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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

This "aggregator" collects all of the woodworking blogs I read every day - or try to anyway!  Enjoy!

Do you have a suggestion for a hand-tool woodworking blog you would like to see here?  Tell me via the CONTACT page.  Thanks!


Painted Finish With Age

360 WoodWorking - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 4:30am
In the article just released to 360 subscribers, I build and finish a large Shaker Cupboard from the Enfield, Conn. community. The piece, which I can now cross off my bucket list, has a painted finish. When you hear “painted” you most likely think easier. While there are a few steps made easier, I think […]

Why Use Wooden Hand Planes? A Craftsy Guest Post

The Workbench Diary - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 4:06am

I was recently invited to guest blog on Craftsy.com, a DIY educational site covering everything from quilting to cake decorating to woodworking. Despite being the stodgy traditionalist/suspicious New Englander that I am, I decided to give it a go. I’ll put something up about once a month or so and I’ll make sure to let you all know here when each Craftsy post is published.

Because they already have some good woodworking posts, I tried to think about what I may be able to offer that’s unique. I decided to start a series about wooden hand planes. The first in the series is titled, “Why Use Wooden Hand Planes?” Here's an excerpt:
"Why aren’t people flocking to wooden bodied planes like they do to old Stanleys? Is it because they are too crude to do fine work? Are they too tricky to use? Are they simply antiquated technology left in the dust of their metal bodied counterparts? Are these things even worth messing with?"
Check out the post and let me know what you think. Do any of you guys use wooden hand planes in your work? Do have any arguments for or against to add to my post?

In this series I plan to cover restoring old ones, adjusting the cutting action, and more. Stay tuned.
Categories: Hand Tools

almost a crisis.........

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 04/24/2015 - 12:57am
For the last year or so I've been drinking my coffee ½ regular and ½ decaf. I do this to appease my doctor who doesn't want me drinking more than one cup a day.  I told her that will happen when pigs sprout wings and start flying. I use K-cups which makes doing my mixing very easy and I usually go through about 30-40 or  so cups a week at work.

Today after I got out of work,I  made a few stops trying to find some decaf K-cups.  I stopped at two supermarkets and Wally World looking for them. I can get Dunkin' Donuts decaf K-cups but that stuff is about as strong as colored water. I wasted all this time running around and came up empty handed. The kicker was the comment from a sales associate at Wally World.

I asked her why there weren't any decaf K-cups? She replied that they sell out pretty quickly. I said it looks like a lot faster then the regular. Have you thought of increasing the decaf stock. Oh, no, we only sell what we get. Obviously the sell and demand equation is way above her understanding. I'll have to wait until the weekend to get some deaf K-cups.

hard to see them
 I sawed and planed the button mortise plugs flush. I put some putty on them and they almost disappeared. The final look will come tomorrow when I sand them.

two projects here
This is part of a trestle leg assembly for a table. I'm thinking of sawing a piece of it off and making a set of winding sticks with it. That may not happen because this wood is ash or a real crappy looking red oak. I don't think that is a good choice for winding sticks. But it it the only wood I have that is thick enough and I got an itch to make something.

The other project involves moving my 6" jointer and sticking it in the boneyard (I haven't used it in over a year). The hole that will be left over after that I'll put in a sharpening station in it. I have the table top and I can use the trestle legs but I'll probably use 2x6's or maybe 4x4 posts for the base. I have a lot to do with the dinning room table but I can't help looking around for something else to do in the interim.

sawing to OAL
I've been thinking of this all day. I did not want to screw this up with a stupid mind fart(furz, pedo, scoreggia, prut, pet, wind, rhech). I sawed all of them on the waste side of the pencil line.

shot the ends square removing the pencil lines
marked up
I ran the knife line all around and they all met which tells me I'm square. After I got the knife line extended I used the respective mortise gauges and marked the tenons.

made the walls
I was started to rush myself here and that usually means a mistake is coming. I quit here for the night as I have  plenty of time to do this now. Tomorrow I'll be able to get all the tenons done and fitted. Then I'll get my wife to give me a hand and I'll do a dry fit. If nothing else happens I should be able to at least get the base glued up. I'll be thinking happy thoughts on this.

accidental woodworker  50 days to go

trivia corner
What largely unknown role did William Dawes and Samuel Prescott play in American history?
answer - they accompanied Paul Revere on his midnight ride to warn the colonists that the British were coming

It’s Bender’s Fault

The Furniture Record - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 10:24pm

No, in this instance I am not referring to Bender Bending Rodriguez, irrepressible star of the hit TV series Futurama.

Not this Bender.

Not this Bender.

Or John Bender as played by Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club, the 1985 John Hughes film.

Not this Bender either. Though, similar hair.

Not this Bender either. Though, similar hair.

I am referring to Charles (Chuck) Bender, one of the leading period furniture makers in southwest Ohio. He used to be one of the leading period furniture makers in southeast Pennsylvania but he moved. He is late of the Acanthus Workshop and now a founding partner of 360 Woodworking.

A few years back I signed up for the inlaid stand class with Freddy Roman at the Acanthus Workshop. Problem was that I was the only person that signed up. Mr. Bender and I discussed it and decided not to make Mr. Roman to come down to teach a class for one person.

