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General Woodworking

@ Handworks 2017 – Original Roubo Print 273

The Barn on White Run - Thu, 05/11/2017 - 5:46pm

In another of the detailed construction drawing sprinkled throughout L’art du Menuisier Roubo presents Print 273, “Developments [Details] of the Buffet Represented in the Previous Plate.”  Here he shows the precise schematics and cross sections of the assembly and especially the interrelation of the joinery and the moldings used to create a beautiful armoir or buffet.

Like a great many of these pages Roubo both drew the illustration and engraved the printing plate himself.

Due to some staining just inside the left border of the print this one is probably in fair condition, as is reflected in the price.

If you have ever wanted to own a genuine piece of Rouboiana, this is your chance.   I will be selling this print at Handworks on a first-come basis, with terms being cash, check, or Paypal if you have a smart phone and can do that at the time of the transaction.


Don Williams’ Amazing Off-Grid Timber Frame Barn Workshop (Part 3)

Wood and Shop - Thu, 05/11/2017 - 2:31pm
In part three of the above video tour Don Williams takes us into the hand tool woodworking room where he builds furniture and works on other projects. This is where Don Stores his handplanes: Don proudly admits that the interior of his workshop is more functional than scenic. Here are some of

VIDEO: How to Remove White Rings & Haze From Finishes and Furniture

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 05/11/2017 - 11:37am
Removing white ring from furniture

There’s nothing quite as annoying as having a cherished piece of furniture that ends up with a white ring from an errant glass or cup. Many of us end up living with the problem and cursing under our breath, but you don’t have to do that anymore. Josh Klein has the answer. In this short video, part of 10 Essential Furniture Repairs, Josh walks us through the steps to fix […]

The post VIDEO: How to Remove White Rings & Haze From Finishes and Furniture appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Book Review – With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture

Highland Woodworking - Thu, 05/11/2017 - 7:00am

Do you, like me, find hand tool woodworking intriguing? Do you wonder how the old masters went about their work? Are you curious to know what lessons can be applied to today’s practices? If so, With All the Precision Possible is the book you’ve been waiting for.

Andre-Jacob Roubo, 18th century Parisian joiner, wrote many works detailing then-current and past woodworking methods and tools, including his much-celebrated and previously-translated work on marquetry. But for cabinetmakers, this tome contains the material you will most want to devour.

Click here to read more

The post Book Review – With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

A Maestro in Stone

The Barn on White Run - Thu, 05/11/2017 - 6:46am

One of the things about the Allegheny Highlands of Virginia is the abundance of rocks.  Everywhere.  Even when preparing the soil for gardening a roto-tiller is pretty much useless as watermelon-sized (and larger) boulders lurk just under the surface.

On the other hand there is plenty of raw material for masonry and dry-stack stone walls.  Fortunately for us locals there is an artist in stacked stone, DanielH, who, perhaps not coincidentally, has the physique of a power lifter.  We have long noticed a gradual collapse of a retaining wall around the old spring near the cabin, and after being on Daniel’s waiting list the day finally arrived for him and his helper to come and rebuild it.

I’m not sure how well this shows up in photos, but a few short hours of their skilled ministrations and the wall looked a-new.  Not being one to backseat-drive I left them to their work while I was up in the barn.  By the time I came down the hill for lunch they had un-stacked and re-stacked the wall properly.  I do not know how long the previous iteration has been there, but I am pretty sure the new configuration will last for generations.

Not content to leave it at this tiny project we decided to commission him to build a retaining wall leading into the root cellar.   They hand-dug the excavation for that  and will build up the inventory of rocks needed to chisel and fit them into a finished wall in the coming days.

There is something truly impressive about watching a mesomorph balletic-ally  maneuver a nearly half-ton rock delicately into place.

Stay tuned.

Better Glue Joints

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 05/11/2017 - 6:02am

  by Lonnie Bird pages 39-41 From the November 2004 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine Much of woodworking is joinery: An edge-to-edge joint is used to join two or more boards to create a tabletop, dovetails are carefully cut and fit to create a box for a chest of drawers. And the corners of a door frame are joined with a mortise-and-tenon joint. However, whether it’s a simple butt joint or a […]

The post Better Glue Joints appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Craig Thibodeau: A True Woodworking Professional – 360w360 E.231

360 WoodWorking - Thu, 05/11/2017 - 4:10am
 A True Woodworking Professional – 360w360 E.231

In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking we meet Craig Thibodeau and get an insight into what drives this woodworking professional. Along the way we hear marketing ideas and learn the details for his upcoming book (2018).

