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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

This "aggregator" collects all of the woodworking blogs I read every day - or try to anyway!  Enjoy!

Thank you to everyone who contributed towards Walt Quadrato's battle against cancer!  Their fundraising goal was met.  Our prayers are with you, Walt!  


The Unpredictable Backstool

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Tue, 01/27/2015 - 4:30am
A coarse phone shot of the chair before I trimmed the legs to final length. It's sittable, but needs a lot of clean-up before paint.

A coarse phone shot of the chair before I trimmed the legs to final length. It’s sittable, but needs a lot of clean-up before paint.

The three-legged form of backstool is ideal for uneven or dirt floors, though it looks wrong at first to modern eyes, like a Zap Xebra three-wheeled car. Though we all know in our heads that a three-legged stool is stable, adding a backrest to it throws our eyes off.

Even Victor Chinnery, the dean of English furniture, wrote the following warning in “Oak Furniture: The British Tradition” (Antique Collectors Club).

“Three feet will stand with greater stability on an irregular surface, but it nevertheless takes a certain amount of skill to sit comfortably in such a chair, since it is easily overbalanced.”

Judging from the number of extant three-legged backstools, that statement seemed like it was written with the eyes, not the buttocks. But the only way to test the statement was to build a three-legged critter and sit in it after a few beers. So I did.

As I designed this backstool, I followed the geometry I found in other three-legged backstools and chairs – usually the back leg rakes backward significantly. So I was careful to replicate that feature when I made models of three-legged stools before building one.

As my backstool came together I sat on it at every stage in construction. At first I expected to be tossed to the floor. That didn’t happen. And when I had my first formal sit-down in the completed backstool, here’s what I felt: stable.

My front legs were planted over the front legs of the backstool. My tailbone was on top of the back leg. I leaned back and my head hovered over the footprint of the rear leg. I cautiously creeped my buttocks left. Then right. I reached for my fourth beer.

And… nothing.

How does the backstool get its reputation as tippy as a drunken uncle? Part of the instability is an optical illusion, but part of it is real. It just has nothing to do with sitting on the chair.

We use chairs and stools for more than sitting. If you stand or kneel on this seat and the pressure is outside the triangle created by the feet, you’ll get a rude surprise. Or stand behind the chair and lean on the crest rail. If you lean on its center then nothing happens. But if you lean on one end of the crest rail, you might just bite the floor.

If you aren’t sold on the idea of a three-legged chair, that’s OK. It’s simple work to make this backstool with four legs instead of three. But consider this: If you do have the guts to make the three-legged version you’ll never have to yell at your kids for tipping backward in their backstool.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Furniture of Necessity
Categories: Hand Tools

Making a Panel Saw (Part 2)

The Alaska Woodworker - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 9:58pm
I got a bit more done on the panel saw.  I choose a handle template, a Disston 16 and a piece of Honduran Mahogany for the handle.  If my Secret Santa is reading this, I used a piece you sent me, thanks.   Once I glued the template on the stock, I took it to the […]
Categories: Hand Tools

Den Gamle By

Old Ladies - Pedder's blog - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 8:42pm
There are (at least) to soft spots in my my life: Saws made by Moses Eadon and historical open-air museums. So now some pictures taken in the Musem Den Gamle By (The old town) in Aahus, Denmark.

Regelmäßige Leser wissen, dass ich zwei Schwächen habe:
Sägen von Moises Eadon und Freilichtmuseen. Heute also zur Abwechslung Bilder eus einem Freilichtmuseum. Den Gamble By in Aarhus, Dänemark
Categories: Hand Tools

Carving a Cartouche – Full Lesson Available

Mary May, Woodcarver - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 8:05pm

Mary May - Woodcarver

I recently added the fifth and final episode of Carving a Cartouche for a Philadelphia Highboy to my Online Carving School. This has been one of the longest lessons I have made (only to be out-done by the Dragon and Acanthus Lesson) and totals around 4 hours. Here is a brief introduction video that shows some of what is included in this lesson.


Finished cartouche.


The lesson covers every part of the carving:

• lowering the area outside the “Philadelphia Peanut”
• re-drawing the design onto the lowered surface
• dividing up all the large elements in the carving
• carving all the details -c-scrolls, leaves and abstract shell design (sometimes called rocaille)
• releasing the design from backer board
• carving the back-side of the cartouche
• finishing up the top curled leaf and the lower rope design

You can see my blog post with photos on the carving process here.

This lesson (along with most other lessons in my online school) is also available in downloadable form for individual purchase for $34.99. This is an option for those who are not members of my online carving school.

Resin Casting

Resin Casting – exact replica of carving

There is also a resin casting available for sale. This lesson in particular is important to have something to view while your are carving it. This casting helps a lot in showing the subtle shapes in this complex design.

Now you just need to build a Philadelphia Highboy so you have a place to put your cartouche!

