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General Woodworking

Whiskey Barrel Coffee Table

MVFlaim Furnituremaker - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 5:48pm

My cousin had been asking me to make a whiskey barrel coffee table for her for over a year. I put it off for months because I didn’t know where to buy a whiskey or wine barrel until I ran across a guy on Craigslist who sells them out of his house. Even better, he sells half barrels which was perfect for me as I really didn’t feel like cutting a barrel in half.


When I got the barrel home, I let it acclimate in my shop for a few weeks. As the barrel dried out, the staves started to fall apart, so I clamped them together using band clamps until I was able to screw fasteners into each stave to hold it in place. While the band clamps were holding the whole barrel together, I laid it on top of white oak boards I bought at a sawmill to see how big I wanted to make the top of the coffee table.


To keep the barrel together, I screwed hex bolts through the bands into the wood to hold each stave in place. I also leveled the top of the barrel by sanding the edges straight with my belt sander. The barrel came with a stand for it to be used as an outside planter which was helpful in holding it in place while I worked on it.


My wife didn’t like the look of the hex bolts I used so, I replaced them with #14 stainless steel pan head screws. She was right, the pan head screws look much nicer.


I designed the shape of the legs by using the stand that came with the barrel to shape the curves. Each leg had an angle to the top that fit the angle of the barrel as it laid flat. I chamfered the edges of the feet to mimic the chamfers on the top and bottom of the barrel.


You can see how I used the compass to figure out the gap that I needed to shave off the other side of the leg in order for the barrel to fit tight.


Once I was happy with the legs, I focused on the frame of the barrel. I traced the shape of the barrel onto a piece of wood and cut it out on my band saw. I then trimmed the end of the sides 90 degrees to the edge and double-stick taped it to the other side. This allowed me to clamp the whole frame while it was screwed and glued together.


After carefully measuring all the pieces, I test fitted the frame together to make sure it would fit nicely on top of the barrel.


I was more aggressive with the clamps when it came time for the actual glue up. I let this set in place for 24 hours.


As the base was setting up, I turned my attention to the top. I glued up several white oak boards together and flattened them with my hand planes because the panel was too wide to fit through planer.


I wanted the top to have a bread board edge so I plowed a groove into the ends that was the same width as my 3/8″ mortising chisel. I would later chop three mortises into the groove to fit tenons I would make.


To make the tenons, I used both power and hand tools to get the job done. I routed most of the material away with my plunge router, then finalized the fit with my Stanley No 10 1/2 rabbet plane.


I made sure the panel would fit into to the groove before I cut the tenons


Cutting out the tenons, I drilled holes through the middle for pins. The middle hole I left round while the tenons on the outside I elongated for the expansion and contraction of the wood.


Once the joints fit well, I drove pins into the holes and added a dab of glue so the pins wouldn’t fall out.


I shaped the sides of the top to match the curve of the barrel and lightly rounded over the sides with my hollow molding plane.


The final shape of the coffee table top came out nicely. Now I needed to find away to attach it to the frame.


After days of pondering, I decided to attach hinges to the top so that the lid could open and close. The inside of the barrel was charred from the brewing of the whiskey so, it’s not very useful as it will leave ash on your finger if you touch it, but I thought it was cool enough to show off. I clamped my level to the middle of the frame to determine where in proximity the hinges would need to be installed.


Because the lid overhangs the side by an inch, the barrel of the hinges lay underneath the top when closed. I had to rout out a recess on the underneath of the lid so the top could properly close.


Even with all my calculating, I ran into a problem. The top would hit the middle of the barrel when I tried opening it. I had to route a recess in the middle of the lid so that there would be enough room for the lid to open. It took several hours of trial and error to make it work, but I finally made it work.


Once everything worked, I sanded the entire coffee table to 220 grit sand paper and applied a weathered wood enhancer to blend the old barrel to the new white oak. This turned the coffee table a bit purplish gray.


Next, I stained it Minwax Espresso stain and applied three coats of water based polyurethane for a protective finish. I think the coffee table turned out really nice. Luckily, my work has me going to Detroit next week, so I can deliver the coffee table to my cousin.



Now THAT’S A Book

The Barn on White Run - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 4:07pm

Recently I was back in Mordor for a couple of days and dropped in to visit my friends and colleagues at the Library of Congress Book Conservation Lab.  I was delighted to see them again, and can happily report that the work bench I custom made for them last year is suiting their needs perfectly.

There is clear evidence of use of the bench, and there is universal acclaim of its suitability for their needs.  They are especially appreciative of the stepped riser blocks so it can be fitted for everyone in the group.  As you can see there is a wide range of statures represented in the group.

The purpose of the bench is to serve in the re-binding of ancient books, a process that is typical every few centuries for books of the pre-16th century type, which were bound with solid wood cover boards.  In preparation for an upcoming rebinding of an important book (14th century?) they undertook a practice run of creating a completely new book that replicated the projected treatment for the old book.

