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Click here to read my article in Furniture and Cabinetmaking Magazine about a weekend workbench featuring my favorite knockdown joint, the Tusk joint. This was one of my favorite builds to date, because it was a project with one of my favorite instructors at Pratt. Steve brings a whole lot of laughter and knowledge into the shop, and I love designing projects and building with him.
Many kids (not to mention woodworkers) will say “I hate math!”. But as Kalid Azad of www.betterexplained.com has pointed out what they are really saying is that they hate how math makes them feel. Nobody likes to feel frustrated and stupid. Presenting math concepts through manipulating a physical “calculator,” however, goes a long way to not only changing that perception but to instilling an intuitive understanding of the core principles […]
The post Learn Math with a Framing Square – “Framing Square Math” by Joe Youcha appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
I learned many year ago that there are going to be problems when finishing. The simple saying that the difference between a woodworker and a great woodworker is that a great woodworker knows how to fix their problems is every bit as true when it comes to finish work. Learning a great finish fix is key to making your project look its best. The more weapons you have in your arsenal, the better your projects will look.
Recently I was invited to speak about the HO Studley project to the Frederickburg (VA) Woodworker’s Guild. My friend SteveD was my host and a grand time ensued.
While at Steve’s I got to see a bed frame he had been working on in recent weeks, and about which we had corresponded regarding the finish being used. This bed was commissioned by the organization that is recreating George Washington’s childhood home near Fredericksburg. Much of the recreation is based on rigorous and ongoing archaeology. The Washington family domicile being readied for the public is all new construction, but there is solid evidence that it is a very faithful interpretation of the original.
Steve has been commissioned to create a number of beds (and perhaps other pieces?) for the site, and this bed is a stunning one.
The audience at the Guild meeting was large and enthusiastic, Steve said it was about twice normal. And you gotta admit, the tale of Henry O. Studlew is a compelling one. The group meets in a semi-industrial space which suited me just fine.
The audience was very attentive and engaged, asking excellent questions throughout the presentation and staying after to discuss all manner of Studley and Roubo topics. They promised to invite me back, and I look forward to that event.
|#4 plane parts|
|highly visible line|
|cleaning/de-greasing the plane body|
|I thought this was rust|
|underneath the frog is the 2nd spot|
|under the tote is the 3rd spot|
|the #4 iron|
|stoned a flat on the back of the chipbreaker|
|this is difficult for me to sharpen|
|Record 044 skate|
|see the shiny areas at the toe|
|this is what Sparks was talking about|
|back one is half a frog hair off square|
|front one is dead nuts|
|no movement at all now|
I tried to buy new rods and a 10mm drill bit from McMaster-Carr but I am dead in the water with them. I emailed them 3 times requesting a password reset and I didn't get it. Both my trash and my spam folders were/are empty. On the 4th request, McMaster-Carr said that too many attempts to access my account had been done so the account was locked. I tried two more times today and I still haven't gotten a reset. I emailed them directly and I'm waiting to hear back on that.
|I set it on this|
|my coarsest diamond stone|
I didn't get the glue up of the cabinet done but maybe tomorrow. I am going to try and glue it up without any fasteners. I rehearsed a dry clamp up a couple of times and I think it's doable. The joints all come together easily and are tight and even.
Did you know that Congress established the US Military Academy at West Point in 1802?
En route back to Shangri-La following our excursion into deepest Flyover Country we stopped to see the progress of things at Lost Art Press. Mrs. Barn had never seen the new World Headquarters and since they were within a mile of our route, I checked to make sure we could stop.
As usual Chris was hard at work in the shop and on the shop, but he took a few minutes to visit and relax.
During that brief visit I sat in the Mother of All Stump Chairs that Chris has been chronicling. I cannot say I could sit there for an entire evening but it was more comfortable than I expected and looked pretty cool too. All I needed was a bearskin vest and a grog of mead and I would have looked right at home.
We also toured the new machine room emerging from the renovation of the carriage house out back, and Chris had just hung and caulked his hand-made doors before we arrived. I definitely approve.
I join Chris in celebrating the establishment of the new headquarters, and even his dream of living in this vintage high density neighborhood. He likes having neighbors nearby, I like having neighbors on the other side of the mountain.
