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General Woodworking

I Came. I Sawed. I Collaborated.

The Barn on White Run - Sat, 01/13/2018 - 6:07am

My recent trek around Flyover Country included an intersection between my path to my home town in southern Minnesota (the tropical part) and LaCrosse, Wisconsin, home to Mark Harrell and his ambitious enterprise Bad Axe Tool Works.  I’ve been collaborating with Mark for some time on the development of a frame saw/sash saw  with the promise that he would put one in my hands.

As the owner of two c. 1800 four-foot frame saws I was delighted to share the particulars about them with anyone who wanted to know.  Their details are spectacular, from the hand forged hardware to the forged plates in near-perfect condition.  (by that I mean there are no kinks or missing teeth, there was plenty of surface rust and the teeth needed touching up)

Like other saw makers, Mark contacted me some time ago and I took the time to talk with him at length about the vintage saws I have, in addition to the diminutive version I made for myself.  Mark was particularly interested in a model halfway between my vintage big ones and my new smaller one, and we worked out the details over many emails and phone calls, an interchange I welcome from any tool maker who wants my two cents worth.  To this point my only fee is that I get one of the tools in question if they ever go into production.  I think Bad Axe might have had this model at Handworks 2017, but I was so busy I could never get to their station once they got set up, so this was my chance.

Accompanied by The Oldwolf, Derek Olsen, we arrived late-morning.  And the saw geek-dom commenced.  Behind this modest door and awning is a buzzing hive of saw making.

Mrs. Barn and I got a quick tour of the facility, getting the opportunity to meet and greet each of the the sawmaking elves there.

I was especially impressed with the classroom they have set up there for saw making and sharpening workshops.  Mark definitely has the leads for mondo saw sharpening vises and setters.

Then we got down to the real fun as Mark brought out several models of saws for me to play with.  I already own two Bad Axe saws, including a custom made dovetail saw I commissioned and that has now become ensconced in their product line.  Under Mark’s watchful eye the playing commenced, and it was glorious!

Our exploration of the topic continued almost non-stop and we were torn between talking about saws, and sawing.

Then came the “official” purpose of the visit,  taking delivery of my own Bad Axe frame saw based on Roubo, my old saws, and my new one, with a bit of Bad Axe special sauce tossed in for good measure.

It performed perfectly right out of the box and will be integrated into my shop work as soon as it gets home.

More about the visit in the next post.

PopWood Playback #1 | Top Woodworking Videos of the Week

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Sat, 01/13/2018 - 6:00am

Episode #2 is live on YouTube. We had a couple of editors picks and a couple viewer submissions this week. I sincerely appreciate the great response to the first episode and the viewer feedback has been encouraging! I am happy to share Shawn Graham‘s video from his new series of daily tips and Huy’s sit-stand desk that integrates his finger joint jig. Check out our picks of the week over […]

The post PopWood Playback #1 | Top Woodworking Videos of the Week appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

checked all my plow planes.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 01/13/2018 - 12:01am
Houston something is screwy on planet earth. I am having a problem with my plow planes, please advise.  While I waited for Houston to respond, I checked all my plow planes to see how they stacked up. I was a wee bit shocked at what I found. My plows are all metal and I was expecting them to behave a lot better than what I saw.

I did 3 checks on each plane. #1 was checking the fence rods for wiggle. All had some with the Record 044 being the worse and the Lee Valley being the best closely followed by the Record 043. Check #2 was looking at the parallelism between the skates and the fences. Good point here as all planes passed this. The final check, #3, was did the fence stay parallel to the skate at a distance of a 1/2"?

Record 044
 This plow is dead nuts parallel as were all the other planes when checked for this.

used a 1/2" set up bar
I used the setup bar to set the fence at the toe and tighten down on both fence rod screws.

then I checked the heel of the fence
Doesn't fit and it isn't even close. It's beyond measuring it in frog hairs it's off so much.

almost an 1/8" off from the toe
This plow was the absolute worse of the lot for parallel away from the skate. I tried a couple of other settings and they were all off about an 1/8 inch toe to heel. At least the error appeared to be consistent.

setting the heel to a 1/2" on the 044
This was not that easy to do considering it is only an 1/8". It took a fair bit of force to push the fence at the heel end away from the skate out to a 1/2". The next check will be seeing if once I have it set parallel, will it hold it as I plow multiple grooves. Maybe the fence slipping is why I am getting my gap on the second groove? Checking the fence/skate measurement is not something I usually do as I plow.

Record 043
 I got the front set to a 1/2" and tightened the fence rod screws.

it's wider at the heel
It is probably a couple pieces of paper thickness of being off. Much better than it's bigger brother the 044.