Our compromise was for me to come north and spend a week hanging out and working on skills related to making the inlaid stand. In other words, he would be my friend for a week if I paid him. Since this is the arrangement I have with many other “friends”, I readily agreed. This was not true when I was younger. Back then, my parents paid.

One day, Mr. Bender had some real work to do and left me alone in the back room with some veneers to lay up a cross banded top as if I were making the inlaid stand. I discovered I enjoyed working with veneer and cross banding. It’s like working a puzzle only with sharp tools and tape.

Come forward to present day and I suddenly was presented with the opportunity to do some more cross banding. The drawer front from the curved front wall cabinet (see yesterday’s post) needs to be 1 3/4″ thick. Since a 2 by 12 is only 1 1/2″ thick, I glued up my drawer front from two 7/8″ blanks. When the curve was sawn into the drawer front, the curve ended up crossing the glue line exposing both halves, the glue line  and the differences between the halves in grain and color. It looked odd.

It occurred to me that this would be a good place to use some veneer. Just glue some veneer and cover my lack of forethought. My next thought was that if cutting and veneering southern yellow pine was absurd, cross banding with southern yellow pine would be even more absurd. Sometimes absurd appeals to me.

Absurd yet oddly compelling.

Absurd yet oddly compelling.

Southern yellow pine is not the easiest wood to work with but it is possible. Light wood is extremely soft and the darker wood is harder and a bit on the brittle side. Challenging but if we were looking for easy we would all be (insert your least favorite activity here).

Cautionary tale.

The dark areas are burn through. Instead of vacuum bagging as I was taught, I was in a hurry and clamped it, badly. I used the cut offs to clamp the outer two-thirds and applied insufficient pressure to the center allowing the hot hide glue to accumulate in the center and bubble up unevenly. Sanding revealed my lack of technique as the congealing glue came oozing through the thinned wood.

Like many other things I’ve done, it started as a woodworker’s inside joke and turned out better than I thought. Then I get annoyed that I didn’t do it better although I didn’t set out to do it well. Some woodworking pundit recently wrote about always doing your best work. On some level he was right.

I’m still not going to build my jigs and templates from Baltic birch.

Or put a finish on them.

I made another drawer front this time leaving the front section as thick as possible and only adding enough wood to the back to make up the 1 3/4″ thickness. It turned out much better.

In that a southern yellow pine drawer can ever turn out well.

In that a southern yellow pine drawer can ever turn out well. Would have been nice if i could have centered the grain pattern. It’s a prototype…

And I made enough pine veneer to open my own IKEA.

Using a 14

Using a 14″ Rikon bandsaw with a 3/8″, 4 TPI blade set up as per Michael Fortune. No measurable drift.

Work with Scroll or Fret Saws

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 9:05pm


Within a few years, scroll or fret-saws have been brought to a great perfection, and the use of them, is to some a profitable employment, while to others it affords an attractive and pleasing pastime.

The products of the scroll-saw are becoming frequent in household conveniences, and in the decorations of the parlor and drawing room. The windows of store-keepers who deal in these goods, present finely, and frequently elaborately wrought designs on exhibition, which are truly works of art.

In the accompanying engravings, two specimens of scroll-work are given.—those that workmen of average skill could make in a short time. The design in figure 1, is for a carved frame for a cabinet photograph, some small painting, or other picture, the whole to rest on an easel, wrought from the same kind of wood.

scroll-saw_fig_1Figure 2 shows an easel of an elaborate design, with the picture itself in scroll-work. The number of designs, of which those given are but samples, is limited only by the skill of the artist, and that of the workman at the saw.

The dealers in scroll-saws, have a very large assortment of suggestive designs, which they distribute freely in the form of sheets and catalogues—and of themselves make a very pretty collection. The use to which scroll-work can be put in the household, are various; wall pockets, thermometer frames, brackets, card baskets, lamp mats, toilet cases, card holders, etc., etc., are but a few of the many.


Those designs that are purely for ornament, can be used to decorate the windows by suspending these near the glass by a fine thread, where they show off to good advantage, both from within and without. But in order to get the very best effect, the scroll-work should be of the whitest of wood, and then provided with a black back-ground.

Merchants have in many cases availed themselves of the attractive and pleasing contrast thus produced, by putting their names, or those of their goods, in white-wood scroll-work, and then providing it with a black back-ground, in their shop windows, or show cases.

In household decoration, nothing seems more appropriate than black velvet, but any other rich cloth of the same color would answer. Ornamental work like that shown in the engravings, may be of any size, but for ordinary mantels, a background of a square foot in area, is the most acceptable. The whole, when completed, can be placed upon an easel. The low price of scroll saws puts them and their products within the reach of all.

American Agriculturist – April, 1880

—Jeff Burks

Filed under: Historical Images
Categories: Hand Tools

Old-Time Workmen

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 9:01pm


The Baltimore News says:

“Really skillful mechanics are becoming more and more scarce and trades are only half learned. Old-time workmen were proud of their work and a man would consider himself guilty of a piece of flagrant dishonesty to leave a bad job behind him. The artisan had as much pride in anything he touched as was to be found in the literary creator. But there seems to be no such feeling now. Men are only half educated at their trades and about the only thing that gives real concern is the question of pay.”

