Hand Tool Headlines
The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator
This "aggregator" collects all of the woodworking blogs I read every day - or try to anyway! Enjoy!
I'm giving some serious thought to getting 3 more pairs. This round would be a pair of progressive lens sunglasses and two pairs of reading glasses. The only downside to that is that it'll eat into my tool fund budget for the rest of this month. But you can't beat this deal anywhere else that I know of.
I also got lucky again when I checked Jim Bode tools this morning. He had 3 spokeshaves for sale and I snagged the Record version of the stanley 151 for $35. He had one more stanley 151 for sale at the same price and I am thinking of buying that one too. We'll see if it is still for sale tomorrow.
|complex molder isn't boxed|
|complex molder iron|
|I like this profile|
|the same but a different size|
|back is flattened|
|the front edge|
|wedges are mixed up - this one won't fit in here - stuck in sideways for now|
|got them fitted to their respective planes|
|I'm gluing up of the cock beading tonight|
|I'm nailing it|
|nipped off most of the nail|
|first bead going on|
After the first long bead was glued on I flipped it 180 and repeated it for the opposite side long bead. The two short side beads were next and then it was apply the clamps and set it aside to cook.
|the other side miter has big gap|
How much water is contained in a cubic mile of fog?
answer - less than one gallon
|A Brief Spring|
Looking back, I wonder where the weeks of winter went; they flashed past, left me clutching at wishes and half-finished projects. What did I do all winter?
|Some of the wood milled during winter|
Well, I did mill a lot of wood; most of all, learnt to dimension wood by a combination of hand planing and thicknessing by a wonderful Makita thicknesser I have acquired. This machine cuts down my work by half as now I only have to flatten one face and square one side of a piece of timber and the rest is taken care of by the thicknesser. I find the thicknesser particularly useful, and awfully quick, for reducing a lot of planks to similar thickness. By hand this was a long and arduous process.
I must admit though I have gotten better at planing, at least I think I have. I certainly have become far more accurate and with my 22 inch long jointer plane I can make edges and sides dead square to each other. This is a quick job with the jointer plane and the final result is a superb surface free of any machine mark and smooth as a baby's bottom.
My focus has been on re-doing my study and insulating it. A lot of time has gone into studying methods of wall framing for drywall. I have finally homed on to the metal stud system with waterproof calcium silicate boards. The famous glass maker, St. Gobain, has introduced drywall framing products, including very good quality studs, floor channels and so on. I have opted for calcium silicate boards because they are more enduring and moisture resistant than standard gypsum boards. Leaky air-conditioners and condensation can quickly and irreversibly damage gypsum drywall.
I have also been building two pieces of furniture and learning how to put together cabinets. Sadly, there is very little to show for my perseverance so far.
In contrast, my woodworking friends have been making fine progress.
|Zain's Trestle Dining Table|
Zain in Chandigarh has put together a splendid trestle dining table with stylish edges and perfectly machined joints. Dinabandhu in Calcutta has procured some first rate hand tools from the UK and is readying to start work on his kitchen.
|Sunil's Dowel Plate|
|Awls Made by Sunil and gifted to me|
Sunil Chetiwal in Delhi continues to fuel his obsession with tools and has gifted me two extremely useful long awls, one of which I intend to try as a drawbore pin for tightening tenons. He has also managed to make a rudimentary dowel plate and sundry other items.
Never a day goes by without me putting at least half an hour of work on my home improvement and woodworking projects. Yet, there seems no end in sight. I shall persevere and watch the ivy creep up my workshop walls.
|Ivy and Petunias outside my workshop|
4 March 2015
Also there were some spots in the laminated deck that got marred in routing and were filled. These areas need the laminations painted back on.
Last weekend, I finally got started on…and almost finished… the table build for the curved corner of my kitchen. The base is 34-1/2″ high and will get a top of butcher block that will be curved at the back to match the wall (which reminds me…I need to pick up a new band saw blade). The “ankles” – now “cankles” – are a little thicker than I’d originally intended…for reasons […]
The post Jointer Makes Quick Work of ‘Cankle Table’ Tapered Legs appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.
I built my wood shop workbench about 25 years ago and the hardest thing about it was not having a bench to build the bench. Sometimes holding your work is one of the things which takes up as much effort as the work.