I am aware of the fence slipping along with the depth shoe slipping too. Checking the screws between grooves is something I do out of habit with this plane. I haven't had any problems with the grooves as long as I keep an eye on the fence rod screws.

Lee Valley plow
Set the toe at a 1/2". The Lee Valley was the easiest one to set the 1/2" on.

not perfect, but the closest one
It is a slip fit on the toe and the heel but the heel is a frog hair or two wider.

Record 405
This plow has a rosewood fence and I wasn't too sure how flat and straight it was. It laid up flat on the skate and I didn't see any light between them. This plane is a PITA to nudge a frog hair in or out. It took me a while to get the 1/2" dialed in on the toe.

it's looser at the heel
When I first got this plane I almost put it away until I figured out that the fence was moving on me in use. The toe to heel isn't to to bad but there is a difference. In past use with this plane I haven't seen any problems with the grooves. Again, that was only as long as I kept checking the screws were tight and hadn't slipped.

The Lee Valley is #1. Easy to set up and use and the fence maintains parallel to skate the best. None of the planes were perfect with the parallelism but it was the closest one to it. I just got this one so I don't have a lot of time on the pond with it.

The Record 043 comes in second. It can be a bit finicky setting the iron but once it is set, it seems to hold without any further checking. All planes didn't have any problems with the iron slipping in use. I like this for plowing grooves on small stock. It shines doing that. The fence on this plane slips too but not as badly as the others.

The Record 405 is in third place. It is a multi-purpose plane and I bought it mostly to make grooves. This was my first 'plow plane' and it served me well. I stumbled and learned a lot using this plane. It hasn't gotten a lot of use since my acquisitions of other plow planes.

The Record 044 is dead last. I realized today that Paul Sellers uses a Record 044 in his woodworking videos. I doubt that he has the problems I am having. I tend to be brain dead about these things and my stubborn streak had already kicked in. It will be a while before I give up trying to figure out how to get this plane to perform as advertised. If I can't, I'll buy a Lee Valley for my grandson and pass this one on.

new bottom stock
This is a new piece of 1/8" plywood 12 x 24 inches. The length of the box is almost 12" and I will allow for an strong 16th overhang on all four sides.

lots of wiggle room on this bottom
fitting the top before I glue the bottom on
planing the rabbets
ubiquitous blurry pic
What the blurry pic is trying to show is a thin web of wood at the bottom of the groove.

shallow rabbet on the bottom of the lid for that thin web
fitting the lid
I took my time here because I need a good fit due to the width/depth of the groove and the thin chunk of wood at the top. It was plane two strokes and check the fit. It took a lot of dance steps to reach the back and get my ticket punched.

I think I got the side to side
it is tight to the top of the groove on both sides
I didn't plane anymore on the bottom rabbets. All the plane and fit was done on the tops of the rabbets.

wee bit past half way
The right side has clearance but the left is still tight to the top of the groove. I planed the back of the rabbet on the left one until the lid fit.

fitted - slides in and out easily
I did something different with this box. I tried to keep the rabbet as small as I could. I am happy with the left one but the right one I had to plane it a bit wider.

wooden astragal plane fit in the rabbet
laid out and chopped my thumb catch
big gap here
I am entertaining gluing a filler in here.

the pencil line is the thickness of the filler
I may have a few scraps on the deck that I can use for this. I'll pick them up and check them tomorrow.

bottom glued on and cooking
When I got home form work today it was 58°F (14.4°C). It is supposed to dip down to freezing overnight and by then the glue should have cooked . The furnace kicking it will be the icing on the cake.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that the most binge watched TV show is the Game of Thrones?

Dropping In On Oldwolf

The Barn on White Run - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 2:42pm

A recent trip to the Midwest for a variety of family gatherings provided a chance to drop in on Derek Olsen of Oldwolf Workshop fame.  Derek’s is a fairly recent entrance into my orbit, but our friendship is fast and strong.   He was first among the multitude of friends who volunteered to help with the 2015 HO Studley exhibit, and his account in The Bank of Don is brimming.

The stop for fellowship was a delightful one as you might expect.

Derek proudly showed his impressive library of furniture history books, his shrine to Studley, and his still-in-development shop in the garage next to where he and Mrs. Oldwolf moved in recent years.

After our time there, we headed down the road (actually only a few blocks) to some time of saw geek-dom at Bad Axe.

But that’s for the next post.

