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General Woodworking

How to Learn to Carve in the Modern Age - The Online Approach

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 4:00am

The traditional way of learning to carve was via an apprenticeship. Some kid who thought, or whose parents thought, that he had some talent for sculpture would be apprenticed at age 14 to a master carver. Ideally, seven years later the kid would be able to carve well enough and fast enough to make a living. Very talented youngsters, such as the young Grinling Gibbons, even had sponsors pay for their training. Amateur carving became a popular hobby in the 19th century, when shorter working hours made hobbies possible and the Arts & Crafts movement made craft hobbies attractive.

When I was a young woodworker, you could study carving in three ways:
In person at a class:
When I studied at the Craft Students League, carving was always a popular course. In-person craft classes provide the opportunity to for a teacher (and your classmates) to observe you carving and suggest ideas and techniques to improve. It's certainly the best means of instruction. But nowadays many carving programs (like the Craft Students League) have closed, and realistic carving and decorative architectural woodwork have decidedly gone out of fashion. Longer work hours may make evening classes difficult, even if you are lucky enough to live near a class. One-time workshops and seminars can be treats, but they don't have the regular weekly practice that a local class can have.

From books and magazines:
This is a fine way of learning and still has tremendous value. Carving magazines are a great source of ideas and designs, overviews on tools, and written instruction. They fall short, however, because a picture or drawing, even a before-during-and after picture, cannot always illuminate the particular misunderstanding a student has on a specific area. I had that issue myself with lettering. I went back and forth over one paragraph and I still did not get how to do serifs without breaking off a bit. Obviously the writer (Chris Pye - who is and awesome writer of instructions) missed the particular situation that a thickheaded student could miss.

From videos -- VHS and television shows back in the day, and in the modern world, DVDs: DVDs are the best of the video presentations. You can see the project being made, and things that are hard to understand on the written page can be easily demonstrated. Professionally shot and edited videos, traditionally 45 minutes or longer, are expensive to make (and so their cost must be recouped) and generally designed for linear watching on a computer (or old school DVD player). Increasingly this is not how people consume "content" - viewers expect to be able to find short videos focusing on particular issues that can be watched on a phone or tablet.

But here comes an entirely new method.

A couple of years ago, Chris Pye set up a subscription website to teach carving. The site now offers several hundred videos, all short. You can watch them in a curated sequence, or individually to answer a question, or randomly to see what's up. This is how I sorted my serif problem. I just watched the snippet I needed on serifs and I was done. I didn't have to wait for a DVD to arrive in the mail, and I could watch it at my bench until I got it.

I realize the obvious rejoinder to the idea of subscribing to a service is, "Why would I pay for video when I can get it all for free on YouTube?" This is a valid point. There are three main advantages to subscribing rather than viewing on YouTube.

The first reason is coherence. If perchance you were to wake up one morning and have a burning desire to make a nameplate, you might type "how to carve letters into wood" into YouTube. You would immediately get a list of credible videos. Some might be good, but most topics get a mix of good, off-topic and waste of time. You could probably muddle through and learn a bit.

But this isn't what really learning carving is about. It's a question of coherence. A good teacher will want you to understand sharp tools, which tools, lettering fonts, basic technique, and then more complicated approaches. The whole point of a website devoted to teaching carving as taught by one person is to get the benefit of your instructor's worldview and best practices. You get the sequence of lessons you need to really master the breath of a skill, and -- because all the lessons are taught by the same person or school -- the approach is consistent. YouTube, for all it's many wonders, gives a platform for every approach and method on the planet, and consequently it lacks consistency and depth. I am learning to carve the Pye way. It's not the only way to learn, there are several excellent sites on learning to carve via subscription. But as I know from previous experiences, Pye's approach really speaks to me, and with each video and my practice, I am slowly building forward. I am not learning every possible way to do something, but one way, that works and can expand.

The second service that you get with a subscription is that you can ask questions. If you have a problem you can email Chris and get answers.

Third reason is one of support and belonging. By supporting a teacher's subscription service, you enable more videos to be produced. The money goes straight to the teacher and goes a lot further. Because there is a revenue stream, production values are professional, and the topics covered can have both breath and depth. And at the same time you are belonging to something. The school of carving that Chris has established, even though it's virtual, has a style and a method, and you now have studied and learned in the same way as all his other students. If you get together for a reunion, you can sing the old school songs and understand and support each other's carving in a way that schoolmates can. And as a matter of fact, that's why I periodically write about his site. I am learning to carve; I really like his approach; and like a good alumnus, I want to give something back so I work the old school tie into all the conversations I can.

N.B. The videos in this blog are from several sample lessons Chris has put on YouTube.

‘Popular Workbench Magazine’

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 3:32am

“Popular Workbenches” is often suggested as a title revision for the magazine, given the number of workbench plans we’ve offered over the years. And it’s true that we have published a generous number of them – but every one is different! And given that a worksurface of some kind is integral to any workshop, well, it’s a perennially important topic. So in this post, just for fun (and to procrastinate […]

The post ‘Popular Workbench Magazine’ appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

big bust.......

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 03/15/2017 - 12:15am
The big snow storm didn't materialize. It didn't even come close to what the forecasters predicted. It snowed for a few hours but not heavily and then turned to rain. Mostly a sleet/rain mixture with lots of wind. If this stuff now on ground freezes, I'll be able to skate to work. When I shoveled my driveway, it was the heavy heart attack snow and I got to do in a pelting rain sleet mixture. Two wonderful hours in my life I want to forget.

My view looking out into my back yard. The expected snow was no where to be seen. It didn't start coming down for another hour or so.

setting up for mitering
not working
I am getting 45° on the cuts but they aren't mating well. The thickness of the two pieces is slightly off. There isn't anyway these two will close up tight and form a 90° corner. I cut off the bottom of the L and that evened up the pieces. I had already rough cut the miters and I then squared them off because I was going to butt joint them. One piece came out too short so the molding idea went south.

out with the old and in with the new
I'm scrapping the plywood and starting over with solid wood.  I'll make the first one out of pine (this is the only pine I have). On saturday I'll make a run to Pepin Lumber and get a few boards.

test run
I'm making a practice lid to see if I can make one without blowing out something. Planing the bevel and the flat on one edge is first.

rabbets are next
get a ridge
This rabbet was planed against the grain and I didn't adjust the 10 1/2 to plane on this side.

cleaned it up with the bullnose plane
done and with no blowouts
I don't see any problems doing lids this way. I thought I might have had a hiccup with the molding plane because one side was against the grain. I took my time on that and tried to keep my passes as shallow as possible. It paid off.

