Hand Tool Headlines

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

Finishing Funnels and Containers Storage Tip – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – December 2017 – Tip #1

Highland Woodworking - Fri, 12/01/2017 - 7:00am

Welcome to “Tips From Sticks-In-The-Mud Woodshop.” I am a hobbyist who loves woodworking and writing for those who also love the craft. I have found some ways to accomplish tasks in the workshop that might be helpful to you, and I enjoy hearing your own problem-solving ideasPlease share them in the COMMENTS section of each tip.  If, in the process, I can also make you laugh, I have achieved 100% of my goals.

Why do we pour finish from the can into a separate container? Because we know that dipping our brush into the original container, applying finish to our project, then dipping into the container again will carry debris from the project surface back into the can.

It’s a practice that can lead to some waste if you have finish left in the secondary container, but it’s better than ruining an entire quart or gallon of expensive varnish or paint. To say nothing of ruining the surface of your project!

Still, what if, when transferring finish, you introduce dirt or dust? That really defeats the purpose of the extra step, doesn’t it? There are some things you can do.

For example, when you finish cleaning your funnels, don’t just toss them onto a shelf to collect dust. Small and medium funnels will fit into zipper-locking bags and be fresh and clean the next time you need them.

Wider and longer funnels may require a different approach. For example, with my long, black funnel I put a used paper towel over the top, secured by a rubber band. The little end is sealed with a portion of a sheet of paper towel forced into the opening.

No dust is getting into this baby. Even though I don’t have a Ziploc bag large enough for it, the funnel is effectively protected by a used paper towel on top and a smidgen of a towel blocking the exit.

And, what of the container decanted into? Leave that lying around and it’s going to be full of dust, cobwebs and insects. Maybe even worse.

For that reason, I save only containers with lids. They can be stored indefinitely and still be clean inside.

I try to save every jar I can, especially if the lid is rust free. After they leave the dishwasher, I turn them upside down on this ventilated shelving for a couple of weeks to allow them to dry completely. Then, the lid goes on and they wait for their opportunity to serve.

Jim Randolph is a veterinarian in Long Beach, Mississippi. His earlier careers as lawn mower, dairy farmer, automobile mechanic, microwave communications electronics instructor and journeyman carpenter all influence his approach to woodworking. His favorite projects are furniture built for his wife, Brenda, and for their children and grandchildren. His and Brenda’s home, nicknamed Sticks-In-The-Mud, is built on pilings (sticks) near the wetlands (mud) on a bayou off Jourdan River. His shop is in the lower level of their home.Questions and comments on woodworking may be written below in the comments section. Questions about pet care should be directed to his blog on pet care, www.MyPetsDoctor.com. We regret that, because of high volume, not all inquiries can be answered personally.

The post Finishing Funnels and Containers Storage Tip – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – December 2017 – Tip #1 appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Book Giveaway: December Mystery Box

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Fri, 12/01/2017 - 6:16am

So, I’m looking at the bookshelves in our office library and it’s time to make some room for new stuff. Plus, the holidays are upon us. So I thought it might be fun to do a Mystery Box Giveaway. Here’s the deal: Post a comment below and we’ll pick 10 lucky winners at random to receive a box full of books and goodies from the Popular Woodworking office. Winners will […]

The post Book Giveaway: December Mystery Box appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

More Two of a Kind.

The Furniture Record - Thu, 11/30/2017 - 9:59pm

I have written before about how often I see something I haven’t seen before and then see another one just like it with a few hours or days. It just happened again.

I just returned from another trip to my own personal Purgatory, Las Vegas. Purgatory might not be quite the right word. I only go there if I get a check and, if I can figure out how to cash out a PNC Awards debit card, per diem.

The only non-stop flight from here to there on Sunday left at 7:45 AM getting me into Las Vegas before 10:30 AM. My hotel room was not available until 4:00 PM. The only thing I could do was visit four antique malls and a camera store having an amazing sale with manufacturer’s reps there to sell you more stuff. That and get lunch.

(Interesting note about the camera store. All the manufacturer’s reps were wearing black logo golf shirts. Except the Leica rep. He was wearing a Ralph Lauren Polo® Classic Fit Cotton Shirt with a Cardigan sweater casually thrown over his shoulders. Good margins on them Leicas. ) (There’s also a Leica store at the Forum Shops in Ceaser’s Palace. I know all the best places.)

I digress.

At the first shop I saw this desk:


A genuine folding campaign desk. Chair sold separately.


Made in 1898, it is showing its age. A bit.


The top folds causing the legs to fold.


All this can be your for $998.

Two shops down the road, I came across this desk:


100 years newer and only $100 less.


Kinda has a Bombay Company vibe going for it.

It’s been a busy few weeks. In the past six weeks I have been in Scotland for two weeks, Boston for four days, Asheville, NC for three days and Las Vegas for nine days. While home, I have been busy building Toys For Tots (fourth year) and buying a new car while the old one still works.

Needless to say, my sleep cycle has still not returned to what passes for normal. I fell down twice in the soggy highlands of Scotland. The first time I cleverly used my Nikon to keep my hand out of the mud. The second fall occurred on an actual slippery slope. I lost my footing and when I ran out of dance step, I landed square on my butt. It isn’t as well padded as I believed. This sent me back to a physical therapist. I do my stretches at bed time meaning I am falling asleep while resting between sets of abdominal/lumbar supine bent knee leg raise. (That’s what they call it.)

