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The Purpose and Usefulness of a Kerfing Plane

Journeyman's Journal - Fri, 02/09/2024 - 5:31pm

A kerfing plane is a specialised woodworking tool that has gained popularity among woodworkers for its unique functionality and precision. This tool was first introduced by Tom Fidgen in his book “Unplugged Workshop.”

Purpose of a Kerfing Plane

The primary purpose of a kerfing plane is to cut a kerf, or groove, around the perimeter of a board before re-sawing. This kerf serves as a guide for the saw blade, ensuring a straight and accurate cut. The kerfing plane was designed with the understanding that a saw will follow the path of least resistance. By creating this path, the kerfing plane helps eliminate saw drift, making re-sawing tasks much more reliable and accurate.

Design and Functionality

The kerfing plane typically consists of a saw blade attached to a body with a fence. The fence ensures the kerf is cut at a consistent distance from the edge of the board. Some kerfing planes have a fixed fence, meaning they can only cut a kerf at a specific distance from the edge. Others have an adjustable fence, allowing for greater versatility.

The depth of the kerf can also be adjusted, typically up to about 1/2 inch. This allows the user to control how deep the saw blade penetrates the wood, providing further control over the re-sawing process.

Usefulness of a Kerfing Plane

The kerfing plane is particularly useful for tasks that require a straight, accurate saw line. These tasks include re-sawing a plank, cutting off a box lid, and other similar jobs. The kerfing plane doesn’t need to saw right through a piece of wood; instead, it provides a guideline for a handsaw to finish off.

By creating a kerf, the kerfing plane makes these tasks easier and more precise. It ensures the saw blade follows a straight path, reducing the likelihood of errors and improving the quality of the finished product.


In conclusion, the kerfing plane is a valuable tool in the woodworker’s arsenal. Its ability to create a guiding kerf makes it indispensable for tasks that require precise, straight cuts. Whether you’re a professional woodworker or a hobbyist, the kerfing plane can enhance the quality of your work and make your woodworking tasks more enjoyable.

Categories: Hand Tools

In Praise of Pack-rat-ery

The Barn on White Run - Fri, 02/09/2024 - 5:39am

50 years ago my paste wax of choice for almost any paste wax-ey purpose was Behlen’s Blue Label Paste Wax, which for an obvious reason I remember it as “Blue Diamond” paste wax.  Regardless, it was a superb product, easy to use and very high performance.

Sometime in the 90s I couldn’t find it any longer and embarked on a quest to find a new go-to wax.  There were, and still are, lots of excellent paste waxes on the market (including, apparently, Blue Label; this image was pulled off the interwebz), and also a lot that I would not choose because they were either hard to use, or had potentially deleterious ingredients for use on fragile antique surfaces, or their formulations could either not be ascertained or changed from something better to something not better.  NB – this was among the many motivations behind the development of Mel’s Wax.

I ended up with Johnson’s regular yellow-and-red label as the one to use for everything I would have used Blue Diamond for.  But a couple years ago this became hard to find and I discovered that it had been discontinued for, to me, inexplicable reasons.  Try as I might I could obtain no new cans for a reasonable price, or even a slightly unreasonable price even on Ebay.

Fortunately, I had a bit of it here, a bit of it there, in short I had a can at or near every single workstation I occupy, in the barn or elsewhere.  I compiled it all in one place and it turned out that I had a dozen mostly-full tins.

I guess I am more set for it than I first assumed.

All because I have pack rat inclinations, I guess.

Categories: Hand Tools

shellac time......

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 02/09/2024 - 3:07am

 I saw my first robin of the year while walking through the Wally World parking lot. Here in RI, a robin is confirmation that spring is here. I don't remember seeing one this early (especially feb) and I didn't see any more on the rest of the way home. The mercury pushed the temp up 52F (11C) which is above the norm for feb but IMO temp norms are Out To Lunch (OTL). There isn't any rain or snow forecasted going well into next week.


I have a margin around the sides and top on both drawers. In spite of that I could feel air coming against me as I pushed the drawers in. The left was hard to pull out from the fully closed position. Not what I wanted with these drawers. They are small and it was a PITA to open and close them.


I drilled two holes at the back of each drawer opening. That eliminated all the air being pushed out around the drawer. The left drawer also was much easier to open when fully shut. I might drill one more hole in the middle but I can do that after the shellac is done.

in between drying

The brushes in the box on the right are ones that I have used for shellac and paint. I made one to hold the brushes I bought the other day. I will stack the boxes in the cabinet once the glue has cooked.

 3 more

Didn't get to these 3 but I am not done applying the shellac neither. I got 4 coats on the new cabinet today leaving an hour or more between coats. I didn't get any on the dresser. I am not sure if this is going to be painted by Amanda and I don't want to expend the calories applying shellac to it.

accidental woodworker

Another Shaker Two-Step Stool

Woodworking in a Tiny Shop - Thu, 02/08/2024 - 8:50pm

Some neighbors in my development are moving into a new unit soon and they're renovating the kitchen (among other things), so they offered me the wood from the old kitchen cabinets.  Seems like lots of places built in the '80s used red oak for the cabinets.  I got the cabinet face frames, as well as the rails and stiles from all the cabinet doors.  And a few drawer fronts.