6/8 tongue and groove planes
I've had these for a while and my last outing with them didn't yield good results. I think it's time to try them again.

I didn't do any work on the irons
 I tried these right out of the box and the tongue and groove was toast. The two boards didn't mate together so I put the planes away.

they fit
This is something I should have done when I got them but didn't. I am learning that most molding planes I buy aren't ready to go right out of the box. I flattened the backs and sharpened both irons.

made the tongue first
The plane got a bit hard to push about 1/2 way mark on this board. I waxed the plane and that helped some but it was still hard for 1/2 of it. Looking back on it I should have planed the paint off rather then scrapping it.

plowed the groove

went through this knot like it wasn't there

The T&G fit is good and it just a few frog hairs shy of being flush.

it is a snug fit
A billion percent improvement over my last attempt. I think some of the other problems I solved with my other molding planes paid off here.

I was expecting more room underneath the tongue
Both planes bottomed out and stopped making shavings. Maybe on the next try I can extend the groove iron deeper.

decorative edges

3/8 astragal
bevel plane
This plane only does a bevel (chamfer). It is minimally adjustable and will bottom out. It has a spring line but I'm not sure what the true purpose of this plane is. This basically makes a chamfer and there were purposely made chamfer planes. I think this cost me $10 and it was one of the first molding planes I added to the herd. It will not plane against the grain nor will it do end grain. It worked making a chamfer here and I'll just have to wish on knowing the why on it.

5/8 tongue and groove
it fits
I don't have any 5/8" stock so I set these aside for now and moved on. I will come back to it if and when I get some 5/8 stock.

7/8" tongue and groove planes
These are the best made T&G planes that I have. All the wear surfaces have iron on them and this is the way I received them. Whoever owned them before me, took very good care of them.(I shined them up)

they match up
I bought these because eventually I plan on using 7/8" stock to make things. 7/8" was the thickness back then whereas 3/4" is now.  I don't have any 7/8" but I did try these out on 15/16" thick stock. They worked good with the T&G being slightly offset from center.

5/8" tongue and groove

one of these, or both don't belong to either plane
#1 and #2 grooving plane irons
Either of these two match up with the tongue iron. Both of them are too wide.

they are marked 5/8
next T&G planes - irons line up
These planes were sold to me as being 1/2" but they aren't.

I haven't done any work on the irons
where the size confusion is
At the bottom right on both planes I can see and make out a /2.   I can't find a trace of a #1 over the /. Up at the right below the step, is 5/8.  It is marked with the /2 and 5/8 in the same spots on the groove plane. I think this is why I was told they were 1/2" because the 5/8 was covered with grunge. I had to scrape the heel to see it.

half inch stock
This isn't a 1/2" T&G plane. The groove is too far over for this plane to be 1/2".

better centering of the groove on 3/4" stock
fits, not quite flush, and the groove is deeper than the tongue.
pretty close on the flush
It is slightly off center which I would expect with a 5/8" plane. The tongue is tapered and the bottom of the groove is slanted.It leans to the right and the boards didn't line up flat.

the iron end is square

the iron is twisted?
I noticed this when I was flattening the back. The back isn't square to the sides (the sides have a slight taper to them). There is a definite tilt to the right with this iron flat on the board. When it is inserted into the plane it is cocked and the business edge of the plane is slanted. That is why the groove bottom is slanted. I didn't think much of it because the groove bottom will never be seen nor would it effect the fit of the T&G.

This was my fun in the shop for today. I stopped to go shovel the driveway and that wore me out. After that adventure I spent the rest of day watching Richard Maguire's sharpening videos.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What are the only two words in the english language that contain all the vowels, including y, in alphabetical order?
answer - facetiously and abstemiously

Table Games

The Furniture Record - Tue, 03/14/2017 - 10:51pm

The genesis of this blog was a visit to Atlanta in February of 2012. I attended the Cathedral Antiques Show, which I think is the finest antiques show I have ever attended. Nothing but the best with prices and hors d’oeuvres to match.

A dealer there had a game table I had read about but never seen. It has a mechanism for table support that is unique. It was a gorgeous table with a high level of appropriate decoration. The dealer was anxious to show me the table and explain in great detail the history and construction of the table. It was amazing.

Only problem was that the show had a rather strict “no photography” policy. The dealer was sympathetic but was more concerned about his status as a dealer than my blog. That I wasn’t writing yet.

I finally found another table of this design at an auction a few weeks back. I can finally share this different table with you, my loyal reader.

But first, a prime on game table technology. The game table or card table for the purposes of this blog refers to a relatively small table with a folded top that opens to reveal a flat surface that is meant for playing cards or other games. There are many forms and variations of this table including:

The one-legged table:


The tabletop is mounted with a pivot off-center. To open the table, one rotates the top 90° and unfolds the top. There is usually a storage compartment beneath the top.

I have not seen a two-legged table. It could be that there is a trestle table with a folding top, but I’ve not seen it.

A three-legged table might be possible but, again, I’ve not seen one.

What comes close is actually a four-legged table:


There is a fourth leg but not where you expect.

In this implementation, the fourth leg pulls straight out of the rear apron to support the top.


A straight pull back, no hinges required.

A variation of this table:


has a drawer to support the fourth leg and the tabletop.

Then we advance to the four-legged table. This variation has a hinged or gate leg that swings out to support the top:

IMG_5468 - Version 2

One leg swings back to make magic.

This table needs two legs to make it happen:


All legs in.


Both legs are hinged and swing out to support the top.

(I was looking for through my library for a picture of this type table without luck. Then I went over to an auction Wednesday to preview on online auction and found this one being readied for the next auction.)

Let’s not forget the five-legged table:


Really a four-legged table with a plus one. I assume the fifth is hinged and swings back and catches the top. The museum wouldn’t let me play.

This is an example of the table for which I have been searching for these five long years:

English Queen Anne Card Table


This lot has sold for $400.