Book Giveaway: ICDT Woodworking Projects

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 4:59am

I’m currently editing a new book in the “I Can Do That!” series of products. Authored by the ICDT video series host Chad Stanton, the new book includes 20 great projects including coffee tables, nightstands, bookcases and even a rocking chair – all built in the ICDT tradition with an affordable kit of tools and materials you can easily find at your local home center. The book will be available […]

The post Book Giveaway: ICDT Woodworking Projects appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

working on the 044.......

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 01/12/2018 - 12:35am
The plan was to pick up the 044 this weekend and figure out what I am doing wrong then. Thinking about what may have been the problem kept echoing in the brain bucket all day. When I got home tonight I tried a couple of things that were quick and easy to do. I'm still scratching my bald spot on a couple and I might have figured out a couple. Only long term results will  prove them right.

the 78 box
I am hoping that I have enough meat left to hold and keep the lid in place.

the Record 044 box
A 1/4" groove with roughly the same amount of meat left.

It's as tight as I can get it
This is the way I left it from yesterday. I went to tighten it expecting it to be loose and it wasn't. I can't pull the rod back out but at the same time I can move it L/R.

rod pushed away - see the gap
rod pushed the opposite way - gap on the opposite side now
size of the rods are the same
hole is about .01 larger
I am not a machinist so I don't know if this would be an allowable tolerance. The other arm isn't nearly as wiggly nor does it have the same gaps. Maybe this is a deliberate machining step?

movement in the far one and a lot less in the near one
making sure the fence is parallel to the skate
I assumed since this plow has two arms, that once the fence thumbscrews are tightened, it would be parallel. Not so with this plow. Repeated loosen and tighten cycles all yielded a taper with the high water mark at the toe and the low water at the heel.

no more wiggle in either arm
This surprised me. Even without the fence tightened down on the arms, there was no movement in the fence rods. Part of the machining design of the tool?

first groove started
I went L to R monitoring the fence contact with the edge. I'm still batting 1.000 on the first groove.

almost a 1/4"
a 32nd less in the middle
same at the end
I thought that this would be the opposite of what I got. Maybe I'm not correlating this in my mind the correct way.

groove run #2
Fence is off the edge. I didn't see this happening. I sensed it more that seeing it at first. I had a build up of shavings and when I cleared them I saw this.

the fence is still parallel to the skate
swapped out the rods
I am trying out the rods from the Record 405 in the Record 044. They measure the same and I have the same wiggle problem with them. But with the fence on, the wiggling is gone.

changing my hand position
This is how I've been holding my left hand on the plow. My forefinger resting on the fence, thumb on the fence thumb screw and remaining fingers wrapped around the rod. I am thinking that maybe when I come from the R going to the L that I am applying pressure and cocking the fence somehow.

new way of holding and applying pressure
This way doesn't feel as good as the other way but I am going to try it.

appears to be working better
Got the groove started L to R and I am still tight against the edge. It has been about here that I see a gap between the fence and the edge of the stock.

tight on the L
tight in the middle -ish area
 tight at the right and keeping the throat clear
I normally keep the shavings where they spill out. This time I've been keeping the throat clear so I can see if and when the fence goes off the edge. I plowed two more grooves and both came out good. I plowed both grooves without any problems. The fence stayed where it should have and my grooves were straight and square.

Two grooves don't mean I solved this but it is a start. Only repeated making of good grooves will tell me that.

flushed the pins/tails and plugged my holes
lid rough sawn to length and width
I'll sticker the lid and do the fitting and trimming tomorrow.

I knew I should have left the shop
I wasn't going to saw out the bottom but I tried to squeeze it in. I also tried to saw out the lid with almost no over hang this time. Sawing on the wrong side of the line removed what little wiggle room I had. I caught that half way through the cut. I'll try it again tomorrow.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that a full moon is ten times brighter than a half moon?

Clothes Maketh The Man?

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 12:42pm

I have a new phenomenon in my life. It's called the gym. I've never really "worked out" in my entire life and always relied on being just a naturally strong farm boy, but it's part of the suggested post-op program and I'm actually enjoying it. Earlier this week as I was changing into my workout clothes and putting in my headphones (Rage Against The Machine radio) I experienced a connection with the preparation and what I was about to do.

I started to think about the other times in my life I have the same feeling. Most notably I've spent decades culturing the state of mind that accompanies wrapping my body in armor and strapping a sword to my hip. Whether or not there's any combat demonstration, just putting on the armor brings out a side of my personality that is more forceful, decisive and authoritative. I link it to wearing the armor through years combat competition and demonstrations where hesitation can equal loss and possibly injury to yourself or your opposition.

