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Elliptical Router Jig for Any Size Oval

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 06/29/2017 - 10:30am

I love routers and this elliptical router jig makes me love them even more. I’ve made countless circles with router jigs over the years, but this simple jig for creating a multitude of oval shapes is slick. Ovals are tough because it’s a mathematical equation to get the shape correct. While I love routers, I’m not so fond of math. By creating an elliptical jig you take the math out […]

The post Elliptical Router Jig for Any Size Oval appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Why A Workshop of Our Own is a Necessity (and Needs Your Support)

Giant Cypress - Thu, 06/29/2017 - 8:48am
Why A Workshop of Our Own is a Necessity (and Needs Your Support):

Megan Fitzpatrick:

Right now, A Workshop of Our Own has the opportunity to buy the building in which it’s located – but time is short. The collective needs to raise $100,000 overall and there are five days remaining in the Indiegogo campaign. Not only will you be supporting a good and necessary step toward equality, you can get some cool stuff in return. Check out the rewards, check your checkbook, and see if you can’t find a few dollars to help.

I sent in a contribution a while back. I hope you all can do the same.

HANDWORK Magazine Out Now!

Journeyman's Journal - Thu, 06/29/2017 - 7:59am


It’s finally here a hand tool magazine for hand tool woodworkers.  First I would like to thank our contributing authors Brian Holcombe and Joshua Steven aka Mr. Chickadee for their great articles, I would also like to thank Christopher Schwarz for his suggestion and advice and above all you the readers who’ve said yes to this.  I never thought it was going to be easy but I didn’t think it would be this hard either.  HANDWORK is free just download from the link provided down below.  The link is through megasync, it free with no annoying time delays.

I’ve done the best I could with the limited knowledge I have of compiling a magazine, feel free to leave your comments.  I would really like to know if you’ve enjoyed it.  I know not many people like to leave comments, setting up a gravatar account is a pain.  So I’ve setup a poll just choose YES or NO.

Happy reading there is over 60 pages to read through, enjoy!

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='https://s1.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/shortcodes/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader'));



Handwork Vol.1 Issue 1

Categories: Hand Tools

Cathryn Peters, weaver of seats and baskets

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 06/29/2017 - 7:34am
Voysey chair seat by Ruef Design

Bulrush seat for a Voysey two heart chair, one of the builds in the book I’m writing about English Arts and Crafts furniture for Popular Woodworking, scheduled for publication in May 2018. Cathryn Peters wove the seat earlier this year, so the rush still has its beautiful fresh colors. Photo by James Davis, Ruef Design http://www.ruef.com

When most people stop at a fast food restaurant, they run in and out without so much as a glance at the surrounding landscape – and that’s if they get out of their car at all; a high percentage place their order in the drive-through and sit there idling until they’re at the head of the line.

Cathryn Peters is different, at least when she visits her local McDonald’s in Cook, Minnesota. Peters doesn’t go there for the burgers. Her treat’s in a marshy spot behind the parking lot: bulrush.

Peters has been weaving seats since the 1970s, when her son was an infant. Thinking that she should have something constructive to do besides caring for the baby, her mother-in-law brought over a seat frame she wanted to have woven, along with rush weaving instructions from a magazine article and a pack of paper fibre rush. (The British spelling is used in the United States to differentiate the artificial paper material from the natural cattails and bulrush).

“My mother-in-law talked me into learning how to weave this seat using the instructions in the magazine article,” Peters says. The payment for the job was a walnut drop-leaf table from her mother-in-law’s home. “I got the better end of that deal for sure,” says Peters, looking back. “The chair seat I did looked horrible! It had a big hole in the center, there were overlapping strands and the gauge of paper rush was too small for the chair frame.”

peters first paper rush seat top

That first chair seat


In the 40-plus years since then, Peters has woven thousands of seats – some for new chairs, some for chairs undergoing repair, and some she bought for resale. She also weaves traditional baskets in a variety of materials and her signature antler baskets.

Although she has taken a few workshops in basketmaking, Peters is primarily self-taught at weaving seats. In the early years, pre-internet, she was able to get some direction from pamphlets provided by material suppliers. But most of her learning came from trial and error or from taking apart seats that were going to be rewoven to figure out the patterns.

In the mid-1980s The Caner’s Handbook by Bruce Miller and Jim Widess, The Craft of Chair Seat Weaving by George Sterns, and a few other books were published – an immense help to seat weavers across the country. Resources in print and online, many of them written by Peters herself, have proliferated since then.