Description:   Mid 18th century, mahogany, mahogany veneer, shaped top with molded edge, opening to reveal felt lined interior, skirt with herringbone line inlay, cabriole legs featuring acanthus carved knee, raised on pad feet.

The side view led me to believe that I had found it:


An odd little gap at the back was a clue.

Using my spiffy camera with live view and rotating/swinging back I was able to shoot up and see what lay beneath:


There be folded parts.

There was a mechanism that unfolds and allows the back apron to fall back well over 18″ to support the top:


The apron unfolds to support the unfolded top.


(Almost) Fully deployed.


The view from below shows some structural details.

This view shows the board that slides in the groove to lock the back legs into place.


The horizontal board is pulled through the groove to lock the legs in place.

This blog has been five years in the making. Was it worth it? We’ll know when awards season arrives.

Case Joints in SketchUp – Easy in 2017 Pro

Bob Lang's ReadWatchDo - Tue, 03/14/2017 - 2:53pm
How far do you go with details in a SketchUp model? That’s a common question and the answer depends on what you’re making the model for versus how much time it will take to add the details. In my work, … Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

3 “Rules” To Joyous Woodworking and Life

Highland Woodworking - Tue, 03/14/2017 - 7:00am

RULE 1 – Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

Don’t sweat the small stuff. I have heard this saying over and over throughout my life. It always made a kind of sense to me, but had never become real to me until I stitched it together with the next two “Rules” .

Not sweating the small stuff could be taken as a polar opposite to what constitutes craftsmanship. The taking of the time and the effort to “sweat the details”. This is NOT how I choose to use the phrase here. I insist that a craftsman deliver their own, best effort, at all times and in all their projects. No corner cutting.

Rather, by embracing rule 1, it sets the stage for a woodworker to free themselves from fear. What I mean here is that in woodworking, and in life too for that matter, Fear is often times the major stumbling block to those good and satisfying things we wish to have in our lives. Fear is a barrier to attaining what we want in our heart, to accomplish.

Fear of failing, fear of embarrassment, fear of not measuring up to our peers. There seems to be no end to the number of things that we as people, let alone craftspersons, can convince ourselves to be afraid of.

By adopting a philosophy of “not sweating the small stuff”, we open ourselves to possibility.

Sure, all those things we convince ourselves to be afraid of don’t just go away. The chance that we might fail or be embarrassed surely do exist and may indeed come to pass.

The difference is, if we adhere to these three rules, and do so with genuine and honest effort, we can reach a place of Madcap Nirvana. That is to say, we just don’t care if we fail, we just don’t care if we do something embarrassing. We embrace the failure, we embrace the embarrassment.

A key element of Madcap Nirvana is redefining failure or embarrassment or other negative, fear driven outcome, as an outcome other than what we initially had hoped for. In embracing the possibility of outcomes other than what we initially had hoped for, we open ourselves to what is, rather than what should be.

Taking this a step further, it is in the acceptance and willingness to embrace what is, over what should be, that we can find avenues of creativity and discovery that would otherwise have been unavailable to us were we to remain fixed in the focus of what should be. Learning to operate in acceptance of what is creates an environment that allows the artisan savor each moment in the creative process fearlessly.

RULE 2 – It’s ALL Small Stuff

It’s all small stuff, and I can prove it…If you woke this morning, were able to open your eyes, see the dawn, wiggle your toes, stretch, feel the sun on your face, smell the lilac, walk to the kitchen and make fresh coffee… those things, are BIG STUFF.

Everything, and I want to emphasize this, EVERYTHING else is small stuff. The rest of your day is icing on the cake. Just realizing that having the ability to do those things I mentioned above, is reason enough to take the rest of the day as something to be grateful for, enjoy, and hypothetically would make the rest of the day something of a vacation day.

That is in spite of having to go to a job we dislike, or having to interact with people that leave us with a bitter taste in our mouth. We are ALIVE, and…and this is another big one… we are alive and have the ability to go out to our shop and make shavings or make sawdust.

What an amazing gift that is!

So if those dovetail joints don’t fit just right, or that board is not as square as you had hoped it would be….so what? So what if it looks like a failure?

It isn’t.

It’s a demonstration of effort. It is a celebration of our ability to take advantage of having opposable thumbs. It’s an example of a creative soul attempting something different. That alone makes the attempt worthy and worth doing. Everything else, just as in the example above, is gravy.


This rule sounds almost flippant, or as something said as a joke or tag line, but is actually the most important rule of the three.

I try every day to remember not to sweat the small stuff. I try every day to remember that it is ALL small stuff.

Am I successful? Sometimes yes…and…sometimes no…and that’s just fine.

Sometimes I forget that it is amazing that I woke up in the morning. Sometimes I forget to wiggle my toes. Sometimes I forget that each day is remarkable simply because I am alive to experience it. It’s natural. It is part of the human experience to live some days with less than monastic meditation and gratitude each and every moment.

However, on those days when I remember rules 1 and 2, I find that I enjoy, even the smallest victory, more vividly. I find that things seem to flow more smoothly. In those times when the inevitable mistakes are made, I try to remember to embrace them, and look for the lesson in them. Or look for the discovery in them. Or look for the creative method to manage, or even fix the mistake. If i’m faithful in this, I nearly always find what I am looking for.

Remembering these rules has absolutely changed the way I experience the world. I would be willing to wager that it may be a game changer for others as well.

I would say this though, take the three rules and make them uniquely your own. Don’t take my word for it. It is through the prism of an individual’s experience that these rules should be applied. Apply them to your own experience in a way that makes the “rules” yours.

Or not.

I submit them as an example of my own experience, and fodder for contemplation and consideration, not as gospel. It would be presumptuous of me to make the assumption that these three rules are universally applicable. They may very well not be. They are truth in my own experience of life, and it is my hope that they are in someone else’s as well.

John McBride is a professional woodwright, blogger, and writer, living and working joyfully and with abandon in Denver, Colorado.

