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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

An aggregate of many different woodworking blog feeds from across the 'net all in one place!  These are my favorite blogs that I read everyday...


For the benefit of Mr. Dick

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Sat, 07/26/2014 - 5:24am

It has come to my attention that some people out there don’t like when I happen to disagree with one of their woodworking idols; in this instance Paul Sellers. I’ll say this again, for the record: I like what Paul Sellers does, I think he is a great woodworker and a great teacher. I DO NOT agree with everything he says. In fact, there are quite a few woodworking professionals that I like but don’t always agree with: EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM.

I don’t always agree with everything that everybody says. I don’t always agree with the Federal Government; I don’t always agree with paying $15 to park at a public venue; I don’t always agree with the salaries that professional athletes make; I don’t always agree with my wife. Does all this mean that I hate all of these things and I am trying to destroy them or “tear them down”. No, it means that I think for myself and I have an opinion, and sometimes my opinion is that they are dead wrong.

I don’t know everything I will be the first to admit, but neither does anybody else. There is very little new under the sun, and we are all standing on the shoulders of those who came before us in many instances. So to make the assumption that any one person is the end-all, be-all final say on a topic is just foolish. And to believe that another person’s opinion is fact is also asinine.

I think for myself, I have an opinion; that is why I write a blog about woodworking. If you don’t agree with my opinion I don’t care. If you want to tell me that you don’t agree with my opinion I’m happy to listen. But nobody is going to convince me that there is a perfect woodworker out there whose methods and opinions are beyond question. If you feel that person or persons exists then I’m happy for you. The best thing to do in that situation may be taking all of those lovely thoughts and feelings about this particular person or persons and putting them into a blog of your own.

Categories: General Woodworking

Black Friday in July at Shop Woodworking

Matt's Basement Workshop - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 6:23pm

Shop Woodworking is having their “Black Friday in July” Sale. Save up to 40% off Storewide when you use coupon code Summer40 at checkout.

It’s a great opportunity to save big while picking up all those great titles and videos you’ve been wanting for a long time now. Hurry though, the sale ends 07/28/2014!

Click on the banner above or on this link to visit the “Black Friday in July Sale”

Help support the show – please visit our advertisers

Categories: Hand Tools

Anatomy of a Blade

Hand Made In Wood - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 6:00pm
On the subject of small metal plough and combination planes, (Record/Stanley 45/405/55 and the smaller Record 043, 044 050 etc.),   I recall reading recently that sharpening the sides of a modern metal plough (or combination) plane iron to provide a sharp aris was bad news. The reason provided was that there’s a danger of the sideways …

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Categories: Hand Tools

Part 6: Filling the guts of your Dutch Tool Chest-Tool rack

Hand Tool Journey - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 4:15pm

For those of you who enjoy making lots of mistakes and finding out after hours of work that your tool placement won’t work, I highly recommend that you dive right in to making your rack and don’t bother with a prototype.

I don’t enjoy that process, so I very much bothered with a prototype. This allowed me to firm up a number of dimensions while simultaneously avoiding nasty mistakes.

I began by laying out all the tools I wanted to put in the rack onto my workbench. Then, starting from the left, I began to lay out holes for the tools in the order listed below. I hate retrieving tools from cramped spaces, so I determined that I wanted ½” of space on each side of every tool/handle. There wasn’t enough room to house all the tools I originally intended, so I culled the least used among them.

Chisel holes: The recommended ½” holes were too small to comfortably (for me) secure my Woodriver bench chisels. I found that I preferred 5/8” holes. Four of my chisels are wider than the 5/8” holes, so the prototype allowed me to work out the “wing” slots to accommodate them.


Awl hole: For the awl, I drilled a hole just large enough to accommodate the shaft, and countersunk a 3/8” deep hole to fit the ferule. Once docked, it stays snug and secure.


Wheel cutting gauge hole: The prototype caught what would have been a big mistake. My wheel gauge is too wide to fully seat into the suggested 1” wide rack. To overcome this issue I did two things. I increased the width of the tool rack and I drilled the hole for the gauge forward of the center line. See the picture above.

All-in-one-screwdriver-hole: I saved precious rack space for other tools by choosing to install one of those ratchet, all-in-one screwdrivers with interchangeable heads. The shaft is ½” in diameter so the driver fits perfectly and snugly into the ½” hole I drilled for it.