Peters demonstrating her craft

A high point of Peters’s career came in 2006, when she was awarded a fellowship to study in England with basket maker and seat weaver Olivia Elton Barratt. Barratt was the President of the Basketmakers’ Association (BA) and was also installed that October as Prime Warden of Basketmakers in the Worshipful Company of Basketmakers, a guild in existence since 1569.

During her ten-day fellowship and stay with Barratt, they traveled across the country meeting members of the Basketmakers’ and Seatweavers’ Association, of which Peters has been a member since the early 1990s. Barratt also taught Peters how to weave a bulrush boater’s hat at her home studio. They drove to see the harvesting of bulrush from the River Ouse with Felicity Irons, watch the weaving process of making willow coffins (if I were going to be buried, I would definitely want one of those — how cool!) and hot-air balloon gondolas at Somerset Willows, visit the Coats basketry museum, and to the Musgrove Willows farm to learn how cultured willow is grown and how buff willow and white willow are processed.

Peters weaves seats using a variety of natural and commercially prepared materials: natural bulrush, cattails, paper fibre, cane webbing, strand cane, Danish cord, rawhide, oak, ash and hickory bark splints.

Natural hand-twisted rush seats are woven with the round stalk, stems or strands of the bulrush plant, and cattails with the flat leaves. Both plants are just right for harvest between late August and September, when they have reached maximum height and the ends of the cattail leaves have turned brown. Peters harvests the natural bulrush and cattails from her rural northern Minnesota farm and the surrounding area.


With so many years of experience, Peters can weave a seat in far less time than it would take a beginner. The 15” seat for the hand-twisted bulrush Voysey chair would typically take her from six to eight hours to complete. After a couple of years, the fresh green and gold tones of the natural rush will fade to a nice, warm honey color.

If you’re interested in learning how to weave hole-to-hole cane and over-the-rail cane seats, Peters will be teaching a class at the Marc Adams School of Woodworking on the weekend of Sept. 16 and 17, 2017.

The Wicker Woman®



Bulrush hat

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

‘Woodworker’ & ‘Woman’ are Separate Nouns

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 06/29/2017 - 6:59am

I’ve been trying for weeks to write this editorial; it is difficult to do because my idealist view competes with reality. I have long been ambivalent about woodworking shops and classes specifically for women, because I don’t want them to be necessary. But they are. Also, I don’t want to seem as if I’m trying to be the voice of all woodworkers who happen to be women. No doubt our […]

The post ‘Woodworker’ & ‘Woman’ are Separate Nouns appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Mike Mascelli Talks Upholstery: Furniture & Automobile – 360w360 E.238

360 WoodWorking - Thu, 06/29/2017 - 4:10am
 Furniture & Automobile – 360w360 E.238

In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking, professional upholsterer Mike Mascelli talks about similarities and differences between furniture and car upholstery – you may be surprised to learn that timelines for changes do not run parallel. Plus, he pulls back the curtain on upholstery found in today’s furniture. Scary!

Join 360 Woodworking every Thursday for a lively discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more). Glen talks with various guests about all things woodworking and some things that are slightly off topic.

Continue reading Mike Mascelli Talks Upholstery: Furniture & Automobile – 360w360 E.238 at 360 WoodWorking.

12’ Built-in Nicholson Workbenches

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Thu, 06/29/2017 - 3:28am


Today and tomorrow we have a guest working with us. Robell from Atlanta, Georgia is spending some time up here in Maine and offered his help with some projects around here.

Even though we’ve been working on the Tables video and a few conservation projects, the rest of this week we’re going take some time to build a few new benches. Yes, more benches. Two 12-foot benches, in fact. These are not destined for this 14’ x 17’ shop, though. They are being built for our new shop that will be raised this September. More on that later but for now just imagine 200-year-old hand-hewn chestnut. Yes. We’re excited. 

Today, we are going to begin building two English joiners’ (Nicholson) benches that will be eventually fastened to the shop walls. Many period shops had their benches built into the walls (Luther Sampson in Duxbury, Mass., Samuel Wing of Sandwich, Mass., et al.) This offers numerous advantages, not the least of which is space saving. These benches will be 12’ long to accommodate two people at each bench. We hope to be able to use these (along with other benches) to offer hand tool workshops in near future. If you picture yourself coming out to Mid Coast Maine for a 5-day hand-tool workshop, let us know what kinds of classes you would be most interested in.

