Hand Tool Headlines
The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator
I am a panda. Or a great ape. Or any of a number of animals - I'll choose the cute ones - whose terrain is disappearing and are therefore endangered. Tut- tutting or telling me how cute, chubby, and fun to watch I am doesnt help much. "Oooh, check out that guy with the hand tools! Amazing!" Neither does lip service. On the face of it, our government agencies all love manufacturing and makers. They love to have maker initiatives, training, etc. They are even happy to make a small, zoo-like zone of a few blocks where manufacturers who already exist can try to still exist. But protecting the actual wild environment is another story.
Most of the energy in encouraging manufacturing in NYC is focused on "Maker Spaces," which are always well-intentioned and sometimes actually awesome. But the problem is that these spaces, much like a breeding sanctuary, is that it is not a real substitute for an improved wild environment. What happens to a fledgling business after you "graduate" from a maker space? If you have a prototype, you will probably will outsource your production to somewhere with enough affordable real estate to encourage manufacturing - a place that sometimes feels like anywhere but New York City. And what if you want to expand your business? That probably means not New York too. All the investment in maker spaces, incubators, and other startup support may pay off - but not for the people of the city.
Cabinet shops, which are TFWWs retail life blood, are dying in NYC. Many landlords don't want messy businesses. Even in neighborhoods with industrial zoning - places that are zoned for mess and noise - the trend is to try to rent to offices and commercial ventures. Even if the business does actual making, their primary work is clean and silent. Offices and design shops have a far greater density of people than a woodshop, and so higher rents are easier to achieve. And of course once your tenant is a fancy office, it will want like-minded businesses for neighbors, not a company with a screaming table saw or spray booth. And once a landlord realizes that it can get more per square foot by skirting the industrial zoning requirements rents shoot up. Even if the space is available for a cabinet shop, the cost might be unaffordable.
Now I should mention that not all landlords are opportunists who bought property that was discounted because of its use restrictions but now are trying to evade their responsibilities. ( See my blog from a few weeks ago about Industry City). There are a many landlord - and thankfully mine is one (My landlord has been incredibly supportive of what we do and truly fights for continued manufacturing in NYC) - that really want industry to succeed. There are bunches of reasons for this. The first is that many people, my landlord and others included, want a city that is diverse. They recognize that not everyone is a web designer or a stockbroker. We have thousands of electricians, plumbers, carpenters, cabinet makers, machinists, butchers, bakers, candlestick makers, and a range of other craftspeople and tradespeople who need a place to go to work, like being in the city, and most important, make the city far more interesting and full of ideas than it would be without them.
Let me give you an example:
Once upon a time, on West 22nd Street in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan, a tinsmith named Harry Segerman had a business two doors down from my grandparents luncheonette. Harry mostly made tinware, and later stainless fixtures, for the restaurant industry. In the years following WWII, Chelsea (nowadays an exceedingly trendy and expensive neighborhood) was a fairly rough part of town. A few blocks west were the Cunard Docks; the buildings were a mix of low rise housing and garment industry factories.
The area was inexpensive to live in, which attracted bohemian artists. Some of them wandered into Harry's shop and were enamored by the idea that you could take metal and bend it into interesting shapes. Harry, who was encouraging by nature and very interested in art, helped helped a lot of these artists make work in tin. Some artists took it a step further and developed expertise in sculpting with sheet metal because of his support.
On paper, this interaction is what cities do best. Art and crafts (and commerce) happen when a big city is a melting pot of ideas and skills. But it won't happen - and we will be the poorer - if New York City becomes solely a consumer of real things, instead of a designer, maker, and consumer.
|Lee Valley arrived|
|also got some 1/2" feet|
|I am falling in love with this gadget|
|off the deck|
|bought 4 more|
|McMaster-Carr came it|
|about one inch shorter than the ones that came with the plow|
|don't fit in the fence (haven't drilled them out yet)|
|back rod fits - the front one won't go through all the way|
|won't go through trying to turn it by hand|
|still no dice|
Sorry Steve but I bought 10mm rods. Now that this is kicking my butt, I realize I should have taken your advice and bought the 9.9mm ones. These rods are supposedly smaller than 10mm but not enough.
