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toy/blanket chest pt VIII..........

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 05/05/2024 - 3:34am

 Closing in on the finish line with the chest. Last night I was thinking about getting handles for it. Today moving the chest on and off the workbench was tiring and awkward. The size of the chest precludes being able to pick it up as is and move it around. That is with it empty too - moving it even partially full isn't going to happen sans handles. Chest handles,  or at least the ones I searched for, didn't do much for me. Making wooden ones so far hasn't borne any fruit neither. I have the rest of the month to think of something. 

 it is surviving

I took the base apart and put it back together twice without any hiccups. The knot is still solidly attached. At the end of the day I took it apart and back together 6 times.


Changed my mind on the bearers for the chest. Glued and screwed I think they will be able to do their intended job.

 not fitting

I want the tails/pins to be as gap free as possible. I have wiggle room because this will painted but still. Because the chest isn't square I have the base on and I marked top edge of the base where I need to remove some wood for it to fit.


I planed this taper with my Record shoulder plane. I only had to plane the part of the base above the bearer. That is why I installed them before I tried to fit the base.


It took two planing runs before I got the base to slip over the chest. I was happy with the fit and the gap was almost nothing. I was looking at it upside down and the real eyeballing will be after it is glued and screwed to the chest.

 hide glue

I could have used white glue but opted for hide. I didn't need the open time but I might have to knock it apart later for some reason.

still fit

Glued and cooking and it still fits. I left the base on the chest for 20 minutes to allow it to form itself to the chest bottom.

 sizing the lid

The lid will overhang the front and sides by 1". I wanted the two boards of the lid to be the same width. So I measured from the glue joint out to the edges so both were the same.

 laid out

Used big Red to knife the ends.

 knife line

I sawed about a 1/8" off the knife line. 

 planed to the knife line

I got the ends square to the front/rear edges but it didn't matter here. With the chest out of square the overhang will hide it. If the lid was flush I would have had to matched the lid to the chest. It was good practice squaring up a large panel - 19" x 37 1/2".

 what is this called?

I like this and it is something that I usually put on projects like this that it could go on. I put it on here mostly so things won't fall off the back edge. No telling what the boys will do or use this for.

 screw gauge

I needed some #4 screws and this box has a mixture of several sizes. I got this gauge when I was 22(?) at Elridge Hardware store in Norwich Conn. I couldn't find enough screws so I ordered a couple boxes from McMaster-Carr.

 setting the hinges

Made sense to me to fix the hinge leaf on the lid first and then onto the edge of the chest. 

 only 3 screws

Each hinge needs 7 screws and 3 was sufficient to check the placement of them. I took them off after I was satisfied with them.

 nailed it

This is why I did the hinges now. I wanted the back edge of the lid to be flush or a wee bit proud of the back. I am a a frog hair proud. No problem with the hinges opening and closing. I think using the 3rd one in the middle is definitely needed due to the size/weight of the lid.


I changed the overhang on the front. One inch looked to be a bit too much to my eye so I changed it to 3/4".

 glued and cooking

I didn't put any screws in this but I might do that tomorrow. The glue bond should be ok with keeping this attached.

 end grain

Sanded the end grain up to 220. I got them smooth and even and when painted the paint will look even and smooth too.

 pitch pocket

Paint doesn't adhere/cover pine pitch pockets. I will dig this out and fill it with a dutchman.


It had been several hours since I applied this wood putty and it still hadn't hardened. Fingers crossed that it will be so come tomorrow.

accidental woodworker

The Latest Conversation Podcast (not woodworking)

The Barn on White Run - Sat, 05/04/2024 - 10:59am

I had another invigorating conversation this week with my long time friend (almost 40 years) broadcaster Brian Wilson, who though retired can’t quite kick the habit.  It’s posted on his podcast Now For Something Completely Different.  No, I will not provide the link to avoid the accusation of imposing my worldview on you.

This time we got even more philosophical and metaphysical than usual, with critiques of the current state of affairs in the culture and polity.

