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If I Only Knew

Northwest Woodworking - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 1:14pm

If I only knew how easy it is to fix [insert problem], I would have done it years ago. The problem is not the problem in need of a solution: the drawer that needs planing or the joint that needs re-tuning or the door that needs to be built. It is turning my attention to this issue at hand that is the problem. It is getting me to slow down long enough to turn and face it. It is turning the battleship that is my attention and then moving forward.

Usually when I do, I find a solution, I dive into the work, I may make a couple of mistakes and fix those and get the job done much faster than all the complaining about how much work there is to do.  If I slow down long enough to focus on the issue, it oftentimes gets fixed in a jiffy.

Now turning that battleship, that’s the trick part. But so satisfying when I do.

 

IMG_4430

 

 

Categories: Hand Tools

A Lesson in Coping – How to Join Trim

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 12:54pm
coping

I’ve long been struck by the aptness of our English word “cope” – “I just can’t cope,” “I’m barely coping” – in light of its meaning in a woodworker’s lexicon. Sure, some of us may use the word when describing our emotional state, but more often we use it to denote a technique for joining two pieces of trim or molding where they meet at an inside corner. There’s nothing wrong […]

The post A Lesson in Coping – How to Join Trim appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Optivisor Magnifier

David Barron Furniture - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 11:48am

When a spent a couple of days with box maker Andrew Crawford a few years ago he highly recommended the head mounted Optivisor for seeing more intricate work. He used the model 5 with a magnification of x 2.5 and a focal length of 8". After buying one I found I needed to go so close to the work it was difficult to use at the same time as working, so I went in a drawer. I finally decided to buy a different lens, the model 3 with a magnification of x 1 3/4 and a focal length of 14" and what a difference! It is ideal for dovetails and allows effortless accuracy.


It had a nicely designed adjustable headband and is very comfortable. It can be worn over existing glasses if needed.

Quality is not cheap, but for anyone struggling to see their baselines clearly or just wanting super accurate results, this is a great aid.


Some sharp tails, this board is just 2" wide.


Categories: Hand Tools

Bowsaws, The Next Frontier

The Barn on White Run - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 6:00am

While visiting Mark Harrell recently our conversation returned to a topic we had engaged in previously, namely that of the repertoire of saws in an 18th century Parisian workshop.  Whatever they had, Mark wants to try to make it.

The literary evidence is pretty clear that the workhorse saws in these shops were frame saws for much of the heavy dimensioning (ripping) work and bow saws for the rest, including joinery.  (Roubo makes no references to back saws)  We might tend to see bow saws as a northern implement, coming from Scandinavian and Germanic traditions, but Roubo places inordinate emphasis on their use and utility in the Paris of his time.

The variations within this theme are many, but at present I am trying to brainstorm about adapting Roubo’s images and descriptions to the tasks of a workshop in 2018.  I am starting from the premise that the saw plate Mark developed for the frame saw should serve equally well in a bow saw with the plate fixed parallel to the plane of the frame.  With that in mind I have been noodling the designs and begun replicating at least one of a pair of Roubo bowsaws (the other being a compass or “turning” saw, so noted as having a shallow blade that can both follow a curved cut and be rotated in the bow handle for greater facility) in time for demonstrating at CW next week.

Hoping for success.  Wish me luck.

got the spokeshave finished.......

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 2:39am
For my sunday morning routine I had to go a different McDonalds for breakfast. The one 3 blocks from my house is being renovated so I had to travel almost to the end of Warwick Ave to the 24hr McDonalds. At oh dark thirty there aren't a lot of places open to get something to eat in my part of the universe. It was also 17°F (-8.3°C) so I had to eat there. It's a 12 minute ride from my house so it would have been stone cold by time I got home.

I had to do some errands and for those I had to wait until 0800 for Lowes to open and then 0900 for BJ's to open. While I was waiting for Mickey's big hand to move I did my laundry and some shellac work. I still get agitated when I have to hurry up and wait but doing something helps to calm me down. Getting the Preston chamfer spokeshave done was the only thing I was able to check off in the C column.

shellac for the 78 box
I got three coats of shellac on the box on saturday before and after supper. This morning I hit the box with steel wool and by the end of the day I had put on 4 more coats.

