West Commemorative Tool chest:

Popular Woodworking Blog: http://www.popularwoodworking.com/woodworking-blogs/editors-blog/fred-west-commemorative-tool-chest-giveaway

Scott Meek’s Blog: http://www.scottmeekwoodworks.com/fred-west-commemorative-tool-chest

Andrew Gore’s Blog: http://andrewgorewoodworks.com/tool_chests/fred_west_commemorative_tool_chest

The post The Fred West Commemorative Tool Chest- Made by Andrew Gore appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

A Contemporary Live-Edge Dining Table - Designing and Building the Base

Combray Furniture Studio - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 9:10am

Creating bespoke furniture often means designing a piece that fits both the tastes of a client and a specific space in their home.   In this case we were looking to build a live-edge table, with the capacity to seat six, that could fit in a cozy dining room.

I really enjoy it when you can go as a team to the hardwood supplier and your customer signs off on the stock right from the start.  With a spray bottle of mineral spirits in hand, you share in the excitement of finding the perfect board (particularly important with live-edge pieces), and they appreciate the complexities and costs of building a fine piece of furniture.  It reminds me of why I do this in the first place.  We selected a slab of walnut for the top, took it to the studio, and set it aside.

The most important design decision was how I would construct the base.  After some back and forth I agreed to build a couple of models to illustrate our options.  I like making models because each can be saved for future reference and everyone gets a much better idea of the scale of the piece.  I also find that major joinery challenges show themselves long before you pick up a tool.


We selected the cantilevered option on the left and this led me back to the lumberyard to find a small slab for the base.  I then set about inlaying three functional-yet-decorative butterfly inserts in the wide crosspiece.


Contemporary furniture often lends itself well to the unobtrusive style of joinery offered by the domino system.  This piece, however, seemed to be better served by traditional western and Japanese mortise and tenon joints.  I  also got it into my head that I could make this table much stronger if I could make each joint self locking -- using the weight of the top to secure each connection.



The key bit of joinery is the angled support in the front -- fully bridled at the bottom and slipped in place at the top with the table support acting as a stop.  It holds the weight of the top, plus the weight of the builder, with ease.


Next Up:  Flattening and Surfacing the Top
Categories: General Woodworking

Straight or Spiral

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 8:46am

In the November issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine I wrote an article outlining the router bits I consider to be the core of any powered shop. The workhorse bits of that core set are the straight bits. Straight router bits come in three varieties: Spiral-upcut, spiral-downcut and straight-cut bits. The choice of which to use comes down to the specific job and your preferences. The difference between straight and spiral […]

The post Straight or Spiral appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

why did this take 30 years?

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Tue, 09/30/2014 - 8:43am

I just spent a week back at the Heartwood School for the Homebuilding Crafts  http://www.heartwoodschool.com/ – after being a student there in 1984, I finally returned to teach a small class in making the carved boxes. What a treat! Run all these years by Will & Michele Beemer – Heartwood is a great place. Woodsy, small-scale, friendly and exciting all at once. They have done a great job with this school – it was such a thrill to be there and see how it has developed. When I was first there, I was as green as the wood; but by now I know my way around woodworking schools, and this one gets very high marks. In many ways, it reminds me of my friends Drew & Louise Langsner’s Country Workshops. Both schools are a husband & wife endeavor, very homey (although Will & Michele commute about a mile to work – one of the nicest commutes I have ever taken), and both have a community of supporters and involved participants. I know I will be back before another 30 years. Hopefully next year. Lots of pictures & captions. I wish I had shot the surrounding Berkshire hills…but was sorta busy. 

 

heartwood 2

Heartwood school building

heartwood

from the framing yard

wood storage

some wood storage

splitting

splitting w wedges

brett hewing

Brett hewing

shop view

inside the shop

planing in shop

planing and

planing

more planing

ed carv ing

carving

carving

carving

v tool

V-tool

student carving scroll

carving in progress

A few things set this box class apart from previous ones – because there were only 4 students, we made larger-sized boxes. More like ordinary period ones; about 20-22″ long, 6″ high, 12″+ front to back. And we made tills. Added some fumbling & headache – but they really add a lot to the finished box. 