One of the nice traditions at the school I teach in is our annual Fall Fair. The Fair is a one-day extravaganza in which the school transformed into a magical forest-like world. Laden with autumn and winter atmosphere, our building’s interior is decorated with fabrics, branches, logs and leaves to support the imaginary themes of fairy tales and mythology. To help our school with fundraising during the fair, parents volunteer […]
The post Woodworking Workshop for Parents and our Fall Fair 2017 – Part 1 appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
|laying out for a rabbet|
|using the LV rabbet plane to make them|
|made a test rabbet in some scrap|
|wee bit proud|
|took the tape off|
|looks good now|
|glue foamed up and closed up the hole|
|clear and clean top to bottom|
|see the whitish line|
|I can make noise now|
|dry clamping run|
|getting my size finalized|
|it is a bit proud|
The crappy looking piece of oak plywood I was going to use for the bottom is toast. On the top piece I had the factory edge to work off and the on the oak one I didn't. What I had with that was four hand sawn, out of square edges.
Since I was going to lunch with my friend Billy who retired last year, I decided to get a new piece of plywood. Added bonus is that Billy lives right next to a Lowes. I stopped there after I brought him home after lunch.
|left the saw set|
|dry clamp with the top and bottom in place|
|it is self squaring|
|got the brass adjuster knob off|
|the threads are good|
|I had a replacement stud|
As of now I am planning on one large drawer and a sliding tray on the bottom with a door. I think I can get everything in the cabinet that I want too.
Did you know that in Boulder City, Nevada gambling is not legal?
I'm super excited to announce that I've been asked to start contributing to Marc Spagnuolo's Wood Whisperer Guild. The plans for my first guild project are on pre-sale now. This is an expansion of the Oak Writing Desk project I built with Jonathan Schwennessen at Homestead Heritage in Texas for Furniture and Cabinet Making Magazine Issue 248 last year. Click here to view and purchase: https://thewoodwhispererguild.com/product/writing-desk/ Marc will be flying up to the farm to document our first video plan project together, and it promises to be a fantastic time and a wonderful build. I'm really excited to share in an in-depth, detailed, well-documented manner more about the projects I take on.
I’ve long been struck by the aptness of our English word “cope” – “I just can’t cope,” “I’m barely coping” – in light of its meaning in a woodworker’s lexicon. Sure, some of us may use the word when describing our emotional state, but more often we use it to denote a technique for joining two pieces of trim or molding where they meet at an inside corner. There’s nothing wrong […]
While visiting Mark Harrell recently our conversation returned to a topic we had engaged in previously, namely that of the repertoire of saws in an 18th century Parisian workshop. Whatever they had, Mark wants to try to make it.
The literary evidence is pretty clear that the workhorse saws in these shops were frame saws for much of the heavy dimensioning (ripping) work and bow saws for the rest, including joinery. (Roubo makes no references to back saws) We might tend to see bow saws as a northern implement, coming from Scandinavian and Germanic traditions, but Roubo places inordinate emphasis on their use and utility in the Paris of his time.
The variations within this theme are many, but at present I am trying to brainstorm about adapting Roubo’s images and descriptions to the tasks of a workshop in 2018. I am starting from the premise that the saw plate Mark developed for the frame saw should serve equally well in a bow saw with the plate fixed parallel to the plane of the frame. With that in mind I have been noodling the designs and begun replicating at least one of a pair of Roubo bowsaws (the other being a compass or “turning” saw, so noted as having a shallow blade that can both follow a curved cut and be rotated in the bow handle for greater facility) in time for demonstrating at CW next week.
Hoping for success. Wish me luck.
I had to do some errands and for those I had to wait until 0800 for Lowes to open and then 0900 for BJ's to open. While I was waiting for Mickey's big hand to move I did my laundry and some shellac work. I still get agitated when I have to hurry up and wait but doing something helps to calm me down. Getting the Preston chamfer spokeshave done was the only thing I was able to check off in the C column.
|shellac for the 78 box|
|my Lowes haul|
|it's a good fit - thumbscrew from the Preston chamfer spokeshave|
|two pieces of 1/2" plywood|
|preview of the cabinet|
|about 27" off the deck|
|about 32" where it will live|
|all of my tool boxes from under the laundry table|
|I'll have to make a smaller box for this|
|this will be going away finally|
|gluing up the tote|
|I think this will work|
|I had to drill two barrel nuts to act as spacers|
|right side hole that the rod will go in|
|the plane body hole|
|my 10mm clock bit|
|still won't exit|
|I made this box in march and didn't put on any shellac|
|the first 078 plane box|
|Preston chamfer spokeshave done|
|the before pic|
I'm not sure yet whether I'll give this Miles or keep it for myself. The only problem I have with it is there aren't any irons for it. I've been looking for one since I got it. As a chamfering tool this works very well. The fact that it is adjustable makes it a very versatile tool so maybe I should give it to Miles. It would be a relatively safe tool for him to use even at a young age.
