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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator


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


General Woodworking

“Building the Hancock Shaker Candle Stand” DVD is Here!

Wood and Shop - Thu, 12/22/2016 - 8:48am
I'm excited to announce the release of my newest DVD: "Building the Hancock Shaker Candle Stand with Will Myers". You can watch the above video preview, and you can buy it here! The first 100 buyers will receive this autographed photo of Will to hang in your workshop, so don't delay! Here's the rear cover so

Tool Tote #2: A tote within a tote

goatboy's woodshop - Thu, 12/22/2016 - 4:39am


As I mentioned in my last post, the dry fit of the toolbox seemed to be missing something. Eventually, I decided that it needed a lift-out tray. Just a small one, not one that went the entire length of the box, but a little one that could slide back and forth on runners so that items could be retrieved from the box even with the tray in place. 

20161125_161820I planed up a couple of ash boards and edge-jointed them for the base…

…and while they were drying I moved on to the joinery.


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For the handle, I decided that a 1″ thick piece of ash could serve as both handle and divider, so I made a  paper template, transferred the shape onto the wood and cut it out, refining with a spokeshave and files.

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The handle/divider is held in place with housing dados.

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I then spent a bit of time refining the shape of the main toolbox components. First, the sides of the box needed to have a section cut out to make it easier to remove the tray.

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Second, the handle supports needed to be rounded off and tapered.


Finally, I cut a kerf into each of the handle tenons, so that they could be wedged during the final assembly. I also planed up some pieces of walnut for the tray runners.


A request from the customer was that the box should have his son’s racing number on it. To achieve this I decided on a little bit of scorching. I had some small pieces of aluminium sheet, so I cut out some numbers from them, laid them on the sides of the box and used them as a mask while attacking the wood with a blowtorch.

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With all the components ready it was time for the glue up, but that is for another post.


Filed under: Brace and Bit, Joinery, Projects, Pyrography Tagged: ash, blowtorch, walnut

Christmas Trees – 360w360 E.208

360 WoodWorking - Thu, 12/22/2016 - 4:00am
Christmas Trees – 360w360 E.208

In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking the 360 guys discuss what they do with they Christmas trees.

Join the guys twice each week for six lively minutes of discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more). Chuck & Glen, and sometimes a surprise guest, all have their own opinions. Sometimes they agree and sometimes they don’t, but the conversation is always information packed and lots of fun.

If you have topics you’d like to hear covered in future episodes, click here to send an email to the guys.

Continue reading Christmas Trees – 360w360 E.208 at 360 WoodWorking.


Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 12/21/2016 - 4:00am

I have written previously about TATHS so I won't repeat myself except to say JOIN NOW, but I just got the current issue of their magazine and in it was a link to a free ebook about nailmaking. Called "A Capful o' Nails" it's actually not about nailmaking but about the evils of working in the nailmaking industry. The book, written in 1896 is a fictional memoir about growing up in a family of nailmaker's and how the father became an organizer. So it's not about the nuts and bolts of making nails. But it is a story about the grinding poverty that effected so many industrial workers, tool makers too, just about all the semi-skill trades. In this particular case nailmaking was outsourced to level upon level of middleman until the lower paid people on the ladder were the actual nailmakers who worked out of their homes.

What I don't understand is that the story takes place in the mid-19th century. At this time in the US nailmaking was mechanized and industrial. We stock Tremont nails, which, depending on the model are still make on machines from this era. I don't know how long hand nailmaking lasted in England but you know that if your job can easily be done by machine (or automation, or a robot) at a fraction of the cost of a living wage - it's gonna suck. And it did.
Here is the link to the book.

The picture above is from the 1811 edition of the London Cabinetmaker's Book of Prices. I own an original copy but you can download a PDF here. The book is basically pages and pages of different types of furniture with lots and lots of special cases and tables showing how much the craftsman would get paid for that particular work. It's not the only price book of its kind, all over the UK and US these types of books were pretty common. But this 1811 edition is the most comprehensive and was used, basically unchanged, for at least a half century. The prices were the result of negotiations between the shop master and the union but under the table, and in non-union shops, prices were routinely discounted. The particular chunk I copied (which BTW is printed in beautiful letterpress- all they had at the time - but it is so lovely) is of two versions of knife case both costing far north of a pound wholesale. A huge amount of money for at the time. This is fancy work for rich people.