I am heading out to meet the guys at the shop soon. How are three guys going to build two 12’ workbenches in a 230 sq ft room? I don’t know. I’ll report back at the end of the day to let you know how we fared.



Categories: Hand Tools

making a new iron box.......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 06/29/2017 - 12:55am

I should have been working on the bookcase but I took the wrong turn at the fork. I also thought I would have been able to whack this out tonight too. It's sad to say sports fans, but it didn't happen. Changing my mind twice didn't help but it is wednesday. I had to make a pit stop to get a loaf of bread and then put out the garbage when I got home. I guess was delusional thinking I might have got it done.

time to check my miter
Regardless of how this comes out, I am going to dovetail the corners. I will check this to see what this looks like.

off 90°
I had a couple of shims on the bed and now I now why (I took them out). These are both off 45° by a degree or so.

inside is off the same
Now that I am getting more comfortable with miters I'll save these two and see what I can do to get the donkeys ear jig calibrated.

1/8" plywood scraps
I can make the whole box out these pieces. The design I have in made isn't an original idea. This type of storage box I am making I've seen in old Stanley catalogs. Those were made of solid wood and mine is plywood.

doing the layout
I will probably keep one iron in the plane but I am going to make the box to hold all 5 irons. This was idea #1 which turned out to be toast. I was trying to figure out a positive/negative cutout to be the middle sleeve. I got lost trying to visualize it but mostly how to cut it out as one piece.

sawed out the ten parts
This was idea #2 and I kind of liked this. The idea was to glue all the strips to a backer except for the ones that represent the irons.

idea #3
I didn't like the different spacing between the irons so I made new ones all the same size. I need six so I made eight.

sawing the spacers to length
I like this
A strip at the bottom of the irons keeps them from falling out. I'll be placing them with the bevels at the top. If they are the other way the bevels will chew up the bottom strip.

shot all the spacers to the same length
Even though I used a stop to saw the spacers to length, they still came out different lengths. And I could see it. Now they are all the same.

it's basically a sandwich
I will glue the bottom strip and spacers onto one side of the box. Once that has set up I'll glue on the other side. Once the whole has set up, I'll saw off the lid. A couple of pieces of trim and it'll be done.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is nystagmus?
answer - rapid and uncontrollable movement of the eyes

Less Than Fancy Furniture

The Furniture Record - Wed, 06/28/2017 - 10:57pm

I spent last weekend in Winston Salem, NC at the Mid-Year Conference of the Society of American Period Furniture Makers (SAPFM) being held appropriately at the Museum of Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA). I was surrounded by fancy furniture and the people who curate fancy furniture and people who make fancy furniture.

There were two hours with no scheduled events on Friday. I assume this was to allow members to visit some of the other buildings and exhibits at Old Salem. Being a member and frequent visitor, I sought alternate ways to be informed and enlightened. There is an antiques mall just down the road that by design or happenstance is the best place for primitive furniture in the area.

I went.

There was much there that new and wonderous. There was this plantation desk:


A plantation desk, another flexible term with many definitions and no real meaning. Google it.

What makes this one unique is that it has been remodeled. A previous owner decided that the writing surface angle was not to their liking and modified it. They added a wedge of wood to change the angle.


Not elegant but functional.


The interior view isn’t any more satisfying.

I believe there is a chair under there:


I hope it wasn’t unique or one of a kind . We will never know.

There were two step back (stepback?) cupboards that caught my eye. First is this cupboard/pie safe:


An uncommon configuration.

The tins are interesting:


A touching image but I don’t believe the date is accurate.

The other cupboard is this Eastlake’esque unit:


The pediment and wood choices make me think Eastlake.

What makes this one interesting is the shelf support system:


Not saw tooth or dados but rounded shelf supports fitted into matching supports.

The supports are very easy to make. Take two 4″ wide boards and using your favorite hole installing device, drill a series of holes through the stacked boards on the centerline at an appropriate spacing. Then just rip the boards on the centerline and you have your four supports.


See how simple period furniture can be.

The back is rough boards just nailed on:


with an odd hole caused by a rodent or an individual wanting to plug in the mixer.

There was this very serious looking chair:


A chair I would prefer not to sit in.


Was this a commercial product of a user made product?

