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new 12" square.....

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 11/16/2017 - 1:32am
When I saw an old 12" square being offered up on the Hyperkitten site I bought it. No hesitating, no quibbling, no looking at other tools. I have grown rather fond of the 15 and 12 inch squares I got for Miles. I find myself wanting to use them a lot more than the ones I have in my drawer. It will be easier to resist now that I have one for me. I'll keep an eye out for a 15" one. I went back to Timeless tools & treasures to buy the 15" one there but someone else had already bought it.

mahogany, brass, and steel
What's not to like about these old squares. I'm guessing on the age of this but I would say it is at least a 100 years old. I don't ever remember seeing a square like this when I first started out in woodworking in the early 1970's. And it isn't something I recall seeing a lot of in the past 2-3 years I've been actively buying tools.

the inside is 12"
If you buy a square today that is 12", that 12" will be on the outside and not the inside. My 12" Woodpecker square, which is damn good square, is only 10 1/2" on the inside.

outside is 14 inches!
2 3/4" wide blade
This blade is a 64th less than a 16th of inch thick. The blade is solid and doesn't wobble or weeble a frog hair in any direction. This square has a big presence and a heft that is unmistakable. And it feels damn good in my hands. Maybe this is what is tripping my trigger about these.

one more coat to go
I didn't get another coat on this morning before I went to work which is ok. I looked at this tonight and I decided to steel wool it again to even it out some more. One coat tonight and the last one tomorrow night.

knocked it on while I was thinking of it
Sandpaper glued to scraps of wood is a wonderful thing to have in the shop. I got this tip from the Plane Collector on You tube. I used to sand the lateral adjust with my fingers but it is so much better doing it with a sandpaper stick.

I can see a faint 'STANLEY' on the lever
flushing what I glued on yesterday
squaring lines (I had to try it out)
planed an angle on this end
I had to plane the top down to match up to the squaring I had to do on this end.

using two glues for the big pieces of the lid banding
epoxy at the ends and yellow glue in the middle
The epoxy is a better choice for the end grain to long grain at the ends. The yellow glue will work well in the middle as it will be long grain to long grain.

I may have to plane this
I had to plane the top a bit more than I wanted to and it may not slip over the bottom. I can plane the portion of the bottom where the lid banding will be to get a snug fit.

epoxy laid down
I extended the epoxy a little bit onto the pine long grain of the top. I want the joint to be tight on the ends. So I'm giving the epoxy a bite on some solid long grain wood.

I'll set this by furnace overnight
I normally don't clamp joints glued with epoxy. I clamped the end lightly to keep it closed while it sets up. I am hoping that there will be much joy in Mudville come tomorrow.

my plywood came in
It's 6mm like I thought it was and it is also labeled as 1/4". 6mm is not the same thickness as 1/4" so don't fall for it. I find this crap incredibly annoying because you have to measure it to find out which it is.

I bought two sheets of it
I only needed one sheet but the S/H on two was the same as one sheet so I'll have an extra which won't go to waste. I hate paying more for S/H than what I am actually buying.

time to check the fit
it fits
The plywood has a slight cup to it but I was able to tap it with the mallet and get the side piece to fit. It is a snug fit and a good match with the 6mm iron I used to make the groove. Tomorrow I'll clean up the miters, saw out the panels and glue it up. Maybe.

Josh said this was square
inside and outside lines come together
These lines are telling me that the heel of the inside and outside is off. This square, ain't square.

now it's square
I ran a lot of lines to check this out and all of them are parallel now which means it is square on the inside and outside.

the culprit
There was a chip on this edge that was cocking the square causing the bad reading. Cleaned up the edge and got nice parallel lines. Now I have to find a place to keep this handy by the workbench.

accidental woodworker

What is bilharzia?
It is a disease caused by the parasitic schistosome worm which lives in fresh water

New: “Kill Your Tablesaw” Sticker

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 2:50pm

Sometimes it’s important to remember to not take yourself too seriously. It’s no surprise that we here at M&T are wildly passionate about hand-tool woodworking. We eat, sleep, and breathe this stuff and work hard to inspire others to “cut the cord” along with us.

It’s good to be able to laugh at yourselves sometimes too, though. Because of our reputation for being zealous for pre-industrial woodworking, we thought this spoof sticker would be a great way to have a little fun. As you may know, the classic “Kill Your Television” sticker epitomizes paranoid anti-technology fanaticism. The radicals that adopt this slogan swear that the downfall of modern society is catalyzed by mind-numbing tube worship. It seems, for them, that all modern ills can somehow be brought back to the television.

One could argue that the woodworking equivalent is the table saw. If ever there was a machine scapegoat for hand-tool enthusiasts to deride, the table saw would be it. They often point out the inherent danger of the tool and usually credit its existence for the degradation of skilled workmanship. This sticker was designed for these zealots.

In all truth, I do have a serious aversion to table saws and am happy I never have to use them. If you agree and would like to fly your hand-tool flag, let this sticker be it.

