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General Woodworking

Cut Flat Dados on a Round Surface: Tricks of the Trade

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 1:00pm

I needed to cut stopped grooves on a round surface – and while I could have cut them on the stock while it was square, then proceed to turn it on the lathe, I didn’t want to worry about catching my turning gouge on a groove and causing tearing out (or worse). So, after considering (then rejecting) some kind of router jig, I figured out a way to use my […]

The post Cut Flat Dados on a Round Surface: Tricks of the Trade appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Book Review: Mortise & Tenon, Issue #3

Highland Woodworking - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 8:00am

We are excited to present the highly anticipated third issue of Mortise & Tenon Magazine! Here’s a snippet of what Norm Reid had to say about it:

As with the previous two issues, I was thrilled when Issue No. 3 of Mortise & Tenon Magazine recently arrived in my mailbox. In part, my delight was due to the intriguing photo of a handheld drawknife on the cover. But even more, it was from anticipating the 10 articles that lay within. Enhanced by a wealth of beautiful photography and drawings and delightfully laid out, the issue promised a feast for the eyes as well as for the mind. It did not disappoint.

Click here to read the rest of Norm’s review

Click here to purchase your own copy of Mortise & Tenon

The post Book Review: Mortise & Tenon, Issue #3 appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

over confident.......

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 10/24/2017 - 12:41am
It happens now and then and it always bites you on the arse. Even if you had done this same procedure a 100 times before, the one moment of of inattention will make you feel like a rookie. Sometimes the mistake made is recoverable and other times it isn't. Then there are the times where you are, or think, you are paying attention and you still end up with garbage. Utter disbelief  washes over you as you are gob smacked and don't understand how this could have happened to you.

This is what happened to me tonight. I sawed the lid off of the new 140 box and got crap for my efforts. I went into it with an over loaded boat of confidence. I had just sawn off a lid last week and I am pretty good following a line. So doing this one should be old hat. Well sports fans, I didn't make it out of the on deck circle. More news on this adventure with pics later on in this post.

the original 140 box
I cleaned this one up first and no problems being over confident doing it. I tend to take my time cleaning the dovetails and I'm mindful of tearing out and blowing out. I will have to think of a way of closing in the bottom and doing something for a lid. But that won't be happening tonight.

made it tight
I made the long side a wee bit more than the plane. I had intended to put the fence in a block of wood with a hole in it. That is what drove the height of the box. But while I was making it I didn't like the proportions nor the look. I was going to make this with the lid and bottom installed and then saw it apart. But I also didn't like my alternatives for making the grooves for the lid and bottom along with the lid dado in a dovetailed box. Mitered boxes are made for that, not dovetailed ones.

checking for twist
The bottom, or the top, was twist free. The opposite one had a slight twist that I planed out. I set this side until later in the week.

new 140 box
Miters at the top and bottom look ok. No gaps and the seams look consistent.

these two side miters look the best

the #3 miter
This looks to be worse than it is. All the brown goo is hide glue that stuck to the toes that had a bit a feathering.

#4 I think is slightly open
I won't know for sure until I plane and clean up the sides.

let the hubris overflow
Marked my line all around and commenced sawing. Thinking back on this, I made my first mistake here. I didn't start right on the corner and saw down on both the short and long sides. When I finally did saw on both, I didn't look on the short side to see if I was following the line. I wasn't.

how did I manage to saw a slight curve?

crappy saw cut at the corner
I corrected for this and I noticed that all my errant saw cuts tended to go the right. I was too complacent about this even after I made my first mistake.
another humpty doo
Unfortunately for me, most of the divots and corrections that I'll have to plane out occurred in the lid. There isn't much meat there that I can plane off because of the dado on the inside bottom.

planed the high spots first
After I got the high spots knocked down I started flushing the lid. I also had to plane a bit deep to remove one bad saw cut. Once I got a continuous shaving all around I stopped.

twist free
It took a couple of dance steps of plane and check before I got the green light. The bottom is done and it's on to the top.

the lowest side on the lid
If I plane the other 3 sides down to this low side I won't have much of a lip dado to capture the lid on the bottom. I am a frog hair shy of a 1/8" to plane to even things out if I go that way.

taking a different tack
I planed some of this low side to make it straighter and remove some of  the dip just off center to the right. The plan is to glue a filler strip to it and maybe call it done.

another hiccup
I will have plane this saw cut and on the opposite short side, I have hump there to remove.  I planed the lid even and straight all around. I planed all the boo boos straight and square on this and stepped back to evaluate the next move.

I'll be gluing on new filler strips around the whole box
first strip glued and cooking
The plan is to glue this one on and let it set up for 20 minutes or so. Then I'll glue on a second one and let that set for 20 minutes and repeat until all four on glued on.

accidental woodworking

trivia corner
What are you doing if you are abseiling?
answer - rappelling a cliff face

Steam-bending Oak in the Kitchen

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 6:58pm

As Christopher Schwarz posted on his blog, Brendan Gaffney and I are in Maryland for a chair class with Larry Barrett (along with Chris, Narayan Nayar and Sean Thomas); Larry is teaching us to make chairs a la Jennie Alexander’s in “Make a Chair from a Tree” (with some minor variations). Today, we split out the back posts from red oak (and some punishing black oak…with which I ended up) […]

The post Steam-bending Oak in the Kitchen appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

three books I’ve been meaning to show here

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 6:43pm

It’s been a long time since I wrote about any books I’ve been studying. Since my museum career ended, my book habit has slowed way down. For 2 reasons, no steady paycheck and fewer research-related works. But there are still books coming in now & then. Here’s three, no particular order, no particular relationship between them. Just good books.