Join 360 Woodworking every Thursday for a lively discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more). Glen talks with various guests about all things woodworking and some things that are slightly off topic.

Continue reading Craig Thibodeau: A True Woodworking Professional – 360w360 E.231 at 360 WoodWorking.

excitement post pt IV........

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 05/11/2017 - 1:02am
Blogging about making a picture frame is not the most exciting thing in world. For me it is a skill builder because I suck at doing them. I have made some large strides in the skill department making them though. I think the two biggest things I improved on are the miter angles and having the frame corners line up dry. Gluing the frame up still needs some improvement but overall it is much better than what I was doing a year ago.

I had to re-glue 3 corners twice
Fingers crossed here that the frame doesn't pop up off the bench when I take the clamps off.

one corner is slightly off the bench
Yesterday when I clamped this down to the bench, the two corners that didn't have the miter clamps were about an 1" off the bench. So this I'll take.

it looks like it is flat to the workbench
it survived
I dropped the frame onto the workbench from a height around 6-8 inches to test the corners. I did it with my eyes closed. When I opened them I saw this. It is looking like I won't have to glue the last corner again after all.

passed the last test
I shook all four sides one at a time and it is still together. If it is still in one piece after these two tests, I should be able to plane and sand the frame and not worry about it coming apart.

sawing splines
two saw cuts
The spline wouldn't fit in the first saw kerf I made with the carcass saw. That kerf was too thin. I used my sash saw to make it bigger. The kerf is still undersized a little and wedges I sawed won't fit.

worked and didn't work
Trimming these was easy and I could kind of control how much wood I wanted to remove. But these wedges are small, thin, and split into too many pieces when I picked them up. The grain runs from the top to bottom helping these break even more readily.

found a thin scrap of poplar
I had one other problem with the first wedges I did and that was it was too small to fill the kerf side to side. This scrap will do it and I have enough to do all four corners 4 times over if I need to.

I clamped the far end and planed the opposite one with the 4 1/2. I got a slip fit after a few trial checks.

not snug and not loose
I sawed this off and glued it in place. I sawed this first spline slot by eye. On the others I marked lines on either side of the miter to saw down to and I should have done it with this one. Part of the learning curve.

this surprised me a lot
The dry fit of the spline was easy to put in and take out with my fingers. I put hide glue in the kerf and some on the spline and I could only insert the spline about 1/2 way. The spine seized and I could not get it to seat on the bottom of the kerf by pushing on it with my fingers. To seat the spline I had to tap it down with the hammer.

I had to use the hammer on the other 3 splines too. With the hide glue I expected it to act like a lubricant and have the spline slide down into position. I know hide glue grabs and pulls parts together but I didn't expect it to happen so quickly.

I'll trim these tomorrow
I've been thinking about not ebonizing this and just painting it black. The miters aren't perfectly closed up and I'll have the spline ends to deal with too. I'm not sure how the ebonizing will do on them. I will try one application and then go from there.

bottom is done
I got six coats of shellac on the feet and the bottom of the shelf. I'll set this aside for a week or so before I apply the shellac to the rest of bookshelf.

not done yet
This will have to wait until the feet cure out for a while.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Who was the first US President not born in Virginia or Massachusetts?
answer - Andrew Jackson

@ Handworks 2017 – Original Roubo Print 271

The Barn on White Run - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 4:59pm

Throughout L’art du Menuisier Roubo vacillated between grand images of stylistic interpretations to instruct his contemporaries about the nature of beauty and the enterprise of dong so at a nuts-and-bots level.  Today’s offering from my collection, #271, “Various Sorts of Shelves and the Profiles Appropriate for Armoirs,” is definitely in the latter group, as he details the profiles of moldings and further construction details for, not surprisingly given the title of the plate, large clothes storage units.  I was particularly taken with the lattice-weave shelves, optimal for ventilation in the cabinet to prevent staleness.

The page is in very good-to-excellent condition.

The image was drawn by Roubo and he engraved the plate himself.

If you have ever wanted to own a genuine piece of Rouboiana, this is your chance.   I will be selling this print at Handworks on a first-come basis, with terms being cash, check, or Paypal if you have a smart phone and can do that at the time of the transaction.


