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Journeyman's Journal

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This is a journal of the art of woodworking by hand
Updated: 1 hour 21 min ago

HANDWORK Magazine Out Now!

Thu, 06/29/2017 - 7:59am


It’s finally here a hand tool magazine for hand tool woodworkers.  First I would like to thank our contributing authors Brian Holcombe and Joshua Steven aka Mr. Chickadee for their great articles, I would also like to thank Christopher Schwarz for his suggestion and advice and above all you the readers who’ve said yes to this.  I never thought it was going to be easy but I didn’t think it would be this hard either.  HANDWORK is free just download from the link provided down below.  The link is through megasync, it free with no annoying time delays.

I’ve done the best I could with the limited knowledge I have of compiling a magazine, feel free to leave your comments.  I would really like to know if you’ve enjoyed it.  I know not many people like to leave comments, setting up a gravatar account is a pain.  So I’ve setup a poll just choose YES or NO.

Happy reading there is over 60 pages to read through, enjoy!

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='https://s1.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/shortcodes/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader'));



Handwork Vol.1 Issue 1

Categories: Hand Tools

Stanley wooden No.4

Wed, 06/28/2017 - 7:08pm

Dan Coffey made a stanley wooden smoother, it’s a novelty plane it can’t be used but would make a great gift for someone.  Check out these pics.  It’s not the best work but with a little effort you could make this to be an attractive piece.



Categories: Hand Tools

Two Tips for the day

Tue, 06/27/2017 - 11:22pm

Tom Holloway from old tools outdated blog a real darn shame its ceased like all great blogs and great contributors who have gone with the wind states.

Here is a picture. You -should- laugh at the art, but the
>> illustration should be clear enough. With the vise on the right side,
>> our guy can close in tighter and lean all manner of ways. Left hip,
>> left arm, left knee. With the vise to the left, grasping the cutoff
>> portion is about all he can do and still operate the saw. He’s a
>> ballerina in open space.”


How true is this, I have often found it frustrating sawing on the left side of the bench, I know Bob Rozaieski made the switch from left to right went he built his new bench.  So what’s the answer, you plane from the right to left but sawing is better on your right.  So why not have two vices?  Food for thought.

Shooting board tip

How many times have you shot an edge out of square and was stumped as to why.  I know I have and have gone backwards forwards shimming and adjusting the fence until this morning when the obvious hit me.  This is obvious and apparently nothing new as always, this has been part of woodworking since its invention.  You chop out a dado for your fence to sit in, wow it’s that simple, problem solved for the time being.

My shooting board is made from MDF and hardwood fence, MDF is really soft and I will find out soon enough if the pressure on the wall will give in and throw it out of alignment.  If so then I recommend the only alternative is to use a hardwood solid enough to withstand this working pressure.  Just merely screwing the fence in is not enough and will move from the pressure being applied to it.

Your work is as good as the tools you use, so always check that everything is working as it should be.


Categories: Hand Tools

Final Update

Tue, 06/27/2017 - 5:46am

This is my last post till my next plane build, I have redrawn all the planes to the exact measurements provided by Larry Williams.  After reading through the many articles with different opinions offered on Larry’s old bulletin board service, I believe that for the larger moulding planes there is no need to angle the mortise.  After reading not all but some of the findings of other readers not all moulding planes had the taper.  I have built the No.16 without the taper and did so in ignorance and not intentionally, after all plane making is new to me.  But having done so and after spending a considerable amount of time adjusting the iron, the plane works exceptionally well without a taper.  There is still a 1/8″ wall left on the blind side but I cannot say that a taper wouldn’t be necessary on smaller planes.  None the less I’m not willing to modify anything until I thoroughly learn the trade of building planes and it isn’t as easy as one might think at least not for me.  The only part I struggle with is shaping the iron, you can do everything right but if you don’t get that part right then it won’t work.  In fact, if you screw up the wedge or get a blow out on the mouth you can pretty much throw your plane in the bin.  There is definitely an art in building these plane that require your utmost attention and due care.

With the mouth opening being so large I thought there would be some issue and I reckon there will be when dealing with difficult grain but that can be said even if the iron was skewed and the mouth tightly closed.  But so far the shavings ejected out without getting clogged and I owe this to the acute angle I pared on the wedge.  Keeping the planes body clean during the test fit of the iron is another challenge as well.  Being beech a light coloured wood stains or gets black marks on it very quickly after touching metal.  A light sand will not do the trick so clean your hands regularly or use a clean rag to pick your plane up.