I have lots of field guides to birds, and get on with them just fine. But for trees, I have always struggled. I picked this one up some time ago, but have just never got to writing about it. “Bark: A Field Guide to Trees of the Northeast” by Michael Wojtech. Published by University Press of New England, 2011. So it’s not new, just new to me last year sometime. It’s excellent. Just about the bark, some leaf shapes, range of where the tree is found, that sort of thing.



A page spread showing white oak (Quercus alba L.) Wojtech shows us 6 different views of white oak bark: young, mature, mature & old, diseased

His book helped me sort out the spoon-mad fascination with all birches. This one is paper birch; (Betula papyrifera) aka white birch or canoe birch. What I thought was white birch around here is really gray birch (Betula populifolia) also, confusingly, called white birch or wire birch.  Neither of which are to be confused with yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis) – sometimes confusingly called, gray birch or silver birch! Then, there’s black birch (Betula lenta L.) sometimes called sweet birch, which makes sense due to the smell, but listed as well is the name cherry birch. That’s just stupid. It’s like calling something maple oak. Anyway, this is a good tree book. Says me.


This next one is a nostalgic book for me in many ways. I was lucky enough to get to know Victor Chinnery. He was a great friend, and my native guide to English oak furniture. I will always fondly remember the trips I made with Vic travelling around to churches and other collections in England so he could show me what I needed to know to put the New England furniture I knew so well into context. His wife Jan spent some years working to get his period terminology glossary finished after his death, and it was published a year or two ago. “Names for Things: A Description of Household Stuff, Furniture and Interiors, 1500-1700” by Victor Chinnery. Published by Oblong Press, 2016. If I still did museum work or regular research this book would never be on the shelf.

There’s an illustrated introduction that runs about 15 pages, a foreword by Jan, some notes on using the glossary. Some illustrations from Randle Holme’s Academy of Armory 1688. Then about 240 or more pages the glossary.

So not a picture book, not a page-turner. But a resource and reference book that for material culture folks should be on their list of must-have books.

The next one is a picture book. Especially for me, as I don’t read Swedish. Last year, I traveled some in Sweden, and Jogge Sundqvist showed me so many great things my head exploded. When I got home, I wanted to know more about Swedish furniture history. So I asked him what one book would be the best to have. This is it. Published in 1938.

It’s something like Popular Furniture Culture in Swedish areas/districts…filled with great drawings, diagrams of the house’s floor plans and elevations, and photo after photo of furniture, grouped according to form. Here’s a type of bench I saw here and there in museums. The top/back flips over so you can sit facing this way, then flip it & face the other way.

I saw numerous trestle tables that knocked out any of the English or New England ones I know. Here’s a half-page of sketches for trestle table shapes. These are all from one area, Darlana.


These large cupboards in form look reminiscent of Dutch or English examples. The one on the right has no blank space of any size. Painted, carved, moldings, turnings. Frame & panel. All feels perfectly familiar.

These chairs are 16th & 17th century. Combination of joined and turned.

More trestle tables.

There’s several tipped-in color plates, like this cupboard dated 1670.

Besides which, it’s a very nicely-produced book. I’d say look in international used book sites for it. I googled it just now, and found an auction that had ended and it was only 45 euros or so. I think I paid $100 for it, something like that…well worth it. here, I found it for you –


My last book review-type post was just over a year ago, fresh back from Sweden. But it includes Victor Chinnery’s Oak Furniture book’s new edition:

Finishing Workshop @ CW – Spirit Varnish Pad Polishing (a/k/a “French” polishing)

The Barn on White Run - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 3:38pm

One of the exercises that raised the most eyebrows was the practice of pad polishing a shellac varnish over the beeswax grain filler.  The molten beeswax was flowed onto the mahogany surface and allowed to cool, then scraped off with plexiglass scrapers that were polished to a crisp square edge.  Historically this task would have been accomplished with metal blades embedded in wooden handles, but the plexi works perfectly and is easier to obtain.

The first step in pad polishing was to make a pad, using cotton wadding as the core, wrapped with flexible bandaging, all combined into a golfball-sized sphere.  This core remains the heart of the pad for many years, only the outer linen or muslin sheath is replaced as needed.

With the pads finished and the cores charged with <1 lb. shellac varnish, the padding began in earnest s the building up stage was underway.  I think some of the participants touched the face of the pad with a small bit of mineral oil on their finger tip to lubricate the process and make it easier to rub.

Before too long the shine of a padded surface began appearing all over the place.


As I recall everyone took a break once the varnish deposit was pretty substantial, yielding a shiny surface that was too soft to work further.  After a couple hours’ wait allowing the solvent to flash off and the varnish to firm up, they were back at it.

By the end of the day there was all kinds of shiny filling the shop.  For the Hay Shop crew this was a familiar process, but I believe for the crews from the gunsmith, wheelwright, and joiners shops this might have been new territory.

Washington Campaign Desk, Day 2

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 2:00pm

This past Sunday afternoon I began day 2 of the Washington Campaign Desk project. The main objective was to get the legs sawn to finish length and width along with the cleats to attach it to the desk top, the secondary objective was to get the desk top planed flat. If everything was working at optimal level I even considered getting the rabbets cut for the breadboard ends. Happily, I at least got the first two items on the list checked off.

