Keep an old candle on your bench when planing. Rub it on the sole of the plane and you will find it much easier to push. It will not have any ill affects on your finish.
As always thanks for stopping by and feel free to leave a comment.
When beginning woodworkers rank the difficulty of the different dovetail joints, they usually think of the through-dovetail as the “bunny slope.” The half-blind dovetail is the “expert slope” – perhaps a blue or a black trail if you are a snow skier. So what’s the full-blind dovetail? Or the secret-mitered dovetail? Throwing yourself off a cliff without a parachute? In my view, the through-dovetail is actually the most difficult […]
The post If You Haven’t Tried Full-blind Dovetails, It’s Time appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
Last week we took it upon ourselves to determine some of the defining parameters that we felt we should work to, while building the Nicholson bench for the Toledo Woodcraft Store. There are only a few. First: workbench height will be at 34″. This is a compromise, as the bench will be used by people of varying heights. The ideal way to judge correct bench height for a bench to be used for handwork is to measure from the floor to the wrist of the user, or (and probably more ergonomically correct) from the crease of the buttocks to the floor. Of course, this would be the user’s buttocks (old timers regularly “hiked one cheek up” on the bench while cutting mortises, in fact there are benches built for the sole purpose of mortising and they are typically knee height, so one could sit “astraddle” of the workpiece). Second: simply enough, was to build the bench heavy. A workbench cannot be too heavy or too long. Let me repeat that, a workbench cannot be too heavy or too long. However, a workbench can be too high and/or too wide. So, be advised. (Save time, save money, learn from the mistakes of countless thousands of craftsman who thought they had a better way, that’s how “standards” got started.) And third: use the most effective joinery methods. This translates into joinery that is not only pretty, but joinery that will stand up to repetitive movement and stress. So, now it begins in earnest.
Above is 2/3′s of today’s crew ripping stock for the leg sets. Between Carl, Les and I, we’ve got over a hundred years of woodworking experience. What does that mean in real terms? It means we’ve made a whole lot of mistakes over the years. A whole lot of mistake that you don’t necessarily have to make yourself. Readers of this blog should realize that everything we’re doing here can be done with hand tools. Only thing is it would take a whole lot longer.
So the first things we’ll build are the two leg “sets”. Here’s a little “cartooned” illustration. Dimensions aren’t important. And remember, you can use almost any lumber, durability is the driving factor. Just remember, it should be of a proper thickness to allow a holdfast to work efficiently.
We’re moving now and it won’t be long until we complete the bench. But in the meantime, I’m wishing for warming temperatures because this is what is just outside my front door. Is it Ohio or is it Siberia? You be the judge. My Norwegian friends will surely enjoy this.
We’ll have this thing put together well before we play our first round of golf (June 1?).
This one’s for all the woodworkers who are happy to be on the disavowed list…
Am I the only woodworker that thinks most woodworking plans suck?
Before I start, I will be forthright and admit that I often don’t follow woodworking plans, at least not to the letter. When I start a project, I will usually draw up a rough sketch with the dimensions I am looking to achieve and go from there. However, some of my sketches are not fully original and are sometimes based off pre-existing furniture and/or from already published plans. It is during those moments that having plans with at least some degree of certainty would really come in handy. Unfortunately, most woodworking plans are very, very vague; as in “What?”. Lately, I’ve been looking at and making chests, firstly because Kate Upton is hot, and secondly because I recently made several and my wife wants me to make another. While making a box may sound pretty straightforward, it sometimes can be a little more tricky than would be thought. For instance, attaching a lid to a box is not always easy, or at least not always easy to do it correctly. One plan I looked at for a blanket chest simply said “mortise the back for the hinges and attach the lid when the case dries.” Another plan didn’t even make mention of attaching the lid at all! It just assumed that the reader would figure out a way to do it. I don’t know about any of you, but the reason I subscribe to and read woodworking magazines is to pick up helpful little tips and tricks for performing tasks such as attaching a lid to a blanket chest. No offense, but an article on making a piece of furniture probably should contain information that will actually help you make it.
Am I the only woodworker that thinks the “Roubo” workbench is a huge waste of wood?