The breaking up of the old apprentice system is the cause of this evil, and its restoration will be the only cure. The Gazette was informed some time ago by one of the most reputable and respected employing mechanics in this city, that it was a hard matter for him to get good native journeymen, and that the best skilled workmen he got now-a-days were foreigners.

There was a time, not so very long ago either, when a mechanic took as much pride in his handiwork as a writer does in the product of his mind, and would have been as much hurt by sneers at his job as the latter is by adverse criticism of his article. But that time is now a thing of the past.

Judging from appearances, the fact that it has become so has improved neither the moral nor the material condition of the class referred to. This country must have good mechanics, and if it can not get them at home it will, as it has done, send abroad for them, and thus is increased the competition between American labor and the cheaper labor of Europe.

But for all this, the labor unions still restrict the number of boys permitted to learn trades. The evil effect of this compulsory idleness upon the excluded boys is patent in every town and city of the entire country.

Alexandria Gazette and Virginia Advertiser – July 1, 1887

—Jeff Burks

Daguerreotype portrait c. 1850 – Daguerreian Society, Leonard A. Walle Collection
Filed under: Historical Images
Categories: Hand Tools

Colonial Williamsburg Hay Cabinet Shop Tour (part 2)

Wood and Shop - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 6:15pm

In the above video I share the second part of my recent visit to the 18th century Anthony Hay Cabinet Shop at Colonial Williamsburg here in my home state of Virginia. (Make sure to subscribe here so you don’t miss the following parts).


Did you miss part 1? Click here to watch it!


Below are a few of the photographs from my visit to the Anthony Hay cabinet shop at Colonial Williamsburg:


















Click here to subscribe to Joshua’s future videos & articles!

Adventures From The Shellac Archive — Lost Treasures, Part 1

The Barn on White Run - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 5:37pm

I realize with no small element of chagrin that between all the activities drawing on my time, energy, and concentration, I have been remiss in carrying forward the Shellac Archive (it seems as though I have posted only 10 of the documents from my collection, which at least volumetrically, leaves more than 95% to go). I will soon strive to make its nurturing a regular part of the Blog. My personal archive has now taken up residence with us in the mountains, so I can resume the scanning and editing of it for dissemination to you.
This reality was struck home to me this week as I was trying to find a particular picture I needed as I near the finish line for the upcoming HO Studley exhibit. As is my wont when I am weary, I just let my mind wander, and in concert with that began to browse the voluminous folders of images on my compewder. While doing so I ran across several hundred pictures I had taken many years ago, recording the pages of long forgotten academic theses from one of the nation’s great universities.
The titles are self explanatory, but the depth and breadth of the contents are not.
The Manufacture of Shellac Paint

Deterioration of Bleached Shellac With Age

Dewaxing of Shellac

Deterioration of Bleached Shellac With Age (different than the previous listing)

Some Studies on the Effect of Storage on Shellac

Plasticization of Shellac

A Study of the Methods for Determining the Properties of Shellac

A Study of the Solubility of T.N. Shellac in Aqueous Sodium Carbonate Solutions


I will post these theses, but not until tell you the amazing tale of how they came into my possession, thanks to the conscientious generosity of two determined archivists. It is a tale of worldwide fascist ambitions, flourishing scholarship in an unlikely time (ultimately abandoned and discarded), and finally the overcoming of a pronounced phobia to reclaim them.

Stay tuned.

Furniture Construction Drawings, 1760-1800

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 5:05pm


When you research how early furniture was built, one of the laments is the lack of construction drawings in the written record.

Did they draw their plans on scrap wood that was later burned? Did they just communicate plans for furniture forms differently than we do today? Were furniture plans a “trade secret,” like the “arts and mysteries” that were noted in the contract between apprentice and master?

Or were the plans just lost?

I vote for the last statement, sort of. There are plans out there, but they don’t look like the plans we are accustomed to seeing in books and magazines. While researching English campaign furniture several years ago I accidentally stumbled on the book “Gillow Furniture Designs 1760-1800” by Lindsay Boynton (The Bloomfield Press, 1995).

The firm Gillows of Lancaster and London is one of the somewhat-unheralded firms of the 18th and 19th centuries, perhaps because the company never issued a pattern book. Instead of developing and publishing designs, Gillows craftsmen simply made them.

Luckily, there is an incredible archive of Gillows – everything from construction drawings to a daily record of the company’s accounting. It really is a largely untapped source of historical information on woodworking, design and the lumber trade in the 18th and 19th centuries.

(Side note: I hope to enlist Suzanne Ellison, a contributing editor to Lost Art Press, to plumb the depths of the Gillows archive in Westminster for a future book.)

Back to the point, “Gillow Furniture Designs 1760-1800” blew my mind. It is simply a record of some of the drawings in the company’s archive. Some of the drawings were intended for the craftsmen with dimensions and notes. Some were intended for customers and are colored.

Naturally, I am drawn to the construction drawings. They did not need much to make some pretty incredible stuff – just a few dimensions and a sketch of the overall form. When I first saw this approach, I gave myself permission to back away from developing sheets and sheets of drawings before cutting wood. It was liberating – worth the cost of the book.