As always, if a pungent exchange of radical ideas is not your thing, avoid it.  You have been warned.

Categories: Hand Tools

Nine in the (New) Kiln

David Fisher - Carving Explorations - Sat, 05/04/2024 - 8:35am
I’ve mentioned before that I use a light bulb kiln to cure the oil on my spoons and bowls. My old kiln got kicked around a bit during the move, so I decided to convert my old shop heater cover … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

toy/blanket chest pt VII...........

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 05/04/2024 - 3:25am

 Another good day in the shop and today I actually met my goals. My wife will be painting the chest so I don't have to go nutso putting shellac on it. That will save me a lot of $$, time, and calories. I will sand it up to 180 for the paint. But getting back to the chest, there isn't much left to do. Put the lid and the base on and install the hinges and the lid stay and it will be done.

I resisted the urge

No surprises taking the clamps off. Nothing relaxed, moved, or said aah.

 waiting for me this AM

Amazon said this was coming yesterday and then said it would be the next day. It came sometime after 2030 last night to 0700 this AM. I noticed that lately the shipping from Amazon Prime is touch and go with it mostly being OTL (out to lunch). My wife is fuming over Prime because they haven't shipped her new cell phone cover. Said it was out for delivery and then said oops, it just shipped. 

This lid stay isn't a gas strut lid stay. The circular part of it is what keeps the lid from slamming shut. The instructions don't give a lot detail on how it works but the ones for the installation are clear enough.

one long side overhang is too much

The chest is a 1/4" out of square on the diagonals. Thankfully it isn't something that is visible and will have zero effect on its use as a toy box or blanket chest. Because of the whack job squaring I did I had to oversize the lid more than I would. One long side tapers from almost 3/8" at the wide end to 3/16" on the short end. I put a flush trim bit in the router and flushed the bottom to the chest.

 4x24 belt sander

Before I got into handplanes I used this sander to flatten my glue ups. I was pretty good at and I used it here to flush the pins/tails and smooth out the sides. This is a powerful tool and it will easily go south on you if you aren't paying attention. I had to clamp the chest to the lally column because the sander wanted to send it shooting across the cellar floor.

 not good looking

Glad that this will be painted because this end panel doesn't look good. In fact none of the sides rate a grade better a F-.

 tails are seated

All of the tails are seated on all four corners. The baselines are chipped out (from knifing them) and that makes it look like there are gaps. I'll be filling them in with wood putty.

 base stock

The main goal for today was to get the base done and dry fitted to the base.

 brown knot

The worse kind to deal with. Red knots tend to stay in place whereas brown ones dry, shrink, and fall out. I wicked in a lot of super glue around the edges - fingers crossed on that. I'll put this one on the back of the chest.

 lunch bell just rang

I was going to go with one big tail in the middle but I had to revise that. The brown knot didn't like the one tail idea.

the PM session

Went for a short walk after lunch in spite of the dark clouds. No rain clouds on the radar but I still didn't want to chance it so it was about 1/2 of what I would walk on a sunny day. Got the last of the pins chopped and ready to see if they would go together off the saw.

 off the saw

I made this a 16th and one frog hair wider in both directions than the chest. If there are any gaps they will be hidden with a cove molding.

 the brown knot

I didn't have any hiccups sawing the tail through the knot. When I laid the board down on the bench it popped off. I scraped it and the hollow in the tail and superglued it back in place again.

 got it on dry

The base was tighter and harder to get on the chest than I thought it would be. One corner is the Achilles heel and it is probably the long out of square diagonal too. Not sure how to deal with that but I'll figure out something. I also will saw out the cutout in the base after it has set.

 bearers sawn out

Not sure if I will stick with these. They are a 1/2 x 3/4 and they look wimpy to my eye now that I see them with the base and the chest all together.

 got everything

 I got the hinges for the chest and that is it for supplies. I don't need anything else to complete it. Got my green sanding block - I left special instructions for it but I wasn't sure it would happen. 

 tool care wax

Giving this a try out. The instructions say it only takes a dab to protect a tool. I don't have a rust problem in my shop but I have been known to spill coffee on them. I hope this does the trick with that hiccup.

accidental woodworker

toy/blanket chest pt VI...........