Much to my surprise and delight they gifted this practice book to me, and it has become a treasured keepsake.  The workmanship and artistry are simply breathtaking.  They urged me to use it as a note book but thus far I have not been able to force myself to do that (although I did already ding one edge).  Time will tell if I ever can.


PopWood Playback #5 | Top Woodworking Videos of the Week

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 3:10am

Episode #5 is live on Youtube! We’re really enjoying all the submissions and support from everyone – we have five great videos to share with you this week. Look out for more PopWood Playback episodes every Saturday morning on our Youtube channel. David will be returning next week, so in the meantime check out our picks this week: 🎥 Young Je – https://youtu.be/b_F8-atFOcQ 🎥 SE Woodwork – https://youtu.be/rxK-YFcCJco 🎥 Modern […]

The post PopWood Playback #5 | Top Woodworking Videos of the Week appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

I'm reaching my limit.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 02/03/2018 - 12:17am
I lost count on how many tools I've rehabbed in the past few months. It is about all I've done with very little woodworking happening.  I think I've rehabbed 8 and I have 4 more that I'm doing. Two of them are definite with the third being 50-50 and the 4th one ain't happening anytime soon. I've had enough of rehabbing and I want to get back to woodworking before I forget how to do it.

2nd coat of paint on
This is close to the distance I saw the bumpy edges yesterday before I filed them. Today the sides look pretty good. Smooth, shiny, and flat looking along all the edges. I will be checking and doing all my future frogs this way.

I said wow this time
I can't put the frog on until tomorrow but I could sand and Autosol some parts. I said wow this time when I got done with the lever cap. The plane body isn't too shabby looking neither.

It says on the tube this does brass and the adjuster knob is brass. I put  some on and I will definitely keep an eye on this to see how well it keeps the brass shiny. If it works, I'll go back and Autosol all the other adjuster knobs.

the 4 1/2 before pic
This is the definite rehab one and it could be the last one for a while. The lever cap is what I was doing with them back then. I cleaned it with degreaser and that was it. I'll try to sand a shine up on it. I tried to buff the barrel nuts on the buffer after putting some Autosol on them. It kind of shined them up but I know I can raise a better shine sanding them with 400 grit sandpaper.

the Autosol protection
Not quite as shiny but the Autosol on the 4 1/2 was last applied about 3-4 months ago. In that time the 4 1/2 has been my daily user along with the 5 1/2. I keep the both of them on the bench at the top left corner ready to go.

first time I've noticed this writing
I scratched the bald spot for a few minutes but it didn't help. I still don't have a clue as to what the writing means. And I won't be preserving it for future generations to look at.

filed the side
This wasn't as bumpy as the 10 1/2 frog but it is now smoother than what it was. Repeated it for the other side.

filed the lateral adjust lever edge
This was pitted and I had sanded it but it didn't do much for it. The file knocked off 99% of it and I sanded it again to remove the filing marks.

I'll be flattening the 10 1/2 iron again
I have a couple of low spots and I don't have a consistent look side to side. Not getting anything up under the chipbreaker but I'm still going to flatten it again.

consistent side to side after a few minutes on 100 grit sandpaper
I'll finish working up through my stones but I'll do that tomorrow. My fingers started protesting half way through th100 grit.

the #3 that has a 50-50 chance
I did this plane  couple of years ago. The body had been sanded up to 600 grit but it has had no Autosol applied at all.

I think I sprayed painted the body
After I take this apart I'll check out the body. If it has been done, I might finish this to my new standards. The hardest part is done and what is left isn't that difficult to complete.

#7 - this was the first or second plane I rehabbed
Sanded up to ??? - I don't remember. I know that this have never seen Autosol and this what the plane has weathered to since I rehabbed it. Cherry knob and tote made by Bill Rittner.

the sole
I don't use this plane anywhere near how much I use the 4 1/2 or the 5 1/2. This is what it looks like after being sanded post 3+ years and with out ever having Autosol. This one will take a bit more rehab calories to get it up to the new standards. One biggie on this plane will be stripping and painting the body and the frog.

my #8

This plane got the body sanded and a Bill Rittner cherry knob and tote to replace a painted hardwood set. My favorite Stanleys are the type 11's on down. This #8 is a type 15-16 if I remember right. I decided that I'm not going to invest the calories in rehabbing a plane type I don't like. I will sell this one and buy a #8 type that I like.

So this is what is going on in my world. I will finish the 10 1/2 and do the 4 1/2. The #3 may or may not get done. It may because the #3 is a plane that I use a lot more than the #7 and the #8. The rest of the planes in the herd will be done as I feel like doing them.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that St Louis, Missouri, was the first US city to host the Olympics in 1904?

Sanding with Festool – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – February 2018 – Tip #1

Highland Woodworking - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 7:00am

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

I have been working on a painting project every weekend for several months. Actually, it started three years ago. Brenda said, “Since we’re taking the carpet out, before Brent gets here to start putting in the oak floors, what about if we painted the living room?” You might think the operative word here is “we.” It isn’t. I started, of course, with the ceiling. Because our house is built on pilings, it moves a lot. Or, maybe we just had a sorry Sheetrock guy, but, whatever the reason, the panel joints in the ceiling were all cracked. I wasn’t going to sand them down, tape them and apply new knockdown before I painted, but I did take the time to caulk the cracks the best I could.