I don’t expect you to see the same thing that I do when looking at these drawings. Perhaps you’ll see something else. Even if you don’t care for the furniture itself, there is a lot to be learned from these sketches.

— Christopher Schwarz

gillow2 gillow3 gillow1
Filed under: Personal Favorites
Categories: Hand Tools

Curly Maple Counter Top

She Works Wood - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 4:24pm
So not much woodworking has transpired in the kitchen remodel .. lots of carpentry, but no real woodworking. But now I get to use some of my woodworking skills. We’ll be installing a raised counter section intended for guests to sit behind while visiting.  This awesome piece of curly maple is going on top for folks to […]
Categories: General Woodworking

Imagine Woodworking – Easier

Evenfall Studios - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 2:00pm

Woodworking is a field of endeavor filled with imagination. Wood has not stopped capturing our imagination for centuries.

Wood has been used to build bridges that carry trains and large wooden ships. We have shaped it into airplanes. It has been used for housing, barns, aircraft hangars, and other large buildings. We cut and shave it into veneers and small delicate pieces that form beautiful images, and screens. We dye it, stain it, paint it, weatherize it. We ask everything of wood from engineering to art, and it rarely disappoints.

Wood asks a few things of us in exchange for forming and shaping it as it yields to us and our requirements.

For best results, wood has taught us it’s best methods for working it through practice and observation. If we learn these ways, and pay attention to the details while we work things come together pretty nicely, most of the time.

It asks us to learn and observe it’s ways. Did I just say that? yes, but this is really about moving toward mastery. Understanding it’s strengths and weaknesses, how to read it’s beauty and utility. To learn patience with it and from it. To be consistant with this understanding. Experience is the teacher of the deepest lessons.

It asks that we cut it with sharp tools. Whether working with coarse or fine tools, this always brings forth the nicest outcomes.

It asks that we lay out accurately the lines we wish it to take the form of, then work from the waste side to those lines.

It asks that the tolerances we use with it be close fitting while observing it’s grain directions and movement qualities.

Joinery is the best method to join two pieces, and the trick is using the right joint for the job. It’s more about the wood than fasteners or adhesives. If the joinery is snug the joint will be strong. The outcomes will be good and will last. You can measure, divide, or use story sticks, but if the precision is still there, then the outcomes will last.

You know, it’s been said. Making in wood is about cutting off and away all the parts that don’t belong on the finished product.

In the trades, I spent 30 years working productively. Productivity isn’t just speed, it is a quality outcome at the best speed possible to maintain that. Proficiency is what you have when you can perform it. It begins in the training and you continue to learn and improve upon it every day. The bottom line is always at the forefront in business, so we have to do what is most productive as a rule.

As a toolmaker, I gave the process of helping woodworkers accomplish their goals productively and successfully a lot of thought. I listened to woodworkers when they discussed what they had difficulty with and looked for ways to make it easier. I designed our tools to bring it. Helping move the woodworker closer and more directly towards the successful outcomes they want from wood, with least effort. So available time spent woodworking can be productive. That is what we agree we want the most.

Handsaw Mag Guides

We offer Bench Hooks and Saw Guides that allow you to use the saws you already have and like, Western or Japanese, to hold the work at the appropriate angle while you saw with improved ergonomics. Better ergonomics translates to easier sawing that can be more accurate. All your saw needs be is sharp and appropriate to the cut you wish to make. Lay out your lines and cut next to them.

East West Bench Hook

We offer Shooting Boards that enable you to go directly to accuracy on all the pieces that make up your project. You can start with an inexpensive used plane or use a custom infill, but the sharp iron is the equalizer here. Our shooting boards will direct the cuts you make, and pare them right to the layout line with reliable accuracy. You have a lot of options to choose from to help you with your design eye here. Any Angle can play, with stock lengths up to 26 inches, thicknesses up to 1-23/32nd on average with 2-inch irons. That’s a lot of capability for creativity, and without much limitation.

Veritas LAJ Shooter Ultra Plus

Much of precision and accuracy in built objects comes from sharp tooling. The key to getting to fine work before, during and after is always a sharp tool. Before comes the pencil or marking knife, then the saws and planes. You can spend a lot on sharpening gear, but that depends on where you want to go.

Sharp is a destination sure, but in actual use its actually more of a constant – consistant process. With that understanding, we can approach it in a way that keeps us closer to sharp. Our Sharpening Stations are designed to make this process as easy as possible, corral the process in a small space with less mess, and make efficient use of it.

Magstrop 4 Combo

Our Magstrop Sharpening Stations are not only efficient and use little space, they offer quick change capabilities so you can put the abrasives you want to use right now, where you need them to be in seconds. The strops and platens are all 3 x 11-3/8 nominally. Spacious for most tooling. You can set up the platens with the abrasives you choose and change them in seconds on the fly. For the utility it brings, the cost is very effective as a sharpening system. It’s all about keeping tools sharp quickly. Knives, Chisels, Plane Irons, all easily maintained. Hand powered sharpening culture changed to easy and direct as possible.