If you are traveling this week and you are looking for something to distract you, both downloads might be of interest. This season is when we reflect back on the year and the good and the bad. And also our hopes for the future. Both of these book gave me a sense of the past of the woodworking craft. From "A Capful o' Nails" I learned about the struggle of hard working people to survive. From the "Book of Prices" I got a sense of the work involved to make the furniture I see in museums today.

From all of us at Tools for Working Wood we wish you and your family happy and healthy holidays. With peace and prosperity to all.

The Saws Of Chartres Cathedral

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Tue, 12/20/2016 - 6:03pm
I need a wealthy patron. Someone excited enough about my work and research they're interested in funding my modest lifestyle plus a generous budget for my clinically diagnosed BAD (Book Acquisition Disorder.)

After a bit of a break as we upheaved life, home and workshop around again I have again rolled myself back into finalizing the research and writing of my book on the Medieval Furniture of the Morgan Bible and I'm finding maybe the step back was good. I never stopped thinking about it, I just stopped looking at it everyday and that time has given me two gifts. First it's allowed me to re-approach the work I've done with a fresh eye. I'd done a lot of footwork, tracking down books and articles, gathering notes, connecting dots, but now, notes I wrote are offering fresh insights and things I might have missed. 

Second, and more importantly, the time has allowed me to find the book. It took me a while to realize anyone willing to apply ass to chair and fingers to keyboard can write step by step instructions on sticking boards together but that doesn't make a book - that makes IKEA instructions. I've been able to solidify the string of my truth that trusses tight the parts into, well if it's not a story then we'll call it a strong argument. 

That string seems to have become a lit fuse and result will be sparse updates here, unfortunately this is a continuation of the recent trend. 

As a peace offering I'm sharing some photos I found tonight while looking at one of my primary collaborating sources, The Chartres Cathedral and some interesting saws. 

The sharp teeth of war and revolution has chewed up many touchstones to Europe's past. If not eradicating them completely, then leaving them scarred and much changed, but the Chartres Cathedral is one of the exceptions, surviving mostly intact from it's early to mid 13th century construction. It has many details in the stained glass and stone friezes just waiting for the curious eye to discover. 

There is a fantastic resource documenting nearly every inch of the structure online thanks to the University of Pittsburgh and Dr. Alison Stones. You can visit it HERE. just start punching terms into the search function. Mind-blowing.  

Is that a saw or an Anime Sword??  It appears to be St. Simon (the Zealot) one of the Apostles. He is often depicted with a large saw symbolizing one of the traditions of his martyrdom. I keep wondering about having one of these saws made. If for no other reason than to experience the use.

Better yet (and more interesting) this scene showing construction of a cathedral and one of the earliest representations of a bow saw I can remember seeing.

Even the detail in the twisted tension cording is there. Standard saw bench ripping body posture with the head dipped to really make sure you're following that layout line. 

This shit is just fascinating to me. As close as possible to a photograph from the past. Open to interpretation - yes. But then again what isn't? 

Ratione et Passionis

PS. The Chartres Cathedral has shown me some interesting tools before. Check out a very modern looking claw hammer HERE.  
Categories: General Woodworking

Dead Stacking Lumber – 360w360 E.207

360 WoodWorking - Tue, 12/20/2016 - 4:00am
Dead Stacking Lumber – 360w360 E.207

In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking the 360 guys talk about dead stacking lumber.

Join the guys twice each week for six lively minutes of discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more). Chuck & Glen, and sometimes a surprise guest, all have their own opinions. Sometimes they agree and sometimes they don’t, but the conversation is always information packed and lots of fun.

If you have topics you’d like to hear covered in future episodes, click here to send an email to the guys.

Continue reading Dead Stacking Lumber – 360w360 E.207 at 360 WoodWorking.