I started carving a gargoyle a while back (do you have one? Don’t judge me) and holding that thing was a real chore.
One thing I added to my bench recently is a holdfast. The traditional forged ones simply drive into a hole in the top of your bench a little bit like whack-a -mole with your bench mallet. They have a flat hook on the end and the sideways pressure in the hole locks it in place. You loosen it by whacking the shaft sideways. Works like a champ and sometimes you can find a local blacksmith to make one for you.
A more modern version has a small screw on top of the clamp part, and fits into a metal bracket set in the top of the bench. It is related to the traditional style in that it locks into place with a sideways warp in the bracket. To use this clamp, just drop it in the hole in the center of the bracket and then a quick twist to the screw puts a large amount of pressure on the work. To release the clamp, loosen the screw and then pull up on the top of the shaft. The grooves on the shaft release from the grooves in the bracket and it is free.
Installation is simple once you decide where it needs to go to be most useful. You can use a simple straight hole in the bench and it will work fine, but the better installation is with the bracket. I drilled a pilot hole in the top of my bench, and then used a larger hole saw to drill in the depth of the bracket flange, plus a little bit. Then without removing any wood, I used a smaller hole saw to drill all the way through the top of the bench still using the same pilot hole. That way I had concentric holes and could chisel out the flange depth by hand. Worked like a champ after I dropped the bracket in place and added some screws.
Between the new holdfast, my new leg vise, the shoulder vise on the end of the bench, the bench dogs on the top of the bench, the bench “L” vice on the end with two clamping points, and various and sundry other pipe clamps, I bet I could clamp a herd of cats.
You know you love winning stuff, especially things related to woodworking. What you might not know is that we love giving away stuff…simply because we know you love it!
To get things kicked off for our very first Wood Talk Giveaway we have a big one.
1 lucky winner will receive a Wood Talk T-shirt and another winner will receive the Wood Whisperer Guild project: Modern Chest of Drawers & Nightstand.
Entering the contest is easy, in fact there’s 7 easy ways to enter. You can find all the the details about those 7 easy ways by visiting the Wood Talk Giveaway page at woodtalkshow.com/giveaway.
Every month we’ll have prizes and giveaways that will make all of your woodworking buddies jealousy and envious of your good fortune (if they’re easily made jealous and envious of such things…otherwise they’ll probably just think it’s neat that you won.)
Don’t miss out, enter today!
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This will be the first in the series over the next few blogs.
Two planes sit side by side, one, a wooden-bodied, handmade individual, the other, cast from iron in lots of hundreds throughout any single day. On the one hand the old wooden plane required well seasoned and dried wood that lay dormant under cover for ten years before working and cycling through began. This handmade wooden one required the much skilled work of a crafting artisan, no, many hours of highly skilled hand work. Castings in the form of iron-bodied planes on the other hand were developed and designed to reduce the necessity of such skill. Once cast, the iron castings were left to ‘season’ for a year in crates to relieve some of the stresses in the metal before the refining and milling processes prepared them to receive the cast iron block we call the frog. It took only a few minutes to make the cast metal planes, that is once the moulds were set up and the right men doing the pour poured the molten metal that would soon become the all metal counterparts we’ve commonly used over the past 150 years. The metal flows like lava to the lowest levels, fills the moulds and after total cooling they are removed from the sand and piled in crates to wait. At some point the plane soles are lifted to milling machines and the work begins to develop meeting points on the inside of the sole where the frog, the central hub governing all of the plane’s future settings, registers on three fixed points inside the mid section of the sole.
The Woden plane below is my longest bench plane in my collection of Woden planes. Woden is not my inept misspelling of ‘wooden’, it’s the name of a Germanic neopagan god, but that’s by the by. The Woden plane is a decent plane that follows the Leonard Bailey patterns of construction, so, whereas Woden is the brand name, Leonard Bailey is the designer and the originator and I have always enjoyed using the Woden planes alongside my Stanleys and Records.
