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.


Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz

Subscribe to Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz feed Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz
Updated: 4 min 9 sec ago

News! Don Williams to Attend the Lie-Nielsen Event

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 5:12am


Don Williams, the author of “Virtuoso” and the ringleader of the A.J. Roubo translations, will attend the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event this weekend at Braxton Brewing in Covington, Ky.

Don will be signing books and (no doubt) spreading his wisdom on historical finishing techniques. So bring your copies of “Virtuoso” and Roubo translations. If you ordered the standard edition of “Roubo on Furniture” you’ll receive it this week. They all went out in the mail late last week.

img_6470-copy narayan2_IMG_0160

And Don isn’t the only Lost Art Press author who will be attending the Lie-Nielsen event this weekend. Narayan Nayar, the photographer for “Virtuoso,” will be there. And Matt Bickford, the author of “Mouldings in Practice,” will be demonstrating both days.

I’ll be there. And, as you know, I’ll sign anything. So bring your books.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

New Stickers This Week

Sun, 03/05/2017 - 12:53pm
948749 948750 948751


My daughter Maddy will begin mailing out a new set of stickers this week. She ran out of the previous design last week, so if your SASE is in transit you likely will receive the new designs.

The new stickers include:

  1. A round sticker with the Lost Art Press emblem and the “farting divider,” as some people have called it.
  2. A die-cut sticker in the shape of the English A-square from the cover of “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest.”
  3. A full-color portrait of A.J. Roubo to commemorate the release of “With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture.”

Want a set? You can order them from her etsy store here.

Or, for customers in the United States, you can send a $5 bill and a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) to Maddy at:

Stick it to the Man
P.O. Box 3284
Columbus, OH 43210

As always, this is not a money-making venture for me or Lost Art Press. All profits help Maddy squeak through college without debt. Also, as her 21st birthday is coming up on March 22, some of that money might go to buying cider.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Staked High Stool

Sun, 03/05/2017 - 10:38am


I didn’t intend to start revising or adding to “The Anarchist’s Design Book,” but new designs are gushing out of my sketchbook these days, so I’ve stopped resisting.

This stool design started with a Welsh stool from the 18th century and came together in two days. It needs a second prototype to reach the finish line, but it’s good enough to show. Here are some details if you are interested in designing your own.

The stool is 25-1/2” tall, which is perfect for me. I can sit on the bench with my feet resting flat on the floor. The stretcher is 6-3/4” off the floor, so when I put my feet on it, my legs are in a traditional sitting arrangement.


The seat is 1-3/4” x 12” x 20”. This gives you enough depth so you don’t feel as if you are falling off and you won’t cut off blood circulation to your legs if you sit back on the seat. (Also, 12” is a classic stool depth.) The 20” length is suited so you can place your hands on the seat to either side of your torso. This allows you to easily reposition yourself or to help give you a push if you wish to hop off the seat.

The 45° cuts at the back remove weight – visual and literal.

The legs are 1-3/4” double-tapered octagons and start life about 27” long. The double tapers meet at the point where the stretchers intersect the legs – a natural place for bulk. The front legs use the following angles: 26° sightline and 13° resultant. The rear leg has a 0° sightline and 22° resultant. These angles give the stool immense stability.


The legs have 1-1/4” diameter tenons at the top. They start out about 2” long. The tenons are not tapered on this design.

The stretchers start as 1-1/8” octagons and are turned. The front stretcher is a cigar shape and terminates at each end with a cove and a 5/8” diameter x 1” tenon. The T-stretcher is 1-1/8” diameter at the rear leg and tapers to 3/4” at the front stretcher. Both ends have 5/8”-diameter tenons. (Note I swiped this tapered tenon from Bern Chandley, a chairmaker in Melbourne, Australia.)

What am I going to change for Stool 2.0? I’m going to add a wide and flat chamfer all around the top of the seat and saddle the seat. I’m going to bulk up the legs and stretchers a bit to see what happens. I might replace the 45° angles on the seat to ellipses.

But the second prototype will have to wait. I have tea coasters (yes, coasters) to build for a special client.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: The Anarchist's Design Book, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Lie-Nielsen Event: Where to Eat & Drink

Sun, 03/05/2017 - 7:12am

Shrimp and grits at Otto’s.

There are a lot of great places to eat in Cincinnati and Covington, and I’m not talking about chili parlors. In fact, the only thing I’m going to say about chili parlors is this: They are the only place you can order a “child’s three-way” and not get arrested.

To make this list manageable, I’m going to focus only on establishments that are in Covington and downtown Cincinnati. If I covered other neighborhoods, it would be a book.

Otto’s: This is one of my favorite places for lunch, dinner and brunch. It has a small menu of Southern food, but everything is outstanding. Get the tomato pie for lunch. Otto’s is also one of my contenders for best burger in the city.

Bouquet: Great wine bar and good food made with local ingredients. I love the trout.

Frida 602: A bustling Mexican place that specializes in mezcal and tacos. Get the queso. You’ll thank me.

Cock & Bull: The best fish and chips in town and a draft beer list that is insane (Delirium Tremens on draft – dang).

Goodfella’s Pizza and the Wiseguy Lounge: Downstairs is a small pizzeria with New York style pizza (yes, you can order a slice) and beer. Upstairs is one of the best bourbon bars in the state and a great place to relax.

Commonwealth Bistro: A new Southern food restaurant on Main Street. I’ve only been once but I was blown away by the fried rabbit and biscuit.

Crafts & Vines: One of the friendliest bars in the city. Wine on draft (you read that right). Plus an inventive beer selection.

Old Kentucky Bourbon Bar: The bartenders know me by name here. An astonishing bourbon selection. The patio out back is one of my favorite places to hang out with a crackling fire and a bourbon.

Covington Coffee: Super-friendly family-run place. Great pastries and the best bagels (Lil’s) in the city.

Crepe Cafe: A relatively new shop on Pike Street. A cozy family-run place with really good sweet and savory crepes, plus espresso. One of my favorite places for lunch – it’s two blocks from our shop.

Point Perk: My other favorite coffee shop in town. The hours are limited, but the espresso and chai drinks are fantastic.

Coppin’s in the Hotel Covington: Open less than a year, this hotel is the jewel of the city. It’s less than a block from Braxton Brewing. The restaurant and bar are highly recommended for breakfast, lunch, dinner and brunch. Get the corn fritters, the 16 Bricks bread and… oh just get everything.

Inspirado: Around the corner from Braxton. Eclectic menu. Osso buco and street tacos? Yes please. A very friendly place – lunch, dinner and brunch.


Pork ho fun at Kung Food.