Bamboo, DynaGlide, and Handworks 2017

Tico Vogt - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 5:00am

Bamboo is now used for the bearing and running surfaces on the Vogt Shooting Board. It is sealed with shellac, followed by Osmo Polyx-Oil, and then wax.






















I use a product called DynaGlide Plus Dry Lube Cleaner to remove metal swarf from the Bamboo Runway and bearing strips. It also lubricates the plane sole and sides. You can see a video here.


 The final step in honing the secondary bevel for my shooting plane irons is to push them into the end grain of a Maple stick charged with 0.5 micron diamond paste and sliding side to side. This ensures that the burr is removed, while not dubbing the edge as stropping might. Shooting end grain puts a premium on having a keen edge.

























I’ve got a good line up of shooting boards ready for Handworks 2017, as well as Planing Stops and Clamp Clips . One is especially adopted for a wood shooting plane that Ron of Brese Plane will have for the event. 





















Barn Courses 2017 Update

The Barn on White Run - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 4:46am


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.

This event is pretty much full, but I could squeeze in somebody who just has to be there.


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.

I still have one space left.

July 24-28  Minimalist Woodworking with Vic Tesolin

This class has been cancelled.  Vic and I are hoping to reschedule it for next summer.


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.

This class has one opening remaining.


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.

This workshop has two openings remaining.

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

Amana Here We Come!

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 4:00am

Were busy packing up the pallets to head to Amana, ready before we are for Handworks 2017. Handworks has a special atmosphere, one that reminds us of the best features of woodworking and living as craftspeople. We dont have a road team, so its always a scramble for us. But its well worth it. We really feel moved to be part of this community and grateful to Jameel and Father John and the rest of the Handworks team for establishing such a meaningful show.

Some of the things were packing: first, we have a new poster! Its a limited edition (100 copies - actually 99 ), three-color silk-screened, 19 x 25 poster, printed on 140 lb paper (very heavy) from the French Paper Company - that is, not from France but rather the French family who have been making paper in Michigan since 1871. Plane spotting is the responsibility of every woodworker, and this poster will help keep you vigilant about which planes are hanging in your shop or house. (the poster isn't on the website yet but will be next week before the show).

Another new addition to our treasure chest: spoon carving knives from Ben and Lois Orford. Periodically people ask me about the future of woodworking, and one aspect of woodworking that is growing ever more popular is spoon carving. Newcomers to woodworking are learning what veteran woodworkers know: Its wonderful to use your hands and craft something useful out of wood. And lets be fair, greenwood is much more forgiving than hardwoods, and a spoon project is much faster than a highboy. Orford tools have a wide global following, and we are the only place in the US to sell Orford sloyd and crook knives. Well also be bringing spoon carving knives and froes by Ray Iles. We like to offer you choices!

Well also be bringing lots of our most popular tools - Gramercy Tools holdfasts, saws, saw vises, hardware store saws, and finishing supplies, T shirts (a customer with already owns one of our Gramercy T shirts came by today to buy a shirt for his buddy and another one for himself, and declared, This is the best T shirt ever.), and more.

Amana here we come!

Scything Handbook review in The Allotment magazine

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 1:49am
A side-by-side review of the scything books currently on the market - which will you choose? Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

picture frame part III........

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 12:59am
After tonight's work it is looking like there is going to be a few more parts to this before I get it to the picture framer. Even if I could have done more, it still would have been a short day in the shop. My wife is coming home tonight and I want to cook something for her that she can warm up in the nuker. I'll be long dead in the bunky when she rolls in and I know she'll be hungry. I'll catch up with her on wednesday.

new torture test
I thought of this as I was carrying it from the tablesaw to the workbench. Can the frame withstand the shock of being dropped onto the bench from a height of about 12"?

no it can not
Repeated the dance steps from last night except I had two corners to glue this time. What are the odds that the remaining one will pop apart tomorrow?

setting up until tomorrow
 With the two corners clamped the two opposite ones decided to raise up off the bench. I clamped them down and I'll have to check this out tomorrow. A twisted frame will put me back to square one.

walnut bookshelf
Whenever I do projects that require finish on the bottom they usually get dirty. They get that way because I don't allow sufficient time for the finish to cure there. I am going to try something different here. I am going to apply the finish to the bottom and then let it cure for a few days before I flip it and do the rest of it.

went overboard
I got three coats of a 1 lb cut on this except for the top of the sides. I kept on going because after I got the feet done I wanted to see how the sides would look with finish on them. All the little weird looking areas are gone and I don't think they will be a problem now.

made a pit stop at the post office
This was easy - went in and grabbed a box and left. No interaction with the clerks at all or having to wait in line. And I have plenty of packing material from things I and the wife have bought in the last few weeks. I will pack up the #2 and bring it to the post office on saturday to ship it out.