From there it was on to the walls, which went fast enough. When the baseboards were first installed, they weren’t properly sanded and primed, so it was time-consuming to take them all the way down to bare wood before painting. I worked every night after work, and every Saturday after we closed at noon, for months and months.

Because we have an open floor plan between the living room and kitchen, there was no painting the living room and not painting the kitchen (I painted the kitchen ceiling at the same time as the living room).

The massiveness of the millwork on the living room windows and kitchen bay windows was overwhelming.

This bank of windows is wonderful to look through, but the convoluted millwork at the bottom is an amateur painter’s nightmare. Sore fingers were a nightly feature when I was sanding them to bare wood. And, working on the floor wasn’t this hard when I was in my 30’s.

This bay window is one of Brenda’s favorite sitting spots, so it needs to look good. Willie likes it, too.

I don’t recall what interrupted me, but, at some point in 2014 I stopped painting and, despite good intentions, couldn’t get going again.

This go-round, I took a more practical approach. Rather than unrealistically working every night, I decided to devote every Saturday until I finished.

Not surprisingly, I’m not getting much woodworking in. In fact, I wonder how long one can go between projects and still call himself a woodworker.

Now, the kitchen and living room are finished and that made the adjacent foyer look dark, so we’re (there’s that word again) painting over all of the stained wood.

Nothing beats the Festool system when it comes to a sanding project like this. The CT36 Dust Extractor with a Dust Separator has made this an almost completely dust-free project. Like Steve Johnson letting his inner woodworker creep into his barn project, I couldn’t be satisfied with the machine marks left in the millwork, so I’m sanding most of it to bare wood. The dark stain needs to come off anyway for better white paint coverage. The RO125 Festool Sander is loaded with 120 grit paper, and it doesn’t take long to get down to a smooth surface. Alan Noel recommended 220 grit for a nice, painted finish, and the Festool ETS125REQ Sander, with its shorter stroke, and fine paper, makes every flat surface paint-ready.

There are plenty of nooks and crannies in this project, and the Festool RO90 Sander, with its triangular head attachment, has made short work of those spots.

This skirtboard was the place where the RO90’s triangular head made sanding the hard-to-get-to spots really easy.

There are still areas that require hand sanding, and that’s the only dust generation there has been. Disconnect the sander from the CT, switch from AUTO to MANUAL, and the dust is gone. With the separator, there is no worry of filling up those expensive Festool Dust Extractor Bags.

Dust management is one of Festool’s biggest selling points for the pros, but, it’s pretty darn nice, too, for the DIY handyman with no time to waste.

One day, all of this will be finished, and I will be proud for visitors to come through the foyer, into the living room and lounge in the kitchen.

Just stay out of the parts of the house “we” haven’t gotten to yet.

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

The post Sanding with Festool – Tips from Sticks in the Mud – February 2018 – Tip #1 appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Barn Workshop – Knotwork Banding Inlay

The Barn on White Run - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 5:49am

One of my favorite aspects of working on The Roubo Translation Project has been the replication of many of the techniques he described in L’art du Menuisier.  For a long time I thought that intricate banded borders were dauntingly complex and fussy.  Then I did it the way he said and I realized that the artisans of the period had standardized the process so as to make them near idiot-proof.  Voila’, a method I can work with.

The knotwork banding  illustrated in Plate 287 is a perfect case of this.  Using a set of sawing and planing jigs to produce an infinite number of perfectly sized and fitted pieces the design pattern is a piece of cake.  But, as with most things, the set-up is crucial.  And that is what we will be doing in these three days; making the banding, laying out and creating the jig block, and making knotwork corners to your heart’s content.


The complete 2018 Barn workshop schedule:

Historic Finishing  April 26-28, $375

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

Boullework Marquetry  July 13-15, $375

Knotwork Banding Inlay  August 10-12, $375

Build A Classic Workbench  September 3-7, $950

5 1/2 done again......

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 02/02/2018 - 12:36am
I finished the 5 1/2 (again) and I blame it on my increasing skill in rehabbing planes. I was happy with what I did the first time but some things change for the better. I think that taking the 5 1/2 a couple of more steps paid off. Now, not only do I have a plane that still works like a dream, it is pretty darn good looking too. I am hoping that I don't find something else I can add to the rehabbing steps with future ones because I want these to stay done.

After I completed the 5 1/2 I started back on the 10 1/2. I thought it would have been a simple follow up rehab and it would have been done tonight too. Instead I took a left turn and upped the ante. I don't remember all that I did on the first rehab but there were a few steps that I am doing now that I didn't do then. It'll be this weekend before I will be able to put a check mark in the done column for the 10 1/2.

up to 400 grit
I'm still not getting a wow shine on the lever cap. But it is an improvement over my previous doings. I went from just cleaning and degreasing, to sanding to remove rust, to trying to shine them. Not very shiny but shinier than what I got from just a clean and degreasing.