Amerasia Kung Food: Don’t be fooled by the appearance of this divey-looking Chinese place. People come from all over the city for lunch and dinner. It also has one of the best selections of beer in the city. If you like noodles, get the pork ho fun (and ask them to make it a little extra crispy).

Riverside Korean: Authentic Korean. A karaoke room (yes, we’ve done it). Riverside never disappoints.

House of Grill: Tasty Persian food served up by the friendliest family in the restaurant business.

Keystone Grill: Family-friendly place for lunch, dinner or brunch. The mac and cheese varieties are great.

The Gruff: A pizza place in the shadow of the Roebling bridge. Fantastic pizzas (try the Italian meat pizza or the Margarita) plus local craft beer and one of the most inspiring views in the city.

Whew, Now Cincinnati
I’m going to keep this brief. This blog entry is turning into an opus already. All of these restaurants are less than a mile from the river. I’m also skipping places that are so popular (The Eagle, Bakersfield, Taft Ale House) that you can’t easily get in.

Sotto: The best restaurant in the city. Period. The first time my daughter tried the short rib cappellacci she cried. No lie.

Boca: The big brother to Sotto. A bit fancy, but unforgettable in every respect.

Maplewood: The best breakfast in the city. No question.

Mita’s: Beautiful Spanish restaurant with achingly good paella.

Nada: Upscale Mexican with a fantastic brunch.

Senate Pub: Go early. Poutine and the best hot dog I’ve ever had (brioche bun!).

Krueger’s Tavern: Delicious hamburgers and homemade sausage.

Taste of Belgium: Fried chicken and waffles. Great breakfast. Belgian ale on tap.

Morelein Lager House: A local brewery with a restaurant – the view of the Roebling Bridge and Covington alone is worth the trip.


Sweet pea and bacon pizza at A Tavola.

A Tavola: My favorite pizza in the city. Neapolitan-style. Awesome wagyu-beef meatballs and bacon tapenade. Great wine, beer and cocktails.

Salazar: I vacillate between Salazar and Sotto as my favorite places in the city.


Pulled pork sandwich at Eli’s.

Findlay Market & Eli’s: A old open-air market and the pride of Cincinnati. On weekends we walk around, eat whatever smells good and buy sausages (Kroeger meat) for the week. Eli’s is adjacent and it’s my favorite barbecue joint.

OK, that should be enough to keep you fed for one weekend.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Personal Favorites, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

‘Roman Workbenches’ Going on Press

Sat, 03/04/2017 - 12:44pm


Unless something goes awry, Brian Stuparyk at Steam Whistle Letterpress plans to start printing the pages for “Roman Workbenches” this week. The plates are in. The paper is in. Now it’s just a matter of putting the two together on his Vandercook press.

Once the pages are printed, we’ll truck the results to Massachusetts so the bindery can fold the signatures, sew them and bind them. It’s too soon to tell exactly when the book will be finished and then ship – I’m hoping the process takes another five weeks.

Today I stopped by the Steam Whistle shop in neighboring Newport, Ky., to take some photos of the plates and paper to assure you that we haven’t taken your money and run off to Kansas (that’s really about as far as we could get on that sum).

Brian is a newly minted father and seems still as excited about the job as I am – and I don’t think he’s slept since Monday.

When the press starts rolling, I’ll post some photos and video of the process. It won’t be long now.

— Christopher Schwarz

page_proofs_img_4415 rw_paper_stock_img_4413 vandercook_img_4438


Filed under: Roman Workbenches, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Coming to Town for the Lie-Nielsen Event?

Sat, 03/04/2017 - 6:07am


If you are trying to trick your family into traveling to Cincinnati so you can attend the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event at Braxton Brewing on March 10-11, here’s some ammunition.

In this post, let’s talk about the kids’ stuff:

The Ringling Bros. final dates in Cincinnati just happen to be during that weekend. The circus is closing up shop and so this might be your last chance to see it. The performances are at the U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati – right across the river from Covington. Details here.

The Cincinnati Museum Center has an exhibit of Viking artifacts (which I really need to get over to see). Lots of swords, a recreation of a Viking ship and additional programming that young Vikings would dig (Viking games). The Cincinnati Children’s Museum is also in the facility, and we spent many long Saturdays there when our kids were young.

If your kids dig fish, penguins and sea life, the Newport Aquarium is a great day trip. The aquarium is at Newport on the Levee, an entertainment district that’s five minutes from the hand tool event. There’s a movie theater, restaurants and other fun stuff for kids there. Also, oddly, Mitchell’s Fish Market is exactly next door to the aquarium. I always wondered….

The Cincinnati Zoo is an outstanding zoo. I can say that because I’ve been dragged to zoos (legal and sketchy) all over the Western world. In addition to seeing all the animals that would like to eat you, there are animals you can pet. The children’s section of the zoo kept our kids occupied for hours so we could fall half-asleep on a bench.

If you have a child who is obsessed with trucks, you can soothe the little savage with a trip to the Cincinnati Fire Museum. It’s downtown – a short hop from Covington.

The Cincinnati Art Museum (free admission!) is another great day trip. For the younger kids, there’s the Rosenthal Education Center, with hands-on stuff to keep little hands occupied between filling diapers. The rest of the museum is great, too, if they happen to take a nap in the stroller.

If you like to warp your children’s minds (like we did), go to the Contemporary Art Center in downtown Cincinnati. You start at the top of the amazing building and work your way down. Our kids were always shocked and amazed and surprisingly curious when we went to the CAC. (There’s a section for kids at the top of the museum, too.) It’s not too freaky – promise. Also, stop by the 21c Museum Hotel next door. It has two floors of art exhibits that are always fun and interesting (our kids still ask to go). There’s lots to eat all around the CAC, but I’ll save that for another post.

Hope this helps.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Black Walnut (Juglans nigra)

Thu, 03/02/2017 - 5:47pm

Fig. 2-7. Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) 60′ – 100′ (18-30 m) tall

This is an excerpt from “With the Grain: A Craftsman’s Guide to Understanding Wood” by Christian Becksvoort. 


The walnut family also includes butternut and the hickories. Juglans means nut of Jupiter, nigra, or black, refers to the dark wood. Its natural range is from New England through southern Ontario to South Dakota, south to Texas, and east to northern Florida. Walnuts grow best in the deep rich soils of river valleys and bottom lands, where they reach a height of 60′-100′ (18-30 m). The tree generally has an open crown with thick, sturdy branches. Walnut leaves are compound, 1′-2′ (30-60 cm) long, with 13-23 lance-shaped leaflets. Leaves grow alternately on thick, stubby twigs. When cut, the twigs reveal a light brown pith, about the thickness of a pencil lead. Overall, the light green foliage is scant, giving the tree an airy appearance. Early in the fall the leaves turn yellow and drop, leaving a distinctive 3-lobed, notched, leaf scar. The nut matures at about the same time, enclosed in a thick, green, pulpy husk about the size of a billiard ball. The deeply grooved black nut is very thick and hard, but well worth the effort of extracting the meat. The dark brown bark grows in broken, crossed ridges.


