Hand Tool Headlines

The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

This is a collection of all the different blogs I (try to) read.  A whole bunch!  If you have any comments or suggestions feel free to use the CONTACT page to get a hold of me.  Thanks!

Be sure to visit the Hand Tool Headlines section - scores of my favorite woodworking blogs in one place.  Also, take note of Norse Woodsmith's latest feature, an Online Store, which contains only products I personally recommend.  It is secure and safe, and is powered by Amazon.



Framing the New Workshop, Days 8 and 9

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Tue, 12/06/2016 - 3:13pm
For most people, setting up a shop for the first time is largely a matter of adapting to the existing facilities.

Hideo Kamimoto, Complete Guitar Repair, 1975

I have so much work to do!

Today, I finished nailing down the roof sheathing and got some trim up on the fascia. I would have put up more trim, but the local lumber yard had nothing but junky 1x8 pine, I was a little disgusted by the selection.

The day started out partly sunny, the temperature was about 16 degrees Fahrenheit, by noon the temperature dropped to 12 degrees and a breeze came up making it too cold to work. Yes, there was a time in my life when I would framing in subzero temperatures, I work for myself now, no point in making work a brutal thing.

As I write this post, it is 10 degrees Fahrenheit with heavy snow. The forecast calls for subzero temperatures tonight with up to one foot of snow!

After getting the rafters up and into place, day seven, I got the sub-fascia up on the north and south elevations...

...the sub-fascia almost up...

and getting the the lookouts made on the east...

and west elevations.

Day eight I put down the 5/8 thick OSB roof sheathing.

This is what the shop looked like this afternoon...

I need to finish nailing all the wall shear, then 1/4 exterior plywood needs to be purchased, along with some ice and water shield and corrugated roofing for the roof.

Electrical wire needs to be pulled, outlet and lighting boxes located and nailed up, then there's insulation to put in. Did I mention the ten sashes that I will build entirely by hand?

Good thing I got my copy of Charles Hayward's The Woodworker today from Lost Art Press! I admit that sashes were much easier to make when I worked at Yosemite National Park, the workshop was equipped with a floor mounted mortising machine, an eight inch joiner, a twenty four inch thickness planer, a 3hp shaper and a dedicated tenoning/coping machine just for sashes. I like Hayward's description of how to make a sash, I look forward to the task.

Categories: Luthiery

Music I’d Like To Hear #120

Doug Berch - Sat, 12/03/2016 - 9:19am

Mandolin Orchestra. One young lady is playing a Pollman guitar.

Categories: Luthiery

Christmas Sale! 15% Off All Classical Guitars in Stock!

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Fri, 12/02/2016 - 7:55am
Christmas is the time to treat yourself to the guitar you have always wanted!

Please check out my Guitars Currently Available page to see the specs of available guitars and to read what internationally known guitarists are saying about my guitars.

If there is one that you are interested in, please call or email me for more details. It is best if you call me, that way we can discuss the individual guitar, payment and shipping options.

I can ship guitars for approval upon receiving a cashier's or bank check for the total price of the instrument. You will have 48 hours after receiving shipment to decide if you wish to keep the instrument. If the guitar is returned within this 48 hour period, I will refund payment. If the instrument is not returned within 48 hours, it will be considered sold. All costs for shipping and insurance are the responsibility of the customer.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Categories: Luthiery

Framing the New Workshop, Day Five

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Wed, 11/30/2016 - 8:55am
Wall framing includes assembling of vertical and horizontal members that form outside and inside walls of a structure.

Willis H. Wagner, Modern Carpentry, 1992

Yesterday was Day Five of framing the new workshop.

I replaced the header over the door with a longer header, the door opening was too close to the east wall, I was afraid that you would bump into the wall when you entered the building. The opening was shifted to the west.

Then it was a matter of nailing up sheets of OSB shearing to keep the building from falling down.

I need to buy some 3/8" thick exterior grade plywood to cover the OSB and finish the exterior, but I want to prime and paint it before I put it up. The temperature didn't get above 24 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday, and there was a good breeze which made it feel even colder! Not the warmest day for swinging a hammer or for painting!