Marking knife hole: At the drill press, I cut a series of 1/8” wide holes to create the slot for my shop-made marking knife. I cleaned up the slot with a chisel and drilled a countersink hole ½” wide by ½” deep to snugly retain the knife.


Bevel gauge and combination square slots: I used the same process described above to create slots for these tools.


Installing the rack
To avoid all manner of frustration and forgo teaching the neighbor kids some choice words, I suggest that you use “scaffolding” to determine the placement of your rack. Simply cut two pieces of pine scrap to an estimated length, position them vertically to the rear of your upper compartment and place your tool rack on top of them.


Then load up your panel saws and tool-rack tools and see if you can close the lid. Rinse and repeat until everything fits and closes properly.

Now, before you drill any holes, ADD your backsaw till, load your saws and tool rack and position the till so that it’s not bumping into anything.

P24-Dutch-Tool-Chest-Checking-Rack-and-Till-for-fit P26-Dutch-Tool-Chest-Tool-Rack-Wheel-Gauge-Saw-Till

Once you’re satisfied with everything, THEN drill holes to screw your rack and till into place.


For the rack, I placed one screw in each end and one in the back. I used screws to secure the backsaw till by drilling and countersinking holes through the jack/smoother divider slat.

With that done, it was time to add some drawers. And that is the subject of my next post.

© 2014, Brad Chittim, all rights reserved.

Categories: Hand Tools

International Symposium WoodSciCraft 2014

FABULA LIGNARIUS - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 4:09pm
Between 8 & 12 September there will be a unique international event at the university in Montpellier in the south of France. It is a weeklong symposium about wood sciences bridging the gap between craftsmen and the academic world. The event is described as:  WoodSciCraft 2014 aims to create a gathering between wood scientists and […]
Categories: Hand Tools

Doctor Robert

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 3:54pm

When I was an actual musician I used to pride myself on the rather small rig I used to play live. It was very simple: a direct box, a compressor, an EQ, and a tuner, to go along with my speaker and head. When I first started playing live I used a much larger rig, but that got old real quick. There wasn’t much fun in breaking down a boatload of (sometimes heavy) music equipment and loading it into a beat-up van at 5am after playing music and drinking beer for 9 hours. But the pride I felt wasn’t necessarily because of the small size of my set-up, but because I had managed to achieve a very good sound.

I spent the first year of my “live” career tweaking my guitar along with the compressor and the EQ. I had a very specific sound that I wanted, and it took a lot of trial and error before I found it. I knew guys that would walk on stage, plug in their bass and start playing. Sometimes it sounded okay, but most of the time it didn’t, no matter how much talent they had. I didn’t want to be that guy, so I continued to work at it whenever I got the chance. I knew that I had found success when other bass players, some fairly well known in the area, would approach me after a gig and asked to check out my rig. But that didn’t mean that I always was a bare-bones type of musician; I had many musical toys to play with at home, and I would spend hours recording songs, playing the keyboards, and adding every whacked out effect I could think of to the mix. It was fun. I like to believe that woodworking and music are similar disciplines. There are the tools you need to get started, but there are also the tools you want just to play with and have a little fun, just like in music.

About a month or so ago I had contacted Josh Clark at Hyper Kitten inquiring about a moving fillister plane. Josh informed me that he didn’t have any good examples in stock at the moment but if he came upon one he would contact me. So I was pleasantly surprised when I received an email last week from Josh showing me two planes in good condition and both reasonably priced. I chose one, Josh mailed it to me to inspect it, and I liked what I found, so I decided to purchase it.

I’ve wanted a moving fillister plane ever since I’ve been watching Roy Underhill. Of course, there are several ways to make a fillister without using a dedicated plane, but there is something about the look of the plane that I’ve always loved. Ordering it for me was a no brainer. It arrived in good shape, but in need of a little work. I removed every part of the plane that was removable and gave it a good cleaning. The one disappointment was the plane iron. There was no pitting or rust, but it appeared that the previous owner sharpened it with a grinding wheel of some kind. I don’t believe in grinding wheels, in particular if you really don’t know how to use one properly. The good news is that the back was flat with just a slight hollow. I began the honing process using a 1000 grit stone, though I probably should have used the 220 grit. In any event, I did manage to get a nice, and very sharp edge on it, though it took some time. The bevel of the iron could still use some work. Luckily, whomever the poor sharpener was, he at least didn’t screw up the front of the bevel, and his poor grinding was restricted to the back where it isn’t much of an issue. Still, one of these days I will really go at it and do a full regrind, by hand of course.