It's good juju to make something for those who give me free wood, so I'm making them this Shaker two-step stool.  I've made a few of these before, so this project is nothing new for me.

A small selection of the face frame wood

Here's parts for the stool - the wider panels were glued up from smaller sticks

Laying out the dovetails

Dry assembling the first corner

Cute curls from relieved edges that ease the DTs into the pins

Lower step and upper step dry-fitted separately

I dovetailed the steps to their respective sides before gluing up the sides because it's easier to do it this way.  When I was satisfied with the fit, I sawed and planed the angles on the front and back.  Then I moved on to fitting the rails.

Because the front of the lower step is angled back, it's a little more complicated to fit the lower front rail.  The rail has a half-dovetail, and its upper edge has to be planed at an angle to match the baseline of the tail board.  I made sure to make the part proud of the tail board baseline so that I could plane down to it later.

This rail will be recessed into the front edge of the side

The top edge of that rail must have an angle to allow
 the step to sit flush with the side

The front rail for the upper step is much easier - there is no angle to deal with.

Here's the upper front rail in its position

The upper edge of that rail must be in the same plane as the baseline of the pin board

Here's the back rail fitted into it sockets.  This one is much easier to cut and fit.

With those things done, I could finally glue up the sides.  After the glue dried, I cut out the part-circle on the bottom to create feet.

Gluing up one side

Before the overall glue-up, I needed to do some shaping.  The front rails got a curve in their lower edge.  The rear rail got curves on upper and lower edges.

The glue-up went in two stages.  First, the lower step and lower front rail
were done.  Then (shown here) the upper step, upper front rail and back rail were glued.

Out of the clamps and in need of some joint clean-up

It takes some creative clamping to be able to clean up the joints

Here's the upper left corner - very pleased with how it came out

I gave the stool three coats of shellac (two on the underside), sanding between coats.  And here's the finished product.

Glamour shot

Six Spoons

David Fisher - Carving Explorations - Thu, 02/08/2024 - 6:17pm
In my last post I mentioned having some spoons ready to share. I finally got the post together, so here they are and all are for sale. The shots above and below show them all together for comparison. #1 is over 13 inches … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Small Dresser 3: Planing

JKM Woodworking - Thu, 02/08/2024 - 11:42am

It’s been a while since last update. Cold weather minimizes working time and also leads to school closures and altered schedules. I have also been working on other areas of the blog like a list of links and a contact form.

pine secondary wood

I purchased some pine from the big box store. The beaded pieces will be used for the back, while the 1/2″ thick pieces will be drawer backs.

The biggest update since last visit is I have purchased a 12 1/2″ planer. So some of my time has been spent practicing and learning. One way to practice was to plane all of the divider pieces. They started out 3/4″ or thicker.

planed divider pieces

I meant to make them 1/2″ but they came out slightly thinner.

I wanted eight of the pieces to be a matching length. I picked the shortest one and squared up its ends on a shooting board. I used this one piece to mark all the other pieces. They all required trimming followed by shooting. These eight pieces will be the long dividers going side-to-side. Any front-to-back drawer runners or kickers will be cut to fit later.

trimming dividers to length

As for the dresser sides, they cupped more after I set them indoors to acclimate. I decided to rip them, plane them, and try to glue them back straighter.

ripped to fit through planer

The sides were almost an inch thick and I planed them down to 3/4″. After reading a Stan Covington blog post I tried jointing them on their sides rather than upright in a vise. This method assumes some flat surfaces and a straight plane blade, but less fussy than a vise.

edge jointing on side

This worked well and I was able to reglue the sides much straighter.

Next I clamped the two side pieces together to make sure they were the same dimensions, their edges were straight, and the corners were square.

For the bottom I cut out a small curve. Both side pieces will be cut at once. Later I will add a toekick to the front with a similar curve.

layout curved bottom

I cut out the curve with a coping saw. A few cross cuts are made to allow smaller pieces to fall out and to give pauses to reorient the saw.

cutting out curve

To clean up I use rasps and files. Years ago I bought a pack of rasps and files for about $9, maybe from harbor freight. As I learned which ones I used the most I replaced them with better ones. In the picture, the top most file is a cheapy. I use it like metal sandpaper. The bottom rasp is from Lee Valley. The middle one is my favorite, again from Lee Valley, the Japanese Milled Tooth File. It is aggressive like a rasp but leaves a smoother surface. To smooth these curves I would use an aggressive one first to smooth out the bumps and irregular sawcut, then follow up with the fine file.

cleanup with rasps and files

So that brings us to the present. The sides are square and dimensioned. The crossways dividers are ready. The next step(s) will be to mark and join and install all of the dividers and drawer supports.