The post 3 “Rules” To Joyous Woodworking and Life appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Creating in CAD: Variations on a Theme

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Tue, 03/14/2017 - 5:19am

Digital woodworking comes with a lot of moving parts: new hardware; new software; new methods and skills. But it’s the machinery itself that gets most of the attention. CNCs, Laser Cutters and 3D printers are all impressive machines. Watching them work, and the resulting precision, is the main focus of this new way of woodworking. With all that amazing machinery magically moving around, it’s easy to miss the most important […]

The post Creating in CAD: Variations on a Theme appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

the big snow storm eve......

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 03/14/2017 - 3:14am
It looks like old man winter is going out with a bang. The snow level forecasted has dropped from 20" plus to 12 to 15 inches. Gee, that sure makes me feel better. There is also a blizzard warning in effect and I can't remember the last time I heard that one. The fun is scheduled to start around 0600 and run until Mother Nature runs out of the white stuff.

dry fit
The side rabbet planes are fairly stable and there is very little wiggle room in all directions. The skate is a snug fit in the bottom pine piece. There is little room for them to move side to side before they would hit the depth shoe screw or the cherry knob. The center divider is an 1/8" below the top of the front and the cherry knobs are exactly 2 frog hairs below that. I think that even if I turned the box upside down the planes won't come out of the bottom with the skate slots in them.

flushing the  tails
I'm cleaning the box up and I like to use the chisel to first flush all the tails and pins that are proud. Once I knock that out, I plane the 4 sides.

need two more shims
After I got the box planed, I found two more gaps between the pins and tails that I had to shim.

last one to fill
All my half pins came out crappy. Two of them had some huge gaps in them. (I consider this here a huge gap.) This was caused by me taking too many swipes with a chisel to clean them up. I should have left them as they came off the saw. Which is what I usually do.

sawing the last thin shim
won't be too fat for long
I've been watching Tage Frid videos on you tube lately and I saw him doing this. He was plugging a gap in a tail/pin and his shim was too fat. He kept hitting it with a hammer until it fit. This should close up this gap nicely. The hammer compressed the wood to fit and the glue will swell them back up for a tight fit.

partial gap to fill
This tail was missing a chip and it only went 1/2 way.  Can you see the plugs in the two top inboard corners of the top tails? The left one is easier to pick out and the right one is a pretty good match.

new pine lid
The box is made out of the bookcase I broke apart except for the 1/8" plywood bottom. The first rectangle in the front will be the new lid once I saw it out.

flattening a new way
First up I'm going to roughly flatten this board by first removing the hump on this side. After the hump is gone I'll remove the wings on the other side. Then I'll assess the board and move on from there.

knot or something funky here
I don't know what this is
If I plane across this going with the grain, the plane skims right over it barely taking a whisper of a shaving. It feels hard to the touch too. If I go against the grain, even at a skew, I tear out chunks of wood. There isn't any way I'll be planing a rabbet in this. This lid is burnt toast.

lid #3
I'm clear of the knot here, leaving me a board wider and longer than I need.

it's twisted
it's cupping
I removed the twist and flattened it. I set it on the bench and made a nature call. When I came back it had cupped this much. This is the lid and I don't trust this to not move any more than this. Lid #3 is toast too.

back to the old kitchen cabinet wood
I don't have any more big pieces of pine to use for the lid. I don't want to glue up two boards so I'm using the first choice I made.

planing the rabbets first
My last couple of boxes I made the rabbet around a 1/2" wide. This time I am making it a 1/8" wider than the depth of the groove. I used my 10 1/2" to make the rabbets which are the smallest ones I made to date. I didn't find these small ones anymore difficult than the others I've done.

just noticed this when getting the lid width
entry end
exit end
opposite side entry
opposite side exit
Both rabbets aren't square but at this stage that isn't necessary.  What I did good on was planing the rabbets flat and straight end to end. I left the pencil line and one rabbet sloped down and away from it into the the shoulder. That could have been a problem but wasn't.

After I planed down to the pencil lines, I squared up the rabbets. I started with the shoulders first and did the flats that go in the grooves when I fitted them.

bit of a gap
I think the chip missing on the left hand groove threw off my measurements. I got both flats sliding into the grooves.

starting to bind with a little more than an inch left to close
I planed a bit off both edges at the back and kept at that until the lid slid in and out freely.

blew out this corner
I can't seem to remember to back this up. This is the 4th lid I've done this to. Maybe I should plane the bevel on the end first before I do the rabbets or anything else.

any scrap will do
Kind of like closing the barn door after the horse got out. This scrap doesn't have to fit rabbet exactly, just as long as it held tight to the shoulder as I plane this bevel.

cleaning up the bevel
The 51 iron is either dull or it didn't like planing this wood. The bevel was all tore out side to side.  The 102 made it pretty.

will it work?
It looks like I have sufficient room to get the bead before the plane bottoms out. If there isn't, I'll be starting over again.

I had enough room
couldn't remove all of it
flushing the bottom
With this last planing step, all the woodworking on the box is complete.

forgot the thumb grab
Now, there is no more woodworking left to be done.

I like this gap
This looks much better and it is a close match to the groove on the inboard side of the bead.

one of the last boxes I made
 This one has a wide rabbet that runs in the groove. I can see two things to change with this. First is to close the distance and make the rabbet smaller. Secondly, doing that will make this a bit stronger. That is a thin rabbet that could easily be snapped off and broken.

made this the same time as the one above
I think I found my signature for boxes. Do a bevel with a flat on the front of the lid. Check.  Plane an astragal and a small rabbet. Check.  Round over the top end of the groove at the front and everyone will know it's something I made. Check.

warming up the OBG
glued the bottoms in place with the OBG
Rather than center them in the dividers, I got them both tight to the top and the center divider.

first coat tonight, second and last one tomorrow
branded and dated
After I get the second coat on, I'll spray a couple of coats of lacquer on this to seal it.

I got a late start in the shop today. My cataracts are acting up on me and they changed the prescription on my glasses. The doc said that they will do this but they aren't bad enough yet to rip out. Before I went to the shop I had to wait for the pupil dilator to wear off and that took 5 hours. 

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is a sporran?
answer - The pouch worn on Scottish Highlander kilts

Spread Glue On Thick

360 WoodWorking - Mon, 03/13/2017 - 12:58pm
Spread Glue On Thick

A couple of weeks back, I wrapped up a three-presentation series on curved components. The last of the series covered bent laminations. (Other parts of the series discussed brick laying and stacked laminations.) Glue application is key. You have to spread glue on thick.