You can get yours here

- Joshua




Categories: Hand Tools

Lixie Dead Blow Mallet Test – Some Fun in the Shop

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 12:16pm

For an upcoming “Tool Test” in the February 2018 (#237) issue of the magazine, I reviewed the Lixie Dead Blow Mallet. While we’ll post the full mallet test when the magazine hits newsstands, we wanted to take the time first (before writing the review) to put the mallet to work out in the shop. Testing tools like this is one of the most enjoyable and valuable (to our readers) exercises […]

The post Lixie Dead Blow Mallet Test – Some Fun in the Shop appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Meet Goliath — A Portable Robotic CNC

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 11:42am

As the Chinese curse goes, “may you live in interesting times.” Sometimes, “interesting times” is actually a good thing. In the case of CNCs, there are a lot of new ideas, methods and designs appearing for those interested in digital woodworking. In a short amount of time, we’ve seen several remarkable alternative CNC machines emerge. The Maslow CNC, a hanging CNC based on the design of wall plotters. The amazing […]

The post Meet Goliath — A Portable Robotic CNC appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Getting off the couch (chimney cupboard)

Mulesaw - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 7:56am
One of my long time couch builds has been a chimney cupboard as built by Bob Roziaeski for Popular Woodworking Magazine some years ago.
I think that it is fair to say that the greatest obstacle for me when it comes to such a build, is to glue up some boards to the correct width for me to use. I don't know why I have such a hard time pulling myself together to glue up some wide panels, but it is just the way it is.

Anyway, this Saturday evening, I started the project, determined to finish the cupboard before going back to sea. The idea was to put the cupboard into the saddle room, to help organize some of the smaller stuff used for the horses, so it wouldn't be a deal breaker if the surfaces weren't super smooth which can be hard to obtain with larch sometimes.

Saturday and Sunday was spent gluing up stock and dressing it to the correct thickness by means of the jointer/planer.
I wanted to prove to myself that I was able to make a speedy build without too much fussing over details. I decided that I could use my router instead of a dado plane, since I haven't got one of those, and I think that a router is a bit faster.
The rabbet along the back edge of the sides were made with a moving filister plane.

I pretty much followed the descriptions from the magazine, but instead of making a groove for the floating panels for the doors, I made a rabbet with the router and squared up the corners using a chisel. Then I sawed some thin strips to hold the panels in place.
An advantage with this approach compared to a groove is that it is very easy to assemble the door frame at first, and then fitting the panel to the hole. The downside is that it doesn't look quite as nice. But the ease and speed of this construction method trumped.
The raised panels were also made on the table saw instead of using the moving filister plane. That worked really well and was very fast.

For the hinges I used some that I had purchased from Lidl. they are very coarse compared to the hinges that I regularly use, but they fitted the project quite nicely.

Two small porcelain knobs and a couple of toggles to keep the doors closed made up the rest of the build.

While visiting Brian Eve in Garmisch a couple of years ago, I bought some "old fashioned milk paint" from a local dealer in the town.
I have never seen it for sale in Denmark, and I have been hoarding the paint ever since - waiting for just the right project.
I decided that this cupboard would look just fine in Lexington green, so I mixed the small bag of powder and started painting.
The paint was very interesting to use, it dries quickly and covers really well. I like the chalky texture and colour of the finished surface too, so I am tempted to try to make some experiments with milk paint at some point.

Once the paint had dried, the toggles and knobs were mounted back in place again, and Asger helped installing the cupboard in the saddle room, and he also helped organize the various small pieces of equipment so the shelves were soon filled.

Mette really likes the cupboard and she thinks that it is almost too nice to keep in the saddle room. So with a bit of luck I might be "allowed" to make another one at some point.

Chimney cupboard, Lexington green

Mounting the panels with strips, "horns" not trimmed yet.

Completed cupboard.

After first coat of paint.

Chimney cupboard with open doors.

Categories: Hand Tools

Original Moravian Workbench on Display

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 5:00am

In October 2011 my uncle and I headed down to Old Salem one Monday afternoon to go see the workbenches they have in storage. Christopher Schwarz had visited a few months before and written a blog post about the benches there; I could not just take his word for how great they were, I had to see them in person. The museum is closed on Mondays and my friend Chet Tomlinson, who is an interpreter there, came in on his day off to show us around. At the time I was building a Roubo workbench and was really curious to see the benches in there collection. I took lots of photos of the workbenches (and dozens of other things!), the conversation was great, and the three hours we were there flew by in what seemed like five minutes.


Portable Moravian bench on display at the J.Blum House.

In the days after the trip I looked thru the pictures I had taken many times and kept coming back to the photos of the portable workbench. A few weeks later I went back to Salem, poor Chet came in on his day off again so I could get some measurements of the portable bench. After the Roubo bench was complete the first project I used it for was to build the portable Moravian bench and wrote about the build on WK Fine Tools. A year or so later we started doing a class at the Woodwright’s School on building the bench. Another year later I filmed the video on building the bench with Joshua Farnsworth.

I wish I could say that I had foresight to know that this little workbench would be as popular of a project as it has become, but I did not. The response to the article and the video over the past several years was totally unexpected.