Categories: General Woodworking

how to ruin your day.......

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 02/08/2024 - 2:50am

 After playing with the new cabinet as much as I could I went on a road trip to Lowes. Before Lowes I stopped at Starbucks to get some ground coffee and that is where I ruined my day. I was backing out and someone else was trying to park. I hit his rear quarter panel on his passenger side. I assumed that since this was private property a cop wouldn't respond but I was wrong. The cop showed up about 40 minutes after the other driver called.

I got a break from the cop because not only didn't I have my current registration, I also didn't have my proof of insurance card. The cop asked me if they were current and he was happy when I said yes (I showed him 4 previous registrations/insurance cards). I've been ticketed twice for not having a proof of insurance card in the truck. It sucks I got into a fender bender but I saved myself a day sitting in traffic court and having to pay a fine.

After getting off the phone with my insurance a sense of dread came over me. I had a fender bender about 6 years ago and a major accident 12 years ago. All I could think of was the insurance company either dropping me, making me to pay for the accident by increasing my premium, or putting me in a pool. I'll have to sweat it out until july when it comes times to renew.

 last night

I couldn't wait until this AM so last night after dinner I went back to shop. I sanded the whole carving and it got 95% of the smudges and bleed over. I painted the leaves that the sanding removed some of them down to bare wood. 

 magnet cups

This went off smoothly. For whatever reason I seem to make the absolute most brain dead me-steaks installing these magnets. Both cups ended up flush with the door stop rail.

 happy face on

I had two choices for securing the magnet cups. First was epoxy and the second one was a screw. I opted for the screw in case of any repair or change down the road.

 3 3/4 for 4

The left door cup is flush with the door. The right one was a frog hair below it. It worked and the door got pulled in by the magnet. I ended up putting a shim under the magnet to flush it with the door.


I wanted to put a magnet cup here. There wasn't any room for two but there was room for one of them.

 not going to work

There isn't enough real estate for the magnet trick to work here. The rabbet is interfering with 100% attraction with either door.


The gap at the bottom is wide enough to throw a dog through it. The top gap is barely the width of a piece of paper. I can't add wood to the bottom so I had to redo the hinges again. I did entertain the thought of putting a cock bead on the bottom and top and in hindsight I should have done that. It would have been a good excuse to buy a cock beading plane from Red Rose Reproductions.


I put one at the top and another one at the bottom and I didn't have to make any adjustments. The doors fit between them with a slip fit. I did my tape and super glue with accelerator trick again.

 3rd go around
Practice makes for better results. This time I didn't have any slipping or the door coming off the hinges. Drilled my pilot holes and screwed the doors on.


 better looking gap

The gap at the top and bottom is identical or at least it looks to be identical to the eye.


The face side of the rabbet at the top is rubbing and the rabbet underneath is copying it. I put extra tape on the hinges/door and that moved the doors inboard slightly. I used my bullnose plane to open up the face margin and the rabbet underneath it.


The hinge is hinge bound because there is no countersink on this side of the hinge leaf for the screws. I tired to cut a countersink in it but there isn't that much meat to support a countersink deeper than I should have made it. The screw heads are hitting the 'no mortise' void not allowing the hinge leaf to lay completely flat on the side. It was also not allowing the magnet to pull the door closed.

 7/16" hole

It was easy to see where to drill for the hole - the screw heads left an impression in the wood. Only the left hand hinge had this headache - the right one is fine even though the screw heads are proud.

 worth $4 to $6

This is the last year that the US minted silver quarters. This is also a Philadelphia minted quarter which is rarer than a Denver minted one (according google). Maybe it is a portent that my luck is about to change?

 maybe not

Had a brain fart and cut the back short on the width. I rarely measure for things like this and instead rely on marking it directly. I didn't do that here and I ended up with a back a 1/4" short on the width. So the back did end up being two pieces like I tried to make do with yesterday.

 ready for shellac

I can get the shellac on this and the 15 drawer dresser at the same time. Lee Valley hasn't shipped my knobs yet but that is something I can put on after the finish. 

accidental woodworker

Weird German metal handplanes

Working By Hand - Wed, 02/07/2024 - 10:40am

The Germans really were never into metal planes, although it seems that some companies did flirt with the idea, more for hobbyists than real woodworkers though. These planes came from the 1935 catalog of German tool company Bonumwerke, Tigges & Winckel K.-G.. Founded in 1860 by Robert Tigges in Dörfchen Cronenberg, it primarily produced steel stamps. In 1869 the company moved to Remscheid-Hölterfeld and production was expanded to include tools for plasterers, sculptors and gold workers. The Bonumwerke had been based in Langenberg since around 1920.

The BONUM planes

The “Amerikanischer art” metal plane was meant to mimic American metal planes. It came in three variants: the 2100 (120mm long), the 2101 (160mm) and the 2102 (210mm). This is basically a pressed metal plane with wooden blocks for handles, almost like a poor-man’s infill plane – like super cheap to make for those who wanted to “experience” the American plane. The second plane was made for hobbyists, and also came in three variants: No.805 (100mm without nose), No.806 (100mm), and No.807 (140mm). This is essentially a type of block plane, but made entirely of pressed steel. It almost has the feeling of a modern RALI.