I have the same experience when I go to work at the hospital. In the OR I wear scrubs. The act of putting those on signals the upcoming expectations of the surgeons I work for. Furthermore when I don the sterile surgical gown and gloves this becomes an armor of it's own as I enter into what is kind of a different world with new rules of sterile conscience, boundaries, and mental compartmentalization come into play.

There are routines we all use to align our mind to the events about to take place before us, but also wearing a different costume can course correct a practiced state of mind. It's true that people will often behave differently a suit and tie than a ratty Metallica T-shirt. It seems superficial, but we are all superficial creatures at heart.

All this comes back to the thoughts I had as I headed into the weight room and started my new stretching routine. I don't have a costume for working in the shop. I don't really have a specific routine that signals "game on" to my mind and attitude. When my shop was a twenty minute drive from my bed I had that journey as prep time and I was very productive but the last few years of having my shop less than twenty yards from my bed has broken down the routine and the mindset. I'm more easily distracted and I have a large number of other things I can do (sometimes should do) easily at my fingertips.

To that end I'm going to try and make a change. I ordered a new shop apron, not a fancy custom one, a cheap POS that was probably sewn in a sweatshop. I've never liked wearing a shop apron much in the past, especially when they had pockets, I hated pockets in an apron. But many of my other clothing choices are evolving these days as I more from "if it actually fits it'll have to be good enough" to "do I want to wear this." My experience with a shop apron may evolve too. Maybe I'll love pockets now, maybe I'll like wearing the apron. This one will be easy enough to modify if I want and not feel bad about the bucks I've spent.

Once I get, if I get, acquainted with what I like or don't, I'll know what to shop for in a better made version.

What do you do to get yourself in the right state of mind for the shop?  I'm curious to hear other strategies.

Ratione et Passionis
Categories: General Woodworking

Bits & Bit Stock

360 WoodWorking - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 12:00pm
Bits & Bit Stock

I just posted a new presentation by Ron Herman for members at 360Woodworking.com. Way back in 2017 (sure seems like a long time ago, huh?) Ron did a video on braces and drills. The new release, Bits & Bit Stock dovetails into the 2017 presentation.

While his short video is packed with great hand-tool information, as is always the case, what I found particularly interesting about this video is how in-depth Ron gets as he differentiates between Jennings and Irwin bracing bit patterns – one is faster when excavating a hole, but that increased excavation comes at a price.

Continue reading Bits & Bit Stock at 360 WoodWorking.

Video: Buying Router Bits

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 6:00am
router bits

I recently went in search of an 1/8″ slot-cutting router bit that I needed that day. Home Depot was close and I left with my bit. But rather than buy a single bit, I ended up buying a $50 kit with 15 router bits. I didn’t need all of the bits – already having many of them – but it was the only way to get the bit I needed […]

The post Video: Buying Router Bits appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

something is awry......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 01/11/2018 - 12:57am
Awry is the word to use in polite company for this problem. In my shop it was what the #@!(%&;**%$@!!%^(&;^##) is wrong with this plow plane? I used the Record 044 again today and the results were less than pleasing. I plowed the grooves by starting at the left end and working backwards. First groove was good but the second one went south on me.

groove #2
 Starting end of the groove on the second one. The outside wall is thin at this end.

right side end is thicker
Houston, we have a gap
Something escaped me here and I don't know what it was. There is a gap along the entire edge where as when I started this the fence was up tight on the edge. I thought I was tight against the edge L/R for at least the first couple of passes.

I can see a difference the outside walls - one is tapered and one is parallel
I can not get the fence up tight against the edge and have the skate in the bottom of the groove. The skate should be ride in the bottom of the groove up close against the inboard wall of the groove. With the skate where it belongs, the fence should be tight against the edge. Not here sports fans.

first thought was the skate or the fence isn't straight
A hair over 3/8ths at this end.

a 16th off on this end
The fence is not parallel to the skate. Now, the question is why isn't it parallel with the skate?

back rod is square
Both the skate and the fence are flat and straight along their entire lengths.

front rod is off square
I tried to make another groove in some scrap and ended up with crap. Try as I might, I couldn't keep the fence up against the edge as I plowed the groove going left to right. So I thought this was the problem but I'm not sure. My first groove in the box was spot on but the second one and the third practice one were both toast. Something went wrong after the first groove and before or during the second one.

When I checked the front rod again, I noticed that it was wobbling in the hole. I checked the screw securing it and it was a bit loose. I have had fence securing screws loosen on my other plow planes making similar looking grooves. I was a wee bit discouraged after this so I set the plow aside for now. I'll revisit this on the weekend and I'll check out my loose screw theory.