Black walnut is as close to a perfect cabinet wood as can be found in North America. The light sapwood, 10-20 rings wide, is often steamed commercially to make it blend with the heartwood, which is a medium chocolate to purplish-brown. The wood is medium hard (with a density of 38 lb/ft³ or .61 g/cc at 12 percent MC), strong and works well with both hand and power tools. Classified as semi-ring-porous the vessels (containing tyloses) are large enough to be seen on any surface. Walnut is very decay-resistant, and was once used for railroad ties. Many early barns, houses and outbuildings in the Appalachians and the Midwest were constructed with walnut frames. Its color, beauty and workability make it a prime cabinet wood. Gunsmiths use it for stocks because it moves very little once dried. Top-quality veneer logs will sell for thousands of dollars and will panel miles of executive offices.

Meghan Bates

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

The Last of the Second Batch of Stickers (& Hippos)

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 4:44pm


My daughter Maddy reports that she has fewer than 50 sets of stickers left from the second batch of designs we made. So if you want the beehive logo and “Divided We Stand” logo stickers, you might want to act now.

You can order them from her etsy store here.

Or, for customers in the United States, you can send a $5 bill and a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope) to Maddy at:

Stick it to the Man
P.O. Box 3284
Columbus, OH 43210

I’ve begun designing the third set of stickers. So no matter what happens, if you order, you will get stickers.

You might be wondering what the heck Maddy is holding in her left hand. It’s a cookie from a local bakery featuring the photo of a prematurely born hippo at the Cincinnati Zoo named Fiona.

Maddy and my wife, Lucy, are obsessed with the hippo. Lucy, a reporter at WCPO-TV, has taken it upon herself to discuss the hippo every week on the station’s podcast. And we are spending money on hippo cookies like we don’t need to eat protein.

You can see the latest on Fiona here (thank you Lucy for this link).

So I have no idea why I’m writing about a premature hippo, but there you have it. Buy stickers. Like hippos. Something something.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

The Mentors: Hayward & Roubo

Sun, 02/26/2017 - 3:53pm


It was never supposed to happen like this, but I’m a believer in fate.

During the last seven days we have closed the books – so to speak – on two of the projects that have dogged us every day since we started this publishing company in 2007. Those projects – reviving the works of A.J. Roubo and Charles H. Hayward – have consumed the lives of more than a dozen people for almost as many years.

While I thought I would feel relief, joy or something powerful about the publication of “With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture” and “The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years Vols. I – IV,” I actually don’t feel very much on a personal level. Perhaps it has yet to sink in, but all I feel right now is gratitude to the people who signed on to these crazy projects – with no guarantee of reward – and have stuck with us for years and years.

The Charles H. Hayward project began before we even incorporated Lost Art Press in 2007. John and I wanted everyone to encounter the pure genius of Hayward and The Woodworker magazine during its heyday. And likewise, our efforts at translating Roubo’s “l’art du Menuisier” predate this company by many years.

And now we’re pretty much done. Sometime on Tuesday or Wednesday, I’ll receive a copy of “With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture” and I’ll place it next to volume IV of The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years,” and that will be that. We might publish additional translations of Roubo. And we might have additional Hayward-related material in the works. But the big job is over.

I am not one for navel-gazing, but I can tell you this: These projects have transformed me as a craftsman, writer and designer. The books are so woven into the fiber of my being that it’s impossible to overstate their influence on how I work at the bench every day.

If I had to sum it up, I’d say that I can see the world through the eyes of these great men. Both of them did something that few woodworkers do: They investigated the craft around them with open hearts and open minds. Both interviewed woodworkers of all stripes in order to communicate how to make things. They refused to accept the narrow, rote training that can easily make you an effective soldier, but a poor thinker.

If anything, these men have taught me how to evaluate the advice, admonitions, rules and exhortations of other craftsmen. To spot the closed mind. To refuse to embrace dogma.

Will you find the same things in these books? I don’t know. But the lessons are there for the taking.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Charles H. Hayward at The Woodworker, To Make as Perfectly as Possible, To Make as Perfectly as Possible, Roubo Translation
Categories: Hand Tools

“Fine and Affordable Underground Furniture”

Sat, 02/25/2017 - 1:36pm

The Kiwi Coffin Club of Rotorua and the DIY Coffin Club for Hawkes Bay, both on the North Island of New Zealand, are featured in a short article in today’s World News section of The New York Times. You can read the article here.

The Kiwi Coffin Club

The Kiwi Coffin Club

This quote from the DIY Coffin Club for Hawkes Bay website sums up what these clubs do and why: “The club is win-win time. It gives members a chance to plan ahead, talk about what is coming (even when hoping it is a long time arriving), socialise, help others, save money and personalise our final resting place.”

DIY Coffin Club for Hawkes Bay

DIY Coffin Club for Hawkes Bay

Here are two links to get you started on your own underground furniture:

Last October Chris posted the Coffin Chapter from “The Anarchist’s Design Book.” You can read that here.

In the summer of 2014 Chris and several friends had a coffin-building party and you can read about that  here.

Suzanne Ellison

Filed under: Personal Favorites, The Anarchist's Design Book
Categories: Hand Tools

Another Early Bird: ‘Roubo on Furniture’ Standard Edition

Sat, 02/25/2017 - 11:37am

r2_blue_twineGood news: The printing plant has completed the standard edition of “With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture” more than two weeks ahead of schedule. The book will arrive in the warehouse on Monday and will almost certainly ship to customers next week.

When we have a an exact shipping date, we’ll let you know here.

After years of frustrating delays and effort, it’s nice to have this project end on this pleasant note (assuming, of course, that the printing plant didn’t accidentally insert tasty squirrel recipes inside the covers).

As a result, we will have copies of “With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture” at the Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event at Braxton Brewing on March 10-11.

Also, this is your final chance to order “With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture” and receive a free pdf with your order. After March 1, the pdf will cost extra.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: To Make as Perfectly as Possible, To Make as Perfectly as Possible, Roubo Translation, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Estonian Spoons and Bowls

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 6:13pm

Fig. 73. Wooden Spoons: 1. Spoon from Muhu, Mäla village, ERM A 290:150; 2. Spoon from Karja, Koikla village. EM 16957.

