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General Woodworking

Fan bird carving course in Co Durham

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Tue, 03/28/2017 - 2:45am
A day carving and folding wood to make fan birds. Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

had a senior moment.......

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 03/28/2017 - 12:23am
Some parts for my planes that I ordered came in today.  I still have a #4 chipbreaker for a Stanley iron that I'm waiting on but it is something that I can wait for. I ordered a chipbreaker from Lie Nielsen but I am still waiting for that 10 days later. That sent all the tracking info to my wife's email and since she hadn't ordered anything from LN, she deleted it. She couldn't find it in her trash so I'll have to call them and find out where it's at.

I bought them all
I emailed Bill Rittner and asked if he made the chipbreaker screws. That answer was no, but he said he had some he would sell. I bought two from him thinking I was golden. Turns out I lost two somehow, somewhere. I think they fell off the sharpening bench and got dumped with the shavings when I swept the deck. I noticed this seller on ebay offering chipbreaker screws and I bought all 5 he had for sale.

What surprised me about both sellers, was how clean the screws were. I usually get parts like this all rusty and ratty looking. These are all rust free and shiny. The slots aren't mangled and the screws all have good looking, well defined threads.

these 3 are all set now
I have four of the chipbreaker screws left. I need one more for the #4 chipbreaker in the mail and I'll have 3 left for spares.

everything has set up
I clamped the spreader at the bottom front because the bottom here was toeing outwards. I did this to keep it where it should be as the back brace set up.

removed most of the proud with the chisel - I then planed it flush
flushed the walnut to the bottom

checked my desk stock
Both of these are still flat and straight. I still don't know what the one on the right is made of. It kind of looks like ramin wood. I flipped the two so the opposite side was facing out for the next 24 hours.

lightweight but sufficient
This isn't going to be moved and it is plenty strong enough to support a monitor. I was thinking about putting a stretcher at the bottom front.

3/4" screw
I need some 3/4" screws to fasten the the top brace to the top plywood. These have a washer as part of the screw head.

ugly even if they won't be seen
found a lot of 3/4" screws
I didn't realize that I had so many screws in this size. I'll be using the oval head ones vice the flat heads.

found a piece of poplar long enough
sawing 1/2 x 1/2 notches
my senior moment
I sawed the notches on the wrong side. I can't believe that I didn't notice it and sawed it out. On a bright note, I got a snug fit on both sides.

I will have to use a wide piece after I fix this
I wanted to use walnut here
The notch I made to even it up on both sides ended up being 2". I would like to use walnut here to match the edge banding I did. This piece is too small - I can't saw it in two and glue it together to get the required width and length.

padauk is another choice
I can't get the walnut to work so I will use poplar. I'm not wasting padauk on something like this. I'll do that tomorrow because the lights are going dark now.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is a folivore?
answer - an animal that eats leaves

Handworks 2017 Countdown – 52 Days to Go

The Barn on White Run - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 4:10pm

Over the next six weeks I will be blogging about Handworks 2017 a lot, or at least my preparations for it to be sure.  I think we are at T-minus 52 Days before departure.

Over the winter Mrs. Barn prepared two full cases of packaged beeswax in anticipation of the event.  If all goes well I will not bring any back home.    One thing down, a bazillion to go.

I intend to demonstrate wax and shellac finishing during the event, so come by and say “Hi.”  I’ll be in one of the center aisle booths at the Festhall.

a few new spoons for sale, March 27 2017

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 8:08am

I’ve been slowly working my way through a pile of cherry spoon wood. All but one or two of this batch is from the same tree. And most all are crooks, bent/curved sections which lend the spoons their shape.

A couple of these got picked by people on a waiting list for spoons. I never intended there to be such a thing, but sometimes I get requests between postings of spoons for sale.

spoons listed are here https://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-for-sale-march-2017/  or at the top of the menu on the blog’s front page. Leave a comment here (the page for some reason doesn’t accept comments…) if you’d like to order a spoon. Paypal is the easiest way, or you can send a check. Let me know which payment method you prefer. The price  includes shipping in the US, otherwise, we’ll calculate some additional shipping costs.

All the spoons are finished with food-safe flax oil. If for some reason, anyone is not happy with their spoon, just contact me & we can do a return/refund.

thanks as always,


Welcome, Gentles All

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 7:31am

Below is an advance of my editor’s note from the May/June 2017 issue (which mails to subscribers April 12 and is on newsstands April 25). I want everyone – subscriber or no – to know that we welcome queries from any and all woodworkers, and that I’d love to see more diversity in our pages. But it’s a two-way street. I’m about to break a self-imposed rule about keeping “politics” […]

The post Welcome, Gentles All appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

changed lanes......

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 03/27/2017 - 12:52am
I was working on the new bookshelf project but I put on the turn signal and made a lane change. I will work on the bookshelf as I can but my main impetus now is finishing the stand up desk for work. I did a couple of days standing up and I couldn't believe the difference when I went home. My butt cheeks didn't hurt and my metal hip side felt a bazillion percent better.

I nixed getting the VA supplied stand up desk version because it won't work for me. It will elevate the monitor and keyboard/mouse up and down but that is it. There is no provision for working on paperwork at the same time at an elevated position. If all I was doing was computer work this would work. But over half of what I do doing the day is dealing with paperwork first and then feeding all that into the scanner and onto the computer.

oh dark thirty sunday morning
I didn't have high hopes that this would be flat.

still bowed
This is an improvement of what it was the previous day. I could attempt to glue and screw a base to this that would also act as a strong back and pull it flat. Since this is/was going to be my stand up desk, I need it to be flat from the git go. I also want a warm and fuzzy that it will stay that way too.

