Hand Tool Headlines

The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator


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.


goatboy's woodshop

Subscribe to goatboy's woodshop feed goatboy's woodshop
(mostly) unplugged woodworking
Updated: 1 hour 9 min ago

The Black Dog Workshop

Tue, 02/21/2017 - 12:13pm


Like most amateurs in any craft, I rely heavily on my maestros and gurus, and for me, help comes in the form of YouTube videos more than anything else. When it comes to hand tool woodworking, I invariably turn to the likes of Paul Sellers and Tom Fidgen. When I need advice about woodturning, my ‘go to’ guys are Mike Waldt and Martin Saban-Smith.

The latter of thesimg_1591-e1481281226404e chaps is the developer of Hampshire Sheen, a woodturning finishing wax which I highly recommend, and he has recently opened a woodturning workshop at his family’s garden centre called The Black Dog Workshop. The workshop provides tuition for beginners, as well as a place to turn for those who may not have their own facilities. It is also designed to cater for people who suffer with depression and other mental health problems, focussing on the therapeutic benefits that any creative pastime can provide.

I have followed the progress of the workshop on its dedicated YouTube channel since it began, and I think it is a fantastic idea. I wanted to show my support for the project, as well as my gratitude to Mr Saban-Smith for the help his videos have given me, so I decided to make him a gift.

20151001_142921As he is an accomplished woodturner, there seemed little point in turning him something, so I decided to go down the hand tool route. In the past, I have made a fair few mallets, and I suppose they are the closest thing to a speciality that I’ve got.  And, every workshop should have a mallet. The Black Dog Workshop mallet is made from walnut and beech, and I dabbled in some pyrography and added the workshop logo.

Here are a few photos of the build (click to embiggen):

20170214_163409 20170214_170040 20170214_203636 20170214_223834 20170214_225712 20170214_234434 20170215_153437 20170215_215122 20170215_222710 20170215_230348 20170216_144721 20170216_151417 20170216_202200 20170216_230915 20170216_233439 20170217_151545 20170217_220241 20170217_223432

I finished the mallet with three coats of my home-made varnish/linseed/turps blend, and packaged it off this afternoon.


I hope it goes down well.


Filed under: Uncategorized

First project of the year.

Thu, 01/12/2017 - 10:44am


Nearly a year ago, not long after I had my lathe set up, I was looking around for a turning project, and I stumbled across some plans for a candlestick telephone. At the time, the project was far beyond my capabilities, so I only got as far as picking out the timber before shelving the idea until I had more practice under my belt.

Well, as 2017 arrived, I decided that I was proficient enough to give it a bash, so I dug out the timber, walnut I think, and set to work.

My design sticks fairly close to the original, but my shapes and dimensions are slightly different. This is due in part to some intentional design decisions on my part, as well as a few cock-ups unforseen design opportunities. All of the turned components are finished with Yorkshire Grit and Hampshire Sheen. The other wooden components just have the Hampshire sheen.

20161229_210300 20161231_142830

I began with the base and the stem. The base looked a tad bulky, so I ended up making more of a sweeping round over after this picture was taken.

20170102_151021 20170102_160248 20170102_114852 20170102_123146

The mouthpiece is made from two parts: the bowl and the cone. The bowl was turned first, with a recess that will accept a tenon on the cone. The recess also meant that I could flip it round and finish the bottom. I also bored a small hole in the bottom to accept a connector piece that will join it to the stem

I then turned the cone piece, forming the tenon first and checking for a tight fit with the bowl. I made another recess that would accept a brass disc later on. Then I could flip it round to hollow out the cone itself.

20170107_154103 20170107_185400 20170108_112607

Next came the receiver, which was again made in two parts: a ring cap and a cone. The ring cap was turned first, with two recesses – one to accept the cone, and another to accept another brass disc. Then I turned the cone, first creating a tenon for the ring cap, and then hollowing out and shaping before flipping it round, boring a hole for the cable and finishing the end.

20170104_163205 20170106_173135 20170106_185403

On the side of the stem I drilled a hole to accept the cradle. I then turned a matching tenon on a block of walnut before removing it from the lathe in order to shape it. I bored out the bulk of the waste and then broke out the saws, chisels, rasps, files and sandpaper. This part of the project was a real ball-ache.