The interest in the bench has also had an effect at Old Salem. Visitors have been asking about the original bench, where it is, if they could see it. The original has been in storage all this time up until a few days ago. The bench is now on display for the foreseeable future at the new joiners shop at the J. Blum House. If you are in the area, even if you don’t have any interest in the bench, Old Salem is well worth a visit.


You can even get your own glamor shot with the bench!

Will Myers



Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

The Marquestry Plane Shows Up In England 1760-1780

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 4:00am

In Febuary 2010 I wrote a three-part blog entry showing that the earliest illustrations and texts about the planes we call "mitre planes" were in the marquetry sections of various books. My theory was that these planes were most likely used for leveling and planing the surfaces of marquetry panels and materials. The exotic woods used in marquetry are sometimes very hard and can easily tear up the soles of any wooden plane. You can read my blog here, here, and here.

David Lundqvist, a woodworker who lives in Sweden, just sent me a "missing link" in support of my thinking. The painting above, called "Die Ebenisten" [The Marqueters], was painted by Elias Martin in England between 1768-80. The painting shows two marquetry journeymen, George Haupt and Christopher Frloh (anglicised as Furlong), working for John Linell in London. I'll talk in a moment about why two Swedish journeyman were in London, but first focus your eyes on the metal plane located pretty much in the middle of the painting.

I think this is the earliest contemporary image of what we now call a mitre plane in England, and it comes just before the period when plane makers such as Gabriel and Moon were entering the metal plane market. The plane itself doesn't look dovetailed and seems to follow the European technique of brazing the body to the sole; admittedly the scan I have isn't perfectly clear, so I am not positive about this. David's research on Swedish cabinet makers led him to this painting. David also found two contemporary citations of the phrase "Rabot du Ebniste," or "Marqueter's plane" -- not "plane of iron," the term that the few earlier references in marquetry tool pages use for these planes, nor "mitre plane," a later term that shows up around 1820. We finally have both visual proof and documentation that the plane was recognized as a marquetry plane, not a mitre plane. Well done, David!!!

Another interesting question is why two Swedish marquetry journeyman were in England in the first place. My assumption was that England at the time was starting its rapid economic expansion with the advent of the Empire and the Industrial Revolution. The country was growing in wealth and an attendant demand for European-trained craftsman to create fancy furniture for the country's nouveau riche. David took a different approach in answering this question. David observed that by the middle of the eighteenth century the closed guild system of crafts, which was still thriving in Continental Europe, was starting to vanish in England. The craft guilds - groups of master craftsman in England - still certified new masters and still gave a seal of approval, but no longer had the power, legal or otherwise, to restrict trade. They were mostly social societies for the richer craft classes. Anyone could be a cabinetmaker, and a cabinetmaker could set up shop and hire apprentices. The loosening of the guild restrictions allowed new ideas to mature, which attracted talented immigrants. New blood and ideas became established in England, along with employment and training for immigrants. Trained Swedish craftsman could find good work and advancement in England, and not have to fight to get guild permission back home.

The painting currently hangs in the National Museum in Stockholm.

another day added.........

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 11/15/2017 - 1:26am
One of the projects I'm finishing up is the box for Miles's nail sets. It is taking longer than I want but it isn't a project from hell. The way I am doing I have to wait and allow the adhesive of choice to set before I can proceed with the next hurry up and wait for the adhesive to dry. It is going to be at least one more day before it is done.

frog is almost done
I almost knocked this on the deck. I had forgotten I had it hanging out on the belt sander. When I picked up the sander to move it, I saw the frog at the last moment. I put the yoke back and I had to look at another plane to do it. I was putting it in backwards again. I used the sandpaper stick to clean the face of the frog of paint. All that is left to do on this is to put a shine on the lateral adjust lever.

I have gloves
I should have put the gloves on but I didn't. I have already cleaned my fingers with orange cleaner but I'll have to do better. All this black will end up on my nail box. I cleaned my hands with a blue scrubbie pad and Dawn dish washing detergent.

this doesn't have to be perfect
The banding I'm going to apply will hide this joint and it won't be seen. What I checked for was to make sure it was laying atop the bottom level all the way around. Gaps are ok as long as it sits the same both ways.

slight detour
I bumped the block plane storage shelf and moved it. I put some hide glue on the bottom of this and I'll try this first. If I have to, I can add a screw later.

the weight of the planes should apply sufficient pressure for this to set up
back to the nail set box
I marked the width of the piece I need with a pencil line. I did a pencil instead of a knife line so I would have a little extra to trim after the glue has set.

sawed at an angle
I am on the left side of the pencil line and sawing at an angle onto the waste side.

I can feel it sticking proud by a frog hair on both sides
cooking by the furnace
The temp is supposed to dip into the 20's over night (-4C) so this is the best spot for it in the shop.

adding a couple of more
These don't have to cook but should be kept with the top.  The square is set to the top of the banding and I have been know to use earmarked stock for other things before.  So the banding will be here too out of sight of my workbench.

plowed all my grooves
I sawed all the stock to the same width and then plowed all my grooves. I am checking them to ensure that they are done right. Done to depth and the walls square end to end.

used it out of the box
I didn't touch this up in any way before I plowed all the grooves. This is the way an iron should come from the maker. Ready to use out of the box. Now that I've used it, I will touch it up on the 8K stone and run it over my strop.

sawing my last miter
double checking
Checking to make sure the squares will fit. I was surprised by how well the box fits off the saw. I didn't make any attempt to try and saw the miters to the same length. I sawed each one on the corner and I doubt that I will ever get this lucky again.