It is nice to walk through the door opening instead of squeezing through wall studs!

This shop will have a bank of five upper windows and three big windows, these will be approximately 30"x40", giving me plenty of light to work by. I will make the sashes by hand, I have a feeling I am going to get to know my Stanley No.45 plane very well this winter! I don't want to set up a router and router table to rout the rails, stiles and muntins, too much noise and dust!

I was hoping to fly the rafters today, but there are a few errands to run. The walls need to be "string lined" and straighten, the rafter pattern needs to be temporarily put in place to see if it fits properly so I can cut the other rafters.

Once the "lid" is on, I can pull wire and insulate. There is also the matter of finding a nice propane heater and having a gas line run to the building.

I can't wait to finish this shop!

Categories: Luthiery

Gluing Up A Dulcimer Peghead

Doug Berch - Tue, 11/29/2016 - 6:25pm

Gluing up a dulcimer peghead.

I don’t really need to use clamps when gluing up a dulcimer peghead assembly but I feel better knowing the clamp is there. Hide glue added to a clean and well-fitting joint grabs and pulls the joint together as the hide glue sets up.

Clamping the parts together at an angle is tricky but in the photograph you can sort of see the peghead and the block beneath it are pressed up against an angled block of wood covered with wax paper. The peghead is clamped to the work board and there is wax paper on the work board as well.

This arrangement keeps parts from sliding when downward pressure is applied to the joint. They probably wouldn’t slide anyway since I’m using hide glue but I feel better knowing there is no chance of a rude surprise.

The wax paper prevents someone from getting a dulcimer with a work-board and an angled block of wood stuck to the peghead. That would make the dulcimer difficult to tune and it would be hard to find a case that fits.

After everything is clamped up I clean up the squeezed out glue with a rag and warm water. This is another benefit of hide glue; it cleans up with warm water and a rag.

You can see more photographs of dulcimers in progress and other stuff by following me on Instagram.

Categories: Luthiery

My eBay Listing: One Lot of Vintage and Used Woodworking Tools

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Sun, 11/27/2016 - 10:23am
One Lot of vintage and used tools. Please click here to see the listing.
Marples Chisels with rubber grip handle, 1/4", 1/2", 3/4", 1" wide blades, purchased in 2004.
One Wagner Safe-T-Planer kit w/ original box, planer, instructions and replacement blades. Used once, purchased in 2007.
One hand made carpenter mallet, red oak handle, maple head, made in 2002.
Three unmarked coping saws, two circa 1960's, one from 2005.
One hand made chair devil, Claro walnut body with ebony and scraper blade. Made in 2003.
One Starrett micrometer, circa 1960's with owner's name on it.
One 1/2"wide Veritas Tenon cutter with brass depth setting gauge, purchased c.1999.
One AMT brand spoon gouge used from carving violin tops and backs, with hang hole, c.1999.
One French made pencil dividers, original screw is missing to hold pencil
One Fuller brand Phillips tip screwdriver, 1960's vintage
One Stanley brand slotted screw driver for hand brace, 5/16" wide, c.1950's
One slotted screw driver for hand brace, GP bar over Eye surrounded by a heart mark, with no. 352
One 5/16" fluted reamer for hand brace, Diamond "C" mark
One Victoria brand hoof knife, purchased 1986.

All tools in good to good++ condition. Wagner Safe-T-Planer is near mint.

Please ask questions and I can supply more photos.

Categories: Luthiery

My eBay Listing: Vintage Adjustable Sash Plane, S.E. Farrand, Newark, NJ

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Sun, 11/27/2016 - 9:30am
Vintage adjustable sash plane, S.E. Farrand, maker, Newark, New Jersey. Please click here to see this listing.

An American made adjustable stick and rabbet plane, with, I presume, a beech body. Fair condition. Fully boxed, 1/2 inch wide ovolo profile, metal screw adjustment. Plane measures 9 1/2 inches long by 2 inches wide. One original beech wedge, the other appears to be mahogany, both have been modified a bit. I bought this from a local tool dealer who claimed that planes made by S.E. Farrand are desired collectibles, I bought it with the intent of making a copy of it. I have never used it. Please ask questions and I can send additional photos if wanted.

