Hand Tool Headlines
The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator
At some point we got so busy we simply couldn't do this anymore, other things were taking our time. We still get requests though, so in that vein, we are now offering these kits once again. The new kits are a shade nicer than the old ones, still made from hard maple but these are finished just a smidgen better and the stabilizer batten now comes glued up to the rear chop.
So here wee are again, the complete kits are ala cart on our Store page.
At Handworks recently we met Janet Switzer of Camp Robber canvas. We immediately liked her wares and started thinking of things to make.
One of the things on the top of our list was a flat bottomed satchel in heavy duty waxed canvas for the trunk of our cars. I shot her some dimensions and within a week (!) had a bag in my hand. Not only was it spot on what I had in mind but it is built like a tank. I can't imagine it ever wearing out. These would make an excellent tool bag.
Her Instagram is here and her Etsy store is here.
We shot this short video to show our new Swing Away Seat in action. We have them in stock and ready to ship.
Further details here.
We've uploaded the installation instructions for the Swing Away Seat. We offer some tips and guidelines for installation, as well as fastener recommendations (which are not included with the seat.) We suggest you read up on the installation while waiting for you seat to arrive so you can have your hardware in house when the seat arrives.
Download the document here.
Also available on our downloads page.
We have for sale, for immediate delivery or pickup, a freshly-built-to-spec example of our Classic Workbench. Made of hard rock maple (rock on!) it's outfitted with our Classic Leg Vise, Planing Stop, Hand-forged Holdfast, and Swing Away Seat. For full specs, see our Classic Workbench Plans page.
This bench was completed a couple weeks ago on May 15, displayed in our booth at Handworks, then placed back in storage. The bench is in the white, that is, we didn't apply any oil/varnish shellac to any of the surfaces. You can either leave it that way or apply a finish of your choice (we hope you leave the top unfinished, or at most one thin coat of oil.)
The bench is assembled entirely with in-compression-for-eternity drawbored mortise and tenon. It's as solid as humans can make it, short of growing a tree in the shape of a bench.
The bench is available for pickup near Cedar Rapids, IA (contact us for details) or white glove delivery, in which the bench is wrapped in moving blankets, transported in a moving van used for furniture delivery only, then unloaded at your address and brought inside by the delivery techs. The first time you touch the bench will be to use it. It costs a bit more to ship this way, but less than you might imagine.
Price is $2600. Delivery fees extra. Contact: email@example.com
After over a year of development, we're excited to announce our Swing Away Seat is available to order. To read more about the development of the seat, read this.
The Swing Away Seat is cast in gray iron and powder coated in satin black. When you buy the seat you'll receive two castings: the larger part called the mount, and the smaller part which bolts to your bench, called the bracket. You'll also receive two black oxide-finished steel pins that marry the parts together. They are loose pins, just like you'd find in a door hinge. So if you need to remove the mount from the bench for whatever reason, you simply lift the two pins and the mount comes off.
Mounting the seat to your bench or table is easy with two 1/2" lag screws or through bolts. Bolts are the stronger option, and if you've got 3" or less of wood to bite into, we recommend bolts. Lag screws, driven into properly-sized pilot holes in hardwood are extremely strong. However, since we can't control your mounting situation or skills, we can only make general suggestions. As such, the Swing Away Seat does not come with mounting hardware. Be wary of hardware store and home-center lag screws. They are usually total junk (but not always) with soft steel and shallow threads. We source ours from the excellent Blacksmithbolt.com. The 1/2" square head lags in black oxide work very well with the Swing Away seat. We also recommend their rub washers under the head of lag screws for a smooth connection. These aren't so necessary with through bolts. For further installation info, download the Swing Away Seat document from our downloads page.
The Swing Away seat is available two ways. Castings only, for us woodworkers who want to make our own seats, or packaged with a finished, ready to mount wood seat. The wood will be offered in one species only, quartersawn white oak with a chestnut stain and satin lacquer finish. The seat is 11" in diameter and ~1" thick. Each wood seat will include three screws to attach it to the mount.