Jim Bode emailed me twice today. Once to tell me that he another 5 1/2 coming in and he would send pictures of it. He also told me that the 5 1/2 that had 'damaged' stamped on it had sold.  Four hours later he emailed me again saying he had found the 5 1/2 I ordered originally. It was found on another shelf and he shipped it out to me today. It is looking like I can scratch this one off the list and concentrate on getting a #2 and a #10.

Time to go cook some chicken breasts.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is a rhykenologist?
answer - someone who collects wooden planes

@ Handworks 2017 – Original Roubo Print # 263

The Barn on White Run - Tue, 05/09/2017 - 4:45pm

One of the most interesting things to me about these prints from L’art du Menuisier is Roubo’s depiction of how things are put together, such as the working mechanism of a tamboured roll top desk.  Print #263, “Further Developments of Roll-Top Desks and Other Writing Tables” illustrates the assembly of a coil-spring-driven roll-top desk and the manner in which the tambours are retracted and released.  I just think this is cool.

As with some of the other prints from my selection this one is a tiny bit askew as the copper plate and the page margins were not perfectly aligned, an artifact of hand-printing I find charming.  The page is in very good-to-excellent condition.

The image was drawn by Roubo and he engraved the plate himself.

If you have ever wanted to own a genuine piece of Rouboiana, this is your chance.   I will be selling this print at Handworks on a first-come basis, with terms being cash, check, or Paypal if you have a smart phone and can do that at the time of the transaction.


Casework Joinery Reference Graphic

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Tue, 05/09/2017 - 8:52am

I had to duck under a retired diving flag that indicated a low beam under the oldest part of what is now our 140-year-old farmhouse, as I followed the seller during a walk-through. Lit by a couple of buzzing fluorescent fixtures, he showed me the remains of his workshop that he had mostly given away in preparing the house for sale. What was left was a wall of fasteners – old coffee […]

The post Casework Joinery Reference Graphic appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

The Madcap Woodwright: Getting Comfy in Your Shop

Highland Woodworking - Tue, 05/09/2017 - 7:35am

One of the first things that drew me to woodworking was the high school shop. Not the fact that I was taking “shop class” really, more the shop space itself. It was a large room with the machines and several “team” work benches. (large, square benches that had a vise on each of the four sides.) It had windows on the east side of the room, high up on the wall, that let the morning sunlight in and warmed the room nicely. It also had a couple of old Sansui speakers up on the high wall and a receiver in Mr. Rauh’s office that he had hooked up to a Walkman tape player. Between the smell of the wood, the natural light, the music, and the warmth of the sun, the place was an absolute oasis for me.

As I progressed in my career, I have worked in small shops with one or two other guys, bad light, and the need for super human physical flexibility in order to get any work done. I have also worked in CNC driven shops that had what seemed to be miles of floor space and many computer driven machines that spit out cabinet parts and MDF or particle board dust.

During my journeymanship, I often dreamed about what my own shop would be like were I able to actually put one together for myself. I knew I wanted to try to recreate the feel I got from my wood shop experience in school, but on a smaller scale. I also knew that it had to be a welcoming and pleasing place to come to.

As woodworkers, much of what we do flows from a culmination of what comes from our mind, our gut, and our hands. At least, that’s how I imagine it. Because of this, I think that we are often times affected, for good or ill, by the environment we choose to work in.

Now, I realize that for the vast majority of woodworkers the shop space is often limited by what basement space or garage space is available. My own circumstances are no exception.

With that caveat though, I submit that as woodworkers we owe it to ourselves to pay close attention to how our space feels when we are in it. In my opinion, the vibe and personality of the shop space is at least as important as what machines or hand tools we collect to put in it. The shop needs to be a comfortable place, lest our ability to work wood fearlessly be hampered.

So then, let’s take a look at some things that contribute to what makes my shop, “The Tiny Shop,” comfortable to me.