I’ve slapped a coat of minwax antique oil finish, they all swear by it so I might as well do as they do.  I’ll put three coats on over three days.  Lol just where am I going to store all these planes?

That’s all folks, Take care.

Categories: Hand Tools

Scrap my previous post

Sun, 06/25/2017 - 4:38pm

Many thanks to Phil Sylvester for his suggestion and referral to Larry’s old articles.  Larry Williams went through the same dilemma as I have until he saw the lean and that’s why I said his measurements are wrong.  I didn’t know about the lean, yes I did view the video several times but somehow the subject of lean passed me by.  Now this has opened up a pathway to a successful build, this means that I will have to change all my drawings so I’ll be taking taking those links I posted offline.  However, should you wish to use them they will still work as I’ve built a no.16 and it works well.  The issue is when you go down in size it gets frustrating.  Now I’ve got it finally.

Categories: Hand Tools

No.15 H&R’s Moulding Planes Drawings

Sat, 06/24/2017 - 10:08pm

I have finally finished all the drawings from No.18 – No.1.  That’s 36 planes in total or 18 pairs. The No.18 has a radius of 1 1/2″ and so it goes down to No.1 which has a radius of 1/16″.

I have based these drawings but not entirely from Larry nor even entirely from James Celeb. These drawings were most difficult to complete, the reasons being that Larry’s dimensions are not accurate.  I’ve had a friend of mine who is a doctor of engineering try to make sense of those dimensions and came to the same conclusion that they are innacurate.  So I’ve had to change them to make it all work, James Celeb drawing of a single moulding plane is correct but he too had to deviate from Larry’s dimensions a little.  Matt Bickford’s planes follows very closely if not identically to Larry’s planes, unfortunately those dimensions he uses are unavailable to me.

The initial base design is the same as Larry’s, Bickfords and Celeb, those base dimensions is an agreed upon consensus since the 18th century and on 18th century planes only.  The issue I had was getting the blind side matching the bodies fullness while maintaining the radius profile.  Believe me this was one mind boggling thing.

While I’ve stuck to the planes typical 18th century design, I’ve opted to change the finial from the typical circular to an elliptical shape with a lamb’s tongue.  In the 18th century there are about 5 different designs for the wedges if I’m not mistaken and the one that appeals to me the most is Thomas Walker’s design.  The elliptical shape is taken from those poxy shoes they used to wear, you know the one with the heels.  To me that looks most elegant for the wedge and it’s not the same shape though but very similar to the 19th century style.  The lamb’s tongue yet adds a touch of further elegance.

18th century planes are slightly longer than 19th century moulding planes, but they are in no way more functional than 19th century planes, it’s very much an aesthetic thing.  To my eyes 18th century planes are a lot more pleasing in design than the 19th century style.

So here’s the thing guys and gals, I’m sure you would want to have all the working drawings for these but I won’t release them all until I have built these planes.  Even though I have double and triple and quad triple checked my work, I still need to see whether or not changes could be made as an improvement.  So far I’ve build one plane the No.16 based on these drawings and it works fine but I want to finish off the rest and if all goes well then I can safely offer them to you and sleep better knowing they are 100% correct.

However, I will not be offering them for free, I don’t know how much I will charge for them but it will be affordable.  I’ve always had good intentions for this blog but considering how expensive this country of mine is, I’m really doing it tough.  I’ve invested a considerable amount of time and knowledge to draw these up, and to offer them for free would be ludicrous.  As far as I know such plans are not available anywhere on the net, I will be the first.  So have a look at the sample No.15 plane, see for yourselves just how accurate and well drawn they are.

15 hollow A3 Imperial

15 round A3 Imperial

Categories: Hand Tools

Plane Correction Update

Mon, 06/19/2017 - 4:04pm

I posted previously a plan for 1 1/8″  hollow and round plan, I realised I made a mistake on the arc and have corrected it.  I was 1° off, my apologies for that, so those who downloaded it scrap it and download this version.