This is an excerpt from “Woodworking in Estonia” by Ants Viires and translated by Mart Aru.

Until the beginning of the century, spoons and ladles for home use were generally produced by the peasants themselves. The preferred timber was that of birch, hard pieces of birch root and sometimes juniper. To prevent these articles from cracking, they were frequently boiled in hot water (they were also known to have been dried in the bread oven).4 The bowl parts of the Estonian spoons (as well as the Latvian and Finnish ones), are of elongated shape, differing in this respect from the Russian round-bowled spoons.5

Often the spoons were covered with carved designs (Fig. 73). The Russian spoon with the round bowl, often pointed, became known in Estonia in the course of the 19th century mainly through being introduced by men returning from military service from Russia. Only toward the end of the century did the Russian spoon appear in the shops, or they were bought from by hawkers. The following is from Räpina: “Later, about 40 years ago [= ca. 1900] then no longer country spoons were made for eating. The Seto people started to bring and sell wooden spoons. The Seto exchanged spoons against grain and rags. There was a factory in Pihkva (Pskov) that made them. It was better to eat with factory spoons than with spoons made by ourselves. There was thick paint on them and there was no need to wash them so thoroughly and the color stuck well. Country spoons remained only for making of butter and cooking. Old people, who had not been accustomed to eat with the other spoons, ate a long time with self-made spoons.”6  In the first decades of the 20th century metal spoons put a full stop both to country spoons as well as the Russian wooden spoons as tableware. Wooden spoons remained in use only in cooking.

It is worth mentioning that although the Estonian and Russian wooden spoons were quite different, the word “lusikas” (south Estonian “luhits, luits”) is actually an old Russian loanword (Old Russian “льжька,” Russian “лoжка”), as a result of which it has been believed that Russian spoons were spread already quite early as an article of trade among Baltic-Finnic people, and because of it the original old names have been forgotton. One of such old names could be “koost,” which denotes a wooden spoon on the western shore  of Saaremaa and Hiiumaa (Karuse and Varbla). That Russian spoons were actually found in the Baltic counties at an early time is confirmed by a find of typical Russian spoons in Riga, in all likelihood from the 13th to the 15th centuries.8  To a certain extent the previous position is in a certain contradiction with what people have stored in their memories – which, as we have seen, link the appearance of Russian spoons at a rather late date. It is also interesting that the word “lusikas” (spoon) has in its turn spread into the speech of Russians on the other side of Lake Peipsi as “лузик”9  (it may be to distinguish it from the different spoon with a longish bowl which Avinurme home industry people could have sold on their commercial travels in the 19th century on the other side of Lake Peipsi).

The words used for ladle, “kulp” or “kula” (the latter is a west Estonian term used to describe a ladle with the bowl at an angle, used to scoop milk from the urn), are probably of Baltic–Finnicorigin.10  On the other hand the south Estonian term “kopp” originates from the Lower German “koppe.”11  The same word is applied in other parts of Estonia to mean a wooden bowl with a handle. In the Võru dialect and in other eastern parts of the country the wooden bowl with a handle, especially the one for use in the bath, is known as “korets, karits” (Russian “korets”).


Hollowed bowl, Põlva, Kaapa village, ERM A 227:86.

Bowls (Fig. 74) were usually made of softwood – linden, aspen, alder, sometimes also from birch. Usually they were made from a stem cut in two, crosswise, although lengthwise was sometimes preferred. The latter were not as durable and had a tendency to crack. Tools used in the manufacture of homemade bowls were the scooping axe, the chisel and the draw knife. However, in the 19th century most bowls were already being produced by turnery, and the bowl ceased to be a homemade article (see the chapter on Turning). There are only a few such bowls in museum collections, as by far the greater number of bowls have been turned. This shows that in the 19th century making of bowls was mostly the duty of turners, and no longer belonged to the circle of the peasant’s home carpentry.

 e.g. KT 101, 9, Räpina. 5  Such spoons with an oval bowl occur in the Slavonic area in Central Europe (Opole) since the 10th to the 12th centuries.(Hołubowicz, Fig. 122:1 p. 277). Wooden spoons used in the 15th to the 16th century are relatively similar in their shape to Russian spoons of the 19th century. (Рабинович. Из иcтoрии быта, Fig. 10:7. p. 51). KT 101.9–10 (Joosep Hermann, b. 1866), cf. also EA 15, 116 Avinurme; KV 78, 124 Jõhvi. Mikkola, p. 45, 66; Kalima, Slaavil, san., p. 120. Šnore, plate II, 5, 8. 9 Kalima, Ostseefinn. lehnwörter, p. 157. 10 Хакулинен I, p. 103; Ariste, Hiiu, p. 176. 11 Saareste p. 245.

Meghan Bates

Filed under: Woodworking in Estonia
Categories: Hand Tools

Lie-Nielsen Hand Tool Event in Covington, Ky.

Thu, 02/23/2017 - 12:55pm


Lie-Nielsen Toolworks is hosting a Hand Tool Event at Braxton Brewing in Covington, Ky., on March 10-11 (details from Lie-Nielsen are here).

We will have a booth at the brewery both days and will have our storefront open on Saturday only (not Friday; nor Thursday) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Our storefront is a seven-minute walk from the brewery.

On Saturday night we are organizing an outing to Rhinegeist brewing in Cincinnati where we shall play Hammerschlager – a competitive nail-driving game. The winner of the evening (likely the one person left standing) will receive a letterpress hammer poster (long sold out and coveted). We’ll bring the stump, the hammer and the nails.

The event at Rhinegeist will start about 8 p.m. We recommend you go to Eli’s barbecue at Findlay Market to get your dinner beforehand and walk it a block north to Rhinegeist to eat it. (That’s what we’re going to do.) Note that Eli’s closes at 9 p.m. Tarry not.

I hope that we will have some other special stuff to show or sell, but that all depends on trucking and production schedules. More details, soon.

Last year’s show was fantastic. Braxton has excellent beer. Covington has a lot of great places to eat and drink (more on those later on). And yeah, Cincinnati is awesome, too.

Hope to see you there!

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Now Taking Orders for the Deluxe ‘Roubo on Furniture’

Wed, 02/22/2017 - 9:15am

lap-roubo-pressmark-1Last night at dinner I laid out the finances involved in printing the deluxe “With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture,” and I think I saw the blood drain out of my wife’s face – just a little bit.

It’s like sending a child to college. It’s vitally important, and so you somehow find the money to make it happen. But when you stand back and count up all the dollars involved you wonder how the heck you did it.