10 1/2 on the left   5 1/2 on the right
 The 5 1/2 cleaned up pretty good with the Bar Keeps. The 10 1/2 knob will need a bit more help to bring up a 100% shine.

before and after brushes
A brand new brass brush on the left and what it looks like after cleaning two adjuster knobs with Bar Keeps.

still not a wow
I used Autosol on the lever cap and I can see a slight difference. It cleaned it some and raised a bit of a shine. I think I'll have to be content with the shine level and go with the protection it affords.

put on the frog too
I put it on mostly for the protection factor.

back together
It only took a few dance steps to get my shavings spitting out correctly. Same width and thickness on the left, the middle, and the right. The 5 1/2 is done and has rejoined the herd.

the before and after
The 5 1/2 looked similar to the 4 1/2 before I rehabbed it for the second time.

stern view comparison
this is a sweet looking daily user
the shine on the lever cap looks good on the bow shot
the before pic
I thought this looked ok for a daily user before I went down this rabbit hole. I remembered to take a before pic of this one but not the 10 1/2.

found an ugly spot - 10 1/2 frog
The sideswere bare in a few spots before I painted it yesterday. I lightly sanded it tonight to see if I could remove the bumps along the edges. I couldn't and I don't like the rough textured look on this sides. This and the other side of the frog will be visible on the finished plane. I used the file on this to smooth it out.

filed and smoothed
I didn't go nutso on this - I just wanted to remove the bumpy look along the edges.

the other side
This side was sanded and I totally forgot to snap a pic of it after I filed it smooth.

didn't forget to get a pic of it painted
It looks better than the paint job from yesterday.

the other side painted
used a small brush to paint the area around the lateral adjust
Wally World brushes
I got these in the art department at Walmart. 10 brushes for less than $10. I thought if I got one use out of each of them I got my money back on them So far I have used only 3 and the same three for all the tools I have painted. So far they are holding up with all the painting and cleanings. The third brush from the left is the one that I use 99% of the time.

knob and tote for the 10 1/2
I sprayed 3 coats on the two and they look a lot better than what I started with. Most of the 10 1/2 is rehabbed. The frog will have to get a second coat and that will hold up finishing this plane until this weekend.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know a golden set in tennis is where the score is 6-0, with the winner not losing a single point?

Back in the shop

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 6:34pm

First off – my holdfast is bigger than yours. Being back at Colonial Williamsburg last week reminded me of my previous visit there 11 years ago. I was using the 18th-century style holdfasts, and made an off-hand comment along the lines of “boy, these high holdfasts get in the way…” Ken Schwartz, the head blacksmith offered to make me a low one like I use at home…but I said “No – don’t go to all that trouble..”  – then I guess I made another comment about the height of the holdfast. So after lunch, Ken came on stage and presented me with a custom-made holdfast.

He & I met up again last week, both remembering that event. Seems we’ve both told the story many times – but I’ve never posted the holdfast before. I find it a couple times every year during deep cleaning of the shop.

I finished a carved box for a customer today. One of my “usual” boxes; oak with a pine lid & bottom. Wooden hinges.

I have a number of custom pieces to build this year, so I’ll be doing a lot of furniture work. I get questions sometimes about “do you take commissions?” – and the answer is yes. I have a list right now that will take me through the first half of the year, but this box is an example of something that can jump the queue – I can usually work one of these into my schedule pretty easily. As it happened in this case, the box was made, I just had to finish the lid & bottom.

Finished this walnut book stand today too – which was just the finish; linseed oil. This one is spoken for, but there’s another right behind it.

One of the custom pieces I’m working on now is a chest of drawers. This one is not based on any particular period example, it will be carved and have moldings between the four drawers. I don’t want to use applied moldings in this case (it’s going to a very dry climate, compared to here by the ocean) so I have opted to adapt this “lipped tenon” seen in Plymouth Colony work of the 17th century. In this shot, you see the joint halfway home, leaving a piece about 7/8″ thick riding over the stile’s face. That section will get the molding cut in it.

Here’s how I cut it. Pencil layout for the camera’s benefit. This blank is laying on its face, that will be the molding.

I’ve made the rip cut that sets off the molding, and cut the tenon to length. Now I’m cutting the rear shoulder.

Splitting the waste off. 

Sawing the other cheek of the tenon.

Then chopping the end grain between the tenon and the molding.

The joint once it’s cut & pared.

Fitted into the mortise. There’s 3 rails like this, the other two will have scratched moldings. I’ll shoot more of this project soon.