This will go into the wood pile to be used from something else. For the desk it's use is toast and I'll buy another 2x4 sheet of plywood.

monitor base frames
Out of the clamps and they are laying flat on each other. No twist and no rocking from either one. I did these on the tablesaw mostly because I want to get this done as quickly as I can. I know that I couldn't make a bridle joint this small by hand nor as quickly as I did on the tablesaw. I won't be using bridle joinery on the big desk. For that I will most likely use mortise and tenon.

blurry pic of a proud tenon
I didn't take this into account when I made the frame. I cleaned up the insides with a plane before I glued it up. They are sticking up about a 32nd strong and they would make a difference if I was making this frame a specific size .

possible big desk base stock
I squared this stock up over a year ago for what I don't remember. There is more than enough stock to make the base ends. I just need stock for the long rails.

flushed and cleaned up the frames

the monitor base top
The first two pieces of walnut have set up and I sawed off most of the overhang. I don't want to accidentally break them off while I glue on the last two pieces.

trimming the first two pieces flush
The two pieces of walnut are proud on both sides of the plywood. If do one side like this I could possibly break off the other side in a way that would make me very unhappy.

not a problem now
I put the cauls I used to glue the walnut on under the plywood. They elevated  the walnut clear of the bench on the opposite side.

cutting and fitting the last two walnut strips
I squared up one end and marked the length directly off the plywood. Since this is so thin I did all the cutting with this marking knife.

quick, easy, and I got a clean edge
I repeatedly scored the strip of walnut and leaving the square in place, I snapped off the waste. I still kept the square there and used the marking knife to clean up the snapped off end.

the proposed bracing
The bottom poplar piece I am changing to 1/2" plywood so I don't have to deal with expansion and contraction from solid wood. The back brace will stay poplar and I'll dovetail that.

two pieces of 3/4" plywood
At 0755 I was in the parking lot of Home Depot sipping a Starbucks waiting for it to open. I bought two pieces of 2'x4' by 3/4" thick plywood panels. The one on the left is birch plywood and the right one was $6 cheaper and I don't have clue as to what it is.

I went through every single piece of both of these plywood bins and I only found one flat and straight one in each. The one I bought yesterday came from Lowes and I don't remember if I checked it for being flat. I was more interested in getting a nice grain pattern. I got that but a pretzel for a board.

sticker plywood?
I'm real antsy to get going on this but I have to be patient. I will let this sticker here for a few days and see if I still have flat stock. In the interim I can finish up the monitor stand which I am going to apply a finish to. After I snapped this pic I separated these two.

the top brace details
I thought first of doing a 1/2 lapped, stopped rabbet here. They would hold the sides together and keep them from toeing here. But I didn't like the small area contact between the brace and the sides. Skipped that and I am going with a through dado that I'll glue and screw the plywood into it and get the same result. The plywood ends will be visible in the finished joint so I will edge band them first with walnut.

ends banded
I will apply the walnut to the long edges after I have the brace glued and screwed in place.

flush fit on the through dado
labeled the bottom
It is way too easy to become confused as to which side is up or down. And I need big letters because I have been known to ignore smaller penciled markings.

wee bit off on this side
I sawed inside of the lines because I wanted this to be a snug fit. I had planned on planing the plywood to fit the dadoes but I didn't have to do that on either side. On this side I did one saw cut leaving the line like I was supposed to. On the other side of the cut, I sawed right on the line.

walnut veneer
I dug this out of my pizza box of veneer. I can saw a small strip and use it fill the gaps.

I have a boatload of planes
Why can't I use one of them and make my own veneer to fill the gaps? That is what I did. I planed up 6 strips of varying thicknesses by adjusting the depth of the iron. Each of them is about 4 inches long and conveniently curled up.

it worked
 I got the gap closed up and a snug fit. Self supporting and this is ready to glue up.

rounding over the corners on the monitor top
the 3rd one
This is the third sliver I popped up sanding the the walnut. I am gluing it back down like I did on the other two with this glue. I put some blue tape on it and set it aside to set up.

I had striped walnut
I could see every place where I used the blue tape on this walnut. I wiped down all 4 sides with mineral spirits to remove any of the residue. After that I scraped them down to make sure I got all of the residue.

removing glue with a carbide scraper
The brace is glued and screwed in place so I can get on with the build. I don't like using a chisel to remove dried glue. I tend to dig in when I use it and I end up with divots. And you have to be extra careful dealing with the plywood because the face veneers are only 2 atoms thick. I like the control and finesse I seem to have with the carbide scraper.

marking for the brace
 In order to mark the brace, I need the frame legs to be square to the bottom. On this side they are leaning outboard and the opposite side they are toeing inboard.

now it's square
Now that it is square and in the final position, I can mark the shoulders on the back brace.

used a story stick
I don't like to use a ruler to mark two separate things the same.  I squared the line across the end and the story stick on the first one. I repeated that on the other side.

gauge stick
This is to help me saw the dovetails in the back. This is the same as the shoulder to shoulder length of the bottom brace.

kept things from dancing around as I sawed
I clamped this on the opposite side of the saw cut I was doing. It worked pretty good at keeping the ends stiff while I sawed.  Once I sawed one wall on both sides, I moved the brace to the sawn side and did the last two.

the moment of truth
too snug for me
I pulled this off and looked for any bruising was. I trimmed those areas and glued it up.

the last of the walnut trim pieces
The back brace is glued and clamped. The first of the two walnut pieces to be glued is going in.

left it proud on this side
I won't be able to trim any proud on the other side easily so I glued the strips on flush on that side. On this side I can plane it off end to end. And if I get a bit of tear out it will be hidden.

flush on this side

proud on this side
tight shoulders
The shoulders will be visible on this and I wanted them to be tight to the sides. I got that and the proud on this side I can chisel flush.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What were the first names used by Sir Arthur Doyle for Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson?
answer - Sherringford Holmes and Ormond Sacker

More Fun and Games!

The Furniture Record - Sun, 03/26/2017 - 9:14pm

Just when you think we know everything about gaming tables, more information surfaces. I was at the preview of a local auction house when I came across this rather chunky example:

Georgian Game Table 

DSC_6185 - Version 2

This lot has sold for $260.