We are pleased, thrilled and a little anxious to offer you “With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture,” the largest, most expensive and most incredibly built book we’ve yet to offer. We think the investment is worth it. Don Williams, Michele Pietryka-Pagán and Philippe Lafargue dedicated years of their lives to translate A.J. Roubo’s 18th-century masterwork “l’art du Menuisier” and have done a magnificent job. Designer Wesley Tanner has captured the experience of reading an 18th-century book. And so we have decided to put all our chips on the table.

If you approach this book with an open heart and mind, I think you will find yourself challenged to become a better woodworker in everything you do. It is the most involved piece of woodworking writing I’ve ever encountered. It is for beginners, intermediates and the advanced.

Even if you have zero interest in building French furniture, I think this book will speak to you as a maker and give you insights into how things are made “with all the precision possible.”

The book is $550 and will ship this summer. You can place your pre-publication order here.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: To Make as Perfectly as Possible, To Make as Perfectly as Possible, Roubo Translation
Categories: Hand Tools

A Video Tour of a Deluxe Roubo Book

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

If you have never seen one of our deluxe versions of “To Make as Perfectly as Possible: Roubo on Marquetry,” this tour will give you a small taste of the scale of the book and the quality of its components.

Since the release of this book (it’s long since sold out), people have come by the storefront or to shows to see a copy and it’s always a treat to see their reaction. First, they are amazed at the size – 12-1/4” wide x 17-1/4” tall. It’s uncommon to see a book of this size outside of a library’s rare book room.

But my favorite part is when they open the book. The printing and detail is so crisp that no matter how close you get, it holds up.

Oh, and the A.J. Roubo translations themselves are an incredibly important piece of woodworking history. Roubo’s “l’art d’Menuisier” is still the legal yardstick in many countries for what is good workmanship. And this is the first time his sections on furniture are being printed in English.

On Wednesday at noon we will begin taking pre-publication orders for the deluxe version of “With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture.” Full details on the book are available here. We are printing 1,000 copies, which will ship this summer.

Also, I neglected to mention that everyone who purchases a deluxe copy of the book will receive a pdf download of the standard edition. It will be delivered after you checkout.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Roubo Translation, To Make as Perfectly as Possible, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Wednesday: Deluxe ‘Roubo on Furniture’

Mon, 02/20/2017 - 10:32am

R2 special bindingWe will begin taking pre-publication orders for the deluxe version of “With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture” at noon Eastern time on Wednesday, Feb. 22.

The book will be $550, which includes delivery to the U.S. and Canada. International customers will pay an additional charge based on the actual cost to ship it to them (you’ll be contacted before the book ships about this additional charge). We are printing 1,000 copies. No more.

This book is expected to ship in summer 2017, barring production or transportation delays. Before you order, please read the following important information on being a “subscriber” to this book.

The Important Part: Please Read
Customers who order before March 15 will be listed as a “subscriber” at the back of the book. By default, we will print your first name and last name exactly as it appears in your order for the book (so please spell your name correctly). If you do not wish your name to appear in the book, you must send an email to meghan@lostartpress.com before March 15 along with your order number and a request to have your name omitted.

After March 15, no changes can be made to the list of subscribers.

The Scary & Amazing Part
As we were negotiating the print job with the plant, I calculated that by the time we pay for this press run we will have spent more than $500,000 on the Roubo translation project, a mind-blowing figure for someone who drives a beat-up 10-year-old truck.

I am not saying this to impress you, but to 1) Thank you for your support and 2) Thank you in advance for your support on this deluxe version.


The Manufacturing Details
Measuring 12-1/4” wide x 17-1/4” tall by almost 2-1/4” thick, “Roubo on Furniture” will be the largest and most luxurious book we have printed since Lost Art Press was founded in 2007.

The 472 pages of text will be printed on #100 Mohawk Superfine paper, perhaps the finest domestic paper available today. To match the fine paper, the images and plates will be printed in full color at a linescreen few presses can achieve.

The result is a level of detail and clarity rarely seen in any book of any era.

The book’s signatures will be sewn, casebound and reinforced with a fiber tape that will ensure the binding will outlast us all. The hardbound boards will be covered in a beautifully printed pattern with a cotton cloth cover on the spine. The spine will be then debossed in gold and black.

The entire book will come in a custom-made slipcase covered in a complementary-colored cotton cloth.

Our deluxe version of “Roubo on Marquetry” (long since sold out) was manufactured to these same high specifications and was named one of the “50 Books of the Year” by by the Design Observer, in association with AIGA and Designers & Books.

We are happy to answer any questions about the book – just leave us a comment and we’ll do our best. Tomorrow I plan to post a video tour of the deluxe version of “Roubo on Marquetry” so you can get a feel for the manufacturing details of the deluxe “Roubo on Furniture.”

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: To Make as Perfectly as Possible, Roubo Translation
Categories: Hand Tools

How a Lost Art Press Book is Made

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 11:40am

John and I are quite particular about how our books are made and spend a lot of time and money on details that most readers don’t notice. We want our books to be able to survive floods, attacks by babies and dogs and – most of all – time.

There are an enormous number of manufacturing steps our books have to go through, especially compared to digital, print-on-demand (POD) publishing. While POD is good for some things, such as bind-ups of classroom material, it has a long way to go to compete with traditional printing and binding.

And so we stick with the time- and labor-intensive methods for our books.

In late September, John and I visited one of the plants where our color books are printed on sheet-fed presses. Our black-and-white books, in contrast, are printed on web press. The difference between the two is somewhat akin to the difference between paper being fed into a photocopier (sheet-fed) or printing out your book on an enormous roll of butcher’s paper or paper towels (web press).

The above is a short peek at the process a typical book goes through. Note that I’ve left a lot of steps out and simplified things (so if you are in the printing industry, forgive me). It took two full days to tour the plant, so 5 minutes of video is going to leave out some details.

Thanks to Jostens of Clarksville, Tenn., for opening their doors to us and allowing us to photograph anything we please. And thanks to Phil Nanzetta of Signature Book who purchases most of our printing for us and helped arrange the visit.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Personal Favorites, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Meet the Author: Don Williams

Fri, 02/17/2017 - 6:00am


Don Williams says his love of learning was probably fostered by the fact that his father was going through seminary when he was a child. Don grew up in a household without television. Instead, his family listened to classical music and read.

“But much to my parents’ dismay, I veered off into jazz as my primary interest, so they were pretty much convinced in my teenage years that they had picked up the wrong kid in the hospital,” he says.

Don maintains a love of jazz.

Jazz can loosely be defined as a combination of polyphony, syncopation and improvisation — simultaneous but independent melodic lines playing at the same time with unexpected and off-beat rhythms achieved extemporaneously. For Williams, jazz is not only what he listens to, still to this day, but serves as an outline for how he lives his life.