I fixed the grooves in the box on the tablesaw because I am not making a new side nor a new box. My groove is a lot wider than I wanted it but that is what it is. The top web is thinner than what I would do but in order to even out the grooves, that is what I ended up with.

I glued, squared the box, and set the box by the furnace to cook. It had just started to make steam so I at least lucked into that.

#4 parts plane
This cost me $30 and I have spent that and more just for an iron and a chipbreaker. I am taking a woodworking class in June and I'll need a smoother. I'll rehab this one for that trip. I feel better taking this rather than one my shop planes. If it gets lost, broken, or stolen, I'm only out a few dollars.

most #4 irons are about 8 inches long
Lots of blade left to sharpen on this iron.

badly pitted but mostly away from the edge
There is a little pitting along the edge of the back side of the iron at the bevel. I am hoping that I will be able to lap it out. If I can't, this iron is toast.

tote is cracked almost 360
still connected on this side
The Plane Collector uses gorilla glue for his tote and knobs repairs. I'll have to get some when I go to Lowes.

first time for everything
I've never had this stud come off in any of my previous plane rehabs. The brass adjuster knob is stuck on the stud and it looks like I'm in for some fun getting the knob off and the stud back on.

japanning looks to be close to 100%
There is one rust spot on the cross brace just in the front of the throat. Other than that it looks like some simple green and a good scrubbing will be all this needs.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know it takes 17 muscles to smile  (this muscle count depends upon your source, it goes from a low of 6 to a high of 62. 17 was about the average but no one knows the exact number)

Carpenters’ bowling alley expenses

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 6:09pm

I’m supposed to be putting together 3 lectures and planning 2 demonstrations. And finishing an article. And more. So I’m susceptible to distraction tonight. While looking for slides, I ran across these old notes I took about 15 years ago. Many years ago, I bought a few volumes of the Records of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters. An extravagant purchase, but with some great details about their goings-on. Here’s a snippet, I wrote a “translation” in parentheses for the many folks who might not be so nimble at deciphering the original:

Bower Marsh, editor, Records of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters, vol 4, Warden’s account book, 1546-1571

payd to Rychard burdn for iij plankes for the bowlyng ale xviijd  (paid to Richard Burden for 3 planks for the bowling alley, 18 pence)

payd for iiij lode of funders yearthe & the caryag for the bowlyng ale vs vjd  (paid for 4 loads of founders earth and the carriage for the bowling alley, 5 shillings, 6 pence)

payd to ij laborars for a day & di for caryeng owte of the funders yerthe in to the strett Redy for ye cartes & for caryeng yt in to or well yard xviijd

(paid to 2 laborers for a day & a half for carrying out of the fuller’s earth into the street ready for the carts & for carrying it in to our well yard – 17 pence)

payd for iiij lod of sope ahysses & the caryag iijs xd (paid for 4 loads of soap ashes and the carriage 3 shillings 10 pence)

payd for v busschelles of howse ahysses for the bowlyng ale xd (paid for 5 bushels of house ashes for the bowling alley 10 pence)

payd to ij men for the makyng of the bowlyng aly xxjs xjd  (paid to 2 men for the making of the bowling alley 21 shillings 11 pence)

Randle Holme’s description of bowling, from 1688 is:

Bowling is a Game, or recreation which if moderately used very healthfull for the body, and would be much more commendable then it is, were it not for those swarms of Rooks, which so pester Bowling greens, where in three things are thrown away by such persons, besides the Bowls, viz: Tyme, Money, and Curses, and the last ten for one.
Seuerall places for Bowling.
First, Bowling greens, are open wide places made smooth and euen, these are generally palled or walled about.
Secondly, Bares, are open wide places on Mores or commons.
Thirdly, Bowling-alleys, are close places, set apart in made more for privett persons, than publick uses.
Fourthly, Table Bowling, this is, Tables of a good length in Halls or dineing roomes, on which for exercise and diuertisement gentlemen and their assosiates bowle with little round balls or bullets.

Here’s Jan Steen’s skittle players, not technically bowling. But what we in the US think of as bowling these days.

Randle Holme again, describing the types of bowls:

Several sorts of Bowles.
Where note in Bowling the chusing of the Bowls is the greatest cunning, for
Flat Bowles, are best for close Narrow alleys.
Round Byassed Bowles for open grounds of advantage.
Bowles as round as a ball for green swarths that are plain and Levell.
Chees-cake bowles, which are round and flat like cheeses.
Jack Bowles, little bowles cast forth to bowl att, of some termed a Block.
Studded Bowles, such as are sett full of pewter nayles, and are used to run at streight Markes.
Marvels, or round Ivory balls, used by gentlemen to play on long tables, or smooth board Romes.