There is a methodology that works well with our sharpening tools. Sharpening is easier with them, so it is easier to do more frequently.

Sharpening before tools become dull takes a lot less time and fewer steps to return the sharpness. Our stations are designed to be concentrate on getting sharpening done in a small footprint, so there is little to prevent using them. It doesn’t require any massive effort, they are easy to make ready for use. No drama. It is now easy to say yes to sharpening. Sharpening as you work most of the time is as easy as stropping on leather filled with the abrasive compound you prefer. It usually takes less than a minute, and you can be back to work.

Magstrop One

Sandpaper on glass is not actually as costly as some people say, particularly when experience develops to properly judge which abrasive grit size is right for the sharpening needed and when it’s time to switch. If it takes longer than you think it should have, that’s a sign that the grit is too fine for the correction necessary. We live, we learn.

Glass is always a dead flat accurate surface to sharpen on. This means you really know the edge your making on this surface because the feedback you’ll receive isn’t based on a guess. If you learn to become a consistant maintainer and strop frequently, sharpening gets easier still. Really! Remember, proficiency is developmental. Maintenance interval is part of the solution. If you get used to stropping frequently, that will become most of the sharpening you’ll ever need to do. Tools that are not let to get too dull never take drastic measures to sharpen, and when your finished these stations are again, small and light, you can set them aside in a second and get back to the woodworking.

For my own shop, I don’t believe in or rely on gizmo’s and one trick ponies. My vetting process requires a lot from a tool. I have to be able to manage the arsenal, and be productive with it. I do believe in the development of craftsman skills and proficiency with tools. Most of all, I feel the tooling, fixtures and jigs we offer allow the woodworker some of the most direct methods to bring creativity to your work. Producing high quality results from most any skill level in the least amount of time and effort, using tools you have. As your skills grow, these tools will still be with you, and delivering. When all you have is a little time to spare, tools that do what’s desired are what most of us will agree make the journey the most pleasant and fun. It’s about that simple, and it should be.

If you have been waiting for easier ways to work wood with less expense from unsuccessful outcomes, I think we have a few accessories here that can help your tools and shop do a lot more, if you really want to make and have things turn out for the best. Tools that really help you do it.

I invite you to look at the tools we offer and see if you might think so too. We offer more than I’ve mentioned here. Please tell your friends and fellow woodworkers about us. Our Online Store is always open and we ship internationally. We look forward to your business!

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Thanks for visiting Evenfall Studios!

© Copyright 2015 by Rob Hanson for evenfallstudios.com All Rights Reserved.

Categories: Hand Tools

Making my Wedding table

Paul Sellers - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 11:45am

P1050767This week’s flown by and we accomplished a great deal working every day. I have pretty much finished of the latest project which is a dining table I designed for my son Peter’s wedding back on 2,000 when I made it from some very dark and beautiful Texas black walnut. Making this one took me back to the long days I spent making this and other pieces for their wedding gifts.

P1050775You see working with my hands gives me something much more laudable than merely making a living  but making memories, making futures, making relationships. I recall all of the details I developed for the design to make it unique. The dovetailed apron carried by two strong-back transition rails carries the whole table trestle-style but with an apron that anchors the top and allows the use of turn buttons. Today we managed the final glue up and that’s always its own great reward.

P1050783My joints lay cut so my saws and chisels lie silenced by the completions intersecting each one. They interlock, clasped as fingers interlocked might—no air between tight facets, no space for slackness and gentle, light compression remains. Yes, I glue them together, as the Egyptians did 5,000 years ago. The voice of the man mentoring my training 50 years ago floods my mind many times. “Marry them.” he said. I married my 40 joint parts today for the 150,000th time and locked each to its partner and my table came to rest in an interactive exchange of unity and oneness—a marriage of permanence replaced the diversity of 30 parts and a lifetime of usefulness became an inheritance.

The post Making my Wedding table appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

And now for something completely different...

Materialogy - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 11:33am

Dear Internet, 

So this is awkward.

It would appear as though I haven't updated this blog in just under three years. I suppose, we're going to have to do something about that. The past three years have been very interesting. While I was away, there have been many twists and turns in the story and plenty of relevant happenings left unblogged. Perhaps I'll circle back and unpack some of that, but then again, perhaps not. So is life.
I have missed this blog and I plan on updating it more frequently.

Stay hungry, stay foolish, stay tuned. 

Categories: Hand Tools

Article Series on Japanese Joinery

Greg Merritt - By My Own Hands - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 9:33am

If you have an interest in Japanese joinery or joinery in general, then I would like to point you to an article series by John Bullar.  Mr. Bullar is writing this article series about Japanese joinery for:

Furniture & Cabinetmaking magazine.

Mr. Bullar begins the series with a look at Japanese tools as well as pointing out that a person can execute these joints with traditional western tools.