Please sign up for monthly newsletters that will show upcoming video lessons for my online school and also includes a free template and carving tips and tricks.news-sm

Convert to Collagen - A Free Printable Liquid Hide Glue Recipe

The Workbench Diary - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 7:46pm
Granules and Salt

I've posted before about making your own liquid hide glue but I fear that not all the readers here are committed enough to purchase a digital scale and urea prills. Because I feel evangelistic about hide glue, I want to remove any unnecessary barriers in order to convert you.  I'm a relativist when it comes to woodworking tool choices. I really don’t care if you're in love with your tablesaw. To each his own.  But when it comes to adhesive choices for wooden joinery, I sincerely tell you that there are no acceptable alternatives. If you don’t know why you ought to be using hide glue for your furniture making, read my Eleven Reasons.

When I ran out of urea last year, I decided to give canning salt another fair shot. (My previous experiments resulted with the salt content way too high.  Sometimes it took days to dry.) After experimenting  a while with proportions of salt to glue granules, I found my recipe. I've been using it for about a year and I'm very happy with it. Here it is:

Right click and select "Open in New Tab" for printing

The above image is a small printable jpg for you to print out to tack it up in your shop. For the larger version click here.The salt is canning (non-iodized) salt. The gram strength of the glue is 192. The water is just from the tap. You can make your own glue pot.

You can purchase premixed liquid hide glue if you insist but I mix my own because I believe freshness is the most critical factor in glue integrity. I mix up small amounts at a time to ensure freshness. I don’t let a batch sit around for more than a month. Read the posts linked above for more information on using hide glue.

Be ye converted.

Any questions you have about liquid hide glue?

Categories: Hand Tools

Scoop a Chair Seat Without Specialty Tools

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 6:16pm

One of the barriers to making a Windsor chair are all the specialty tools, including the adze, scorp and travisher to scoop out the seat. Though I own all these tools and have used them for more than a decade, I sometimes wonder if they are all necessary. How would you make a comfortable and sturdy chair if you didn’t own specialty tools? This week I’m building a primitive three-legged […]

The post Scoop a Chair Seat Without Specialty Tools appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

A Corner Transformed

The Barn on White Run - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 4:19pm

For the past couple of years as I have been struggling to move into and assemble the new workshop in the barn, I have been plagued by one corner, right inside the entrance to my studio. I am not by nature a neatnik, and the corner wound up being the repository for odds and ends that I didn’t know what to do with. It wasn’t situated well, nor was it large enough for a “real” workbench as the total space was about five feet square. About the only good feature of the corner is that it was a natural home for a large trash can.


Thanks in part to the inspiration of Jonas Jensen, whose blog is one of my favorites and often features immensely ingenious and impressive projects he makes from scrap materials in his spare time in the mechanical workroom of the ships on which he works in the North Sea, I realized there was no excuse for this state of affairs. Combining Jonas’ creativity with both a very limited improvised space and salvaged materials, along the impetus resulting from a recent visit to my friend Bob’s cozy gunsmithing shop, I was spurred on to action so that this very valuable real estate was reclaimed from being consigned to be nothing more than a junk-catching corner.

This new initiative, combined with a little salvaged Sjobergs workbench, resulted in a work space that is destined to become a favorite. I had originally deposited the tiny workbench in the barn’s classroom because even though it was wholly inadequate for full-scale furniture making, I had worked it over enough that it was now a pretty good little bench (after my rescuing it from the trash many years ago). Guess what? I measured it and it fit into the corner as if it had been made for it.


After finding new homes for the stuff in the corner, and acquiring a new rectangular trash can to fit in with the newly positioned workbench, I now have a delightful work station for doing my “fussy” work that is so frequently part of my projects, including carving, jewelry-type fabrication, filing, sawing and the like. My two bowling-ball-and-toilet-flange vises used for carving, engraving, and checkering are now there, along with my stereomicroscope, myriad dental tools, die maker’s files and rifflers, checkering tools and carving chisels. There was even space for a few books overhead, and a permanent (read: rememberable) location for the First Aid kit.

And the Winner of the New Arts & Crafts Book Is…

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 12:39pm

Congratulations to “amvolk” (a.k.a. Andrew Volk). He’s the winner of a print copy of the second edition of “Popular Woodworking’s Arts & Crafts Furniture Projects,” now with 17 new projects (42 in all). The new edition is available now to order in both paperback (the book is expected to be in house and shipping in three weeks) and as a PDF download (“shipping” right away) at shopwoodworking.com. — Megan Fitzpatrick

The post And the Winner of the New Arts & Crafts Book Is… appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Square Awls From Confused Manufacturers

Paul Sellers - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 11:24am

DSC_0107It’s funny seeing how manufacturers change the art of what we crafting artisans are looking for by taking what exists and then manufacturing their translation of it rather than trying to understand the essence of something we really need. In the demise of British makers producing true quality goods, a void existed and an opportunity too. I say that because yet another venerated manufacturer I once recommended reduced its standards and chose a different maker to make its square awl. The new awls were shabby replicas that started snapping under even mild pressure in softwoods let alone the more resilient hardwood like oak. The end result is that yet another British-made product bites the dust and another interpretation comes in to fill the void from Asia. People that relied on C.K. for a quality product will disappointingly find that C.K awls are now ranked amongst the junkers.