To start, on Friday night I got the desktop sawn to final size (minus the breadboards) 40 inches. I then ripped one of the boards I had prepped last week into 4 strips, 2 ¾ inches wide and 6 ft long. Those boards were to be used for the breadboard ends and the 4 legs. So on Sunday afternoon I first chose the nicest board and cut that to the rough lengths needed for the breadboard ends. I then got to work on the legs.

The legs turned into a bit of a challenge. Cutting the angles was not really much of an issue as I simply used the cardboard template I made, but working around some of the knot holes and defects was a bit more difficult, or at the least time consuming. I basically hemmed and hawed for 15 minutes trying to lay out the cuts in such a way as to utilize the best parts of the boards, and then I got to sawing with the table saw.

The table saw work went quickly; after a few test cuts to set the angle of the legs, I had them sawn to length along with the cleats in a matter of minutes. But there was a minor drawback; in choosing the best aspects of the boards, I was forced to shorten the overall height of the desk from 29 inches to just over 28 inches, which I can certainly live with, in particular if that is the worst thing that happens during this project.

After the legs were sawn to length, I ripped them to just over their final width: 2 ¼ inches, as I will use a hand plane to finish them.. I then did a few test layouts using the template and so far everything looks good. Once that was all finished I turned to the desk top, where I discovered a minor issue.

IMG_2801 (002)

The legs and cross braces are sawn to length

When I glued up the two boards to make the desktop I wanted to remove any of the sapwood that I could, and I thought that I had. But at the seem there is a very fine line of sapwood that I honestly hadn’t noticed. Initially I thought it was just a bit of glue that had seeped through when the boards were clamped, unfortunately I was wrong. But, I am not going to worry about it. These boards are old and have a lot of “character”, so going in I knew that I was not going to end up with a French Polish level of refinement. But I did get the top planed to where I wanted it, using the jack plane and smooth plane. On that note, in cases like this I use the jack plane very much like a smooth plane to take fine shavings. The Walnut planed nicely, and I can live with the results.

IMG_2800 (002)

The planing has begun…

Before I called it a day I gave the underside a quick plane as well. As I had mentioned in the prior post, the glue up went smoothly, so the panel was nearly flat to begin with, and really only needed some touch up work. While I had the desktop flipped over I added some epoxy to a knot that had developed a small crack, just in case. Lastly, I got to cleaning up the garage. It wasn’t too late, so I probably could have made an attempt at the breadboard ends, but I didn’t want to push the matter; I’m in no rush.

Next weekend, my goal is to complete the breadboard ends, and quite possibly assemble the base. If I manage to get the breadboard ends finished I will give the entire top a quick once over with a plane and possibly start sanding. Once I do that I can get to work on the base assembly. Initially I was a little worried about the base, but I figured out a very simple method to attach the legs accurately that should allow me to get to the fun part: the desk top cubby.

Categories: General Woodworking

Further Insights into Harris Lebus Sideboard

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 9:20am

The November 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine features a reproduction of a sideboard made in 1903 by the English furniture manufacturing company Harris Lebus. I built this sideboard based on drawings I’d made in 2007 from measurements of an original owned by some acquaintances. Having had a chance to visit that same original sideboard recently, I thought readers would be interested in gaining further insights and seeing details of […]

The post Further Insights into Harris Lebus Sideboard appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

saw filing and a new 140 box.....

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 10/23/2017 - 1:12am
Ran around this morning early and got all my errands done. I had to wait till 0800 because that is when most places open for business. Got my gas, food for the pie hole, and a wood run to Lowes finished it for today. Getting the errands done early left the rest of the day to do what I wanted. And that was filing the small rip saw and making a different box to stow the 140 block plane in.

Had a bit of scare when it came time to upload my pics today. I almost had an involuntary bowel movement when I saw the pic count was 349. I knew I had taken a few but this made me do a double take to make sure what I thought I saw was what was there. I must of pushed the wrong button somewhere, somehow and didn't realize it. I had to delete almost 300 pictures. And I had to go through all 349 deleting all the ones I didn't want. That ate up the better part of an hour.

quiet time work, ie before the wife wakes up
Glued it up with hide glue. I had two tails that wouldn't seat all the way so I put clamps on those. I set this aside until tomorrow. This won't be used as the 140 blockplane box. It is too tall and I found another way to stow the plane.

drew a sharpie line
I found the lowest gullet on the saw and used that as my low spot to get all the other teeth to.

these teeth are the lowest
added working on toolbox to the list
The paint has had plenty of time to set up so I'm going to put on a couple coats of shellac today and next week I'll put on few coats of poly.

using my new saw donkeys with the spacers
topside of the dolly - no sagging at all
look see at that bottom - I forgot to post these pics when I made it
dust and dirt
Paint attracts dirt and dust like magnet does iron filings. It is hard to dust or wipe it off. That is why I'm putting on the shellac and poly.

bought a 1x12 to make a new bench hook
got a 12' tape for Miles toolbox
old bench hook - almost sawed completely through it - and I used both sides
last side I used
wiped down with a damp rag - I'll work on other things while this dries
filed the teeth
The plan was to file the teeth from the heel to the toe and then joint them. This way after the jointing I would still have something to guide me when I filed the teeth again.

this is what I started with
jointing the tooth line
The shine on the heel is what I've filed/jointed already. I stopped jointing when the low teeth had their tops flattened by the file.

stopped here
If I thought this through correctly, when I file the teeth on either side of this, I should end up with them the same height.

got my first filing done after jointing
It took me about 15 minutes to file from the heel to the toe. I gave each tooth 3 swipes with the file regardless of their shape, height, etc.

not perfect but better
Before I filed this I had a big dip in the middle of the saw. That is gone and I am kind of straight but there are a few sections of teeth that are high and low.

new teeth filed
After the initial run of 3 swipes I went back and filed again. This time I looked at the teeth tops and filed those until the flat was gone.

second filing run done
I have no more flats but my teeth aren't consistent.