Chip Carving with Mark Thomas (Workshop Tour Part 2)

Wood and Shop - Mon, 12/19/2016 - 9:26am
In this second video, professional engraver and flintlock rifle maker Mark Thomas takes us into his Virginia workshop to share a short tutorial on how to do basic chip carving. If you missed his workshop tour, watch part 1 here. I'll be releasing 2 more videos from Mark's workshop where he shares a couple other fascinating tutorials for

Soft Wax

MVFlaim Furnituremaker - Sun, 12/18/2016 - 8:15am

If you’re a follower of Chris Schwarz’s blog The Lost Art Press, then you probably know about the soft wax his daughter sells on Etsy. A few months ago, I was lucky enough to buy a can as she usually sells out within a few hours after Chris tells people more is in stock.

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My wife and I are constantly buying old pieces of furniture to resell in her booth. Almost always, the old drawers in dressers stick making them tough to pull in an out. When I heard Chris describe the uses of the soft wax, I was intrigued to see how well it works.

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I rubbed the wax on all the runners of the drawers and let it sit. You can see how it glistens the wood at the back of the drawer. After all the runners and bottom of the drawers were waxed, I tested their fit. The wax works perfectly! I highly recommend it.

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Now the dresser is in full working order and is much more appealing to any potential buyer. The only word of caution in using the wax is that it has a strong odor. So strong, my wife made me move the dresser to the screened in porch because it was stinking up the dining room. I’m not sure what exactly is in the wax to make it smell the way it does, but it kind of reminds me of a diesel fuel smell. I’ve read that Chris and his daughter are working on a new version with charcoal inside of the formula to cut down on the odor. You may be able to buy their new formula now.


Tool Tote #1: The tool box

goatboy's woodshop - Fri, 12/16/2016 - 12:48pm


Following on from the last project, yet another commission came my way from the self-same chap who commissioned the Biltong Slicer, the Treasure Chest, and the Jewelry Box. This time it was a gift for his son and my remit was virtually non-existent – carte blanche you might say. In the end I settled upon a tool tote, because I know that the lad enjoys dirt bike racing, and would need a stout receptacle in which to store spanners and sockets and pliers and such.


My design was fairly simple: a dovetail box with a single divider, and a handle consisting of two supports connected to the box and a large dowel. I began by selecting timber and settled on ash for the main box and handle, and walnut for the divider and handle supports.


The usual dimensioning followed (reference face, referance edge, opposite edge, opposite face, ends) and then I could move onto laying out for the dovetails.

Tails first…

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…then the pins…

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…and finally, a dry fit to check that all was well.

Which it was.


Next, I moved on to the base, and here I had to edge-joint two boards together.

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Whilst they were drying, I turned my attention to the divider. After preparing the board, I cut some housing dados in the end panels of the tool box.

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Then, I started work on the handle supports. Made from walnut, these supports are designed to lap the ends of the box (see above diagram) and extend up to support the handle. After dimensioning them, I marked out for the final shape, removed the necessary material for the lap joints…

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…and then drilled out the mortise holes.

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Finally, I turned a piece of ash for the handle.

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I decided to dry fit the box using screws to hold the handle supports in place. The screws will be replaced with dowels at the glue up stage.


The dry fit went very well, everything fitting together nicely, but something felt wrong. Even allowing for the fact that the base was not there, and the divider was not yet fitted, still, something was amiss.

At this point I began to think about a design alteration, but I’ll cover that in the next post.

Filed under: Brace and Bit, Joinery, Projects, Woodturning Tagged: ash, dovetails, edge-jointing, housing dado, lap joint, walnut

Lumber Storage – 360w360 E.206

360 WoodWorking - Thu, 12/15/2016 - 4:00am
Lumber Storage – 360w360 E.206

In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking the 360 guys discuss different types of lumber storage.

Join the guys twice each week for six lively minutes of discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more). Chuck & Glen, and sometimes a surprise guest, all have their own opinions. Sometimes they agree and sometimes they don’t, but the conversation is always information packed and lots of fun.

If you have topics you’d like to hear covered in future episodes, click here to send an email to the guys.

Continue reading Lumber Storage – 360w360 E.206 at 360 WoodWorking.