Categories: Hand Tools

Classical Guitar Binding Ledges Routed

Wilson Burnham Guitars - Wed, 02/07/2024 - 9:04am

Binding ledges routed this afternoon, bindings are thinned and BWBWB purfling is made.

These two photos garnered a lot of interest on my Instagram account this week, and I am a little baffled by the interest. I assume that it is because very few people get to see what a guitar looks like before the bindings are installed. This isn’t a guitar that I made, it was built by a very, very well known European guitar maker and was horribly mistreated by its previous owner. I purchased this guitar and now in the process of restoring it. It has an Italian spruce top and East Indian rosewood back and sides. I may make it available to purchase, if you are interested in learning more about it, please contact me at highcountrylutherie@gmail.com

First, I set the router bit to the depth and height to match the binding, in this case, some hard maple, and rout out the channels/ledges/rebates/rabbets, or whatever term you wish to use, on the guitar’s top and back. Once that is done I proceed to the next step.

Second, I set the height and depth of router bit to match the purfling which is .03mm thick black and white strips of veneer laminated together. Only the top on this guitar receives the purfling. It is much easier to glue up a lamination of veneers, when I first started making guitars I would have glued five separate strips of veneer and the binding at the same time. It was a very messy and nerve wracking way to the job.

The back binding is on…

 …and I hope to get the top binding and purfling on today. We have a new puppy, she’s five months old and takes up most of my time during the day. Quality time in the shop only happens when she is asleep or outside, and as I write this, we are getting dumped on with snow!

Our puppy, Tula!

Categories: Hand Tools, Luthiery

An Update on the Gramercy Tools Treadle Lathe

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 02/07/2024 - 4:00am
The lathe folded and about to be set upThe lathe folded and about to be set up

Last September, we took the first prototype of the Gramercy Tools Treadle Lathe for a public outing to the Handworks show in Amana. It was a smashing success - but only a step in the project's development. After one dramatic breakage and lots of user feedback, we went back to Brooklyn with tons of ideas for the second prototype - and more importantly, the road towards production.

This is the first folding treadle lathe ever made. Here is a quick slide show going from folded to assembled.

The actual lathe is pretty light and aluminum, but the flywheel is cast iron and very heavy by design. That does make the lathe a little harder to start, especially when you are first learning, but once you get used to it, the heavy flywheel lets you power through real work.

The first prototype had a welded frame, but all the hinges and accoutrements were bolted on. This added a lot of wobble, which we needed to address. In addition, the forces upon the treadle bar that connected the power drive to the crank and the flywheel were way higher than we had initially thought, leading to a break at the Handworks show. Fortunately we got it welded together at the show so we could continue using the lathe, and the welded treadle was a massive improvement over the original bolted version. We saw that the power transmission over a solid weld was much better - so much better that we decided to make the next version entirely welded. Welding is actually the reason it has taken so long to get to this point of the second prototype. In order to weld, we needed to redesign a bunch of parts; learn how to weld aluminum; and then set up a vented area for the actual welding in our rather packed shop. Fortunately we already had a large vented area over the heat-treat department, so we put all our heat-treat kilns on wheels and moved them out of the way. Then we ran a 220 line for our newly acquired welder, and got proper screens to shield the rest of the shop. That took much longer than we hoped, but the end results are (1) we can produce nice clean welds and (2) the entire design is actually changed for the better.

The weight of the cast iron tool rest and tailstock was also a problem for folding. So this version has both an aluminum tool rest and tailstock. We are liking these fabricated versions. Production will have cast aluminum tailstock, toolrest, and headstock.

We did other stuff as you would expect with a project of this size. There are still a few odd and ends that need final approval, but the big news is that the flywheel and pulley castings have been approved for production, so we are going forward on that. Other casting and parts we hope to get moving this week or next.
Once we have prototype production parts, we will open up pre-orders.

The first prototype that we took to Amana has been taken apart to enable this second prototype. We hope to have the third and final prototype as soon as production parts start showing up.

Click here for more information about the lathe and you can also add you email if you wish to the update mailing list for the Lathe.

The new lighter tailstockThe new lighter tailstock
The headstock and new tailstockThe headstock and new tailstock
 Unfolding.... Unfolding....
 In use. In use.

can't hear shxxx......

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 02/07/2024 - 3:11am

 It has been 7 years since my last hearing test - two years overdue. I didn't get the memo to schedule it every five years. There were a few new tests on this hearing exam that I didn't recall from the previous one. The audiologist says that it was basically the same but with one new test and better technology to diagnose the level of hearing loss.

My wife told me that I can't hear shit (her exact words) and the audiologist seconded it. In four to six weeks I'll have the new ones and the ones I have now will be back ups I'll keep in the shop. Looking forward to being able to listen to the TV without the volume vibrating the windows. The new hearing aids will have 3x the power of the previous ones.