90° corner 
I am liking this miter box and how well it does miters. They have rough faces but it doesn't stop it from making a 90° angle.

donkey ear jig
I was planning on using this to not only clean up and smooth the miter faces but to shoot them to length. It looks like all I'll have to do is clean and smooth the faces.

1950's vintage 1/4" plywood (it is a true 1/4" thick)
I'm glad I checked this. I thought 6mm plywood was a hair wider then a 1/4". I was wrong and it is a hair short of a 1/4".

got two coats on this today
I put one on before I left for work and the second one tonight. I'll try and repeat these dance steps tomorrow too. Once I have two more on, I'll wax this and call it ready to fill with candy.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is the russian village of Verkhoyansk noted for?
answer - for having the widest temperature swing on earth,  -68°C/-90°F in the winter to 37°C/99°F in the summer

Bridge City China Trip and Charlie Manson…

Bridge City Tools - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 3:45pm

Drivel Starved Nation!

After spending three weeks in China, my jet lag back here in Oregon is something else. I must be getting really old…

The day before I departed back to the States, my Chinese business associate Jack and his daughter Jessica accompanied me to Beijing for a special dinner.

It’s not a big secret that I am an Iowa son, born and raised until my graduation from Iowa State when I headed off to my teaching job in Oregon. Wow, that was 45 years ago! Ouch.

While living in Ames, I would occasionally get my hair cut–about once every three years. (I liked being a hippie where I learned that you could accomplish so much more in a day if you skipped bathing.) The place I frequented was called the Head Shop and it was owned by Al Thompson who was my barber. We have remained friends all these years and whenever he FaceTimes me he tells me my hair looks like it was cut with a Weed Eater…

Some things never change.

Al learned how to cut hair from a famed LA hair stylist and his Head Shop quickly became the most popular barber joint in central Iowa. Then he got a crazy idea…

In 1971, when hot pants and mini skirts were at their peak (did I just write that?), Al decided it was a good idea to shave ISU coeds legs for a buck. What do you think happened?

Back then, if a story was picked up on the AP wire, it went viral and yes it did! He has clippings of his exploits from around the world. The 1971 NPR radio story is now enshrined in their archives.

It wasn’t long before Al would make a monthly trip to Des Moines to cut the hair of the Governor. And now, whenever I go to Tennessee, or Al comes to Oregon, my haircuts are free. After each hair cut he proclaims, “Now, you no longer look like an idiot!” How cool is that?

So, what does this have to do with Charlie Manson? Al’s teacher in LA was Jay Sebring who was one of the seven people murdered by the Manson clan. But the crazy part is just beginning…

That Iowa Governor? Mr. Terry Branstad. Turns out he is the longest serving Governor in US history with 22 years of public service. He too stays in touch with Al from his new residence as the Ambassador to China in Beijing. See where this is headed?.

We were supposed to meet for dinner on Nov. 3rd, but got bumped by none other than Bill Gates. However, on Nov. 2rd, Jack, Jessica and your favorite tool Potentate took a cab over to the Ambassador’s residence where we were greeted at the gate by 4 or 5 Chinese army dudes. They asked, “What do you want?”

“We are here for dinner with the Branstads” I said.

“Who are you?”

“John” I replied.

About 5 minutes passed and the gate opened. It is about a 50 meter walk to the entry and awaiting us was Mr. Branstad’s wife Chris. We were there for almost 4 hours and had a great time (not once did politics get discussed). Here was our menu;
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For a Chinese business man and his daughter, this was an amazing life experience. I probably won’t be invited back (it’s a trend I have noticed over the years…) but really had a great time. Mrs. Branstad actually made the ice cream on the menu. How cool is that?

Our perfunctory parting pic is below;
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BUT WAIT–THERE IS MORE! I have even more crazy friends! Michael Hosaluk, one of the most famous woodturners in the world claims that he used to play hockey like me. No, not as bad as me, but hockey…. you get it. This dude won the Canadian equivalent of the the MacArthur Genius Award which means he got free money!

So I begged Michael to make me something special that I could give Mr. Yang the Hong Mu Master, Jack and the Branstads as a gift. He said sure, then in order to bring the price down (even though he got all this free money, he has to charge me because he is flippin’ famous, which is always expensive) I ordered ten sets of these;
Rice Bowls 800

They are ceremonial rice bowls, one with red lacquer, the other with gold leaf. And yes, that is actual rice you see. How cool! We will offer 5 of these limited edition sets in our upcoming holiday email.

The next day I walked over to the American Embassy because I have never been to an American Embassy before and was given a private tour by a docent. Not once did I spot a spy.

And that brings my latest China adventure to a close. It was a great trip… Until I received this email from Chris Branstad;

“John, are those rice bowls dishwasher safe?”

I knew it was a joke so now I have yet another crazy friend!