my Lowes haul
I snagged the last bottle of rapid fuse glue. I like this glue a lot but the last couple times I've been to Lowes it wasn't on the shelf.  The gorilla glue is for gluing the broken tote on the spare parts #4. The electrician's tape is for 'clamping' the tote. This is what the Plane Collector uses so I'm trying it too. I got three 3/4" x 2 foot by 2 foot luan plywood panels for $7 and change each. The last goodie from Lowes was a pkg of 6mm washers.

it's a good fit - thumbscrew from the Preston chamfer spokeshave
It was less then a buck for a pkg of 8. For Lowes it must be a mistake as they charge ridiculous prices for hardware.

two pieces of 1/2" plywood
The plan is to use these for the top and bottom of the cabinet.

preview of the cabinet
I am thinking of trying to make a European style cabinet. After seeing this I'm not sure I want to do that. I like face frames on my cabinets. Either with or without a face frame, I will still use the 1/2" plywood as intended.

about 27" off the deck
about 32" where it will live
I will be putting a tray on the top of this. There is a shelf and drawer here that I'm taking out and putting the contents of them in the cabinet. The drawer stuff will go in the topside tray, the chisels in a drawer, and the saws will be hung on the side of the cabinet.

all of my tool boxes from under the laundry table
The height of the tallest stack of boxes is a little over 12". The bottom right hand box holds my Lee Valley rabbet plane and it is a problem.

I'll have to make a smaller box for this
this will be going away finally
I will be putting the Record 043 plow plane box in the new cabinet. That will free up some space for a couple of new woodies in my molding plane till.

gluing up the tote
I dropped the tote and that oops gave me two parts. I am trying to figure out how I can screw this stud in to keep it aligned while I glue it.

spacer
The shortest stud I have is too long to be secured with two barrel nuts. I took one of the style of nuts I don't like and drilled a through hole in it.

I think this will work
I don't want this to be my clamp; just keep the tote aligned while the glue sets.

didn't work
As the two barrel nuts were tightened the tote shifted. Good idea but the execution killed it.

I had to drill two barrel nuts to act as spacers
I put the tote aside for now and I glued it up after lunch.

9.75mm
Both rods are close in size. The other one is 9.79mm and both are well undersized for a 10mm hole.

right side hole that the rod will go in
the plane body hole
my 10mm clock bit
It's a brad point bit and I need a drill bit. I tried to order a bit from Lee Valley but they only sell metric brad point bits. I couldn't find any metric drill bits on the website or in their latest catalog.

can't hurt
It isn't a deburring tool but it's all I got. This chamfering tool is chipped so I don't mind trying it on this.

still won't exit
I got the drill bit to go a little further after I used a rat tail file to remove a burr on the screw hole on the inside of the fence rod hole. I still couldn't get the drill bit to go into the hole from this side. This is all I can do with this for now. I'll order a 10mm drill bit from McMaster-Carr when I buy new 10mm rods.

I made this box in march and didn't put on any shellac
I used to not put any finish on my shop boxes but I now do. I don't know why I didn't shellac this one back then as I had started doing it way before than.

the first 078 plane box
 I'm going to keep this for the shop. I'll put some shellac on it and find a home for it.

Preston chamfer spokeshave done

back side
side view
the before pic
 All broken down and prepped for painting. I couldn't find the one I had of as I got it.

I'm not sure yet whether I'll give this Miles or keep it for myself. The only problem I have with it is there aren't any irons for it. I've been looking for one since I got it. As a chamfering tool this works very well. The fact that it is adjustable makes it a very versatile tool so maybe I should give it to Miles. It would be a relatively safe tool for him to use even at a young age.

gluing the tote up
3 pieces of tape applied
Theses three have closed up the seam and it appears to be holding. I left it like this while I made a head break and when I came back it was still together. It had not shifted and the two parts were still tight together. I put on more tape and set it by the furnace to set up overnight.

the cabinet footprint
The size of this is 22 5/8" front to back and 24 3/4" side to side. The cabinet will be no larger than this.

a lot of damage here
I am still going to try and use this for the bottom of the cabinet. I can't work around it and it will be part of the bottom somewhere. I'll try to keep it towards the back of the cabinet.

2nd piece of plywood
It is too short. I played around with it trying to maximize it but I think I'll end up buying a new quarter sheet. Maybe I can use this to make the sliding tray and the drawer.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that Pinocchio had two pets named Figaro (cat) and Cleo (goldfish)?

Yes You Can!