I have a lot of posts planned. I just need to stay awake long enough to get them out.

minor set back.......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 11/30/2017 - 3:16pm
There are several tools in the shop in various stages of rehabbing. One is close to being done and the others will require a substantial input of calories to finish. I decided that I am going to concentrate on getting all the tools done before I do I anything else. I will continue to work on the saw till box but I'll try to curb starting anything else. The first tool I'll work on is the closet one to completion - Miles #6 plane.

clean up first
I didn't use my 140 to make a rabbet on these tails because I wanted to check something. I think my gaps are caused by me moving the knife wall as I chop them. Another possibility is that I have a hump in the sockets. I have always done my tail sockets with flat bottoms and I don't relieve them with a downward vee cut. I like having the pin having solid contact in the socket.

I cleaned out the left over wood fibers in the corners first. I then checked the sockets for square to the reference face. Only a few of them needed extra work so this won't be a cause of gaps. I should be able to finish this up this weekend inbetween working on the tool rehabs.

scrape, sand, and refinishing the knob and tote is next
I got the knob scraped and I'll chuck it in my drill press to sand it. The tote is the minor set back.

snapped off with very little pressure
I had the tote in my vise and I noticed a crack when I used the scraper. It wasn't a good sign and it led me to this. Of all the plane rehabs I've done this is the first one where I've experienced a tote breaking.  Didn't want to learn how to glue a tote back together but I have no choice.

thought I had solved a tricky glue up
When I first put this in the vise it appeared to be ok. I didn't crank down on it but applied only enough pressure to see some glue come out along the crack line.  I stepped away from it and was working on the square till box when I thought I heard a crack. Went to check it and saw this.

I snapped off the horn and put the handle back in the vise. I'll leave that in the vise until tomorrow. That will give me a chance to figure out how I will glue the horn back on.

time to see if the extra magnets are working
thumbs down
The 12" square survived my shaking of the box but the 15" one failed again. The 15" square stayed in it's holder on all the open and close cycles but not the slam test. It also made it through me carrying it around it around the shop and setting it down and picking it back up several times. I am not putting anymore magnets in the holder for this. I'll live with it as it is.

ready for paint
This till is very heavy for just having a few squares in it. I was not expecting this at all. The plan was to put just a box latch on it to keep it closed. But with this weight, the till needs a handle of some kind. I have a few choices for that here the shop and I'm still in the dark on finding the small size box latches.

accidental woodworker

Did you know that women are 3 times more likely to have migraine headaches than men?

Washington Desk Thoughts

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Thu, 11/30/2017 - 2:10pm

‘But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not faint.’

One of the things that has always bothered me concerning woodworking forums, magazines, etc. has been an overemphasis on the spiritual/metaphysical aspects of making furniture. If there is one quality that I despise in anybody, it is an overabundance of self-importance. A lot of people, too many people, tend to over-value themselves, and the things they make, in relation to how they think others should perceive it. I had mentioned in an earlier post a trip to Mount Vernon and how that trip was in many ways a spiritual experience for me. Others may visit Mount Vernon just because they enjoy the grounds, and others still may visit and feel nothing at all. So when it comes to the Washington Campaign Desk I recently completed, I am very much in the mindset that it is without a doubt my favorite project, yet I would not doubt that some may look at it and think to themselves: ‘big deal!’

Firstly, as far as woodworking projects go, this desk, for someone at my skill level, would probably be considered an intermediate level project. For a professional woodworker it would likely be considered a relatively simple build. It was not the most technically difficult project I’ve made. In fact, I can say in all honesty that I spent as much time milling the wood and cleaning up the resulting mess as I did on the actual woodworking involved in constructing the desk. One of the most time consuming individual aspects of the project was making and fitting the breadboard ends, and when I carelessly removed a chunk of the desktop with a shoulder plane I wound up removing the ends completely rather than attempt a shoddy repair. If the two plus hours I spent on the breadboard ends are removed from the equation, I probably have more time spent milling than woodworking.

As in all of my projects, I like to think that I become a little better woodworker and learn a little bit more every time I complete one. But I cannot assign any one particular “Eureka” moment when it came to the physical act of working the wood used in making this desk. Probably the most challenging aspect of the construction was sawing and shaping the ogee ends. At that, the job I did was just okay. I certainly learned something, and I certainly gained some experience, but I don’t feel any closer to the woodworking gods in doing so.

After re-reading these few paragraphs you might thing that I sound bitter, or even ungrateful. Rest assured, I am neither. As I said, this project is hands down my favorite, and it is possible that I may never build anything again that I like quite as much. Why? It is simple, really. I went to a museum and caught a brief glimpse of a piece of furniture that was likely used by a person who has very much guided me throughout my life, and I knew enough about woodworking to be able to construct a near-enough reproduction of that piece of furniture using only a memory and a photo. If there is any “spirituality” to be found, this is it. When I saw the desk I knew immediately that I had to make it. I experienced a unique moment of true inspiration. I wasn’t looking for it; it wasn’t forced; it just happened. And in my estimation, that is the essence of spirituality.

There is more of me in that desk than in any other piece of furniture I’ve made. It isn’t in the joinery, which is dadoes, bolts, and a few screws. It isn’t in the desktop, which quite frankly has a bit more “character” than I had hoped, or the drawers, which are made of basic home center poplar held together with some basic half-blind dovetails. It is something that can’t be seen by others, and I’m glad of that fact.

I could write ten more pages trying to explain my reasonings, but I’m not going to do that. Just know that when I look at that desk, I feel connected to something larger than myself. And I believe that when I finally use it, I will be inspired to be my best.