I saw these bowlers during my trip to England a few years back. I think this was near Royal Leamington Spa

Here is a 17th-century bowling ball, found during Boston’s famous Big Dig:

Read about it here: http://www.sec.state.ma.us/mhc/mhcarchexhibitsonline/crossstreetbacklot.htm 


Book Review: Carving the Acanthus Leaf by Mary May

Highland Woodworking - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 7:00am

Review by J. Norman Reid

As a regular book reviewer, I have the good fortune to read a steady supply of the best books on woodworking. I can say in all honesty that none of the books I review are bad books. Every one of them has something of value to offer woodworkers. Still, every now and then there arrives in my mailbox a book of such excellence that it stands head and shoulders above the rest. Mary May’s Carving the Acanthus Leaf is such a book.

Read the rest of this review

The post Book Review: Carving the Acanthus Leaf by Mary May appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Studley Tool Cabinet Molding Profile

The Barn on White Run - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 6:57am

I blogged recently about visiting my friend, Mister Stewart, and his ensemble of the Henry Studley tool cabinet and workbench.  One of the purposes of the visit was to get a better picture of the molding profile on the cabinet, but Mister Stewart did one better than that.  During his fabrication of the new workbench base he replicate exactly the moldings from the tool cabinet and gave me one of the scraps from that enterprise.  I finally got a chance to take a picture, and here it is.

If you would like a better resolution picture of the cross-section, drop me a line here.

Greene & Greene Finger Joints on a Shop Made Dado Sled

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 6:00am

Using a Dial Indicator and Calipers to Achieve Tight Fitting Finger Joints Greene & Greene (G&G) finger joints are distinctive in their size and spacing. The joints are unlike any other finger joint I’ve seen, which is probably why I’ve been so adamant about learning how to produce them. One of the methods I found for cutting G&G finger joints involved making templates for various finger sizes and a handheld […]

The post Greene & Greene Finger Joints on a Shop Made Dado Sled appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

The Unheated Workshop

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 01/10/2018 - 4:00am

The temperature has been varying between really cold and OMG cold since the New Year, and unfortunately our indoor work temperature has reflected this. Our steel roll-up garage-style showroom door and super-high ceilings are major escape routes for heated air and our three gas powered reflecting heaters barely make a dent.

Are we part of a "proud" historic tradition? Amazingly, in days of yore cabinet shops in Europe and US, even in dank and chilly parts, were not heated.

Let's think about this for a bit. Iron stoves date from the mid 18th century, commonly available central heating from the end of the 19th. Light was essential for craft work, but glass windows were not common in Britain and the US prior to the middle of the 19th century. In the spring, summer and fall, craftsmen worked in front of open windows - a source of light and air. Rain was kept away by roof eaves. In the winter and in truly inclement weather, translucent oiled cloth over the windows gave some protection from the elements. Shutters secured the premises at night and when there was no work.

While fine sawdust from sandpaper wasn't much of an issue before the 20th century, sawdust from sawing and plane shavings did present a constant danger for a fire. And with all that dry wood around, any small fire could easily become a deadly conflagration. Thomas Chippendale's shop, for example. burned in a fire in 1755; although he rebuilt his shop, his personal fortune never recovered from the disaster. And so unlike those lucky blacksmiths who had forges and bakers who had ovens, woodworkers had to exercise extreme caution around fire. Even smoking was generally banned anywhere near the shop. Open fires of any sort were forbidden in shops -- and with that, no ready source of heat was available in shops.

Even in the 18th century, there must have been some small fires to keep the glue hot. The Joiner and Cabinetmaker (1839) describes the apprentice's job of preparing and maintaining the glue pot and makes note of the "serious accidents [that] have sometimes arisen" with improper care, such as when a "hot cinder sticking to the bottom has set the shavings and the shop on fire."

With the advent of iron stoves, it was possible to have some heat in a workshop. But the lack of insulation in the shop, and the probability of working next to the outdoor light meant that on a good day your back might have some heat on it but your front and hands would be freezing.

Fortunately, in the winter the workdays bowed to the reality of shorter daylight and were shorter too.

The funny part of all of this is that at the end of my workday I ride on a (mostly) heated subway and a centrally heated home. Up until pretty recently your frozen cabinetmaker went home to a house probably heated only by a fireplace in the kitchen and parlor. If he was lucky and well-to-do, maybe his bedroom had a small fireplace, but by and large, your workplace might have been freezing and your home was pretty cold too.