Two handled perfection

Design Matters - Wed, 12/14/2016 - 5:34pm



Richard Grell knows drawknives. He’s been building Windsor chairs for a living more than forty years. That’s a forest of trees sculpted into an armada of chairs. Along the way he’s tweaked and refined his own user tools to a high level. Now the best part. Richard is now making his own version of his favorite drawknife and inshave.

I’ve been using Grell’s drawknife for about a year. The word drawknife doesn’t do it justice, it’s a two handed sculpting tool. First thing that strikes you is the balance. It flips effortlessly in your grip to slice with either push or pull stroke. The cutting edge geometry in relation to the handles give it the control of a spokeshave for fine cuts yet it also can hog off material without complaining.  Take a look yourself at these two short video clips to see it in action.

Here’s a link where you can learn more.

Here’s a link to an earlier post about his chair shop.


George R. Walker

The Power Of The Fourth

The Kilted Woodworker - Wed, 12/14/2016 - 12:55pm
I enjoy all aspects of a project – design, wood selection, construction, and finish. I like the fourth aspect best when it is hard to mess up. And you need to not mess it up because your finish can make or break your project! It’s important enough that many professionals send their pieces out for finishing. […]
Categories: General Woodworking

The Gramercy Tools Saw Etch Story

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 12/14/2016 - 4:00am

At the of the summer of 2006 Timothy Corbett and I had finished up the first Gramercy Tools Saw - the Bowsaw and were embarking on our next project - a dovetail saw. Earlier today I was writing a blog entry on the development of that saw and Tim shared with me some of the original artwork for the saw etch of the dovetail saw. I put aside my original story for now so I can bring you this.

The Statue of Edwin Booth stands in the center of the park and in the background of the final etch

We figured out that there are roughly two ways to brand a saw. Stamp or engrave the brass back, which was the common thing up to the mid 19th century, or etch the blade with acid which was popular in the latter part of the 19th century. Both of us really loved the artwork of the old saw etches and Tim, who had experience in acid etchings loved the idea of doing a proper logo for Gramercy tools, appropriate for a saw blade. Originally the etch was for a line of panel saws made for us by a third party but when we sent the artwork to the maker he could not do the detail we needed and the project was dropped. We finally found a company that could actually do a real acid etch on a piece of steel. Deep enough to withstand wear and analog enough to allow the classic detail that we wanted in a professional saw etch design.

The first drawing to show the real elements of the final composition

Gramercy Tools got its name because at the time we were located on 20th street in Manhattan and every day I walked past Gramercy Park, the last private park in NYC dating back since 1831. It seemed appropriate to do something related to the park.

A later sketch - we can see a sketch of the holdfast in the corner - an alternate view that was rejected

We started with a narrative idea, a joiner on his way to work in one of the fancy townhouse next to the park. I don't remember if Tim and I had conversations about the content of the etch or if he just came up with the design. But I do know on one hot day in the late summer of 2006 I found myself walking back and forth in front of the 20th street gates of Gramercy Park. I also lent Tim a copy of my reprint 1897 Sears Catalog so he would have some reference material on clothing.

Then he disappeared for a week or so. I only made two important contributions to the project. Complaining to Tim about how long it took him to draw the logo. And I suggested that some holdfasts to keep the etch from sliding off the saw would be a good idea. You can see he wrote "holdfasts" on the sketch.

The background isn't drawn yet but we can see where we are going

Days went by but soon we had finished art. The original is very large and done by hand. We use the etch on a lot of tools and at exhibitions. Depending on the size of the saw the etch will have more or less detail.

N.B. If you wish to see some of Tim's other, non-tool artwork his work is currently in an exhibition at The Invisible Dog open until December 30th. Go see it - it's a great show.!!!

Tim did some test photos to see how the banner bunting would look when held by a holdfast
The final etch with all its details

Flintlock Rifle Gunsmith & Engraver: Mark Thomas (Workshop Tour Part 1)

Wood and Shop - Tue, 12/13/2016 - 4:02pm
Several weeks ago my friend George Lott took me on a woodworking "field trip" into the mountains of Virginia to meet a very fascinating craftsman named Mark Thomas. Mark is a professional historical firearm maker, engraver, and much, much more. I'll be releasing a series of 4 videos from Mark's workshop where Mark gives a tour

Sticker shock.