And a Boston rocker:


Or is it a waterfall rocker.

I have seen similar rockers called either Boston or waterfall and dissimilar chairs identified as Boston or waterfall. I still  think we need some federal regulations leading to a standardized set of furniture terminology and nomenclature. We would all be better for it but I do not believe anything so useful should be expected from the current Congress.

There needs to be some form of workbench at any antiques mall dealing in primitives:


Not much but it meet the requirement.

Here is a primitive settle or the back half of a tiny house:


Thos. Moser does not make one of these.

It’s been a while, but here is a woven gout rocker:


Rolling pin sold separately.




Router mortise jig, part 1

Heartwood: Woodworking by Rob Porcaro - Wed, 06/28/2017 - 10:41pm
router mortise jig
Here is a very direct approach to mortising with a router that works especially well for mortising legs. The system starts with an auxiliary router base plate that rests on top of the squared leg blank and has two adjustable fences that hug the sides of the blank to eliminate side play. I have been […] 0
Categories: Hand Tools

Chicago and the Great Lakes Lumber Trade

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 06/28/2017 - 9:01pm

‘Les Docks des Charpentiers’ August 1885. Musée Franco-Américain de Blérancourt.

In a few days America will be celebrating Independence Day, and I thought a brief history of the Chicago and Great Lakes lumber trade in the 19th century would be in order. The Great Lakes region is one of our treasures, and Chicago is at the great heart of our country.

The opening lines of “Chicago” by Carl Sandburg:

“Hog Butcher for the World,
Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,
Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler,
Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of Big Shoulders.”

As the great timber stands in the East were exhausted and settlers moved west new sources of pine and other woods were needed.

Source: U.S. Geological Survey

The dense forests and extensive waterways of the Great Lakes, especially Michigan and Wisconsin, became the source for the lumber needed to build the barns, fences, homes and businesses of the settlers. Chicago was perfectly situated on Lake Michigan to receive and distribute lumber by water and railroad links.

Chicago’s commercial lumber business started in 1833. But it was the opening of the Illinois & Michigan Canal in 1848 that transformed Chicago from a supplier for local markets into a national distribution center for lumber. And by the second half of the 19th century, Chicago was the world’s largest lumber trade market.

Map of the Canal (Chicago Historical Society). The canal at Summit, Illinois, in the 1840s (Illinois State Historical Society).

The canal ran from the Chicago River at Bridgeport to the Illinois River at LaSalle and opened a direct link to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. With this North-South water link, and later with railroad networks, Chicago became the world’s largest lumber trade market.

Wisconsin-Michigan map, 1844. Map collection of the University of Alabama.

This 1844 map shows the extensive network of drive-able streams and rivers that could be used to move lumber to mills on the coast of Lake Michigan before transport to Chicago by ship.

Log raft on the Wisconsin River, near the Wisconsin Dells, 1886. Wisconsin Historical Society.

As the forest cuts progressed further inland, and before narrow-track rail lines were introduced, loggers had to find faster means of moving logs to nearby waterways. When rail lines penetrated the forests, hardwood supplies to the Chicago yards were increased.

Winter sledding (Hartwick Pines Logging Museum). Big wheel rig for summer use (Michigan Archives).

In winter, logs were moved on paths with ruts for sled runners. The paths were sprinkled with water to keep the ruts iced. In the sled photo above, the number 7,225 marked on the topmost log is the number of board feet in the load. In 1875, the “big wheel” was invented by Silas Overpack, a carriage builder by trade. The big wheel came in three sizes from 12′ to 18′ high. Logs 12′-15′ long could be carried beneath the axle, and by lifting one end of the log it was easier to move them.


The junction of the Chicago River by Louts Kurzin, 1866 (Lewis Univ.). The location of the T.M. Avery Lumber Company (on the left in the drawing) is marked on the map.

Following are excerpts from “History of Chicago” (1886) by Alfred Theodore Andreas that describe the growth of the lumber trade within the city. He also describes the rise of hardwoods for the furniture trade, which is linked to the expansion of railroads from the Great Lakes states.

“In 1868 a movement was started to transfer the lumber business and yards to what has since been known as the New Lumber District. A series of canals was excavated by the South Branch Dock Company, extending from the River to Twenty-second Street, affording a dock front of twelve thousand five hundred feet, which, together with the river front adjoining, makes a total dock front of nearly three miles. These canals are one hundred feet wide, and were, at first, eleven or twelve feet deep; since then, they have been dredged to the depth of from twelve to fourteen feet.”