The whole shop day got pissed down the toilet with the audio appointment and subsequent running around after it doing errands. Got back to the barn just before lunch and I didn't get to the shop until almost two. I wasted an hour on the phone canceling a newspaper digital subscription and then trying to reschedule a canceled medical appointment. Nice to be retired and not having a gun to my head to finish things.

 first two colors

Brown for the branches and base color of green for the leaves. I hope that the doors align properly and the branch flows from door to door. There is a slight gap between them so that will be a fudge factor for a small error.

 vein color

The veins don't stand out on the green paint that much. I am going to paint them a lighter color green to accentuate them. It didn't like me laying down over the still wet base green. I'll have to wait for that to dry before I paint the veins.

After the painting is done I'll sand both doors hoping that I can sand off the green and brown smudges. If not I'll leave it as a background aura. I plan on putting 5-6 coats of shellac on the doors and the rest of the cabinet.

I didn't make it Lowes today because I have two tires that aren't holding air. It seems that after 3-4 weeks I have to refill them. This time is has been only about 2 weeks. I have to schedule a oil change so I'll have them check the tires. Most likely it is the bead needs to cleaned.

accidental woodworker

week two......

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 02/06/2024 - 2:53am

 Last week I walked for about an hour everyday monday through saturday. I would have ambled on sunday but I went to Woodcraft in Walpole instead. Felt good to be able to walk again and without any pain especially with the right foot. Today I walked for almost 2hours. The first hill I walked up at first didn't seem to present any problems but when I got on flat going I was out of breath. I didn't feel that way walking up it but afterwards. Seems I am a wee bit out of shape.

The plan now is add about 30 minutes more to my post lunch strolls for the rest of the week. I will repeat it the week after and then make a choice whether or not to start strolling post breakfast. 

Tomorrow I have an audiology appointment at 0800 which sucks pond scum. That is smack double in school buses and rush hour traffic time. I plan on leaving my house at 0630 and I'll bring a book and read at the coffee shop until my appointment.

 2nd drawer slips

I have to remove the top portion of the slip so it fits under the back bottom.


The 1/8" plywood drawer bottom will align with the bottom of the back with the notch saddling it.

 yesterday on the left, today on the right

Yesterday I marked the back wrong off the slip and the slips ended up beneath the drawer sides. Today I got it right. The slips are proud of the sides/front and after the glue has set I'll plane it flush.

missed it

This should be a pic of the supplied screws with them sitting proud of the hinge. The screw countersink doesn't match the countersink in the hinge. The screw is too large and the hinge countersink is almost non existent.

another headache

The countersinks in the hinges are on the wrong sides besides being too )(^^%%^*&@$) small.

 old screws

These are from my other no mortise hinges and they fit. I used a hand countersink to enlarge the ones in the hinges and the screw head is now flush or just bit below.

 drats, and double drats

The first hinge and it bit me on the arse. The top pilot hole wasn't centered and when the screw was tightened down it pulled the hinge to right. I thought I could hold the hinge in the correct orientation but I lost that battle. Filled in the hole and drilled it again.


Got all four hinges secured to the sides. The front edge of them is aligned with the inside edge of the sides. Time to screw the 2nd leaves to the doors.

 fingers crossed

Thought of this while walking last week. Tape on the 2nd leaves and tape on the door where the leaves will screwed. Super glue on the leaves and accelerator on the doors.


It appeared to be working. I could open and close both doors. I didn't go nutso and treated it very gently.

 happy with the fit

Before I screwed the hinge leaves I checked the margins top and bottom. The gap on the doors needs to tweaked a bit and I'll do that after the doors are finished. I taped a couple of pieces of veneer under the right door to set the margin.

 spoke too soon

The left door came off in my hands when I opened it again (3rd time). I thought it wasn't the end of the world because I was going to do the right door first. When I opened the right door it too let go of the hinges. The glue bond was fine, it was the blue tape on the doors that couldn't handle the weight of the doors.

 duct tape

I tried duct tape for the next attempt and it was a dismal failure. The super glue wouldn't stick to the the duct tape. The surface of it is shiny, slick, and super glue doesn't like it.

 shifted on me

I used wide  (1 1/2") blue painters tape for the third attempt and that worked. I put one piece horizontally and 3 pieces vertically and they held. However, I was so focused on the the glue job I missed that I had put the doors on with them butting against the top.

I marked the top with a piece of scrap that was a little less than 1/8" thick. I then planed the tops down to the pencil lines. The gap at the top isn't as wide but I think it'll be ok as is. If not I can also plane a wee bit more off it.

 this close

It is barely 4 frog hairs past the door stop. I really wanted to use this knob. I had a back up plan that I would cut a finger grab on the top edge of the drawers to open/close them.


The knob is now behind the front of the sides and the drawer stop. I drilled a 1/8" deep hole for the knob to sit in.