Paul Sellers - Mon, 01/15/2018 - 12:32am

Go Do It “I can’t saw straight to a line.” ‘No,’ I said. “I was the worst in class in school.” ‘You couldn’t be. Everyone else says the same.’ I replied. “I couldn’t get the saw to go straight, and the plane, you should have seen the wood after I’d done!” ‘Oh, really. It’s probably […]

Read the full post Yes You Can! on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Wood Movement

MVFlaim Furnituremaker - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 4:09pm

Over the past few months, I’ve been making these Ohio signs and selling them in my wife’s booth. They’re a simple thing  to make. Just cut the wood in the shape of Ohio, then glue and staple the pieces to a plywood back. Originally I used old pallet wood to make the signs, but the past few batches I made them with old fence boards.

20180110_090136-2.jpg

Last week, when I was helping my wife moving things around in her booth, she told me that some of the signs had warped. Worried, I grabbed a few of the signs to look at them. Because we had such a hard cold spell, the antique store was kicking up heat to stay warm. Apparently, the dry heat sucked all the moisture from the signs making them bend up. Even the top of an old bench my wife was selling warped.

20180110_090148.jpg

When examining the sign, I realized I made two rookie mistakes. The first mistake I made was that I painted the wrong side of the fence board. I should have fastened the wood crown-down so that the board wouldn’t warp upward. The second mistake I made was that when I fastened the boards on the plywood, I spread glue all over the plywood back making the wood unable to expanded and contracted. Embarrassing to admit I know. When I first made these signs, I made them from old pallet wood that was a lot narrower than the wide fence board I used here. I thought my wood was dry enough to make them in the same process, but I was sorely mistaken.

20180110_090235.jpg

Wanting to fix the sign, I ripped apart the plywood back and removed all the staples from the wood.

20180110_090628.jpg

After cleaning the back of the pieces, I saw how the widest board on the sign was warping in conjunction with the others.

 

20180110_091652.jpg

I decided to shave off the high spot in the middle with my scrub plane so the warping wouldn’t be as noticeable when I remade the sign.

20180114_125852.jpg

Then, instead of spreading glue all over the plywood back, I laid a bead of glue down the center of each piece of wood so the wood could move. I then attached the plywood back to the pieces with 1/4″ crown 5/8″ long staples.

20180114_130102.jpg

With everything back together, I was happy how the sign laid flat again. I really don’t mind if the boards warp a little bit. After all, the sign is supposed to look old and rustic. I just don’t want the whole thing to curl.

20180114_130219.jpg

A Jig for Drilling Holes for Chair Spindles

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 1:38pm

I resist making jigs like I resist going to the dentist. So when I do break down and build a jig, it’s going to be something with a dial indicator and lasers. No, that’s a lie. It’s going to be something dirt simple but solves my difficulties completely. I build a lot of chairs with spindles that run between the seat and the armbow. The best way to drill the […]

The post A Jig for Drilling Holes for Chair Spindles appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Join Profiled Parts in SketchUp

Bob Lang's ReadWatchDo - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 11:58am
I don’t mind answering questions from readers, because good questions often become useful blog posts. In this instance, the question wasn’t quite clear so I’m showing two solutions. One way to solve problems in SketchUp is to consider how it Continue reading →
Categories: General Woodworking

Japanese Chisels

David Barron Furniture - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 9:23am

I was looking through my tools cabinet today and saw these three Japanese chisels tucked away (I have far too many hand tools!). They have been well used but well looked after with a good patination and no rust.

I had polished up and flattened the backs which were in need of attention and they came up very well, particularly the one with multiple scoops (san mai).


I don't know who the makers are, although I know Oochi makes similar flat tang chisels to the one in the last picture. Can anyone help identify them?




Categories: Hand Tools

Shout out to Mike Siemsen

Oregon Woodworker - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 8:21am
I only know Mike Siemsen from his blog and occasional videos but I am very impressed.  Mike is one of those people who is highly accomplished in some area but are smart enough and unassuming enough and good enough at communicating that they can share their skill very effectively.  I have never seen someone explain how to flatten a board better than this:


My son went to college in Northfield, Minnesota and Mike's style is what I associate with that state (yes I know this is ridiculous).  Maybe it's the extreme cold that causes people to not expend energy unnecessarily, but they have a way of getting to the point without a lot of excess verbiage or showiness.

You may think that you already know this, and many of us do, but did you learn nothing at all from this video?  I think of my son, who is interested in woodworking but has no background.  Could I show him this video and then let him try it himself on his own?  Yes I could and, if he asked me how to flatten a board, I'd do exactly that.