New Lumber District with canals between yards.

“The lots owned by the South Branch Dock Company were one hundred by two hundred forty-four feet in size, each having a dock and street front, and being furnished with a switch track connecting with the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, thus placing them in direct connection with the entire railway system of the Northwest. These lots were rented to lumber dealers at ten dollars a foot per annum. In 1868, the lumber trade of Chicago reached the enormous proportion of nine hundred and ninety-four million feet, and this immense trade moved southward to the new district as rapidly as it could find accommodations. In the spring of 1869, about forty lumber firms were doing business, besides eight first-class planing mills.”

1876(?) map showing the location of the New Lumber District and canals off the South Branch of the Chicago River (blue) and a major rail head (red). Library of the University of Chicago.

“The increase in the amount of lumber handled in the Chicago yards became so great that a still further extension of facilities was imperative, and, in 1881, another district was added upon the South Branch of the river, extending from Thirty-fifth Street to the city limits at the Stock-Yards…Here, in 1884 occurred the first extensive conflagration originating in a Chicago lumber yard. This fire commenced in the yard of the Chicago Lumber Company, being ignited by a spark from a passing locomotive. It was not checked until twenty million feet of lumber and one hundred million shingles, aggregating in value about $400,000 had been consumed.” (In 2017 dollars the loss was about $9.4 million.)

From Harper’s Weekly, October 1883. The Newberry Library. Gadzooks!

“The use of hardwood lumber gradually increased with the establishment of manufacturing interests particularly that of furniture, and in 1885, the number of yards of this character increased to thirty, handling an average of about three hundred million feet of hardwood lumber annually, and carrying stocks averaging about forty-five million feet, embracing all varieties of native timber with a liberal supply of foreign woods. The volume of trade in this department comprises, at the present [1886], about one-sixth of the sum total of the lumber trade of the city, its supplies being drawn from nearly every one of the Western, Northwestern and Southern States.”


“The lumber yards of Chicago, in 1885,  if consolidated in one, and the lumber piled in a solid body, twenty feet in height, would probably occupy a space fully one mile square; but spread as the business is, through various parts of the city, it occupies a dock and stock frontage of probably twenty miles. In the transportation by lake, not far from five hundred sailing craft are employed, landing eight thousand cargoes a year. In addition, not less than thirty thousand railroad cars, averaging ten thousand feet a car, are employed in supplying the yards.”

When Carl Sandburg’s poem “Chicago” was published in 1916, the city’s lumber trade was well past its peak. The great northern forest were near or at exhaustion point and even with a shift to tapping into southern supplies of yellow pine, made possible by rail transport, the economics of lumber distribution had changed. Rail transport had also made it more economical to ship lumber to nearby mills and specialized manufacturing plants rather than send it to Chicago for storage and further transport.

The Great Lakes lumber trade with Chicago at its center helped fueled immigration needed for the labor force, expansion of the railroads, innovation in the logging business and provided materials needed for our country to grow. Chicago was, and still is, our crossroads.

Currier and Ives map of 1874. The lumber yards and canals are marked with a red dot. Library of the University of Chicago.

If you enjoy reading old lumber business directories with statistics, ads and other sorts of miscellany you can find “Hotchkiss’ Lumbermans Directory of Chicago and the Northwest” of 1886 here. There is an option to download it as a pdf.

The gallery at the bottom  includes  some statistics on the lumber trade, a few more images, a short history of the T. M. Avery Lumber Company (seen in the drawing of the junction of the Chicago River above) and an account of a yard fire.

— Suzanne Ellison


Filed under: Historical Images, Personal Favorites
Categories: Hand Tools

Stanley wooden No.4

Journeyman's Journal - Wed, 06/28/2017 - 7:08pm

Dan Coffey made a stanley wooden smoother, it’s a novelty plane it can’t be used but would make a great gift for someone.  Check out these pics.  It’s not the best work but with a little effort you could make this to be an attractive piece.



Categories: Hand Tools

Dividers & Curves Coming on Saturday

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 06/28/2017 - 6:41pm


Everyone involved with Crucible Tool has been working overtime to get the next batch of tools ready for the store on Saturday. Our machinist has been working Sundays. John and Raney have been reaming, sanding and assembling dividers nonstop. My fingers are bleeding a bit on my keyboard tonight from sanding our design curves.