Categories: Luthiery

Framing the New Workshop, Day One

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Mon, 11/21/2016 - 7:04pm
When you work primarily with hand tools you don't need a lot of space or infrastructure.

Jim Tolpin, The New Traditional Woodworker, 2010

I am building an new workshop/studio on the exact spot and using the same footprint as the old garage that I dismantled early this month.

Working in the upstairs of our house has been a great joy, but I need to move on to another space and allow my wife and I to enjoy our house as a house again.

The original garage was built in 1964, (I was born in 1962!) by some very capable carpenters, as I discovered when I took the building down, but it had no real foundation and no look outs on the eave elevations which was causing the roof to sag.

After searching on the Internet, I found some wonderful plans for a shed building which I have adapted to build my own space. Those of you who have been following my blog know that I was a framing/finishing carpenter for many years, it is nice to frame again, but at my own speed without nail guns and air compressors filling the air with 21st century noise.

The floor joists are 2x6's on top of ground contact rated 8x8's.

The original footprint was 14'x 20', more than ample size for me, my hand tools and guitars

One thing I learned from an old time carpenter is to layout the roof rafters on the flooring deck, do all the work on the floor and not in the air. This afternoon I realized that I had failed to account for the shear thickness on the walls, I will have to add 7/16th's of an inch to each end of the the other rafters before I fly them.

I am working by myself, this wall was framed in two sections, one was 12' long and the other 8'. Much easier to lift a short wall than a long wall. This wall is 7'6" tall, the south elevation will have a 10'4" tall wall with lots of windows. I was hoping to frame that wall tomorrow, 11/22/16, but the forecast is for snow and I ran out of 8d nails today, which are used to attach the OSB shear to the framing. The tall wall I will have to build in three different sections, again, I am working by myself and I don't own any wall jacks.

Stay tuned, more pictures of the framing process!

Categories: Luthiery

New top for an old fiddle, part 3

Owyhee Mountain Fiddle Shop - Fri, 11/18/2016 - 2:52pm

Plunged through and cut the f-holes.  The terminal holes on each end are drilled first, and you're committed at that point.  Then, using a deep-throated fret saw, cut out the stems.  A little more thinning of the top, then trim up the f-holes.  This is nearly there.  Done for today, but will look at again tomorrow (on Monday) and finish up before fitting the bassbar.
Categories: Hand Tools, Luthiery

New top for an old fiddle, part 2

Owyhee Mountain Fiddle Shop - Thu, 11/17/2016 - 11:12am

Making a new top for an old fiddle. The old top fairly badly damaged, and not really worth repairing. This is also probably not worth doing, financially, but I am using it as an excuse to try new things.

For example, I am not finishing the edges nor installing the purfling until after the top is attached to the body. So, instead of being able to use the edge or purfling for assistance in laying out the f-holes, I have to try to get them in the right places with less to go on.

Categories: Hand Tools, Luthiery

Conifer Species

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Thu, 11/17/2016 - 8:19am
The trees of the West are a benign presence, mighty and healing...

Donald Culross Peattie, A Natural History of Western Trees, 1953

The postage stamp that I live on has only seven species of conifer trees and one species barely grows big enough to be called a tree. The Continental Divide is about seven miles as the crow flies from our meadow, we don't get the howling winds that you find when you live closer to the Divide, but the winds do limit the height of trees and since this is the east side of the Rocky Mountains we live in a rain shadow. Not much moisture makes it to the ground.

Twice a day, I walk our dogs across our neighbor's property to Forest Service land and we squeeze through a narrow gulch to reach the upper slopes. In this gulch there is enough moisture to allow white fir and Engelmann spruce to grow. The tall tree in this photo is an Engelmann spruce, one of five that live in this gulch.

Ponderosa pine live on the very fringes of the gulch, the scientific name for the variety that inhabit this part of the Rockies is pinus ponderosa, scopulorum, which means "among the rocks". I understand that some of the old timers in this region called these pines "rock pines".