My own experiences with workbenches is not all that extensive. I’ve used the benches at the handful of woodworking classes that I took over the past few years, and I’ve messed around with the benches at tool shows and woodworking stores whenever I had the chance. When it came time to make my own bench, I built one based on the “French” workbench. For the record, it’s been a good bench for me, and for a while it was the only frame of reference I had for a bench that was made specifically for woodworking. As far as I was aware, most woodworking benches were similar to my own, and after taking a few classes with benches that were like my home bench, the nature of workbench design was a topic that I stopped giving a lot of thought to. Then, I attended a Lie Nielsen handtool event which for some reason had a Veritas bench present among all of the Lie Nielsen tools. For whatever reason, I went over to the bench with a board, saw, and a hand plane and messed with it for a few minutes. The bench worked just fine, which was surprising to me considering everything I had read about work benches with “thin” tops and legs. The Veritas bench was only half the size of the bench I have at home, yet I noticed no difference in how I used it. It got me to thinking that I could have made a bench similar to the Veritas at home in half the time and using much less wood. Now, the Nicholson, or “English” workbench has been popping up on woodworking blogs and forums and it seems right up my alley. It is easy to construct and uses half the material of a French bench, and from all appearances looks like it would have no problem doing anything that a larger and heavier bench would do. As for lighter benches “jumping around” during use; I just don’t buy it. At 205lbs, I am neither small nor weak, and I’ve never had a bench “jump” while using it unless I purposely made it happen. I think most of those movement claims are very exaggerated. If you are making a 200lb bench move while you are using it, whatever you are doing will also make a 300lb bench move. If you are that worried about your bench moving, stick it on a rubber matt instead of making it a foot thick; you’ll save a lot of time, money, and wood.
Am I the only woodworker that thinks tools are becoming overvalued?
I’ve slowly come to the realization that amateur woodworkers are overvaluing their tools. What do I mean by this? It seems to me that more and more we are being sold on the value of tools; which tools to buy, how to care for them, how to store them etc. and less regard is given to the actual furniture we are making. How many times do you read stories about “the old time craftsman” and how he lovingly stored and protected his tools and passed them on to his son when he retired. Know why he did that? Because his tools were his livelihood. The old time craftsmen sold all of the furniture they made, they didn’t get to keep it and in general they wouldn’t even be able to afford to purchase what they were building. I would bet that if the woodworkers of yesteryear did keep the furniture they made those pieces would have been even more lovingly cared for and passed on from generation to generation than a tool set.
I’m not blameless here; I fell into the same trap; I found myself becoming a tool worshipper and not a furniture maker. Being a tool worshiper doesn’t mean you have a lot of expensive tools or even a lot cheap ones. A tool worshipper woodworks to use tools, not build furniture. A tool worshipper worries much more about the sharpness of his chisels than the usefulness of his current project. A tool worshiper spends more time on his tools than he does on projects, period. Like I said earlier, look at the plans in a woodworking magazine; they are often afterthoughts, but an article on sharpening a saw will have a dozen detailed photos and drawings of the process.
I’m not trying to undervalue tools, but I am trying to put more value on what I make. I woodwork to make things, not play with tools. Don’t get me wrong, I like tools, I enjoy owning them and caring for them, but I like making things more. At that, I say own as many tools as you can afford and use them all, just try to remember why you have them. I’m not trying to tell anybody what to do here; do whatever you like. But I want to make furniture.
To see Day 1 of the class, Build a Continuous Arm Windsor Chair with Peter Galbert, CLICK HERE
Using angled mirrors (no smoke!) and reference guides set with the correct angles the student is able to drill the holes in the seat blank at the correct splay and rake needed for the chair to sit as designed:
With scorp, travisher, drawknife and spokeshave, the shield-style shaped chair bottom is sculptued forth. The seat is scooped out with the scorp and travisher and the unique outside shield pattern is created with the drawknife and spokeshave:
The post Build a Continuous Arm Windsor Chair with Peter Galbert – Days 2, 3, and 4 appeared first on Woodworking Blog.
Sure the Polar Vortex has piled up a few feet of snow, but it’s time to start prepping for some Spring renovation projects. I’m sure at some point I’m going to be facing a stuck screw during one or two of those “to-do” list items I’ll be tackling as the weather warms up and the icecaps recede.
Rather than doing what I normally do when I’m faced with a stuck screw I think I’ll try one of these 5 methods of stubborn screw removals that the folks over at M&M Tool Parts wrote about recently.