At 2 p.m. Eastern Time on Saturday we will put all these up in the store. We know that many of you have patiently waited to get dividers or curves. We keep hoping that we’ve made so many tools that we don’t sell out immediately.

Thanks for your patience and your support.

We are currently working on how to get curves and dividers to market even faster, plus our next two new products (details to come).

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Crucible Tool, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Growing up

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Wed, 06/28/2017 - 11:43am


Passion and competency need to get acquainted with one another before much good can happen.

I met my wife in the press room of our college newspaper, but ours was not a typical love story. I was a section editor and she was a writer. For the first year we knew each other, the only time we would talk on the phone was when I was assigning stories, or calling late into the evening to see where a story was. She probably thought I was being a jerk, but in truth, I had risen to the editorial position quite accidentally and I was struggling to do the job well. My passion for the work was not matched by my competency. At least not at that moment. 

She left to study in Cheltenham for a year, and when she came back we had both grown. I was a better editor, and she no longer wanted to write for me. We barely recognized each other.

It's funny how life sometimes throws you in the deep end of the pool. It's amazing how sometimes that works out. Two years ago, Joshua and I barely knew each other. I had been following along with his work on Jonathan Fisher and when he announced the development of Mortise & Tenon I was excited. I knew the magazine was going to bring something really special to the worlds it would touch and as soon as subscriptions were available I was in. I really wanted this magazine to succeed.

At some point in the middle of all of that, I happened to casually mention to Joshua that I had some experience in editing if he needed any help getting issue one off the ground. I officially expected to hear nothing more, but a few months later I got an email that said something to the effect of: “If you're serious, let's talk.” That was November of 2015 and our first issue shipped somewhere between January and February of 2016. There were a lot of late nights and extra pots of coffee involved.

In October, we hope of have issue three on your doorsteps and let me tell you that this is no small thing. It means that we will be shipping two issues in one year and moving to a spring and fall publishing schedule. We have grown in so many ways over the last two years, but we feel called to this work and passionate about what we do. We’re also thankful for the passion that our readership has shown from the start. Mortise & Tenon is a small team and that means a significant amount of work for each of us, but none of that would be possible without each and every person who has picked up up a copy and found something valuable in it. We are all part of this work. 

We want to be the sort of magazine where passion and competency meet. We want you to learn, but also be inspired. Maybe it's learning that a dovetail doesn't have to be airtight to hold a chest together for 100 years or what not to do when you pick up that antique banister back chair from the flea market. Either way, we want that to inspire passion in you so that you go back to your own work with love and guts. Mortise & Tenon is a place where all of that comes together. We’re learning something everyday and we hope that you are too.

- Jim McConnell


Categories: Hand Tools

Step Ladder Making I Enjoyed

Paul Sellers - Wed, 06/28/2017 - 10:05am

 June 2017 I recently concluded developing a new pair of stepladders, actually I made two pairs in the perfecting of the video series we made. In the mix of everything I used two woods that made me conscious of how much we do indeed take our wood for granted. When I went to the US …

Read the full post Step Ladder Making I Enjoyed on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Lie-Nielsen Open House, July 7-8, 2017

Highland Woodworking - Wed, 06/28/2017 - 8:00am

We are excited to be attending this year’s edition of the Lie-Nielsen Open House. The annual event never disappoints, with a great group of hand tool event staff showing off the latest additions to the Lie-Nielsen line. There will also be a diverse group of guest demonstrators present, showing off their wares and creations. And don’t forget to enter the Open House raffle for a chance to win one of three great prizes: a bevel edge chisel, a 102 low angle block plane or a honing guide.

The Saturday night lobster bake dinner may be sold out, but the rest of the open house is still well worth a visit. See you in Maine!

The post Lie-Nielsen Open House, July 7-8, 2017 appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Find The Flow

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Wed, 06/28/2017 - 7:53am

A couple years ago, when I first sat back down at the drawing board after a nearly two decade hiatus, I was worried about myself. In my teens I immersed myself in art of all variety, something barely offered in high schools any longer. I have since found out with formal classes, weekend workshops, and independent study programs I actually received more "Art" training than many college level Art Majors. (The discussion of the disappearance of art and shop classes from high schools is shelved for another day.)