The post Bridge City China Trip and Charlie Manson… appeared first on John's Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Bridge City Field Trip Report #4: The Hong Mu Arts Museum Tour

Bridge City Tools - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 12:40pm

Drivel Starved Nation,

This is a long post, and it is full of pics. So there DSN, lots of Drivel! (If you have slow internet, you may have to wait a bit for all the pics to download).

Our last day together on the Epic Bridge City China Field Trip was spent at the Hong Mu Arts Museum. This 30,000 square meter facility was built specifically to honor Mr. Yang, the Hong Mu Master. He is China’s most famous woodworker and is a national treasure. The museum was privately funded (just under $40 million USD) by a wealthy real estate mogul who is living the giving chapter of his life. The museum is private and when complete next year, the grounds will include the now finished museum, a tea garden and a brand new private residence for Mr. Yang and his lovely wife. Attendance is by invitation only.

We were all warmly received as you can see here;
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Mr. Yang and I are the same age (old) and share a ready sense of humor. (While at dinner, he commented that when he visited New York city he had no money. I quickly gave him $2 bucks for his next trip which was a good for a long 5 minute laugh.) More important, his passion for his work is unrelenting and his productivity is actually unbelievable. He is one of “those guys” that does not have an enemy in the world, and it is really an honor to call him a friend.

All of his furniture is made out of an Asian dalbergia species (rosewood). All of it. And get this, in his pieces you are going to see below, NONE of them have a finish. That is not a typo, NO FINISH. It is simply the luster of the wood rubbed to a lacquer-like finish. Incredible.

When you first walk into the museum you see a large rosewood log on display and immediately to the left is an area of wood carvings from about 50 different countries. Here are a couple;
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If you turn to the right, there is an entire floor dedicated to student work.The pieces you see below are made from ONE piece of wood (no joinery). This is just a sample of the incredible work. The students spent one year on their projects.
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This is not one piece;
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What follows below are examples from the three floors of Mr. Yang’s work. Many of the pieces are grouped as they might appear in a residence. The “paintings” interspersed in the images below are all silk embroideries. They are all worth fortune! Even more amazing, this furniture was all crammed into his house on my visit last year!

Enjoy the images.

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This is a bookcase;
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This is a our equivalent of a “love seat”. The center section is for tea, and the couple sit cross-legged facing each other. The flexibility needed to sit like this does not exist in my body. Anywhere.
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I love the texture in this piece!
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This is Mr. Yang’s bed and it took him 5 years to make it. Most of the pieces you see here took over a year and the reason is simple, the rosewood was not kiln dried. He would work on a piece, let is sit for a month or two, do more work, repeat.
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The piece below is Mr. Yang’s masterpiece. It is an original variation of a Ming Dynasty chair using bamboo as a theme. It is exquisite.
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This tour-de-force of craftsmanship was unreal. This bird cage is made out of rosewood and it is all mortise and tenon joints;
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The lasting influence of Chinese furniture design is never more evident than Han’s Wagner’s tribute to furniture from the Ming Dynasty in his Wishbone Chair below;
Hans Wagner Wishbone Chair

I don’t know about you, but I feel really insignificant in the shadow of the Hong Mu Master. What an experience.


The post Bridge City Field Trip Report #4: The Hong Mu Arts Museum Tour appeared first on John's Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

How It’s Made – A Trip to M. Bohlke Veneer

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 12:16pm

I’m a “behind-the-scenes” junkie – any chance I get to see the inner workings of manufacturing or industrial spaces, I jump at the opportunity. So, I was especially thrilled to take a tour of M. Bohlke Veneer, a lumberyard and veneer mill in nearby Fairfield, Ohio (a 15 minute drive from the PopWood office) last week with Christopher Schwarz, Megan Fitzpatrick and Andy Brownell. M. Bohlke Veneer was founded in […]

The post How It’s Made – A Trip to M. Bohlke Veneer appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Bridge City China Field Trip Report #3; Shanghai to Nanjing…

Bridge City Tools - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 10:13am

Drivel Starved Nation;

Nothing quiets prejudice, hatred and biases more efficiently than travel. Only until one sees, smells, hears and learns from different cultures and their people can you intelligently grow as a citizen of planet Earth. Over the past 4 years, my 8-9 trips to China have been filled with wonderment, awe, disgust, dismay and joy. I thought this field trip idea would be an equally fun learning experience for Bridge City customers. And it was.

We all had a great time in Shanghai so it was time to see Nanjing! To get there, we took the bullet train.

The Chinese government is fully committed to connecting all corners of China with bullet train service. These sleek, all electric vehicles with bodies of extruded aluminum, shuttle passengers at an amazing 300 km/hr. (That is a Nascar speed of approx. 186 miles per hour!) The ride is incredibly smooth so of course I had to ask how that was possible.

In order to go that fast, and that smooth, the tracks need to be smooth. How smooth you ask? They are actually surface ground once in place and the tolerance is 1mm every 16 meters. How accurate is that you pesky knowledge seeker? 0.00075 inches per foot! That is crazy. How crazy? That is flatter than our precision straight edge!