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 05/03/2024 - 3:29am

 In spite of having an AM appt I still got a lot done today. I kind of liked having the first appt of the day too. Traffic going in at 0630 was minimal and not much worse coming home. The only hit was the cafeteria opened late so I couldn't get breakfast. I brought a banana nut muffin and a coffee at Starbucks. My next appt is for 0730 in 3 months. I think I'll try to get appointments early in the morning. It leaves a lot of the day to devote to the shop.

 dovetail clamping caul

These would be a lot better if the fingers were in the shape of a dovetail but they worked ok as is.

ready for glue

I sanded the interior of the chest with 100 grit paper. I got two rags to wipe up the glue. On to the next batter.

 hide glue

I thought of using white glue but nixed it. This is a large glue up and it will take a while to get glue on the tails/pins. The extra set time was needed for this.


Lots of clamps but it went off hiccup free. There wasn't much glue squeeze and I was expecting a lot of it too.

 bottom panel

There are two possible ways to attach the bottom panel to the chest. The panel is oversized and I'll flush it after the chest is cooked. I can screw it to the bottom of the chest or.....

 .....or insert it

I could put bearers around the inside perimeter and attach the bottom panel to them. I could do that so the bearers could be on top or the bottom of the panel. I decided that gluing and screwing it to the bottom of the chest is the best way to go.

 closed up

All of the tails looked like they were fully seated. However, there are a few that I'm not sure on. The glue line is dark and I won't know for sure if they seated until after I plane and flush them.

 questionable one

Fingers crossed on this one of three.


The diagonals are just shy of an 1/8" off from each other. I accepted it as is because I couldn't see any way to get them to agree and clamp the tails until they were seated. It is less than an 1/8" over almost 3 feet (35 1/2").

 final size of the bottom

The workbench is unusable until tomorrow. I am not going to move it while it is cooking.

 picture frame

I used the vise in the sharpening bench to start on the next picture frame I need. I sawed out the inside frame from scraps left over from the chest project.

 reference edge

It was too awkward to grab my usual bench planes so I used the woodies that were on the set up table to the left. Established a flat, straight, and square reference edge before I ripped the frame parts to width.

 spun like a helicopter rotor

Planed a slight hollow in the middle with the #3 and planed it with the #7. The straight edge rubs on the ends now telling me it is flat and straight.

 practice frame

I got confused about the inside lengths of this frame. I couldn't sort out the numbers and picture it in the brain bucket. I don't have any full size practice stock so I made a test frame out of some scrap thin poplar stock.

 this ain't going to work

I thought I could figure it out with a dry frame but it wouldn't stay together while I measured it.

 the painting

This is the painting that I what to frame. I want the small (1/2") border to be hidden by the frame. It was trying to figure out this that was giving me headaches.

 figured it out

I super glued and taped the frame together. It held up to my manipulations trying to size the painting within it. The large outer frame has to be the size of the painting minus the 1/2" border. The inner back frame has to be the overall size of the painting. 

 repeat the same theme?

I am thinking of making this frame the same as the first one I did. Both paintings involve turtles and the sea so why not?

 long side reference edges

I had to erase all the layout lines I had on the short side I started with. Finished the 3 reference edges on the remaining frame parts.

 roughing out the miters

Sawed the sides 3/16" over to give me some meat to true up the miters on the shooting board.

 one blow out

I let go of the waste off cut too soon and paid the price. I super glued it back on and planed it smooth and flush. With the upcoming painting it will never be seen or detected.