I finished high school believing I would take a year or so off, then attend a "real" art school (whatever that means, we all suffer through the pig-headed-ness of teenage idealism.)  Instead I did something that mattered, I married my high school sweetheart (almost 22 years and going) We started a family, and I found a job in healthcare that could provide for them and filled a life too full to add a sketchbook to the load.

My teenage art school self would say something idealistic at this point about holding your artistic resolve in the face of blah blah blah and the blah blah blah. I'd like to meet my teenage self someday. I'd poke that whinny bitch in the eye. Life is about choices and compromises and I don't regret most of them.

Then I started working on my book, and there were concepts I knew I could illustrate better than I could stage a photo, but I was intimidated to sit down and apply graphite to paper again. It's a perishable skill, (for the record, drawing is a Skill NOT a Talent, there's a difference and stop mixing them up, or I'll have to poke you in the eye!) Then Peter Galbert's book arrived on the scene and changed the meta of what a good looking woodworking book can look like. Around the same time I started following a gentleman named Roland Warzecha in his quest to faithfully rediscover medieval sword and shield combat styles. He is writing and illustrating a book on the subject and his work is just fantastic.

For the last 20 years I hadn't done much more than doodle, A gesture drawing, a cartoon face, a bunch of measured drawings. Most of my agglomeration of art supplies had been donated to my children's explorations, but they could be replaced. Mostly I was intimidated by my loss of skilled practice. My eye knows what it wants, what to look for in something satisfactory, I am a very tough and detail oriented critic, especially versus myself.

I sat my ass in a chair and started working at it again. Eventually it's the only option left. I always had a bit of a sketchy style before, but I'm working harder on cleaner lines and solid contrasts now. Finally things are really starting to fall back into a rhythm, I can ease myself into the flow state I used to be able to call at will and I'm starting to turn out work I don't absolutely hate in the end.

If you put it down, you can get it back, you might have to fight a bit, but it's possible. I would say this crosses all hard won skills, drawing, writing, woodworking . . .

If I find the time to re-learn how to play guitar I'm worried I might start to see my acne return!

Damn, then I'd have to poke myself in the eye.

Ratione et Passionis
Categories: General Woodworking

question answered......

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 06/28/2017 - 1:21am
I got a comment today about my new plow plane handle and it consumed me. It was all I could think of until I got home. I kept running pictures of the plane through my mind but nothing was helping. I could not conjure up any images of the bottom of the handle. The comment had to do with the handle on the plane being glued in place. That didn't make any sense to me but I have seen stranger things. The handle is set on the plane body with the end grain on the metal of the plane. Not a very secure connection to screw into so an adhesive of some kind made sense to me there.

Before I got home to answer this I wasted a lot time, calories, and gas stopping at 3 different places trying to find a replacement battery for my door bell. Two of the places didn't sell it but Wally World did but it was out of stock.

I checked the voltage on it and it reads 12 volts which it should be but the doorbell won't ring. It can be one of 3 things wrong with the first one being the doorbell transmitter is toast. The second is the chime unit could be toast (I doubt that). The last one is the battery is toast. Just because a battery reads it's stated voltage doesn't mean it is any good. If it can't push any amperage the voltage could twice it's stated rating. The cheapest and quickest fix is to replace the battery. If that doesn't work, I'll toss the whole thing and buy another one.

All this busted adventure did was take up my allotted time in the shop. I wanted to start on the frame for the bookcase but I'll have to wait until tomorrow. I would like to get this done before my wife comes home but that is not going to happen now.

I drew a blank on this
I didn't look at how the handle was connected to the plane yesterday. My thought was there is small post that goes up into the handle along with a threaded insert as the means for securing it.

one small screw
it's not a square drive
It's a t-10 torx screw but I don't know the thread size. I didn't check that and I got the torx size off the shaft of the driver. It took a wee bit of ham fisted action to break this free. I was an eye blink from using heat when it finally broke free.

this is interesting
This is a solid connection and I especially like the 'mortise & tenon' between the handle and the plane. I would be willing to bet a big toe that the metal part extends up into the handle a ways. I can't tell for sure but that would make this a beefy connection. Still haven't heard anything on me getting a replacement cherry handle. My fingers are crossed now after seeing this.

before I make the box I have to know the thickness
the 5/16" and 3/8" are both 1/8" thick
1/8" and 3/16" are 7/64" thick
I forgot to measure the 1/4" iron. It has to be one of these two measurements.

the Record 405
I'm keeping this and not selling it. I may not like using it but I can pass this on to my grandson.

boxes I made to hold the irons
I want to make something similar to hold the Lee Valley irons.

all four of the LV irons fit loosely in here
I'll be able to use the same construction methods to make the LV iron box.