I don’t know if there is a “woodworking god” or not. But if there is, just for a brief moment as this desk was nearing completion, I believe that I saw His face

Categories: General Woodworking

Video: Making Rabbets With Planes

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 11/30/2017 - 9:00am
Antique Rabbet Plane

Lately I’ve been incorporating hand tools more and more into the projects I’m working on. I was recently exploring ways to make rabbets for a serving tray I’m working on as a Christmas gift. There are, of course, numerous ways to make them. I was in the mood to make mine by hand. As luck would have it – and because I’m the book editor – I happened to have […]

The post Video: Making Rabbets With Planes appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Live Edge Class at Snow Farm, Massachusetts – Part 5: Lisa’s Cherry Table Completed

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 11/30/2017 - 6:33am

A few weeks before our class begun (for past entries about my class read part 1, 2, 3, 4) I emailed my prospective students and suggest to them to look out for free furniture on the side of the road or near the trash bags on garbage eve (the night when trash is put outside.) I said that some nifty nice stuff can be “harvested” from abandoned or broken furniture, […]

The post Live Edge Class at Snow Farm, Massachusetts – Part 5: Lisa’s Cherry Table Completed appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Craftsman Wall Shelf

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 11/30/2017 - 3:00am

Editor’s note: With the holidays upon us, I’m looking through vintage issues of the magazines and books we own for fun handmade gifts – things that you can build in not too much shop time, but that will help to create a lifetime of memories for the recipients. I’ll post (at least) two every week between now and the new year. This is Holiday Project Post number two – for […]

The post Craftsman Wall Shelf appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

next project......

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 3:19pm
I have a lot of projects and things on my A list that need to be done but I added this one to the head of the line. In fact this project is on the A list but I'm doing a change to it's construction but it's intended use isn't changing. Seeing the pic is the impetus to make me jump the line.

the next project
I was reading  post on Saw Mill Creek (I don't remember what it was) and one of the commenters posted this pic. This solves a lot of problems I am having with storage of bench tools.  I also recently added the headache of where to keep my newly acquired squares. This cart will have 3 vertical and one horizontal surface to put a lot of tools on.

this is where I will keep
I had planned on putting a drawer unit here to keep my bench chisels in. That drawer unit was going to be attached to the legs of the workbench and be fixed in place. I like the roll around drawer unit better due to the add storage space. I'm sure that I can get all the squares on two of the outside walls leaving the 3rd one for my saws. The top will be the catch all for measuring stuff, pencils, jigs, and guides.

my pencil is broke
I thought I had ordered two silver and two brass ones. Oh well it's still shiny even though it isn't brass.

hinges with a built in stop
I was going to use these on the saw till box but I changed my mind. I am going to use a piano hinge instead. I'll toss these in the hinge goodie bin.

you can never have enough hinges
These are similar to the built in stop hinges but these lack that feature. Both sets are cheap, stamped metal hinges that are ok for shop use only.

they are too big
I have seen smaller sizes of these but where escapes me at the moment. I thought that these would have fitted this space but I was wrong. I'll have to search and find that smaller size.

adding two more magnets to the 12" square
My magnets came in and I got them installed. Tomorrow we'll see if there will be dancing in the streets of Mudville.

two added to the 15" square
I put one more 1/2" magnet at the top and bottom of the holder. The squares inside stayed in their respective holders as I brought the box to the bench and opened it. I hope that the additional magnets will impart enough holding strength now for it to survive my shake test.

impetus for the roll around drawer unit
I don't have a big bench and when I'm working on something, real estate becomes real scarce fast. The chisel box usually ends up in the way which can be annoying at times. Other times I run the risk of playing the bounce test with them.  With the drawer unit I can open a drawer and take out just the chisel(s) I need. Another bonus is my paring chisels will be available too.

for the Lee Valley dovetail saw
The top three things I like about the LV saw are 1- the handle, 2- the tote, and 3- that thing on the end of the saw blade. I am still giddy about how well it fits my hand. I have kind of big meat beaters and my palm is 4". That will give you an idea of how the handle may fit your hand.

exceeded my goals for tonight
I was hoping to get one end chopped and I got both done. I'd been detailed with making sure the pizza was on the kitchen table when my wife got  home. I still have to trim these as I just barely got chopping them out done.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Who was the first undrafted QB to start a Super Bowl game?
answer - Kurt Warner in Super Bowl XXXIV

Hand-tool Butt Hinge Installation

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 7:20am

Below is a sidebar from my “Medicine Cabinet” article, from the June 2016 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine – how to install butt hinges using hand tools (and there are, of course, other techniques…but this is how I do it). — Megan Fitzpatrick  

The post Hand-tool Butt Hinge Installation appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Spoons and bowls for sale

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 7:04am

Maureen has been finishing stuff lately and posting them on her etsy site, https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts and she got me poking around my spoon basket. I haven’t had much time for spoon carving, but have a few I’ve finished in the past month or so. If you would like to pick any of these, just leave a comment. Usually paypal is the easiest way to pay; I’ll send an invoice. Or you can mail a check, just let me know. Finish is food-grade flax oil on all of these. Prices include shipping in US, further afield requires an extra charge for shipping.