Disclaimer: I do not intend to give the impression that I feel that the attributes of The Tiny Shop are the end – all and be – all of a soulful shop. I assure you that I am not so brash as to assume that I have ANY of the answers, let alone ALL of the answers when it comes to cultivating a shop’s personality. I only wish to share my own experience in the hope that it may resonate with someone out there.

The Tiny Shop is actually the latest in a collection of shops that I have been fortunate enough to put together. I have helped others stand their own shops up, helped employers set up, start, and run their business, and had one other shop that was my very own prior to a “parting of the ways” in my previous marriage.

When putting my shop together I had a pretty small canvas to paint on. It is an old, brick, one car garage that came with the house that my wife and I purchased a few years ago. In terms of real estate, it lays out to around 250 sqft. Not a lot of space for a 6ft 3in, 260 pound man to move around in without some contortions and bruised thighs.

The silver lining though, is that it forced me to be realistic about the scale and type of work that I would be able to produce from this shop. There will be no large entertainment centers or banquet tables fashioned here. At least not with the ability to dry fit them and assemble them in their totality. I suppose if push were to come to shove I could build a larger scale item in sections, and trust that my measurements were accurate enough for the thing to be assembled successfully in the field. Thankfully, I have not had to test this theory as I have limited myself to working on free standing chests of drawers, small tables and boxes and other pieces that are of appropriate size for the limitations of The Tiny Shop.

I have found that this coming to terms with my shop’s limitations has proved profoundly important to my level of comfort in, and enjoyment of, my shop.

One of my main goals in putting The Tiny Shop together was to do so with aesthetics and comfort in mind. I wanted to be able to call the shop “my happy place.” I wanted to be sure that the time I spent in it was as enjoyable as possible and I wanted to eliminate as many discomforting distractions as I possibly could. It makes my experience much more enjoyable and rewarding to be able to shut out everything else but the task at hand.

To that end, I chose to leave the walls mostly bare. With so little space in a shop like this, the natural go-to is to mount plywood or OSB to the walls so that shelves or hooks or other means of storing tools is made more easy.

I like the brick. It stays cool in the summer…for the most part…and helps keep a modicum of heat inside during the winter. Plus, it looks cool. Having the brick naked gives me something of a “loft-like” feeling in my shop. It feels a little more soulful, and provides me with a little less sterile feeling than that of OSB or drywall clad walls.

My shop’s limited footprint also dictated the need to be thoughtful about my choice of tooling. With more square footage, I am quite sure I would have found a way to stuff a full sized planer, an 8″ ‘Pot belly’ vintage Delta jointer, a lathe, a shaper and far more powerful dust collection with collection drops at each dust making machine.

In the case of The Tiny Shop though, I only had a couple of things I was unwilling to compromise on. I wanted a full sized cabinet saw. Providence smiled on me and dropped a 1946 Delta Unisaw in my lap at a price that…well…was a downright steal. So a Unisaw was adopted as the first tool in my machine arsenal.

Next, a good jointer, planer, band saw, sliding mitre saw, and some sort of dust collection. All of which were selected for their quality of build, and their compact size. Knowing I would be building a rather large workbench (later adding a second of nearly equal proportions) I needed to buy machines that would provide a high level of accuracy as well as allow for ease of movement in the shop and the ability to stow them when not in use.

Lighting was another priority. Since my woodworking tends to be something of a hybrid of machine and hand tool, I wanted there to be good, bright yet warm lighting in the shop. I know fluorescent lights are normally the standard in a shop setting, both for their lumens per square foot as well as their economy, but I absolutely detest the quality of the light produced by traditional shop lights.

So I compromised a little bit. I picked up 9 or 10 “dish lights” cheap and clipped them to the exposed rafters in my shop. In them, I use those twisty fluorescent light bulbs. For my needs in such a small shop, it seems to fit the bill for the time being, the quality of the light being nearly as friendly as incandescent bulbs.

Since I spend so much time on my feet in the shop, I soon decided that some sort of matting needed to be used to ease the strain of standing on cement all day. I found some inexpensive foam mats, like the kind you can link together in a child’s play area, at one of the local hardware store on sale. Perfect. Now my tired tootsies would get a break, and I could pad about in style and comfort. The added benefit being that the padding provides a bit of protection to wayward Sheffield steel blades rolling off my bench.