15 hollow A3 Imperial

15 round A3 Imperial

Categories: Hand Tools

Larry Williams – The Perfect Plane by Nathan Willis

Mon, 06/19/2017 - 4:58am

This is a nice inspirational video on Larry Williams and his business partner Don.  It’s interesting though to see some machinery  used in the production of these fantastic planes.  I’ve always found it odd that machinery is used to produce hand tools to promote handwork.  No ear protection, no dust, its quiet and efficient but when it comes to manufacturing them, it’s not cost effective and inefficient to do so by hand.  Kind of hypocritical don’t you think, it’s like selling tools vs selling furniture, you can sell tools all day everyday but you can’t sell the stuff you can build with them.  

Larry mentioned that moulding planes are sophisticated tools and I agree with him, they are as much needed in ones tool kit today as they were back in the day.  I know modern day furniture has very little mouldings implemented in their designs, but fashion comes and goes it’s more a cycle or like the hour hand, its start at 12 and completes its revolution ending at 12.  Nothing knew is ever thrown at us, nothing knew in terms of design is every invented, fashion comes and goes like the tide, if you don’t believe me look carefully and you will see bits and pieces of things taken from the past going back as far as 2000years and I’m not only referring to furniture.

In this modern age most people don’t like brown furniture but do like the carvings and mouldings and the initial design of some antique furniture.  So why have it brown?  I’ve seen a beautiful highboy in FWW made entirely from Tiger Maple.  It’s the same style of furniture but it isn’t  brown, the creator thought out of the box.  So you don’t need to stick to any period correctness colour just to go with your own creativity.

Referring back to my own build I’m finding it frustrating to shape the irons to make a perfect replica of the sole’s profile.  Unfortunately I had to resort to using a dremel to help with the grinding.  If I had an assortment of files I believe I could do a much better job quickly and more efficiently.  The two quality files I have are Bahco files and are the best files I have ever worked with.  Sometimes I feel like buying a whole bunch of them in fear that they will drop their standard of work and produce crap like Nicholson does today.    I wonder though how the select modern day toolmakers shape theeir soles and irons?  I look at James Celeb’s profiles and they’re perfect, I looked at Matt Bickford’s and Larry Williams and HNT as well and all the irons perfectly match the sole.  So perfect that it’s impossible to think that they did this by hand and I don’t think that they did.

When I examine Ron Herman’s profiles through his videos there are slight variations because he grinds them by hand and some of my own antique planes again you see those slight variations as well.  I could be wrong as I’ve never held any of those above mentioned toolmakers planes in my hands before to study them up close, but it just looks too machined perfect to be done by hand.  So I wonder what is it that they they use to get it so darn perfect.

I believe that I will get it perfect by hand, I know me and I know how much of a nit picker I am so it’s only a matter of time before I get to that aha point.  It’s easy to say I don’t know, it can’t be done and to resort to some machine to do it for you.  For me that’s not being a craftsman, a craftsman relies on his own skill sets or develops them and not rely on some machine to do it for him.  For me it’s always been about skill development and freedom from the dependence on machinery.

Categories: Hand Tools

The Rhythm of Work — Lost Art Press

Sat, 06/17/2017 - 8:44pm

“The man nowadays who is able to do a job at his own pace is one of the fortunate ones. Then to one he’ll either be a craftsman with a small workshop of his own or a man working at a hobby. A feeling of enjoyment so much more often accompanies work that is freed […]

via The Rhythm of Work — Lost Art Press

Haven’t I been trying to get this message across in my entire blog

Categories: Hand Tools

Lyre Guitar

Sat, 06/17/2017 - 2:43am
  • Maker: Possibly Joseph Pons (French, born 1776) (probably a son of César Pons)
  • Date: ca. 1805
  • Geography: Paris, France
  • Culture: French
  • Materials: Mahogany, spruce, ebony, brass, nickel-silver, gilding
  • Dimensions: Height: 34 1/4 in. (87 cm) Width: 14 3/8 in. (36.5 cm)


This form of the guitar was created about 1785. The columnar arms supporting the yoke are veneered in mahogany. The guitar has six single courses of strings. A printed label inside the instrument reads: “Pons / fils / luthier, / Rue du Grand Hurleur / No. 5 / A Paris, an 13.” The phrase “an 13” refers to the thirteenth year (1804–1805) of the French Revolutionary Calendar.
Renaissance paintings by Lorenzo Costa and Raffaellino Garbo show lyre-guitars held upright (possibly interpretations of incised strings in classical bas-reliefs), as they were properly held by the player. Essentially, the lyre-guitar was a modified version of the lyre of antiquity, but with a fingerboard and six strings. English lyre-guitars were sold from 1811 as the six-string “Apollo” lyre of Edward Light and the twelve-string “Imperyal Lyre” of Angelo Benedetto Ventura.