Not as a good as the last frame I did. It amazes me how little it takes on anyone miter to throw this out of whack.

 the next frame

There is one more painting by my wife's aunt that she likes and wants to keep. However, she wants to choose the frame. That could take a long time so I'll make a frame I think she will like and let it go at that. If she likes it, fine. If she doesn't I'll hang it in the boneyard.

 my frame is ready

I had to stop here because there wasn't anyplace for me to use the miter shooting board.


Thinking of adding two more colors to this frame - red and yellow. Just a hint of them though. No where as much as the dominant colors of gray, black, and white.

accidental woodworker

In The “First Time For Everything” Category

The Barn on White Run - Thu, 05/02/2024 - 6:03am

For the past dozen years I have been mothballing the barn’s microhydroelectric system once we get a few consecutive days with daily highs below freezing, usually in late November, then de-mothballing the system once we get to spring-like weather.  I learned a painful lesson the first year when I thought I could keep it running all winter long.  The result of that error was replacing 600 feet of spiral fractured 2-inch PVC line when the water inside froze solid.  Since following the newer strategy I mostly limp through the winter on the output of the solar panels.

As I reassembled the water line every spring, roughly a quarter mile of 2-inch PVC, and walk it top to bottom every year I would find some damage to repair, from ground upheaval (it is truly astounding how much the ground moves in the creek bed ravine over a winter here), extreme water flow during a heavy winter rain or snow melt, or (mostly) fallen trees.  Thus, my bringing the system online was usually a two- or three-day event.

Not so this year.  When I hooked up the water line from top to bottom, for the first time ever there was no damage!  Yes, a few of the soft joints had loosened and needed to be snugged up, no big deal other than getting pretty soaked, but other than that it was a couple hours of good exercise hiking up and down the creek bed.

Let the water and the electrons flow.

Categories: Hand Tools

Japanese plane setup (Wilbur’s version) - V: smooth like butter

Giant Cypress - Thu, 05/02/2024 - 3:28am

There’s one other aspect of sharpening that is in play here. Besides getting the edge to a zero-radius, the surfaces that come to that zero-radius should be as smooth as possible. The good thing here is that any woodworker should be comfortable with that idea for tools, because any woodworker understands using sandpaper to smooth a wood surface by going up through the grits. The same principle applies with sharpening.

At this point, I’m going to stay away from the actual method of sharpening (waterstones, diamond plates, oilstones, Scary Sharp, etc.) because the principles are the same. So for the purposes of this discussion, I’m going to use the term “widget” for the method of sharpening.

To get a better idea of what’s happening, here are some models of an edge tool that should show why getting a smooth surface is important.

This is an edge tool that has been sharpened with a relatively coarse grit widget. The coarse grits leave large scratches in the surface of the bevel and back of the tool.

The surfaces still come to a zero-radius, but this edge is not optimal. The large scratches results in little microteeth. The fact that the scratches don’t line up results in a little wavy profile on the edge. And if one of those microteeth break off, or get rolled over, you no longer have a zero-radius edge at that spot.

Now let’s move on to a less coarse grit widget, much like you might go from initial sanding at 80 grit to 120 grit.

The surfaces still have scratches, but the scratches are smaller. Again, there’s a zero-radius, but some waviness can be seen. The edge could still be improved. Let’s keep going.

Moving to the next higher grit widget continues to improve the edge. Let’s keep going.

And here’s the Platonic ideal of a sharp edge — two smooth surfaces, coming together at a zero-radius. This is a sharp edge, making it easy to cut through wood. And this edge will last a long time, as there are no miniature peaks to fail as the tool is used.

In fact, sometimes it’s said that there’s no use sharpening, say, a chisel to a very fine degree, as the first chop will destroy the edge. This model indicates otherwise — the further you go in sharpening, the more durable the edge will be. My experience tells me the same thing as well.

So that’s the goal.

toy/blanket chest pt V............

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 05/02/2024 - 3:12am

 Had a good day in the shop but I didn't get everything done that I had on the to do list. I was happy with the progress I accomplished and I even got a post lunch stroll in. There was 99% dark cloud coverage but I saw a sliver of blue sky so I walked. I also had checked the rain radar to make sure no rain clouds were hiding on me.