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Tue, 12/13/2016 - 2:00pm

With the year coming to a close, I kept the promise I made to myself and did not purchase any new woodworking tools this past year. For the record, I have no problem with purchasing new tools, old tools, or any tools. As I’ve said many times before, whether you prefer working with five tools or fifty, that is nobody’s business but your own.

In any event, I do have a bit of guilt free woodworking money, though I didn’t really plan on spending it for a bit. Though last night I did try and was quite shocked at what I found.

To begin at the beginning, my Father-in-Law has some land in upstate Pennsylvania, and on that land is a lot of trees. From time to time those trees need to be felled, so I asked him if he wouldn’t mind bringing me home some hickory and ash the next time they happened to take them down. A few weeks back when my Father-in-Law visited he dropped off two large pieces (logs) of Hickory and a smaller (but still nice sized) ash log. I promptly split the ash log with my somewhat sharp axe (more on that in another post) and sawed in half one of the hickory logs. Because I only have limited experience in working with wood “from the log”, I was at a bit of a loss as far as how to further proceed.

Ideally, I would use a band saw to cut the logs to rough size, use a jack plane to get the boards somewhat true, then run the boards through a surface planer to get close to final dimension. Since I don’t own a bandsaw, that plan is out the window. I could go the really old school route and rough shape the boards with a hatchet, however, this past summer I dealt with tendonitis in my right arm, and it was not fun. Tendonitis cannot be cured with exercise, though stretching seems to help, and after splitting some boards with an axe for 30 minutes I fully realized that axe work is not a long-term solution for me. After doing some research, it seems that one agreed upon method is using a bow saw to kerf the wood to rough size, chop out the waste, and using a scrub plane to hog the board down to rough dimension. Why a scrub plane and not a jack plane? Apparently the “experts” say that the physical size and weight of the jack plane is not conducive to this type of work, and it will simply take too long and be too tiring to perform any meaningful work. So I turned to the idea of purchasing a scrub plane.

For those who may be unaware, a scrub plane is simply a small bench plane containing a thick iron with a heavy radius to quickly hog off material from rough sawn boards. When I first began woodworking, these planes could be found in good condition on Ebay usually for around $50, the Stanley 40 ½ being one of the more common versions. Since I hadn’t, at the time, ever planned on preparing lumber straight from the log, or rough dimensioning all of my lumber in general, a scrub plane was near the bottom on my list of necessary woodworking tools. It had never even occurred to me to buy one until now. So last night when I was doing some scrub plane research my jaw dropped at the costs.

A new scrub from Lie Nielsen or Veritas costs in the $150 range, which is what I expected. A traditional, wood-bodied scrub from ECE costs between $90-$100 depending on the source. Though I like the look of the ECE plane, and it is relatively inexpensive, they only offer it with a Chrome Vanadium iron. I am no expert on tool steel, but I know that I prefer high carbon steel to the stuff similar to A2. The high carbon steel sharpens easier, and that is all that matters to me. Anyway, before going the “new” route, I decided to give Ebay a try, and boy was I surprised at what I found.

Most of the scrub planes on Ebay (and there was not a large variety to choose from) ranged in cost from $100-$125, not including shipping. Every one of those planes was in need of restoration. The planes in better condition were at least the cost of a new tool, and in most cases much more. I did a bit more research and found that scrub planes have apparently become a hot commodity among tool collectors, though I’m not sure as to why.

So this now leaves me in a bit of a dilemma. Those of you who have read this blog in the past will know that I have nothing against tool restoration; I am in fact in the middle of restoring several tools at this very moment. Nonetheless, I feel that $100 plus is far too much money for a vintage tool that needs work in order to become usable, in particular when I can get a newer and better version for just a little more in cost. While I generally believe that the market should dictate the cost, in this case the market is wrong.