20170108_154941 20170108_161740

The wood working for this project was almost over. The only part left to make was the small connector piece that would join the mouthpiece to the stem. I turned a ball and small tenon on the lathe, then removed it and removed the sides of the ball to create a disc. I cut out a corresponding slice in the top of the stem and bored a small hole in both components to accept a small brass pin, so that the mouthpiece could pivot.

20170109_165457 20170110_154744 20170110_160147

Moving onto the brass components, I cut out some discs for the mouthpiece and receiver, and drilled some holes in them. I cut a small pin for the connector piece and then readied the brass plugs that would provide an interface between phone and cord. The plugs are small brass inserts for compression joints on small bore gas pipes. I hammered some walnut dowel into them and drilled a small hole to take the cord.


With all the pieces complete, it was time for assembly. I decided to line the base with a piece of leather, which was spray mounted into position and attached with brass pins. I used a guide to help me position the pins evenly.

20170110_161949 20170110_195600 20170110_200342 20170110_201740

And here we have it: The Candlestick Telephone. First project of 2017.

20170110_210730 20170110_210832
Filed under: Projects, Woodturning Tagged: brass, leather, walnut


Sat, 12/31/2016 - 3:23pm

Well, 2016 is about to bow out, and so I thought I’d put together a little slideshow of what I have been up to this year.

Click to view slideshow.

Now I’m off to raise a glass of the particular and usher in 2017.

Happy New Year folks! Let’s make it a good one.


Filed under: Uncategorized Tagged: self-indulgence

Tool Tote #3: The big finish

Sat, 12/24/2016 - 1:30am


The glue up for this project was a long drawn out process. I had to break out all my clamps, even the homemade ones. The first glue up was the main tool box and the tray.


Once the glue was dry, I planed the dovetails flush and moved on to the next stage.

The handle and base were glued in place together, and then the tray runners on the main box.

20161205_151323 20161205_230431

Then I installed the handle components, gluing and temporarily screwing the supports in place and gluing and wedging the handle.

20161206_215843 20161206_215837

When the glue was dry, the screws were replaced with dowels, which were cut and planed flush. I also applied my mark to the bases of the box and the tray.

20161207_171404 20161207_212642

Finally, I glued and doweled the base to the main box, again cutting the dowels flush once they were dry.

20161207_221420 20161208_143915

20161208_220432I decided upon my oil/turps/varnish finish for this piece. It is a tad more hard-wearing than shellac, and a toolbox is likely to get scuffed and dinged with use. I did not apply any wax either, for the same reason. An oil based finish can be reapplied when the box is looking a bit tired, without the need to remove the wax first. Three coats of finish, 24 hours between each, and I was ready to add one final little touch.

In order to tart up the handle a bit, I thought it would be nice to add a leather grip. Using hemp string, I simply made a few holes in the leather and stitched it on in a crisscross pattern.

20161208_225438 20161211_144804

Another project completed.

20161211_220931 20161211_221311

All boxed up and ready for delivery in time for Christmas.


Filed under: Projects Tagged: leather, oil/varnish

Tool Tote #2: A tote within a tote

Thu, 12/22/2016 - 4:39am


As I mentioned in my last post, the dry fit of the toolbox seemed to be missing something. Eventually, I decided that it needed a lift-out tray. Just a small one, not one that went the entire length of the box, but a little one that could slide back and forth on runners so that items could be retrieved from the box even with the tray in place. 

20161125_161820I planed up a couple of ash boards and edge-jointed them for the base…

…and while they were drying I moved on to the joinery.


20161125_185033 20161126_123123 20161126_175624 20161126_214526

For the handle, I decided that a 1″ thick piece of ash could serve as both handle and divider, so I made a  paper template, transferred the shape onto the wood and cut it out, refining with a spokeshave and files.

20161127_163816 20161129_161529 20161129_163934 20161129_170613

The handle/divider is held in place with housing dados.

20161129_160638 20161129_215912

I then spent a bit of time refining the shape of the main toolbox components. First, the sides of the box needed to have a section cut out to make it easier to remove the tray.

20161202_200645 20161204_125449

Second, the handle supports needed to be rounded off and tapered.