I recently made this wooden plane using the gubbins from a bad eBayed Stanley to make it with. Some decades ago a man I worked with as an apprentice, worked under really, the last man I knew who really did use wooden smoothers, jacks and tri planes, a man then in his late seventies, told me that there was no real evidence to show that a wooden plane didn’t last equally as long as an all metal one. he’s the one that told me you need to bend metal planes to get them to create a straight edge. I found these facts hard to believe at the time, but now I think it more a truth than a falsehood, primarily because the plane soles on longer planes definitely move, no matter the maker, and the patina I see on a beech-bodied plane made in the early 1800’s didn’t happen in a year or two but more like at least ten, twenty, thirty, forty and more. I have seen bench planes worn down half an inch at the toe end and filled in front of the throat with throat closures because of wear and probably this reflected another 20 years of use beyond its life expectancy of three score and ten.
Transitioning from a cast metal plane to any of the wooden planes takes a little adjusting too if indeed like me you have used them for hours every day for 50 years. Using them and gaining experience and skill is very much worth the effort though and it’s in the using of them you discover a worth and value you might never have considered before. Not only do you connect with how craftsmen felt about them when they used them in the centuries past, but you discover responses of wood on wood that it is absolutely impossible to get with any metal plane. It’s an indescribable sweetness that helps you to at last comprehend why old craftsmen in the late 1800s refused the Stanleys and clung to what they had owned and used and understood, fully.
In mainland Europe wooden planes have always proven ever popular and even today many woodworkers, especially in Germanic regions, continue hand work using wooden planes. I suppose herein is the strange anomaly in that the Woden plane was made under the name of a Germanic pagan god for a British market and yet was never sold in mainland Europe to challenge the wooden planemakers. I know this though, that no matter the era of wooden plane making, if you set the wooden plane up correctly, and they are as readily adjustable as the cast metal ones, they are more pleasing to work with and just as effective as any metal one I ever used.
Black and white
I recently completed the making of some wooden planes following two that Marples made in the earlier half of the last century. It’s a funny thing how when you want to emphasise something we might say something like, “Well let me make things black and white for you.”, or, “Put it in black and white.” When colour first came in print form in newspapers I remember the impact it had even though the print job was and I suppose still is deplorable.
I took the colour out here to emphasize something really. I am used to wooden bodied planes. On and off I have used them through the past 50 years and yet I generally go back to my all metal Stanley #4 for the major part of my working in daily life, followed swiftly by my #5, 4 1/2 and 5 1/2. Until recently I preferred the adjustment mechanisms these wonderful planes offered me and yet I do have to say that I always like using wooden bodied planes because of the ease on the wood and lightness in use. I have always liked the standard Stanleys with an emphasis that I do not particularly like thick irons. I prefer the Stanley’s because they are light and strong, hardwearing and indeed equal to the task. I also like to make certain I use what my students and watchers can get their hands on readily and yet I want something that is by no means second rate or a stopgap or in any way inferior in producing top quality work or to leave anyone with the impression that it will work until you can get something better. Stanley planes from before the pre 1970s do that for me and so I feel that I am giving woodworkers what they really need to work wood with. If anyone then simply wants to spend money on a better engineered plane, and that’s their personal preference, then that is their choice. But at least I have done my part in saying there is no need to spend more unless you just want to, prefer to or personally feel you need to. I have also done my best in defending the good name of one of the best engineering entrepreneurs in the history of plane making. A man who designed a plane from scratch and was able to patent his design because it was brand new.
Over the past few weeks we filmed making wooden planes and incorporating the body with a retrofitted adjustment facility in the form of the Stanley (or Record) frog, replete with matching cutting iron assembly unit. Marples did this in the early half of the last century. These planes were preferred by woodworking class workshops in many schools because boys could handle the lighter weight better and they of course offered the same adjustability the all metal versions were then offering as the current way forward.
I made my first one from non hardwearing pine as a prototype, using a scrap of stud for my material. It took me half an hour (minus the handle) and when I offered it to the wood, even for the first time, shavings shot through the throat and skyward like a popped cork from a champagne bottle, even though the setting was way too deep. I was absolutely stunned. I have to say it, it even felt better then the Marples beech original. It felt spunky, spritely, versatile, light and easy; oh, so easy! It made me wish I had had it to build my tool chest with.