|gluing the tote up|
|3 pieces of tape applied|
|the cabinet footprint|
|a lot of damage here|
|2nd piece of plywood|
Did you know that Pinocchio had two pets named Figaro (cat) and Cleo (goldfish)?
Over the past few months, I’ve been making these Ohio signs and selling them in my wife’s booth. They’re a simple thing to make. Just cut the wood in the shape of Ohio, then glue and staple the pieces to a plywood back. Originally I used old pallet wood to make the signs, but the past few batches I made them with old fence boards.
Last week, when I was helping my wife moving things around in her booth, she told me that some of the signs had warped. Worried, I grabbed a few of the signs to look at them. Because we had such a hard cold spell, the antique store was kicking up heat to stay warm. Apparently, the dry heat sucked all the moisture from the signs making them bend up. Even the top of an old bench my wife was selling warped.
When examining the sign, I realized I made two rookie mistakes. The first mistake I made was that I painted the wrong side of the fence board. I should have fastened the wood crown-down so that the board wouldn’t warp upward. The second mistake I made was that when I fastened the boards on the plywood, I spread glue all over the plywood back making the wood unable to expanded and contracted. Embarrassing to admit I know. When I first made these signs, I made them from old pallet wood that was a lot narrower than the wide fence board I used here. I thought my wood was dry enough to make them in the same process, but I was sorely mistaken.
Wanting to fix the sign, I ripped apart the plywood back and removed all the staples from the wood.
After cleaning the back of the pieces, I saw how the widest board on the sign was warping in conjunction with the others.
I decided to shave off the high spot in the middle with my scrub plane so the warping wouldn’t be as noticeable when I remade the sign.
Then, instead of spreading glue all over the plywood back, I laid a bead of glue down the center of each piece of wood so the wood could move. I then attached the plywood back to the pieces with 1/4″ crown 5/8″ long staples.
With everything back together, I was happy how the sign laid flat again. I really don’t mind if the boards warp a little bit. After all, the sign is supposed to look old and rustic. I just don’t want the whole thing to curl.
This giant banner at Bad Axe Toolworks made me laugh out loud. You know Roubo is catching on when the yardstick for a tool is its ability to cut the dovetailed leg tenons for a Plate 11 workbench.
|It looks to be about the same size as the fence rods|
I looked up 10mm rod stock on McMaster-Carr (another tip from Steve) and they have a lot of choices. They have chrome plated rods starting in 1 foot increments. I would like to get that but I'm not sure I have anything capable of cutting it. My second choice is 10mm A2 steel rod that I can get in a 5 1/8" long length. That should be good enough to use for fence rods. But first I'll have to fix the no passing through the hole annoyance.
|both ends beveled - Stanley 078 box|
|scraps on found on the deck to fill the gap|
|it fell inside|
|time to see if everything will fit|
|everything fits and I can close the lid|
|I don't like all the parts flopping around|
|won't fit - needs to be trimmed a wee bit|
|part one for the fence rod holder|
|glued and cooking|
|holder for the fence|
|the side of the box will be the back of the rabbet|
|glued in place|
|glad I checked it|
|making a holder for the depth stop|
|Stanley 131B came today|
|I thought the Craftsman one was big|
|holder I put on hold|
|difference in the drivers|
|kind of fits|
|it wiggles and moves a bit|
|not getting done today|
|body done and the wings were last|
|#4 plane totes|
|the last one|
Did you know that President James K Polk was the first president to be photographed?
Editor’s note: This article ran in the October 2011 issue of PWM and we are resurfacing it because John is clearing out some bins of blanks in a warehouse sale on his site. I’ve included part of the article here and the build is detailed in the PDF of the issue. This is not a sponsored post, we just wanted to share a great article that paired with his sale […]
The post Warehouse Sale at Bridge City! Build a Brass and Rosewood Try Square appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
I saw this interesting cradle at an auction recently:
American Primitive Cherry Cradle
Description: 19th century, two part form, dovetailed cradle with iron rod swing supports on a boot-jack foot base with metal handles.