Plane as it looked out of the box

Plane as it looked out of the box

The iron, nicker, and corresponding wedges

The iron, nicker, and corresponding wedges

Plane after a good cleaning

Plane after a good cleaning

Dado width adjuster after a cleaning

Dado width adjuster after a cleaning

While I was at it, I also completely removed all of the brass from the plane, depth stop, depth stop adjuster, and the screws, and gave them a good polishing as well. I also sharpened the nicker and gave the wedges a light sanding and cleaning. I finished it all off with a coat of wax. On a side note, I removed the width adjuster to check out the sole. The sole was flat, but it did have some gook and grime on it, so I decided that I would give it a light sanding. I placed three sheets of sandpaper on my table saw: 100 grit, 150 grit, 220 grit, and proceeded to give the sole a nice clean-up. When I finished, I found something a bit scary; the wood on the sole looked absolutely beautiful. I then gave it a coating of linseed oil and it looked even better. I know that it is some sort of blasphemy to take the patina from an old and beautiful plane such as this one, but I am really tempted to do just that: sand the whole thing down, and re-coat it with the oil, and make it look brand new again.

Whatever I do, I’ve found that being a plane doctor is pretty fun. I’ve enjoyed taking these old tools, cleaning them up, fixing what I could, and putting them back to usable condition. Not that there is a whole lot to it, you only need a plane that was well made in the first place, the ability to sharpen, a little mechanical aptitude, and a little patience.

I’ve also found that the wooden planes I have worked with have been much easier to rehab than the old metal planes I’ve come across. While I still can’t call myself a traditionalist by any stretch, I am a huge wooden plane fan. My success so far has made me consider purchasing some more old wooden planes and attempting to fix those up as well. Fortunately, they are still available, and the cost is usually reasonable. Over the next few months I can see myself doing more and more of this type of work. As of today, the doctor is in.

Categories: General Woodworking

Home for a little while; bowls & spoons

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 2:42pm

I got home from Maine trip #2 on Sunday night. Monday kinda floundered, then on Tues it was off to a small island off the coast of America to see Heather & Pat. Heather’s show was outstanding as usual. Here’s one of my favorites, but the web doesn’t do it justice by half. The light in it is amazing. 

Coat Guard Crow

(go to Heather’s blog and click on the paintings to see ‘em larger, then click the quill/feather in the teacup to read the notes) http://heatherneill.com/studio-blog/ 

here’s the gallery’s page of Heather’s work http://www.granarygallery.com/searchresults.php?page=1&artistId=11674&artist=Heather+Neill&start=1

kids & HN

we had a great, whirlwind one-day trip. Then back home to attempt to develop some routine or the semblance of one. Wednesday I mostly worked on hewn bowls; then Thursday spoons. today some of each.

bowl day

bowl day

The great part about spoon day is I can take it outside, and have the kids with me. The river, the birds – what could be better? 

spoon day

spoon day

I have used ring-porous woods like oak, ash and hickory all my working days. I rarely have made spoons or bowls from ring porous woods because they split so easily. But sometimes I throw the rules out the window & see what happens. Catalpa is a very light-weight hardwood. I have made a couple of bowls from it before, and I had one small one kicking around ready to be finished.

catalpa end grain

catalpa end grain


Here’s the one from way back when; and the post it came from. One of the horrible things about keeping this blog is all my unfinished stuff is still there, taunting me:  http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/?s=catalpa

catalpa bowl back at the museum

I remember southern visitors to the museum telling me about the fishermen who loved catalpa trees for the worms that ate the foliage – great bait. some said the best. They called it “catawba” – but it’s the same tree. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catalpa    I am lately reading To Kill a Mockingbird, and it’s in there, “…the class was wriggling like a bucketful of catawba worms…”  Turns out that Catawba is a name of both the tree and a group of Native people in the Carolinas, and someone made a mistake with the tree’s name, and we ended up with catalpa. I always knew it as the cigar tree, because of the long seed pods. we used to whip them around when we were kids.

catalpa bowl

catalpa bowl 2

The other ring-porous wood I have to sample lately is really rare – American Chestnut. Or so I’m told. It was a tree planted about 15 years ago; and got some trimming done recently. It’s healthy now…but time will tell. Chances are it will succumb to the blight that all but wiped out the American Chestnut. http://www.acf.org/