That said, I took a second look at the imported Silverline square awl (above). It was really a mistake on the part of the manufacturer and of course the importer (known for cheap imports rather than a quality product) too misunderstand the key issues. They must have thought that the point of the original square awl was flawed and in need of finessing. I suppose they decided then to correct the mistake, thinking they were doing us a favour, and rounded the point like a round-pointed awl and never realised we wanted square edges not conical. To add insult to injury, they then took off the corners to the stem of the awl with a chamber to each corner when we wanted sharp, angular corners. You see we rely on the sharp corners of the point and length of the stem because the work as a reamer to actually ream out a conical hole for screws or to make a hole all the way through. All this awl will do is split wood rather than cut the hole, which is what the original was  designed for as a bird-cage awl.


With the flawed perspectives dealt with I took the awl and started filing the steel blade square with a flat, single-cut file. The steel was hard enough so that was good. The wood is an Asian hardwood, stained and nicely shaped. I confess feeling glad that someone in Asian was earning a living making them but I’m not under any illusion that he or she is getting near to nothing for the work. P1020708I reckon that if I were to start a business just making square awls to a good quality I could turn the handle by hand, fit the brass ferrule and cut and shape the steel awl part from O1 in under five minutes or so. Materials for the whole would be about 15-20 pence sterling max. This awl cost me £4.96 with free shipping and handling. so at that rate, after costs and shipping, I would be earning about £48 an hour and that’s for true hand work, which is not what’s taken place here. All I have to do now is sell them. Oh, and that would be with a nicely made figured maple handle to boot.


OK, the brass ferrule was thick-walled and nice quality. Better than most ferrules on high-dollar awls. But somewhere in the production run someone was sloppy and left the ferrule looking ugly with finish badly applied.DSC_0119DSC_0154 I polished this out and worked on the ferrule to polish it out on a mop in 8 seconds flat. The difference to the appearance and feel is staggering. I lightly buffed out the existing finish on the wood and applied an extra coat of shellac. Tell me someone can’t start a business in today’s economy and I’ll show you how she can. You should see the photographs someone sent me as a result of the walking cane blogs and videos we did last year. Just stunning work.

I wanted to see how the awl fitted into the handle. Simple and effective really.


Refining and strengthening the tip of the awl with a pyramid point is all that remained and the awl motored through wood like a torpedo. You may want to experiment with shapes like triangles and diamonds, but square is really fine and very strong.DSC_0150

Before and after side by side. This is how the awl should have looked.

DSC_0107 DSC_0116

The post Square Awls From Confused Manufacturers appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Some days you just have to monetize

Toolemera - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 10:00am
Look to your right and you'll see a widget that displays my current Ebay listings. While the term 'monetizing' annoys me to no end, it's what everybody uses. If it was up to me, I would write something like: Hey! I'm trying to make some cash! Lookee Here! But, too many words and too direct. Thus, we have Monetizing because, I guess, it makes people feel better about asking other people to buy something. Till next, Gary
Categories: Hand Tools

A New Forge and Parking Lot Blacksmithing.

Tim Manney Chairmaker - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 6:34am

I've taken some time away from nose to the grindstone tool production lately to set up a small blacksmith shop that can wheel in and out of my workshop.  While a dedicated space for metal work would be ideal, this mobile arrangement beats the pants off of hitting the road every time I need to heat up and pound some steel.

My parking lot smithy.

The forge and anvil live in a corner of my workshop and I hand truck them down a small flight of stairs into the parking lot as needed.  At the end of the day, after everything cools down, they roll back up the steps and into the workshop until the next time their services are required.

Adze blade coming up to critical temperature.

I opted for a vertical tube forge design with a blown burner.  Blown burners use a fan to supply the air to mix with the gas.  The gas and air mixture come in on the bottom of the forge and the doors are at the top.  This arrangement gives a nice, even heat with no hot spots which makes heat treatment a breeze.

There are a storm of new tool ideas on the horizon that this forge makes possible.  Expect to see some of them soon and some of them much later.  It also means that the adze production, while slightly dependent on the weather, will flow a little faster now.

Nice, even heat.

Categories: Hand Tools

Shop Organization

McGlynn On Making - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 6:33am

If French Marquetry stands at the pinnacle of labor intensive and complex woodworking techniques, this shop cabinet surely occupies the opposite position.