Finally, I cut a kerf into each of the handle tenons, so that they could be wedged during the final assembly. I also planed up some pieces of walnut for the tray runners.


A request from the customer was that the box should have his son’s racing number on it. To achieve this I decided on a little bit of scorching. I had some small pieces of aluminium sheet, so I cut out some numbers from them, laid them on the sides of the box and used them as a mask while attacking the wood with a blowtorch.

20161120_124343 20161120_153331 20161204_212042

With all the components ready it was time for the glue up, but that is for another post.


Filed under: Brace and Bit, Joinery, Projects, Pyrography Tagged: ash, blowtorch, walnut

Tool Tote #1: The tool box

Fri, 12/16/2016 - 12:48pm


Following on from the last project, yet another commission came my way from the self-same chap who commissioned the Biltong Slicer, the Treasure Chest, and the Jewelry Box. This time it was a gift for his son and my remit was virtually non-existent – carte blanche you might say. In the end I settled upon a tool tote, because I know that the lad enjoys dirt bike racing, and would need a stout receptacle in which to store spanners and sockets and pliers and such.


My design was fairly simple: a dovetail box with a single divider, and a handle consisting of two supports connected to the box and a large dowel. I began by selecting timber and settled on ash for the main box and handle, and walnut for the divider and handle supports.


The usual dimensioning followed (reference face, referance edge, opposite edge, opposite face, ends) and then I could move onto laying out for the dovetails.

Tails first…

20161113_221003 20161115_150558 20161115_152756

…then the pins…

20161115_163902 20161115_211825 20161116_174412

…and finally, a dry fit to check that all was well.

Which it was.


Next, I moved on to the base, and here I had to edge-joint two boards together.

20161117_145754 20161117_150748

Whilst they were drying, I turned my attention to the divider. After preparing the board, I cut some housing dados in the end panels of the tool box.

20161118_172116 20161118_194819

Then, I started work on the handle supports. Made from walnut, these supports are designed to lap the ends of the box (see above diagram) and extend up to support the handle. After dimensioning them, I marked out for the final shape, removed the necessary material for the lap joints…

20161119_145247 20161119_150525 20161119_155043 20161119_210953

…and then drilled out the mortise holes.

20161119_215007 20161119_215217

Finally, I turned a piece of ash for the handle.

20161119_215749 20161122_210904

I decided to dry fit the box using screws to hold the handle supports in place. The screws will be replaced with dowels at the glue up stage.


The dry fit went very well, everything fitting together nicely, but something felt wrong. Even allowing for the fact that the base was not there, and the divider was not yet fitted, still, something was amiss.

At this point I began to think about a design alteration, but I’ll cover that in the next post.

Filed under: Brace and Bit, Joinery, Projects, Woodturning Tagged: ash, dovetails, edge-jointing, housing dado, lap joint, walnut

Jewelry Box #3: Finishing touches

Tue, 12/06/2016 - 11:36am


To finish things up with the jewelry box, I fitted the hinges and put my maker’s mark on the base so that I could apply the finish to the outside of the box.

I used my homemade shellac, but this time I applied it in several thin coats using a ‘rubber’, which is a pad made from a lint free cloth, carefully folded around some cotton wadding. The shellac can be added to the rubber with a pipette, and it goes off very quickly so several coats can be applied in an hour.

20161028_212740 20161028_215536

I finished with a light coat of wax, and the box was done. Time to turn the contents.


Having roughed out three blanks – walnut, sycamore and kingwood – I parted off and hollowed out the lids, sanded through the grits and finished with wax. Then I hollowed out the boxes, checking that the lids fitted snugly and, again, sanding and finishing with wax.

20161030_155024 20161030_214004 20161104_161922

I decided to burn a little image onto the top of each box to match the image on the jewelry box lid. Then I returned the lids to the lathe to sand and wax the outsides.

20161104_174203 20161104_184615 20161104_195631

Finally, I flipped over each box so that I could finish the bottoms.

20161104_204025 20161104_204047

So, there we have it: one jewelry box with three lidded box accessories…

20161107_184427 20161107_185500

…all ready to be packed up and delivered.


Filed under: Finishing, Pyrography, Woodturning Tagged: kingwood, lidded box, rubber, shellac, sycamore, walnut