I then inquired about heat and cold and expansion joints. I was told the rails are not welded but joined with a special alloy that keeps them “on track” during extreme temperature swings. There is no clickety clack, clickety clack, unlike my experiences on Amtrak here in the States. I would say that on average, the bullet train is smoother than air travel. That’s is simply amazing to me. It is also relatively inexpensive.

The train stations are nothing short of enormous. With the exception of the Boeing assembly building in Everett, WA (do put that on your bucket list of places to see), these train stations are the largest buildings I have ever been in. They are sleek, modern, and so damn big they disguise the fact that at any given moment, there are thousands of people waiting to catch a train. Here’s a pic of the Nanjing station;

Nanjing train station

This pic was taken in the middle of the station, and those windows down yonder are at least three football fields away. It is the same going the other direction. The place is huge, shiney, new and unbelievably impressive. AND, this is just the UPSTAIRS! You take an escalator down to the train terminal to an equally large space to catch one of the many trains, which like German trains, operate to the minute. I was also told that this year, for the first time, bullet train travel was profitable.

Here’s a little video of a train coming into the station;

What 180 mph looks like from a window seat…

Once in Nanjing we had a guided tour of the Harvey Industries facility, and were able to see the new Gyro Air Dust Collector in production as well as the Bridge City Tool Works assembly area. We had a fascinating time culminating that evening with a BCTW hosted dinner, our last dinner together.

The next day was the highlight of the trip…

… To Be Continued.


The post Bridge City China Field Trip Report #3; Shanghai to Nanjing… appeared first on John's Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Highland Woodworking Featured in Voyage ATL Online Magazine

Highland Woodworking - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 9:39am

Highland Woodworking has just been featured in an interview on the Voyage ATL website as one of their picks for Midtown’s Rising Stars

The interview focuses on the evolution of Highland Woodworking, started by Chris and Sharon Bagby, who have been joined by their daughters, Kelley and Molly, in helping to run the family business.

We are honored to have been featured and we thrive to continue supporting our Atlanta community and the woodworking community throughout the world by providing quality woodworking education and customer service.

Karyn and Tom Lie-Nielsen of Lie-Nielsen Toolworks pictured with Chris, Kelley, and Molly Bagby

The post Highland Woodworking Featured in Voyage ATL Online Magazine appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

How to Sharpen Hand Saws for Woodworking

Wood and Shop - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 9:19am
How to Sharpen Hand Saws for Woodworking By Tom Calisto & Joshua Farnsworth In the above video I filmed hand saw maker Tom Calisto sharing a tutorial on how to sharpen new and antique hand saws for woodworking. Sharpening hand saw teeth is a skill that takes time to develop, but a suitable

Carvers & Compassers: Save This Date

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 8:39am


I am pleased to announce that Mary May and George Walker will be at the Lost Art Press storefront on Dec. 9 to celebrate the release of their new books.

Mary, the author of “Carving the Acanthus Leaf,” and George, one of the authors of “From Truths to Tools,” will each give a short presentation on their work that evening, answer your questions and sign books. Lost Art Press will provide drinks and snacks for this free event.


Only a limited number of people can attend (fire marshal’s orders), so we will offer free tickets to this event starting at Friday at noon Eastern time.

Note that Saturday, Dec. 9, is also the last open day for 2017. So if you need books signed by me (note: I am happy to fake any signature, including: Tommy Mac, Roy Underhill and André Roubo) that’s the day to do it.

We hope you can come!

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Carve the Acanthus with Mary May, From Truths to Tools, Lost Art Press Storefront, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Slab bench

Oregon Woodworker - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 7:38am
The final piece of the slab is 14" wide and 39" long and I am going to use it for a bench.  Scrounging around, I found enough pieces of cvg douglas-fir for a base.  Two leg assemblies will be joined with a stretcher.  Here is one dry fit:

I don't usually describe my construction techniques because it doesn't seem all that interesting but sometimes I pick up tidbits in the descriptions in other blogs, so here goes.  These tools plus my miter box are what I used:

I chose the angle on these legs by eye and then used a bevel gauge.  Since the most critical cut on these angled tenons is the shoulder, I created knife lines and then cut them on my miter box.  It takes no extra time and ensures precision.  After that I sawed out the tenon at the bench.

As I've written before, I use a hybrid method for making mortises.  I lay them out in pencil but only use a center line because I drill them out on my drill press. 

Then it takes only a couple of minutes to finish them with a wide chisel, using the edges of the holes as guidelines.  Yes, I should be using a mortise chisel, and someday I may, but this method works so darn well it's hard to give up.

I cut the through mortises for the long stretcher the same way:

If you look closely at the mortise on the right, you can see a hint of the original drilled hole in the center.  This is what makes this method so convenient; the guideline ensures a perpendicular mortise that fits snugly with little or no trimming.

I use the drill press mostly out of force of habit but it would be just as easy to bore the hole with my brace and bit.  There are some things in hand tool woodworking that seem almost magic to me and one of them is that you can bore holes at precise angles completely unguided with no more than some sort of reference like a bevel gauge or square.  There is no need to have a drill press. 