For the most part the shop is fully outfitted. Truth be told, there really is no where to add any further freestanding machines even if I wanted to. So all that was left was to develop my flow of work and to begin the ever evolving methods of working wood in my shop. The flow has evolved as a natural outgrowth of my incessant need for a well thought out plan of procedure. (Insert heartfelt nod to my former shop teacher Don Rauh here). Because I plan out each step of my build process for a given piece, I can also manipulate the order of the procedures to be accomplished to best fit the layout of the shop.

By and large, there is very little that I am finding to be all that difficult to build in this space so long as I adhere to my stated limitations. This is especially so when I have good weather and can open the two main doors and also include the great outdoors as part of my square footage.

In taking the time to develop an image of how I wanted my shop to look and feel, in taking the time to imagine how work would flow through it, I feel as though I have been able to build an efficient and comfortable place that allows me to freely explore woodworking as well as to efficiently work through paying projects that come in.

It is adequately powered, has very high quality tooling, and has a personality that encourages as well as provides for fearless woodworking. Until such time as it makes fiscal sense to either add on or build a new shop, this space is comfortable and welcoming.

To other woodworkers out there I submit to you that your work space should be pleasing to the eye as well as to the bottom line. Make the place comfortable, easy to clean, and distinctly your own. Take the time to sit in it and just look around once in awhile. I suspect you will find yourself puttering here, and readjusting there, remembering that bit of maintenance that you wanted to do to the table saw, or that little pile of scrap bits that needed to be gone through and either discarded or squirreled away. All these little “putterings” are a way of making the space your own.

Also, in my case at least, this personalizing of the shop seems to continue beyond initial setup. Sometimes the originally imagined layout needs to be rearranged and tweaked in order to develop sound work flow and to maximise comfort. Never be discouraged from making large, wholesale changes. Just be sure that they add to the comfort and add to the shops personality. You will thank yourself later.

I love comments, feedback and any discussion. These are always welcome. I can be reached at:

And, as always, remember to work wood fearlessly and with joyful abandon.

The post The Madcap Woodwright: Getting Comfy in Your Shop appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

You Never Know Where A Small Job Might Lead!

The Barn on White Run - Tue, 05/09/2017 - 4:45am

Recently I was contacted by JoeM about his newly acquired vintage Studley-era piano maker’s workbench.  His own eloquence suffices to tell the tale, although I edited it a touch for privacy and continuity and to format it since he wrote me multiple long missives on a (non-smart) cell phone.

I have found a piano makers work bench from Boston 1866.  It has the wheel vices, is 33 by 77 inches. The vice was shimmed with the makers committee member cards, from the Boston city council.

I also found a memo from Hallet and Davis 1891 setting the rates of pay for the piano makers.  It has six drawers and three smaller drawers inside, which are covered by a pull down front.  It has all the dogs.  

The end vice has a dog that passes through and slides.  

It also has a hidden pull cord that locks the drawers by a cool mechanism in back.

Anyway, I’m a carpenter who was lucky enough to find this bench in the cellar of a home in Springfield Ma.  I traded the bench for a 400 dollar job at the house.  I quickly called my friend who is an antique tool collector and described the bench.  He offered me 1000 dollars with out seeing it.  He finally told me what it was, and said hes only seen two such benches in 50 years of collecting!  

So the lady I traded for said it was her grandfathers, born in 1859.  She said it had been in a few businesses  around Springfield,one being Hampden Brewery, before it was returned to her, I really don’t want to ask her any more about the history in case this thing is valuable and wants it back.  Right now the bench is in my living room where I study it.  I seem to find something new each day.  

I’m glad I read your article of furniture conservation as I started doing minor repairs.  I glued a few cracks on the back side, but now will wait till further investigation.  I did not know what a science it was.    

One vise was attached to the bench and one was on the floor.  Strangely the one on the floor was fine, the one on the bench was repaired. Some one must have dropped it.  The vice face was snapped off and welded on, and get this BACKWARDS !!   So the big Question is do I get it repaired?   My best friend is the best machinist I’ve ever seen.  He does incredible things with steel.

The two bottom drawers have different pulls than the top five.They don’t look original to me, and they have been painted gold.