till notches

notches for till side and bottom

4 hands till

even with 4 hands, it can fall down during test fit

till parts

till side & bottom in test fit, till lid being prepped

box w bottom & till

assembled box, w till & bottom – next is lid

Heartwood’s lunches are legendary – thanks to Michele’s hard work. 

lunch 1

lunch w will

no wonder Will is so happy

lunch 2

lunch 3

Scattered throughout the shop are mementos from previous classes, and apprenticeship grads – going back quite a ways…

student gifts

student gits 2

And projects from specialty timber-framing classes – here’s an example of how to scribe and cut a post to sit on stone. Look at that fit. Will says “now it’s Art”

scribing

scribing fit

 

we didn’t get to it, but there’s a pizza oven. Need I say more? (the frame is a class-project; fitting square timbers to round, round-t0-round, etc – like a sampler)

pizza oven & shelter

pizza oven

 

I didn’t shoot enough the last day; we had lots to do, fitting the wooden hinges, making lids and so on. I wish I had shot some of the local landscape as well. I always joke about those of us from eastern Massachusetts, and how we never go to western Massachusetts (& vice-versa, mostly) – ask my sister who lives in Springfield. But I was thrilled to be there, and reconnect to Will & Michele. BUT…the very next day when I got home, it was off to a perfect fall day at low tide. 

 

sea


Preparations for the Upcoming Boulle Marquetry Workshop

The Barn on White Run - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 6:57pm

 

cIMG_7323

This coming Friday through Sunday I will be teaching a three day workshop on the Boulle technique of marquetry at The Barn.  This is something I very much look forward to.  So, for the past few days I have been punctuating my days by preparing the classroom space for the event.

 

cIMG_7322

One of the parts attendees seem to enjoy the most is the making of tordonshell, and here is a batch I have prepared for them to use.  They will make their own to take home.

cIMG_7324

Come Sunday afternoon they will have some finished panels, the number and complexity depending on their interest and the time it takes them.

I still have an empty slot for this, so if it interests you drop me a line at the Contact portal for the site.

Marquetry Class Day One (and Minus One)

McGlynn On Making - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 6:21pm

I left about 9am Sunday from Santa Cruz to drive to San Diego.  I plugged my first planned stop into the GPS, put on an audio book and put the pedal down.  I’m listening to “The Alloy of Law” buy Brandon Sanderson — the “Mistborn” trilogy that this is and follow-on to is one of my favorite fantasy stories, up there with the Sword of Truth and the Wheel of Time series.  More action and better magic.  Anyway, it was easy to get caught up in the story, which made the long drive pass enjoyably.

I just made it to Pasadena just in time to visit the Crow house, built in 1909 by the Greene and Hall brothers.  It’s on the market for $2.7M, and while it’s not as elaborate as the better known Gamble house it’s still very nice.  I especially liked the layout of the house, and the large garage in the back.

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After visiting the Crow house I was just in time to sit in traffic to San Diego, making the hotel by about 7pm.  This morning I got up and after liberal quantities of coffee I found Patrick Edwards’ shop where the class is held.

Patrick Edwards' Shop

Patrick Edwards’ Shop

We spent the morning talking about some history related to Marquetry, and Patrick gave everyone a lot of information about using hide glue, which is essential to assembling marquetry as he teaches it.  The five main types of marquetry he described are:

  1. Tarsia Certosina, apparently the earliest method which involved excavating an area using a knife and chisels, inlaying a piece into the solid wood background, leveling it and then repeating.  This would probably the the ancient equivalent of modern-day inlay as seen on guitars and other instrument work.
  2. Tarsia Geometrica, this covers both complex geometric designs, like a field of 3D cubes, and elaborate patterns of veneer where the slices are arranged in patterns to produce different designs.
  3. Tarsia a Toppo, this is generally “banding”, where veneers are arranged in a pattern and glued together into a block, then strips are sawn from the block to produce banding that is used as a border
  4. Tarsia a Incastro (the Boulle method), this involved assembling a packet of contrasting veneers and sawing out the design through the whole packet.  The individual layers are then assembled to produce the finished design.  In a packet with two colors, you end up with essentially a positive and a negative image.  The saw kerf is visible, and is filled with glue and sawdust of mastic.  Double-bevel marquetry and “painting in wood” are probably both variants of this method.
  5. The Classic Method, this involves producing several packets, one of background veneers, and one for each color in the design.  The individual parts of the design pattern are cut out and glued to the appropriate packets, allowing you to product multiple copies of the same design.