I like the knobs more than the finger grab. I thought I had some larger ones like this but I don't. I ordered 8 more knobs like this from Lee Valley. Same finish and style but in 3 different sizes. They are coming ?

 1/4" too short

I thought I might have been able to get the back on with two pieces of 1/4" plywood. The second larger piece was a 1/4" too short. And it was the largest piece of 1/4" plywood I had too. I'll be making a road trip to Lowes tomorrow.

the motif

This will be my first carving of leaf/branches thing. I have carved some things before but those were moldings and matching broken carvings. This is the motif and it is ready, set, go. I free hand drew it over the two doors.


Forgot to snap any pics of the actual carving but I got it done. It was a lot better than I thought it would be. I only had one glitch (on the left) when I had to carve straight across the grain. The chisel was sharp but it didn't like cutting across the grain. Not much I could about it and I turned the blow out on the cross grain into a bud. FYI an eraser doesn't work on boo boos like this.

 Wally World run

I am thinking of painting the motif but I didn't have any small paint brushes. Got 25 of them at Wally World for $8. I three small acrylic paints for 58 cents each. I was on the fence with painting or leaving it as is and covering it with shellac but I think having it painted against the pine back ground will look better.

I tried a couple of other choices before I went to Wally World. Brown Leather dye was the first failure. I bled through into the surrounding wood of the branch. Second choice was Van Dyke brown paint which wasn't much better than the dye. It might of worked but I don't know how to thin it because it was thick and wouldn't lay down with a paint brush.

 looks ugly

It was too late to paint this now. Besides I have to let what I did already dry before I can use the acrylic paints.

accidental woodworker

Commencing Countdown For Li’l Gragg

The Barn on White Run - Mon, 02/05/2024 - 6:32am

I may have already recounted the story of a presentation I was making at a regional woodworker’s club 25(?) years ago, and prior to my presentation there was a Show-N-Tell among the members, as there usually is for gatherings like this.  Well, this particular episode was all about incredibly complex and even convoluted jigs enabling the members to not work wood but rather to machine wood with great precision.  I recall rolling my eyes so hard it could probably be heard throughout the room.  I mean, real woodworkers work wood by hand, not by machines or power tools and certainly not with jigs.  Jigs!  For cryin’ out loud.  Were these guys even “real” woodworkers?

I have since become, to quote Lyndon Johnson, “Smarter today than I used to be.”  Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

Roubo’s jig for gluing up coopered panels.

The second major barricade to fall in the bigotry against jigs was during the initial phases of the Roubo Project.  Roubo was all about jigs, forms, and templates.  In a world where the typical craftsman was only a few days ahead of malnutrition anything that helped get him from Point A to Finished and Paid For was a requisite component for working and getting fed, sheltered, and clothed.

But the first hurdle for my obstinance was when I dove deep into the world of Samuel Gragg’s Elastic Chairs.  There is simply no way to construct these without having a boat load of jigs for every step of the journey, from preparing the stock to steam-bending the parts to sculpting the seat rails and crest rail, through the ultimate assembly.  I spent dozens of hours in that research trying many different schemes for the jigs involved.

When I started down the path of making a scaled-down version of the Gragg chair for L’il T I had hoped to have it done long ago, but then life interfered and I’ve just now returned to the shop after almost three months’ absence.  I finally completed the inventory of jigs needed and will now turn my attention to prepping the hand-riven stock.

I’ve still got six weeks before his birthday…

Stay tuned.

Categories: Hand Tools

road trip......

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 02/05/2024 - 2:46am

 The local Woodcraft store in RI lost its lease several years ago. The owners of the franchise either didn't want to find another store to lease or they just said No Mas. The closest Woodcraft to me now is in Walpole Ma which is 46 miles one way from my house. I went there today to get some hinges. ACE, Lowes, and Home Depot didn't have any no mortise hinges (I couldn't find any at Lowes/HD). The ones at ACE were too large for my application. It was a nice change of scenery for a sunday for me.


I went with a generous margin on the sides and the top. The drawer will be partially under the shelf and I don't want it to bind on me.

 dry fit but.....

It went together off the saw and it is now something that I expect to happen. The back edge needs to be trimmed some. I purposely it wide until after the drawer was together and I could mark for where the drawer slip would be placed.

 2nd dry fit

I made a slight error in marking the drawer slip making the back about an 1/8" too short. No biggie and it will never be seen and it if is seen, I doubt anyone would question it. Got this one glued and cooking before lunch. After lunch I went on my road trip.

 bought them all

I would have bought more of the far left hinge but the two packages left didn't have any screws (typical for chinese made hinges). The next two to the right are for the current cabinet build and the other 3 will go in the hinge bin.

 the 2nd drawer

Got a good fit and I did better on the half pins this go around. The first drawer was as good fitting as this one.

 gap on the left

Still clueless as to why it is the left side half pin that I have gaps with. I get them on the right too but the ratio for that is 10 to 1 or better.

back trim needed

I sawed off most of the waste and left it a bit proud on both drawers. After they have cooked I will flush them to the sides.

 fits backwards

Because the back top is proud, it wouldn't fit in the drawer going in the correct way.

 glued and cooking

#2 needed some assistance from the clamps. A couple of the tails weren't fully seating. The clamps closed up the gaps. 