LV on top and Record on the bottom
The notches on the two irons line up almost exactly. The LV iron notch is 2 frog hairs deeper though.

it fits
I still have to familiarize myself with the blade holding and how it works. It is a bit  different than the 405 but it appears intuitive so I don't think it'll be a problem. If these Record irons will fit all I will have to buy is the wide iron skate and that's only $40. That may happen on the next free shipping.

When, where, and how did this happen? The last time I used this the rods and fence were sticking. I had a difficult time moving the fence and I don't remember seeing this then.

I had waxed these rods
The use before the last time I had trouble moving the fence too, so I waxed the rods after I was done using it. It didn't help that much here. I am going to stow this plane broken down to parade rest. I don't anticipate using it much, if at all. I think this is the best way to stow it to avoid future fence/rod stickiness.

plenty of room
All the accessories are getting a chalky looking build up on them. I had noticed this before and I had cleaned all the parts up. I will have to clean them again but I don't remember if I waxed them the last time..

nice touch
That slant going from the main size of the iron to the 1/8" width will make this a bit stronger than if it was dog legged in at a 90°. Lee Valley makes an excellent tool and doesn't skimp when it comes to quality.

eyeballed a 45°
For the base for the bookcase I am thinking of mitering it.  Before I do that I want to check out my donkey's ear miter shooting board. If the miters don't work, I'll dovetail the front corners.

this would be my first attempt at making a 90° corner with this in a very long time
cleaned and smoothed the miters on the jig
this is looking pretty good
glued and cooking
I will let this set up and tomorrow I will see how close to 90° I am.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
How many pairs of legs does a shrimp have?
answer - five

Two Tips for the day

Journeyman's Journal - Tue, 06/27/2017 - 11:22pm

Tom Holloway from old tools outdated blog a real darn shame its ceased like all great blogs and great contributors who have gone with the wind states.

Here is a picture. You -should- laugh at the art, but the
>> illustration should be clear enough. With the vise on the right side,
>> our guy can close in tighter and lean all manner of ways. Left hip,
>> left arm, left knee. With the vise to the left, grasping the cutoff
>> portion is about all he can do and still operate the saw. He’s a
>> ballerina in open space.”


How true is this, I have often found it frustrating sawing on the left side of the bench, I know Bob Rozaieski made the switch from left to right went he built his new bench.  So what’s the answer, you plane from the right to left but sawing is better on your right.  So why not have two vices?  Food for thought.

Shooting board tip

How many times have you shot an edge out of square and was stumped as to why.  I know I have and have gone backwards forwards shimming and adjusting the fence until this morning when the obvious hit me.  This is obvious and apparently nothing new as always, this has been part of woodworking since its invention.  You chop out a dado for your fence to sit in, wow it’s that simple, problem solved for the time being.

My shooting board is made from MDF and hardwood fence, MDF is really soft and I will find out soon enough if the pressure on the wall will give in and throw it out of alignment.  If so then I recommend the only alternative is to use a hardwood solid enough to withstand this working pressure.  Just merely screwing the fence in is not enough and will move from the pressure being applied to it.

Your work is as good as the tools you use, so always check that everything is working as it should be.


Categories: Hand Tools

Eden Makes a Bow and Arrow with Stone Tools

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Tue, 06/27/2017 - 2:29pm

My oldest boy, Eden, loves experimental archaeology. After the occasional primitive technology video binge, he heads outside to living it out in our woods. Ever since Mike and I started making videos for M&T, Eden’s been asking to make his own instructional videos. A month or so ago, we had a spur of the moment inspiration and Eden demonstrated how he’s been making his own bow and arrows with stone tools he shaped himself. This video is no joke. I had no part in this at all except filming. I actually didn’t even know he was getting this involved in this stuff. It’s pretty neat to see an eight-year-old come up with this stuff on his own. I also adore this video because his little long-haired-hippie brother tags along the whole time, just like every other of the week. They are a sweet team.

Without further ado, here is Eden Klein teaching us how he makes bow and arrows.

P.s. Please forgive the quiet audio - I wasn’t prepared at all for this shoot. You'll have to turn it up.

- Joshua


Categories: Hand Tools


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