And don't get me started about the plumbing.

Apparently A Very Popular Design

The Furniture Record - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 10:34pm

If you have visited the web site of the Society of American Period Furniture Makers (sapfm.org)  recently, you have undoubtedly see this image:


Bob Stevenson’s Tambour Desk

From the SAPFM site:

Reproduction of a Seymour Tambour Desk with inlayed (sp?) Tambour. 
The original, by John Seymour, was made circa 1793-1796 in Boston, MA. 
It is now in the collection at the Winterthur Museum, Delaware. 

Plans by Robert Millard were used.

I have been to Winterthur and have this picture to prove it:

IMG_1827 - Version 2

The Seymour Tambour desk at Winterthur accessorized.

Their picture is better:


Nice picture. Better lighting.

There is also this desk at Bayou Bend in Houston, TX:


The pulls on the doors are different but you can see some similarities.

Bayou Bend offered the following explanation:

The tambour desk was a new and innovative form that reflects the increasingly important place of women in American society in the early 19th century, as well as the growing international influence on American furniture design. Rather than relying on English design sources, the desk appears to be related to a small group of furniture influenced by contemporary French models, in this instance the bonheur du jour, or small writing table, of the Louis XVI period (1774–1793). The desk enjoyed great popularity in Boston and in the cabinet making centers north of the city. Exhibited in the Federal Parlor at Bayou Bend, this example bears the script initials “TS” and is similar to a desk with a paper label bearing the names of John and Thomas Seymour. Although these relationships strengthen the attribution to the Seymours’ shop, they are not sufficient to attribute the desk to a specific maker. Thomas Seymour’s own advertisements specify that the furniture was made not by but “under the direction of Thomas Seymour.” Whether this elegant desk represents the work of an individual or a group, the accomplished results epitomize the cabinetmakers’ sensitive interpretations of the Neoclassical style in America, through the drawer pulls of English enamel, light-colored inlay, and delicate inlaid swags on the sliding tambour front.

Then, at a local auction, I saw this:


 This lot has sold for $310.

Federal Style Inlaid Tambour Writing Desk.

Description:  Circa 1900, bench made, white pine secondary, two-part form, upper case with unusual inlaid tambour doors featuring bell flowers and columns, opening to a divided and drawered interior with line inlays, hinged writing surface with felt lining, over two graduated cock beaded drawers with line and corner fan inlays, square tapered legs with repeating column and bellflower inlay.

Size: 46.25 x 34.5 x 18.5 in.

Condition:   Missing one interior pull; tambour doors with separation at ends; later felt lining.


And with the doors open.


A closeup of the inlaid tambour door.


A view of the gallery.

Different than the Seymour’s but in 1900, they might not have had plans by Robert Millard to work from.


The prospect with bill boxes. Note the missing pull as described.


Looks like there once might have been something in there. But not now.

One does have to wonder who made the reproduction in 1900? It was a time of colonial revival. But Federal revival?



we're in a heat wave.....

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 4:11pm
The weather is just ridiculous. We have gone from negative single digit temps to a toasty, 42°F (5.5°C) at 1700, according to my porch thermometer. The temps are supposed to rise with the highest temp coming on friday. It is a welcome respite and it gives my old furnace a chance to catch it's breath.

almost down to the last step
I sanded the left side removing the paint I got on it. I repeated it on the right side. I am doing this first to see if there is any touch up to be done after.

the edge I'm concerned about
I sanded this flat and I still see black at the edge and no light reflections. That is what I wanted to see.

this gets painted first
The area at the bottom near the flat is hard to see and paint when on the magnet. I held and painted it first and then put it on the magnet and finished it.

tricky areas done
The top part is easy to see what I am painting. I will sand the flats tomorrow to remove any errant paint and do the final check on the paint job for all the parts.

sawed and chopped the pins and tails
I had to trim  the pins on the #3 corner but the rest went together off the saw.

this long side is slightly high
This is high enough that is will stop the plane from turning the corner. I flushed this first with a block plane than used my 5 1/2 to do it 270. (there is no front part so I lose 90)

before I flush it
I want to make sure that this fits before I go any further.

there is much joy and rejoicing in Mudville
how it will be stowed
I will have to take off the fence rod, fence, and the depth stop to get this to fit in the box flat. Because of the space restrictions I have in Miles toolbox. I can only fit a flat, thin box in there so that is why I have to take it apart.

it was a continuous shavings until I picked it out of the plane
I flushed the top because I need that done so I can use those edges to plow the grooves. I'll do the bottom after it is glued it up and before I glue on the plywood bottom.

dropped the plane and bent the fence rod
I can see it bent here but when I tighten it down as much as I can, it's square to the plane body. Go figure on that. I'll have to buy another one and I'll buy a spare for just in case.

a wee bit of twist
The near right and the far left are high.

twist free
It was almost 1700 so I knocked off here. Tomorrow I want to get the grooves plowed and the box glued up. The nights are still cold with the furnace kicking here so I'll have a warm spot for the box to set up. If I have anytime left I'll work on the finishing the chamfer spokeshave. And I still have that #6 waiting to be sanded shiny too.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know the number of teeth in the baby set is only 20? The second adult set has 32.