A self-proclaimed conservator, educator, scholar and all-around inquisitive guy, Don was a curious child who delved deep into varying topics – some unexpected – and from a young age, found connections.

“I think that being interested in many things, not everything, but many things allowed me to gather a lot of information,” he says. “And since I didn’t necessarily accept the rubric of the classroom, I think I’m able to see connections between distinct bodies of knowledge that wouldn’t necessarily be apparent if you were stuck in the tyranny of specialized knowledge.”

Don believes that the whole notion of specialized knowledge is a modern thing. “In the past, our predecessors in much earlier generations saw knowledge as the continuum rather than a series of cubbyholes,” he says. He mentions Robert A. Heinlein, who famously wrote:

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.

Don believes pluralism and knowledge to be good things. “That’s part of why I was able to study lots of different things, both formally and informally, and manage to synthesize them into some body of working knowledge,” he says. “It doesn’t necessarily [make me] an expert at anything, but it does make adaptable I think.”

But expert, he is. In many things.

Williams spent his early years in southern Minnesota, and his adolescent and post-adolescent years in South Florida. His mother was an office worker, his father a pastor. Williams is the fourth child out of five.

At that time there was a program in Florida called the Faculty Scholars program that pinpointed high-achieving students on factors outside of grade point average. Williams had his high school guidance counselor convinced he was a solid “B” student.

“And then when the senior standardized placement test results came back, she literally left her office, came and dragged me out of class and read me the riot act,” Don says. He had received the second highest score in his very large high school.

This test result, through the Faculty Scholars program, allowed Don to begin college as a junior. He enrolled at Florida Atlantic University planning to double major in economics and political science. “This was 1972 and everybody was pre-law in 1972,” he says.


Around this time Don was working in the finishing room of the now-closed Schindler & Son, then a well-known restoration shop in West Palm Beach, Fla. “I found my attraction and interest at the workbench,” he says. “[The work there] was so much greater than the stuff I was studying in college that I dropped out of college around the beginning of my senior year. It just didn’t pull my fascination.”

Don began working full time for Schindler in 1974, and there met Nick Hlopoff, an internationally renowned decorative art conservator. “He was an exotic figure to me,” Don says. “Being a kid of the Midwest, Baptist parentage, here was this fellow who was an ethnic Russian, born and raised in Paris, trained by his father to care for artworks of exquisite importance.”

Nick, who lived outside of Detroit, would come into town and use shop space to care for the artworks of one of Schindler’s clients. “He was the guy who introduced me to the world of museum conservation as a livelihood,” Don says.

So Don decided to go back to college. “I still didn’t know precisely the path to art conservation as a career so I did the closest thing I could find which was to go to the University of Florida and major in architectural historic preservation.” But a year and a half in, the university changed its curriculum in a direction Don didn’t like. So he left school again.

Don worked in restoration and reproductions at Colonial Woodworking in Archer, Fla., and then in 1978 got a job at Maddox Foundry and Machine Works. “I worked as a patternmaker, which is ultra-precise woodworking,” he says. “I mean, ultra-precise.”

At Schindler’s, Don learned all about historical furniture, having worked on thousands of old-money European and French furniture pieces for wealthy clients in Palm Beach. At Maddox, he learned all about precision woodworking.


It’s the early 1980s now, and Don has married Carolyn, who he met on a blind date at his sister’s house. Carolyn wanted to pursue graduate work, and Don wanted to pursue art conservation. So they chose the southern most of the four colleges in North America that offered both — University of Delaware. Don enrolled in an undergraduate art conservation program, which was an interdisciplinary triple major of studio art, chemistry and art history. “Those are the very disparate disciplines that are the foundation for art conservation,” he says. “It’s fully left brain and right brain, both evolving simultaneously.”

There were 17 incoming students in Don’s program, but by the end of the first semester of the second year, Don was the only one left. “For most people either the hard science is going to weed you out or the fine art is going to weed you out,” he says.

A semester shy of graduating, he received three job offers in the museum field.

“I accepted the job offer from the Smithsonian with the promise that I would finish my studies and get my degree.” He did. It took him another year and a half of commuting one day a week to Delaware and back, but in 1985 he earned a B.A. in “Technology of Artistic and Historic Objects.” (The degree is now, more simply called “Art Conservation.”) Don was the program’s first graduate.

One of the ironies of the Smithsonian gig was that Don was hired in part to be on a team that was developing an art conservation graduate degree program, even though he hadn’t received a graduate degree himself. “So my time for the first couple of years was split between working on the curriculum for this new master’s degree program and doing hands-on caretaking and inquiries and research into the materials and artifacts that related to the Smithsonian.”

Don was 29 when the Smithsonian offered him a job. “You pinch yourself,” he says. “You just can’t believe it.” In his later years, when working alongside his best work friend, Melvin Wachowiak (“With All the Precision Possible: Roubo on Furniture” is dedicated to him), Don says they would often say to each other how unbelievable it was that they were being paid to do this type of work. “Because it was so much fun,” Don says.

Don describes the small group he worked with as semi-autonomous, with a think-tank-like culture. “We were given just extraordinary latitudes in pursuing the intersection of our interests and Smithsonian collection needs,” he says. His official job description, which he wrote, was 15 pages long. When asked to distill that down he says this: Be productively curious.

He was. And he was good at it.

“Part of my success in this poly-dimensional disciplinary world was that I could synthesize information from completely unconnected sources,” he says. “I hope I’m not bragging about it but it’s just a way, it’s a familiarity with the way I work. My wife has identified me as severely ADD so that’s perhaps worked out well there.”

A cabinet by the French-born 19th century New York cabinetmaker Alexander Roux. Don's restoration is on display in Washington DC. untitled-1-copy untitled-2-copy

Day to day, Don said he got to “literally intrude into the fabric of some of the most prominent artifacts in the history of the nation. And so some days I was working on irreplaceable treasures, and some days I was just sitting and reading. And still, the paycheck showed up at 12:01 a.m. every other Tuesday morning.”

The pieces that most interested Don during his time at the Smithsonian weren’t those with historical prominence but rather those that had “attractable degradation.” He talks about a 19th-century replica of a 17th-century French desk with spectacularly decorated marquetry but was run-of-the-mill in the 19th century.

“But it was in the Smithsonian collection,” he says. “And it was undergoing really catastrophic damage because the carcass underneath it – the veneer was coming apart. Working on that was really an amazing experience. But it wasn’t owned by anyone important. It wasn’t made by anyone important. It was a typical sort of French replica that an industrialist of the gilded age would have in their sitting room or library to kind of evoke a false nobility.”