Signatures, Inscriptions, and Markings:  (printed label within ornamental border) “Pons, fils/luthier,/Rue du Grand Hurleur/No. 5/A Paris, an 13.”; (stamped on front of pegbox and on soundboard just below fingerboard) “Pons fils/à Paris”

Categories: Hand Tools

Moulding plane Build Update

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 10:49pm

It’s been a while since I last worked on this build, I’ve had a week off work due to being sick and even though my body ached and my head throbbed it wasn’t enough to keep me out of my workshop, but enough to keep me out of my crappy, schizer of a job.

I went back to my original No.16, if you remember when I started on this build I screwed up the mouth by opening it too much.  Plus Lie Nielson advertised on their site that they had the 1 1/4″ iron but it turned out to that they never did.  It’s a mystery still to this day how it got on their site at all.  So I bought some O1 flat bars from the states because I couldn’t find any in Australia to be at 1/8″  Of course I paid through my backside after all the conversion and shipping was done and yes I will do it again and again and again or atleast until Australia has it which will probably be never.

I’ve completed the build today but I still need to shape the iron, heat treat it, sharpen it and give it a test run.   I’m basing my planes on 18th Century moulding planes, my designs are directly from Larry Williams, the same designs that Matt Bickford uses on his planes.  I’ve never built a moulding plane in my life, in fact I’ve never built any plane besides the small router plane before either.  So this was a huge learning curve and adventure for me.  I’ve watched Larry William’s dvd on side escapements countless times and I’m still watching it over and over again.  You’ll be amazed at how much information you’ve missed when you watch it several times.  Your minds starts to wander and your not really concentrating but the dvd continues to play.  So I just kept rewinding it and watched over and over again until I got it.

That mouth opening will bother me till the day of judgement and beyond, but I will learn to live with it because it’s actually not entirely my fault.  Sure I cut it but I blame it on my ignorance at the time.  Sure enough I think I pretty much nailed and once I get the iron done and she performs as I expect she will I’ll be starting on the No.15 and work my way down.

I’ll be the first to admit that it isn’t easy,  it’s slow, pedantic and there was a lot of “how the hell do you work this part out.”  In the end I achieved what I set out to do but I know there will be even more frustrating part as I work down to the itty little bitty ones.

If you’re going to tackle these planes I would highly recommend you practice on some structural cheap pine.  A lot will end up just piling on your bench but you’ll save alot frustration and money in the long run.  Also I thought this French method would be easier but now I’m of the opinion that it’s not, as it has its own quirks.  Setting the Veritas Rabbet plane is difficult, insanely difficult, so planing a rabbet with it is no walk in the park.  For me that was the most frustrating part and I will without a doubt build myself various sized rabbet planes.  Also creating a fillet that you see on the toe and heel of the plane to look crisp and right is also difficult.  Shaping the sole isn’t as hard as I thought it would be but I practiced on some scrap a couple of times to get it right.  When you do decide to make a set always start off with the round and then use that to make your hollow.

I am really holding off from revealing detailed information on how to build these planes because I would like to reserve that for the magazine.  Yes the magazine will be released by the end of this month.  I’m only waiting for one more author to complete his article and as soon as that’s done there are over 60 pages of reading materials to go through.  For now I better get back to finishing off this iron. Another new challenge, how do I shape it without having an assortment of files.


One last thing to mention, I started this build last summer.  The glue I used is not surprising to anyone is OBG Liquid Hide and look at it, it’s holding together even through the hot,  extremely humid months.  Our summers in my state lasts for three months and they get unbearably hot, sometimes too hot to work.  Hide glue has held on, so why it doesn’t work for some people bewilders me, even the fish glue I used on scrap and left it in the laundry is still holding strong I still haven’t thrown it away.   So there you have it in a nutshell._DSC1544