Description:  19th century, mahogany, mahogany veneer, oak secondary, unusual dual hinged top with storage compartment, gate leg, cabriole legs with pad foot.

Most game tables have some style or elegance, not this one.The heavy apron and the graceless pad feet lack a pleasing aesthetic.

But that’s not why I called you here.

It is a four-legged table with the fourth leg being a traditional gate leg:


The hinged fourth/gate leg.

Note the sprung hinge on the right side. This is important.


The gate leg deployed.

The hinge is still sprung. Also note the screws on the lower table surface.


When you open the table, it’s round. Closed, it’s a thicker semi-circle. Geometry works.

DSC_6193 - Version 2

And here you can almost see the crack running 2/3 of the way across the table.

What caused the crack? The lower table section is hinged to the frame covering the storage below:


The storage below. This explains the chunky apron.


And here you see the crack and the hinge placement that keeps the opened table top from lying flat. Failure is always an option.

This isn’t the only design challenge. If one tries to access the storage area with the table closed, the sections stacked, when the sections are opened beyond around 30°, the table falls over. Empirically determined. The table is not very deep and when the weight is shifted too far to the back, bad things happen. If I recalled my vector analysis, I could calculate the tipping point.

I did not bid on this table.

On a more positive note, I found two examples of another method of table support. I reveal to you the extension gaming table:


A small extension table.


And here are the extension rails. Note the dowel pins.

I found the above at the Raleigh Antiques Extravaganza.

A few hours later I found this one at a Raleigh consignment shop:


Another extension game table. Two in on day after never seeing one before.


A view from above. The leg is not one piece but a glue-up.


The obligatory front view.

On the back rail was this label:


I always enjoy finding labels.

The dealer believes that these tables are from the 1930’s. A search for the patent shows that Patent 2,153,262 was granted April 4, 1939. There were simple practical and novel improvements in extension tables in Patent 2,316,448 on April 14, 1943.

Screen Shot 2017-03-26 at 10.58.31 PM

Patent art for the extension table.

I couldn’t find much on the Big Rapid Furniture Mfg. Co. of Big Rapids, Michigan other than by their own admission they are Manufacturers of Medium Priced Furniture. They obviously survived beyond 1939.

The Maslow $500 CNC – Beta Testing Begins

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Sun, 03/26/2017 - 6:17am

Several weeks back I reported on the Maslow CNC that costs just $500. Here’s Part One and Part Two if you missed it. This is a Kickstarter project, which means that it’s a crowd-funded product still in its development phase. Being a backer means you’re not so much a buyer as an investor enticed by the opportunity to get in early at a lower price before it’s released to the […]

The post The Maslow $500 CNC – Beta Testing Begins appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Easy, Peasy Diamond Inlay

360 WoodWorking - Sun, 03/26/2017 - 3:45am
Easy, Peasy Diamond Inlay

The woodworking world in which I participate is slowing moving toward minute measurements – everything needs to be precise. Users of handplanes brag about shavings in the thousandths of an inch, and calipers in some woodworking shops carry measurements three decimal places or more. We are trying to work in exacting dimensions using a medium that does not support infinitesimal details. Wood moves. The idea in woodworking today – as it was in the previous centuries – should be to make it fit.

Continue reading Easy, Peasy Diamond Inlay at 360 WoodWorking.

a diverse saturday.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 03/26/2017 - 3:38am
I do other things besides stuff in the workshop. I did a couple of other things today and they involved wood too. But neither of them were in the workshop, they just happen to involve wood. The first was my back door. The screws in the top hinge became loose again which causes the door to sag and not close. I finally got tired of tightening the screws and I was going to replace the screws after I drilled out the old screws holes and filled them with golf tees.

That was plan 1, iteration 3b, change 9, upgrade Z21-A, that quickly got flushed down the toilet. The reason why plan #1 didn't work was that I couldn't drill the holes for the new screws because the jamb for the screen door was in the way. And the door was drooping so I couldn't line up the holes in the hinge with the ones in the door.

size of the screw in the hinges
When I was hanging doors, I was taught by a german carpenter that in a 4 hole hinge, you always use at least one (and preferably2) long screw through the jamb and into the king stud. Repeat this same action for the hinges attached to the door. This door only had these piss ant 3/4" screws in all 3 hinges.

The one thing I didn't want to do was take the door down. It is an old, solid wood door and it weighs as much as battleship. I know this because I had to take the door off the hinges. I also blew out the lower hinge on the jamb. So I had to fix those screw holes along with the ones on the top of the door.

From start to finish this adventure took me over 3 hours and I'm still not done. I'll be replacing the door and the jamb later on this summer. Part of the problem with blowing out the bottom hinge was due to rot. The door has been sagging for years, and I've putting band-aids on it for years, and now I have run out of them. The rot at the bottom of the door jamb is only going to get worse and contribute more to the door sagging. The rot is on the lock set side of the jamb but the hinge looked like it had some too.

brought a problem home
This was rocking on me at work so I brought it home thinking I could fix that. Just eyeballing the top of this is making me seasick. It has more waves and dips than a state 5 sea.

I'm two lines off
Each line that I can see represents a 1/8" of twist and this is about a 1/4". It was flat and straight when I glued the poplar bridle jointed base to it. I think the plywood sucked up and glue and buckled like this. This is the cheapest, lightest, plywood I have ever used. I won't be using this crap again.

had to check it to make sure
The plywood definitely twisted and it pulled the base out of square too.  I'll be making another of these but I'll be using solid wood.

monitor stand
The base for this monitor is birch plywood and the not crap from above. I am not going to glue the stand to the base. I am thinking of putting a cross piece that I will glue and screw into the top of the base. I will then screw that cross piece to the monitor base. I will also put a cross brace on the back to stiffen it up. I won't put one on the front so I can access to the space there.