I'm going to road test it as is
rough looking but this is pine and it sawed very easy
not sure I did any good on improving this
I filed this again trying to even out the height/uneven teeth in the tooth line. There are a few spots where the tops are low and other spots where the teeth look like crap. After the last filing I conceded that I was pissing into a head wind with this. I did some things right and some wrong. The bottom line is the tooth line isn't even but I'm not discouraged at all. This is a skill that is going to take a while to master and maybe I shouldn't have tried this as one my first attempts at saw sharpening.

I improved the end of the toe
This is a good shot of the crappy tooth line. I had a hard time seeing and focusing on what I was filing. I did it mostly by feel moving the file from one tooth gullet to the next. I didn't look at a lot of the teeth as I filed them. Maybe that was a rookie mistake.

the middle of the saw where the big dip was
I did good on this aspect of the sharpening. The rest will come a little bit slower.

making a new shooting board
can I do this?
I thought I would be clever and offset the cleats on each end. That way as I use up one side, I can flip it over and use the other side. Good idea but it won't work. This side is set for a right handed woodworker (me). Flip it over to the other side and it is set for a left handed woodworker (not me or Miles).

the old shooting board
I will save this and cut it up to make glue sticks. There will be a lot of waste but it is better than just tossing it in the shit can.

sawing out a base for the 140 blockplane
cutout for the fence
Went with stowing the plane flat with the fence attached. Doing it this way means I don't have to make a tall box for the fence. Had to use 3/4" stock for the base because of the size of the fence. I made knife line with the marking gauge and followed that up with the japanese saw. This saw is made for making internal saw cuts - rip or crosscut.

had to removed a bit more for the flanges
now it lays flat on the base
This will be screwed to the bottom of the box.

getting a size for the box
using a mistake
This is from the box I made for my Lee Valley plow plane. I think this one was short on the width but it is oversized for the 140 box.

continuous grain flow layout
This box will be mitered and not dovetailed. I laid out the 45's so I can saw inbetween them.

long side layout
end layout, repeat both one more time

squared the ends
plowing for the dado
I thought about doing the grooves and the dado after I did the 45's but decided to do it now. Any blowout on these will be on the inside and it will be hidden with the top and bottom pieces installed.

did not like being plowed
I tried to plow the middle with the same iron I used to do the two outside ones but it didn't work. I didn't stop to figure out why but got my router plane and finished it with that.

chiseled most of it first and then used the router plane
it fits
I used the Lee Valley 1/8" iron to plow the groove for the 1/8" plywood lid and it fits. I wasn't sure on this because LV sells the 1/8" iron also as the 3mm iron.

rough miters sawn on the miter box
I cleaned these up on the donkey ear jig but first I had to sharpen the iron in the 51 plane.

two coats of shellac on the toolbox
shooting board out of the clamps
Debating on whether or not to make the 45's. It is a bit awkward to saw them on this without them.

too much to plane off
I sawed this off doing it from both ends into the middle.

dry fit of the bottom is good
miters look better than the last box I made this way
sawing out the lid
1/8" plywood saws easily but it can be a PITA sometimes finding a way to hold it so you can saw out a small piece from a bigger piece.

lid dry fit is good
I had to take two extra dance steps fitting the lid. One miter wasn't closing with hand pressure so that necessitated the planing of one long side  and then a short end.

cooking away
I glued everything on this. The plywood bottom and lid are glued with hide glue as were the miters. I want the added strength and the hold it together strength that I got doing that. Before I saw this into two parts, I am going to reinforce the miters with some splines.

I'll have two boxes come tomorrow. The box I glued up this morning at oh dark thirty (used for something else) and this one. I'll have plenty to keep me amused for a couple of more days.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Where is the London Bridge located?
answer - Lake Havasu City, Arizona (since 1968)

Thank You!

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Sun, 10/22/2017 - 8:32pm

I'm not sure why, but I was completely gobsmacked by the outpour of support and well wishes. I can't thank everyone enough for every thought.

Surgery was successful. I was a bit of an asshole in the PACU (Post-Op Anesthesia Recovery Unit) but not for long. I had fantastic care at every turn.

I've had relatively little pain and haven't taken more than Tylenol since the day after surgery. I'm healing fast and shaking my head at several more weeks of weight restrictions, but I promised to behave and I try hard to keep those. Now I'm down to relearning life from a nutrition standpoint and working to stay away from dehydration. It's a whole new experience.

At my heaviest I topped the scales somewhere around 340 pounds, with pre-op work with a dietician and a prescribed (but torturous) diet I rolled into the OR at #305. This morning I stepped on a scale for the first time in a long time un-prodded, and didn't cross the #300 mark. I haven't seen that number in a decade. The weight falls off fast from the surgery but the trick is to learn and keep the new, appropriate behaviors and habits during the time you are absolutely forced too behave. The surgery can be defeated, human anatomy in amazingly adaptable.

I've been home since Thursday, tonight is the first I've felt like writing, and I meant to go back to the norm and talk about woodworking but felt compelled to express my gratitude instead. Don't worry I'm to curmudgeonly to sustain conversations about much more than the craft for long. Back to words about woodworking starting tomorrow.

But while it lasts, one more time, Thank You.

Categories: General Woodworking

How to Stop End Checking in Lumber

Wunder Woods - Sun, 10/22/2017 - 1:58pm

Lumber is stacked on sticks like this to allow air flow for drying.

End checks are a common problem when drying wood. Sometimes they aren’t too destructive and don’t travel too far, but other times they make the end of the lumber completely unusable or make a nice wide board into two not-so-wide boards. These cracks form on the ends of lumber because the ends are drying out faster and shrinking more than the middle. This happens because water can easily and quickly escape out the end, which is the same way it came in, but water trapped in the middle must travel out sideways to escape, which is a much trickier maneuver.

The secret to keeping lumber from checking on the ends is simple and logical – force the ends to dry out at the same speed as the rest of the board, meaning slow down the drying on the ends. Unfortunately, there is no single, 100% effective, way to do this.

The default method for beginners is to paint the ends with latex paint. Latex paint will not stop end checking because it it just too permeable. It will make you feel good, like you are doing something useful, but that’s about it.

Beyond latex paint is wax and unlike latex paint, wax is waterproof. If applied in a thick cohesive film, wax forms a perfect barrier to keep water from moving out of the end of a board. The biggest problem with wax is application. It is just hard to get hot wax on to the end of a lot of lumber in a timely fashion.

Anchorseal is an industry standard for green wood sealing of logs and lumber. (Click on the photo to visit UC Coatings website for Anchorseal)

The application issue has been addressed by the kids at UC Coatings, who make a product called Anchorseal. Anchorseal is a wax and water emulsion made exclusively for coating the ends of logs and lumber to help prevent end checking. Anchorseal works just as stated, but it isn’t perfect.

First, Anchorseal isn’t cheap. A five gallon bucket goes for about $95. It costs enough that I thoroughly consider whether the wood deserves it. I usually save it for only the best lumber and the species most prone to checking, like white oak. Second, it still takes time to apply, and it is pretty messy. I know several guys that won’t use it in their operations because it gets on the floor and makes everything so slippery that it can be difficult to stand up. Third, using Anchorseal doesn’t guarantee that your wood won’t split. While it will greatly reduce the overall number of end checks, it isn’t uncommon to still get one or two big checks in wide boards. Many pieces of lumber have flaws in them and will split during the drying process no matter how much you try to stop them. Fourth, it must be applied to freshly sawn lumber before the end checks have started to develop for maximum effectiveness.

You can tell from my four points above that I don’t use Anchorseal very often. But, there are places that I will use it, and one is on high-quality, especially thick, flat-sawn white oak. Again, it may not stop all end checking, but it is a great tool to help prevent much of it. On many other species, like poplar, maple, and even walnut, I feel like I usually get by with minimal losses not using Anchorseal. It should be noted that my customers are usually shopping for small quantities of lumber, so they can decide on a board by board basis if an end check is problematic for them. For operations sending out large amounts of lumber to customers that are not picking through each board, using Anchorseal makes the most sense to help produce the greatest amount of useable lumber out of each bunk. At the very least, sealing the ends of the lumber lets your customer know that you did try to prevent end checking.

Fluted sticks are commonly used in the industry to promote drying and reduce sticker stain, but do nothing to reduce end checks.

My greatest gains fighting off end checking have occurred in my sticker selection and placement. While many strides have been made in the industry to produce fluted sticks that reduce sticker stain, very few people have given much thought to using stacking sticks to help reduce end checking.

Awhile back, while at a friend’s sawmill, he casually mentioned how he noticed that lumber will split on the ends, back to the first stick. He was mad that his guys where producing lumber piles that weren’t so neatly stacked, but I focused on the end checking. After that, I paid more attention to my own stacking and changed how I stacked lumber.

Place wide, solid sticks on the very end of lumber stacks to reduce end checking.

The main difference was that I started using the sticks on the ends of the lumber to reduce end checking. I focused on getting the sticks out to the end of the lumber, and I also made sure the end sticks were solid sticks, which help hold in moisture, even on sticker stain prone woods like maple. Since the ends dry out quickly, they don’t sticker stain, and even if they did the loss on the end of the lumber would be minimal. Beyond using solid sticks, I also use wider sticks on the ends, up to 3″ wide. The extra width helps hold in even more moisture and still doesn’t risk staining the ends.

In my opinion, focusing on placing wide, solid sticks at the ends of the boards is as effective as end sealing, especially in relation to cost and time savings. Again, this isn’t a perfect method, but you would be amazed at how well it works to reduce end checking. And, if you have some especially prized lumber, you can rest easy knowing that you can always add AnchorSeal to the mix to double your chances of check-free lumber.


Categories: General Woodworking

140 trick box.....

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 10/22/2017 - 2:42am
This wasn't supposed to be a 140 box but it ended up that way. What I wanted to do went south on me and to recover I used the 140 plane. I wish I could have done the same with my motivation today. After I left work this morning I went to Pepin Lumber and bought some 1/2" pine for the shop. After I got home with it I felt like a deflated balloon that didn't get to make fart noises first and go flying around the room.

I had grandiose plans for today and making the box wasn't one of them. I did that because the other things weren't happening.  I wanted to finish up filing the small rip saw and do some tool sharpening to do but there is always tomorrow. This is what I like about being an amateur woodworker. I have no deadlines to meet nor money to make. I can do what I please and go whichever way the wind blows me.

my Pepin haul
I was expecting only to find the 1/2" stock in 6" widths but I got a surprise. I found two decent 1/2" x 10" wide pine boards. One is 8 foot and the other is 6 foot long. This pile should keep from playing in the streets for while.

This is the first 1/2" thick board I have ever seen this wide and this long before. I would have bought more but I limited storage space and I'm short on dollars this payday. I'll make a return trip next payday and grab any decent stuff then if it is available.

can you see the box here?
I put this as the lead off batter. I am going to try and make the rabbets for the dovetails by hand. The piece on the bench will be the box. It has a slight cup on one face and a hump on the other. The plan was to plane the hump and knock down the wings and make box. No going nutso to get one face  parallel to other. I will to work off of one reference face and edge and see what I end up with. I've done this before and I want to repeat it if I can.

whitish spot in the middle is the cup
This is too much to ignore. I tried to clamp it flat and I couldn't get it flat so I planed the wings off.

can't ignore the twist either
going for a continuous grain flow around the box
Pieces are rough cut to length and labeled on the reference faces.

planed them square and to the same length
lid separation point
This box will be dovetailed and I had planned to make it the same way I did the box I just made last week.

moved the lid separation point
I penciled in the half pins and then checked the first lid point and I didn't like it. The dovetail would be too small and it would also look like crap. I moved it down, making the lid a bit wider.

I got the dovetails laid out on the four ends and taped the two sides together. I sawed the tails after I filled the pie hole with some chinese.

marked the depth of the rabbet on all four ends
wrong choice
When I did the alternative rabbet post I used this butt chisel and it was barely working. The length of it restricted how far I could use it coming in from one end. I had to do it yesterday coming from both ends.  I will need a longer chisel to do the ones I have today.

1/2" paring chisel will work
things went south on me here
The paring chisel work went off without a hiccup. I could still see the gauge line and I switched back to the butt chisel to flatten the rabbet going to the shoulder. I missed putting the chisel in the gauge line and lifted up a chip that was below it. I knew I should have highlighted it with a pencil and not rely on feeling the chisel fall into it.

done with the 140
I had to make the rabbet deeper than I had initially scribed it to get below the depth of the boo boo I made. I'll will see how well this works.

the mail came
I bought two squares for Miles toolbox. The combo square dates to the late 1890's and the metal square is a 6" Disston, age unknown.

nice looking combo square
Fancy scrolls on the head, an intact vial, and it has the scribe pin. Supposedly this is a carpenters square because it only has 16th's and 8ths on this side and 8ths and 32nds on the other.

still square after all these years
6" Disston needs helps
The outside of the Disston reads dead nuts with the 6" engineers square but it is slightly off on the inside down towards the toe. After a little file work and the inside will be dead nuts too.

got something for me too
I've been a good boy lately so I bought a carcass saw for me. An old Disston, 14" long, and 13 TPI that was recently sharpened by Isaac Blackburn.

something is wrong but I didn't see it here
Look at the top left of the spine. See the tapered line on the saw blade just beneath the spine? I didn't at first.

ignorance can be blissful at times
The feel and the sawing action of this is totally different from the LN carcass saw that I use for everything. After I sawed this piece of pine I noticed that the saw blade wasn't fully seated in the spine at the toe. Taking my cue from Paul Sellers. I rapped the spine on the workbench 4 times and seated the saw blade back down into the spine.

didn't get it all
The line is about an 1/8" wide here with about as much space left in the spine. I'll leave it as is for now.

I now have a canted saw
nice bennie because of the 140
The shoulder gives a positive registration for the chisel and it shouldn't move as I chop from this side.

Tails done and pins are marked
gap free interior
don't like this
The other 3 corners are seated and gap free and this one is toast.

a little more clean up
I got it close up a lot so I'm on the right track. This is where I shut out the lights and headed up stairs. I play some more with this tomorrow and glue it up then.

I also made a change in the box design. I nixed making this the same way I did my last one. Couldn't think of way of making the big dado in the sides.  Instead I'll glue a 1/2" bottom to it and leave the top open. Or maybe I'll think of a lid design that doesn't need hinges.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is the state tree of Delaware?
answer - the American Holly

Focus on Turning Design by Working From Larger Logs

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Sun, 10/22/2017 - 2:00am

My turning ability is bound by my lathe – it has a maximum diameter capacity of 16”. That means all my accessory tools, such as my hollowing system and 50cc 20” chainsaw, were acquired because they are designed around those size limitations. The largest bowls I make with these constraints are in the 14-15” range. For years I used fallen trees with a 20” diameter as raw material. By the […]

The post Focus on Turning Design by Working From Larger Logs appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Electric, height adjustable, tilting carving bench

autumndoucet - Sat, 10/21/2017 - 7:24pm

After researching adjustable carving benches, I settled on making one à la this one made by Logs to Lumber Company. I added some maple to my old beech workbench top to make it deeper and added a suede-lined Veritas twin-screw vise to the side.  Pop-up Veritas® Prairie Dogs™ are on their way for the screw vise. I’m sure more modifications will be necessary in the future, but for now, no more back pain.



screw vise




Washington Desk layout.

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Sat, 10/21/2017 - 11:04am


This very simple full-sized layout provides all of the major dimensions and angles needed to make the desk.

My latest project, a campaign style desk inspired by George Washington, is something of a first for me in that I am trying to make a replica without using plans. I admit that I rarely follow woodworking plans because I generally find them overly ambiguous and unclear. Normally my projects are simply inspired by furniture I see and not necessarily reproduction. Often, I will see a piece of furniture that I like, hopefully get the chance to measure it, and go from there, changing things up as needed. I never use cut lists mainly because cut lists are theoretical,  and actual woodworking is not.

As far as this desk is concerned, I am trying to make it as close as I can to the original piece using only a photograph. I know there are woodworkers that specialize in reproductions who are experts at working from photos. Unfortunately I am not one of those experts, so this project has required a good bit of guess work.

For instance, I want the desk top to have a height of around 29 inches, and that is because my computer desk at home is 29 inches tall (most desks seem to fall in the 27-31 inch height range) and for me that is a comfortable working height. The length of the top will likely finish off at around 44 inches, which was my original guestimate from the photo using the book and pen as a guide. Why likely? Because I still have to do some trimming, and that trimming may change the finished size, depending. The width of the desktop (front to back) should finish off at around 23 inches, partly because of the stock I am using, and going by the original photo, I believe it is close to the actual width of the desk shown.

The legs are a bit trickier. Most woodworkers will make a “story stick”, which work well for projects like tables and traditional desks with bases, but for this project the ‘X’ pattern of the legs make the story stick a less viable option, because I want to have the ability to see that ‘X’ in full size. So the simple solution was to draw out a side view of the desk on a sheet of corrugated paper. The drawing not only gives me an easy lay-out guide, it also provided the angles needed for the legs. And after looking at the drawing, I came to the conclusion that screwing the legs to the face of the desktop cleats is a better solution than using a mortise and tenon joint, as it will be stronger and allow for the panel to expand and contract.

Maybe most importantly, this drawing helped to eliminate a lot of measuring, and the full sized drawing allowed me to proportion the top drawer compartment to dimensions I found pleasing, and once the desktop base is completed I will use the drawing as a template to saw the curves for the drawer unit.

It’s always nice to find that the simple, low tech solution is usually the easiest and fastest. Some woodworkers prefer to use drafting programs such as Sketch-up to do layout work, but that has never appealed to me, though I do believe that Sketch up is a valuable tool. But as far as this project is concerned, I found it enjoyable to use a basic pencil, T-square, and yard stick to design the desk, and at that, I think GW would have approved.

Categories: General Woodworking

Live Edge Class at Snow Farm, Massachusetts – Part 1

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Sat, 10/21/2017 - 2:04am

  On Columbus day weekend I taught a live-edge furniture class at Snow Farm, a reputable New England based craft school located in the picturesque Berkshire mountains of Western Massachusetts. My six students faced a challenging task, to design and build furniture that presents a strong live-edge character, and to do so just in two and a half days of work. The weather was mostly nice and the food was […]

The post Live Edge Class at Snow Farm, Massachusetts – Part 1 appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

6 alternatives to the 140 trick......

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 10/21/2017 - 1:17am
After I got home tonight I rushed into the house and grabbed my packages and headed for the Post Office to mail them out. In my haste I forgot the address for the backsaw. The molding planes had been addressed and ready to go all week. So I had to go back home and get the address and go back to the PO. This actually turned out to be good thing. The first time I went the parking lot was full and on the return trip there were no cars. In and out in a few and back home to try out my 140 alternatives.

I came up with 6 different ways to make the rabbet like I did with the LN 140 yesterday. I didn't do the 140 again, so I now have 7 total ways to make the rabbet for dovetails. I could have had 8 but I forgot to make one with the plow plane. If I remember I'll try and make one with it this weekend.

the first batter
I thought about this today and I decided to go with it as the first choice. I am a hand tool woodworker and I should be able to do this with hand tools. I thought of using a handsaw too but I didn't need it because the rabbet isn't that deep.  One marking gauge set the distance from the edge and the other was used to mark the depth.

depth marked
made a knife wall
removed waste going against the grain
I did this until I had evened out the rabbet from the knife wall to the edge.

within a frog hair of the gauge line
making it flat
First step is to lay the chisel in the gauge line and chop upwards from R to L.  Or L to R if you are left handed. Or you could melt down because you are in the midst of an OCD attack and can't decide.

go straight in to the shoulder

left side

right side
came out pretty good
I have been using chisels more lately but I was surprised by how well I did on this. There is a faint bit of the depth line still visible. To the eye this looks even, flat, and square. I'm pretty sure that this would work but it but the real test is to do 3 more of these the same.

batting second
I ran a gauge line first and then made a knife wall.

second step was setting the iron
To the set the iron so that it projects past the side I lay it on the outboard side of the plane. Loosen the iron and it will project on the side that will be up against the shoulder. Tighten the iron and you're ready to plane.

run the plane in the knife line
The plan was to lay the plane in the knife wall titled at a 45° or more to inboard and plane. With each stroke I would bring the plane back up to 90°. That kind of worked and it didn't work.

looks a lot worse than it is
At a 45 on the first plane stroke, the iron rubbed on the top of the shoulder and blew it out a tiny bit.

cleaned up
Ratty looking but it will work.

third batter
Gauge line and knife wall were done first.

setting the iron is second
no planing in the knife wall first
I planed to the outside of the knife wall until I had a bit of depth and a shoulder. Once I had that I ran the plane up against the shoulder and completed the rabbet.

no blowout this time
The right side is off just a hair high. A couple of more passes fixed that.

batting cleanup
Same first steps as the previous two. Except setting the iron is done with the sole of the plane on the bench. I loosened the lever cap and set the iron projection by feeling it with my fingertip.

planed away from the knife wall until I had a shoulder established
got a bit of blowout on the exit side
I think I could have avoided this if I had planed a bit deeper first. In my past uses of the 10 1/2 I don't recall getting blowout like this. I also didn't make a knife wall but just starting planing the rabbet bare.

batting 5th
This plane has the advantage of a depth stop but I don't like using it. It is hard to set and have it hold unless you use pliers. Being a skew, it makes a clean cut on end grain.

setting the iron on the knife line
Setting this fence to a precise spot is a hit and mostly miss affair. I do it by slightly tightening one nut on one fence rod, then tapping the fence until it ends up where I want it. Here I want the top right corner to be just to the outside of the knife line.

deeper than the others
I removed the depth stop so I could better see the iron while I tried to set it up. I forgot to put it back on and before I knew it, I was this deep. This plane has a smooth action and it will remove a lot of wood in a hurry. This will work but I think this is too deep for the 140 trick.

batting last
I have used this before to make and clean up stopped rabbets. Here I'm going to use the fence and see if it will work making a '140 rabbet'.

working somewhat
There isn't a lot of plane real estate hanging out on the board. The router was tippy and I had to concentrate on keeping it flat on the board. The fence was another attention grabber. It is short and way to easy too cock in either direction. And it would cock way before I could get an 'aw shit' out of the pie hole. It worked but I ended up with a slightly bumpy rabbet.

the LN router rabbet
There is a slight hump in the board and that translated into the middle of the rabbet being higher than the two ends. The lead in on the right is also not as low as the rest of the rabbet.

the rankings
either of these could be swapped
I picked the LV #2 due mostly because it is skewed, has a fence, and a depth stop.

I like the long length of the 073 vs the bullnose
the next to last ones
I would have rated the chisel higher but demoted it because it isn't as easy to do as the others. Doing one is ok but a dovetail box requires 4 rabbets. It would take the longest of all the methods. I will try doing it on shop box just to see if I can do it.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Andy Griffith graduated from UNC in 1949 with a degree in what?
answer - music

Book Giveaway: Wooden Toys

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 5:51am
Wooden Toys

Last night my kids unearthed a Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer book for a bedtime story. I desperately tried to steer them back toward our wide selection of Halloween books that I’ve arranged prominently on their bookshelf. But alas, while they’re excited for Halloween, the inevitable holiday season looms large on the horizon like the Death Star in Rogue One. Apparently I need to get my holiday planning underway. And so, […]

The post Book Giveaway: Wooden Toys appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

in and out real quick.......

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 10/20/2017 - 12:51am
Made a decision to send the new (to me) back saw out to be sharpened. I could probably do it but I doubt I would be able to do with any competency worth more than a bucket of spit. I do think that I can the follow on and maintain the saw afterward.  I got the email sent and I am just waiting permission to ship it.

Making the box for it tonight is all I did. I gave up trying to find cardboard boxes a long time ago. Besides cardboard could be easily punctured and maybe in the wrong spot. I can only remembering sending out one saw in a cardboard box many, many lunar eclipses ago. It was a nightmare cutting and making new flaps because I had to cut down a larger box. Making a specific box out of wood is a no brainer to me.

french fit in foam insulation
I thought I would be clever and french fit the saw in this. I traced the outline of the saw and followed that up with a knife cut made with a sheet rock blade. This insulation was the packing in the box that my #6 came in from Timeless Tools & Treasures.  I would have used this insulation and that box but the box is on it's way to China by now and I was left with the insulation.

not cooperating
I can very easily make a downward cut with the chisel but one laterally is not working. This foam will saw quicker than a hot knife going through butter but balks at being chiseled. It doesn't like evacuation work with a chisel at all. I thought of heating the chisel and doing it that way but I wasn't sure of the fumes. I wouldn't want to wake up tomorrow with a third eye in the middle of my forehead.

saw packed up
 I used a scrap piece of pressure treated fence picket for the sides and 1/4" flooring plywood for the top and bottom. It's the same construction as the one I made for the panel rip saw.

almost ready to go
I have to get the ok for this, put the to and from addresses on a piece of paper in the inside, add few more screws, and I can ship it. The panel saw cost me $11.60 priority and if I had used priority boxes it would have cost $13 and change.  I don't expect this to cost much more than what the panel saw was.

Tomorrow I am going to try the 140 trick employing some of my other planes. I got a comment about making it with the Lee Valley skew rabbet plane which I don't doubt would work. I'll remove all doubt tomorrow on that and try a few other tools.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Which US President was taught to read and write by his wife?
answer - Andrew Johnson our 17th president


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