“Typically caused by the inevitable rust and corrosion that occurs inside a screw hole, a stuck screw can be an incredibly frustrating thing to work with.
Not only can it slow a project down, but it can throw a wet wool blanket over anybody’s good mood. This corrosion effectively locks a screw into place and removing the thing can potentially destroy the screw itself or, worse yet, the material it’s embedded in.
Fortunately, though, there are few sure-fire methods that will help you remove a stuck screw with relative ease and minimal annoyance.”
From “Chemical Warfare” to “Total Annihilation” you’ll probably find a few new ways to tackle a stuck screw without screwing up your project!
Checkout the article and all the great suggestions over at www.mmtoolparts.com.
Our latest book, “Campaign Furniture,” is now available in our store for immediate shipment from our warehouse. Domestic orders placed before April 5, 2014, will receive free shipping.
The cost is $33 for the hardbound book. A pdf download of the book is $14. Or you can order both for $39. Full details are available in our store here.
“Campaign Furniture” will also be available from retailers here and abroad. Shipments of the book are on their way to these retailers, though we do not know when they will begin selling it. Here are the retailers that have agreed to stock the book:
• Lee Valley Tools
• Lie-Nielsen Toolworks
• Tools for Working Wood
• Highland Woodworking
• United Kingdom: Classic Hand Tools: www.classichandtools.co.uk
• Australia: Henry Eckert www.henryeckert.com.au
Like all Lost Art Press books, “Campaign Furniture” is produced entirely in the United States. The book is in a 6” x 9” format and hardbound. The interior is in full color and printed on paper that is heavy and coated with a matte finish for readability. The interior signatures are sewn for long-term durability.
All copies sold through the Lost Art Press web site are signed by the author via a letterpress bookplate.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Campaign Furniture
A few weeks ago we had a phone call from our good friend Richard Arnold who had a little something which he wanted to offer to me and was able to come out our way. We don’t get out much so we jumped at the chance and planned to meet up with Richard and his wife Kate in Lincoln. It was Saturday and fairly busy but we managed to get the car parked and headed off to find them. After trekking up the well named ‘Steep Hill’ which is always good fun, we got another buzz just to let us know that they were waiting inside a small coffee shop. I turned around and bugger me, there he was sat by the window with me still sweating buckets not having had any sneaky cool off time from the climb!
It’s always a pleasure chatting with Richard and Kate and quite rare to find people as passionate about traditional woodwork as we are. If you’ve ever met Bill and Sarah Carter then you’ll know exactly what I mean by saying that Richard and Kate are likely cut from the same cloth; they’re just incredibly genuine, generous and passionate and never ask for anything. It’s a lovely place to be in the woodworking world when there’s great people like this, you can never say that old crafts are dead. Whilst enjoying our tea I couldn’t help but notice how Richard was looking around and taking note of all of the woodwork in the little old room – fascinated with the joinery on the wall panels and windows. I always think you can tell a craftsman by how he looks over something; give him an item of steel and he will look straight to the welds.
There was an extra gift which I hadn’t been expecting; Richard presented me with a lovely little book, but more on that one latter. The main thing which he’d brought along was waiting in his car because it was too heavy to carry, so after a good natter we headed out to find it.
The car was parked just around the corner near the cathedral. We were parked down the other way so we set off on what turned in to an epic journey across time and space, a seemingly endless voyage. Basically, Richard had forgot where he parked his bloody car. After a few near domestics and the constant “well, it’s around here somewhere” we stumbled in to the help of a very well spoken man in yellow trousers and did finally find it. There it was – the leg vice I’d heard about. Richard had told me this screw was big but I wasn’t quite expecting this. The thing weighed like a bag of cement, and we took it in shifts walking it back in to Lincoln where we eventually parted way and then Helen and I spent at least another age trying to find where we’d parked our own car.When I heard about this screw I was hoping the same as what Richard was suggesting which was to install it in to my English bench which I’m currently building but I don’t think that bench is quite up to it. It’s not nearly posh enough and I’m going to need a bloody big leg to fit this in. Besides that, the second I saw it I had this other bench flash in front of my face which I’m really going to have to build now – so that’s another thing that will be added to the agenda.