The monitor base will be 13" up from the desk. The monitor will adjust upwards another 6". Between the two of them I can dial in a height where I can look straight into the monitor without bobbing my head.

all the joints are trimmed, dry fitted, and ready to glue up
glued up and cooking
Bridle joinery has a lot of likes to it. They are quick, easy to make, and self squaring. As long as you take your time to make accurate cuts, it will square up.

the main desk
I'll cut this 2x4 piece of 3/4 plywood down to 18" by 38". This will be my stand up to work at desk. I cobbled some boxes together at work to find a height that works for me. I don't want to be hunched over when I work on my paperwork. Working 13" up from my existing desk seemed to be the magic number. I'll use 3/4" stock for the base and that will be enough room to put foot levelers on to raise it up if I have to. I erred on the low side with this because I can raise it but lowering won't be as easy.

I won't be using this
The replacement I'm making is for my cube mate to use. I bought an under mount keyboard from McMaster-Carr. It is a ball bearing slide that locks in the open position. The big reason I bought it was because it is adjustable. It has a 3" up/down range of motion which will let me dial in the right height for the keyboard.

hiding the plies
I am wrapping the plywood edges of the base with some scraps of walnut. Since I don't like using nails or other types of fasteners on something like this, I'm using only glue. I glued on the first piece and after it has set for 15 minutes or so I'll glue another one on.

2nd piece glued on
ran long
Two of the walnut strips are about 1/8" thick and two are about a 1/16" thick. Rather then try and miter this, I put the thicker pieces on the front and rear. The thinner ones will be put on the sides. I ran the front and rear long so I could cover the end grain of the sides. Once everything is glued and cured, I'll saw off the long parts. I will flush them up and round over the corners. Of course I'll have to wait until tomorrow to do that.

new ebonizing method
I was reading up on how to ebonize and I came across one that used citric acid instead of vinegar. The author stated that citric acid is more acidic than white or apple cider vinegars. I'm game to try it out and see if it works. He also said that it eats up the steel wool a lot faster - I'll see what shakes out with that.

distilled water first
I don't know why I was in a hurry to get this going. I should have nuked it first and got it hot because the citric acid would dissolve better in a hot liquid.

about 1/2 of a 1/4 cup
lots of breathing holes
I covered the steel wool pad and I set this aside to do it's magic.

I took a break here and did my second non workshop wood related chore. I found some pruners and filed them sharp and went outside in the rain. I spent the next hour pruning my 3 lilac bushes. I removed all the dead wood and last years blooms that didn't fall off. I'll have to make another trip tomorrow with the big ass pruners to get a few crossed branches that are rubbing against each other.

After I came back in I was going to work on the big desk but that didn't happen. When I looked at it on the bench I saw that it was noticeably bowed. Bowed to the point of being useless to use as the desk. I clamped it down to bench and we'll see tomorrow if there is any joy in Mudville.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is the width of the train tracks in America based on?
answer - the width of ancient Roman cart tracks, 4 feet 8 1/2"

bookshelf feet.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 03/25/2017 - 1:07am
I had been thinking about how to do the feet for the bookshelf off and on all day. My first thoughts were centered around the tablesaw. It would have taken only a few minutes to make a taper jig and poof, two matching feet. It was a hard call for me to make but I opted for the hand tool route. If the first ones didn't come out, I had more stock to get at least 4 more tries. This was the first time I had attempted to get two tapered parts identical so I wasn't sure what the outcome would be.

going with the pencil lines
After thinking about it, I decided to use the pencil lines rather than a knife line on both sides.  I would have had to use a ruler to do that and they tend to slip and move as I mark with them. Instead the plan was to plane the first one to the pencil lines and make sure it was square toe to heel. Once the first one was done, I would make the second one match it.

rough bandsaw work done
I tried to saw these by hand but I couldn't come up with a way to secure them that I liked. I used the bandsaw trying to stay as close to the line as I could. That would mean less work planing.

planing it smooth and square
My right side was a bit high and I knocked it down with the block plane.

first foot done
It took a bit of fussing but I finally got it square along the entire length.

I got lucky
For whatever reason, I thought I would be planing against the grain on one of the feet in this configuration. I was a whisper off at the front and dead nuts flush  at the heel. I had a bit of a problem with getting it flush and then planing it slightly out of square at the same time. After a bit of back and forth I was finished.

dead nuts
I got it on the first try so I had my happy face on. I can not feel a difference between the two legs at all. I closed my eyes and zig zagged my fingertips up and down from toe to heel and I couldn't feel any highs or lows.

With the feet done, I can make up the iron part of the ebony solution. That will take a few days to cook and in the interim I can finish up the rest of the bookshelf.

straightedge isn't touching the opposite corners
it's dragging on these two corners

This means that this is twisted. If there was a hump in the middle, which I usually have, the straight edge would clear all four corners.

my sighting table
This is what I was using to put on the workbench and put the stock on it to check it for twist. As you can see it is a horizontal storage surface inbetween uses. And the use becomes less frequent directly proportional to the amount of crap that gets piled on it.

the replacement
The box is lighter and easier to position. It is a bit taller so I don't have to bend down at all to sight over my winding sticks.

it's twisted
caught myself
I almost made a huge boo-boo here. The reference face hasn't had it's twist taken out yet. I have to do on this face first and then mark the thickness and that will remove it from the opposite face.

big difference
I can see the twist based on the gauge lines on the right board. I didn't think that I would have to remove as much wood from the left one. The thickness of these will be a 32nd or so fatter then 13/16.

dealing with a defect
I wanted this to be the front edge but if I sawed this off the shelf would be too narrow. I think it is too deep for a round over or a chamfer to hide. So I'm putting it at the back bottom and keeping my width as wide as I can. The shelf is about a 1/16" thinner than the sides.

#120 spin wheels
Matt left me comment saying that his spin wheel was stripped. I didn't get any indication of at all so I'm checking it out again. It's easy to pick these apart, Matt's is on the right and has bigger circles in the wheel and a larger cutout on the lever cap.