November spoon 01; an American sycamore crook, with S-scroll carving

L: 9 5/8″ W: 2 1/8″


Nov spoon 02; birch serving spoon
L: 11″ W: 2 1/2″


Nov spoon o3; birch crook. serving spoon. One of my favorite kinds, following both the crook of the branch as well as the curve.
L: 9″ W: 2 3/*”



Nov spoon 04; birch serving spoon.
L: 10 7/8″  W:2 1/2″


Nov spoon 05; cherry crook serving spoon. Maybe my favorite of the batch.
L: 12 3/8″  W: 2 1/4″


Nov spoon 06: Not sure what to call this one. Almost a pie-serving shape. American sycamore crook. Very flat “bowl” to this one…(clouds came out, photo is darker than the spoon really is…)
L: 9 3/4″  W: 1 1/2″



Nov spoon 07; cherry, large serving spoon. The last of a batch of oversized serving spoons in cherry. Too late for Thanksgiving…
L:13 7/8″   W”  3 1/2″



Nov tray; birch. When I was carving it, I thought of it as a bowl, but now I see it done, it’s a tray.
L: 15 3/4″   W: 5 7/8″



Nov bird bowl, cherry. The last one of these I have done for quite a while. I have unfinished ones lurking at me in the shop, but no time for them now…
L: 15″  H: (at front) 7 1/4″

How to Choose the Best Dovetail Saw for Yourself

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 11/29/2017 - 4:00am

Today I had the opportunity to chat with a customer about dovetail saws, and he asked me the same question that I get all the time: what makes one saw better than another? Of course, since TFWW makes the Gramercy Dovetail saw, I have a pony in this race. Were lucky to live in a time in which people have a lot of good choices. There are many great modern makers of dovetail and backsaws. I know a lot of thought went into the Gramercy Dovetails design, so I end up talking a bit about those features, and what they mean to woodworkers.

We tout our saws high hang handle and its light weight, which makes it easier to saw straight. This isnt a useful feature for anyone who has spent a lot of time with other designs and has learned to saw straight accordingly. The Gramercy Dovetail has the smallest handle on the market, but we think it helps with the sawing. Its rare that anyone has an issue when using the normal three fingered grip - most people find it very comfortable, just different than what they expected. A review in the woodworking press noted the small size of the handle as if it were self-evidently bad, which I found very frustrating. The handle isnt cramped or uncomfortable to use. It would be a shame if this design feature puts people off unnecessarily. By the way the picture at the top of the blog is my saw atop a pile of student practice dovetails left over from the class.

Earlier this year I began teaching a class called Mastering Dovetails and its been fun to explore the concepts of sawing dovetails with the students. Most students use our Gramercy Tools Dovetail Saw but others bring in a variety of saws by other makers. It gives us a chance to play with different models and understand the design features of each better. Im gratified when students gain the satisfaction of gaining a skill and find it fun to make dovetails well. The Gramercy saw is designed expressly to make woodworking more fun.

Gramercy Dovetail Saw is not the most expensive dovetail saw you can buy, but at $240 it is still a chunk of change. We totally get that its an investment decision that almost no one makes lightly. Remember if you purchase a dovetail saw from us, or in fact anything from us, you have a lengthy six months (and, if you live in the US, free return postage) to decide if the saw is right for you. And of course the best judge for this would be you yourself, not some pundit (like me).

Here are the criteria that seems to guide choice:

Does it look pretty?

Some people profess not to care about how a tool looks, but I think most of us do. Our tastes may differ. I happen not to like the modern streamlined look. I love classical detailing. For other woodworkers, its the reverse. But either way, I think every time you look at your saw, you want to be able to smile and say to yourself, "Wow."

Does it inspire you?

The main reason I don't like modern saw design is that my thinking about woodworking is deeply influenced by history. Every time I cut a dovetail I am thinking of some 18th century apprentice. I love the brass and wood or period designs that keep me in the mood. I constantly am reminded by my tools that I am not as good as my equipment. Nice tools keep me striving. In the case of our Gramercy Dovetail Saw, the handles are made of black walnut - which I love. I know many makers like to use exotic woods: Duncan Phyfe had a small saw with a zebrawood handle. I get the appeal, although an exotic handle can really throw off the weight of the tool.

How is the fit and finish?

There is an old saying among metal finishers, "Highly polished and deeply scratched." No matter who makes your saws, you want over the years to have honest battle scars, not simplifications because the maker didn't know how to fit a back, polish some brass, or make a handle without tearout. For me also - and the reason we have those nice decorative file lines on the handle is that it looks much better than a curve cut by a router - I don't want crude lines and corners, or a square handle with barely rounded over sides. We chamfer the brass on our brass backs and chamfer and round the nose. I like the finished look. I don't even like most historical backsaws post-1820 or so because the workmanship is just cruder than the earlier saws. I find the 18th century elegance that we copied inspiring. Ive already written about our saw etch, and while saw etching uses a later technique (post-1860 or so), I love the what it brings to the tool.

Is it easy to start?

This is an actual important feature that shouldn't need mentioning, but everyone seems to report on it. Most modern saw-makers use foley saw filing machines to do their teeth. Foley machines are great but finicky and can't really reliably files saws finer than 15 tpi. In the era in which tools for handwork reached their peak - around 1800 - 1820 - dovetail saws were typically of much finer pitch (18 tpi and up) and pretty aggressive rake (zero). Starting a 15 tpi saw is a lot harder than a 18 tpi (or finer) saw, and I'm not a fan of the various schemes that are used to get around this problem, such as making the teeth less aggressive. sawing backwards, etc. I'm of the starting school of placing the toe of the saw on the wood, maybe tilted up a touch, and pushing forward, keeping as much weight off of the wood as possible so that the teeth do their job without jamming. Works like a charm with a fine tooth saw. THe only drawback to a finer pitch is that in thick material 1" or more the saw does cut slower as the gullets fill up.

Can you control the saw - and saw straight or at any angle you so desire?

We honestly think that the Gramercy Dovetails high hang handle and ultra light weight make it easier for a beginner to saw accurately. Ive gotten to see a lot of beginners give our saw a try at shows and now in the dovetail class, and its easy to observe how quickly and easily beginners find the saw to control. A lighter saw influences the cut the least. Woodworking shouldn't about fighting your tools.