I always peg or drawbore my mortises; it's a belt and suspenders thing.  If you think about it, in a drawbored joint the thing that matters most is the shoulders of the tenon.  They need to be dead on for both appearance and strength.  The peg holds the tenon tight.  As long as the peg holds, the snug fit of the tenon doesn't matter; only the shoulders matter.  You lose the mechanical strength and glue strength if the fit is poor.  I know that some woodworkers who drawbore don't even bother gluing their tenons but I do, as I don't see a reason to give up the redundancy.

Categories: Hand Tools

Slow Joy

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 6:20am

After ripping fifty feet of 6/4 Southern yellow pine by hand the other day I sat down to give my arm a rest and I snap a picture for social media. It wasn’t long before a friend commented on my post that there is, in fact, such a thing as electricity these days and I was welcome to use his table saw. Curiously, I had no urge to take him up on it.

I’m the first to admit that my shop is hand-tool centered, but not exclusive. I have a few machines for specific purposes - a powered lathe, drill press and bandsaw. The lathe and drill press I make no apologies for. I love them. I am sometimes tempted to equivocate about owning a bandsaw, but I find it very useful in processing green wood for bowl turning and the occasional resaw. Most everything else is hand work.

At Mortise & Tenon we are unabashedly about exploring the possibilities of hand tools and hand work. We try not to be pretentious. We know we don’t live in the 18th century and freely admit that we wouldn’t be able to publish as we do without modern technology, but at the same time we want to encourage people to discover the joy of pre-industrial woodworking and to understand that these tools and techniques aren’t necessarily as slow as we moderns make them out to be. If anything, pre-industrial woodworking is full of efficiencies we might readily overlook.

The fore plane is a great example of this sort of efficiency, but admittedly, the rip saw is not.

I’m generally not working to anyone’s timetable but my own, and I enjoy the exercise of ripping down boards when I’m not in a rush, but there are still times I look at a pile of lumber and sigh, knowing what’s ahead. Practice equals speed with many hand tool techniques, but this is one place where almost anyone will admit that hand tools earn their reputation as slower than their mechanical counterparts. Sawing is work, and no matter how ripped you are, ripping a pile of long boards, even with the sharpest of hand saws, is not as efficient as running lumber through a bandsaw or table saw. At least, not in the way that we generally think of efficiency.

Standardized tests train you to think in hours per person per units of work, and this kind of equation makes it feel like picking up a hand saw is the equivalent of wasting one of the above variables. This logic may make sense in professional cabinet shops today, and even in pre-industrial shops of centuries past, but if you’re not totaling person/work/hours to write out paychecks or feed your family, what’s an extra day on a project intended to last decades? And honestly, of all the things that slow most of us down (or keep us from finishing projects entirely), ripping stock by hand isn’t very high on the list.

In my workshop I’m rarely on anyone’s payroll, and I welcome the challenge of handling rough stock in this way. I enjoy the test of sawing to the line. I relish the meditative rhythm of the teeth through the wood. I like feeling physically tired at the end of the day, because after hours of other stressful pursuits, it feels good for the soul.

Ripping stock by hand may represent an “inefficiency” in some ways, but once I admitted that to myself and decided that I wasn’t at all bothered by the idea, it was a short path to finding joy in it. In any case, I’ll make up the time with the fore plane and that’s an equation I can live with.

- Jim McConnell, content editor

Categories: Hand Tools

"Some people express their deep appreciation in different ways. But one of the ways that I believe..."

Giant Cypress - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 3:58am
“Some people express their deep appreciation in different ways. But one of the ways that I believe people express their appreciation to the rest of humanity is to make something wonderful and put it out there.”


Steve Jobs

Although this primarily refers to Apple’s products, it could easily be about woodworking. At the very least, it dovetails nicely with his “When you’re a carpenter making a beautiful chest of drawers” quote.

Strykebenken i Hoftun, Suldal

Norsk Skottbenk Union - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 3:34am

Denne benken dukka tilfeldig opp under synfaring av eit vedlikehaldsprosjekt på eit stabbur i Hoftun, Suldal. Den stod stua vekk bak ein del ting på lemmen. Og det var eit heilt lite løft som måtte til, for å få den fram og ut i lyset for dokumentering.

2017-11-13 10.54.56Strykbenken i Hoftun

Benken måler 4500mm i lengda og er 875mm frå gulv til øvre kant langbord. Benken føyer seg rett inn i rekka av andre benker frå Suldal i utforming og funksjon. I dette tilfellet er all materialen skoren på sirkelsag og det er berre innsida og øvre kanten av langborda som er høvla.

2017-11-13 10.56.09Her ser me merkinga for plassering og uttaking til svalehalen.

Studerer me litt på oppmerkinga er det tydeleg nokre punkter som er avgjerande. Til dømes er dette øvre kanten på borda med svalehale som held beina saman. Denne høgda må vera lik på begge sider for at ikkje høgda på det lause langbordet skal endra seg ved forskjellige tjukner på arbedstykket. Dette er avgjerande for om den ferdighøvla kanten er vinkel i forhold til innsida på det faste langbordet. Vinkelen på svalehalen ser ut til å vera utført på frihand, då djupna på hakket ikkje er lik på nokon av dei.