Matt's wheel
The threads at the top are shiny and are a bit worn but I've seen worse than this that still worked.

my threads have better definition and aren't worn
swapped them out
Matt's wheel spun into my lever cap with ease. Mine threaded into his lever cap with some resistance the closer I got to bottoming out. After a few turns in and out it smoothed out a lot.

I tried both wheels in their respective lever caps and I still didn't get any stripping action. Both locked down on the iron without any problems. I swapped them out and got the same results. I couldn't get either one to 'strip' out.

Matt's plane in action
I tried to make a shaving with Matt's plane and I got this. It is on the thick side but it is clean and complete end to end off the test board.

second attempt
Wispy, blow away shavings on my next try. (Still Matt's plane)

getting closer
Thinner but still too thick for my liking.

5 tries and 5 different shavings
I was surprised by the depth range on the adjuster. The last two shavings were the thinnest and what I would use if I was planing with this. There is a fairly large depth range and much more that what I expected from this plane.

finally got it to 'strip'
I tightened down with the wheel as much as I could and close to the end it slipped and wouldn't tighten anymore. I have a lot of block planes and one painful thing I have learned with them is to not over tighten them. I learned slowly that I didn't have to tighten the wheel until I couldn't turn it anymore.  Basically what I do now is when I feel resistance I turn the wheel about a 1/2 turn more and stop. That was what I was doing with these two planes and why I wasn't getting the stripping action.

I'll keep an eye on that and for the time being I'll leave the wheels on their respective lever caps. If the stripping action comes up again, I'll swap out the wheels.

I would have done the planing on the sides to thickness tonight but I was tired. The one thing I didn't want to screw it up was the thicknessing because I was tired. I probably would have made a mistake and not caught it until the next day. Grrr!. No rush or deadlines on this, so I'll pick this up on Saturday.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
How teaspoons are there in a cup?
answer - 48 (3 teaspoons to a tablespoon and 16 tablespoons in a cup)

Shells and Shell-Like Carvings

The Furniture Record - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 10:42pm

Given the right tools, expert instruction and hours of practice I believe I stand a good chance of becoming a mediocre carver. It’s something to which I aspire. Eventually. Aim for the stars…

I was watching the famous and talented Mary May do another carving demonstration today. Not for the first time and not, I hope, for the last. We are at a furniture seminar at MESDA (Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts) in Winston Salem, NC.

I have a special relationship with MESDA, I give them money and they let me into the museum. I give them more money and they let me come to seminars. With food. All very civilized.

Knowing that it will be a while before I create my own most excellent carvings, I choose to honor them with the only way I know, take pictures and share skilled people’s work.

This is a set of pictures of carved shells and shell-like objects I have dcoumented between January of 2016 and now.

Shell-like carved objects come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and styles. There is:


The realistic.


The abstract.


Ones that just suggest the form.


Innies (Concave)


Outies (Convex) Usually applied.


Overhead shells.


And shells on which you sit.

You can see the entire flickr set HERE.

Bookboards II

The Barn on White Run - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 6:58pm

The task for the second day of training at the Library of Congress rare book conservation lab was for each of the specialists to emerge at the end of the day with a perfectly prepared matched set of oak bookboards in order to create their own model of the art form.  Considering that this was an assembly of gifted folks with near-zero woodworking experience, that is no small feat.

Re-sawing in the vise, crosscutting, and trimming on the bench hooks was what consumed the entire day.

I let them try any number of re-sawing methods, ranging from my vintage 4tpi carpenter’s rip saw, my own bow saw or their bow saw, a range of Japanese saws they had in-house, my French style frame saws, etc.  I have to say that by nearly unanimous confirmation the Japanese saws came out the favorites.

Following the re-sawing, and the flattening of one face of each of the two bookboards, I asked them to mark the desired 1/4″ thickness with a gauge and shoot a rabbet around the perimeter for the final thicknessing by hand plane.

Off they were to the races.  After the boards were to the proper thickness they were sawn to width and length on the bench hook with back saws or Japanese saws, and all four edges shot also on the bench hook, mostly with either block planes of small bench planes (most of the book boards were in the 5″ x 7″ range).  The final step was slightly beveling the edges.

As I packed up at the end of the second day I think everyone was well on the way to having their own pair of boards ready for making their model book.

It was an unmitigated delight to introduce them to the tools and processes of making their own bookboards and I look forward to getting reports of them applying their new skills to projects in the future.  The virus of hand toolism was planted, and some of them even went to the recent PATINA tool sale two weekends later.

Now I just gotta see to fixing their orkbench problem.

Piano Repair: Fixing a Broken Hammer

The Literary Workshop Blog - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 1:43pm

I am not a piano repairman.  But when our piano tuner told us that it would be pretty expensive to fix our 1950s-era spinet piano (for which we paid $60), my wife urged me to try it myself.

A couple weeks earlier, one of the younger kids had been pounding on the keys, and the dowel rod holding one of the hammers snapped right off.  My wife found the broken piece inside the piano.  It was the B-flat above middle C–so not exactly a note that we could do without.

Piano Hammer Repair 2017

It’s easy to forget that a piano is both a stringed instrument and a percussion instrument.  Press a key, and a small hammer strikes a string held in tension over a soundboard.  There are 88 of these hammers, most of which strike three strings at once.  The dowel rod that held this hammer somehow snapped in two–perhaps there was a flaw in the wood, or perhaps the key was just struck too hard.  That happens sometimes when you have little kids.

Regardless, fixing this hammer was going to be tricky.  Open up the bottom of the piano, and this is what you see:

Piano Hammer Repair 2017

All those vertical, wooden pieces are part of the action–the mechanism that connects each key to each hammer.  The broken piece was deep inside this very complicated mechanism.  (Pardon the funny lighting, but the ambient lighting in my living room is abysmal, and I was working mostly by LED flashlight.)