Don also worked on a desk that was one of the earliest and largest examples of artificial tortoise shell. “I’m nuts about tortoise shell,” he says. “I’ve invented a really persuasive imitation tortoise shell for my own work so studying that piece was really great.”


The Mace of the United States House of Representatives

During the second half of Don’s career he was very much involved in the caretaking of the Mace of the United States House of Representatives (look it up on Wikipedia). “Most people don’t know about it, but it is one of the biggies, it’s right up there with the Liberty Bell,” he says. “For me, that was a such a powerful, powerful artifact symbol for us as a nation. And that has touched me to this day.” For 20 minutes Don’s work on the Mace was featured in a C-SPAN documentary called “The Capitol.” (The next time you watch C-SPAN, and they offer a panoramic view of the House Chamber in the Capitol Building, you’ll see the Mace at the very left edge of your screen.)

After more than 25 years of service to the Smithsonian, Don left his job on the last day of the last pay period of 2012. “I was ready,” he says. Don describes the Smithsonian as a scientific arts bureaucracy wrapped inside an academic bureaucracy wrapped inside a federal bureaucracy. “For us, geological timeframes were not merely some abstract idea, that’s how things worked sometimes,” he says. “It was pretty clear that my own particular interests no longer coincided with the organization that I worked for. That’s not malevolence or anything else. People’s priorities change. My priorities stayed pretty much the same, my organization’s priorities changed. They offered me the chance to retire at the age of 57 with lots of years of woodworking left and I said, ‘Wow. That’s pretty good.’”

Michele and Don at work on Roubo. Don studying the tool cabinet of Henry O. Studley.

By now Don and Michele Pietryka-Pagán had already begun working on “To Make as Perfectly as Possible: Roubo on Marquetry.” And Don had begun work on “Virtuoso: The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of Henry O. Studley.” The Smithsonian (which demands right of first refusal on all intellectual property relative to your job when employed) had no interest in either. So he already had two projects dialed in that he knew were of interest to Lost Art Press. “I already had a working relationship with Chris and he was very much interested in the kind of scholarship I was trying to pursue,” Don says. “So really, Lost Art Press was a big part of my decision-making for this fairly substantial lifestyle change because frankly, it was a really, really good job. It was way too much fun, part of it, and paid way too much, but somebody had to have that job and it might as well have been me.”

So Don and Carolyn left Washington for a new life on a secluded property in the mountains of Virginia, which they had purchased a dozen years before.


These days, Don follows his muse. On the day we spoke he had plans to finish formatting photos for an article he wrote for Popular Woodworking Magazine. Then, lunch. “One of the advantages of me being here is that there’s always a fresh, hot lunch – every day. I’ll come down the hill and my wife will have made us a wonderful, wonderful lunch.” In the afternoon he’ll continue work on replicating a desk for a client.

He does a lot of writing. In addition to his woodworking-related writing he says he also has a “fairly vigorous email circle of circumstantial and political and economic commentary that I carry on with my virtual community of observers.” He also writes fiction ­– thrillers, specifically. His latest is about a museum conservator who has withdrawn to the mountains and gets drawn into a mystery dealing with documents hidden in a piece of furniture. Those documents threaten the structure of Western civilization, and the bodies start piling up.

“My wife says I like to do it because I get to put words in everyone’s mouth,” he says, laughing.

Often, while drifting off to sleep, Don says he’ll compose things in his mind — an artistic design, an essay on the state of the civilization, theological apologetics.

“One of the things that I celebrate the most is that I do not have to regimen my life,” he says. “It’s fairly mercurial. To be utterly frank about it I’ve reach a position of status in the artifact world that you know clients are willing to wait for whatever it is that I do.” (A recent call with once such client resulted in a request to call back after Christmas 2018.) “And I never for a moment take for granted that blessing. I’ve been restoring furniture and decorative objects with some level of accomplishment now since 1971. So that’s a fair amount of time.”

While Don says certain kinds of problem-solving skills are innate to him, he says his success is due, in part, to some marginal native artistic talent. “And I do mean marginal,” he says. “But through skill you can overcome limitations and challenges. Because skill is about repetition. It’s like in writing. The more you understand the meaning, the power, the organization of the words, the greater facility you have using those words for their intended purpose. And when you’re talking about working with artifacts it helps to be interested in and able to comprehend the nature of the materials from whence they are fabricated, the technologies by which they are fabricated and then the trajectory of their degradation. And I guess the thing that I am every thankful for is that I, for reasons unknown to me, can sort of put those pieces together. I’m not sure if that’s a talent or a skill or something else, but it’s something that I just sort of get.”

And frankly, he says, he loves being intimately associated with beautiful things. And not just aesthetic beauty. “Sometimes just thinking skillfully or thinking clearly or thinking creatively is a beautiful thing,” he says. “I love a beautifully crafted concept.” He says his daily expenditure of resources, time and energy spent on restoration is diminishing, “in part because there are other new avenues of rediscovering historical craftsmanship. The related expression is much more prominent on my horizon than before.”


Note Don’s toothing plane collection.

Don’s ideal week is not a whole lot different than what he’s doing now. He hopes to make more replicas of prominent, historic, smaller-scale furniture. He hopes to continue working for a very few number of clients whose collections he has a strong affection for (think: caring for tortoise shell). He has a series of sketchbooks, and the drawings in them are a car wreck between James Krenov’s car and André-Jacob Roubo’s car (his words). “I’m trying to apply some of the technology and artistic vocabulary of Roubo with the technology and artistic vocabulary of Krenov with a dash or two of some 16th-century Chinese furniture in there.” He likes writing. He likes collecting. He likes communicating. He doesn’t like traveling. For Don, a 50-50 mix of studio time and time spent at the keyboard is a good mix.

“I would just like to continue what I’m doing both artistically and intellectually and stay healthy,” he says. “I’m going to be 62 coming up. I just returned from Florida where we celebrated my mom’s 100th birthday, so I figure I have about 40 good years of woodworking left so I want to be careful so I can do it.”


Don and Carolyn live in the least populous county east of the Mississippi. Folks keep up with him online at donsbarn.com. The Barn on White Run, a three-story 19th century barn he found on eBay, houses his studio, classroom, library and dorm space. It took several years to dismantle, move and rebuild the barn, but for Don, it’s a dream fulfilled, a dream he’s had since he was a teenager.

Don enjoys the solitude of rural living. Since he was a child he’s sought out remoteness and isolation. “If I have an mp3 player, that’s about all the human contact I need most days,” he says. “I love being out here. It is exceedingly remote.”