It’s not a great wood for spoons, quite the opposite I would expect, but I have some small limbs and will see what happens. It’s high in tannic acid, turned my tools black as quick as you please.

chestnut end grain


The first birch bowl I was making sold before I could really get it here on the blog…but now I have finished the next 2 birch bowls, just applied flax oil to them today. I’ll post them for sale in the next day or 2. The first one is the most common orientation of the bowl in the split blank – the rim of the bowl is the inner wide surface of the halved log. Then I carved some gouge-cut decoration along the upper edge of each side. 

birch bowl right side up overall

birch bowl right side up

The next one is what I call “upside-down” – you hew the split face of the log and make that the bottom of the bowl. I learned this from Drew Langsner, who learned it from his Swedish friends. Smaller bowl, but lots of fun with the shapes. 

birch bowl upside down overall

birch bowl upside down detail


There’s still a few spoons left on the etsy site – don’t be daunted by Etsy. it’s easy to sign up, free too.  https://www.etsy.com/shop/PeterFollansbee



Plastering Workshop

FABULA LIGNARIUS - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 2:31pm
The plastering workshop held in our backyard was a great succes and there where two reasons for this. First of all we had a great teacher Gerrit Van den Dries guiding us all weekend and passionately sharing his lifelong experiences in the most delightful way. His not only great with loam but foremost he is […]
Categories: Hand Tools

Another Greenville, Another Magic Mart

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 2:20pm


People gripe about traveling abroad, especially for work. I don’t get it. Here is how it’s done.

1. Take yourself on a “date.” Jet lag is easy to conquer with modern chemistry. I tell people that I give myself a “roofie” before I fly across the globe. First I take myself out for a nice dinner – in this case an overheated Mexican craphole in a New Jersey airport. And I order extra salsa – in this case they brought ketchup.



Then I get myself a nice girlie drink, the ones that come with either a paper umbrella or a glittery tube top. And, after telling myself how irresistible I am, I slip myself a few pills while I’m not looking. Two ibuprofen and two Benadryl.


With the help of this concoction I can sleep all the way across the Atlantic while a 6-year-old ninja goes all Donatello on the back of my seat.

2. Don’t nap. When I land I behave like I’m on local time. I stay up as late as I can the first day I am there and crash hard. After that, the trick is to never stop swimming.

3. Embrace everything. When I teach, I always round up the students to go out in the evenings to get dinner and a couple of drinks. We usually enlist a local to help us find a cheap dive with good food, good beer and a goodly amount of patience with loud-mouthed woodworkers. Tell bad jokes. Stay up too late. Crash hard. Repeat.

And never say “no” when you are invited to do something with the locals. The best way to see a new place is through the eyes of a resident. The worst way to see it is from the seat of a tour bus.

The week I’ve been at Warwickshire College, teaching a class in building “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” for the New English Workshop. We’re in a nice little town called Leamington Spa outside Birmingham. The place is awash in Georgian architecture, quaint little shops and just enough pubs to get us into trouble.

It has been a remarkable week for many reasons.

This is my first course in England and the first course for New English Workshop. It’s a great little company run by Derek Jones and Paul Mayon that seeks to really honestly and truly prop up the craft.

Here’s one example: The tool chest I’ve built for the course will be auctioned off by David Stanley Auctions while it is full of incredible tools donated by toolmakers all over the world (Karl Holtey, Veritas, Bad Axe Toolworks and many others – a complete list to come). All the proceeds from that auction will go back to Warwickshire College to support its furniture-making program.

I’ll have more details on the auction as we get closer to the date.


As a nice gesture, I had all 18 students sign the underside of the tool chest. That should confuse some future tool collector.

The other great thing about the course has been getting to know the students, many of whom I’ve corresponded with via e-mail. One of the highest of the highlights was getting to meet Kieran Binnie, a luthier, woodworker, music lover and history nut.

Kieran runs the Over the Wireless blog, where he discusses woodworking, building guitars and martial arts and somehow blends them all into a very interesting and readable mix. Oh, and his guitars are gorgeous. Do subscribe to his blog. And read more about Kieran on Chris Hughes’ blog at Artifact Bag. And check out this Telecaster he built. Must. Resist.

A dozen of the 19 chests we built in five days.

A dozen of the 19 chests we built in five days.