How to Avoid Kickback on a Table Saw

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 8:30am

I posted a video on our YouTube channel this morning with Kelly Mehler on table saw kickback. In talking with David Lyell about the video I realized that a lot had happened since that video was made (seven+ years ago?). At that time Kelly was using a European sliding table saw to point out some anti-kickback features that weren’t common on our table saw in the U.S. Yes, we had guards […]

The post How to Avoid Kickback on a Table Saw appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

2018 Barn Workshops

The Barn on White Run - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 5:23am

Here’s a list of the Barn workshops I’ve pencilled in for this year.  I will blog in greater detail shortly.

Historic Finishing  April 26-28, $375

Making A Petite Dovetail Saw June 8-10, $400

Boullework Marquetry  July 13-15, $375

Knotwork Banding Inlay  August 10-12, $375

Build A Classic Workbench  September 3-7, $950

back to the grind......

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 01/09/2018 - 2:29am
First day back to work and it made me long for the day I retire. The past two weeks recharged my batteries and gave me a preview of my anticipated retirement. Back at work and I forgot that I can't access a lot of my  blog functions anymore and editing it is one. Another is answering comments. When I couldn't edit it I tried to do it on my phone which was incredibly frustrating.

My biggest problem with my blog is I can't type as fast as I think up the dribble. I tend to leave words out as my biggest omission. I did correct 2 mistakes with the blog on my phone but I stopped after that. I'll have to add proofing/editing to my morning routine before I leave for work.

shop distraction
I am looking forward to watching and learning from this DVD. Joshua said this video is how an all hand tool built table would have been done in the 19th century.

I love the way Jane packs her tools for shipping
bought a new jack plane
I don't need this but the price was too good to pass up. I already have a type 11 jack plane and this one is intended to be a parts plane.

the iron
It is clean and rust free on both sides. It has a good length that will give a few years of service. It has been sharpened and it is shiny.

chipbreaker is looking good too
interior of the plane
It is a little dirty and grungy looking but the japanning appears to be close to 100%. The tote and knob are drop dead gorgeous looking and defect free. The frog and the frog screws are rust free which is something I don't normally see. The only maybe problem I saw was that the lateral adjust is loose and flopping back and forth.

it's got a corrugated sole
I have noticed that for the most part that corrugated planes, regardless of the type or number, tend to sell for less than flat bottom sole planes. It doesn't matter what site I see them for sale on neither.

$8 for round nose 8" dividers
It was a bargain I couldn't pass up for being so cheap.

it's a Starretts to boot
it has a speed nut
One hell of a bargain for $8 I'd say. I wasn't expecting a speed nut.

my current #5 in front
One of the first parts I will swap out are the front knobs. I am not a fan of the tall knobs and most all of my other planes have low knobs.

road test yielded nice shavings
found my hard drive magnets

double sided taped them to this scrap
I think is going to work well
The magnets raise the wing up just enough so that I could paint right to the edges.

great tip from Gerry
The magnets were strong enough to hold these while I painted them. I will have to save this board because I'm sure that I'll use it again.

flushing the plywood bottom
done (?)
Three of the sides have some tear out that is still there even after planing them. Debating whether or not to put some shellac on this or put it in the lunch room as is. I'll wait and think on it.

sawing the proud off
bit proud on the bottom
Since this is on the bottom I am leaving it as it is. Both pieces are proud at the ends but it doesn't effect the integrity of the dolly.

put three screws in each half lap from the top
Made a countersink and ratcheted the screws home. I drove #6 x 1" screws and the ratchet just barely drove them into the countersink. The pilot hole was made with a birdcage awl. Next time I'll make a true pilot hole.

painted parts drying by the furnace
plane body has been done for a few days
If I hadn't found out about the magnet trick from Gerry, I would have hung the chamfer wings on coat hanges and painted them. That would have been a frog hair or two away from being a PITA.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that astronaut John Young (he died today) was the only NASA astronaut to have flown in the Gemini, Apollo, and Space Shuttle programs?


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