I met my goal of getting the drawers glued and cooking today. I will do the slips tomorrow and tackle getting the hinges on the doors. I also have to figure out knobs or something else for opening/closing the two drawers.

accidental woodworker


Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 02/04/2024 - 2:59am

 We finally had a sunny day. The past week plus has been filled with gray overcast cloudy days usually with rain. The temp wasn't that warm (39F/4C) but it was nice walking weather. Tomorrow and monday is supposed to be sunny too but the temps are only going to be in the high 30s to low 40s F (4-6C). I'll take the days as they come.

 happy face on

The bottom of the doors are laying on the stop and they ain't rocking or moving at all. I tried this last night before I hit the rack. I couldn't wait until the AM to check it out.


The doors aren't flush but the amount of proud is pretty even top to bottom. I planed the rabbets a wee bit deeper to flush the doors.

 gap is too small

You would have thought I would ever say that a gap is too small? I want a gap here so the doors will swing open/close freely.  The top and bottom overhang may play stupid wood tricks and curl downward into the door's swing zone.

 door stop

With the rabbet in both doors, they both fully share the 3/4" width of it.

bottom fit

There will be gap at the bottom of the doors too but the bottom doesn't have a door stop rail to hide it like the top does. The first step was to plane the bottom edges of the doors parallel to the bottom of the carcass.

 good enough for now

The gap is slightly larger at the top than the bottom. I am holding off on the final gap until after the hinges are installed. That way I will have a better idea of the door swing and how much clearance I need.

 not my first choice

Going with no mortise hinges due to the thickness of the doors (5/8"). The screws going into the door will have to be shortened as they are too long as is.

 pencil line

The tops of doors aren't straight across with each other (left was higher). The pencil line is parallel to the underside of the top and that is what I planed the two doors down to.

 don't like these hinges

The biggest headache I have with these hinges (especially ones from China) are the screws supplied with them.The countersink in hinges is usually too small or non existent. Impossible for the hinges to close fully. I experimented and practiced screwing the hinges together. I want to work any bugs out in scrap before I commit to the doors.

The first one I did a slight mortise for the hinge and it didn't work. I made it a frog hair shy of the thickness of the hinge but it was still hinge bound. On to experiment #2.


This gap is acceptable because it won't be seen as you face the cabinet and use it. It isn't that big and the two hinges make it consistent top to bottom.

The hinge barrel isn't making full contact along its length with the edge. One screw didn't go in dead nuts even and plumb. That kicked one corner of the hinge barrel off the edge. This would also cause headaches with opening/closing the doors.

 Stanley hinge gizmo

This sits in the countersink and you hit it with a hammer. Supposedly the gizmo self centers in the countersink. Hitting it sends a rod into the hinge hole and a punched hole for the screw. It didn't work for me. One hole was centered but the other one was offset and in the wrong direction.

 left hole

Definitely not even remotely centered. A screw in this would skew this half of the hinge. I think the problem with the Stanley gizmo is that it is a wee bit too big for this countersink.

 blurry pic

Let me decipher it for you. The left side of the hinge is kicked up a 32nd or more. That makes this hinge toast IMO.

 3rd attempt

Still missing the target. The short leaf part of the hinge is slightly off and there is a misalignment between the two wooden parts. It is slight but it is enough to show up and make the doors look like crap.

 4th try

I double, triple checked to make sure that my pre drilled hole was centered and  that I screwed in the screw as plumb as I possibly could do it.

 hinge leaf is wonky

The two hinge pairs aren't the same but they are close. This set of two has both hinges with a bend in them. Which is another headache with these no mortise hinges or these ones. The metal isn't that stiff and I have seen tightening the screw dish the hinge leaves. I flattened this set out on the anvil and then decided that I didn't mix and match these hinges. 

 hinge choice #3

I am not a fan of laying hinges on the outside edges and having the entire hinge exposed. These are ok-ish and would work but I nixed them. They are stopped hinges and I want to be able to fully open the doors on this cabinet.

 hinge choice #4

I wouldn't be averse to using Soss hinges on this cabinet but the doors are too thin. The only drill bit I have to install these is a brad point bit and the center point and spurs would punch through to the other side. I have 8mm Soss hinges but they aren't strong enough to handle the size of the doors.

red neck clamping

It worked so don't laugh at me. I needed to plane a rabbet on the sides for the half blind dovetails for the drawers.

 went the wrong way

I confused myself on this wanting to minimize the amount of end grain showing. I should have made the two tails wider. Instead I made the pin socket bigger. I'll finish up the drawers in the AM. I killed the lights here.

accidental woodworker

where's winter.........