Ravens have a nest on this rock and magpies, too, usually raise their young in this part of the gulch.

The snag in this photo is a dead Douglas fir, an older gent said to me "35 years ago the spruce bud worm came in and killed most of the Douglas fir around here. That was after the pine beetle came through."

Big winds, with gusts up to 120mph, often visit us in December and January and these pines are victims from such a storm last January. We often get big wind storms in November, but so far this month it's just been "breezy"!

What are the conifer species in my backyard?

Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, limber pine, white fir, lodgepole pine, Engelmann spruce and Rocky Mountain juniper.

Trees are life.

Categories: Luthiery

Music I’d Like To Hear #119

Doug Berch - Wed, 11/16/2016 - 10:47am

5 string banjo quartet

Categories: Luthiery

The New Tool Shed

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Wed, 11/16/2016 - 8:32am
All sheds take longer to build than you may think.

David and Jean Stiles, Sheds, 2006

The new tool shed is finished - siding, roofing, windows and doors. It is 10'x12' in size, just barely big enough to hold what it needs to hold.

With the exception of the sub flooring, roof rafters and metal roofing, all material used to build this shed was recycled from the old workshop that I dismantled.

It's a shed because I didn't want to spend the time making a "standard" roof and I had a limited budget for materials. No lookouts on the "gable" sides, no soffit, no fascia boards, just a simple building to store tools and some lumber.

The sashes are made out of redwood, and yes, I know I didn't clean my fingerprints from the glass! It's an outbuilding, not Independence Hall, it doesn't have to be perfect. The wind and the snow this winter will clean the glass!

I made three shelves from 2x10 construction grade white fir boards and a workbench from 2x12 construction grade Douglas fir boards. Today or tomorrow I will start making some basic drawers for the workbench so I can store all the little tools, pliers, air hose fittings, etc., that will live in the shed.

This is also a good time for me to sort through many of the tools I acquired when I was a framing and finish carpenter, there are some tools in the tool boxes that I haven't used since 2005 when I walked away from the construction trade.

The lumber for the new workshop arrived yesterday. I am very excited to get started on framing "the old workshop", it will be the same size as the original, 14'x20'. It will be a shed with a 2/12 roof, fully insulated with a propane heater to keep the winter chill off of me and the tone woods.

I would start framing today, but the weather forecast is calling for 3-6 inches of snow tomorrow. I don't have to frame in bad weather anymore! Friday will find me in Colorado Springs, Colorado at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, talking to Colin McAllister's classical guitar students about classical guitar construction.

The wind is quite noisy today, mostly just a nice Continental Divide zephyr. Those of us who love living in the Colorado Rocky Mountains hardly ever refer to the wind as wind unless it is gusting to over sixty miles an hour.

Now, turn off your computer and get into your workshop!
Categories: Luthiery

Dulcimer With Galax Back In Progress

Doug Berch - Mon, 11/14/2016 - 3:01pm

Dulcimer With Galax Back In Progress The dulcimer makers in the Galax, Virgina area developed a unique style of dulcimer. You can learn more about Galax dulcimers by visiting the website of Phyllis Gaskin. Phyllis is an excellent player and a preserver of the Galax style of dulcimer playing.

One of the features common to many of these dulcimer is often referred to as a “Galax back.” The Galax back has become an option many dulcimer makers now offer on their instruments.

A Galax back is made by gluing small blocks of wood around the perimeter of the back of a dulcimer and attaching a second back to those blocks. This arrangement prevents the vibration of the back of the dulcimer from getting muted by the players lap. This can give the dulcimer some more volume and allows making the inner back thinner and more resonant.

In the photograph is a cherry dulcimer with small ebony blocks glued in place and the outer Galax back patiently waiting to be glued to them.

The ebony blocks will soon be brought flush with the sides of the dulcimer with a chisel and file. After that the second back gets glued on.