For a while I’ve had a collection of corded tools that didn’t have a home.  My router, D/A sander, finish nailer, and others that clustered in a “pile” next to the jointer.  With the marquetry I’ve acquired a few more interesting accessories.  Two hot plates, a frying pan of sand, hot water kettle, and more.None of these tools had a “forever home”, so I decided to do something about it.

Basic Dimensions for the cabinet -- I left out the sub-divider in the end.

Basic Dimensions for the cabinet — I left out the sub-divider in the end, and of course skipped all of the real joinery in favor of screws.

I dragged a couple of sheets of Home Depot Birch plywood back to the shop.  I don’t like this stuff.  It warps as you cut it, has lots voids and is only 5 layers of material.  Next time I’ll get the real stuff.  But me and my tablesaw cut it down to size quickly, and with the aid of my Kreg jig I had pocket holes drilled the the outsides clamped up in no time.  These clamps are the best thing ever.

I think the best thing about pocket holes is the Kreg pocket hole clamps.

I think the best thing about pocket holes is the Kreg pocket hole clamps.

I’m pretty lukewarm on pocket hole joinery.  At least with home center plywood.  It’s really easy to overdrive the screws and either strip them out or have the tip tear through the side while the end of the adjoining piece splits while the head wedges it apart.  It’s certainly a fast way to assemble something though.

Before I even got around to feeling guilty about using such quick0and0dirty construction practices I was done building.

Before I even got around to feeling guilty about using such quick0and0dirty construction practices I was done building.  This is 30″ wide x 48″ tall x 11″ deep.

No dados, no glue, just pocket hole screws for the outer shell and Spax screws through the outer face into the edges to affix the back and shelves.  The back is just overlapped.  Yeah, cheesy construction, but I was curious if it would be strong enough.  I hate not having the shelves in dados, and not having the back clued into a groove.  But this went together so quickly, maybe two hours from when I started to cut the plywood until I had the cabinet built.

I added a french cleat to the back, and loaded my spray gun with Amber Shellac.  Three coats with the shellac reduced 100% out of the can, and the cabinet was ready to hang on the wall.

Just need to hand the slab door and this project is a wrap.

Just need to hand the slab door and this project is a wrap.

The shelves seem strong enough to support the tools, although I wouldn’t want to overload them with (say) 10 years of Fine Woodworking back issues.  That would be wrong on several levels.  I was able to put all of my homeless tool away, with room for the few that I’m actively using left over.

I’ve got a couple of additional organizational projects that I want to do, but this has made a big improvement in shop clutter.

Finished, installed and packed with tools.

Out of focus, but finished, installed and packed with tools.

Categories: General Woodworking

More Chairs of Necessity

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 6:17am


Peter Follansbee, one of the authors of “Make a Joint Stool from a Tree,” dug up some photos of historical examples of chairs that Randle Holme drew in the 17th century.

The photos of chairs are here. Peter also wrote up a list of many of the terms for chairs and stools he has encountered in his research. Crazy stuff. Check it out here.

Also, since Peter left Plimoth last year he now has even more items that he sells on his blog – spoons, beautiful bowls and even some carved panels. If you like Peter’s stuff, this is a direct way to support his pioneering work. His current batch of items for sale is here.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Furniture of Necessity, Make a Joint Stool from a Tree
Categories: Hand Tools

Another Vote for “Staked” Furniture

The Logan Cabinet Shoppe - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 6:03am
I’m really glad to see Chris writing about this form.  I’ve been a fan of what Chris has come to call staked furniture for a long time.  I was first introduced to the form through Roy Underhill’s early books and shows.  And since that time I’ve built several items (mostly for the shop) using this […]

Coffin Smoother Tune-up

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 6:02am

To try and inspire you to give wooden planes a try I have endeavored to keep things within this post as simple as possible, but before we get started a bit of preamble. I’m going to avoid waxing lyrical about these planes and try to let history give you a nudge. Although wooden planes across the board may look different than many of the excellent metal offerings of today, this […]

The post Coffin Smoother Tune-up appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

"There was also rights issues with the piano song."

Giant Cypress - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 5:38am
“There was also rights issues with the piano song.”

- Eddie Huang, producer of the new sitcom Fresh Off the Boat at the ABC TCAs, fielding this unbelievable question from a reporter: “I love the Asian culture. And I was just talking about the chopsticks, and I just love all that. Will I get to see that, or will it be more Americanized?”


The Unplugged Woodshop - Tom Fidgen - Mon, 01/26/2015 - 4:06am
  “I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking.”                                                                                                          – Albert Einstein     Fluid. Always learning. Ever changing. From sharpening angles to design styles. Roll with it. Evolve. Change.   1flu·id adjective \ˈflü-əd\ : capable of flowing freely...
Categories: Hand Tools


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