Bent lamination work is a bit more involved because you have to have a form to bend your thin laminations around or against. Also, you’re working with six to 10 laminations, depending on the thickness of your end part.

Continue reading Spread Glue On Thick at 360 WoodWorking.

side rabbet plane box........

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 03/13/2017 - 2:31am
Had another good day and I got a few things done. Fell into the same rut this afternoon where I was doing the nodding game. This time I actually checked the inside of the peepers for light leaks for a short while. Went back to shop and since the idiot DST started this AM, I left the shop at 1700 although the clock said 1600.

The plan for today was to set the sink cabinet and call it a day. Tomorrow I have my annual eye exam and I was going to do that last cabinet after that. The sink cabinet went in lickety split for me so I did the last one too. The only hiccup was trying to find a stud to screw the cabinet backs into to. I drilled a lot of holes trying to find them.

From the corner cabinet stud to the first sink stud was 14 1/2" and the next stud was 15". The lone screw into a stud in the last cabinet was 16" OC .

I also had to shim the front of both cabinets up over a 1/2". I thought the floor sloped down into the middle but I was wrong on that. The floor is high on this wall and it slopes down and away straight into the opposite wall. Nothing in this house surprises me anymore.

typewriter desk has set up
This may be too small in the length. The keyboard is 18" and the desk is 24", I'm not sure if I'll be happy with so little real estate to move the mouse on.

side molding
the back molding
Undecided on whether or not to miter this corner or use a butt joint. Since I dislike miters, the butt joint may be the lead off batter.

the would be drawer fronts
After thinking about the drawers I nixed them. There is a 2 1/2" overhang to clear before I would see the inside of a drawer. The depth is roughly 10" so by time I get one made I won't have a lot of usable space. I still like the idea of drawers on this so I will keep this in mind for when I make the bigger stand up desk.

only three small glue blobs
This is a carbide tipped scraper that works wonders on removing dried glue. I cleaned up the poplar and the plywood without any tear outs on either of them.

flushed the back
There was a slight bump in the middle with the rest of it being flush. I set this aside because I didn't feel like mitering it. I'll pick this back up tomorrow after my eye doctor appointment.

plowing the lid groove
I spent about 20 minutes making test grooves to see how they lined up. This time I picked the one that lined up right on the pencil line.

I didn't try
The top of the groove is too close to the tail and in order to keep that nick free this would have had to been worked like the stopped groove. Went with plowing straight through and nicking the tail.

I did look at placing the tail out of the way when I did the layout but I didn't like the look. This is a situation where I think laying out the tails and pins over rides a groove running through it.

it is a small hole
Once this is plugged I think you would be hard pressed to pick them out.

laying out the center divider
The second line from the top will the width of the divider and the line on the pin board is the top of the dado.

sawing off the line and planing to the line
first dado done
it's taken me a while
When I first started making dadoes with hand tools I really struggled trying to master it. I still have an occasional hiccup but most the time now I get this. This is the goal I shoot for when I do them.

wee bit short
I thought I had carefully measured this and worked off my knife lines but I missed something. I'm not sure what I did wrong but I'm off the depth of one dado. I think I failed to add both dado depths when I figured out the length. The second one fit with no gaps.

plugged the holes
Along with the holes, I had to glue shims in two tails to close up gaps. I sent the box aside by the furnace to cook overnight.

holder for the side rabbet planes
I started out making this by sawing and then chiseling it out. That wasn't working to well and was taking a lot of time. It also wasn't coming out as clean as I wanted.

switched to plan #2
The first step in plan #2 was to drill a series of holes.

last step - use a coping saw to remove the waste
chisel work to clean up the slot
it fits
It is standing upright on it's own. I made the slot a 1/16" wider then the width of the skate at it's widest point. I was expecting this to be a bit on the tippy side.

don't need it now
I was planning on putting a U shaped holder underneath the knob to counter the anticipated tipsiness. Don't need to do that now but it is something I can add in the future if need be.

I can glue this back together and still use it. These aren't going to be subjected to any stress so even though it's pine, I think it is ok to use.

where they will live
I'll spot glue these in each side with hide glue. I made both of them an 1/8" shorter in the width and length than the divided space. I don't think wood movement will be a concern but it doesn't hurt to err on the side of caution.

found a lid
This is big enough to get a lid out of it. It is from my old kitchen cabinets but it doesn't match up with the pine I used on the rest of the box. I have more of the pine I used for the box and I may change this. I will take a look at this again when I plane and clean up the box.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Which US state has had the most tornadoes?
answer - Texas, Kansas is second and Oklahoma is third

a worthy cause

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Sun, 03/12/2017 - 5:36pm

I got an email from Tara Alan, pointing me towards a crowd-sourcing fundraiser that seems a worth cause. A school group looking to raise money for spoon carving tools! I’m not involved in any way – I don’t know the people, etc… But Tara  thought my readers might be willing to help. There’s worse ways to spend a few dollars…

here’s the blurb –

Pre-Industrial Spoon Carvers!
My students need knives so they can learn to carve spoons!

My Students

I have an amazing group of students! They are curious, hard working, and love hands on projects. We live in a small Vermont town in the Connecticut Valley. My students farm, build race cars, and play basketball so they no strangers to hard work. We study the Industrial Revolution in 8th grade and are fascinated with how people lived prior to the machine age. They made everything! If you needed a chair- you made it, if you needed a spoon- you carved it.

Kids these days get their spoons too easily.

People used to have to carve them by hand! I want to teach my students how to be spoon self-sufficient. I’d like for them to understand and appreciate how much work goes into making things by hand.

My Project

Most kids don’t think twice about grabbing a plastic spoon to eat their lunch and then tossing it in the garbage when they’re done. I want to teach my students to appreciate the spoon and how much work used to go into making them.

We often overlook the smallest things that make us human.

We are tool makers and users. I want to teach my students the practical and timeless skill of carving spoons.

They will learn how to select the right wood, practice safe tool use, and come to appreciate the value of doing things by hand, the slow way.

Your donations will pay for spoon carving knives and finger guards to keep them safe. Your donations will also get us a couple of books that will inspire us to create beautiful spoons.