Last week we finished up the video work on building this plane in the Jack plane size. You can in fact make a smoother, a jack and a tri plane and simply reinstall the same frog and iron into one or the other as you please if you want or you can buy in secondhand frogs the price of which just shot through the roof on eBay I am sure by the time you read this post. At the time of writing I just bought five frogs for £15 — $23.
The thing about building this plane and retrofitting the frog to fit is that the sole of the plane with its 45-degree slope acts as the extension for support directly behind the cutting-iron assembly unit and thereby necessitates cutting the frog slope down. Otherwise it will be further necessary to thin the sole directly behind where the frog might normally extend to on the sole, which in turn leaves a thinner aspect to the sole than you might want. I feel that in wood this might be a tad too thin, but then again perhaps not, whereas in the cast metal soles this works well. I am just saying that you can take the extra effort to shape the sole to receive the whole frog if you wish so as to retain the frog for interchangeability using both the original metal-cast plane and your new wooden ones.
So the next series on my blog will be about building the wooden plane above and how to build one from scratch. We will tie this in with the videos on woodworking masterclasses.com. Remember that all tool making and technique videos are always free to subscribers who have registered with us and that this too is a free subscription. You will receive n email from time to time, maybe three time a year or so, but nothing more than an odd update that might interest you.
We are also putting up another free two-part video series on making winding sticks starting next week so you may want to catch that one too.
Oh, and by the way, we are working videoing the tool cupboard like the one in my shop but a scaled down size. You will be able to scale yours either way and we hope to be able to show how you can size one to suit you and your tools too.
Recently Chris Schwarz lamented that that much of the historic literature on craft is stuffed with geometry but doesn’t explain how to set up a smoothing plane. And to make matters worse the geometry lessons quickly spin out of control with drawings that look like some freakish nightmare.
Back in the day, books were expensive. A modest book in the 18th century could easily cost a weeks wages so a treatise on things like milking a cow or setting up a smoothing plane, or constructing window sash never entered anyone’s thought. In a village of a hundred souls, ninety-nine knew how to milk a cow and half of them could set up a plane in their sleep. Yet no one in the village, possibly no one in the county might know (let alone share), the knowledge that lies behind the smoothing plane, window sash, or that magnificent cathedral up on the hill. That my friends is geometry. But hear me out. It’s not as devilish as it sounds. This artisan geometry of the trades doesn’t involve memorizing a boatload of theorems and formulas that make you want to light up a cigarette and knock down a shot. Well you might want to do that for the pleasure of it, but not because the geometry drove you there.
I admit when I first explored what the old writers had to say, I complicated it by my own ignorance. I often passed over the simple stepping stones of knowledge and then skinned my shins. Here’s an interesting bit on this path of artisan geometry best illustrated by Plate one, figure one from Roubo’s monumental collection of engraved drawings.
Plate one, figure one starts with a point. Roubo isn’t alone in beginning at this humble starting place. Many similar examples could be cited, often there is a break in forty pages of medieval Spanish text with a single . followed by another twenty pages of narrative. Point being you can learn to visualize and build some really marvelous things if you begin at the right beginning. And that beginning is the humble point.
Jim Tolpin and I are at it again, writing a workbook that takes that historic knowledge and walks you through it step by step. Who knows? Maybe there’s some window sash, elegant chairs, or even a grand cathedral inside your head just waiting to be made if you knew what they knew.
George R. Walker
Hey, longtime reader here: I'm about to start buying Japanese tools on Ebay, and I'd like to know, how do I go about this safely? I've never used Ebay before.
Thanks for reading all this time. I really appreciate it.
Most of the Japanese tools I have I’ve bought from eBay. I think the same rules apply to buying Japanese tools as they do for buying vintage western tools.
- Look for listings with lots of good quality photos, and if there isn’t a photo of a particular part of the tool, assume that the seller is hiding something.
- Spend some time just looking at listings so you can get a feel for what price Japanese tools are selling at. I have an eBay search that looks for the term “Japanese” in the Collectibles → Tools, Hardware, and Locks category, which is quite useful.
- Try to buy from sellers that have a good eBay reputation.
- And finally, take your time. Despite the number of listings for Japanese tools that are labelled as “rare”, things do come up again.