Woodworking Workshop for Parents and Fall Fair 2017 – Part 2: How Build a Gnome house

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 10:29am

When our School’s Fall fair is over, we have the opportunity to pick up some of the leftover forest decor materials and store them for future use in our Manhattan-based woodshop. One find from past years’ Fall Fair was a hollow branch of about 8 inches in diameter. A week after the Fair ended, a volunteer parent mentioned to me that she wanted to build a Gnome house for her […]

The post Woodworking Workshop for Parents and Fall Fair 2017 – Part 2: How Build a Gnome house appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Throwback Thursday: Highland Woodworking: Hand-tool Stalwarts of the South

Highland Woodworking - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 9:16am

Today we wanted to share a special #ThrowbackThursday to a blog written by Chris Schwarz exactly 5 years ago about Highland Woodworking, calling us the ‘Hand-tool Stalwarts of the South.

We also wanted to give a special thanks to Chris Schwarz, Megan Fitzpatrick and Lost Art Press for being some of our biggest advocates and supporters! If you haven’t read any of the beautiful books published by Lost Art Press, we suggest you get your hands on one (or a few). The quality, craftsmanship, and words that their books express about woodworking is bar none.

Highland Woodworking: Hand-tool Stalwarts of the South

The post Throwback Thursday: Highland Woodworking: Hand-tool Stalwarts of the South appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Barn Workshop – Boulle Marquetry

The Barn on White Run - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 5:47am

Since seeing my first piece of antique furniture decorated with tarsia a incastro, or “Boulle work,” I have been captivated by both the art form and the technique.

This ancient method of  using a minuscule blade in a frame saw, usually a jeweler’s saw in our time, for cutting patterns in two or three layers of material comprised of the shell of a sea turtle, a sheet of brass, and sometimes a sheet of pewter, remains captivating to this day.   The result is the same number of completed compositions as the original number of layers in the stack.

Due to the prohibition of trade in turtle shells I invented my own very convincing replacement material I call Tordonshell.

So these three days will comprise of making your own piece of Tordonshell (I will have some pieces made in advance for the workshop) and sawing patterns from packets we will assemble for cutting.

Though we will be cutting them vertically to begin, there is a chevalet in the classroom and anyone who wants to give it  try is welcome to do so.


The complete 2018 Barn workshop schedule:

Historic Finishing  April 26-28, $375

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

Boullework Marquetry  July 13-15, $375

Knotwork Banding Inlay  August 10-12, $375

Build A Classic Workbench  September 3-7, $950

troubles come in threes.......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 02/01/2018 - 12:23am
Maybe it is an old wives tale and maybe it's just total crappola. But I have had two troubles with the third happening today. When I left work to come home, I had the fun of having a flat tire to deal with. There was no mistaking the tire was flat and sitting on the rim and I wasn't going home right then and there. I have AAA and they responded to my service call in a little over a half an hour. I was thinking maybe the Tire Gods were smiling down at me.

The service guy filled the tire up and he could hear a low hiss of air once he was done. He ran his hand over the tire and found a bolt stuck in it. Cause of the flat found and then I got a real pleasant surprise. My pickup truck had a full sized spare tire. AAA changed the tire and I got the joy of  driving home in the rush hour traffic. Will the fun just stop now and let me off the merry go round?

The tire problems started this morning when I left for work. All four tires were stuck and frozen to the driveway and I had to do some rocking back and forth to break them free. The skid indication on the dashboard went into overdrive and wouldn't shut off until I got to Warwick Ave. The truck was also making a funny noise and was pulling to the right. That was the tire that went flat - right front passenger side.

I thought I had thrown the truck's front alignment off breaking free of the ice. When I got to work I looked at all four tires and they looked ok so I went into work. I figured if I had the same problems going home, I would make an appointment and have the front end checked. With the spare tire on, the pulling to the right disappeared and the rubbing noise was gone too. I'll get the tire plugged and put back on the truck this weekend.

the 10 1/2 frog
It was 1645 before I got down to the shop. I didn't have any time to do anything but check on what I had done last night. I hit this with a couple swipes of 320 grit and the bottom where the iron sits is high on the left and low on the right. It looks like I'll be adding a few days to getting the 10 1/2 up to the standards of my recent rehabs.

tarnished and not so shiny
I expect this with the brass and I'll hit the both of them again with Bar Keeps Best Friend. I remember in metal shop in Junior High School that anything brass, that was meant to be shiny, we dipped in lacquer to keep it that way. I am thinking of spraying one of them with lacquer to see how it holds up to it.

kind of shiny
I hit this with the HF buffer and it doesn't look that bad. It still didn't make me say wow but maybe with the right rouge it will.

it's in there somewhere
I didn't have a good grip on the brown rouge and the buffer wheel caught it and flung it in here somewhere. I couldn't put more rouge on the wheel to see if it would make me say wow.

5 1/2 frog is done
All I had to do to finish this was sand the face to remove the paint spills.

the backside
I sanded the frog seat and the bottom pads that contact by the mouth. Tomorrow I'll touch up the plane body with 400 and 600 grit and put some Autosol on it. If I get the adjuster knob shiny, I'll put it together and it will be done.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that a 6 foot wide shuffleboard court is 52 feet long?

Seating of Distinction (Part One)

The Furniture Record - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 10:58pm

At a recent auction there was an unusually large number interesting seating units. There’s always a lot of chairs at an auction but this was the most interesting assortment I have seen locally. Too many for one blog so I will just start with the multi-user seats.