We have an outdoor classroom in the woods near our school that will serve as a source of wood and a place where we can sit and carve together.


Just follow the link if you’d like to help… https://www.donorschoose.org/project/pre-industrial-spoon-carvers/2470192/?givingCartId=5653247

I’ve been wiped out with the flu this week, so it felt nice to find some uplifting item in today’s inbox. Good luck to all involved…


Reminder – 2017 Classes at The Barn

The Barn on White Run - Sun, 03/12/2017 - 5:32pm

Here is the full slate of activities.


May 23-27 Making a Ripple Molding Cutter – this is less of a workshop than a week long gathering of fellow galoots trying to design and build a machine to allow us to recreate ripple and wave moldings.  Material and supplies costs divvied up, no tuition.


June 16-18  Make a Nested Set of Brass Roubo Squares – This is a weekend of metal working, as we fabricate a full set of nested brass squares with ogee tips, as illustrated in Plate 308 of l’art du Menuisier.  The emphasis will be entirely on metal fabrication and finishing, including silver soldering with jeweler Lydia Fast, and creating a soldering station for the workbench. Tuition $375, materials cost $50.


July 24-28  Minimalist Woodworking with Vic Tesolin – This week long session with author and woodworking minimalist Vic Tesolin will begin with the fabrication, entirely by hand, of a Japanese tool box.  Who knows where we will end up?  I am looking forward to having my own work transformed.  Tuition $625, materials cost $50.


August 11-13  Historic Finishing – My own long-time favorite, we will spend three days reflecting on, and enacting, my “Six Rules For Perfect Finishing” in the historic tradition of spirit and wax coatings.  Each participant should bring a small finishing project with them, and will accompany that project with creating numerous sample boards to keep in your personal collections.  Tuition $375.


September 4-8  Build An Heirloom Workbench – I’m repeating the popular and successful week-long event from last year, wherein the participants will fashion a Roubo-style workbench from laminated southern yellow pine.  Every participant will leave at the end with a completed bench, ready to be put to work as soon as you get home and find three friends to help you move it into the shop.  Tuition and Materials $825 total.

Since some recent research revealed the attention span of Americans to be eight seconds, I’ll re-run this periodically.

If any of these interest you drop me a line here.

Restored National Cash Register

MVFlaim Furnituremaker - Sun, 03/12/2017 - 6:03am

Last summer my Dad gave me his old cash register he was storing in his basement for the past thirty years. I was glad to take it, but I had no need for it so, I decided to sell it on Craigslist.

 photo ebay008.jpg

My Dad told me the cash register was handed down from the family as it was used in his uncle’s store. My Grandfather opened up a hardware store back in the ’50’s in Detroit called Flaim Hardware and my Dad would work there as a kid. I originally thought that the register was used in that store, but apparently not. This register is much older than the 1950’s.

 photo ebay014.jpg

I sold it to a guy on Craigslist who restores old cash registers the same way I restore old tools. He asked if I wanted to see pictures of the register as it was being restored and I told him I would love to, so he emailed me them during the process.

 photo PB080017.jpg

He took the entire case apart and cleaned and oiled all the mechanisms so that they would work properly.

 photo PA300015.jpg

Once everything was cleaned and working, he polished the brass case back to original form.

 photo PB140009.jpg

Since he restored many registers before, he had the appropriate parts that were missing off the register. He added the brass bar just above the drawer and a new $.05 key. All the price keys were cleaned inside and shined up nicely.

 photo PB140012.jpg

The entire registered shined back to life and looked better than ever. I’m glad the register found its new home as it’s nice to know there are people out there that can take objects that are just sitting around in people’s homes collecting dust or rotting away and bring them back to life. Much the same way I do with old tools.

 photo PB140013.jpg

good day in the shop......

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 03/12/2017 - 5:05am
I stayed in the shop until almost 1800 today. It's been a very long time since I've done that. I was sitting at my desk doing nothing and nodding out. I had something glued up and the excuse I was using was I had to wait for it set up. Since I didn't want to nap, I got up off my fat ass and waddled down to the shop. Turned out to be a good thing and I got a lot accomplished after that.

after dinner friday night
I glued up the two bridle joint leg assemblies for the typewriter desk so I could work on it today.

marked these wrong
I wasn't thinking when I marked the faces of these pieces getting the slot mortise and I didn't need to do that.

erased them when I did a 6 sided clean up

squared up the ends of the typewriter plywood
layout batting next
At this point, I still hadn't decided on how I wanted to fix the legs to the plywood. Initially I wanted to be able to take it apart or hinge the legs somehow to fold it flat. Too much of a headache to do and it's mostly because of the thinness of the plywood. If it was 3/4" thick I would have tried a few of my ideas.  I still have to brace the leg assemblies somehow but now it'll be a permanent fix.

half lap this onto the leg assemblies
I could then glue this to the underside of the plywood. I like this but I am thinking of putting in drawers and this would be in the way.

idea # 4,569
Gluing an extra piece of wood to the leg assembly and then gluing all that to the plywood once the first one has dried. Doing that would increase the glue surface area and make it stronger. This wouldn't interfere too much with my drawers but I scrubbed this one too.

making rabbets
Decided to go with a brace at the back with the leg assemblies glued into the rabbets.

shoulders were a bit out of square
just glue
If I were to screw this from the back of the rabbet into the leg, I would be hitting end grain. I think glue alone will be good enough for this. I don't anticipate moving this once it is on my desk at work.

going with this
Briefly entertained putting a stepped rabbet here to hide the end grain. But it won't be easy to see once it is in use.

glue along
The thickness of the plywood dictates that this be a glue only connection. I glued the back brace to the plywood and the long grain portion of the leg to plywood too.

the back brace will hide 99% of the tear out here

gluing it up in steps
Step one is gluing the back brace. Once this has had a chance to set up for a few hours, the plan was to glue the legs on.