Categories: Hand Tools

Attributed to Joseph de Frías

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 2:22am
  • Maker: Attributed to Joseph de Frías (Spanish, active Seville and Cadiz, ca. 1775–1800)
  • Date: ca. 1780
  • Geography: Seville, Spain
  • Culture: Spanish
  • Medium: Spruce, rosewood, cedar, ebony, mother-of-pearl
  • Dimensions: Height: 37 5/16 in. (94.7 cm) Width (of lower bouts): 11 in. (27.9 cm) Depth (at tail): 4 3/4 in. (12.1 cm)

This nearly pristine instrument is a fine example of Spanish guitar making in the late eighteenth century. Rather unusually, the soundboard is of five pieces, similar to a guitar by Frías located in the Museo de la Festa in Alicante. It is decorated with inlaid rosewood, mother-of-pearl, and ebony floral features around the soundhole, at the base of the fingerboard, and between the bridge and the end of the guitar. An important feature of this instrument is the absence of bracing on the underside of the soundboard. Most six-course (twelve-string) guitars of this period were fan braced, whereas here the soundboard has been reinforced with woven cloth adhered in an X pattern to the inside of the soundboard.


1992.279 Back1992.279 Front

Categories: Hand Tools

Christian Frederick Martin Guitar

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 1:53am
  • Maker: Christian Frederick Martin (Markneukirchen, Saxony 1796–1873 Nazareth, Pennsylvania)
  • Date: ca. 1838
  • Geography: New York, New York, United States
  • Culture: American
  • Medium: Wood, maple, spruce, abalone, ebony, metal, brass, ivory
  • Dimensions: Height: 36 13/16 in. (93.5 cm) Width: 11 11/16 in. (29.7 cm) Depth: 3 1/4 in. (8.3 cm)


Christian Frederick Martin was born in Markneukirchen, Saxony, Germany in 1796. He is known to have studied guitar building in Vienna, working for Karl Kuhle, whose daughter Otillia Kuhle Martin would marry. Martin also claimed to have worked in the shop of Johann George Stauffer whose designs he closely followed in examples such as this instrument. Such features as the scroll-shaped headstock and metal machine tuners, the body outline, and the pin bridge, were all based on the Stauffer design. In 1833, Martin immigrated to New York City where he opened a music store and built guitars, like this one, based on the Viennese style guitars he had learned to build in Germany.

Within a few years, Martin would design a distinctly American form of the guitar that would shape all subsequent acoustic guitar making in the United States. His company, C. F. Martin & Co., would become one of the most influential musical instrument companies in the world and continues manufacturing acoustic guitars in Nazareth, Pennsylvania.

Something to think about

These are the standards we should be aiming for, no routers, no cnc, no table saws, no bandsaws just pure hand work.  I can’t help but wonder about this statement which is true by the way “Time is money.”  Time was also money then and before then and before then.  The only difference between us and them, they had skill, and knew how to work fast and maintain accuracy while we don’t.  We can blame machinery all we like, we can blame mass production and advertising and the guys who convinced us that we’re just not good enough, so we need machinery to produce outstanding work.  But the truth is, the blame solely rests on us.  Don’t you think we’ve been sheep long enough.  Don’t you think it’s time we break these shackles of modernisation and embrace what is truly free.

Handwork brings true freedom, it only takes effort on your part.

They weren’t super humans, they were ordinary people like us and we human beings are an extraordinary creation, who can achieve unbelievable things if we set our minds to it. We can also produce sh*t, this we’ve proven over and over again, we live it and we see it everyday, isn’t it time we said enough.

Categories: Hand Tools

Small Router Plane Build Video

Sun, 06/11/2017 - 6:52pm

Here is part 1 of the build. Hope you like it.

Categories: Hand Tools

The Golden Age of French Furniture in the Eighteenth Century

Sat, 06/10/2017 - 6:29pm
By Daniëlle O. Kisluk-Grosheide Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Some of the most beautiful and refined furniture ever made, displaying the highest level of artistic and technical ability, was created in Paris during the eighteenth century. Much admired by an international clientele, it was used to furnish residences all over Europe and also influenced fashions of cabinetmaking outside France.