As we loaded up the 18 students’ chests today, I marveled that we got so much work done in only five days (and without a single stomach pumping and only one instance of barfing). When woodworkers build a serious tool chest it is usually the point where they give themselves over to the craft. You can see that after five hard (nay, brutal) days of dovetailing under extreme time pressure, that each person has become a little different. And it’s not just the odd smell.

Building such a difficult piece in a short period of time gives them the confidence they can do a lot of other things in the craft. And it can be done quickly and precisely.

So this blog entry has gone on far too long. I’ve got another date tonight. This time with a pillow and an unplugged alarm clock.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: The Anarchist's Tool Chest, Woodworking Classes
Categories: Hand Tools

Scrub Planes From Common #4 Smoothing Planes

Paul Sellers - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 2:02pm


Special planes developed for roughing off coarse, rough-sawn, undulating surfaces were developed by the Stanley Rule and Level Company in the late 1890s. This short-lived, little-needed development resulted in a series of planes known as firring planes and scrub planes. The more commonly used of the two plane types is one we know as the scrub plane. This plane is no longer made by Stanley but it was most likely one of the crudest and skimpiest bare-bones plane Stanley ever made. 

A scrub plane is a simple plane with none of the complexities associated with the normal metal cast planes we know today. You can achieve excellent results with #4 Stanleys and Records or any other #4 including the heavyweights retrofitted with a thinner iron. 


I think that this video gives the steps to a good alternative scrub plane and one that really works on any wood.



The post Scrub Planes From Common #4 Smoothing Planes appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Best Traditional Woodworking Books & DVDs: “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” by Christopher Schwarz

Wood and Shop - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 1:28pm


In my above video I share a must-have book for new and seasoned traditional woodworkers: “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” by Christopher Schwarz.


“The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” is one of my absolute favorite books on the subject of traditional woodworking. Chris Scwharz displays his unfiltered humor, and no-nonsense approach to modern day woodworking anarchism: (1) build your own quality furniture instead of buying throw-away furniture and (2) stop collecting too many tools. A simple chest of heirloom quality tools is sufficient to build furniture that will last several lifetimes.


The pages are filled with unbelievably detailed research on what to look for when buying your woodworking hand tools. The chapters are broken up by different woodworking hand tool types. The book wraps up with plans & instructions on how to build the Anarchist’s Tool Chest. Chris Schwarz has created a literal movement of people who are building these tool chests and filling them with quality woodworking hand tools. Here is the Woodwright’s Shop episode where Chris Schwarz shows the Anarchist’s Tool chest to Roy Underhill:

I am especially grateful for Christopher Schwarz’s advice on “what not to buy”. This book has become a reference guide to me, that I return to on a regular basis.


I recommend that you read “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” through once (with a highlighter) and then keep it close by as a reference manual.


The beautiful bound cover & pages are nice enough to display in my living room…although it rarely gets far from my workbench.

You can buy “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest” book at this link.

You can also buy the accompanying DVD at this link. In the DVD Chris actually pulls all of his tools out of his strong yet beautiful “Anarchist’s Tool Chest” and gives a brief explanation about why he purchased each tool. Here’s the DVD trailer:

I give this book 5 chisels up…way up!




The Making Of A Traditional Wooden Moulding / Molding Plane

Caleb James Chairmaker Planemaker - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 11:26am
I was having a little fun with a new app on my phone that allows me to take a time lapse video. So, I decided to do a video of me making a moulding plane. Unfortunately, I didn't have enough memory on my phone to do the whole process. Didn't realize this until I was completely done.

Anyhow, this is a little time lapse video of me making the plane from the point of the blank being roughed out to the initial fitting of the wedge. This is probably about 1/6th of the plane making process not including the time to cut the tree, process the log and dry the wood. Nor does it account for iron work or the heat treating process. So in other words it is a snippet of the process but gives you a taste of what is involved.

As you can see, lots of hand work is involved. I would estimate that about 95% of the making of these planes is with hand tools. I use a chainsaw to process the log into manageable sections from the log and then to the bandsaw to take it down to smaller blanks. Then to the kiln for slow drying.

Once it is dried I size the blank on the table saw and cut the shoulder there as well. The wedge is roughed out at the table saw as well on a jig. One of only two jigs for the entire process. Everything after that is done with hand tools all the way to the finish.

All surfaces are left straight from a cutting tool. Either plane, chisel or card scraper. The only exception is truing the final profile with sandpaper to tune it.