That all being said, for the time being I will likely hold off on ordering this tool until the New Year. On President’s Day weekend Lie Nielsen is having a hand tool event in Philadelphia, and I may wait until then before I make my final decision. That may mean holding off on getting my hickory logs into usable boards, but I wasn’t planning on doing anything with them until at least the end of January to begin with (I’m planning on making a handful of mallets with one log, among other things) The strange part in all of this is just how far off my estimates were. I’m generally pretty good when it comes to knowing what a tool should and shouldn’t cost. When it came to the scrub plane I was off by a lot, and most of the tools I found were at least double the cost I thought they should have been. I don’t know what changed the market, and I don’t really care. I just know that in this case a vintage tool was not the way to go, and sadly, I’ve found that this is more and more becoming a common occurrence.

Categories: General Woodworking

Drill Large Diameter Holes – 360w360 E.205

360 WoodWorking - Tue, 12/13/2016 - 4:00am
Drill Large Diameter Holes – 360w360 E.205

In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking the 360 guys discuss methods to drill large diameter holes.

Join the guys twice each week for six lively minutes of discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more). Chuck & Glen, and sometimes a surprise guest, all have their own opinions. Sometimes they agree and sometimes they don’t, but the conversation is always information packed and lots of fun.

If you have topics you’d like to hear covered in future episodes, click here to send an email to the guys.

Continue reading Drill Large Diameter Holes – 360w360 E.205 at 360 WoodWorking.

On blogging

Tico Vogt - Sun, 12/11/2016 - 6:29pm

First off, a note of gratitude to www.unpluggedshop.com and Paul and Joseph Sellars for this aggregate site that we go to daily. It has been a vital way for me to connect to the world of woodworking enthusiasts.

Next, I want to thank the many bloggers for their inspiring posts through the years. You deserve credit for keeping at it and taking the necessary time and effort. It would be helpful if more readers left comments on your blogs if nothing else than just to acknowledge your contributions. For some reason many of the blogs where I used to leave comments have made it less accessible to do so with the need to sign in under a choice of accounts which thwart my efforts to join.

I discovered weblogs in 2009. Like all things internet, there was a lot of confusion for me. I thought at first that all the woodworking blog posts were written by fellow professionals. Eventually, it became clear that only a small percentage were pros. Talented amateurs were the main body of contributors and among them were highly skilled craftsmen/craftswomen. The unpluggedshop site,of course, selected the predominantly hand tool workers.

Before the internet, woodworking shows and readers’ comments and articles in magazines were the only means of sharing information and perspectives. Blogs and forums forever changed that. It is as easy as a few keystrokes or clicks now to find blog posts that cover:

~tutorials on building furniture of all kinds
~tutorials on specific tools and techniques
~information on trees, wood, timber, etc.
~philosphical attitudes and approaches to the craft
~tool and new product reviews
~historical information about antique furniture
~historical information on traditional methods of work
~step-by step builds by contemporary makers
~biographies of important woodworkers
~the teaching/class schedules of woodworking teachers and institutions and important events
~book and magazine reviews

I have really enjoyed using my blog, in addition to documenting extensive builds, as a means of telling personal stories that cover a wide range of topics and don’t always relate to woodworking specifically, such as the kindness of a stranger, business snafus, funny clients, harrowing commissions, family history, my inventor father, growing trees, and dogs.

Since my hiking accident in 2015, my blogging efforts have waned. As gratifying as they are to publish, I find that they take a fair amount of time and effort. All the camera images need to be re-sized, for one. Writing, itself, can be a slow process. If you are tired and have other things to do… Another important fact is that, while there may be many readers, so few people comment, as previously mentioned. That is a discouraging aspect.

And then there is Instagram. instagram-179

Some of my younger tool-making friends encouraged me to try it out and it’s quickly become a daily routine. Initially, I was wary of being awash with so many images. How many can I really want to look at? Don’t I already have enough screen time in my life? And yet it is such a convenient and effective way to pass along shop tips and share pictures and short videos of work. No resizing required and usually just a paragraph of text or less. My wife, who teaches writing at the college level, maintains that it is one of the reasons her students can’t write! It has certainly diminished my production of long form posts.

Just in the last two weeks, though, my interest in writing blogs has been given a boost, first by the editors of Furniture and Cabinetmaking Magazine published in the UK who will recommend my site to their readers, having evaluated the content and given it the thumbs up, and, secondly, by Toolversed that selected me to be in their top 25 blogs.