Size: 32 x 40 x 15 in.
Condition: Later metal handles; surface scratches; small shrinkage cracks.
What is more interesting it the method of suspension of the cradle body:
What was confusing was the description of this being a “dovetailed cradle”. I believe that I am eminently qualified to find dovetails, yet I found none. Look at the cradle for yourself:
I am truly disturbed by the apparent discrepancy between the written and the observed. I know that the people that write auction descriptions are highly trained experts that in many states are licensed or certified. Believe me. I am starting to believe that the fault is in me. The dovetails are there and I just can’t see them. I hope that’s the case. I would hate to see someone lose the job over this…
Building a Windsor-style rocking chair with Greg Pennington at Pennington Windsor Chairs was, to date, my favorite woodworking project. It opened up a new, very physical, very engaging side of woodworking I hadn’t before experienced. I loved using a wedge and sledge hammer to split the tree. Not only did it make me feel strong, it also helped me to better understand how wood works and how to get the most strength possible out of a single piece of wood.
Making a chair is, I think for most woodworkers, a major benchmark for progression in their craft. Having seen the Patriot, and being quite comfortable in the realms of square furniture, I really had no intention of ever making a chair. It seemed like it was a whole other skill and toolset than I currently possessed, and I am always wary of casting my net too widely and bringing no genuine knowledge or practiced skill to a craft. As they say, a jack of all trades is a master of none! That is- until I was offered the chance to take a class with some of my dearest friends in the shop of renown chairmaking instructor Greg Pennington.
For me, woodwork has always been motivated far more by relationship than by finished projects. I’ve found the best way to get to know people deeply is by joining them doing something they truly love. My journey as a woodworker started at my grandfather’s workbench. He was a pretty quiet guy most of the time, but he came alive in his woodworking shop. I loved my grandpa, and spending time with him meant spending time pulling and straightening nails, sweeping sweet cedar shavings off his shop floor, or just watching him work. After my grandfather’s passing, when I was twelve my love for woodworking was re-awakened just a six years ago as a way to spend time hanging out at my sister’s house and getting to know my new brother-in-law as he taught me about using handtools to build furniture. Woodworking then became the connection point for another precious older gentleman, 97 years young, who would go on to become an adopted grandpa of sorts and mentor me further. Then I found the maker community on Instagram, which opened up a whole other world of deep frienships with other folks passionate about making things with their hands. I met leather workers, farmers, musicians and blacksmiths, and my desire to see their eyes light up when talking about something they truly loved led me to start tinkering in those crafts as well.
I mention all this because yes, I built a chair, and yes, sitting and rocking in a chair I quite literally found within a tree stump in just a matter of weeks with a few handtools feels pretty awesome, but far more awesome was spending a week learning from a master. Greg loves what he does, and his eyes sparkle when he talks about every step and technique that bring an heirloom quality chair out of a fallen oak tree. The week I spent in Nashville at Greg’s school was quite literally one of the best weeks of my life. Greg was an incredibly patient and skilled instructor. We worked hard with our hands, we talked about everything under the sun, we drank beer, and we laughed until our ribs were sore. And, at the end of it all, somehow, I’d become a better woodworker with a greater understanding of how wood works, and I got to bring home a chair.
This project involved a lot of firsts for me, first time using a shavehorse for it’s intended purpose, which was especially helpful a few weeks later when it came time to build several for the woodworking school I work at. It was my first time riving wood, and I learned about how to predict and correct for grain runout. I learned how to properly use a spokeshave, how to be braver when roughing out stock because it results in so much LESS work later, how to turn square stock into an octagon and then round, and how to drill compound angles with space lasers. I got way more creative with securing round stock in vises designed to hold square stock, I learned how to make and use wedges effectively, and I confirmed that the sanding and finishing process of a chair is just as miserable and loathsome a task with chairmaking as it is with every other woodworking I’ve done in the past.
One thing I really liked about chairmaking is how many of the tools can be made with some rudimentary knowledge of blacksmithing. So, of course, as is always the case for me, In completing this project, I somehow added about fifteen others to the “someday” list, so look for those in the coming months and weeks.
Check out my new YouTube video on my chairmaking experience by clicking below!
**Photos in this article are by Fell Merwin, and by Melissa Morrison**