When it comes to vice screws I tend to recommend wooden over metal. I love wood so it makes sense to use it and a really large diameter, large pitch thread is unbeatably smooth. That was before I saw this thing! This thread is as big as our wooden screws, it turns at the same pace, and it is just absolutely stunning in every way – Beautiful and smooth.
Richard had had the vice stored away for so long that he couldn’t recall where he found it. I’m usually pretty good at guessing where vices originated and I’ve stared at enough pictures to surmise but this isn’t like anything I’ve seen. If I was just looking at the thread and nut then I would definitely think it was straight out of the steel industry but the big, beautiful rounded head on it and two piece garter make me feel it has always been a craftsman’s vice, it’s too decorative otherwise. I think Richard suggested it could have come out of a wheelwright’s shop and that would make sense – it had to be for something very heavy duty.We don’t get about an awful lot but we really enjoyed our day in Lincoln. We’re lucky to have such a wonderful city not far away and walking around it is always inspiring. When a place has such a number of important historical buildings you realise that we’re not likely to let our crafts die any time soon. There’s restoration and heritage work going on everywhere, the last time I went much of the Cathedral was covered in scaffolding and now some has been removed to reveal a number of new and spectacular carvings in the stone work. There’s a constant stream of craftsman being trained up and employed at the Cathedral and Castle here and it’s certainly great to know there’s so much skill all in one place.
So thanks again Richard and Kate for what was a lovely day.
I keep thinking about Richard Nixon. I don’t want to, but it happens. Remember when he famously stated “I’m not a crook.”? Well, of course he was lying…
but I have been splitting & hewing crooks into spoons lately. Right after that cherry haul (and another cherry haul) I got 2 small piles of birch.
Most of these are just one spoon in each bend; there’s knots underneath the crook. splitting them is a combination of froe & hatchet work.
Then I start in hewing to begin to “see” the eventual shape.
Placement of the bowl is the hardest part to wrap your head around. The mistake I usually make is to place it too far forward. Here you see how the bottom of the bowl flows along the curved grain.
Then it’s back to more axe work. The more you take off here, the easier life is later.
Megan Fitzpatrick swiped a photo of mine from last time; here’s her teaser about an article I did for Popular Woodworking:
Our latest book, “Campaign Furniture,” will be on sale in our store on Friday with free domestic shipping (until April 5, 2014). The shipment of books arrived in our Indianapolis warehouse today, and the fulfillment service is getting everything ready to ship.
The hardbound book will be $33. The pdf version of the book will be $14. You can order both for the discounted price of $39.
In the meantime, we have prepared a free chapter for you to download. This short chapter is on building the campaign stool, one of the simpler projects in the book. We’ve received a lot of questions about the stool after we sold 100 of the tribolts for the stool last month. (If you want one of the tribolts now, you can buy them direct from Mike Siemsen, who made the bolts for us. Click here to order one – same price, same shipping arrangement.)
You can download the free chapter here:
Be aware that it is more than 12mb – so if you have dial-up, go to your local library.
Also, as promised, here is a description of the physical book and a table of contents:
Like all Lost Art Press books, “Campaign Furniture” is produced entirely in the United States. The book is in a 6” x 9” format, 334 pages and hardbound. The interior is in full-color and printed on paper that is heavy and coated with a matte finish for readability. The interior signatures are sewn for long-term durability.
Table of Contents
1. Campaign Style 1
2. Campaign Woods 38
3. Campaign Hardware 52
4. Campaign Chests 82
5. Campaign Secretaries 122
6. Folding Camp Stool 138
7. Roorkee Chairs 154
8. Strong Trunk 190
9. Field Desk 214
10. Collapsible Bookshelves 234
11. Traveling Bookcase 248
A. Roubo on Campaigning… 269
B. India’s Joiners, by George Cecil… 279
C. Army & Navy Stores… 285
The book is available only through Lost Art Press and our small network of retailers.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Campaign Furniture
Welcome to Woodworking Masterclasses Sites. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!
My K7 arrived last week and after a few days handling and admiring it, I gave it a try.
The elongated rear infill makes it much more comfortable than antique planes of the same style and the pointed rear nestles right into the palm of the hand. It is surprisingly heavy which is nice.