The two platforms offer those of us who want to share our woodworking adventures better options. Just as I wouldn’t think a blog post appropriate or worth it for just a picture with minimum text, a long form post requiring multiple photos with detailed explanation, like the one you’re reading, wouldn’t fly on Instagram.

All this online activity is having an impact on magazines and presses, the people who make hard copy. How could it not? Let’s not forget to support them. You won’t get any “fake” woodworking news or information from their well-edited pages.

Low Tea Table Highlights Joinery

Shaker Box Making Class

Alaska Creative Woodworkers Association - Sat, 12/10/2016 - 10:42pm
Join the Alaska Creative Woodworkers on January 7 and 8 as we build a set of five nesting oval Shaker boxes.  Don Faulkenbury will be teaching this very popular class.  We will be steam bending the box bands out of cherry and the lid panels will be birdseye maple.  The boxes will be fastened using copper tacks.  This will be a great class for woodworkers of all skill levels.  You must be an ACWA member to participate in the class.  […]

New Calendar, New Year's Resolutions

Anne of All Trades - Fri, 12/09/2016 - 2:57pm

Hey Everybody! Long time no post! I wanted to wish everyone a VERY happy holiday season and let you know that we have opened orders for our Cute Baby Animals and Cute Tools Calendars. $20, free US shipping. Head on over to the "For Sale" section of the site to order yours before we run out! I also wanted to post a link to last year's "New Year's Resolutions" article Highland Woodworking Published for me last year. Click here to check it out! 

The Seductive Power Of Hand Tools

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Fri, 12/09/2016 - 10:11am

There are many reasons I lean heavily into hand tool woodworking. Yes I have and use several stationary power tools, but there a word hand tools free me from and I love them for it.


With primarily a power tool mentality you fall into the activity of production and arrange your workflow accordingly. I set up the tablesaw for a certain cut and I want to make all the possible cuts using the same set up, the same measurements. To redial in precise measurements can be a big time sink.

Instead with my hand tools I can skip around the process of building with no real consequences. For example I built a small run of four little dovetailed pine boxes

I milled all the parts close using my table saw. This did help ensure all the sides were the same width and length. After milling I touched all the surfaces with a hand plane and started the process of building each box.

As a result of the space I have and the use of hand tools instead of doing things in production way. Say - cutting all my dovetails for all four boxes first THEN moving on to chiseling all four boxes joints to the line THEN grabbing all four boxes and   . . .  you see the cycle.

Instead I was able to take a single box from dovetail cuts to glued up carcass and start over again without creating any delay or errors by changing up my machinery.

Why jump around the process like this? For me that's a couple easy answers.

1. It keeps me fresh. I don't get burned out cutting dovetail after dovetail. When I do this I can see the quality in my work degrade over time but changing out operations allows me to tackle it with fresh eyes after a bit of a break and I believe my work is better because of that.

2. It keeps me involved. It's like the difference between hanging drywall and taping/mudding drywall. When you're hanging drywall your progress is evident, a half hour ago there was bare studs now there is something that looks like a wall - satisfying, with taping and mudding you are making small incremental differences that aren't as satisfying to the whole picture. Important but not as visually impacting. This trade off works the same. Throughout the day I can see nearly finished box carcasses pile up on the moving pad. I know I'm making progress and I can consider whether the most recently finished box is better or worse than the previous and try to perfect the steps on the one to come.

3. I don't lose time changing operations because I am the limiting factor. Because I'm the machine driving the tools I can just mark a line and saw a line and I don't have to worry about losing a set up or a measurement, Changing or resetting up a jig or configuration. If I had a small space with only a six foot bench this would be different, but as it is I can saw my dovetails in a moxon vice, grab the boards and move to a chiseling station to clean up to the lines, then move to a leg vice to cut the corresponding joint side before moving back to the chisel station, checking the fit, then moving to another area by the glue pot to stick things together.

I would never trade in my hand tools because of the freedom they assist me in achieving in the shop. it is so emancipating to mark a line and be able to saw or plane to it confidently.

Ratione et Passionis
Categories: General Woodworking


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