Tomorrow I have an appt at the VA at 0800. I hate appointments that early because I have to drive Rte 10 during rush hour traffic which will be worse because of the construction. I'll leave my house at 0630 to avoid all that crappola. I'll eat breakfast there and read a book until my appt is called.

 2nd one done

I don't think it took me more than 20-25 minutes to chop the tails on this. 


I could have done the pins on the long sides too. The long side is shorter then the height of the workbench. I still think I called it the right way doing the tails on the long sides.

 knifing the pins

I don't use a pencil anymore to mark the pins from the tails. I like the knife line and I use that to guide my sawing of the pins.

 baselines knifed

I've been doing the pins this way for a while now and I will stick with it. Instead of sawing the verticals and then knifing the baselines, I knife them before I saw. This way I go directly from sawing to chopping.

 sawing the verticals

Looks awkward but it wasn't. I was able to saw all the pins without having to switch and move it to the other side of the vice.

 wee bit tight

I couldn't fully seat them because the tails/pins were too tight. I didn't have a warm and fuzzy about not snapping off a pin/tail so I backed it out.


It took two strokes on each pin to fully seat the tails/pins. I lost a chip from a tail so I'll have to dutch that after the carcass is glued up.

 2nd corner

There is a bit of bow in this end panel causing the tails/pins not to fully seat. They went together with a few thumps from a mallet. I had to trim a few pins with the rasp too.


I was expecting gaps but there aren't any. I'll take and carry on smartly. I'm learning not to get headaches trying to figure out things that I can't explain.


Had a good AM session. I got the 2nd long side tails chopped along with the pins on one end panel. The goal was to get the chest glued up in the PM session.

3rd corner

None of the tails pins meshed off the saw. It took me 3 dance steps trimming the pins with a chisel and rasp before they did.

 needs helps

Had to trim the 4th corner before the chest was dry fitted. It is going to take more than two clamps to seat the tails/pins. This end of the chest is worse than the other. 

 clamping cauls

I made four clamping cauls to put pressure directly on the 8 tails per corner.

 glued and cooking

The 'fingers' on the cauls are shy of the width of the tails at their widest. 

glued and cooking

These don't require any long clamping time. All that matters is the fingers are secured to the base. I'll still let these cook until tomorrow. I'll do the glue up of the chest probably in the PM session. 

I had a lot of fun trying to get the chest diagonals the same. It was frustrating because I see sawed with one being long and than being short. After fighting it for nearly a half hour I finally got them within a 16th. 

IKEA flat pack

I didn't want to chance leaving it dry fitted and not being able to knock it apart tomorrow. 

 don't like them

These certainly look and feel like they could handle 40lbs of dead weight. I don't like the mechanism for opening and closing it. This is for the boys so that the lid doesn't slam shut on their fingers. This one is overly complicated in closing it. I'll order some gas strut lid stays.


It is obvious to me that these are metric with inch conversions. There are lots of way to employ these. They are made for kitchen cabinetry doors etc.

 whittling away at it

Got one more Eric Sloane book crossed off. I have seven more to go on this list but I'm not sure that is it inclusive. Mr Sloane wrote and coauthored a lot of books starting in the late 1950's. I got this list by looking at the 'books by this author'  lists in all my other Sloane books.

accidental woodworker

Is it a Coincidence

Journeyman's Journal - Wed, 05/01/2024 - 4:43pm

The picture on the left is from Amazon, and on the right, I made it. I find the similarities strikingly similar. Is it just a coincidence, or was it intentional? The Amazon product was made in China, but not necessarily designed in China.