9" is about average. You can go shorter or longer. Some people like a longer saw. In my class one student used a Gramercy Sash Saw that he purchased because he wanted a more versatile saw. It's a light saw for its size. It took a little getting used to, but it worked out fine. Fast too.

Is there a break-in period?

No lie: our saw has a break in period. This has gotten us into trouble with some reviews in the woodworking press. As far as I know, we are alone in echoing not just the general appearance of a traditional saw but also th4 way it is sharpened. This means aggressive filings and zero rake. When you first get your saw, it has seen only a few strokes when the shop tests it to make sure it tracks correctly and cuts fast. But those teeth are like needles. When you first use the saw, they will want to catch in the wood, especially in open pore species like oak. But after 10 minutes or so - the break-in period - any burrs and bits from the filing should be worn off have worn off and the teeth should be thoroughly evened out. At this point your saw will work smoothly and FAST.

Will the handle stay true over time?

We use Black Walnut because it is stable. I would guess that all of the mainstream materials used by everyone in the industry are fine, but if you do get a saw that is made from an exotic wood, make sure the maker says it will be stable. You wont find much to admire in a gorgeous handle that is heavy and unstable. Nothing is more frustrating than a warping handle - especially on a premium saw.

Handle size and shape.

Think about golf. The amount of effort that goes into designing a handle and club that let's someone driver further is insane. And of course what a pro does is teach you to exploit the tool, not force the tool into your current posture. Sawing is exactly the same. The goal should not be that a saw handle feels perfect from day one. It might - hopefully it will, but it should not under any circumstances just mimic whatever you are used to, it should make you a better craftsperson.

Is it within your budget?

This is a tricky one. In theory, even the most expensive dovetail saw on the market is less than a trip to Disney World. And over time, per use, it's inexpensive. But a budget is a budget and all the dovetail saws worth buying are a healthy chunk of change - with two exceptions: The Veritas saw is well made, inexpensive (1/4 of the cost of ours), works very well, but way too modern for my tastes. I don't think it is as easy to use as our saw, but it's the best deal in well-made pistol grip saws. We also stock a straight-handled gents saw that I recommend to students all the time. It could use a sharpening out of the box but even so it works well, albeit slowly.

As you might imagine, I think the Gramercy Tools Dovetail Saw does well according to these criteria. But I admit I'm biased. If I didn't like the way our saws performed we would be making them differently. The real good news is that with so many modern makers to choose from, all of whom make fine saws with differing characteristics, no matter which saw you pick, you will end up with something pretty excellent.

LN vs LV......

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 4:21pm
The ride home tonight sucked fetid, putrid, green pus filled eggs. No accident this time but someone had broke down under the bridge. This bridge is a choke point where 3 lanes, from different directions, converge into two. Nobody wanted to give an inch to any other driver which just compounded trying to get past the disabled vehicle. Needless to say, I didn't have a happy face on  when I finally got home.

waiting for me
Three times was the charm for finally getting these. Twice they were out of stock and when I got these two there were only 5 available. I opted to get these over the other model mostly because these are longer. Or at least I remember them being longer. I got two, one for me and one for Miles.

each one comes with two blades
nice feature
Another reason why I bought this model - you can retract the blade into the handle. You have to pull the black loop at the back to do that otherwise the blade is locked in place.

I like the knife and it is better than what I was expecting it to be. It has a bit of weight to it, the blade is wicked sharp as is, and it feels good in my hand. This fills my palm nicely which I didn't think it was going to do. Haven't even made a mark with it and it already has a few gold stars.

one is in Miles's toolbox
I will road test this knife on the saw till project before I commit to an opinion on it.

dovetails penciled in
I have to pencil a baseline for the dovetails before I saw them. I marked each corner together because each one is slightly different.

itch is getting scratched
I've been looking forward to trying this LV saw out on a dovetail project.  I will saw one side with the LV and the other with the LN.

LN is in the on deck circle
I finished the dovetail sawing on the other end with the LV saw. On this test the LV wins for handle comfort and fit. The LN saw feels loosey goosey, but I still had control. I've been dovetailing with this saw from the beginning of my dovetail journey.

The saw cut from both was too close to declare a winner. I did find the LN saw easier to start but by the time I got to the last tail with the LV saw, it was old hat. I figured out the sweet spot for starting the cut which happened to be towards the heel. Both saws were easy to saw square and then follow the angle of the tails.

cut my thumb
I noticed blood all over the tail boards and I didn't know where it was coming from. Then I saw my thumb bleeding. I must have cut it when I was putting the blades into the holder.

road testing two more
Using my new to me 12" square and the Stanley knife. I didn't experience any problems with striking the line with regards to the knife's bevel.  I was able to run my line all the way around and have it meet up times 4. So my square is right on and the knife did it's job.

sawing the half pins
I did the half pins the same way I did the tails. I did one side with the LV and the other with the LN. I finished the other ones with the LV saw. I have tons of mileage with the LN so that is why I didn't do them 50/50.

I give the edge to the half pins to the LV saw but not by much. Not only was it easier sawing them with the LV saw, it was easier to track on down on the gauge line. The LN did them but it felt a bit rougher doing them with it. No hiccups with starting the LV saw on any of the half pins either.

edge to the LV saw
I almost feel like a traitor favoring the LV saw. The LN saw is what I learned to do dovetails with. The LN saw is what I used to get proficient doing dovetails. Now the upstart LV saw is wooing away my affections. I would say the biggest sway point away from the LN saw is the comfortable grip of the LV saw. The sawing is pretty much the same with both with the LV a frog hair better one way and the LN another way.