Before I left Westerly after my eye appointment, I spent some time driving around looking at the house I grew up in and the grammar school I went to. Almost all of the small town I grew up is gone. Everywhere I looked I saw a new business or a new housing development. My favorite pizza parlor is still going strong - they have sign in the window saying 50 years in business at the same location. Yeah. Everything changes but I wish this being a small town was one that didn't.
I stopped to see the machinist who was making my dovetail gauge. It had been a year since I gave it to him and I wanted it back. Turns out the place he worked at was sold and he retired. My $30 hunk of brass, wooden dovetail gauge model, and the plans for it were all MIA. The receptionist remembered me but had no idea what he had done with my stuff. Stercus Accidit. Again.
I made another stop at Sam's club at 0950 but I still couldn't get in. (I retrieved my card from the garbage - I have 11 months left on it and it cost me $40). I went to Starbucks to kill 10 minutes and then I finally got my K-cups after I was allowed in after 1000. I had to endure the sales pitch at the register to buy the premium membership so I could shop early yadda, yadda, yadda. No thank you.
After Sam's I went to the optical shop at Ann & Hope which isn't to far from where I live. I can get 2 pairs of glasses, including progressive lens, for $199. I couldn't do that today because monday is the one day of the week that they are closed. The downside to this price is that the frame choices aren't exhaustive but I don't buy glasses to make a fashion statement. I'll try to get there tomorrow night after work.
I made one last stop before I got home and that was at Whole Foods again. Like yesterday, the two coffee bins I buy from every sunday were still empty. No one had roasted any coffee and refilled them. I had to buy it already ground which I don't like doing. You don't know when it was done and the older it is the crappy it tastes. This is why I buy it whole bean and grind it myself and just enough to last a week. Monday is almost a dead repeat of sunday.
I finally get home but I can't go to the shop yet. I had my pupils dilated for the eye exam and for some reason they don't un-dilate all that well. Everyone else takes about 4 hours but me, I usually take 6 or more. This didn't stop me from going down to the shop after lunch. Maybe I should have taken a clue from how my day was going so far and watched TV for the rest of the day.
|decided on this|
|old clamp blocks|
|I finally looked at the blocks|
Off camera, I had to butcher my table saw insert. I didn't want to take the saw blade out and remove the blade stiffeners. The OEM metal angle insert won't fit with them installed. Ergo, I attacked the MDF insert with a chisel because I was being lazy. I was also incredibly pissed off and getting more frustrated by the minute trying to get this insert to fit.
Once I finally got that done and I could raise and tilt the angle to 45 degrees, I tried to true up the notches. Again, I should have left the shop here. Doing this was useless. The blocks were not square to begin with so the notches weren't going to come out at 90. I didn't want to square the blade at 90 and then square up the blocks and then do the notches at 45.
|notches are toast|
|tried the woodpecker blocks|
|can't screw this anymore|
|a few gentle taps|
What is pomology?
answer - the study of fruit
One of my earliest traumatic memories is being mortified by my mother searching for a scratched butterfly chair at the functional equivalent of a Kmart. She enjoyed seeking damaged goods and then indignantly demanding a discount at the register. This tactic worked far too often. This only reinforced the behavior.
This was the first piece of mid-century modern furniture I remember actively disliking. First of many, I might add. And now it’s back. Vintage and reproduction. I just can’t get away from the stuff.
Ironically I was at a local auction preview (mid-century modern) when I read Chris Schwarz’s Lost Art Press blog quoting George Nakashima on modern furniture. I don’t think he liked it.
Who can forget the stressless chair, this style attributed to Charles & Ray Eames:
Animal prints were big:
This is a complete living room set with the kidney-shaped, glass coffee table, animal print floating couch and multi-headed floor lamp:
I was impressed by the back of this furniture. Look at the size of those Masonite® back panels. Each one is a single board. Can you imagine the size of the Masonite® trees they came from? Might be river bottom wood-like material.
If you would like, you can click HERE and see the rest of the collection.
If you must…
I don't much like lid stays. They take up too much room, look contrived, and force you to compromise the design of your chest. I've never seen one I like, or one that works well. The best lid stay in my opinion is the wall behind your (tool) chest, but what if you can't put your chest against the wall?
But before you assume my opinion has any value, I should say that I don't have any experience working from a tool chest, only building chests for home use, but my opinion about stays applies to tool chests as well, I would imagine.