Someone commented amusingly that this is the best advertisement for jointers and planers he'd ever seen.  It's true that I don't care to do this on a regular basis, but it's also a basic skill that is very valuable and sometimes you do need to do it.  As he says at the end of the video, most of us don't have a very wide jointer so being able to flatten one side of a board is an essential skill.  This is where I am.  I have an 6" jointer which I hardly use it all but I do use my lunchbox planer exactly the way he suggests.

Here is another one of his videos on workholding without a vise that I really like:


Again, most of us have vises so this might seem irrelevant, but knowing these methods of workholding without a vise is extremely valuable.  In my opinion, despite Paul Sellers' many outstanding skills, a weakness is his overreliance on a vise.  This video is a useful antidote and it shares techniques I use often.

I frequently read and hear that woodworking as a hobby is declining because younger generations are not picking it up the way mine did.  That's a real shame.  The approach that people like Mike Siemsen takes provides a viable entry path that is affordable and achievable.  I wish he would create a subscription video service or offer more videos like the one on building a basic bench.  The expense of travel and lodging is a barrier to the best alternative, which is to take classes in person from people like Mike.  Videos may be second best but they are a great alternative.

Categories: Hand Tools

LOL

The Barn on White Run - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 7:01am

This giant banner at Bad Axe Toolworks made me laugh out loud.  You know Roubo is catching on when the yardstick for a tool is its ability to cut the dovetailed leg tenons for a Plate 11 workbench.

this is strange.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 2:14am
Still in a bit of shock about what I found with my plow planes, especially so with the Record 044. I got a few comments on that post and Steve made one that I looked into.  He suggested that I check the fit of the record 044 fence rod holes with a 10mm drill bit. I did that and I was surprised by what I found.

It looks to be about the same size as the fence rods
unbelievable
Fits like a hand in a glove. Almost no slop and no wiggle at all. A couple maybes here. This is a Frankenstein plow that was missing it's original rods and there were substituted from a Stanley. They came with the original plow but it had been caught in the switch from imperial to metric. Sloppy QA? I think even allowing for machining tolerances, the rods I have now are undersized.

?
The drill only goes in up to about where the screw is and no further. I didn't think to check and see if the screw captured what was in there.

won't fit
It is the same in both holes. No go, no fit, and this sucks. Why won't it fit and pass all the way through? And why can't I insert it on this side of the hole? Maybe this was used to size the rods that came with this plow?

I looked up 10mm rod stock on McMaster-Carr (another tip from Steve) and they have a lot of choices. They have chrome plated rods starting in 1 foot increments. I would like to get that but I'm not sure I have anything capable of cutting it. My second choice is 10mm A2 steel rod that I can get in a 5 1/8" long length. That should be good enough to use for fence rods. But first I'll have to fix the no passing through the hole annoyance.

both ends beveled - Stanley 078 box
I would like to write that I did this on purpose to see what it looked like. Or that I beveled it because the lid was proud of the top of the box and I didn't want to thin the lid. What happened was I wasn't paying attention and I beveled the wrong end. Ending on a positive note, I was curious about doing a double ended bevel. Now I'm no longer curious.

scraps on found on the deck to fill the gap
The left one is too thin but the bigger one is just right on this end.

it fell inside
I cut and fitted the filler but it got pushed into the box when I slid the lid in. There will be a line here from that but I think that is a better choice than this gap.

time to see if everything will fit
I will have to take this down to parade rest and put each part in the box separately.

everything fits and I can close the lid
I don't like all the parts flopping around
won't fit - needs to be trimmed a wee bit
This will keep the plane from shifting and moving in the box.

part one for the fence rod holder
I bought some more fence rods and I'll need a place in the box to keep them secure.

part #2
This piece of 1/8" plywood will be the back of the fence rod holder.

glued and cooking
I glued the holders to the 1/8" plywood and I'll glue the 1/8 plywood to the box once it has set up.

holder for the fence
The slot in the front is where the 90 on the fence is and there is a rabbet on the back. The fence has to be stowed horizontally.

the side of the box will be the back of the rabbet
glued in place
glad I checked it
The plane will only fit in the box this way with the handle insert. I had to move the fence holder over to the left.

making a holder for the depth stop
I made the round cutout at the top with my knife and a chisel. The R/L rounded curves at the bottom I also did mostly with my knife and some clean up work with a 1/4" chisel.

almost done
A little tighter on the top left than I would like but it works. A couple coats of shellac and then I can call it 100% done.

Stanley 131B came today
It's a monster size ratcheting driver. This has a lot of weight and mass to it. I could probably use it to defend myself if the zombie apocalypse happens.

I thought the Craftsman one was big
I found out that the Craftsman driver was made for Sears by Miller Falls. Still not crazy about the plastic handle but I do like it other than that.

holder I put on hold
This was for the Craftsman but I decided to wait until I got the Stanley. The Stanley ate a lot of Wheaties and is too big for it. I'll toss these parts in the scrap box.

difference in the drivers
The Stanley only came with the flat driver and the business end that holds it in the screwdriver is different than the Craftsman one.

kind of fits
The phillips bit is in the Stanley and it won't come out. I didn't try driving a screw with it.

it wiggles and moves a bit
The diameter of the phillips bit is smaller than the Stanley bit. I think the Stanley is 5/16" if I remember it right and the Craftsman is a 1/4".

not getting done today
I will have to touch up the paint some in a few spots. I lost some when I sanded the faces.

body done and the wings were last
#4 plane totes
The original one is the far left one with the middle and far right ones being my spares. The spares fit but I wont be using them. The middle one is larger than the original ones as is the right one too.

middle one
It is rosewood but I'm not sure what the finish or what is on it. It is thick, hard, and shiny. I'm betting on it being epoxy. Guess number two would be lacquer but I don't have lacquer thinner to test on this.

the last one
I had forgotten about this tote. Someone had made the hole for the barrel nut deeper than what it should have been. I don't know why that was done? They compensated for that by putting a billion washers under the nut to make up depth. I shitcanned the washers and put a wooden dowel in their place. This will probably never be used but it could work as replacement until a more suitable one is found.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Did you know that President James K Polk was the first president to be photographed?

Warehouse Sale at Bridge City! Build a Brass and Rosewood Try Square

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Sun, 01/14/2018 - 2:00am

Editor’s note: This article ran in the October 2011 issue of PWM and we are resurfacing it because John is clearing out some bins of blanks in a warehouse sale on his site. I’ve included part of the article here and the build is detailed in the PDF of the issue. This is not a sponsored post, we just wanted to share a great article that paired with his sale […]

The post Warehouse Sale at Bridge City! Build a Brass and Rosewood Try Square appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Hodges Mitre Shoot 1890

Journeyman's Journal - Sat, 01/13/2018 - 9:03pm

Many aids and appliances for frame making and for making correct mitre joints have been given to the working public of late years, and the latest addition to their number has been Hodges Mitre Shoot, which is illustrated in Fig.2, and which is intended for planing up the joint after the wood has been cut to the proper shape by the means of the saw. The patent rights are held by Mr. E.R. Sibley, Whites Hill, near Gloucestershire, who, I am sure, will readily answer any question regarding the price at which the machine is sold, and respecting which I am utterly in the dark. I like to be in a position to mention the price of everything I am called on to notice, for to know the cost of an article is useful to buyer, seller, reader, and myself all round, and, in many cases, saves the putting of questions on this point and the answering of the same.  The nature of the machine will be seen from the illustration. First, there is a rectangular frame or bed, with raised edges or guards, which is fixed firmly to the edge of the workbench, as shown by two screws. Attached to the frame is an adjustable bed, whose inclination forms an angle of 45° with the frame, and on this frame the moulding is placed after bring cut, in the mitre block, and secure by the vice, which grips it and retains it in position, the vice itself working in a small block attached to the adjustable bed. When the moulding is in position, the end may be planed up with the long plane shown in the illustration, and which is made of so great a length that it may be able to ride on guards formed by the raised edges of the frame and the top of the bed itself.  As these guards are perfectly flat and square, it follows that the end of the moulding, when planed up, must be equally flat and square, The bed, as it

hodges-mitre-shoot

has been said, is adjustable, and should it deviate from the proper angle, it can be set correctly by loosening a screw at the back of the regulator, bringing it parallel with the sides of the machine, and then tightening the screw again. The regulator is at the bottom of the bed, and does not appear in the illustration. The points of utility claimed for the machine are, its capability of producing accurate work; causing no injury to mouldings; perfect adjustment by means of its rising and falling bed; the ease with which it can be worked; the possibility of reshooting the ends of a frame after two sides have been joined together; and its portability and the ease with which it is fixed. The machine takes moulding 4 in. and 3 in. deep.

Categories: Hand Tools

Not Your Daughter’s Cradle. Or Son’s.

The Furniture Record - Sat, 01/13/2018 - 2:34pm

I saw this interesting cradle at an auction recently:

American Primitive Cherry Cradle

P1010870

This lot has sold for $80.

Description: 19th century, two part form, dovetailed cradle with iron rod swing supports on a boot-jack foot base with metal handles.

Size: 32 x 40 x 15 in.

Condition: Later metal handles; surface scratches; small shrinkage cracks.

P1010872

Through tenons on the stretchers, not that interesting.

What is more interesting it the method of suspension of the cradle body:

P1010878

Suspended by a pair of hand-forged hooked metal discs.

P1010879

Another view showing a metal bearing driven in to the stand.

What was confusing was the description of this being a “dovetailed cradle”. I believe that I am eminently qualified to find dovetails, yet I found none. Look at the cradle for yourself:

P1010873

If there were dovetails, they would be here.

P1010873 - Version 2

There be nails and split wood but no dovetails. Unless they are really thin pins. Typical of all four corners.

I am truly disturbed by the apparent discrepancy between the written and the observed. I know that the people that write auction descriptions are highly trained experts that in many states are licensed or certified. Believe me. I am starting to believe that the fault is in me. The dovetails are there and I just can’t see them. I hope that’s the case. I would hate to see someone lose the job over this…

Classic Workbenches In Stock

Benchcrafted - Sat, 01/13/2018 - 9:17am

Just a friendly reminder, since this is a rather new product, that we now have complete Classic Workbenches in stock and ready to ship. Barring any serious supply delays, we now have Classics "on the shelf" at all times. So there is, theoretically, no lead time.

This bench is built exactly to our Classic Workbench Plans (available here) and completely assembled, ready to work. The bench is delivered "in the white" which means you can use it as is, or apply a finish of your choice (sparingly please, this isn't period furniture!)

Price is $2600, and that includes one Crucible Holdfast, which we also now sell ala carte.




Categories: Hand Tools

Making a Chair from a Tree

Anne of All Trades - Sat, 01/13/2018 - 8:55am

Building a Windsor-style rocking chair with Greg Pennington at Pennington Windsor Chairs was, to date, my favorite woodworking project. It opened up a new, very physical, very engaging side of woodworking I hadn’t before experienced. I loved using a wedge and sledge hammer to split the tree. Not only did it make me feel strong, it also helped me to better understand how wood works and how to get the most strength possible out of a single piece of wood.

_8FM8280.jpg

Making a chair is, I think for most woodworkers, a major benchmark for progression in their craft. Having seen the Patriot, and being quite comfortable in the realms of square furniture, I really had no intention of ever making a chair. It seemed like it was a whole other skill and toolset than I currently possessed, and I am always wary of casting my net too widely and bringing no genuine knowledge or practiced skill to a craft. As they say, a jack of all trades is a master of none! That is- until I was offered the chance to take a class with some of my dearest friends in the shop of renown chairmaking instructor Greg Pennington.

_8FM8329.jpg

For me, woodwork has always been motivated far more by relationship than by finished projects. I’ve found the best way to get to know people deeply is by joining them doing something they truly love. My journey as a woodworker started at my grandfather’s workbench. He was a pretty quiet guy most of the time, but he came alive in his woodworking shop. I loved my grandpa, and spending time with him meant spending time pulling and straightening nails, sweeping sweet cedar shavings off his shop floor, or just watching him work. After my grandfather’s passing, when I was twelve my love for woodworking was re-awakened just a six years ago as a way to spend time hanging out at my sister’s house and getting to know my new brother-in-law as he taught me about using handtools to build furniture. Woodworking then became the connection point for another precious older gentleman, 97 years young, who would go on to become an adopted grandpa of sorts  and mentor me further. Then I found the maker community on Instagram, which opened up a whole other world of deep frienships with other folks passionate about making things with their hands. I met leather workers, farmers, musicians and blacksmiths, and my desire to see their eyes light up when talking about something they truly loved led me to start tinkering in those crafts as well.