Back to the history, the cards shimming the vise (had to take it off to move it) were in remarkable condition.  The name I traced was Jairus A Frost.  He had two different street addresses on two different cards, suggesting the passage of time pointing to him as owner.  Some where in the Boston records I found his occupation listed as piano maker.  A friend of mine found an article in a news paper that said he was in the Boston Benefit Society.  The cards say Committee of Relief, address 38 Porter St and 484 Washington St, Boston.  One card lists him as vice-president January 1866 to 1877.  There must be more info on Jairus, I mean I found this info with my meager computer skills.

Note: I laid my Sabilla level corner to corner and it is dead flat at 162 years old.  

My wife hopes the bench is worth a ton, but I don’t, I want to keep it if I can.  Will send pics as soon as I can get my daughter to do it.

Joe and I spoke on the phone for a good, long time, and it was a delight on many levels.  I gave him some advice on the care and restoration of it, and the last time I heard from him he was going to keep it.

Great story, Joe!

partial joy in Mudville........

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 05/09/2017 - 1:05am
I have the proverbial good news, bad news situation. And the good news is good but not super and the bad news isn't all bad neither. The good news is about the Stanley #2 and the not so bad news is about the certificate frame. All in all pretty good all around.

I was a wee bit jittery when I came home tonight because I wasn't sure what to expect with the frame. Whenever I make a mitered frame I always shake the crap out of it. I do every single side and I shake it like I stuck a wet finger in 220 volt outlet. My last frame didn't survive the first leg. I was hoping I would do better this time.

still flat on the bench
The clamp at the right in the middle was to keep the frame from moving as I clamped the corners. When I popped it off the frame was still flat on the bench. Good sign #1. Good sign #2 was the frame still was together after I took off the four miter clamps. Good sign #3 was the frame passing the shake test on sides 1 and 2.  One corner opened up on shake test with side #3.

I do this shaking test to ensure the frame is sound. If it can make it pass me shaking the crap out of it, it will make it to hanging on the wall.

the open corner
As luck would have I used hide glue on this. I warmed some up and put some on both sides of the miter. I clamped it and put it to set up on the tablesaw. Looks like one more day before I get to play some more with this. I have to saw splines for the corners and make a rabbet for the glass and matting to come.

my #2
She is a pretty looking plane in spite of the problems. The rosewood tote and low knob look great. This hasn't dampened my desire to get another #2. The outsides were sanded up to 320 and I stopped there.

the sole looks good which is confusing
I have a hump in this but when I sanded it I didn't get any indications of that. Can't explain that without getting a headache.

Patrick Leach answered my Email to him today and I was very much surprised by it. Instead of reading I had played with it and I owned it, and said he would take it back. Not only did he write and say he would take back the #2, he said I could also return the 10 1/2 that I had bought from him. I think he must have read my blog post on my woes with the #2 because I didn't mention the 10 1/2 in my email to him at all.

I wrote him back saying I would get the #2 back to him sometime this week but I was keeping the 10 1/2. I've been following his monthly for sale lists for years now and I don't believe that he knowingly put the 10 1/2 up for sale knowing it was repaired. He puts repaired tools up for sale all the time and always makes note it.

Him taking the #2 back and then offering to take back the 101/2 makes him a stand up guy in my eyes.  A lot of people I know say that his prices are high but I don't think so. I think that they are in line with other tool mongers I visit. I saw a #2 (type 13), with high knobs for $195 and another #2 that looked like a rusty door stop for $300 (he said it was a pre-lateral #2). I picked this one from Pat for $215 because I have bought so many other good tools from him. Maybe I'll get lucky and he'll have another #2 on June's sale list. Even after this I wouldn't hesitate to buy from him again.

So the saga with the #2 ends here. No more trying to bring this back to user status. I also lost out on the 5 1/2. I got an email today from Jim Bode saying that he can't find the plane so he gave me a refund. He has another 5 1/2 but he says it has damaged stamped on it. I thought about getting it but I don't want to take a chance on it. So the hunt continues for a #2, #5 1/2, and a #10.

still not done
I still can't bring myself to put plastic hands on this. I didn't spend much time in the shop tonight so I thought I would do this. It didn't happen again tonight. I looked at it for a few and said no again.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
How much does the Oscar statuette weigh?
answer - 8 1/2 pounds

Somerset Scythe Festival Courses 2017

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Mon, 05/08/2017 - 1:32pm
Somerset scythe festival 2017 Details of the masterclass and beginners scythe courses at this years Somerset Scythe Festival The Continue reading
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