The car industry is notorious for knocking off each other’s designs. Have you noticed this? A new car comes out, and within the year, a whole bunch of other cars get released; they all look similar to one another. There are cars out there that have similar look to Mercs and BMWs

Whether they did use my desk organiser as a base model design to work from or if it was just a coincidence, I don’t mind because someone somewhere out there thought what I made was so awesome that it was worth incorporating into their own product design. I personally find that an honour, and I didn’t have to have 300k subscribers on Youtube to get it or 3 million likes and followers on Instagram to be noticed. I’m just plotting along and quietly doing my own thing.

Categories: Hand Tools

toy/blanket chest pt IV............

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 05/01/2024 - 3:41am

 Noticed that my productivity of late has been a little on the lean side. Today I had another slowdown because I forgot to do my grocery shopping this AM. I'm going to have to annotate my calendar so I don't forget it again. That blip managed to grind the shop session doings almost to a standstill. I did manage to get a few things accomplished but not as much as I thought I would.

I also didn't get my post lunch stroll in neither. It has been dark with rain threatening clouds for the past two days. The cloudy days aren't going away any time soon neither. The forecast has cloudy skies out to saturday after next. That puts a damper on the strolling. I don't like walking in the rain or being threatened with rain while walking.


Squaring up the end panels kicked my arse. I started see sawing with the edge tapering back and forth on me. I ate up a 1/4" before I got the last edge flat, straight, and square. Glad that I had 4" of wiggle room on the end panels.

which one?

Eyeballed the F/B and the end panels to determine which one got tails and which one got the pins. Which one will be easier to lay on the other one to knife the pins from the tails drove that. Decided that the Kewpie doll prize goes to the F/B getting the tails and the end panels getting the pins.

 pit stop

Sharpened and honed the 3 chisels I will need to chop the pins and tails. I do the initial strokes on the 100 grit runway. That tells me how the bevel looks being held in the honing guide. I keep stoking until I raise a burr. From there I go to the 3 diamond stones finishing on the 8K japanese water stone. 30-40 final strokes on the strop and I was ready to chop tails and pins.

 went into overtime

I left the shop at 1530 today. I got the front or back panel tails chopped and cleaned up. Maybe tomorrow I'll get the carcass done and glued up. Fingers crossed on that.

I had to buy an universal remote for the living rm TV. I got it from Amazon and it came without any instructions or batteries. The problem with it is the TV has several inputs - one Cable TV, 3 RCA inputs, 3 HDMI inputs, and one USB. The 2nd headache was I didn't know how to select the TV HDMI input from the DVD player. I found it by hit/miss last night. I sat down in front of the TV and pushed every button on the remote until I got the 'TV input selection'. The DVD player was in the 5th position. Just need the DVDs from across the pond to get here but it does work.

accidental woodworker

Small Dresser 7: Finished

JKM Woodworking - Tue, 04/30/2024 - 10:31pm

front view

Poplar case with sycamore drawer fronts. Basswood and pine secondary wood.

The drawers are joined with dowels/pins. Dominos were used for the dividers and runners. Liquid hide glue was used for most joints with titebond II for the sides and top.

The poplar is finished with two coats of Speedball india ink and 5-6 coats of Deft spray lacquer. The sycamore is finished with 5-6 coats of Deft spray lacquer. The drawer pulls are brass Lee Valley ‘Round Tapered Ring Pulls’ which I tried to darken with gun bluing solution.

The case is 31″ wide, 28″ high, and 18″ deep. The top adds a little to each dimension. I wanted it no more than 29″ high to fit under a window sill. The drawer fronts are graduated from 3 1/2″ to 7″.

It was good practice for dressers or casework.


This was my first time making drawer slips and muntins. Also my first time making rabbeted/nailed drawers and first time using india ink.

drawer inside
drawer bottom

Once this makes an appearance I will probably be asked to make more dressers. Ironic as I stopped using a dresser 20 years ago.

oblique view

I’m happy with it.

Previous posts in this series:

Categories: General Woodworking

August Class at Galbert’s!