If all that sounds like confusing gibberish, that’s ok.  I’ve only got a tenuous grasp on the differences myself.  The interesting point is that this week we’re only doing Boulle (pronounced “bool” not “bool-ley”).  Over the course of the week we’ll do three different projects, and after we took a lunch break we started on the first project.

Packets for a "piece-by-piece" project (not mine).  The top packet is the background, maybe 4 or 5 backgrounds.  The lower is a set of leaves for a different project.  You cut away half of the line in each packet, and the parts should fit together (yeah...ok)

Packets for a “piece-by-piece” project (not mine, we’re not doing this technique this week). The top packet is the background, maybe 4 or 5 backgrounds. The lower is the leaves.  There would be a different packet for each color in the project. You cut away half of the line in each packet, and the parts should fit together (yeah…ok)

Part of my mission this week is to sample fish tacos at as many places as I can, as San Diego is the home of the fish taco in the same way that Kansas City is known for BBQ at places like Arthur Bryant’s.  I tried the fare at a place near the hotel last night (not great) and today at El Comal, about 6 blocks from Patrick’s shop.  El Comal good, although there is room for improvement.

Lunch at El Comal

Lunch at El Comal

After lunch we started assembling and cutting our Boulle packet.  The packet has a 3mm backer board, a piece of newsprint treated with lard folded over on itself to lubricate the blade, three layers of thick veneer, and a front board with the design laminated to it.  These layers are taped together into a packet, and pilot holes drilled for the blade.  We started cutting, and I quickly discovered it takes a certain level of coordination to operate the clamp with my feet, move the saw with my hand and rotate the packet to follow the line.  More that I could muster today.  I was feeling a little frustrated, but I wasn’t doing any worse than anyone else in the class.

We all cut three or four pieces from our packets and called it a day, with Patrick’s promise that by tomorrow our bodies would be quickly getting acclimated to the process.  Actually, by the last part I cut it already felt more comfortable, the first few it was more like a drunken roller coaster than any kind of precision operation.

My Boulle packet with the first four sections cut.  It's sloppy, and I broke one of the parts.  It's no different than anyone else's though.

My Boulle packet with the first four sections cut. It’s sloppy, and I broke one of the parts. It’s no different than anyone else’s though.

 

 


Categories: General Woodworking

Black Walnut 17th Century Style Document Box

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 6:17pm
I have many, many things to catch up with here. I'm going to begin with a little bragging.

Back in June I did a little carving demo at the annual Gala for the Castlerock Museum of Arms and Armor. I carved a front panel for a document box out of walnut.


Just this past weekend I was part of another demo there, more focused on woodworking itself, and I decided to finish up a couple pieces to have as. ". . . and here's what it looks like when you're done." pieces. I spent last week finishing the till, lid, and turning a set of feet.

Here's the finished results.



The primary wood is black walnut, the inner till is made from cherry and the bottom is pine, (So you get that wonderful scent when you open the lid) .


 


The box measures approximately 20" across and 14" deep.






This small chest is also FOR SALE. I need to make more room for new pieces, (and help finance the materials for them) I'm asking $450 USD.

Send me an email (oldwolfworkshop@gmail.com) if you're interested or have more questions.

There should be a lot more actual woodworking stuff coming from me soon.

Ratione et Passionis
Oldwolf
Categories: General Woodworking

Old ways of working wood

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 9:45am

Last month I needed to order a few items from Amazon.com. My order total fell just a bit short of free freight, so I added Alex Bealer’s book ‘Old Ways of Working Wood’ to the list, which only cost me around $2.00 after taking into account the deletion of the freight charge. The book sat untouched since it arrived, but a mild bout of insomnia on Saturday night led me to pick up the book and read it, which I did in one sitting-almost cover to cover. As far as woodworking books go, it was okay. I’ve read better, and worse. But something did surprise me, or rather, something didn’t surprise me.