Furniture-Making Guild (Corporation des Menuisiers)

French furniture of this period was the collaborative effort of various artists and craftsmen who worked according to strictly enforced guild regulations. Established during the Middle Ages, the guild system continued with little change until being dissolved in 1791 during the French Revolution. The Parisian guild to which the furniture makers belonged was called the Corporation des Menuisiers. It had great influence on the education of furniture makers by requiring at least six years of training that led to a high degree of technical specialization and ensured a high standard of work. First an apprentice spent three years or more in the workshop of a master furniture maker, followed by at least as many years as a journeyman. In order to become a master, a journeyman had to prove his competence by making a chef-d’oeuvre, or masterpiece. Once that was successfully completed, he could open his own workshop only if a vacancy existed (the number of masters allowed to practice at one time was strictly controlled by the guild, as was the size of their workshops) and he had paid the necessary fees. The dues were lower for the sons of master cabinetmakers than for people from outside Paris who had no relatives in the guild. From 1743 onward, it became the rule to stamp every piece of furniture that was offered for sale with the maker’s name. An additional stamp, JME (for jurande des menuisiers-ébénistes), would be added once a committee, made up of elected guild members who inspected the workshops four times a year, had approved the quality. Any furniture that failed to meet the required standards of craftsmanship was confiscated.

Menuisiers and ébénistes

The Corporation des Menuisiers was divided into two distinct trades, that of the woodworkers who made paneling (boiserie) for buildings and coaches, and that of the actual furniture makers. The latter can be subdivided into menuisiers (joiners), responsible for the making of solid wood furniture such as console tables, beds, and chairs, and the ébénistes, from the word ébéne (ebony), makers of veneered case pieces. Most of the menuisiers were French born, often members of well-known dynasties of chairmakers, and were located in or near the rue de Cléry in Paris. By contrast, a large number of Parisian ébénistes were foreign born, many of whom worked in the Faubourg Saint-Antoine. Although not forbidden, it was rare to combine the professions of a menuisier and an ébéniste.

In addition, there were two other groups of furniture makers active in Paris, working outside the framework of the guild. The so-called royal cabinetmakers, who were given special privileges and workshops either at the Louvre palace, at the Manufacture Royale des Meubles de la Couronne at the Gobelins, or in other buildings owned by the crown. Royal cabinetmakers were free from guild regulations. The second group consisted of the so-called artisans libres, or independent craftsmen, many of them foreigners who sought refuge in certain “free” districts of Paris outside the guild’s jurisdiction.

Boy would I love to confiscate many furniture made today.

Categories: Hand Tools

HANDWORK A work in Progress

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 9:13pm

This is a quick update to let you know where we’re at.   The announcement of this magazine has sparked a lot of excitement amongst our craftsman worldwide, we have gained several contributing authors, among them are Brian Holcombe, Joshua Stevens aka Mr.Chickadee, Bob Rozaieski from the Logan Cabinet Shoppe, Bob has written several articles for various woodworking magazines, one of them being finewoodworking.  Unfortunately Paul Sellers has declined to become a contributor at this time, but the door is always open should he reconsider time permitting.

I’m in talks with Colonial Williamsburg, they’re very positive about this magazine.  I know I could do alot more had work not be in the way, but that’s how the cookie crumbles.   So far there’s about 23 solid pages of great articles completed including projects.

So it’s all coming together slowly but surely, I didn’t realise just how much work goes into producing a quality magazine.  Also in addition, an ePub version will become available in the near future for iPad’s.  ePubs are an interactive eBook mag with video’s and so forth.  So I’m hoping to have two versions, the standard PDF for those without an iPad and an ePub version for iPads.  I’ll see if it’s possible to cover the android users.

Articles are being written up by our authors as we speak, mine are already done I just have a few other additions I would like to add.  I’m not entirely sure just how many pages there will be in total, I’m doing this on the fly.  Comparing to other magazines I’ve counted about 30 pages of advertising and about four actual pure woodworking articles. So I think I’m doing a pretty good job so far, no ads just pure woodworking.

Please help spread the word, help by contributing if you can, send your articles, projects pics, tips, ideas, discoveries, everyone is welcomed to contribute.

Send to handworkmagazine@gmail.com

This magazine is not about me but all about you, it’s for all of us combined.  Articles are not reserved for the privileged, like you find with other magazines.  I want the world to see craftsmen and women from all over the world, let the world see you and what you make and have to offer.  This magazine again is not reserved for celebrity woodworkers, even though they are more than welcome to contribute, but I’m more interested in the unknown woodworker, the silent achiever.  Not matter who you are, what part of the world you live in, you all have something valuable to offer.  If language is a barrier, I will help you along as best I can.  This is a community based magazine and therefore a community based effort.  Let’s make this the best and most sought out hand tool woodworking magazine together.