Like our vises, the Swing Away seat is overbuilt. We haven't done any testing on how much weight the casting can take before it breaks, but our empirical knowledge tells us its more than anyone need worry about. Since the seat is cantilevered off its mounting surface, one does have to be mindful of the mounting structure. Obviously a free-standing structure could be prone to tipping, depending on the weight of the structure and the sitter. Again, there are lots of variables at play here that we can't possibly anticipate. Our Classic Workbench (pictured here) is not a super heavy bench, being somewhat narrow at 20" with a 3" thick top. Yet it supports a 250 pound body (me) without tipping. If you're planning to use one of these on any free standing object, keep this in mind. Again, see the installation document for further details. The Swing Away seat will pivot a bit over 180 degrees.
The Swing Away Seat is $199.
The Swing Away Seat with quartersawn oak seat is $249.
You can order through our Store Page.
We wanted to do something special for Handworks 2017, so here's what we came up with. A bench for kids!
Vol. 4 of "The Woodworker" features a basic bench as its first article. We had three planks of yellow pine gathering dust in the corner, so we tossed together this bench over a couple days last week. It's 24" high, which should be perfect for a wide range of kids. To scale it down, we drew the major components in Sketchup full size, then scaled the model down based on the shorter height. It scaled great. Joinery is half lap dadoes on the front and read skirts, and a pair of 10mm Dominoes in each joint.
It's outfitted with our Hi Vise, which makes an excellent leg vise for smaller full size benches, or obviously for kids' benches too.
The bench will go home with one kid, free of charge, courtesy of us!
Here's how to win the bench (parents, read this to your kids).
We'll have a piece of clear, easy to plane basswood chucked in the vise. With a sharp Stanley #3 that we'll leave on the bench, the kid will try their best to make a full width, full length shaving from the edge of the board, under the coaching of their parent or us. They should practice making the best shaving they can. Once they are ready to make their final excellent shaving, they'll write their name on the edge of the board, plane it off, and put the shaving in a box. On Saturday afternoon at 3pm we'll draw one shaving and that kid will go home with the bench.
There are only two rules:
1. The kid must not be taller than 54".
2. One shaving per kid goes in the box.
Parents feel free to make the final perfect shaving for your kid if they can't. Hopefully that kid will win the bench so they can practice back home.
Handworks is now just 2 weeks away. This will be the third bi-annual event and as we've said many a time before, you never know when there will be another. Though we've followed the bi-annual pattern so far, we literally never know if there will be another one until some months later. So if you are on the fence, better act if you can.
In the past, and probably still now, there have occasionally been some comments like "why Iowa?" or "it's too far from the coasts". To be frank, we never really doubted that people would come to the Midwest, or anywhere really, if the event had the right spirit. That said, we can understand some of the apprehension concerning travel and expense. With that in mind here are a few points of interest:
- It's free
- It's in an historical village with a rich woodworking history
- It offers something for everyone, literally, if you or someone with you can't find something of interest in Amana or at one of the event venues then you probably have a hard time finding interest anywhere.
- It's low key (yes it can get crowded but in a good way)
- It offers a chance to both handle tools and learn quite a lot from a group of vendors that overall are more interested in craftsmanship than they are money. You would be hard pressed to find another event that offers the same kind of hands on with so many experts short of a lot of dedicated, costly and time consuming classes
- There's even a dedicated section of the camp ground set aside for HW attendees
As for travel and attendance. Yes, it can get crowded, registration is well over double the previous event, but we've spread things out this year into 5 venues, which should really make things nice.
As for travel, few of us in the States can complain (although we do have some people coming from AK).........Internationally we have registrants (aside from vendors) from Canada, British VI, UK, Germany, France, Norway (10!) Australia and get ready for it.......Indonesia. So if these folks think it's worth the time and expense the least we can do is appreciate that the Midwest is equally far from everyone ;-)
See you there.