The LV saw is for Miles's kit and I had got it because it was good deal $$$ wise. I know LV makes good stuff so I went with their reputation. This is my first experience with any of the LV bench saws. If I hadn't seen the LV deal, I was going to buy Miles's a LN dovetail saw. Now I'm thinking maybe I should buy me a LV dovetail saw. After all it is almost xmas and I've been a good boy all year.

a gold star for the knife
I really didn't think I was going to like this knife at all. I thought I would try it and put it in Miles's toolbox and he would have two marking knives. Not liking it had nothing to do with the bevels on the knife but more with the perception that it is not like the marking knife above it.

I ran a few lines on my shooting board to get a feel for the knife. I didn't dig into the blade on the square and I seemed to have mastered the bevel right away. Out of the box this knife is wicked sharp. It is 100% sharper than my curved blade marking knife here. The Stanley doesn't require any flattening of the back neither. I can also sharpen the blade or toss it and put a new one.

I did all the knife lines for the dovetails with this. I like the length and it feels better in my hand than the curved blade marking knife. The Stanley has more weight, heft, and a presence when held. Compared to the other knife which has little weight, no heft and less than half the presence of the Stanley, the edge goes to the Stanley as the all around winner.

Again I feel like a traitor because I was getting fond of the curved blade marking knife. I am not ready to ditch it and marry the Stanley just yet. The Stanley has impressed me so far but like the LV saw I'll reserve final judgment until I have used both knives and the LV saw on a few projects.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What US holiday is also celebrated in Italy, Spain, and Latin America?
answer - Columbus Day

Digital Artistry — Meet the Artist: Curtis Erpelding

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 11:21am

Meet the artists from the December 2017 issue How five masterful makers integrate CNC and CAD technology into their woodworking. In the December 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking magazine, the article, Digital Artistry gives the readers a peek at what five professional woodworkers are doing with digital tools in their shops. Each has an extensive traditional woodworking background and many years of experience before they added digital tools like CAD […]

The post Digital Artistry — Meet the Artist: Curtis Erpelding appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Digital Artistry — David Myka

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 8:56am

Meet the artists from the December 2017 issue How five masterful makers integrate CNC and CAD technology into their woodworking In the December 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking magazine, the article, Digital Artistry gives the readers a peek at what five professional woodworkers are doing with digital tools in their shops. Each has an extensive traditional woodworking background and many years of experience before they added digital tools like CAD […]

The post Digital Artistry — David Myka appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Pint-Size Pickup – Holiday Project Post

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Tue, 11/28/2017 - 3:00am

Editor’s note: With the holidays upon us, I’m looking through vintage issues of the magazines and books we own for fun handmade gifts – things that you can build in not too much shop time, but that will help to create a lifetime of memories for the recipients. I’ll post (at least) two every week between now and the new year. Not all of them will be for kids – […]

The post Pint-Size Pickup – Holiday Project Post appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

made a tool protector.....

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 11/27/2017 - 3:26pm
I knew tonight's shop time would quick as I had a few errands to run. I had noticed the need for a tool protector yesterday and I left the tool out on my workbench so I wouldn't forget it tonight. I probably could have been a bit more elaborate in making it but in the end it serves the purpose.

This tool comes from Miles's toolbox and I am not a fan of tools thrown in a box to bang around against each other. Some tools can survive a bit of toolbox rash, this one can't. I don't really have many choices regarding tool storage in his toolbox. It is kind of small and I want to stuff it with tools so I have to compromise where I can.

round leg dividers
The points on the dividers are their Achilles heel. Once they are blunted they are pretty much useless.  The goal tonight was to make something quick and functional.

Two holes drilled in a piece of pine scrap will do the job. I made it a little pretty by planing a chamfer on all the edges.

where it lives in the toolbox
The holder doesn't take up much room and the points are protected. I would have liked to have made something to protect the screw stem too but that would have made it too large. I am not going to make anything for the flat leg dividers. The points on them are meant to be filed if need be.

figured out the lid cutout
The problem I see with the cutout is getting a symmetrical look to the pin that will be sawn in two. On my story board I increased the pin by adding a 1/8" to each slope. The half pins will be sufficiently large and if I'm careful they will be symmetrical too. I will move the target pin down to the right one more. I want the recess in the lid to large enough to accommodate at least 2 handsaws.

too wide
I don't like this look. I thought I would use the extra width but seeing it with the saws it I changed my mind. It looks too clunky so I'll lose the extra width.

kept the length
The lid will be very generously sized for a handsaw. This is my 7 point ripper and it is the longest one I have. I like the slender look for the saw till much better than the wider one. Just had another thought on this - maybe I can keep a saw set and files in the extra space?

I'll let this sticker for another day
I got the ends sawn and squared to the new length. I'll start the dovetails tomorrow.

I'm getting used to this knife
got bit on the arse again
I assumed that the back was flat. I ran the knife over an 8k stone and this is what I got after 5-6 strokes. It is sharp but I sensed it could use a touch up. Before I do that I'll have to flatten the back but I can't do it tonight.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What does Idaho mean in the Shoshone language?
answer - gem of the mountains

Winter light

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Mon, 11/27/2017 - 2:54pm

I have 14 windows down in this small workshop, and here in New England as winter solstice is approaching, I can’t see well enough to do any significant work by 4:30 in the afternoon. By 4pm it’s getting dim, but I can sweep, sort stuff – can’t cut joinery or do carving. I  think about the joiners of the 17th century with the small (& few) windows in their buildings, how did they do any work in this light? Maybe they didn’t work much in the winter?