First up:

Large Antique Continental Paint Decorated Storage Bench


This lot has sold for $1,550.

Description19th century, pine, two hinged seats, with bootjack feet, the whole retaining old painted surface featuring floral sprays.

Size: 28 x 118.5 x 18 in.

ConditionInsect damage; surface wear; paint loss; signs of outdoor use; shrinkage crack to one seat and left side.


When they say “decorated”, they mean this.


This view show construction details and the extant of the damage both weather and insect. Also, note the bootjack feet.

Up next:

French Provincial Style Double Back Settee


This lot has sold for $140.

Description: Late 20th century, mahogany, shaped ladder backs , rush seat, curved arms, raised on six cabriole legs with turned stretcher base.

Size : 41 x 48 x 22 in.

Condition: Light surface wear; overall good estate condition.

Not much to say here so we move on to:

Dutch Marquetry Inlaid Double Back Settee


This lot has sold for $825.

Description: Early 20th century, mahogany, mixed light wood inlays, shaped crest rail, upholstered back and seats, reticulated arm supports on a curule form base, the frame with barber pole and flowering vine inlays throughout.

Size36 x 41 x 18 in.

Condition: Later upholstery; some shrinkage cracks at base.


This give you a feel for the fabric and marquetry.


Marquetry continues on the arms and frame.

And finally, this is a single-seater but it is similar in nature to the above settee:

Dutch Marquetry Inlaid Arm Chair


This lot has sold for $460.

Description: Early 20th century, mahogany, light and dark wood vine and floral inlays throughout, shaped crest rail, rolled arms, on paw feet.

Size: 35 x 30 x 25.5 in.

Condition: Later velvet upholstery; expected wear especially at feet


Less frame but similar marquetry.


A better view of the craft.




Stacking Tool Caddy – Adapt a Project to Make it Yours!

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 7:01am

Once in a while I come across a Popular Woodworking inspired project on Reddit. It’s really interesting to see how people use the pages of our magazine to bring an idea to life. The user, bityard, came across Chad Stanton’s build article, Stacking Tool Caddy, from the December 2017 issue, while at his parent’s house. It sparked an idea for storing his rachets and sockets. The stacking caddy is an […]

The post Stacking Tool Caddy – Adapt a Project to Make it Yours! appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Desk Prototype – II

The Barn on White Run - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 5:20am

With the legs in-hand it was time to build the writing box that went on top of them.  Again using mostly southern yellow pine from my pile I set to work.  It was straightforward but had to fit the legs precisely.  I dispensed with making the bow-front drawer for the box as it would be predetermined by the box itself.

To get practice for the re-sawing that would come soon in prized vintage mahogany I did that with this tulip poplar stock.

The joinery for the box was mundane but a necessary exercise.

I established the curve of the drawer frame and the top with drawknife and spokeshave.

And put it together.  The writing surface was simply tacked in place with finishing nails as I would need to remove it to check the internals once the real project was underway.  On that version the top would be glued in place with glue blocks.

Up next: joining the legs, box and shelf to finish the prototype.

Ash splint basket making film – My father’s tools

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 4:37am
A beautiful short film about ash splint basket making. Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

Safety Last

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 4:00am

I'm old enough to remember when people didn't routinely buckle up when they got into cars. Years of laws, enforcement of laws, knowing people who were maimed or killed in car crashes and probably millions of dollars of advertising later, most people I know wear seat belts every time they get into a car. We wear seat belts and accept that that the chance of an accident might be small but it isn't zero. We know that the seat belts will offer a lot of protection relative to the inconvenience of using them. We generally don't think, "Hmmm, I'm drunk so I had better buckle up" or "Taylor just passed his road test so guess I'll wear the seat belt" or "Only in bad weather" or "Only with my parents/kids in the back seat" or "Only on New Year's Eve." The practice most people have is protecting themselves every time.

So why is it in a workshop - especially a home shop - do so many people only put on safety glasses only before a potentially hazardous operation, not wear them all the time?

It's true that when working with hand tools there is less chance of kickback from a saw, but there are plenty of other hazards - sawdust in the air, sharp edges, splinters, etc. - all of which can fly into your eye when you least expect it.

Here is what I insist upon with all my students and strongly recommend to all woodworkers: when you enter the workshop, get into the habit of putting on safety glasses right way. Any kind would work as long as they are comfortable enough so that you actually wear them. Get into the habit. You will be glad you did.

In the picture above we have four forms of eye protection. The ones in the lower right with the black frames are prescription safety classes. You get them from an optician. I like them because up until recently we didn't have any glasses that worked with googles (see below), and by using these glasses I save wear and tear on my regular glasses.

I also have an oversize pair of glasses OTS XL that fit over my regular glasses, seen here over my glasses on the upper right mannequin head. For people who truly need their glasses, this is a godsend. These are the only style of safety glasses that I have seen that really work well over a pair of eyeglasses. Highly recommended.