Konrad has access to some wonderful wood, woodworkers are suckers for great wood and I'm no exception! The metal work tends to be overlooked but it is faultless. You cannot detect the dovetails, the lever cap requires the lightest of touches and the mouth is super fine.
Needless to say it works superbly cleaning up this curly walnut with ease. The Ron Hock high carbon steel blade really sings and the high angle blade takes concertina shavings. If I can find some time to get back to making some furniture this plane will get plenty of use.
I’ve studied furniture from the 17th, 18th and early 19th centuries for decades and done my fair share of inlay (the table leg to the left is an example). When the talk around the office this week turned to Rob Millard’s much-anticipated DVD, “Marquetry, Veneer & Inlay for Furniture Makers” (buy your copy here), it brought up memories for me of Woodworking in America conferences past (learn more about WIA here…OK, […]
“The Furniture of Necessity” book will be written, illustrated and printed in the same spirit as the pieces of furniture between its covers. Instead of relying on SketchUp and digital photographs, the engraver will be making the plates for this book using the actual pieces as her guide.
While this will turn me into a furniture mover for the next 12 months, it also will result in illustrations that are rich in detail and unsanitized, unpasturized and un-homogenized. It will be like drinking the design warm from the the teat of (oh stop this line of thought now).
Today I finished up the six-board chest for the book by nailing on the escutcheon plate to the front. There will be no fake keyholes or keys or hat-tips to modern living. These pieces will work in the same way they worked 300 years ago.
I now have two of the pieces complete for the book. Twelve more to go.
— Christopher Schwarz
Filed under: Furniture of Necessity
Finishing Your Projects Following Mine
There is no doubt in my mind, woodworkers love working with wood, using hand tools and even like to use machines for some of the time. What they do not seem to like too much from what I have learned is no surprise to me. They do not generally like finishing their work. Why is that? Well, I always ask woodworkers what they feel is the most difficult challenge they face in their woodworking. This is my conclusion. In almost all cases they feel inadequate to the task. With so many finish choices available they feel confused as to which finish will work best and therefore inadequate to choose the right finish. With such limited experience and so many different products sold for finishing. Again intimidation seems to them a high risk possibility of failure in that they might fail their project by making the wrong choices or applying the finish with little experience and unskilled hands.
Two Finishes – Simple and Effective
We are working on a series of finishing videos to help minimise failure and take out the possibility of risk and so show simple techniques that minimise risks associated with being a winner at the finish line. This week we concluded filming using two finishes and some techniques on finishing for our upcoming woodworking masterclasses online broadcast. When we made the workbench stools (that are the same as bar stools but ultra hand made and ultra comfortable too) series a few weeks ago we said that we would do this and the stools are ideal pieces for developing skills. Here are the results of this weeks videos. I am happy with the way they turned out and my hope is that finishing and trying techniques will be less intimidating for everyone. I ordered my milk paint from The Old Fashioned Milk paint Company, a long-standing company with masses of experience in this unique and wonderful finish. The second finish I chose is Danish oil. This transparent finish is quick and simple and really a good finish for things like chairs and stools. See for yourself how these two finishes came out.
I acquired more tenon saws on eBay and was surprised at the quality I got. Reworking them was interesting and the outcome my reward. It is still amazing what you can get for under £20. John purchased a very nice I Sorby 1 1/4” bevel-edged chisel he has wanted for some time and will be doing the restoration over the next few days. We have been looking at chisels in greater depth too, as you might tell from some of my recent blogs. I am revamping the Aldi chisels and have decided to see just what it takes to make them top notch for under £3 each including the price of the chisel. I have more yet to offer but I think that you will be surprised with the outcome. Separating the chisel blade from the handle is simpler than I thought even though the two parts are very solidly united with a twist free and unbreakable grip to the handle. The tang is not tapered or traditionally shaped or made in any way. It is substantive though. It’s indeed unusual in that the octagonal tang fits into a carefully sized hole that compresses under the pressure of the hard corners of the tang’s hexagon. That tang was solidly embedded. It took a shift and hammer blows to drive the shaft from the tang.
I worked on this one 3/4” blade, flattened the flat side, refined the bevel and of course shaped the bevel with its refined convex bevel. I like the bevel’s size, not too thin at the edge of the bevel, nicely tapered and enough steel to give me confidence. We’ll show you progress as we go.