‘Old Ways..’ was published in 1980 I believe. In literary terms, thirty-four years is hardly a long time, but it was written by a member of the G.I. generation. So we do at least have a perspective which is 3 generations removed from today. With that being said, Bealer’s views on hand tool/traditional woodworking are very similar to quite a few acclaimed new books that I’ve read over the past couple years. In fact, you could say that those books are almost identical to Bealer’s work. The message in ‘Old Ways’ is no different than in several “must read books that blew me away!” Here is the truth: There is no new woodworking information, it’s all been said before many, many times. While furniture may change in style, the way it is built has not really changed in hundreds of years. We, as woodworkers, are using the same joinery and virtually the same tools that have been used since the 17th century. The moral: There are no new woodworking books, and there haven’t been in a long time.

Would I recommend Bealer’s book? Not really. It’s not bad, but I liked Roy Underhill’s ‘ The Woodwright’s Guide: Working wood with wedge and edge’ much better, and both generally contain the same information; Underhill’s book was more fun to read. As far as woodworking books are concerned, I don’t know if I can see myself purchasing another new technique book. The older books are generally less expensive, and contain the same, if not better, information. While I’m all for supporting new authors, I do expect at least some new information, not information that has been rehashed over and over again for more than three hundred years. So while my “discovery” was hardly shocking, it did leave make me wonder about the future of woodworking books, as in, how many times am I going to read the same old thing in a new book?


Categories: General Woodworking

How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck – Exactly?

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 9:39am

Numbers are a big part of my job here, as is looking at data in new and different ways. In light of that, I thought I’d share some interesting information I found as I was getting ready to start at Popular Woodworking. Back in the ’90s, a couple of scientists decided to answer the burning question of “How much wood would a woodchuck chuck, if a woodchuck could chuck wood?” We know, of […]

The post How Much Wood Would a Woodchuck Chuck – Exactly? appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Ask the Staff: Sharpening a Pfeil Bowl Adze

Highland Woodworking - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 8:46am

For this month’s Wood News Online we received the following Ask the Staff question from D. Grover:

I recently acquired a Pfeil bowl adze, which needs sharpening.  I am at a loss in figuring out how to accomplish this and what type of honing stones, etc. to use.  With the size, inside bevel and the angle of the adze head vis-a-vis the handle, I can’t quite figure out the best way to do this.  I’ve not seen slip stones large enough. How should I go about sharpening?

Read our answer in the comments below and feel free to leave your own answer in the comments section!

The post Ask the Staff: Sharpening a Pfeil Bowl Adze appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

More carving

Kees - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 7:40am
This could become addictive.


Categories: General Woodworking

MOFGA

The Barn on White Run - Mon, 09/29/2014 - 5:50am

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A week ago Saturday we attended the Maine Organic Farmer’s and Grower’s Association annual “Common Ground Country Fair,” a weird amalgam of passionate foodies, sensible homesteading and rural stewardship, self absorbed yuppie/hippie types who likely shed their costumes and returned to their Ivy-League lives by Monday (I can only hope they didn’t stay that way in perpetuity, although I don’t know what those old balding men will do with their pony-tails), skilled craftsmen, pagan mythology, eco-hysterics, some pretty cool gadgeteering, and some stuff that simply defied description.

And of course, fabulous food.  And friends.

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I especially enjoyed the skilled trades and crafts on display and being demonstrated, including hewing,

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ash sapling peeling for basketry,

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furniture making,  woodlot and forestry managing,

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a huge range of primitive skills like starting a fire with a bowsaw setup and making archery bows (I wanted to take the fellow’s drawknife and sharpen it proper, because he was basically chewing his way through the wood), spectacular sheep dog exercises,

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stone carving humble,

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and spectacular, and a whole bunch more.

It definitely supplied this year’s quota of human contact, although that one gal with the black make-up and a hardware store’s worth of accouterments in/on/through her face makes me wonder about the human part.  I really wish I had taken a picture.  I simply do not understand the appeal of self mutilation.

It was pretty clear that the patron saint for the event was Karl Marx, and the omnipresent hectoring of the unctuous enviros made me recall this observation of CS Lewis.

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

Still, a grand time was had!  I only wish I had yelled out, “Hooray Monsanto!” or “Fracking now!” just to see the tremors sweep through the crowds.

 

 

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by Dr. Radut