Categories: Hand Tools

Recent Pipes

The Literary Workshop Blog - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 11:15am

I’ve spent quite a bit of time this summer making more pipes.  I learn a little bit (and sometimes a lot) with each one I’ve made recently.

Pipe #28 Briar CW Plateaux 2014 --4 Pipe #26 Briar Curchwarden Giants Chimney 2014- - 2 Pipe #27 Briar Gothic Ruin  2014- - 7

I’ve been experimenting with layering different stains on top of each other, and I think I’ve finally found a process that works.  The idea is to sand the wood to a fairly fine grit, apply a dark dye, and then once it dries, sand back the wood evenly but not too much.  Then I apply a lighter dye.  The result is that the darker dye penetrates more in some places than in others, highlighting the variations in the grain.  I then sand to my finest grit and apply a coat of Danish oil to prevent the dye coming off in the user’s hand.  Last comes a coat of wax.

I’m planning to try some traditional shapes next, just to hone my skills.  And while I enjoy working with briar, I hope to experiment with some alternative woods as well.

Some of the pipes above are available at my Etsy shop.

Tagged: briar, Danish oil, stain, tobacco pipe, wood dye

Hewing Day

Inside the Oldwolf Workshop - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 7:10am
I received an email from a friend earlier this month. Tom Latane was interested in gathering a small group of like-minded folks to spend a day hewing wood with adzes. How do you say no to that?

So two weeks ago, on a cloudy, slightly stormy Saturday morning I gathered a couple axes, wedges, and a thermos of coffee and drove to Tom's shop in Pepin Wisconsin and met the two other gentlemen who decided to join us that day. From there it was a quick drive to the small parcel of woods Tom owns outside the town.

We started by busting apart a cherry log for a couple of us to share. I always fin this to be great fun and super satisfying. Then we all got to work with adzes, each on our own individual logs.

I've never found an adze in what I considered good enough shape to buy it so I had no real experience using one. The concept of swinging a horizontal axe blade in the vicinity of your lower legs and feet flies in the face of the modern, child-proof bottle cap, safety-litigation-congregation's standards. But like anything you have to be smart and keep your head in the game. Pay attention to what's safe and what's not as you're working, think through your actions before you take a swing, and you're fine.

The nice thing is the other guys all brought a nice variety of adze styles along and I took a bit of time with all of them, getting a feel for what I liked and didn't.

While the three of us worked, flattening slabs for benches. Tom worked hewing round logs square for timber framing.

It rained on and off at times, which was refreshing though we didn't get very wet at all under the heavy tree canopy.

When the day was finished I had a new blister and a cherry slab about 3" thick 15" wide on the top side, and a little over 3' long. We all loaded up and took off. The next day I was exhausted, with sore muscles I'd long forgotten I owned, but I still managed to waddle out to the shop and work on the slab some more.

I started by planing the bottom completely flat. I use metal bodied Stanley planes in most of my work, but I find for green work like this, a wooden body plane is superior in feel and function.

With the bottom set, I ran a marking gauge over the ends and snapped some chalk lines to get a uniform thickness to the top. The slab is giving me about 2 1/2". I took a hewing axe and brought the thickness down close, then planed some of the roughness away. I didn't bother getting carried away because I want to give the seat a dish out, like a Windsor chair seat.

I did some dishing, then set the slab aside. I have lots of other work and can't eat the distraction for more than a weekend right now and the slab needs to season a little before I work it some more. I have these visions in my mind of a cross between a Windsor and a Norwegian Sengebenk.

We'll see how that works out.

Ratione et Passionis
Categories: General Woodworking

Hi there, what's the best site to identify Japanese chisel black smiths and the makers ? Hope to hear from you soon. Kind regards.

Giant Cypress - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 7:08am

Japan Tool and Iida Tool have good high quality pictures of a number of chisels.

Daiku Dojo has a gallery of Japanese planes identified by maker. This gallery is for planes, so this probably won’t help you with chisels.

But beyond that, there’s not much in the way of a field guide to Japanese tool stamps. I always keep in mind that back in Japan and historically, there are a lot more blacksmiths than we see here in the U.S., so it wouldn’t be unusual to find a Japanese tool with a stamp that is not immediately recognizable. In addition, sometimes blacksmiths would stamp their tools with their particular mark, but also make a secondary line with a different stamp, and it sometimes wouldn’t be clear that the two lines of tools were made by the same blacksmith.