So I got thinking, what about a stay that holds the lid open, but also keeps it from shutting? So, not a chain, not a wooden stop at the back of the lid, not a gas-shock-encrusted whoopty-do from Rockler, but simply a stick that engages both the lid and carcase and immobilizes the lid.
Here's what I came up with. I made it with materials and tools that anyone can get locally.
The principle is simple. A stick with a pin on each end. One pin engages the lid, the other pin engages the carcase. The metal bits you see above are truss head rivets (or wagon box rivets), bronze sleeve bearings and a piece of 1/8 x 3/4" hot rolled flat steel. All stuff you can get at the hardware store or Homeus Depotamus.
To make the stay look hand-forged, I did a little hand forgery. First I needed to drill the two holes on the ends.
The hole is 15/64", which is a tad smaller than the shaft of the 1/4" rivet.
A bit of work at the 1" belt grinder, along with some files established the shape of the end.
I decided to try my hand at some fancy file work. This is really fun stuff. A bit tricky keeping the two sides symmetrical though.
After I fancified the other end, I took a bastard file to the faces to get rid of the mill finish and make it look more "natural".
Then I whacked the steel with a hammer to mimic the look of a hand-wrought piece. Finally, I went over the whole thing with a wire wheel to blend it all in and ease any sharp edges.
I chamfered the rivets to ease their entry in the hole.
I ran a chainsaw file in the hole and enlarged it until it was about 0.005" smaller than the rivet shaft, so when the rivet is tapped in, it stay tight. In machinist talk, that's a "press fit".
Then to make it all look hand-wrought I filed the head of the rivet and whacked it with a hammer.
Another minute on the wire wheel, followed up by a couple coats of gun blue and some wax made it look like this.
I cut the bronze bearings in half to get two per piece (they ended up about 3/8" long.) The batten for the chest lid gets drilled to accept the bearing. This keeps the stay pin from wallowing out the hole over time. I glued it in with a bit of CA.
Did the same to the carcase.
The thing works. There's enough flex in the 1/8" steel to engage the stay with ease. Here's the only downside. If the stay takes a firm hit, from outside, or inside, it can pop out of the hole, causing the lid to swing free. This can happen with a chain stay too, with the lid slamming shut. A better situation than swinging to the back and ripping hinges out. On this chest I positioned the stay so the lid is leaning slightly back. But I'm going to move the hole in the carcase forward so the lid is slightly leaning forward. That way, if the stay gets knocked the lid will simply slam shut instead of falling back. There are a bunch of ways to fix the stay further, but I like things to work quickly and easily, so I'll be keeping the stay in this form.
By Joshua Farnsworth
In the above video you’ll see my fascinating trip to Colonial Williamsburg as part of a study of a relatively unknown type of molding plane, called “Mother Planes”.
On a grant from the Early American Industries Association, Bill Anderson, Larry Preuss, and myself studied Williamsburg’s collection of 400+ Mother Planes to see what we could learn about molding plane construction.
What is a Mother Plane?
In the 1800’s, larger molding plane manufactures used “mother planes” to cut a particular profile to larger quantities of molding planes. An attached fence is a main characteristic of a mother plane.
The folks at Colonial Williamsburg were kind enough to host us for several days in the top floor of the historic Capitol building.
Below you’ll see our research team (from left to right) Bill Anderson (the founder of the project), Larry Preuss (an expert plane maker from Michigan), Erik Goldstein (Curator of Mechanical Arts & Numismatics at Colonial Williamsburg Foundation), and Joshua Farnsworth (I took sevaral thousand photographs & scans of the mother planes):
Our study took place over several days in October 2014 and Feburary 2015. I’ll have to admit, prior to Bill’s invitation to join this study I hadn’t even heard of Mother Planes. But I quickly fell in love with the lovely mother planes, just as I had with molding planes in general.
This is my “cave” where I spent several days photographing and scanning nearly 400 mother planes:
After removing the iron and wedge, we scanned the “toe” of each mother plane, then photographed each side. Here are some photographs of different views of some fascinating mother planes:
In addition to photographing and scanning each plane, Bill and Larry spent considerable time inspecting each mother plane for interesting characteristics such as cutting profile, dimension, size marks, and maker marks.