This is where I stopped and got some lunch. After lunch I was 'waiting' for the glue to set up and started playing the nodding game.

moldings for the desk
I glued the legs on to the plywood and flipped it over. I ripped out these from a scrap of  1/2" oak.

these will be glued to the plywood hiding the edges
flat piece for the back
The back brace is flush with the back edge so the L shape molding won't fit there. I am going with this flat piece just to complete the molding on all four edges.

needed some bullnose work
There were some ridges on one half of this. I removed them out with the bullnose plane.

on a roll
Decided to start on the box for holding my LN side rabbet planes. The dimensions of this box are pretty much the same as the cardboard box they came in. I added a 1/2" or so for the joinery and the lid and bottom.

tails laid out
getting rid of my training wheels
This gizmo makes a kerf that is the same width as the kerf of my dovetail saw. Made it easier to get the top cut square across. I'm confident that I can saw square now and I don't need this.

it is working
This is the first time I have used this bench hook and it didn't move on me. I set it with this mallet. This is the first time I've used a mallet to set the hook.

what I normally use
I have to whack the crap out of this for it to hold. It is a crap shoot and it almost always slips on me as I chop the tails and pins.

it usually slips this way
It is very annoying to be pushing into the wood and it slips and moves laterally on you. I chopped both the tails and the pins and it didn't slip or move once. The first time that has happened for me. I was planning on not putting holes for these on my new bench but I'll reconsider it now. I'll be using the mallet again to see if it still works and it wasn't a fluke.

This is what I get for being lazy. When I did the layout on the pin board, I did it twice and ended up with two lines on this tail. Instead of erasing them, I thought I would mark the one I needed to saw on. I didn't mark the correct one and I didn't saw on the right one.

flushed the bottom so I can groove it
making a stopped groove
This part of the groove I can end to end. I do have to be careful on this end that I stop before I hit the tail. I did that on this one.

missed it on this one
I did get an 'aw shit' out but it didn't help. I nicked the top of this tail.

only a small chunk missing

stopped groove ends
These two will get the stopped groove. I plowed what I could and this is mostly a guide line for laying out the rest of the groove.

first marking gauge
I set this so that the back of the disc is up against the top wall of the groove. I ran that from stop line to stop line.

2nd marking gauge
I set this one to bottom wall coming from the top of the board. I did it this way so the flat part of the disc was against the wall and the beveled part was in the waste part of the groove.

needed a third gauge
The front piece is a 1/2" narrower so I couldn't use the 2nd marking gauge. I set this one the same way as the other two. Having the partial groove made by the plow plane helped a lot  with setting these 3 marking gauges.

chiseled the stops at both ends first
made it about 3/8" long
I didn't want the chisel to slip and blow out the end. 3/8" worked ok giving me an adequate safety factor.

it wasn't that difficult to do
The biggest challenge I found in doing this was holding the chisel correctly. Because it is so small it took some concentration to make sure that I wasn't skewing it left or right and that the bevel was flat on the bottom of the groove.

first one done
pretty clean
I tried hard to keep the top edge of the groove clean and tear out free.  My first try and I'm pretty happy with the result.

the plywood fits
partial dry fit
The groove on the left was done with the plow plane and the right one with a chisel. The right one is tight and clean and the left one is a bit gappy. Acceptable, but it doesn't look like the plow plane one.

bottom finally fitted
This is bottom #2. Bottom #1 became too narrow while I was trying to fit it. #2 took me over 30 minutes to fit but I finally got it.

I'll fit this divider tomorrow
After I get this fitted, I can glue this up.

lesson learned
I didn't realize it but this box is almost a square. Two of the sides are a few ticks over an 1/8". That led me to trim the wrong side on bottom #1. On bottom #2 I marked one side and one side of the box to keep me straight on what to trim.

Unless you live in Arizona or some other sensible state, today it spring ahead on the clocks. And the rumor on tuesday's snowfall is 20"

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Who was the first ML ballplayer to win a batting title in 3 different decades?
answer - George Brett did it in 1976, 1980, and 1990

The Damaged Pinky

MVFlaim Furnituremaker - Sat, 03/11/2017 - 7:06pm

If you know me, then you know I don’t do woodworking for a living. I’m actually a sales rep for one of the largest building manufacturers in the country. I sell patio block, mulch, and concrete mix to Lowe’s and Home Depot’s in the Cincinnati, Dayton area. Unfortunately, I got hurt at work.


Part of my job is to get my stores ready for spring by making patio hardscape displays on the shelves of the garden department. While in one of my Home Depot’s, I removed the old display and had to put a shelf in its place. In order to get the beam locked in place, I had to hammer it down so that the little nibs would lock in the hole properly. I got the right side of the beam hammered in place, when I was working on the left side. Being right-handed, I was using my left hand to hold the beam against the rack pushing it forward while swinging a mallet with my right arm. Just as luck would have it, hammering across my body, I barely nicked my pinky finger with the end of the hammer. Had I not been swinging so hard, it would have just caused a blood blister, but because I was wailing at the beam with such force, the blow blew the tip of my pinky open. As soon as I felt it, I knew it wasn’t good, but I didn’t know how bad the cut was until I went to the bathroom to clean it up. Once there, I realized I had to go get stitches as I could I open up the top of my  pinky finger.


I traveled to a nearby hospital where they put five stitches in my finger. I also found out through x-rays that I broke my bone as well. I have to wear a splint for the next month. I always thought that if I ever cut one of my fingers open, it would be from a band saw blade,  chisel, or a knife. I never thought it would be from the brute force of a 3lb drilling hammer.


The stitches came out last week and I should be fine in about a  month. I’ll need to keep the splint on my finger as the bone heals, but it’s not a big deal. The protrusion of the splint from the top of my finger keeps me from hitting my pinky on objects. I take off the bandage everyday and clean the wound. You can see how much my finger has swelled from the blow. I feel stupid for hitting my finger, but it was more of an accident than anything.


Williamsburg Snapshot – The Banquet

The Barn on White Run - Sat, 03/11/2017 - 6:00am


For me the great honor at Working Wood in the 18th Century was being asked to serve as the after dinner speaker.  Kaare had asked me to work with the topic “sometimes the old ways are the best ways” to which I gladly complied.  Of course I provided my own peculiar spin on the topic, but everyone seemed to laugh in all the right places so I guess it went well.

Of course the highlight of the evening was the scrumptious chocolate cheesecake awaiting me at my place on completion of the chat.

I got a lot of very positive feedback on the talk, and was even asked to summarize part of it as an article in next year’s American Period Furniture.  That section of greatest interest was a list of ten “assignments” I gave to the audience to stretch their handworking boundaries.  For some in the audience, perhaps even most, this was simple encouragement and validation, for others it was a legitimate challenge.