A notion that shows up in several 20th-century writings about 17th-century joiners is that they concentrated their joinery work in the winter; being too occupied with crops and livestock the rest of the year. That’s a quaint notion, and might even have some merit. One way to see if this is valid is to see tradesmen’s probate inventories to see if there’s work underway. There’s lots of reasons stuff might be un-finished…but it’s a start.

One bit of evidence in favor of this argument is the inventory of Edward Brown of Ipswich, Massachusetts, his inventory is from February 1659/60:

3 wheeles, finished lennen 13s6d, wheeles woolen & linnen not finisht £1-16  work done toward chaires 3s  &  15—ills 6s9d  shope tooles £3-6

John Symonds of Salem, Massachusetts also had unfinished work when he died. His inventory was presented in court 19:7:1671 – so September according to the old calendar.

will: “…to my son James Symonds…I do assigne my servant John Pease to him dureing the term of time expressed in the Indenture… Further I give all my workinge tooles belonginge to my trade to my son James Symonds…”

inv:  Joyners Tools benches and lare £5-5-6  2 Bedsteds almost finished £3  3 stools and one half of a Box 12s6d  1/2 Grindstone & windlass & a Small grindstone 5s  Timber planke & board £5-12

part of a Chest… 3 Chests 3 Boxes and a wooden Tunnil 14s  2 Tables a forum & Chayres 16s  a Vice and an old Hatchet 10s  nayles 10d  an Ax 6s10d   …a p of Jemmils…5 wedges…one half of a Crosscut Saw…  Timber in the Woods £1-2  an apprentice of 17 years old who hath 3 year and 9 moneths and 2 weekes to serve

George Cole died in 1675. His inventory is dated 30:9:1675, back when the 9th month was November…his work is not called “unfinished” but he had “work done in his shop…”

will:  “…I give to my master John Davis all my timber…”

3 saues 8s,  2 goynters & foreplaine 6s, 3 smothing plains & a draing knife 3s6d, 2 plans & 2 revolvong plains 10s,  4 round plains 5s, 3 rabet plains 4s,  3 holou plains 3s6d,  9 Cresing plains 10s6d,  6 torning tools 9s,  3 plaine irons & 3 bits 1s6d,  1 brase stok, 2 squares & gorges 1s6d,  1 brod ax & 1 fro 2s, holdfast 1s6d,  hamer 1s6d,  6 gouges 2s,  9 Chisels 5s,  2 ogers & 1 draing knife 3s,  1 bench hooks, 2 yoyet irons 1s,  a gluepot 1s6d,  for what work he has done in his shop £1-10

My notes include a date of “1676/7” for  Matthew Macomber  of Taunton, in Plymouth Colony. The double-dating falls between January and mid-March, so this is another one for the “winter” crowd.

a parsell of cooper’s tooles 9s  (illegible) hoopes not finished 10d  five hundred of cedar bolts att the swamp £1-10  hewen timber in the woods 8s9d  200 of cooper stuff in the woods 5s  more in tooles and arms £2-10

Another vote for winter is William Savell, of Braintree, Massachusetts. He died February 1, 1699/1700. Included in his inventory are:

a green carpitt & covers for chairs  01-08-00

a douzen painted chairs & a sealskin trunk  01-18-00

a wainscott chest and a box  01-01-00

a square table a wainscott chest and a bedstead  02-12-00

tooles  02-10-00

timber and weare begun  03-00-00

Well, here’s one more – what I always call “When Things Go Wrong”  – court cases sometimes shed light on period practice. John Davis was asked to make 4 chests, did so, and had them delivered. But it all ended up in court. All I can see is that Davis was both pissed and pissed off in May of 1681, and things got messy…but these depositions tell us exactly nothing about what time of year John Davis made these chests:

Writ: John Davis v. John Tolly; debt; for four wainscot chests made by his order and delivered to him in his house, dated June 23, 1681; signed by John Fuller, for the court and town of Lyn; and served by Richard Prytherch, constable of Salem, by attachment of the bed of the defendant, the summons being left with Mrs. Tauly.

Nathaniall Kirtland, aged about thirty-four years, deposed that he brought from John Davis’ shop at Lyn four chests and delivered them to John Tauly at his house in Salem. Davis told the deponent that Tauly had them to carry to Newfoundland. Sworn in court.

Bill of cost 3£

Eleaser Lenesey, aged about thirty-five years, deposed that Davis looked at a chest in Tawleay’s house and the latter told him to make two or three as good as that for 25s. each. Sworn in court before William Browne, assistant, and owned in court.

Richard Croade, aged about fifty-two years, testified that, on May 7, 1681, he heard Mr John Tally read from his book his account with John Davis, and the latter did not disown it. Sworn, May 11, 1681, before William Browne, assistant.

Samll Blyghe, aged about twenty-two years, deposed that, being in the house of Mr Wing of Boston in company with John Tawly of Salem and Joseph Cawly, he heard Tawly ask John Davis, joiner, of Lynn, to make the chests, saying he would rather Davis have his money than any one else, at the same time giving him 5s. Sworn, June 23, 1681, before William Browne, assistant.

John Longley, aged about forty-two years, testified that on May 6, 1681, he heard Davis at Taulely’s house call the latter a cheating knave, with many other absurd expressions, challenging him out of his own house to fight, threatening him. He also took hold of a wainscot chest in the room, threw it up and down the room, breaking several pieces of the front of the chest, etc. Davis was very much in drink. Elizabeth Tawley testified to the same. Sworn, June 28, 1681 before Bartho Gedney, assistant.

Joseph Calley, aged about thirty-seven years, deposed. Sworn, June 7, 1681, before John Richards, assistant.