At least four times a year Don and Carolyn head over the mountains to Charlottesville, Va., where he visits University of Virgina’s ophthalmology department for some issues with his eyes. They make a day of it, eating a nice lunch and stocking up at Trader Joe’s and Costco. He also relies on online shopping, and says he’s learned to appreciate “the astounding sophistication of the economy and its distribution network.” Most items arrive in 48 hours.

“You know, I’m just at traditional guy pursuing my faith and my family out in the mountains here,” Don says. “I have daughters who I love to death and a wife who I’ve been married to for 35 years, hopefully we’re on our way to forever, but that’s pretty much it.”

Except, it’s not. His life is an eclectic mixture of conservation, restoration, woodworking, finishing, metal casting, collecting obscure books, tools and shellac (yes, really), writing, gardening, presenting, discussing politics and making connections between all of it while forever remaining curious. All while listening to podcast lectures. Or, of course, jazz.

— Kara Gebhart Uhl

Filed under: Roubo Translation, To Make as Perfectly as Possible, To Make as Perfectly as Possible, Roubo Translation, Uncategorized, Virtuoso: The Tool Cabinet and Workbench of Henry O. Studley, With All the Precision Possible
Categories: Hand Tools

It’s Early! ‘The Woodworker Vol. IV’

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 1:01pm

hayward_cover4_img_2253The Woodworker, The Charles H. Hayward Years, Vol. IV, The Shop & Furniture” wasn’t supposed to arrive in our warehouse until next week, but it’s here now. And, according to the photos John sent me, it looks fantastic.

Our warehouse will begin shipping all of the pre-publication orders on Wednesday. Then it should take about five to seven business days for the book to arrive in your mailbox.

This is the final volume of “The Woodworker” series, and it caps many years of work by people all over the country and globe. The four volumes comprises 1,492 pages of work spanning 30 years of writing in The Woodworker magazine in Great Britain.

The final volume covers two broad topics: the workshop, plus furniture forms and styles. The workshop section discusses workbenches, tool chests and useful appliances for handwork. The section on furniture forms and styles gives you an education in different historical styles (and their hardware), plus hand-drafted shop drawings of historical pieces.

The book is $39 (that price includes shipping to the U.S. and Canada) and can be ordered from our store here.

Like all of our books, this one is made entirely in the United States: printed and bound in Michigan from durable materials. The hardback book is casebound. The signatures are section-sewn, glued and assembled with a tough fiber tape.

— Christopher Schwarz

P.S. Many readers have asked if we are going to offer all four volumes as a set for a special price. The answer is: no. We never punish our customers who are early adopters. The price can only go up, as the cost of raw materials goes up.

Filed under: Charles H. Hayward at The Woodworker, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

How To Sharpen Moulding Plane Cutters

Thu, 02/16/2017 - 11:14am

FIG. 1. A. Section worked by cutter. B. Cutter ground to shape. C. Faulty sharpening. D. Back clearance

This is an excerpt from “The Woodworker: The Charles H. Hayward Years: Volume I” published by Lost Art Press. 

Moulding plane cutters are of two kinds; those used with wooden moulding planes, and those made for the Stanley Universal plane. Except that the latter type is short, whilst the former have a long projecting part which reaches up beneath the wedge, there is little difference between them, but there is one feature which affects the sharpening; the wooden plane cutter must be sharpened so that its edge follows the shape of the sole, whereas there is no shaped sole in the universal plane. This means that, although it is desirable for the cutter to keep its original shape as far as possible, it is not vital.

Since the sharpening of the wooden moulding plane is the more exacting job of the two, we will deal with it here. When first obtained, the cutter is ground to the shape of the sole, and it requires only to be given a keen finishing edge with oilstone slips. As an example take the cutter in Fig. 1 which will work the moulding section, shown at A. Two separate operations have to be carried out; the small hollow shape which works the bead has to be sharpened with a small round slip, and the rounded portion which forms the hollow has to be treated either with a flat slip or on the ordinary oilstone.


FIG. 2. Sharpening hollow with oilstone slip

Take first the small hollow. Select an oilstone slip which approximates to the shape when it lies along the bevel. The fact that it fits or not when held at right angles to the cutter is no test. Place the slip flat on the bevel. If anything it should be of slightly smaller section. Apply lubricating oil, and, holding the cutter at the edge of the bench, as in Fig. 2, rub the slip back and forth. Do not consciously start a fresh bevel, but press the slip slightly towards the cutting edge, otherwise there will be a great deal of metal to remove and the work will take a long time. Avoid dubbing over, however.

One important point must be watched. In an endeavour to get an edge quickly there is a temptation to rub the sides of the shape at the cutting edge only, so that the bevel begins to assume the tapered shape, shown at C, Fig. 1. This is clearly impractical because the back or heel of the bevel is narrower than the shape at the cutting edge, and it will be liable to bind. If anything the bevel should taper the other way as at D, this affording a slight clearance. Test for sharpness by seeing whether a burr has been turned up.


FIG. 3. Rounded part of cutter being sharpened on oilstone

The rounded part of the cutter can be sharpened with a flat slip, or on the oilstone. Some men prefer one method, some the other. Fig. 3 shows the normal oilstone process. A sort of rocking movement is adopted, an effort being made to keep to the original bevel as far as possible. Finish off by reversing the cutter flat on the oilstone and rubbing back and forth once or twice.

Now place the cutter in the plane and, giving a minimum projection, see whether it follows the sole contour uniformly. If not, note the high parts and rub these down more. Note, however, that the corners of an old plane are bound to have worn more than the rest, and it would be an obvious mistake to follow these. Corners intended to be square should be square. When all is satisfactory strop the edge to a final keenness and so get rid of all burr. This can be done with a piece of leather dressed with oil and fine emery powder. If folded it will approximate to the shape. The back is stropped on leather held down on a flat board.


FIG. 4. Avoiding wear on moulding plane cutter by using bench plane to remove bulk of shavings. Black portions show wood so removed

Some cutters are simpler than this; others more elaborate, but the principle is the same in all. If you have not a slip that will fit in a small hollow exactly (and it is unlikely that you will be able to buy an exact fit), you can always alter the section by rubbing it down on a piece of marble, using fine emery powder and oil or water as an abrasive. Extra hard stones may require fine carborundum powder.

A little experience in sharpening a moulding cutter will convince you that it can be a lengthy operation, especially if really dull. The best plan, then, is to sharpen as soon as it shows signs of becoming worn, and to do as much preliminary work as possible with the ordinary bench plane which is clearly much more straighforward to sharpen. Fig. 4 shows three sections, in which the black portion could be removed first with the bench plane.

Meghan Bates

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools