Hand Tool Headlines

The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator




Celebration of Craftsmanship and Design Exhibition 2017

David Barron Furniture - Sun, 07/23/2017 - 5:09am

This excellent exhibition runs from 19th - 28th August at its usual venue in Cheltenham.
For all furniture lovers it is well worth the trip and a great day out.

I'm pleased to be showing a number of my boxes, including this jewellery box as well as the little walnut four drawer chest you can see in the background.
I'll also have a couple of planes there for sale including this small smoother in rippled ash and brown oak.

Categories: Hand Tools

Week in Review – Week of July 17

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Sun, 07/23/2017 - 3:12am

This week our new managing editor, Brendan Gaffney, posted his first project completed in the Pop Wood shop, a staked leg coffee table. Bob Flexner takes us inside a hide glue factory (you can thank me for deactivating the smell-o-vision on the post.) Chris Schwarz shares how a doe’s foot helps him avoid a tail vice. Nancy Hiller details her decorative gouging technique on a hayrake table. Be sure to catch up […]

The post Week in Review – Week of July 17 appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

a good saturday in the shop.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 07/23/2017 - 2:15am
A few lunar eclipses have come and gone since the last time I had day like today in the shop. Doing OT for the past several months had put a damper on what I was able to accomplish on saturdays. OT is back at work but I am cutting way back on that. I'll do 5-6 hours during the week (I'm early to work anyways) but no more saturdays. I'll do the OT just to have some mad money to buy tools and wood. Having the past 3 saturdays off was nice. It took me two to catch my breath and today I exhaled.

set up overnight
I started my day in the shop at 0800 which my wife says is a normal time. However, I was down in the shop at 0600 but I didn't do anything except look at this. I didn't want to make any noise and wake her up.

clamps off and step one in checking for square
checking the opposite diagonal
I'm out of square by about a 1/16 which isn't to bad. Clamping the corners with 90° helpers doesn't guarantee that you will be square once the clamps come off. Something I will have to deal with later on.

looks like 2-3 frog hairs out
Of course the one corner that isn't square is the one where the drawers are going. And it is on the side that will have the larger of the two drawers to boot.

it'll go but it is too snug
I shaved a little off both ends on the shooting board and got the length to be a slip fit. I set this aside for now and turned my attention to making the drawer divider.

the drawer divider
This is 1/2" NZ pine and it'll be ok for this. This is just for guiding the two drawers when they are opened and closed. It doesn't need to fill in top and bottom neither.

checking for twist
The cabinet was rocking as I was trying to knife the drawer guide dado. I thought the cabinet might have been twisted but it isn't.

the bottom was the problem
The bottom had a bit of a hump in it. I planed it flat and the annoying rocking disappeared.

dado waste ready to go
I couldn't get a chisel to make the knife wall on the right dado wall. I could get a chisel in there but it was at too steep of an angle to make the knife wall. I made it with the paring chisel and I needed that to guide the saw. After I sawed the walls, I removed most of the waste with the paring chisel. The paring chisel was long enough to reach within an inch of the end of the dado.

most of it chiseled out
I got the final depth with a hand router.

sawing out the drawer guide
drawer guide
The plan was to to glue the first couple of inches of the guide. I sawed a half lap at the end to allow for expansion and contraction.

set back 5/8"
The front of the drawer guide is set back 5/8" from the front edge of the cabinet. After I get the bottom shelf installed I can make and fit the vertical part of the drawer guide.

swapped it out
I didn't like the first divider I made. I did a bad job of sawing the half lap and I planed a hump in it too. I tossed that one and made another slightly wider and with a better sawn half lap.

now I can install the bottom shelf
had to use the side rabbet planes again
The shelf was going in but it was binding slightly. If this was in partially and it froze, there wouldn't be anything I could do with it. I would have had to saw it into two pieces to get it out. I erred on the side of caution and made it a slip fit. I was able to bang into place with my fists.

this is toast
This is the second (?) time I used this Grace #1 square drive screwdriver. I tried to use it to put a #6 screw into the drawer guide. It was working until I got to this point which is about 1/2 way. Then the shaft started spinning or the handle was spinning around the shaft as I tried to screw this in. This is the third screwdriver in this set to go south on me. I finished driving this home with a cordless drill.

securing the bottom shelf
I put the shelf in without any glue. To keep it in place I'm going to put 3 miller dowels on each side.

making the notch for the vertical divider
I squared a line from the bottom divider up onto the bottom of the shelf. I chiseled a 5/8" by 1/2" notch on the underside of the shelf. Here I'm checking the fit of the notch with some scrap.

vertical divider notches, an upside down look
I was able to get almost all the notch on the shelf with a chisel vertical. I had to do the back wall of it with the bevel of the chisel. The bottom was in the way and preventing me from using the chisel at 90°.

vertical divider fitted and glued
I left this wide purposely to make it easier to handle while I fitted it. I sawed this out of a larger piece of stock.

two plane tag team
I removed 99% of the proud with the scrub plane and flushed it with the 4 1/2.

basic cabinet is done

I was going to leave this and start in on the drawers and the door but I came back to this. I decided to make two shelves for it first. That will complete all the interior work on the cabinet except for the drawers.

loaded it up with a few goodies
I was hoping to keep the veneer scraper in here but it takes up a lot of room. A lot more than I want to allot for it. The cans are in here to help me gauge where to start drilling for the shelf pins.

drill guide for the shelf pins
put in 3 rows of shelf pins
One shelf will be the same as the depth and a second one will be about 2/3. That is why I drilled a row inbetween the outside ones.

oversized shelf just sawn to R/L length
Both shelves are coming from the old kitchen cabinets.

the 2/3 shelf
My thinking on this shelf is to allow sight of the contents below it at the back of the cabinet. With a full width shelf it's hard to get a peek at the back.

ripped the full width shelf
The full width shelf is a 1/2" less than the depth of the cabinet. I don't want this to interfere with the door closing.

notches for the shelf pins
I like to make these notches for the shelf pins to help keep the shelf in place. This way the shelf is kind of fixed in place and shouldn't come forward when something is removed from it.

shelves done
loaded up
I haven't even finished this and it is already too small. The spray cans of paint are history. I'll find someplace else to stow them.  This isn't that heavy as I was able to pick it up off the bench and put it on the 4 drawer tool dresser. Without getting a hernia too.

checking the fit
I was going to plane the groove in the rails and stiles for the door and then chop the mortises. My 1/4" groove made by the plow plane is one frog less than the width of the pigsticker. I can get the pigsticker in the groove but that is because this is soft pine. I chopped a mortise anyways about 1 1/2" long and I didn't chew up the walls doing it. I'll have to make a command decision on this tomorrow. Do I plow the groove first and chop the mortises or chop the mortises first and then plow the groove. Just thought of another option - check and see if one of my 1/4" chisels fits the plow plane groove?

making the big drawer front
I don't remember where this board came from but I'm using it as the drawer front for my right hand drawer. I want something around 5/8" thick because I plan on using half blind dovetails on the drawers.

just enough meat left to square up the width
one face flat
Well one face is almost flat. The board kept moving and changing as I was planing it so I'm not sure if it'll stay this way. I checked this and if I gauge off the reference face, I'll be lucky if this ends up a 1/2" thick. I tossed this and started over.

using this
I can get both drawer fronts out of this board and have a L to R continuous grain flow. Plus it will be easier to flatten both drawer fronts as one piece rather then one at a time. After I have it 6 squared I can saw out my two fronts.

this board is in better shape
I'll saw this too rough width and then start to flatten it. It has a slight cup in it that isn't too bad.

this will be sawn off
This is a visible pitch and resin area of the board that smells good but doesn't accept glue too well. It also gums up the soles of the planes and makes a sticky mess of them.

sawn to rough width of 4 3/4"
The drawer opening is 4 1/2" wide and I went with a 1/4" of extra meat because this board still has to have one edge planed straight and flat. Once that is done I can saw and plane it to 4 1/2".

finally got the twist out
After the twist was planed out, I planed the board to thickness.

got lucky
I got my goal of a 5/8". When I flatten a board now, I do it strictly to get it flat. I've spent too much time on past 6 squares worrying about making my thickness rather then getting a flat squared board.

the rest of the drawer stock
Two backs and four sides. I left them long and together so I when I rip them to rough width I will only have to rip 3 boards rather then 6. I'll cross cut this into the 6 required pieces tomorrow.

ripped out the last drawer part
I got these labeled and to rough dimensions and I'll let them sticker until tomorrow. They are bit over a 1/2" thick and I may lose some of that thickness when I clean them up tomorrow.

door stock
The left board has a nice curve to it. These I cut out individually to a rough length plus 4" on the stiles, 3" for the rails, and 3" for the center stile. I flattened and made straight one edge on all of these. Tomorrow I'll rip them to rough width.

drawer and door parts stickered until tomorrow
got some 15 min hi test stripper
I was going to use this today but I forgot a couple of ancillary things. This stuff is caustic and not nice to look at, breathe, or have it touch your skin. I'll need some heavy duty plastic gloves, eye protection, and a couple of disposable paint brushes. I'll make a Wally World run first thing in the AM.

done for all intents and purposes
The shelves finally feel dry to the touch. No more clammy or tacky feelings, but a bone dry one. I have 3 coats of poly on the shelves and two on the bookcase. I put one coat of poly on the base tonight. Tomorrow this will be out of the shop and on the porch.

Good progress today and hopefully I'll match it tomorrow.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
She was the second woman to fly across the Atlantic solo and the first to do it from east to west. Who was she?
answer - Beryl Markham

A Trio of Lath-Back Windsor Chairs – Part Three

Pegs and 'Tails - Sat, 07/22/2017 - 10:13pm
The chairs were washed down with hot soapy water and then stained. When dry, I (spirit) varnished the chairs, during which, I gave them a little additional colour before finally waxing them (figs. 1-12). Fig. 1. Fig. 2. The pegs … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Some Ideas Just Live On.

The Furniture Record - Sat, 07/22/2017 - 10:05pm

I was making a rare visit to a local antiques mall recently when I came across a small desk similar to one I had seen and written about in November of 2015, (See Convertibles.)

The dealer called it a traveling desk:


I’m not sure where it traveled to.

The novel feature is that this desk like the previous one, opens to reveal the gallery hidden within:


Ink holders lead me to believe this is not of current manufacture.


A different view showing from where the gallery comes.


The gallery is extracted by two brass brackets attached to the lid.

This might be one of those times I disagree with the dealer. I don’t think it is a traveling desk. Among other things, the legs don’t fold are a bit on the delicate side to travel much.

I looked at the previous blog and realized it is the same desk. It had disappeared or been buried under other inventory for the past two years only to reappear and taunt me.

One new discovery made using the same technology is this bar unit:


A nice compact chest.

And it opens to reveal:


Glasses and liquor. What else?

While we are looking at recycled idea, I found this side locked piece that might properly be called side latching.


A nice tall piece with a familiar look.

The side doesn’t really lock having only a ball catch and no lock.


A different configuration with a desk up top and drawers below.

Not that old. Phillips screws on the hinges. This desk was definely made after 1936.

Custom Pickups for Epiphone Zephyr Emperor Regent Varitone

James Roadman Instrument Repair - Sat, 07/22/2017 - 10:02pm

A customer brought in this Epiphone Zephyr Emperor Regent without the original New York Pickups.  Having rewound some in the past I have an understanding about how they are constructed.  The owner wanted to try something different so I made a set of traditional single coil bar pickups in the same type of mounting rings as the originals.  I milled delrin bobbins to surround the steel bars and used rare earth magnets.  The covers are bent brass.  Shaping the mounting rings was a challenge due to the curvature of the top.

IMG_8697 IMG_8698 IMG_8699 IMG_8700 IMG_8701 IMG_8702 IMG_8703

The post Custom Pickups for Epiphone Zephyr Emperor Regent Varitone appeared first on James Roadman Instrument Repair.

Categories: Luthiery

In Favour of a Bigger Hammer

Pegs and 'Tails - Sat, 07/22/2017 - 7:59pm
My recent production of Windsor chairs prompted a reader – himself, a Windsor chair-maker – to contact me concerning the moisture content of various chair parts. We exchanged several emails, the content of which I have précised and edited together … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

GF Design Challenge & Fresh Wood Exhibit @ AWFS

360 WoodWorking - Sat, 07/22/2017 - 2:31pm
GF Design Challenge & Fresh Wood Exhibit @ AWFS

During my days as a woodworking magazine editor I attended AWFS only once, even though the show happens every other year. At the event I attended, I have to say that I was blown away by the student exhibit, which is nowadays known as Fresh Wood. (It may have had the same name back then, too.) In fact, after the competition the magazine for which I worked included an article by one of the students selected to exhibit in Las Vegas at the show.

Continue reading GF Design Challenge & Fresh Wood Exhibit @ AWFS at 360 WoodWorking.

Sharpen This, Part 5: The Myth of Super Sharpness

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sat, 07/22/2017 - 11:04am


Read the other installments in the “Sharpen This” series via this link.

Let’s pretend I want to break one of your fingers. The job would be easy if you held up your fingers in the air with them spread apart.

It would be more difficult to harm you if you clenched your fingers in a fist. And it would be almost impossible if you stuck your fist inside a shiny and hard vase.

Violent fantasies aside, this exercise demonstrates one benefit of polishing your edges. A steel edge breaks down quickly when the iron atoms aren’t well connected to one another. So when there are deep abrasive scratches in your tool’s edge, those act like the space between your fingers. Without good support among the atoms (or your fingers) it’s easy to break them off – making a dull edge and a howling reader.

Clench your fingers in a fist, and you have created a durable structure that can keep your fingers intact. Sheathe your fist in something, and it’s going to take me a while to punish you for the naughty things you’ve done.

In sharpening, the act of polishing removes the deep scratches that separate the iron atoms, which are in a matrix with carbon. The fewer and shallower the scratches, the more durable the edge. This is, I think, easy to understand.

But what makes some people do silly things is the idea that they can create the ultimate cutting edge by polishing to finer and finer grits using particles that are less than 1 micron across.

In theory, sure. Polishing can refine an edge to an incredible degree. But it’s unlikely in the real world using real-world abrasives.

I’ve used sub-micron sharpening equipment (less than half a micron) that costs a stupid amount of money. I worked with these stones and slurries for months to get comfortable with them and improve both the sharpness of my edges and the finish on the wood. I concluded it was a fool’s errand.

In a real workshop, there are just too many abrasive particles on every surface to make this sort of crazy sharpening a practical thing. And the purity of the sharpening media itself – despite the manufacturer’s claims – play a big role in the results.

Also, these super-fine abrasives cut so slowly that you might want to have “Heaven’s Gate” on your shop’s TV while you polish that one holy edge.


So What is a Practical Polish?
Believe it or not, the cutting edges of woodworking tools haven’t gotten insanely better in the last 200 years. That’s because we have always had abrasives that get the steel to the same approximate level of sharpness and polish. The pre-Industrial craftsman might have had stones that were inferior to modern stones, but he or she also had a strop, which is the great leveler among the sharpening cultures.

Strops are charged with fine abrasives – a micron or so – that break down to even finer particles with use. And so a fine polish and a wicked edge have been available for many generations. We know this from books, of course, but also from the furniture record. Visit the Winterthur Museum some time and observe the pieces made using ribbon-stripe mahogany that are nicely planed. Those cutting edges were plenty sharp.

In my experience, the sharp edge that can handle anything in woodworking is made with an abrasive that is about 1 or 2 microns – give or take. After that point, the time and care required to take the edge to a noticeably higher level simply isn’t worth it (unless your hobby is sharpening or you participate in Japanese planing contests).

If you want to polish beyond 1 micron, you’re not hurting anyone. So feel free. But for people who want to get back to the work as soon as possible, 1 or 2 microns is the sweet spot for an edge that is sharp and durable.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Sharpen This
Categories: Hand Tools

Issue Three T.O.C. - On Perfection: Both Practical and Practiced

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Sat, 07/22/2017 - 9:58am

Upcoming in Issue Three: “On Perfection: Both Practical and Practiced” by Jim McConnell

An idea is like a rabbit. You can’t sneak up on it. You have to let it sneak up on you. Like most creative types, I feel like in some ways I’ve been chasing perfection for most of my life without ever asking what that might really mean. Lately I’ve had some questions.

I’ve started to wonder, what is so compelling about the idea of perfection? Is perfection a product or a process? Is it something that stands out there in the ether or something that can be actualized? Is it an idea or something you can stub your toe on in a dark room? Does it mean the absence of error or the evidence that a tangible object has been crafted by hand? When we say a thing is perfect, what do we mean and why?


Last year I decided to seek wise counsel on the topic and began asking other craftspeople to explain “perfection” with the only constraint being that they do so in one-thousand words or less.  The answers I received were so diverse and interesting that I began publishing them each month as part of an ongoing project on my blog. Naturally, a conversation ensued. I’ve largely tried to stay on the periphery of that conversation until now, but in issue three of Mortise & Tenon Magazine, Joshua has asked me to finally weigh in on the subject. The generous soul that he is, he’s even given me an extra 1000 words. In those 2000 words I’ve tried to offer some thoughts on the matter of perfection that are both practical and honest.


I’ve come to believe that perfection is not so much a goal but a practiced habit. As craftspeople, perfection is in our heads, but also our hands and our hearts. It’s in the snick of the fore plane and in the quiet as the last coat of finish is wiped on. Perfection can drive us mad or it can drive us to a deeper understanding of who we are and why we do what we do. In my experience, the later seems like a better road to travel, and I hope you’ll join me.


- Jim McConnell


Stay tuned for Monday's announcement of the last article upcoming in M&T Issue Three...

Categories: Hand Tools

Panelsaws apple and pear - Fuchschwänze Apfel und Birne

Two Lawyers Toolworks - Sat, 07/22/2017 - 9:26am
Categories: Hand Tools

Help Wanted

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sat, 07/22/2017 - 8:31am


My last attempt to escape my apparent fate as a cabinetmaker involved going back to school in the early 1990s. After graduating with a master’s degree in religious studies, I imagined it would be easier to find work that would bring me into contact with people instead of mute material, which I’d consistently found depressing in my woodworking career up to that time. Over a period of four months I sent out employment applications while taking any odd jobs I could get. It was a trying year for the would-be employed in south-central Indiana; listings in the “Help Wanted” section of the local paper included such enticements as “LOOKING FOR A CAREER WITH CHALLENGE? Parkland Pork Enterprises is seeking a Production Manager to oversee all aspects of pork production!” and “TRAIN TO BE A CHILDREN’S ETIQUETTE CONSULTANT: You will join over 600 consultants who are providing the highest quality programs in the United States and abroad.”*


I wasn’t kidding about those job ads, though I changed the names, as I did with most names throughout the book.

I had a couple of interviews for office work but still had not been hired when I was called to interview for a clerical position in one of the university’s academic departments. The pay was low, but the university offered some of the best working conditions in town. I would spend my days in one of the historic campus buildings, a limestone Tudor originally constructed as a dorm. I could already see myself walking the mile and a half to work each morning, the perfect distance for a pedestrian commute, and eating my lunch of leftovers on the lawn at the center of the quadrangle. I was certainly qualified for the position. All I had to do was show my interest and enthusiasm, which were sincere. I dressed in a nice skirt and blouse and walked to campus feeling confident that this job might well be mine.

When I arrived at the office, the administrative secretary took me into a meeting room and introduced me to the chair, Professor Jameson, who was seated at the head of the table. Standing up, he shook my hand and smiled warmly. “I just had to meet you after reading your résumé,” he began. Things were looking good.

“We’re not going to hire you,” he continued. “You’re seriously overqualified. But I called you here so that I could ask you in person: Why would such a talented and accomplished personal apply for a clerical job?”–Nancy Hiller, author of Making Things Work 


Hamming for my boyfriend the summer when I was desperately seeking a job.

*OK, so the real ad, shown above, said 500. This does nothing to minimize the surreal experience of finding such a gem among the job listings. And for those of you who have already read Making Things Work, I agree with you that Nancy Hiller could have learned a lot by attending that school.

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Paterae Inlay Class at CVSW

The Barn on White Run - Sat, 07/22/2017 - 6:40am

The day after Veneer Repair came a session to create a pair of oval Federal inlays.  The morning was spent creating a simple conch shell pattern patera about 2 inches by four inches, in an oval surround with multi-stringing border.  I provided all of the tools and supplies for the students.

The first process is to make a packet of the veneers from which the patera will be cut.  These are just stacked and wrapped with veneer tape.

Then the pattern is glued to one face of the packet, using stick glue.

Using a small eggbeater drill and a tiny bit, a hole is punched in an unobtrusive spot and a jeweler’s saw blade (0000 in this case) is fed through, hooked up the the saw frame, and the sawing begins.

Once the pieces are all cut out they are immersed into a bath of hot sand to scorch in the shading pattern.

The end result is a compelling one.

The pieces are all glued to a piece of kraft paper backing, and the stringing border also glued to the same paper with the help of a pile of straight pins.  The proud wood would be trimmed with a sharp chisel and then it is ready to use.

Thus endeth the morning.  Up next, the second patera.

Meet Our ‘Young Makers’

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Sat, 07/22/2017 - 4:33am

In “Young Makers’ Bookshelves” (coming in the October 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking Magazine), Rodney Wilson offers a brief profile on 10 of today’s rising woodworking stars, then asks them about the books that have influenced their lives and work. Below, you’ll find links to their personal websites and Intagrams accounts (where applicable.) – I encourage you to check out their work! Laura Zahn Personal website: http://offthesaw.com/ Allied Workshop website: https://alliedwoodshop.com/ Instagram: @alliedwoodshop Joshua Klein Personal […]

The post Meet Our ‘Young Makers’ appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

a day of mourning......

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 07/22/2017 - 3:08am
I took today off to buy some wood but the place I was going to go to closed their doors. So I thought I would go to Pepin Lumber and buy 5/4 pine there. I got another disappointment there too. Their supplier for 5/4 stock shut down and they had none when I looked today. Not only didn't they have any 5/4 pine but their supply of 1x pine was a sad pile to look at.

They used to sell 1x 12, 1x10, etc etc down to 1x4 clear pine in 6' lengths. That supplier went south and shut down too. The pickings were awfully slim today. 1x8, 1x6, and 1x4 was all they had for sale. The piles they had were the last of it and it looks like I won't be going to Pepin for 1x pine any more.

More and more sawmills are closing down and shutting their doors. A pallet sawmill where I used to live in Westerly shut down a few years ago. A sawmill I went to a few times in Griswold Ct went bankrupt. Parlee sawmill recently went out of business and the one reply I got from sawmill sawing 5/4 pine was one in north western Mass. He only has 5/4 in 6" widths but he is a lot closer than driving up to New Hampshire or Maine. I really don't want to buy my 1x or 5/4 lumber from a big box store.

got some parts in
If you ever have a tote or a knob that has a stud that is neither too short or too long, Bill Rittner is your man. He will make studs to fit your knobs. All you have to do is give him the height of the knob. This is the stud for my replacement low knob and two new 'old style' barrel nuts.

knob and tote done
I ordered some frog washers and a frog adjuster screw today. I should have them next week sometime and once they are installed I can road test this plane and finally call it done.

panel glued back together
This came out pretty good and I can hardly feel the joint line anywhere along it's length.

had to scrape some glue off this side
That dark line at bottom is a gap caused by the split and it will be on inside of the cabinet.  Other than this, this side felt as good as the other side did.

checking my back panel again
I think the reason why I am not getting a square cabinet has to do with this panel. I know the side to side is a bit short and the top to bottom is snug.

slightly off
One side is square at both corners and this side it is slightly off on both.

problem #2
The back panel is too long top to bottom. It is about an 1/8" too long. I think as I applied the clamps this extra length was causing it to bow and throwing off the square on the cabinet.

top to bottom is parallel along it's length
This works in my favor as I have to trim an 1/8" off of the panel. I shot all four corners on my big ass shooting board.

all four corners are dead nuts square now
did a dry fit and I had to shave a wee bit more
too tight
I had to glue this groove back because it split when I dropped it. The last 3" or so are too tight for the panel back to fit in it.

a little work with a Japanese rasp fixed it
dry fitted and it's square
two more clamps and it's no longer square
I put the two top clamps on loosely and it was square. As I tightened down on them, it went out of square. I took them off and checked for square again with just the middle clamps and there was no joy. It was out of square this way too. I started over again.

aggravation setting in
I could square this up and maintain it if I applied the clamps in a certain sequence. I put the middle ones on first and checked for square. Put on the top clamp on next. I couldn't go Cro Magnon on this because it would throw it out of square. I had to use just enough oomph to close the joint. The final clamp went on the bottom. I was able to maintain square with this if I checked for it after each clamp was applied.

Tried a different 3 clamp set up on both ends and it threw the cabinet out of square by a 1/2". I tried everything I could think of to square it up and got nowhere. I could only square it up by applying a clamp across the corners. That squared it up but it also introduced twist to the cabinet. I had to go back to the first dry clamping sequence to order to get square after all the clamps were on. Two more practice runs and I felt comfortable about how to clamp it up square.

ready to strip the the body and the frog
I'll let the stripper work while I made the dadoes for the bottom shelf in the cabinet.

marking for the bottom of the dado
This will be used to make the two drawers going in this space.

my haul from Pepin Lumber today
Not much here - two 1x4's, one 1x8, and three 1/2" x 6" x 4' pine boards. The 1/2" stock is for the drawers, the 1x4 is for the door frame and the 1x8 for the panels.

In case the 1x8 is too small to use for panels, I can fall back on this.

ready to chop out the waste
I am going to put the bottom shelf in after the cabinet is glued up. I don't want to risk trying to get this and the rest of the cabinet together when I glue it up and end up with kindling.

wee bit too tight
 I was shooting for a loose fit because I will slide this in after the cabinet is glued up. I don't want to have to beat it in place and risk breaking one or more of the rabbeted tongue joints. I don't have a warm and fuzzy that this dry wood can withstand that punishment.

snug but not too snug
I used the LN side rabbet planes to shave the top wall until the board fit in the dado.

3 applications of stripper
It doesn't even look like I used stripper once on this. I tried using one of my old chisels as a scraper but that wasn't working on this plane.

nothing touched this back
The stripper didn't remove anything nor did a chisel or a sheetrock knife used as scrapers. I'm going to try another stripper and see what shakes out with that. If that doesn't work I'll start looking around for someone who does sand blasting.

the frog wasn't much better
Just about all of the missing paint on the frog I removed with 100 grit sandpaper.

glue up time
Things went south on me as soon as I applied the second clamp. Even loosely applied it pulled the cabinet out of square. I didn't go into nutso mode or panic but I looked at the cabinet to see what was off. I had rehearsed dry clamping this and applying the clamps in a specific sequence 3 times while maintaining square. I just had to see quickly what was holding things up.

the problem
The side to side is short and I knew that. When I flipped the cabinet over I saw that the panel was not in the groove on this side at all by looking here. This is after I fixed the problem.

the problem
A piece of the panel ply had lifted up and was keeping this side of the panel from seating in the groove. I used a block of wood to push that flat and get the panel seated in the groove.

I didn't panic

I tried to clamp up the cabinet the way I rehearsed it dry but it wasn't square. Since I used yellow glue on this my window for getting this clamped  was rapidly closing. And it was happening much faster because of the heat and humidity levels. I clamped some home made and store bought 90° corner helpers to square up the cabinet. I'll have to wait until tomorrow to see if there will be any joy in Mudville. I've used these before and they don't always work 100%.

I used the black 90° first in opposing corners and checked the other two for square and they were.  I checked for square in the middle of the cabinet with the pinch rods and they said the cabinet was square also. I put on the last two plywood corner clamps and called it done for now.

squared up the bottom shelf

one end of the bottom shelf
This used to be a cabinet door in the old kitchen and I recycled it to be the bottom shelf.

the other end
This is why I didn't plane the shelf to fit the dado. This is a lumber core door. Several random width boards glued together and covered with a veneer top and bottom. Basically a form of plywood.  Any wood movement should be side to side as it is installed in the cabinet.  I think and hope that there will be no movement and there shouldn't be. This door is at least 40+ years old and should be done with all it's stupid wood tricks.

getting some poly
I've had it with the bookcase shelves waiting for them to feel dry. The bookcase feels dry and it will get two coats of water based poly on the exterior. I did the interior last week and it feels dry.

these are getting poly today too
I would guess that there was a 70% change in these feeling drier from their time on the porch. They feel much drier than the interior of the bookcase felt when I put poly on that. Putting poly on the shelf fronts was the last thing I did today.