Photo used with permission of Furniture and Cabinetmaking magazine. Also note the article title in the lower left corner… Just saying…

Let me say this, there is nothing magical about Japanese tools.  They are just tools and are solely dependent upon the skill of the user.  Now I’ll admit that their exotic nature is what first drew me to them.  The quality of the steel and ergonomics is what really hooked me.  The Japanese chisels and saws I absolutely enjoy using.  The kanna (plane) however, I’m not that enamored with.  More of a short coming on my part than of the tool.  Of that I am certain.  The joinery portion of the series focuses on the actual joinery regardless of the tools used to create them.  Enough of that tangent.

jp_joint-fc-01Mr. Bullar then continues the series by introducing categories of joints and showing their construction.  Mortise and tenon, corner, right angle and splicing joints have been covered thus far and all are quite applicable to furniture construction.  Even if your interest is not in Japanese style furniture, the joints can be adapted to several other styles.  At the very least the series will expand your thinking as to ways wood can be joined together.

jp_joint-fc-00The joinery examples in the series can be challenging.  Working thru and building samples of these joints, however, can help to improve your layout skills and cutting accuracy.  Ultimately improving your projects regardless of whether or not you actually use these specific joints.

I’ve quite enjoyed this series and look forward to the next installments.  The only quibble I have is that there is little information as to the actual layout of the joints.  There is more than enough information to get you started, but I would like to see the process for sizing and proportioning the elements of each joint. Just a small detail that I would like to see added.

This is my first look at Furniture & Cabinetmaking magazine as well and I have found the other topics covered equally informative and enjoyable.  This series and the magazine as a whole are well worth a look.

*all photos property of Furniture & Cabinetmaking magazine and used with permission.

Greg Merritt

Book Report — Rust: The Longest War

The Sharpening Blog with Ron Hock - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 9:20am
Rust: The Longest War, by Jonathan Waldman (ISBN: 978-1451691597)

It has been called “the great destroyer” and “the evil.” The Pentagon refers to it as “the pervasive menace.” It destroys cars, fells bridges, sinks ships, sparks house fires, and nearly brought down the Statue of Liberty. Rust costs America more than $400 billion per year—more than all other natural disasters combined. – from Rust: The Longest War by Jonathan Waldman

Rust is an insidious nemesis here at Hock Tools — we’re in constant high alert, dousing all our blades liberally with rust-inhibiting oil.  I wrote about rust, it’s chemistry, impact and avoidance in The Perfect Edge. Needless to say, Mr. Waldman’s book was of particular interest to me and it didn’t let me down. Waldman is an environmental journalist who chose to write his first book about a subject most people pay little attention to on a day to day basis. Unless you’re a tool-user.

While Waldman spends little ink on how to prevent rust in a woodshop (okay, none, really – sorry) he dives into the huge world of corrosion with in-depth chapters on the Statue of Liberty, the history of stainless steel, what it takes to protect the inside of beverage and food cans, an eye-opening chapter on inspecting the Alaska pipeline and much more.  Waldman doesn’t limit his discussion to iron rust, but touches on many aspects of what the corrosion of all our metals means to us. And costs us.

It has been said that for every pound of iron or steel produced each year, a quarter pound of previously produced iron or steel is lost to rust. Negligence is not an option.

I found this to be a well researched book, entertainingly written, highly recommended. Please ask for Rust: the Longest War at your local bookstore before resorting to that satanic website bent on world domination that shall remain unnamed. Thanks.

Categories: Hand Tools

WORK No. 162 - Published April 23, 1892

Work Magazine Reprint Project - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 4:00am

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Single tear.












Disclaimer: Articles in Work describe materials and methods that would not be considered safe or advisable today. We are not responsible for the content of these magazines, and cannot take any responsibility for anyone attempting projects or procedures described therein.
The first issue of Work was published on March 23rd, 1889. The goal of this project is to release digital copies of the individual issues starting on the same date in 2012, effectively republishing the materials 123 years to the day from their original release.
The original printing was on thin, inexpensive paper. There are many cases of uneven inking and bleed-through from the page behind. Our copies of Work come from bound library volumes of these issues and are subject to unfavorable trimming, missing covers, etc. To minimize harm to these fragile volumes, we've undertaken the task of scanning the books ourselves. We do considerable post processing of the scans to make them clear but please bear with us if a margin is clipped too close, or a few words are unreadable. We would like to thank James Vasile and Karl Fogel for their help in supplying us with a book scanner and enabling this project to get off the ground.
You are welcome to download, print, and pretty much do what you want with the scan for your own personal purposes. Feel free to post a link or a copy on your blog or website. All we ask is a link back to the original project and this blog. We are not answering requests for commercial downloads or reprinting at this time.

• Click to Download Vol.4 - No. 162 •

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Categories: Hand Tools

If you haven’t seen Big Hero 6, go out and rent/stream/watch it...

Giant Cypress - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 3:18am

If you haven’t seen Big Hero 6, go out and rent/stream/watch it however you can. It’s terrific. The movie is about a boy and a inflatable puffy robot who monitors your health. It takes place in a futuristic version of San Francisco, and the boy, Hiro Hamada, presumably is of Japanese descent.

The screen capture above shows a nice little woodworking Easter egg. Hiro has inadvertently activated Baymax, the robot, and has managed to wedge himself into the gap between his bed and his desk. Check out the joinery detail. Quite appropriate for an Asian kid’s bed, I would say.

(Thanks to Barry Dima for the tip.)