Looking in from the top, this is what I see:

Piano Hammer Repair 2017

Somewhere down there is the other end of a broken dowel rod.  My first thought was that, if I could get the stubby end out, I could surgically insert a new dowel without having to disassemble anything.  Some older pianos, I knew, were assembled with hide glue, which will release when moistened.  I tried it out on the free end of the broken hammer, but no luck.  It’s PVA, i.e. yellow wood glue.  The whole thing was going to have to come out.

All the way out.

I had heard from pianists that it was possible to remove the entire action assembly from a piano.  I looked over the inside of the piano for quite some time, trying to see how the  action assembly was attached.  Fortunately, the internet had a helpful tutorial by a professional piano repairman.  I’m not sure I would have gotten any further without his help.

Piano Hammer Repair 2017

Once I located the points of attachment, I started carefully removing nuts and screws.

At one point, I ran across an odd little nut that looked like this:

Piano Hammer Repair 2017

I recognized it as a “split nut,” which is used on many old handsaws.  Getting one loose can be quite a trick, unless you have the right tool.

Piano Hammer Repair 2017

Which I did.

It’s an old spade bit ground down to a screwdriver shape and a notch filed into it.  I made this split-nut driver several years ago when I started working with old handsaws.

Piano Hammer Repair 2017

When I made it, I didn’t think I’d get to use it on a piano.

In order to remove the action assembly on a spinet piano, it is also necessary to remove ALL the keys.  And piano keys are NOT interchangeable.  The keys on our piano are numbered, but I still kept them all in order so as to make it easier to put them back in later.

Once the keys were all out, I was able to remove the last few bolts and screws holding the action in place.  I carefully lifted the whole thing out.

Piano Hammer Repair 2017


Here is the now-an empty piano with the keys lined up on the floor and the action assembly at the very bottom of the picture.  (Side note: you can probably imagine how much dust accumulates underneath the keys over sixty years.  It took us quite some time to vacuum it all out.)  The keys fit over those metal pins and rest on felt pads.  It really is an ingenious design, very complicated in some places and dirt-simple in others.

It was time to carry the whole action assembly out to the workbench.

Piano Hammer Repair 2017

If the soundboard and strings are the soul of the piano, this is its heart.  I sort of feel like I’m doing open-heart surgery here. One false move, and the patient may not survive.

Piano Hammer Repair 2017

With the action on the workbench, I carefully un-hooked and un-screwed the very-complicated mechanism that had the broken piece.

Each key is connected to a mechanism like this.  From this perspective, it looks a little like a Rube Goldberg machine.  Press the key, and a whole sequence of levers, straps, and pads moves to strike the strings.

Take a moment to appreciate how many individual pieces there are in even a small piano.  I count 14 wooden pieces all together here.  Some of the higher notes have fewer parts, but there are 88 keys total.  There over 1,000 little wooden pieces in the whole action assembly!

You can see here where the dowel supporting the hammer broke–right at the base where it was glued in.

Replacing the broken dowel was, I think, the easy part.  Once it got down to cutting and shaping wood, I felt that I actually knew what I was doing.   But order of operations was critical.

Piano Hammer Repair 2017

I first sawed the broken dowel off flush at the base.  Then I carefully re-drilled the hole.  The replacement dowel I’m using is a hair thinner than the original, but it’s dead-straight hardwood and should hold up to household use.

It took me three stops before I found a suitably tough hardwood dowel at a local hardware store.  The original one was, I think, maple or birch.  I’m not sure what species the replacement is, but it’s not poplar, which was too soft for this application.

Dealing with the other end was more tricky.  After close inspection, I noticed that the dowel went into the hammer’s head at an angle.  I would need to drill out the old dowel at the same precise angle.  So before cutting off the old dowel, I made this little jig:

Piano Hammer Repair 2017

In a squared-up piece of scrap, I cut a small dado to fit the hammer and wedged it in upside down.  I then inserted a long, pan-head screw into one end of the underside so I could raise the whole jig up at an angle by turning the screw. I sighted the dowel along an upright square and, by trial-and-error, found the precise angle at which the dowel was inserted.

I sawed off the old dowel and took my jig and workpiece down to the drill press.

Piano Hammer Repair 2017

It was easy to drill the hole at the correct angle.

I glued in the new dowel and went and had a cup of coffee while the glue dried.  (Sorry, no picture of the fixed mechanism.  I was so tired that I forgot to take one!)

It wasn’t easy getting the repaired mechanism back into the piano.  Having one or even two people to help guide it in was very helpful.  The more you bump things inside a piano, the more out of tune it will be.  And I sure didn’t want to break any more pieces on this action assembly!

My oldest daughter kindly helped me put the keys back on, too.

Piano Hammer Repair 2017

Keys, nuts, screws–all had to be reinserted exactly as they had come out.  It was especially annoying to reattach the damper and sustain pedals.

Piano Hammer Repair 2017

Finally everything was back in place.  It was a lot of work to fix a little piece.  It kind of reminded me of car repair–and not necessarily in a good way.  I had to remove so many components in order to replace one little piece without which the whole thing wouldn’t work.  At least it leaves my hands less greasy.

Now, of course, the piano needs to be tuned again.  But it plays.  And I fixed it all by myself.


Tagged: drill press, piano, piano hammer, piano keys, piano repair

photos from this week

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 9:16am

We got out early on the vernal equinox, to see the sunrise over the trees on the riverbank. While we waited, these red-breasted mergansers came along, chasing the fish along the river.  The other fish-chaser, great blue heron left the scene, water was too high for him.

The sun hit the workshop before it hit us down at the river.

Inside, I’m a sucker for raking light.Now that I finished the chest with drawers, this one is next. Needs some trimming here & there, and fitting the lid. Then when someone buys it, initials carved in the blank area on the center muntin.

Here’s the first 2 (of 8) panels I carved for a bedstead I am making for a customer.

A couple of boxes underway. The front of this one was a carving sample for my recent class in North House Folk School.

Here I’m working on cutting the rabbets for another, smaller box. 