If you don't wear prescription glasses, you have a range of options that are comfortable and inexpensive. The pair with the black nose piece (lower left) fits almost all faces. You can also get safety glasses for kids and adults with small faces. We know adult woodworkers who have complained that nothing fits them -- until they tried the glasses worn by the picture's upper left mannequin. This is great for instilling good work habits if you kids hang out in the workshop with you (and we hope they do), and for giving small adults the routine protection others take for granted. Click here for more info.

The Capstone shield is great when you need more protection and don't want to swallow wood chips being thrown at you. Great for yard work too. The Shield opens and closes

With the exception of prescription glasses, safety glasses are also remarkably inexpensive, as a matter of fact if you click on the links and want to order one pair of glasses the shipping will be more than the glasses - so you might just want to add a pair to your next order and save shipping.

The title of this blog post comes from Harold Llyod's great film. The scene below is amazing - even with camera magic. Lloyd did his own stunt work, which is remarkable especially considering that his right hand was missing fingers due to an accident several years earlier. In the film he is wearing a glove designed by Hal Roach and movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn, a former glove salesman.

snow et al things.......

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 01/31/2018 - 12:27am
The weather seers were predicting 0-1 inch of snow falling overnight into the morning commute and stopping around noon. They were wrong on both counts. About 2-3 inches fell and it stopped around 0900. The drive into work was an adventure because almost nothing was plowed. All the side streets to Rte 10 were a complete mess and Rte 10 only had one lane clear. Not a problem because once I got on it, I was all alone all the way to work.

Had another problem that came up yesterday. My father-in-law slipped and fell in his kitchen and broke a vertebrae. He went to the ER(?) where an x-ray showed the break and he was sent home. I don't know anymore than that about it. Today he can't get out of bed so my wife is going there to have medicare get a home health aide to come in to help with his daily needs.

Normally my wife's sister, who lives down the street from her parents, would be doing it. But she has the flu and can't be around them. So my wife is leaving tomorrow to get the paperwork started but I think she is in for a surprise because she has never dealt with something like this before.

changed lanes on the 10 1/2
It is illuminating to look at this plane that I already rehabbed and compare it to what I am doing now.  I can see a few differences and this paint job is first. I was surprised by some things I did on this plane that I left as being done as being good also. It seems as my rehab experience has increased, my skill set it doing individual items in the rehab have increased too.

I do like shiny
I don't think that I spray painted too many planes. Maybe 2 or 3 at the most. I like the look of this enamel paint applied by hand. I am going to repaint the 10 1/2 and I won't be doing the wax on and off dance steps.

I think I can get away with one coat
The 5 1/2 should be ready to be put back together tomorrow. The 10 1/2 may take another day as I found a couple of things that needed attention. The frog had to be touched up with paint in few areas. I don't remember painting it back then, It may need a second coat tomorrow. I also will have to sand the frog face because it looks like I never did it.

typical Harbor Freight crappola
The manual says that this can not be stalled. That is total BS. I can not only stall it, I can stop it dead with very little effort. I slowed it down to nothing applying the brown rouge and did the same buffing a lever cap. As long as I keep this in mind, this will work. I don't anticipate this getting a lot of long term work anyway.

10 1/2 lever cap
I sanded it with 120 and then buffed it with the brown rouge. This is the level of shine that I got.

sanded with 220
I got a better shine with the sandpaper than I did with the buffer. Maybe this is a metal that doesn't like to be worked on a buffer.  I will continue my shining efforts with sandpaper and I'll go up to 400 and call it done with that.

casting pits on this flat
got a bigger one on the opposite flat
I won't be able to sand and feather these out. I'll sand and shine them the best I can and I'll have to live with it.

another comparison
10 1/2 tote and knob compared to my just finished 5 1/2 tote and knob. The 10 1/2 is a light colored rosewood which I like. I will spray a couple of coats of shellac on it and see how it compares then.

Another short night in the shop but I have to help my wife get ready for going to upstate New York tomorrow.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know the standard width of a bowling alley is 41 1/2 inches plus or minus a 1/2 inch, excluding the gutters?

What’s in a Name?

The Furniture Record - Tue, 01/30/2018 - 10:01pm
mule chestnoun                                                              (from various sources) 
low chest with drawers, mounted on a low frame.
A hybrid form of chest, intermediate between a simple chest and a chest of drawers
A chest commonly wider than it is high and deep. A mule chest has drawers in its base and a hinged top, beneath which there are either two short drawers or one long one.
1 – Although strictly speaking a horse/donkey hybrid, the term ‘mule’ is commonly used to designate many hybrids. The term mule chest arose because it is a hybrid with a combination of drawers and a top-flap compartment.
2 – This design of chest was used by peddlers to transport their goods on a mule. The chests were often used in pairs, one on each side of the mule, and the drawers were used for smaller items, while the trunks held cloth and larger items. The peddler could easily gain access to goods in the drawers without unloading the mule, and could thus accost potential customers even when on the move.
There are as many types of mule chests as there are definitions/explanations. Take these two examples from a recent auction.
First, the fancy:

George III Oak Mule Chest


This lot has sold for $420.