I will blog about each of those assignments individually over the next fortnight or so, but here is the list:

  1.  Restore an old tool to wondrous functionality
  2. Make a new tool and incorporate it into your bench work
  3. Learn to sharpen.  Really.  Everything
  4. Incorporate one (then all) of these traditional tools into your work — spokeshave, drawknife, scratch stock, toothing plane, froe
  5. Saw and prepare veneers by hand
  6. Learn to prepare, modify, and manipulate and use hot hide glue.  Then use it.
  7. Execute a decorative painted surface
  8. Make from scratch, from stock you prepare yourself, one of the following — parquetry, floral marquetry, Boulle-work, a Federal paterae
  9. Prepare a surface without the benefit of sandpaper, then apply a finish not using a spray gun, polyurinate, or cellulose nitrate
  10. Make a piece of furniture entirely without power tools, beginning with a piece of firewood or similar

more of the white stuff........

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 03/11/2017 - 1:03am
It is now the second week of March and the forecast called for a boatload of the white stuff to fall. Nothing came overnight and nothing started coming down here until 0600. The 3-5 inches was a big bust. Maybe a couple of inches fell but nothing stuck to the roads or sidewalks. We escaped the doom and gloom all the weather forecasters said was coming but we're not out of the woods. Winter still hasn't gone home and more snow is supposedly coming on tuesday. And it's going to be cold all weekend going into tuesday.

it's lumber core
This is an old kitchen door and I noticed this after the second cut.  It's a multiple wood strip door covered with a thick veneer on the front and back. That makes using this to make the legs useless.  It would as strong as a house of cards in this direction.

long ones are toast
I got the idea to make horizontal cuts on the doors giving stock with the grain running parallel to the long way. The concept was good but the execution sucked. Both short pieces are two long grain glued pieces. I didn't saw on the glue line. Trying to do that would be a huge PITA to accomplish.

I put the doors aside and used a couple pieces of 1x4 poplar to get the legs. I am doing most of this work on the tablesaw to whack this out as quickly as I can. At this point I was bit delusional thinking I could get this done to take it to work tomorrow.

layout done
I am using bridle joints because I can do all of the saw cuts in a tenon jig on the tablesaw. The slot mortise is the first batter.

outside cuts done
I tried to remove that web in middle with a chisel but it wasn't happening. The poplar proved to be a wee bit tougher than the 1/8" chisel I was using. I went back to the tablesaw and removed it with that.

sawing the shoulder
I sawed the shoulder by hand and I did the cheeks on the tablesaw in the tenon jig. I used this to set up the tenon jig so I could do all the others. I did the cheeks on the other side of this one and then sawed the shoulders. I had to do a bit of trimming to clean the shoulders. Much better sawing the shoulders first and then the cheeks.

last of the shoulder cuts, cheeks next

it's the law
You have to keep all the cheek off cuts until the bridle joints are glued.

one frame dry fitted
The top right corner is bit off and I'll have to trim that one. Other than that, the fit of bridle joints is ok and will glue up nicely.

typewriter and mouse desk
I made this taller than my guess-ta-mate measurements. I wanted the top of the desk to be 6" up and this is 6 3/8".  If I do have to shorten this I will take an equal amount off both ends of each of the legs.

I hadn't thought this far ahead in this build. How am I going to attach the legs to the bottom of the desk? I also have to come up with a way to stabilize the legs. They are going to need something to keep them from folding inwards or outwards.

Keeping the legs at 90° to bottom I don't think I'll have problems coming up with something. Attaching the legs to the bottom will take some thinking. This plywood is 3 frog hairs below a 1/2" and that isn't a lot of meat to screw into.

I won't be taking this to work tomorrow so I'll have time to figure something out. Now it's time to get ready to go out for fish 'n chips.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Who was Ray Tomlinson?
answer - he is regarded as the inventor of email

Holier Than Thou (or Me)

The Furniture Record - Fri, 03/10/2017 - 11:24pm

The two better local auction houses each had an 18th century Bible box in the same week’s auctions. As best I can recollect, neither has had a Bible box before. Both of them having one in the same week is really unusual.

The first one up is this:

Eighteenth Century English Bible Box Desk


This lot has sold for $230.

Description: Mid 18th Century; 10.75 inches height, 23.5 inches width, 16 inches depth; made of old English oak, has fully carved front panel of interlocking scrolls, interior has two upper fitted drawers, has original hand forged butterfly hinges, and locking clasp, constructed with hand forged rose head nails, overall condition is outstanding and original.

This one could be used as a writing desk. The lid is plain and it has a pencil ledge.

And the other auction house had:

English Relief Carved Bible Box


This lot has sold for $550.

Description:   Mid-18th century, oak, top and hinged lid with chip carved edge, wrought iron hinges, the lid is relief carved and dated 1740, open interior with three upper horizontal divisions, front with relief carved stylized dragons.

This one has a carved lid:


Must have been made in 1740 unless it’s a stock number.

Not useful as a writing desk unless you just plan on writing Post-Its.

The first one has two drawers in the gallery:


Two drawers but no tills.

Oddly, the drawers are not dovetailed:


You don’t need dovetails when you have nails.


The second box has a divided gallery:


Shallower but is it too shallow for drawers?


The first one has a single board back with some interesting bead details:


No fancy joinery, just nailed.

The second has a single board back without decoration:


Nothing to see here but a crack. Also nailed.


Front edge has decoration on the first:


Tastefully scalloped.

Plain edges on the second:


Here, the lid is scalloped. Base molding is a nice touch…

One of them followed me home.

Actually, I had to go back and get it.

The Birthin’ Is Done!

The Barn on White Run - Fri, 03/10/2017 - 6:22pm

In my hands this morning…

I am not displeased.


Understanding & Choosing Antique Router Planes

Wood and Shop - Fri, 03/10/2017 - 6:21pm
In this video tutorial Bill Anderson shows how to choose antique router planes when you're hunting around at tool swaps, eBay, or flea markets. He also helps you understand the different types of router planes and features to look for. The full DVD, where Bill shows how to choose, refurbish, tune, and use all sorts of


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