Eleazer Lenesey, aged about thirty-five years, testified that, being in John Davis’ house at Line, after he had brought home the cloth, a whole piece of kersey, he said he had bought it of John Tawleay of Salem. Sworn before William Browne, assistant.

Mary Ivory, aged about forty-two years, deposed that she was at Taulie’s house when he received the chests. Sworn in court.

Samuell Ingols, aged about twenty-seven years, and Nathanil Willson, aged about nineteen years, deposed that the chests were worth 30s. each. Sworn in court.

John Longley, aged about forty-two years, and Thomas Eleat, aged about twent-six years, deposed concerning the assault and that neither Tawley nor his wife could have any peace while Davis was in the house. Sworn. May 9, 1681, before Bartho Gedney, assistant.”


How We Installed a SawStop Sliding Crosscut Fence

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 11/27/2017 - 12:50pm

I’ve wanted a SawStop sliding crosscut table ever since I tried one out at Woodworking in America 2016. Sliding crosscut tables were a basic fixture in the English shops where I worked; I took them for granted as a safe, precise means of breaking down sheet goods and cutting multiple parts to identical length. For eons, I’ve used a radial arm saw, but I recently decided it was time to […]

The post How We Installed a SawStop Sliding Crosscut Fence appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Washington Desk Day 6

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Mon, 11/27/2017 - 9:05am

For all intents and purposes I completed the construction phase of the Washington Campaign Desk over the weekend. On paper there wasn’t much left to do. Basically I had to assemble the drawer compartment parts and attach it to the desk top. But we all know that “on paper” doesn’t mean much.

Assembling the drawer compartment wasn’t overly difficult. I pre-drilled and counter-sunk the screw holes, applied a little glue, and screwed it together. That part was relatively easy. I had one minor issue, and that was the right side drawer divider would, for some reason, not sit perpendicular to the desk top. I double and triple checked the dado fit and no matter what I did I could not get it perfectly straight. Don’t get me wrong, it is not off much, probably 1 mm or so (for all you metric people), so I decided to not let it bother me. To finish it off I used walnut plugs purchased from Rockler; they worked surprisingly well, and I’m very happy with the finished appearance.

In the meanwhile, I also pre-drilled and counter sunk the holes in the desk top to attach it to the leg assemblies (using elongated holes to allow for movement). But before I went any further I disassembled the base and spent a good 90 minutes with a hand plane and sandpaper cleaning the parts up for finish. As far as the sanding was concerned, I used the grit sequence 60/120/220/320. I did not use a random orbit sander, rather, I just used a sanding block because it seemed easier to control, though it was definitely more time consuming. Once the sanding was finished I reassembled the legs, and thankfully I marked all of the parts before I took them apart to assure that I would put them back together correctly. I used a little glue to attach the filler pieces to the leg cleats, but otherwise, the only glue used in the entire project was on the four dadoes on the drawer compartment, and the walnut plugs. (I promise once it is finished, with finish, I will photograph all of the relevant parts). With the leg assemblies ready to go, I attached them to the desktop and reattached the cross cleat, once again plugging the countersunk holes and cleaning them up.

The last part of the assembly for me was the scariest, and that was attaching the drawer unit to the desktop. Before I took everything apart I marked and predrilled holes into the desktop. To attach the drawer unit I decided to use pocket-hole screws. I like using pocket-hole screws in situations like this because of the pan head holds nicely on elongated holes. In any case, I used two combination squares (I highly recommend having two BTW) to align the drawer unit, enlisted my lovely wife to hold the drawer unit in place, and carefully screwed the drawer unit to the desk top. Speaking for myself, it’s always a bit nerve wracking lying on my back and screwing through a tabletop sight unseen. Thankfully, everything went well.

IMG_2936 (002)

The desk just before final assembly. Please note that the drawer unit was still temporarily assembled in this photo and it was still not attached to the desk top.

And speaking of pocket screws, I may attach a cleat underneath the desktop to connect the two leg assemblies, just for added strength, because as of right now they are only connected by one cross brace. After doing some research it appears that pocket screws were traditionally used for such a task, believe it or not, but as of right now I still haven’t made up my mind.

The last task of the day was milling up some poplar for making the drawers. The drawer fronts were completed last week, but I didn’t want to plane them to final size until the drawer unit was assembled. I decided to go with half-blind dovetails for the drawers, which is the logical choice. So I gang sawed all four drawer sides at once, tails first obviously. I am holding off on the drawer backs just to make sure there is no settling, or what have you, before I glue the drawers together, but that part should only take a matter of minutes.

As far as the finish is concerned, when I started the project I spent some time searching the forums to find a nice finish for Walnut and kept coming back to a product called Sam Maloof poly/oil. It seemed to get good reviews, so I ordered a can of both the poly/oil and the poly/wax. The instructions call for 3 to 4 coats of the oil and 1 to 2 coats of the wax, with an overnight dry in between each application. I likely won’t start applying the finish until this coming Friday night, when I will have time to take my time.

And on another note, I am not overly concerned with the finish when it comes down to it. I used to worry a great deal about having a perfectly smooth, plastic-like appearance. But considering that the boards used to make this desk likely came from barn walls, I am more than happy with how it looks. I was more concerned with doing the best job I could do, and I believe that I did that. The desk looks like I want it to look, and I believe that it is well constructed and it should last for quite a while. I think that George Washington would have liked it, and more importantly, my daughter loves it, and I have a feeling that she will be the one to use it most, and that is about all I could ask.


Categories: General Woodworking


Subscribe to Norse Woodsmith aggregator - General Woodworking