I got a reprieve.......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 04/23/2015 - 1:24am
Or I should say that I don't know how to count. In my defense I will say that the number was over twenty and I make mistakes when I run out of fingers and toes. Higher math was never my forte. I talked to my daughter last night and she is moving on the 16th of June. She is paying a premium to have a locked in day the movers will arrive and pack her out.  The 16th is a tuesday so that means I can deliver the table on 13th or 14th. There is no way I am driving around Boston on a week day.

I now have 51 days to complete the table. I took yesterday off from the table build and today is Master Woodworking class day so I didn't get a lot done in the shop but I did do a few things. I'll get back on track with this thursday or maybe friday.

my latest obsession toy via the USPS
At one time I couldn't understand why some guys collected so many of the same toy. Now I can. I don't need this panel gauge but I saw this on the Jim Bode tool site for $49 and I bought it. Why? Because I had to have it before someone else snagged it. It was waiting for me when I got home. And I'm looking to get another one and another one and......

next to it's smaller cousin
I bought the smaller one in the back last year(?) for $19 and it is very similar to the new old one. Both beams are about the same length and both have a angled piece of brass in a rabbeted head.

some metal
The new old panel gauge has a piece of metal between the beam and the brass thumb screw. The other panel gauge has the screw tightening on the wooden beam. You can see all the scars up and down the beam from the repeated tightening of the screw. This new old beam doesn't have the scars of the other one.

one is MIA - can't find it
I have 4 panel gauges now. Two manufactured ones and two that I made (one of those is toast). The white one I made out of  maple and the beam is 32" long. (I tend to over build things.) I also didn't put a rabbet in the head as I didn't see the need for it. I can't tell a difference in using this one or one of the others with the rabbet.

keep it tight against the edge and it works well
To offset not having a rabbet with a brass wear strip, I made the head on my gauge big to provide a large registration face.  The knife I bought from Hamilton Woodworks. One point in favor of this gauge is that it will scribe a line with or against the grain. My smallest panel gauge won't do against the grain and I haven't tried it yet with the one I just got. I'll do that later because now I want to do something on the table.

found some dowels to fill the holes in the leg
I am going to use the corner braces that came with the legs but I'm not going to use the predrilled holes for them. I'm not sure they will line up and I'm not going to use 1/4" lag screws that came with them neither.

found some scrap to fill the button holes in with
With this plugging I know that I don't have to do any more. This is it for button mind farts. And with my reprieve, I don't have to feel rushed and hurried with the remainder of the build.

made a tic mark on my shooting board
I was surprised by how closely these dowels matched after I sawed them. All I used to saw them was a black mark on the shooting board bed. All of the dowels came out within 2 hairs of each other.

barely proud of the surface
I did this as an experiment to see how close I could get these. The dowels being flush or proud of the surface isn't critical here. I will be gluing a piece of wood to the leg covering the dowels. I plugged them just in case when I screwed in the spax screws they would not be screwing into a empty hole.

holes plugged - I'll saw and plane them flush tomorrow
before I mind fart again
I can see myself looking at this knife line, making a wall, and then sawing it off thinking this is the OAL length. It isn't, it's the shoulder length that still needs the tenon added. I marked the OAL now and I'm hoping that I pay attention to it tomorrow when I do the tenons.

Time to go watch Mr Sellers weekly offering.

accidental woodworker  12 days gone   a healthy 51 days to finish the table now

trivia corner
What major baseball player has had his number retired by 3 different teams?
answer - Nolan Ryan  the 3 teams are the California Angels, the Texas Rangers, and the Houston Astros

Hi, I’m Don…

The Furniture Record - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 11:04pm

Many of us will recognize this as the opening of every episode of The Woodsmith Shop, the TV outlet of Woodsmith magazine. Don is Donald B. Peschke, publisher and founder of August Home Publishing Company. The show is now in its eighth season.

I don’t love everything about the show, at times is seems like a Kreg infomercial, but they do seem to have an arc, as it were. The first few seasons were basic information about setting up and outfitting a shop. Lots of jigs and fixtures and skill building. It wasn’t until the third season that they built their first piece of furniture. I am more likely to build one of their projects than Tommy Mac’s or Scott Phillips’. I don’t agree with all their aesthetic elements but knobs are easy to change.

A few months back, Woodsmith returned to the local public television station. Woodworking shows come and go and then come back. I don’t understand. The only consistent show has been The Woodwright’s Shop and that mostly because they produce it. Season 8, episode 3, the Curved Front Wall Cabinet, looked interesting for the Monday night woodworking group. I have been trying to steer the group back to the furniture track.

As with any group, there are different interests and skill levels. Some prefer shop jigs and accessories. Some are fixated with sharpening. Others, like me, are more interested in furniture. Some are just happy to be out of the house and doing anything related to woodworking.

Not everybody needs more furniture and wants to spend time and money on a project they don’t need. This makes coming up with a group project … challenging. I thought the Curved Front Wall Cabinet would work for the group but I had to sell it. And once I sold it I needed to build at least one. Group dynamics require one person to take the lead and figure things out in advance. Basically, to champion it. Here is the first prototype:

The Curved Front Wall Cabinet in all its glory.

The Curved Front Wall Cabinet in all its glory.