In spite of taking the day off I didn't get much accomplished. I had a bit of a struggle in the morning getting my butt out of my chair to get doing anything. I felt so tired that I just sat and vegged for two hours. I did the same thing after lunch except then I nodded off for an hour.  Tomorrow I plan on getting the drawers and door started on the cabinet.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Charles Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic Ocean in 1927 and it took him 33 1/2 hours. Amelia Earhart flew across the Atlantic Ocean exactly 5 years later. How long did it take her?
answer - 15 hours and 56 minutes

Issue Three T.O.C. - Through a Wilderness of Ornament: Making Sense of 18th-century Pattern Books

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 12:10pm

Upcoming in Issue Three: “Through a Wilderness of Ornament: Making Sense of 18th-Century Pattern Books” by Bill Pavlak

This past February I began my presentation to a group of 250 period furniture making enthusiasts at Colonial Williamsburg with a simple question: how many of you own a copy of Thomas Chippendale’s The Gentleman and Cabinetmaker’s Director? Not surprisingly, most raised their hands. When I followed that with “how many of you actually refer to this book regularly,” I got a very different response – perhaps fewer than ten raised hands.  This is exactly what I expected. Why? Because at first blush Chippendale’s plates, like those in other 18th century pattern books, only bear a slight resemblance to the Colonial American furniture so revered and familiar today.  Wildly ornate and aristocratic, these designs can be off-putting to modern eyes.  While we sense the historical significance of such books and detect their influence, we struggle to come to terms with them ourselves.  After all, we like our woodworking books full of tools, joinery details, and measured drawings.  Chippendale and his contemporaries give us fashion plates overgrown with foliage and teeming with putti, nymphs, and sea creatures.  The books stay on our shelves, closed. 

Can we ignore the angry looking baby about to strangle a large bird on top of that bed?  Probably not, but there are ways to demystify these high style designs and see them with new eyes.  Likewise, we can recover some of how our predecessors may have utilized published patterns.   Let’s give ornamental design a rethinking similar to what we’ve done with traditional artisan geometry and classical proportioning systems in recent years. While more difficult to codify, we can study and learn techniques of ornamental composition as both an analytical tool for existing furniture and a creative tool for new designs in historic styles. 

Drawing isolated ornamental elements from pattern books for the past ten years has helped me learn historic design languages.  Since many details are a bit vague in the engravings, I often find clarity and gauge my success by observing and drawing similar elements on surviving furniture.  The back and forth process of drawing and looking has not only increased my fluency in the language, but has also allowed me to build up a library of design that I can use in my own work.  I’m excited to share some of this thinking in Mortise & Tenon Magazine. Rather than explain how to draw, I will offer some thoughts on what to draw and how to develop an eye for period detail. 

As a case study, I tell the story of my experience with the pattern for a music stand published by the English designers William Ince and John Mayhew in their Universal System of Household Furniture (1762).  Though the plate looks remarkably detailed at first, it actually leaves a lot to the imagination.  This is most evident in the design for the knee carving on the leg (see the detail below) where the pattern is shown from only one perspective and its details are fairly sketchy.  This was all the information an experienced carver needed to carry out his work in the period – the engraved ornament functioning as a kind of shorthand.  Without a seven year apprenticeship in the eighteenth century, that shorthand is a real challenge for modern eyes to decipher.  However, by pulling from the library of ornament that I’ve been building through drawings and photography over the past decade, I fleshed out the design and came up with something reasonable. In the article I illustrate this process and offer some ideas on how we can attune our eyes to this seemingly foreign aesthetic.  This, in turn, deepens our understanding of the streamlined variations on these ornaments more typical in American work. By opening these pattern books and using our eyes and pencils together, we can begin to cut a trail through this rococo wilderness.


- Bill Pavlak

Stay tuned for Monday's announcement of the last article upcoming in M&T Issue Three...


Categories: Hand Tools

Your Tenon Tightening Technologies

Paul Sellers - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 11:33am

Tenons can simply be glued. We do it all the time and gluing them lasts just fine. Mostly we rely on clamps to seat shoulder lines and and keep the two parts married until the glue dries. When this has taken place it is unlikely you will ever be able to part the union without …

Read the full post Your Tenon Tightening Technologies on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

A Different Way to Use a Doe’s Foot

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 10:05am

During the last few years, the doe’s foot has become one of my most important workbench appliances. Paired with a holdfast, the doe’s foot can eliminate the need for a tail vise on a workbench. I have about four of these doe’s feet at my bench, and I’ve found some surprising ways to use them. I’ve just finished an article for Popular Woodworking Magazine on the topic for a future […]

The post A Different Way to Use a Doe’s Foot appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

Hand Tool Brew & A: Fretwork, Clamps, and Scratch Stocks

The Renaissance Woodworker - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 8:48am

Having a Beer and Talking Hand Tool Techniques

I had so much fun with the last open question live session that I decided to do it again. A bit shorter this time and I think I will definitely do this more often since there seems to be no end to the questions. Again I’m sorry if we ran out of time before I got to your question but I’ll be going live again in 2 weeks. I did have some sound trouble at the beginning thanks to my own hubris and not checking my settings. Sorry about that and you can use the time stamp below to skip past it.