Description: Late 18th century, two-part form, top with hinged lid and applied molded edge, interior with two drawers and secret compartment, upper cabinet with two lipped drawers, lower chest with two cock beaded drawers, on straight bracket feet.

Size: 45 x 44 x 22 in.

Condition: Shrinkage cracks and staining to lid; no key; missing locks; later pulls; shrinkage crack to right side of lower case and small chip near waist drawer.

Kinda a mule chest on chest with bracket feet. The upper three drawers are just applied molding and pulls:


Inside, space, not drawers. There are drawers in the till, but they don’t count.

The drawers in the till were a bit stiff so I did not pursue the search for the hidden compartment as aggressively as I might have.


The drawers are dovetailed so it is truly a quality piece.

Then, there is the primitve nailed version:

New England Painted Mule Chest


This lot has sold for $250.

Description19th century, white pine, red wash, remnants of old blue paint to molded lid, two lipped drawers, raised on bootjack feet.

Size: 37 x 37 x 18.5 in.

Condition: Later red wash; top missing hinges; later foot facing to front.

I would show you the inside but there are no hinges and the lid kept falling off. No till. I can show you this ingenious repair of a sort:


Rodent damage a notch for a power cord? You decide.

And the back:


37″ covered by two boards. And the patch.

Notice, as I have pointed out before, the back is unpainted. They really didn’t care what the wall saw. Of course, it could have been dipped, stripped and repainted.


The pulls seem original but I’m no expert.


And, of course, the drawers are dovetailed.

Colonial Williamsburg Working Wood conference

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Tue, 01/30/2018 - 8:50am

I got home yesterday from my trip to Colonial Williamsburg’s Working Wood in the 18th Century conference. Or was it a symposium? This was the 20th year, quite an accomplishment. I had previously attended in 2007; I was especially pleased to be back. Lots of old friends, lots of familiar faces both on stage and in the audience. I took a few lousy photos, but found many on the facebook site from https://www.facebook.com/CWhistorictrades/ – so I “borrowed” many from them. Go to the link to see their whole pile of photos; they got good ones.

First thing I noticed upon loading my gear into the auditorium was that I had left my green wood billets at home. If there is anyplace you can go & expect to get green wood upon asking, Williamsburg is it. One of the carpenters’ crew found me some white oak that was so good that it needed no hewing when I split it. So I showed the camera just how flat the good stuff is when it splits:



The Williamsburg woodworking crowd; Kaare Loftheim, Bill Pavlak, Ted Boscana, Garland Wood, and my old cohort Brian Weldy all had presentations. Here’s Brian & Bill during the tool chest presentation…

And Kaare Loftheim showing the saw till under the lid of a tool chest the crew worked on several years back:

Ted Boscana and his crew of apprentices went through the steps to make some architectural moldings, including some crown/cornice molding. I didn’t get a shot of it, but there was a great demo of the apprentices pulling Ted through the air as he provided the weight to push down on the plane.

Ken Schwartz, the master blacksmith, led a presentation showing through slides and video how a drawknife and axe were made, then he had members of the coopers’ and wheelwrights’ shops briefly show the tools in use. Here’s a shot showing the axe “bit” and the eye/head:

For me, one great highlight was seeing W. Patrick Edwards’ presentation on Sunday morning.

His introductory story about an abrupt change of career early on in his life made me grin from ear to ear. If you get a chance to see Patrick as a presenter, jump. http://wpatrickedwards.blogspot.com/2017/09/the-risk-of-living-as-process-of-life.html

Don Williams de-mystified finishing on Sunday – (yes, it finished with finishing) – Don made it so accessible that I wanted to try some, instead of my usual cop-out linseed oil. http://donsbarn.com/the-barn/  His demonstration of the winding sticks-with-feet was especially good.


Jane Rees is often a fixture at the Williamsburg conference,and it was great to catch up with her again. So many historic tool questions were diverted from the audience to the stage, then down to the front row with “I don’t know, let’s ask Jane”  http://www.reestools.co.uk/books/

Jane understood when she heard I ducked out for half a day to go see eagles on the James River.

and then there was Roy Underhill. Do I have to say anything? Keynote speaker, moderator of a discussion panel, all around helpful schlepping on & off stage, native guide around CW; and poker-of-sacred-cows. When Roy is around, I stick close, because something worth seeing is going to happen.

My presentation was sponsored by EAIA; other sponsors were SAPFM and Fine Woodworking. My thanks to them for helping make it happen.

On any of my southerly trips, I try to get over to see my greatest friends; Heather Neill and her wife Pat. It’s always too much fun in too short a time when we visit. Here’s a sampling of Heather’s work, both painting & writing:  http://heatherneill.com/studio-blog/2017/07/18/in-my-element/ 

Her Instragram is here https://www.instagram.com/hnartisan/

I woke up to this idyllic sight today. Won’t make it to working in the shop today…but tomorrow I will.


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