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I mention all this because yes, I built a chair, and yes, sitting and rocking in a chair I quite literally found within a tree stump in just a matter of weeks with a few handtools feels pretty awesome, but far more awesome was spending a week learning from a master. Greg loves what he does, and his eyes sparkle when he talks about every step and technique that bring an heirloom quality chair out of a fallen oak tree. The week I spent in Nashville at Greg’s school was quite literally one of the best weeks of my life. Greg was an incredibly patient and skilled instructor. We worked hard with our hands, we talked about everything under the sun, we drank beer, and we laughed until our ribs were sore. And, at the end of it all, somehow, I’d become a better woodworker with a greater understanding of how wood works, and I got to bring home a chair.

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This project involved a lot of firsts for me, first time using a shavehorse for it’s intended purpose, which was especially helpful a few weeks later when it came time to build several for the woodworking school I work at. It was my first time riving wood, and I learned about how to predict and correct for grain runout. I learned how to properly use a spokeshave, how to be braver when roughing out stock because it results in so much LESS work later, how to turn square stock into an octagon and then round, and how to drill compound angles with space lasers. I got way more creative with securing round stock in vises designed to hold square stock, I learned how to make and use wedges effectively, and I confirmed that the sanding and finishing process of a chair is just as miserable and loathsome a task with chairmaking as it is with every other woodworking I’ve done in the past.

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One thing I really liked about chairmaking is how many of the tools can be made with some rudimentary knowledge of blacksmithing. So, of course, as is always the case for me, In completing this project, I somehow added about fifteen others to the “someday” list, so look for those in the coming months and weeks.

Check out my new YouTube video on my chairmaking experience by clicking below!

**Photos in this article are by Fell Merwin, and by Melissa Morrison**

I Came. I Sawed. I Collaborated.

The Barn on White Run - Sat, 01/13/2018 - 6:07am

My recent trek around Flyover Country included an intersection between my path to my home town in southern Minnesota (the tropical part) and LaCrosse, Wisconsin, home to Mark Harrell and his ambitious enterprise Bad Axe Tool Works.  I’ve been collaborating with Mark for some time on the development of a frame saw/sash saw  with the promise that he would put one in my hands.

As the owner of two c. 1800 four-foot frame saws I was delighted to share the particulars about them with anyone who wanted to know.  Their details are spectacular, from the hand forged hardware to the forged plates in near-perfect condition.  (by that I mean there are no kinks or missing teeth, there was plenty of surface rust and the teeth needed touching up)

Like other saw makers, Mark contacted me some time ago and I took the time to talk with him at length about the vintage saws I have, in addition to the diminutive version I made for myself.  Mark was particularly interested in a model halfway between my vintage big ones and my new smaller one, and we worked out the details over many emails and phone calls, an interchange I welcome from any tool maker who wants my two cents worth.  To this point my only fee is that I get one of the tools in question if they ever go into production.  I think Bad Axe might have had this model at Handworks 2017, but I was so busy I could never get to their station once they got set up, so this was my chance.

Accompanied by The Oldwolf, Derek Olsen, we arrived late-morning.  And the saw geek-dom commenced.  Behind this modest door and awning is a buzzing hive of saw making.

Mrs. Barn and I got a quick tour of the facility, getting the opportunity to meet and greet each of the the sawmaking elves there.

I was especially impressed with the classroom they have set up there for saw making and sharpening workshops.  Mark definitely has the leads for mondo saw sharpening vises and setters.

Then we got down to the real fun as Mark brought out several models of saws for me to play with.  I already own two Bad Axe saws, including a custom made dovetail saw I commissioned and that has now become ensconced in their product line.  Under Mark’s watchful eye the playing commenced, and it was glorious!

Our exploration of the topic continued almost non-stop and we were torn between talking about saws, and sawing.

Then came the “official” purpose of the visit,  taking delivery of my own Bad Axe frame saw based on Roubo, my old saws, and my new one, with a bit of Bad Axe special sauce tossed in for good measure.

It performed perfectly right out of the box and will be integrated into my shop work as soon as it gets home.

More about the visit in the next post.

PopWood Playback #1 | Top Woodworking Videos of the Week

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Sat, 01/13/2018 - 6:00am

Episode #2 is live on YouTube. We had a couple of editors picks and a couple viewer submissions this week. I sincerely appreciate the great response to the first episode and the viewer feedback has been encouraging! I am happy to share Shawn Graham‘s video from his new series of daily tips and Huy’s sit-stand desk that integrates his finger joint jig. Check out our picks of the week over […]

The post PopWood Playback #1 | Top Woodworking Videos of the Week appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

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