It has a back.

It has a back..

You might notice it’s in pine, southern yellow and white pine. All construction grade and none of the fancy “white wood”. It comes down to cost. If I am going to build several of these, I am going to use an affordable wood. The doors are 7/8″ and the front rails are 1 1/16″ so I needed to use some 2 by lumber. Milk paint can cover a multitude of sins.

Construction is slightly challenging. Nothing esoteric or extreme. Just basic fussy joinery. The doors are coopered, made from staves like barrels. To make things a bit easier, you glue up both doors at the same time on the same form. A wider panel is far easier to handle and get a uniform curve.

One issue I had with Don’s methods is fairing the doors. Being glued up from six, three-inch boards, the front surface of the doors is not smooth. Stylistically a faceted door could work but Don wants you to smooth it. Don uses a block plane. I used my trusty Stanley #7 jointer plane. Could it be that Don doesn’t believe that we all have #7 jointer planes? I could have used my new Lie-Nielsen #8 jointer plane but I hadn’t bought it yet.

I glued up two more door panels just because. This one is glued up from remnants:

Just random boards.

Just random boards.

This one is made from two sections of a 2 X 12 cut apart and glued back together in sequence:

The grain matches more nearly.

The grain more nearly matches.

Tomorrow, I’ll explain the alternate drawer shown here:

Why is this drawer differeent?

Why is this drawer different?

Nashua Tool Show, April 2015

Rainford Restorations - Wed, 04/22/2015 - 4:14pm

This past week I made my biannual pilgrimage to the ‘Live Free Or Die Tool Auction’ and tool sale out in the parking lot behind the Holiday Inn in Nashua NH.  I’m glad my schedule worked out that I was able to go on Thursday morning — it was a beautiful day, I saw some friends who were only around on that day and didn’t spend too much money.  Friday morning it was pouring so I briefly stopped by to see some friends from the school but many of the vendors were all packed up.

Let’s take a quick tour of some of the more interesting items I checked out:

The cabinet below from the Union Twist Drill company of Athol Massachusetts (same town that is home to Starrett Tools) looked to be in great shape.

Union Twist Drill, Athol MA cabinetUnion Twist Drill, Athol MA cabinet

Inside the cabinet was a nest of drawers which once housed all kinds of drill bits and similar hardware. It was also interesting to see the notes scribbled on the inside of the doors.

Union Twist Drill, Athol MA cabinetInside of Union Twist Drill, Athol MA cabinet

On another table was a nice looking moxon style vise with threaded wood handles. Made from a fairly large bit of timber I like how the maker removed a bunch of wood to make room for an angled saw.

Moxon ViseMoxon Vise

This year I finally got to meet Tony Murland in person. Over the years I’ve bought a lot of wood planes from his shop in the UK — including my matching pair set of hollows and rounds, snipes bills, sash planes and complex molders.  On hand he had a great assortment of French Plumb Squares — some of which had some great decoration on them. I would have loved to get one if I had room in the budget this season for it.

French Plumb Squares from Tony MurlandFrench Plumb Squares from Tony Murland

Casks of cut nails and a nice old tool tote with a dovetailed in handle and interior partitions.

Nail casks and tool toteNail casks and tool tote

Next to a box of saw sets was an old 1980s Ertl Metal ‘Case’ backhoe/loader which was one of my favorite toys as child — and something I had not seen in years. If it was in better shape I might have even picked it up.

1980s Ertl Metal Case Backhoe1980s Ertl Metal Case Backhoe

As always some interesting benches found their way to the show.

Leather apron and benchLeather apron and bench

And here is a nice old tool chest that I spent some time looking at. Constructed with finger joints, this chest had some handsome hardware I wanted to highlight.

Nicely appointed tool chestNicely appointed tool chest

Inside the paneled top there were some great old reference/conversion tables tacked into place.

Reference charts under the lidReference charts under the lid

The corners had some nice brass hardware and all of the screws were carefully clocked (oriented in a specific way) —  I know this makes my OCD happy as it likely will make my friend Chris Schwarz smile as well.

Clocked screws on the brass hardwareClocked screws on the brass hardware

And last but not least was an ‘Elite Tool Chest for Boys’ that was used to haul some wares to the tool show.

'Elite' Tool Chest‘Elite’ Tool Chest

What did I buy this year? Not too much which is probably a good thing. I’m trying to keep to the tools I regularly use and I have a very good working set. Also my tools/wood/toy budget has been saving towards a tractor and building a barn this summer — more on that in some upcoming posts. I bought nice Stanley Bailey transitional jack plane that I’ll be using to clean up some timbers — that wood sole will be a lot easier to use on green timbers. A nice  metal block and tackle with a line lock that will be useful on a gin pole and about a dozen old manual training guides, tool catalogs/reprints and old woodworking texts.

Take care,

Filed under: Tool Reviews Tagged: Alexander Forbes Tool Chest, Anarchist, Anarchist Tool Chest, featured, French Plumb Square, Live Free or Die Tool Auction, Moxon Vise, Nashua, Nashua Tool Show, Plumb Square, Tool Cabinet, Tool Chest
Categories: General Woodworking


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by Dr. Radut