|new file for my school in June|
|back rod is dead nuts|
|front rod is not|
|sandpaper wrapped dowel|
|rods fit the main body|
|tapped it through the fence on one hole|
|....... that didn't work|
I can get another fence but I'm not sure that I want to. I don't have a warm and fuzzy about the front fence rod being out of square. None of my other plows are out of square like this. This is why I want to see what other owners of this plane have before I decide what to do.
This was good spot to shut the lights off even though it wasn't 1700.
Did you know that entomophagy is the practice of eating insects?
The time I get to spend around these individuals is like plugging my car battery into the electrical output of the Hoover Dam. A little shop weary. Running tight on ideas or answers. Generally uninspired. A little visit and some shop talk, or any talk really, and I'm reinvigorated.
This past November I had a visit at my shop from Don Williams and his wonderful wife. We all chatted for a bit as I gave them the grand tour a Le Chateau Oldwolf. consisting mostly of my library and drawing studio and the workshop outside. Don has become a trusted voice in my world, I look forward to every correspondence with him and just treasure the opportunities to visit in person.
After catching up we headed over to visit another person I have infinite respect for. We dropped in on Mark Harrell at Bad Axe Toolworks so Don could see the impressive goings on. I really had a treat as I was able to step back and listen to these guys parse the details of Roubo and the historical saws represented in L’Art Du Menuisier. The thing I really took away from the exchange. The possibility of a revival of the full size frame saw and turning saw as staples in the workshop.
I know I'm an hand tool, old world craft geek, but I'm more than a little proud of it.
Then in December and again just this past week I was able to go down for a couple workdays in the shop of Tom Latane. For me this is so much fun because A; Tom's shop is an amazing place to stand, much less work in. A wood fire in the forge and you get that real, I don't know, romanticised, whimsical feel that is inspiring and conducive to good work. and B: I usually leave behind the projects I'm neck deep in in the shop and choose something different, usually carving, to work on. Something I'd like to get done but there's no rush, something mostly for me.
This time I got to make a new friend in a Blacksmith named Michael Fasold who was teaching himself how to cut dovetail joints, with Tom and me helping (maybe hindering) the process. He's teaching a class on forging an early american thumb latch gate handle at the Chicago Avenue Fire Arts Center in Minneapolis. I wish I could make the trip to take it.
There are many others out there I have to find some time and place to meet with. Being around other like minded people really opens up the spigot on the creative flow. If you're not experiencing this you should try and remedy that. Take a class, join a club if you have one nearby, stand out on the highway with a sign in one hand and a jack plane in the other.
Maybe we just need to get someone to oversee the creation of a Woodworkers Platonic Dating App. . .
Maybe not. I have too much current in my creative juices for my own good right now. :)
Ratione et Passionis
As the depths of winter set in out here in the mountains I decided to do something about the problem of early fading light, especially in the great room of the barn’s main floor. On a typical January day I lose direct sunlight by about 3:30, and the darkness creeps in from that point on.
I decided that a big hurdle to solving the problem lay in the fact that the two oversized doors to the barn were visually solid, and that a solution might be to pierce them with large panes of glass. Fortunately I happened to have just one such piece of glass leftover from the original construction a decade ago. It is a piece of salvaged thermal glass from an unremembered source but it was sized as though it was made for the task being contemplated and it seemed as though the project would be easy to undertake and complete.
So I did.
Since I was using the panel of glass essentially as a piece of sheathing the “framing” of the new window was a simple batten screwed to the door so that the panel would have someplace to seat. After the batten frame was in place I sawed out the opening for the window, lifted the new pane into its seat, and added some more temporary battens to the rear side to hold it in place until spring time when the warmer weather will allow me to caulk it in place permanently.
Until then I am enjoying both the doubling of the external light present in that work space, and celebrating the fact that this was one project that turned out to be as simple and quick as I had first imagined. I would like to find another panel the exact same size for the other door, and will keep scouring the salvage yards until I do.
For now, I simply enjoy being able to work in the great room until almost five o’clock.
I went to another world the other day. Attended part of Americana Week at Sotheby’s in New York. I was there to give a talk, but I got to see some great oak furniture offered for sale this week…and got to see some friends and colleagues I haven’t seen in quite a while. Here’s the link to the auction listings; http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/2018/important-americana-n09805.html#
Auction previews are great – unlike museums, here you can open stuff and peek inside. Lot #723 is a New Haven wainscot chair that has people all excited. (Some of these photos I shot hand-held in the galleries; the best ones were given to me by Sotheby’s)
A detail of one of the arms.
and of the carvings; I need the detail shots because I’m going to make one of these chairs this year.
I got to look this chair over with my friend Bob Trent – and neither of us had ever seen a groove like the one cut in the outside of the stile
I saw this box in 1998, now lot 727, on another research trip with Trent. And as soon as we started looking it over, we realized it was part of the group of boxes and chests by William Savell and his sons John and William from Braintree, Massachusetts. Even though we hadn’t seen this particular pattern before.
Many things connect this box to the others – square wooden pins instead of nails to secure the rabbets. Gouge-chopped accents here & there are direct quotes from the others. And the scribed lines above and below the carving; with diagonal chisel cuts zig-zagging across the box. Maltese cross punched inside the zig-zag.
Here’s the side of a related box at the MFA in Boston. You can see the zig-zags clearly here.
Jn Savell box, side carving
The box now at Sotheby’s again – look especially at the area outside the arches –
Now from a chest at the Smithsonian – this exact same motif outside the lunettes from the top raillunette, William Savell Sr 1590s-1669
and above & below the opposing lunettes is a pattern from the panels on these chests – look at the very bottom of the panel:panel, joined chest, c. 1660-1680s
Then back at the box front –
I don’t know what’s the story behind these till trenches. If it’s a till w a drawer, why does the vertical notch extend below what would be the till bottom? There is no hole for a till lid…
Inside, it stops just short of being labelled “This end up”.
Lots more stuff in the sale; a Boston chest of drawers, walnut and cedrela
a chest with drawers, Wethersfield, CT
And – me. Poor Mark Atchison gets no glory for all the hard blacksmith work he did back when we made a slew of these cabinets. Trent had us make this one as a gift to his friends Dudley & Constance Godfrey – and now a foundation they started is selling it, and several of these items as a fund-raiser for educational programming at the Milwaukee Art Museum… I didn’t do the coloring…
I’m a fan of having my tools out and at hand in the workshop. It’s easy enough to mount the saws to the wall, whip up a chisel rack and tuck the planes on a shelf, but the small items rarely have a good spot to sit – so they end up on every horizontal surface, in the way and subject to being knocked around or, even worse, onto the […]
In the January 2018 issue of Wood News, Ernie Stephenson writes an in-depth article on how to carve a plane tote and make a used plane feel new again.
“Totes on a plane go through a lot of dynamic stress. Additionally, the wood in these old tools often contains a lot of skin oil and grime from years of use. Repairing them can often be an exercise in futility. Additionally, you can carve a tote that will fit your hand, that will later make a tedious smoothing job downright pleasurable. A specially carved and turned tote and knob can also be a source of pride sitting in your toolbox.”
Don Weber has been a friend to Popular Woodworking for a long time. His knowledge of traditional woodworking (and blacksmithing, as the photo above supports – props to photographer Al Parrish!) has appeared on our pages, in our videos and we’ve been privileged to have him in personal appearances at events over the years. Watching him set up and use his shop-made treadle lathe, or discuss the strengths and stresses involved […]
Sometimes, I would have to grind the bevel again. That is something that should not be necessary if I was using a honing guide. I have been making my first run with the guide on an 80 grit sanding belt before hitting the coarse diamond lately. That is grinding the bevel (if necessary) and giving me a burr quickly and with minimal fuss. Again, not what I expect from using a honing guide. It's supposed to be repeatability that is it's #1 selling point.
|did this first|
|bad pic of a pitted edge|
|I did 3 chipbreakers|
|4 1/2 and 5 1/2 irons|
|4 1/2 and 5/12|
|setting the iron in the honing guide|
|time to see if I was right|
|got my burr|
|I still like looking at shiny bevels|
|the iron from the new #4|
It took one more run on the 80 grit before I was satisfied with the coarse stone work. I had gotten a shine that filled the whole back. I didn't have this problem again using the other two diamond stones.
|back flattened, working on the bevel|
|got the end square|
|I'm happy with the back of the #4 iron|
|the back of it looks better than the front - almost no pitting|
|the lever cap has a chip|
|pit stop for home maintenance|
|missing a valve handle|
|I lost the handle years ago|
|gluing up the cabinet|
|still playing with it|
I've been having a tête à tête with Pat on this. I have tried a few of his ideas but so far there hasn't been any dancing in the streets of Mudville. He brought up the point that something is causing the fence to move but what is it. That is one thing that I've been looking at now.
Did you know that Pierre, South Dakota is the only one syllable word state capitol? (Pronounced as PEER)
Click here to read my article in Furniture and Cabinetmaking Magazine about a weekend workbench featuring my favorite knockdown joint, the Tusk joint. This was one of my favorite builds to date, because it was a project with one of my favorite instructors at Pratt. Steve brings a whole lot of laughter and knowledge into the shop, and I love designing projects and building with him.
Many kids (not to mention woodworkers) will say “I hate math!”. But as Kalid Azad of www.betterexplained.com has pointed out what they are really saying is that they hate how math makes them feel. Nobody likes to feel frustrated and stupid. Presenting math concepts through manipulating a physical “calculator,” however, goes a long way to not only changing that perception but to instilling an intuitive understanding of the core principles […]
The post Learn Math with a Framing Square – “Framing Square Math” by Joe Youcha appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
I learned many year ago that there are going to be problems when finishing. The simple saying that the difference between a woodworker and a great woodworker is that a great woodworker knows how to fix their problems is every bit as true when it comes to finish work. Learning a great finish fix is key to making your project look its best. The more weapons you have in your arsenal, the better your projects will look.
Recently I was invited to speak about the HO Studley project to the Frederickburg (VA) Woodworker’s Guild. My friend SteveD was my host and a grand time ensued.
While at Steve’s I got to see a bed frame he had been working on in recent weeks, and about which we had corresponded regarding the finish being used. This bed was commissioned by the organization that is recreating George Washington’s childhood home near Fredericksburg. Much of the recreation is based on rigorous and ongoing archaeology. The Washington family domicile being readied for the public is all new construction, but there is solid evidence that it is a very faithful interpretation of the original.
Steve has been commissioned to create a number of beds (and perhaps other pieces?) for the site, and this bed is a stunning one.
The audience at the Guild meeting was large and enthusiastic, Steve said it was about twice normal. And you gotta admit, the tale of Henry O. Studlew is a compelling one. The group meets in a semi-industrial space which suited me just fine.
The audience was very attentive and engaged, asking excellent questions throughout the presentation and staying after to discuss all manner of Studley and Roubo topics. They promised to invite me back, and I look forward to that event.
|#4 plane parts|
|highly visible line|
|cleaning/de-greasing the plane body|
|I thought this was rust|
|underneath the frog is the 2nd spot|
|under the tote is the 3rd spot|
|the #4 iron|
|stoned a flat on the back of the chipbreaker|
|this is difficult for me to sharpen|
|Record 044 skate|
|see the shiny areas at the toe|
|this is what Sparks was talking about|
|back one is half a frog hair off square|
|front one is dead nuts|
|no movement at all now|
I tried to buy new rods and a 10mm drill bit from McMaster-Carr but I am dead in the water with them. I emailed them 3 times requesting a password reset and I didn't get it. Both my trash and my spam folders were/are empty. On the 4th request, McMaster-Carr said that too many attempts to access my account had been done so the account was locked. I tried two more times today and I still haven't gotten a reset. I emailed them directly and I'm waiting to hear back on that.
|I set it on this|
|my coarsest diamond stone|
I didn't get the glue up of the cabinet done but maybe tomorrow. I am going to try and glue it up without any fasteners. I rehearsed a dry clamp up a couple of times and I think it's doable. The joints all come together easily and are tight and even.