Details were meticulously recorded on detailed data sheets that Bill created, and each plane was assigned a number:
Erik Goldstein was kind enough to spend many hours with us to ensure that the valuable plane collection was handled properly:
Over the course of our stay, Erik gave us some amazing tours of rarely-visited parts of the capitol building, including incredible tool collections and a trek up the steep steps of the bell tower, which has only been visited by a handful of people since it’s dedication by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the 1940’s.
Below you’ll see some fun photographs that I took of the Capital Building at Colonial Williamsburg (I highly recommend a visit to this 18th century wonderland):
Click here to Subscribe to Joshua’s future articles & blog posts about traditional woodworking.
March 1st. Spring is right around the corner. I spent the past 3 months complaining about the cold and snow and unpleasant working conditions in my garage. But with the onset of March I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, sort-of.
Yesterday I actually got to woodwork a little. I felt a good way to begin the month of March would be to start the repair of my tool chest. Of course, the snow was falling, the winds were howling, the temperatures were plummeting, and my garage was freezing. I can tell you this, our next house will have at least a two-car garage, as well as a dedicated workshop specifically set-aside for woodworking. I understand that I might have to fork out some money to make that happen, but we only live once, and life is too short for certain compromises, my happiness being one of them.
My chest needs two new parts; a new front panel and a new lid. The winter and my garage haven’t been kind, and the chest is taking a major league beating. I decided to replace those parts with some walnut that I’ve had set aside for quite some time. I started with the front panel, as I knew it would be the easier of the two parts to fix. Because it was far too cold to open my garage door for any extended period, I decided to do as much as I could by hand.
The first thing I did was cross-cut the boards to rough width using a basic STANLEY carpentry saw. I then opened the garage door, rolled the table saw over to the opening, and ripped the front panel to size. Once that was done I was able to shut the door and put away the table saw. I had the panel nearly fit to the opening, so I planed the edges to get a nice fit, then placed the panel on the workbench and used the smoothing plane to not only clean up the board, but also match the thickness of the rest of the chest, as it was just a hair wider than the boards I built the chest with. Once that was finished I used my block plane to clean up the end grain, and more importantly get a nice fit side-to-side. Now, I know that a lot of professionals, and some amateurs, like to make the claim that most woodworkers “don’t know what sharp is”. Maybe that is true, but my amateur ass managed to not only beautifully plane the front panel smooth and flat, but also take full-length end grain shavings on Walnut with a block plane that “never knew sharp”. Am I bragging? Yeah, you’re God-damned right I am.
I then made new hinges for the front panel, which are basically two small battens that lightly overhang the bottom, and I transferred the original catches for the latch from the old front. I glued and screwed both the hinges and the catches. Lastly, I thought a little bead would be nice, so I used my “new” ¼ inch beading plane to add one. A coat of linseed oil (I’ll add another next weekend) and the front was done.
I had a little time left so I decided to edge joint the other two boards I had set aside before I called it an afternoon. Neither had an edge that was remotely straight, so I made a mess of shavings to get them flat and level. Thankfully my jointer plane was sharp, though I can’t figure out how since I am a rank amateur that doesn’t know what sharp looks like.
I have enough walnut to do one of two things: either make a traditional frame and panel lid, or glue up a lid and make battens for it. The frame and panel is what I’m leaning towards, and it would probably look nicer, but I will decide on that next week. When I placed the finished front panel in the chest I discovered that Walnut, as usual, looks awesome on anything, and my tool chest desperately needs a coat of paint. This time, I’m going to make it shine.
At this stage in my life, I cannot take woodworking classes. I have the will and the money, but I also have kids, a wife with a crazy job and my own endeavors – a publishing company, a custom furniture business and (oddly enough) a teaching schedule. So until I can make our home life look like Lake Placid, I am always looking for other ways to improve my work. […]
More to come of course (bios, class descriptions, etc.), but because we’re on deadline for the June issue this week (and I’m dealing with roof problems), for the nonce I’m posting the list of expert woodworkers (four of whom are SAPFM Cartouche winners) we’ve lined up to present sessions at for Woodworking in America 2015, Sept. 25-27, in Kansas City, Mo. (I’ll be there, too…and I can tell a hawk […]