Categories: Luthiery

1960 Mosrite – Hand made by Semie Moseley

James Roadman Instrument Repair - Sun, 11/13/2016 - 9:21am

I recently finished restoring this Mosrite guitar made in 1960 by Semie Moseley. It appeared on the Antiques Roadshow a while back with a replacement head plate, pickguard, and had the back of the headstock painted black to hide several breaks and repairs.


After removing the head plate and the black paint from the headstock it revealed that a fair amount of wood had been removed and filler added to disguise the break. While it was holding adequately there was a more movement to the headstock than I was comfortable with. I decided to add a backstop to the headstock extending down into the neck. A layer of wood was removed and replaced with 3 separate layers steam bent to the angle of the neck. The grain of the replacement layers is continuous making it very strong compared to the original wood which is cut across the grain. This greatly improved the strength of the headstock and covers most of the previous repairs. I used a little pigment to disguise where I added wood across the previous breaks.

Luckily the original head plate and pickguard were saved and I was able to copy them.

The original electronics were saved as well and I was able reinstall them. The lower pot of the stacked pots was broken but I managed to replace the conductive material inside with that from a modern pot. I had to guess about the original control arrangement.

To finish up I made a set of knobs for the stacked pot using 60’s Standel knobs as a model.

This guitar has many similarities to instruments made for Joe Maphis and Rose Lee.  These were built by Semie Moseley in a shed outside his home in Mission Hills, CA a few years before he opened the Bakersfield factory.  I have seen one other guitar that resembles this one. If anyone has more information or knows of other similar instruments I would like to hear about them.

A special thanks to Rick Yancey at Custom Shop Guitars for the high quality photos!

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The post 1960 Mosrite – Hand made by Semie Moseley appeared first on James Roadman Instrument Repair.

Categories: Luthiery

New top for an old fiddle, and 2 boxes

Owyhee Mountain Fiddle Shop - Tue, 11/01/2016 - 1:10pm

 Making a new top for an old fiddle. The old one came in with a 'repaired top' -- gorilla glue -- and after fussing with it a while, thought I might as well make a new top. It's an old factory fiddle, and the rest of the body is in not-bad shape. I had this chunk of Engelmann laying around. Since I've never used Engelmann before, thought it might be a good experiment. Noting some staining and a few sap pockets so far.

On the making-from-scratch front, I closed up two boxes last week.  Top is the 5-string, and lower a 4-string (normal) fiddle.  Working on cleaning them up, and starting the varnish process this week.

Categories: Hand Tools, Luthiery

Ponderosa Pines, the Morning Walk

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Mon, 10/24/2016 - 8:14am
Of all the pines, this one gives forth the finest music to the winds.

John Muir, naturalist

Now, to work.
Categories: Luthiery

Music I’d Like To Hear #118

Doug Berch - Sat, 10/22/2016 - 9:22am

Strohviol, piano, accordions, mandolin, violin, and percussion.*

Categories: Luthiery

Gretsch Electromtic Jack Repair

James Roadman Instrument Repair - Fri, 10/21/2016 - 8:24pm

This Gretsch Electromatic suffered a fall right on the output jack which pushed it straight through. I decided to install a metal jack plate to cover the hole. It is tempting to just screw the plate on but the thin walls of the body don’t provide mush support and the plate would likely come loose over time, or worse, get pulled of by accident. To increase the strength I made up a curved piece of plywood using maple veneers and glued it inside. The jack is installed from the inside so the plate is held on by the screws and the trhreaded barrel of the jack.

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Categories: Luthiery

Dulcimer Adventures On Instagram

Doug Berch - Tue, 10/18/2016 - 4:54pm

Here's The Kind Of Thrill-Packed Entertainment You Want!

I have recently started posting photos of dulcimers in progress and snapshots from my fascinating life on Instagram.

Instagram will provide a more immediate experience of what I have been covering in my “What’s On The Bench” posts. It will almost be like you are there!

You can follow me on Instagram by clicking here. You can also click on the Instagram widget on my pages and posts.

There will still be lots of Thrill-Packed Entertainment right here at DougBerch.com so stay tuned!





Categories: Luthiery


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