Did you know that Congress established the US Military Academy at West Point in 1802?
En route back to Shangri-La following our excursion into deepest Flyover Country we stopped to see the progress of things at Lost Art Press. Mrs. Barn had never seen the new World Headquarters and since they were within a mile of our route, I checked to make sure we could stop.
As usual Chris was hard at work in the shop and on the shop, but he took a few minutes to visit and relax.
During that brief visit I sat in the Mother of All Stump Chairs that Chris has been chronicling. I cannot say I could sit there for an entire evening but it was more comfortable than I expected and looked pretty cool too. All I needed was a bearskin vest and a grog of mead and I would have looked right at home.
We also toured the new machine room emerging from the renovation of the carriage house out back, and Chris had just hung and caulked his hand-made doors before we arrived. I definitely approve.
I join Chris in celebrating the establishment of the new headquarters, and even his dream of living in this vintage high density neighborhood. He likes having neighbors nearby, I like having neighbors on the other side of the mountain.
One of the nice traditions at the school I teach in is our annual Fall Fair. The Fair is a one-day extravaganza in which the school transformed into a magical forest-like world. Laden with autumn and winter atmosphere, our building’s interior is decorated with fabrics, branches, logs and leaves to support the imaginary themes of fairy tales and mythology. To help our school with fundraising during the fair, parents volunteer […]
The post Woodworking Workshop for Parents and our Fall Fair 2017 – Part 1 appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
|laying out for a rabbet|
|using the LV rabbet plane to make them|
|made a test rabbet in some scrap|
|wee bit proud|
|took the tape off|
|looks good now|
|glue foamed up and closed up the hole|
|clear and clean top to bottom|
|see the whitish line|
|I can make noise now|
|dry clamping run|
|getting my size finalized|
|it is a bit proud|
The crappy looking piece of oak plywood I was going to use for the bottom is toast. On the top piece I had the factory edge to work off and the on the oak one I didn't. What I had with that was four hand sawn, out of square edges.
Since I was going to lunch with my friend Billy who retired last year, I decided to get a new piece of plywood. Added bonus is that Billy lives right next to a Lowes. I stopped there after I brought him home after lunch.
|left the saw set|
|dry clamp with the top and bottom in place|
|it is self squaring|
|got the brass adjuster knob off|
|the threads are good|
|I had a replacement stud|
As of now I am planning on one large drawer and a sliding tray on the bottom with a door. I think I can get everything in the cabinet that I want too.
Did you know that in Boulder City, Nevada gambling is not legal?
I'm super excited to announce that I've been asked to start contributing to Marc Spagnuolo's Wood Whisperer Guild. The plans for my first guild project are on pre-sale now. This is an expansion of the Oak Writing Desk project I built with Jonathan Schwennessen at Homestead Heritage in Texas for Furniture and Cabinet Making Magazine Issue 248 last year. Click here to view and purchase: https://thewoodwhispererguild.com/product/writing-desk/ Marc will be flying up to the farm to document our first video plan project together, and it promises to be a fantastic time and a wonderful build. I'm really excited to share in an in-depth, detailed, well-documented manner more about the projects I take on.
I’ve long been struck by the aptness of our English word “cope” – “I just can’t cope,” “I’m barely coping” – in light of its meaning in a woodworker’s lexicon. Sure, some of us may use the word when describing our emotional state, but more often we use it to denote a technique for joining two pieces of trim or molding where they meet at an inside corner. There’s nothing wrong […]