Woodworking in America Speakers – Phil Lowe

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 6:45am

The third Woodworking in America 2014 (WIA) speaker to be profiled is Phil Lowe. In 2005, he too won the Society of American Period Furniture Maker’s Cartouche award (an honor bestowed by the Society to Master Craftsman who have illustrated the highest standard of education, resource, and applied venue for historical appreciation). He is also the second presenter who taught at North Bennett Street in Boston; he spent a decade […]

The post Woodworking in America Speakers – Phil Lowe appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Lifestyle From a Lifestyle Woodworker

Paul Sellers - Fri, 07/25/2014 - 1:53am

Lifestyles Encompasses Work

I have always pursued work as a lifestyle, partly because I always needed to work to earn a living and partly because I always need to work – there’s a difference. I need work because I love it, I don’t love work because I need it you see. Getting up in the morning and going to work stimulates much of my early morning before I leave for the shop. As a boy I rode my bike or walked a couple of miles to work through cobblestone streets, rain, snow, sleet and occasional sunshine. I left at 7am and looked forward to stoking the boiler, reading the newspaper as the heat built up and then the banter that went back and forth over the morning news between theme I worked under. When other boys clambered over the stacks of newly milled window and door parts I walked around them, stared at them, picked them up and smelled them one by one. Oak, Kerruing, Merranti, Hemlock, Spruce, Walnut and more wood types were new smells to me and imbibing multidimensionally seemed to satisfy the very soul of my newfound craft. I savoured each different smell and retained the new knowledge as I asked about the woods from foreign climes. Rot resistant kerruing for window sills and sills to doorways. Ugly, dark, wiry, stringy, coarse-grained wood hard to work with planes, gummy substances exuding with every stroke of my plane and sticking the sole to the wood itself. I’m 15 years old, skinny, so skinny, and I am looking into every nook and cranny for new things to learn about wood.

Man and Boy
Some of the men were full of themselves whilst others had humility and peace about them. Some were crude and vulgar, others quiet and refined. All of them could work wood well. No, all of them could work wood very well. When a machine failed to make a cut for whatever reason they would do it with hand tools just as well an effectively but with more strain on their bodies. The difference between woodworkers then and now is that they could do it by hand, knew exactly the right tool to use and nothing ever stopped the work being done. One time, when I was too cocky in myself, I said something out of order to an older man of around 40. He lunged at me over the bench, grabbed my lapels and lifted me off my feet as he pulled my skinny frame up until his nose touched mine. He remonstrated, “If you ever say anything like that again I will kill you.” I felt the truth in what he said as he dumped me on the benchtop. Respect became mine as I saw the boundary I had crossed. It took a few months before things were healed between us and the past forgotten.
The Boy Finds His Place
Knowing my place became obvious in the first few weeks as everyone called me “boy” or “the boy”. I recall the first day in work as I was shown around and things were explained to me by the man who was to become my mentoring craftsman. Where to clock in and out at the start and end of the workday, where to brew up, where to stoke the boiler, how to bag the shavings from the power machines (never had dust extraction), I was the dust extractor. My boss, the owner of the company, was a man called Idris Owen. Mr Owen was the biggest conservative snob in the world. He drove in on my fIrst day in his Rolls Royce Silver Cloud all gleamy and silvery and asked me who I was. I told him I was the new apprentice. “What’s your name, boy?” he asked. I said, Paul Sellers. In the five years of my apprenticeship including working on his home, his property in Wales and seeing him most weeks at the workshop, he never called my by my name. He always called me “boy”. One day I was in the workshop when he drove into the physical shop itself. I climbed out of the Rolls, stood facing me about 15 feet from me and asked one of the men to “tell the boy to wash the Rolls”, even though I was in plain sight and nearer to him than the man he was talking to was. Such was the conservatism of the time and day. Did it put me off wood and woodworking? I didn’t really realise that the man in the immaculate pin-striped suit and highly polished shoes was so sad a man. I never saw him smile or flip a board of pine to smell the pocket of sap. In all of his riches and throughout the five years of my apprenticeship he never altered, never associated with anyone beyond the most superficial level yet I was immersed in a richness of scents and sounds and shapes and textures I would enjoy for the next 50 years. Class is very much a British phenomenon. I know it exists elsewhere too, but I found my place as each day I learned my craft, absorbed those things that mattered and discovered my lifestyle future.