Here it is, test-fitted. Next is to make the till parts, and assemble it.

we went to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston the other day. the kids are studying Greek myths, and we went to look at Greek art, mostly sculpture & pottery. I saw patterns everywhere. I probably hadn’t been in those galleries since the 1980s. Amazing stuff.

Kerfing Planes In Wisconsin Part 1

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 8:48am
To say this without ranting, a few years ago my bandsaw broke, unrepairable and unsupported by the company that slapped their name on the side of the POS and my resaw world has suffered for it. As I weighed my options I decided that a meat powered frame saw might be a better way for me to go.

I rolled that around for a while until I was able to get my hands on a resaw and kerfing plane kit from Bad Axe Toolworks last early fall. Mark Harrell had recently revisited and retuned the kit as a whole and had all the parts and pieces up to his usual over the top quality. The man doesn't know the meaning of the word compromise.

Since I was just setting up shop yet at the time I decided working on the kerfing plane part of the package was where to start. Tom Fidgen really is the pied piper of the resurgence of these tools in hand tool woodworking circles and the kerfing plane is the key to making resawing a more reliable operation. the shallow grooves made by the kerfing plane help keep the resaw blade on track and reduce the skill buy-in factor.

The original kerfing planes I saw had arms and an adjustable fence like a plow plane. This seemed ok but a little fiddly to make in my shop. But I'd also recently snapped up a set of match planes and tuned them up to work on 3/4" stock. Now I was inspired.

I wanted to make a dedicated width kerfing plane, but I wanted to be able to also cut kerfs for three different common thicknesses I use. The answer is to make three different plane bodies and just be prepared to swap the plate out from one to another.

Since I like those match planes so much I decided to use them as the pattern for the kerfing planes themselves. I pulled some walnut chunks off the pile and milled them up in preparation.

I used my tablesaw to consistently set the repeated cuts to remove big swats of the stock. I completed all the cuts with handsaws and cleaned things up with some chisel work.

Once the basics were done I recreated a couple details from the match planes. This little finger groove along the top of the fence is a nice touch that figures into the comfort of using these tools. Those old planemakers really knew what they were doing and I'm lucky to be able to stand on their shoulders.

There were still a couple problems to work out, shaping the handle and fitting the blade square to the fence and I'll write about those things soon.

Thanks for hanging out while I took a break. It's good to be back and re-energized

Ratione et Passionis
Categories: General Woodworking

Book Giveaway: Woodturning Techniques for Furniture & Cabinetmaking

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 5:00am
woodturning techniques for furniture makers

One of our newest books comes from Windsor chair expert Mike Dunbar. The book covers woodturning from a furniture and cabinetmaking perspective. If you’d prefer to make your own furniture components rather than buy mass-produced factory-made parts, then “Woodturning Techniques: Furniture & Cabinetmaking” may be of interest to you. You’ll need access to a lathe, of course – but the rewards of learning how to use woodturning tools to create your own chair […]

The post Book Giveaway: Woodturning Techniques for Furniture & Cabinetmaking appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Stanley #120 pt II..........

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 03/24/2017 - 1:47am
I did some more work on the block planes and some work on the bookshelf. I didn't finish either one. I'll keep going on the bookshelf but the planes will be shelved for the time being. I also need to work on my stand up desk at work. I used my small keyboard desk and that is ok but I need something else to lay out paperwork on so I can work on it. I let my cube mate use this week so I can get a critique from him on it. I'll find out what he has to say about it tomorrow.

24 hrs later it's green
I dumped a 1/4 cup of citrus acid in the water and put all the parts in making sure everything was under water. I did something new for me here. I usually clean up the rust first but this time I didn't. I watched a bunch of You tube videos where he tried 8 different methods of rust removal. I'll be sticking with Evaporust and citrus acid.

Matt's came out a little cleaner
This didn't have a lot of rust on it.

Ouch! switched to using my right hand
rinsed and driedof any water with the hair dryer

I am pretty happy with how clean the parts are. There is no visible rust on any of the plane parts.

the plane adjusters
Matt's plane is on the top and this was covered with visible rust. It is looking good here but I can still see some rust.

my iron is a Sweet Heart one
Matt's iron has writing on but I need help to see it
it's faint but this is what I saw
It's looking like Matt's plane is the older one. I thought that mine was the oldest one.

spin wheels
Both of these are in pretty good shape. Either one spins true, but neither has any excessive wobble to it. Matt's lever cap is on the right it looks like it has gotten more wear on the nub then mine.

how the blade is adjusted
The serrations on the back of the iron lie on the ones on the lever adjust. Moving that, moves the iron up and down.

all the way down
all the way up
There is not a lot of movement here. I don't think that it moved more than 1/8". That means the iron isn't going to have a wide range of movement.

my lever adjust doesn't work
Matt's plane works
My SW iron works in Matt's plane. My lever cap works in Matt's plane. My plane will make shavings the way it is but I don't have any adjustment at all.

my serrations are kind of flattened out
Matt's serrations are better defined
didn't work
I tried to file a couple of them but I think the file is too big. I might have been able to do it with a smaller file .

side view of my adjuster
Even if I had a smaller file it would not have worked. The adjuster falls off at the bottom left. It doesn't make contact with the serrations on the iron. This is toast.

Matt's adjuster
This adjuster is level and the 'teeth' are better defined. They make good contact with the iron but I can see why this didn't last. This is definitely not made for a ham fisted guy.

It looks like I'll be rehabbing Matt's plane and not mine. I'll keep mine as is and use it as a paint remover plane. I'll paint Matt's plane, sand the sides and the sole, and make it look as brand new as I can. I put these two aside for now and I'll come back to them later on.

There you go Bob. This is all I know about these. When can I expect a #120 blog post?

feet stock - this face is flat and straight with no hump
sawed off the front and back pieces
I am pretty damn happy about it
This is pretty good for right off of the saw. This is the back and it doesn't have to be perfect because nothing will referenced off of this.

the front is dead nuts
The front will be the reference face and I'll make all of my measurements off of it.

the fronts
The left one is 2 frog hairs longer than it's mate. This doesn't matter if they are slightly off. Since the front is the reference face, the back can be longer and will be hardly noticeable without a microscope.