Ser me tilbake på blogginlegget om Samanlikning av strykebenkar frå Suldal og studerer biletet av Nordmarkbenken, har den knektar spikra fast til beina på baksida. Restar av ein slik knekt er der og på eine foten på benken frå Hoftun. På den andre foten er der spor som fortel om at der har vore ein. På same måten som på Nordmarkbenken, ser det ut som om denne ikkje har gått heilt opp slik at den fluktar med øvre kant på beina. Det er fortsatt uklart for meg kva denne har vore nytta til. Det verkar for meg som om den vert for smal til å lagre materialar på (jf. Nordmarkbenken).

Krossbanda ser ut som om dei kan vera tilført ved eit seinare høve. Dette samsvarar med fleire andre benker eg har studert. Men dei er komt til før knektane forsvant, då borda er tilpassa spora etter knektane. Det er berre innfestinga av det faste langbordet som utgjer avstivinga i lengda om ein ikke har skrå- eller krossband. Dette er erfaringsvis nok, då benkane me brukar på museet ikkje har ekstra avstiving i lengda. Dette er Kolbeinstveitbenken som er i stålhallen pga lengda og ein nylaga, kortare variant av same som passar betre på verkstaden.

2017-11-13 10.55.44Hoftunbenken på baksida

Når det gjeld oppmåling av benkane frå Suldal, har eg begynt å tenkje på kor nøye det er med å detaljteikne dei. Eg tolkar at benkane er noko som er laga til på plassen av til dømes ein omreisande snikkar. Han har nok ikkje hatt med seg strykebenken på trøsykkelen. Alle benkane eg har sett på til nå, er av forholdsvis grove og tildels vinne materialar.  Det varierar og om rettsida på langborda vender inn eller ut. Det som er avgjerande for å få til ein strykebenk som fungerer etter intensjonen er:

  • at lengda på langborda må stå i høve til arbeidstykka ein skal høvle.
  • arbeidshøgda på benken må vera lageleg
  • lik høgd i øvre kant, framme og bak, på samhaldet mellom beina
  • at øvre kanten på samhaldet er vinkelrett med innsida på det faste langbordet.
  •  at øvre kanten på langborda er i vinkel til innsida på det faste bordet
  • at langborda er beine etter lengda

Med dette i bakhovudet, og med tanke på samanlikningsgrunnlaget, har eg berre laga ei enkel skisse med nokre hovudmål om ein vil lage ein tilsvarande benk. S-C458-17111412160

Alle foto er tekne av underteikna.

Categories: Hand Tools


Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 11/14/2017 - 1:01am
English translation - finished. The project from hell is done or what I should say is that I am done working on it for now. I may be revisiting this in the future. As for 'fini', it is about the only french I remember. I took it for a few years in high school and I know that word and how to ask how are you. I wanted to learn italain and got put in a french class. I think I can still count up to 49 if I concentrate.

I'll have to remember about the pullout
I didn't do anything to secure the block plane holder to the cubby. If I have to do something I'll secure it with hide glue. For now the weight of it seems to be holding it in place.

epoxy has set up
Turns out that it was a good idea to epoxy the sides as one piece. Certainly made it very easy to flush the sides top to bottom. I only had to do one side as I epoxied this with one side flush.

sawed it apart
Had a difficult time sawing this apart. I should have used the zona saw to do this thin wood.

flushing the proud on the ends
I came in from both sides upwards and then I went across the long way. It worked and I didn't get any blowouts.

Of course it was the last stroke that popped this off. I was leery of this one because I could see a gap on one end. It popped off when I went across the long way. I sanded the two, applied more epoxy, and taped it in place. I set it by the furnace to cure overnight. Looks like I will have to add another day to this.

I'll be able to do lid banding tomorrow
 I plan on wrapping this 360 so that the top will slide over the bottom. That means I will have a cross grain gluing sandwich on the sides. The pieces are thin and a 1 1/4" wide so I don't think that it will be a problem.

hammer is done
4 coats of shellac with the last one rubbed down with 4-0 steel wool. Fini. Stowed in his toolbox.

continuous grain flow
This is the corner where the opposite ends came together. Still got a pretty good match.

the opposite corner
I like this grain flow around the box. This is not my first attempt at this but it is my first time getting it right.

last corner
You can see and follow the grain around the box. This was something that I thought would be difficult to pick out. To my eye, the grain flowing around the corners is readily apparent. I will try this on my future boxes.

This has four coats of shellac and I will put on about 3-5 more before I wax it and call it done. I'll fill this with candy and give it as a xmas present. I will have to make one more for xmas and fill with a different candy.

layout for the square till box
I have about a 1/4" of extra meat on the width. I'll lose that tomorrow.

ready for grooving almost
I planed one edge square to a reference face. I cleaned up that face with a couple of swipes with the 4 1/2. I'll let these sticker again tonight and tomorrow I'll plow the 6mm grooves. I normally wouldn't do this without having the plywood but I'm taking a shot on it being ok. The 3/8" plywood I got from woodcraft is 9mm if I remember right. So I'm counting on the 1/4" being 6mm.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is an Aulos?
answer - an ancient Greek single or double reed wind instrument usually played in pairs


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