The Questions You Asked

  • 9:58 Skip to the good quality sound
  • 10:55 What screwdrivers do I use?
  • 13:04 How to cut fretwork?
  • 20:13 What screws do I use?
  • 24:18 Favorite and worst woods to work?
  • 28:48 and 42:43 Where to get center bits?
  • 29:37 How to cut a curved, gooseneck style moulding and scratch stocks?
  • 32:56 Clamps & Clamping
  • 38:07 What Song plays at the beginning of this video?
  • 39:32 What is in my apron pockets?
  • 44:05 Have you ever become disillusioned with hand tools?
  • 46:35 Hollows & Rounds and their irons?
  • 48:43 Do I use hollows & rounds to make custom mouldings?

Categories: Hand Tools

Sharpen This, Part 4: Very Small Rocks

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Fri, 07/21/2017 - 8:30am


Read the other installments in the “Sharpen This” series via this link.

I roll my eyes when people talk about the superiority of their chosen sharpening media, whether it’s waterstones, oilstones, diamonds or cinderblocks. To my ears, it’s like you’re boasting about the superiority of the oxygen molecules that you breathe compared to those in your neighbor’s lungs.

Sharpening comes down to abrasion with small rocks. Some rocks cut steel faster but break down faster. Other rocks cut steel slower but are sturdier. Some rocks are expensive; others are cheap.

The practical differences among the systems are minimal. As a result, there is no clear winner among the rocks. Anyone who tells you different is either an evangelist or sells little rocks for a living.

I can say this with confidence because I wallowed in every sharpening system for about 15 years. I used them to sharpen tons of chisels and plane blades for tool tests at Popular Woodworking Magazine. And I listened to every snake oil salesman’s speech and put their assertions to the test.

We all want to believe that there is a superior system out there. It’s human nature to compare, contrast, contest and cajole. But the truth is that the best system is the one you have mastered.

So when I talk about sharpening media, I don’t give two figs about the type of media – oilstone, sandpaper, diamond, gallstone. Instead, what is far more important is the actual size of the little rocks you are using (which are best measured in microns when talking about sharpening).

Big rocks remove material quickly and leave deep scratches. Little rocks remove less material but leave smaller scratches. Tiny rocks remove little baby mousy bites of material and leave scratches the naked eye cannot see.

So the competent sharpener uses big rocks to create the zero-radius intersection. Then he or she uses the little rocks and then the tiny rocks to refine and polish the edge so it’s more durable.

That’s why the most important questions when it comes to sharpening media are: How big are my big rocks? And how tiny are my little ones?


Measuring Rocks
Here’s the useful information: The world of practical sharpening media ranges from rocks that are about 200 microns in size down to rocks that are 1 micron (or smaller). A rock that is 200 microns is about .008” – that’s about the size of a thick plane shaving. A rock that is 1 micron across is about .00004”. By way of comparison, a human blood cell is about 5 microns across.

I separate the rocks into three different sizes, each with a different job in sharpening. The biggest rocks (200 to 40 micron) are used for grinding edges. Grinding is for fixing damaged edges or changing the shape or angle of the edge.

In my shop, this job is handled by an #80-grit grinding wheel, which has 192-micron rocks.

The next size rock is what I use to sharpen an edge that has become dull from normal work (not abuse). This rock is usually between 20 microns and 7 microns in size. This rock removes metal quickly and leaves scratches that are easy to polish out with smaller rocks.

You need only one grit in this size (unless you love to fund the sharpening stone industry). In my shop, this is a #1,000-grit waterstone, which has 15-micron rocks in it.

Lastly there are the rocks used for polishing. These are from 6 microns down to a fraction of a micron. Polishing an edge helps make it more durable (more on that in a future post). Deciding on your polishing rocks is all about how much patience you have. Some people have three or four grits for polishing. Others have one polishing grit. Neither choice is superior to the other.

The more polishing you do the longer your edge will last. But there is definitely a point of diminishing returns. Finding that point is up to you.

In my shop, I use two polishing grits. A #4,000-grit waterstone (4 microns) and an #8,000-grit waterstone (2 microns).

Those are my rocks – 192, 15, 4 and 2 – and they are no better than yours.

— Christopher Schwarz

P.S. You are going to hear people challenge the above information with words such as “mesh,” “polycrystalline” and “binder.” When they do this, let your eyes glaze over and build a motorcycle in your frontal lobe. Then, when they are out of breath, ask to see their edges. I haven’t found that high-level abrasive knowledge leads to superior edges. If they won’t show you, then ask them to “sharpen this.”


Filed under: Sharpen This
Categories: Hand Tools


Subscribe to Norse Woodsmith aggregator