David Fisher - Carving Explorations - Tue, 04/30/2024 - 9:52am
I’ll be teaching a bowl carving course at Peter Galbert’s school in Rollinsford, NH, just 12 miles from the Maine coast, August 12-17, 2024. Pete and I have talked about this possibility for a couple years, and I’m so happy … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Carved box class, September 2024

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Tue, 04/30/2024 - 4:56am

[sorry for the assault – if you read my substack blog, this is a copy of one there – just brief announcements – particularly one about a class in September. These days I only teach a few times a year and just wanted people to have a heads-up about enrollment.]

carved box, oak & pine April 2024

I just finished this box yesterday – and this morning I see that Galbert has announced the new class I’ll be teaching at his shop in the September. When I was there a few weeks ago we settled on reviving the carved box class, first one in two years. It’s going to be Sept 9-14. The class is small, 6 people. We’ll be able to delve pretty deeply into the carving – that usually amounts to maybe half of our time. Lots of practice, then pick a pattern and carve the box.

All the details are on Galbert’s website – https://www.petergalbert.com/schedule/2020/7/13/make-a-chair-from-a-tree-with-peter-follansbee-8brcj-7b62n-xafjp-mglkm-lrd5m

the most important one is this: Enrollment for this class open on Wednesday, May 8, 2024 at 8:00am on Galbert’s site. (not here, not through me).

That’s the same time enrollment for Dave Fisher’s class opens there, so if you get shut out of Dave’s, you can sign up for mine as a consolation…

On another note, lately I’ve strapped myself to this desk so I can assemble a website – it’s still a work-in-progress, but it’s coming together. I needed a place to stick stuff that stays put – here it is thus far:


This guy arrived yesterday, I’ll go see who got in last night.

Baltimore oriole

toy/blanket chest pt III...........

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 04/30/2024 - 3:21am

 I had my annual peepers exam today and it got a bit dicey. While examining the inside of my right eye she saw a lump in the macula. It was suspicious and it didn't give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. The doc came in and confirmed the lump and had a scan of it done to establish a baseline to compare it to next year. The good news is after she reviewed the scan she said it was nothing to be concerned about. Having macula degeneration in my golden years would have sucked pond scum. Fingers crossed that it doesn't change on next year's exam.

 ready to unclamp

I wanted to squeeze in as much as I could before I left for the eye exam. The pupil dilation drops have been getting worse the past few years.

 brass piano hinge

It is 30" and the chest will be around 36". I don't see the need to have this the exact same length as the chest. With it shorter it will be partially hidden in a rabbet.

 forgot these

I was digging through my hinge stash and I came across these two. I like the ones I ordered because they have an adjustable resistance from 18 to 40 pounds.

 second choice hinges

These are kind of lightweight feeling but I have used them before with good results. They are no mortise and are practically brainless to install (good fit for me). The only hit I have with them is they don't come with screws - they take a #4.

 the winner(s)

They are sized for 3/4" stock and the are dead nuts secure when screwed home. I only have two of them and I want to use 3 of them for the chest. I ordered 3 more from Lee Valley today along with a green sanding block.

 not swaged

The rabbet for this would be close to a 1/4" deep. This is what killed it for me and I switched to the other ones.

 from Woodpecker

I had a homemade plywood version of this and when I saw this on their site I pulled the trigger on it. Never warmed up to them and never really learned how to set them up. I tried a couple of times and they went airborne. Dug them out today to eyeball the size of the chest so I can pick a size for it.

way too deep

I like the length (R/L) and the height but the depth is too much at 24"+. I will shave it down to 18".

 the magic comes next

This part of any project build still gets my motor to the red line. I can see the completed project easily in my mind. Taking each board and working it to fit in the project puzzle has a high for me that no drug could match.