Categories: Hand Tools

Working faster with hand tools

Tue, 06/06/2017 - 1:27am

6 June 2017
Working faster with hand tools

By Salko Safic
Its a common misconception that working with hand tools is a slow and tedious project, and the justification of having machinery in both amateur and professional workshops are based on these common misconceptions. Professional woodworkers claim that time is money, and all of us agrees upon this statement, but have they been misled by advertisers that machinery is truly faster.  

 We can come to an agreement that once machinery, or a single machine is setup to perform a repetitive task, it most definitely is faster. Most small cabinet shops don’t deal with mass production type work. A successful cabinet shop won’t also work with single commissions, but will have a multiple of various commissioned orders with a back log that can run into the years ahead. Still one has to ask is there any truth to this misconception?  I would have to say yes and no, yes for thickness planing and ripping long thick material, and no to everything else.

Say your building a chest of through dovetailed drawers. Will the router get the job done any faster? And again I would have to say no, not for any single project. The task can be quickly and time efficiently done by hand in the same time it would take to setup a router and a jig.  

By developing a good work habit you can avoid simple mistakes and increase your production time by following some examples below.

Arranging your work to suit

You want to keep your work organised, so plan ahead. Be mindful of your workbench, you know it’s strengths and weaknesses. If your chopping a mortise, you would choose the corner of your bench as there is more solidarity minimising vibrations, noise and softening blow effects than if it were in the middle of the bench. You wouldn’t chop one mortise and one tenon to suit, but you would chop all the mortises, while marking each one as you go along with a number or a letter, then make all the tenons to suit again, marking each one that corresponds to each mortise. This will not only speed up your production time but will also eliminate mistakes and time wasting locating what fit goes where. The same principles apply to making dovetails. You would employ what we call stacking, where you lay each board on top of each other in a stair step sequence. If your sawing dovetails you can gang them up in your vice and saw multiple boards in one operation. Frank Krause made a video back in the 90’s demonstrating these techniques. It takes Frank 2 mins to saw, chop and fit two dovetailed boards, it would take longer to do the same with a router and jig setup. 

 When planing, plane all your boards rather than as the need arises, if you can afford to have several planes it would be highly recommended. You can preset these planes according to your needs, you can also save time in sharpening by having several planes, set, sharp and ready to go. Ron Herman a house wright in the United States does just that. 

 Another good method is to own several marking gauges set at different settings, here you can save a lot of time without the need to set your gauge constantly.

 Unnecessary clamping and unclamping of boards is also a huge time waste, many artisans throughout the ages avoided as much as possible clamping anything on their bench. They would either lean on it or work against a stop, for example if your chopping out some dadoes, rather than go in and out of the vice, you can have it rest against a stop.  

Another overlooked aspect of hand tool woodworking is regularly sharpening your tools in particular to hand saws. It wouldn’t be uncommon for a woodworker working twelve hours a day, six days a week not to wear out and replace his saws a few times in his lifetime. By regularly sharpening your saws as soon as you feel a slight degradation in the cut will decrease your sawing time. My new bow saw has a Japanese disposable blade, it cuts very fast, faster than any of my western saws. At first glance I couldn’t understand the reasons why until I stopped looking at everything but the obvious. It was razor sharp, so I took my western saws to the vice and took light strokes making each tooth to the same level of sharpness as my bowsaw, none of it took more than five minutes as they were already sharp but all I did was take it to the next level. Immediately there was a notable difference, it cut just as fast, one was not faster than the other. Had I not experience a Japanese saw blade I would never have made this discovery. 

 One last thing comes to mind, if a particular technique or tool works for you then stick with it, rather continue developing your skills and efficiency with what your doing than trying out someone else’s method because it works for them. Reality is, in some cases there is a right and wrong method, but if a method works for you then stick with it. What works for you might not work for me and vice versa, it all boils down to who trained us or how we trained ourselves.

Woodworking is a repetitive action, you as a craftsman decide what joints your going use and then you repeat it throughout your project. Experience develops from repetitive actions, speed develops over time through muscle memory, and muscle memory develops from repetitiveness. Work smart, not hard and remember, always safety first, if it doesn’t feel right; it’s not.

Categories: Hand Tools