Beginning Your Lifestyle as a Woodworker
My path has been different than yours. I learned to respect my fellow craftsmen because they earned it. I saw what I wanted to be as a lifestyle woodworker and made the most of every opportunity until I could come to rest in the knowledge and experience knowing what I could and could not do. If someone tells a child they can be anything they want to be they do that child a disservice because it’s really not true. It’s more important to help them discover their honest potential and what they are supposed to be no matter what that is. It should never be tied to economics or politics, social standing or the successes their parents measure success by unless they truly want the child to find their place. Life has limits and a craftsman finds his limits, the limits of his tools and the woods he works and finds rest within those limits. I found rest in my work. You can plan your lifestyle too. Getting of the conveyor belt and the production line of life doesn’t mean working it full time. You do what you can with the time you have and do it to the best of your ability.

The post Lifestyle From a Lifestyle Woodworker appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Magstrop™ Sharpening Stations. New From Evenfall Studios

Evenfall Studios - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 8:24pm

Magstrop Leather 50/50.jpg

The Magstrop™ Sharpening Station: Leather 50/50.

Think micro-abrasive compounds, emulsions, sprays.

Magstrop  All Glass.jpg

The Magstrop™ Sharpening Station: All Glass.

Think abrasive and micro-abrasive papers and films.

The Magstrop Combo Glass/Leather.jpg

The Magstrop™ Sharpening Station: Combo Glass/Leather.

Think all of the above.

Quick-Change Strop Tops.jpg

Quick-Change Strop Tops™, held physically and magnetically.

Station uses a bench hook. Clamp it in the vise.

Is 14-3/4 inches square.

Cuts it’s own sandpapers.

Magstrop Sharpening System.jpg

Imagine the possibilities.

The Magstrop Bench.jpg

The Magstrop™ Bench.

Uses the same Strop Tops™.

Magstrop Sharpening System.jpg

Fixtures in a bench dog hole.

Measures 11-1/2 by 3-1/4-inches.

Portable sharpening in the space of a whetstone.

Magstrop Sharpening System.jpg

Again, imagine the possibilities.

Possibilities can become realities in your shop.

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Categories: Hand Tools

Sunburst Design for a Fireplace Surround

Mary May, Woodcarver - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 7:46pm

Mary May - Woodcarver

I am currently working on carving the details for a reproduction fireplace surround. The style is a traditional Charleston design and has 2 small vertically positioned sunburst designs on either side of a large horizontally shaped one.

I have finished one of the side sunbursts and have just added the video lesson to my online school. The wood I carved this in is poplar. It’s not my favorite wood to carve because it can be kind of spongy and stringy, but since this is going to be painted, this is what the builder chose.

This design is a little unique in that the “rays” on the design are carved down to a corner, rather than a curve – at least on the 2 smaller side ones. This creates a nice, sharp shadow. The large center horizontally positioned one has more rounded and hollowed shaped rays.

The grain pattern turned out to be quite nice, so it is a shame to paint it…

First carved sunburst in poplar
Original 1820's fireplace that I am attempting to reproduce.
Center design on the original fireplace.
Design laid out on wood before carving.

Floor Scraps, A Treasured Addition

The Barn on White Run - Thu, 07/24/2014 - 6:39pm

While attending a memorial celebration of Mel’s life and work last week, I revived an old acquaintance with one of Mel’s long time collaborators, a renowned architectural conservator.  Our conversation was a winding one, reminiscing on our mutual respect and admiration for our departed friend.

Eventually we passed into the territories of our own projects, and he mentioned a gift he had for me out in his car.  In a couple minutes he reappeared with an envelope with two index-card sized pieces of wood.

“These are some of the parquet floor remnants from the Oval Office, removed during the renovation of about 1990.”



I do not know the configuration or pattern of the parquet flooring, and even if I did the pieces are so small I could not make sense of them.  Perhaps some day I will get a photo of the Oval Office flooring during this period and replicate it, but for the foreseeable future I will be content to enable these remnants to be prominently featured in The Barn alongside the c.1670 oak parquet flooring from the Palaise Royale in Paris.



So, in addition to sections of floor that may have supported  Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, I have a scrap of floor that almost certainly bore the footsteps of Ronaldus Magnus.  How cool is that?

Now I just have to somehow find a piece of flooring from underneath the only truly great President of the past 200 years, Calvin Coolidge…


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