I can't plane the two of these as one
It looks like I'll planing to the line on both of these. I should have thought ahead on this so I could have done it that way.

need a bigger fence
The front face is at a 5° angle but I'll get a lot of tear out if I try to shoot it on this.

used my small block plane
This went very quickly because I had sawn the faces so good. These will ebonized and will be seen so I want this face to be clean as I can get it.

Tomorrow I'll saw off the tops to the feet and see how well I can do planing them separately and end up with the two of them the same.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What did ancient prospectors use to collect grains of gold from streams?
answer - the fleece of sheep

Inexpensive Window Trim

MVFlaim Furnituremaker - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 6:22pm

The windows in our house aren’t much to talk about. Just 36″ square vinyl windows in a typical ranch. I’m not sure how old they are as I know they aren’t original to the house, but were here when I bought it fifteen years ago. My wife, Anita, wanted to jazz them up a bit and give them some character, so she asked me to make trim to go around them.


The first thing we did, was to take out the marble sill, which was the hardest part. Sometimes they get stuck inside the frame, so I had brake them apart in order for them to come loose. If I was lucky, I could cut the sealant around the sill and jimmy it loose.


I made a new sill out of 7/8″ thick maple. I tried to get rift sawn material so it wouldn’t warp too bad. I cut notches on both sides of the sill so it would stick out on the wall so the 1×4’s could lay on top of it.


We wanted the header to have character so we took a 1×6 of pine and attached a 1×2 on the top. We then laid a cove molding on the 1×6.


Using my small miter box, I was able to cut the tiny pieces of cove for the ends.


I then took a piece of pine 1/2″ thick and used my block plane to shape the corners and ends to create a bullnose. I pinned everything together  with my 18 gauge pneumatic nailer to complete the header.


Back at the window, I measured, cut, and nailed the rest of the pieces to the wall using a 15 gauge finish nailer. I trimmed the maple sill so that there would be a 3/4″ overhang to sides on both ends.


Here’s the close up of the header nailed to the wall. The 1/2″ thick bullnose hangs over 1/2″ on both sides of the frame.


After filling the nail holes with putty, Anita caulked, primed, and painted the window trim. We did both windows in our bedroom the same way. The next step is to frame around the closet, paint the room, get a new headboard, new blinds, ceiling fan, rug, etc… I don’t know, ask Anita, she’s the designer. haha

Bookboards I

The Barn on White Run - Thu, 03/23/2017 - 7:15am

Some time last year I was contacted by the ancient book caretakers of the Library of Congress (LC) to inquire about some in-house training they needed in woodworking.  Yes, that’s right, ancient book caretakers needed to know about woodworking.  Actually I knew that because many, many years ago I had helped a colleague in the same department with a project having to do with  very large format book (about the size of a Roubo original edition) that was having problems with its bookboards, or cover boards, which were made of oak.  You see, the the world of old books, especially those from about 1500 and older, wooden book covers are simply part of the equation.  While the specialists at LC were expert in the care of the paper contents, and their bindings, they were a bit hazy on the details and practices of fashioning the wooden boards.

Having participated in a number of collaborations with LC over my career, they asked if I could come and teach them.  Of course the answer was “Yes” and we began the Dance of the Conflicting Calendars.  Combined with the political brinkmanship that is endemic to Mordor on the Potomac it took many months for the training to occur last month.  One of the items looming overhead was the sub rosa blustering about “shutting the government down” to accomplish some partisan goal or another.  (My own attitude on that matter as a skeptical non-partisan Strict Constructionist Declarationist I wished the government would shut down, or at least retreat to its Constitutionally mandated activities, which by my count means elimination of ~90% of FedCo.)

The goal of the two-day session was to impart the knowledge and implant the muscle memory so that each member of the ancient book posse could fabricate a technically faithful book model as a practice exercise in preparation for the next time one of the ancient wooden board books needed re-binding.

So, on a bitter cold and blustery February morning I pulled up to the doors of the elegant LC Jefferson building, my CRV filled to the brim with tools and materials for them to use under my tutelage.  In a caravan of carts all of these were wheeled down to the book conservation space underneath the Madison Building across the street, and I set up shop.

Only one of the crew had experience in woodworking (the fellow using the bow saw in the picture below) so I needed to start at Point Zero to review the nature of wood, tools, and the processes used in planing, sawing, etc.  I brought plenty of 5/4 white oak to work with, and we got down to bidnez.

The first assignment was for everyone to use the bench bench hooks I made for them to saw a single piece to the size they needed for their book model’s boards.

Then came the flattening of one face of that board to provide a reference surface for the resawing.  Given the human scale involved (this crowd was for the most part more petite than a typical woodworking gathering) they were particularly pleased with #4 planes, which are too small for my routine use.

With the flat reference face completed, next came the resawing.  I’d made a Fidgen-style kerfing plane to leave with them, and they took to it like me and bacon.  The final product was to be a 1/4″ thick book board, so I made the kerfing plane to create a 3/8″ thickness.

One of the more serious challenges for the exercise is that as a book conservation unit they were not well equipped for woodworking in the bench category.  Their only bench was an ancient and wobbly Sjoberg hobby bench.

I have one exactly like it that I got out of the trash many years ago.  Frankly if I had to use one like this every day it would end in the trash too.  I completely remade mine, mounted it on some 4″ slippers to get it to a decent working height, and screwed the entire thing to the floor, resulting in a very nice and oft-used work station.  Mine is currently ensconced in the corner, perhaps not coincidentally closest to the propane furnace, and is dedicated to the finer work of decorative objects conservation, gunsmithing, etc.

I will do my best to address their lack of a decent workbench, hoping to make and donate a mini-Roubo in the coming months.  But for now, all we had was a wobbly little bench and some mobile work tables.


Then the resawing began with a variety of saws, and thus endeth Day One.


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