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 02/03/2024 - 3:02am

 Today is ground hog day. I haven't checked in with Punxsutawney Phil yet to see what the next 6 weeks are going to be like. I can't imagine it being any worse than what the proceeding 5-6 weeks have been. On my walks I have seen trees and shrubs already starting to bud. Not complaining but winters sure haven't been what I remember as a kid. I can still recall snow and frozen ponds after thanksgiving.

 ready to unclamp

I bought a roll of garbage bags for this box and I can't find them. I can remember sledding as a 8 year old but not where I put garbage bags less than 24 hours previously.

#2 ready to shed clamps

No surprises taking the clamps off of the cabinet. I thought I might have had a hiccup with the fixed shelf. I only got a clamp on the front edge and nothing on the back. There is a gap there but I can't see if there is one at the front.

on a clean bench

One habit I have gotten into is putting away tools on the bench before I kill the lights. I have lost a few small tools in the past and I don't want to repeat of any of that. If the bench had been dirty and covered with shavings, I would have put away all the toys first.

fingers crossed with the doors

doesn't look promising

The left looks to be straight but the right one appears to have some run out at the far end.


The doors aren't even and flush across the faces. The proud runs from flush at the bottom to almost an 1/8" inch at the top. After snapping this pic I realized that the left one was laying on the hamper's hinges.

 lots of real estate

I made the bottom a little wider than necessary. I did it so after the doors are opened one could put spice jars there while searching.

looks are deceiving

The doors look good vertically but they aren't. Both of them are rocking. I was expecting one to ok and one toast but not both.

top door stop rail

I am not gluing this in place. I may have to take it out to install magnets for the holding the door(s) closed.

 big arse gap

Both doors are rocking with the left door being the worse one.

right door

It lays flat on the top edge of the side. I have it aligned with it and it looks to be square/parallel to the top and bottom. 

not twisted

I put my 3 foot winding sticks across the top and bottom of the cabinet. I don't see any twist in the carcass. Wanted to check and make sure the cabinet wasn't shaking hands with the doors.

 garbage box

The bottom was twist free but the top wasn't. Two runs around the top with a plane removed the high corners.

 shelf pins

I have had made a lot of pine bookcases end up with ugly shelf pin holes. Soft pine doesn't support the plain pin and it will eventually elongate the hole. I like the shelf pin cups and I glued them into the holes with fish glue.


I didn't think this all the way through. I wanted the shelves to be inset from the front edge by a 1/2". That puts the shelf pin way too close to the front edge of the shelf. Moving the shelf pin inboard isn't an option so I made two new shelves.

 small notch

I like to notch the underside of the shelves for the pins. It keeps the shelf in place and keeps it from moving when things are taken or placed on it.


There is nothing at the bottom of the cabinet to act as a stop for the doors. In fact the right hand door has barely any rocking at all. It was falling down here at the bottom when I was checking it. I am going to try and make the doors work as is. I have had to deal with worse situations than this.

 door switch

The rabbet plane fence moved on me during the first run down this door.  This was the right door and was underneath door. I am planing a rabbet on both edges so you can't see past them into the cabinet when the doors are closed. So the right door will now be the left one and the left one promoted to the right.

 right door is proud

I was ready to give up these doors. Trying to fit two wonky doors can have you sitting in a corner crying real fast. On the bright side the 1/2 notch came out spot on. The doors are flush to the outside edges and there is a 32nd of a gap where the doors meet.

another twist test

I laid the level at 4 spots going from the top to the bottom. The level read the same at all four spots. That told me that the frame isn't twisted because if it was the level would not have read the same.

 needs to be built out

Another thing I didn't think all the way through. I should have made the bottom shelf flush with the front edge - that would have been a continuous door stop like at the top.

 sawing out a door stop

I didn't want the door stop to be a square piece of scrap. I wanted something with curves and this is want I came up with.

 I like it

Can't use this one because it is too thick. It a 1/4" too thick and I didn't think of this before I sawed it out. 

 used the second half

The offcut from it was spot on for the thickness. To my eye this looks a 100% better than a square piece of stock.

too short

I feel like I'm writing a three bears story. First it was too fat and now it isn't tall enough.


Noticed this while making this door stop. If I make it taller it will hide this hiccup. It looks like a clamp divot?


The new one in place and the second one I made to the right.

 drawer stock

The front is a 1/2" thick and the sides and backs are 3/8". The thin rectangular pieces are the drawer slips. I made an extra set of them because I am thinking of  two different slips. Haven't decided on which one yet.

 first idea

Is to make these slips like the ones on the 15 drawer dresser. Idea #2 is to make the bottom panel flush with the slip.

it will be done today

I have 2 coats on it now and I'll put on two more before I hit the rack. I don't have to find where I hid my garbage bags because the wife bought some.

 ready for shellac

I am tempted to mix up some more gossamer shellac so all the drawers look the same color on the interiors. But when the drawers are closed I don't think to do it. Film and updates on the 11o'clock news.

accidental woodworker


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