I am committed to this being painted but this lid would look awesome left natural against a painted carcass. That idea will fall on deaf ears though.

glue joint

These glue ups are shaking out to be the best I've done. There is almost no proud in the glue joint from end to end. I'll do the final smoothing and cleaning of the panels before I glue them together.

 front/back batting first

This is the shorter of the two and it will determine the length. Squaring each end and then I'll use this one to set the length of the opposite side piece.

 getting the length

The length of the front/back will be 35 1/2". The opposite ends lined up pretty good. Getting panels square isn't a problem for me. The headache comes when I have to match two or more of them.

 wee bit proud

The right side ends are square and the bottom edge is flush too. I marked this with a pencil and planed down to it. I used my Lee Valley bevel up jack plane to square the ends. It is what I use the plane for 99.99% of the time. None of my other bench planes will plane end grain as easily or smoothly as it does.


The front and back are flush on the ends and on the reference long edge. After I square up the end panels I will rip the panels to the final width .

I tried to work in the shop with sunglasses because the shop lights were giving me a headache. I had to wait a couple of hours until I could bear the lights in the shop. Tomorrow I'll get the end panels squared up and maybe get started on dovetailing.

accidental woodworker

Small Dresser 6: Top, Back, Ebonizing Poplar, Blackening Brass

JKM Woodworking - Mon, 04/29/2024 - 9:21pm

The top has been sitting in my house for months and hasn’t cupped. Tempting fate, I ripped it to plane it, then reglued. I did this to thin it down to 3/4″.

top showing available overhang

After putting the top on the base, I saw there wasn’t much room on the front for an overhang. I decided to simply round over the edges with a plane, preserving as much width as practical. I would have like the top edge to be crisper, but there were some dings or defects that disappeared with planing like this.

edge profile for top

I initially thought I would finish the poplar with something warm, like oil, and finish the sycamore with something clear, like lacquer. But when reading about ebonizing for another project, I saw poplar on a list of woods that ebonize well. So I decided to practice ebonizing.

Speedball India Ink

I practiced on the backside of a pine bead board and the underside of the poplar top. If the point of practicing is to do everything the same on your practice pieces as your project, I failed. Sometimes I used a foam brush, sometimes a foam roller, and sometimes a cotton rag. Sometimes I wiped the excess and sometimes I didn’t. Not so consistent.

practice pine and poplar

For the real deal, I applied two coats of ink, wiping any pooled excess before it dried. I mostly used a 2″ foam brush, but sometimes used a 4″ foam roller to spread the bulk out before switching to the brush.

Reading about using india ink, one of the biggest complaints was it being lifted or smudged on subsequent coats, whether that was a second coat of ink or the first topcoat of another finish. To avoid this, I decided I would spray the first top coat. Since I don’t have spray equipment and don’t want to use polyurethane, that leaves off-the-shelf cans of shellac or lacquer. I chose lacquer so that I could use one product for all pieces, and lacquer would be more clear on the light colored sycamore.

I sprayed the case and top separated, and all five drawer fronts. I finished only the visible sides. Two cans of spray lacquer was enough for 5-6 coats. After 1-2 days I rub all over with a brown paper bag, which makes it feel smoother.

wood grain still visible through ink

The back pieces are pine tongue and groove beadboard. Before fastening, I blackened them. I planned on using pneumatic nails to attach them to the three back rails. Worried the rails were too thin, I glued extra pieces to make them thicker and an easier target for the nail gun. Nailing them was harder than I anticipated. I had to clamp each one to the rails to hold it tight before nailing, otherwise they wanted to bend away.

doubling up back rails for nailing
not much contrast in this picture

When I made the drawers I made their sides extra long, thinking I would trim them after the back was in place.

drawer sides overly long

Now with the back in place, I could trim the back of the drawer sides. I shoved the drawer closed and used a marking gauge to determine how much material to remove from the back. In this way the back of the dresser acts as a drawer stop.

measure from the front
remove from the back

I didn’t plan ahead of time how to fasten the top to the case. Since the top is made out of the same type of wood with the same grain direction as the sides, I don’t need to worry about movement. I ended up drilling holes in the top rails for screws. I think pocket holes through the sides would have been better, but I would have had to drill those holes a few steps ago.

no room for a stubby screwdriver

There wasn’t enough room for a screwdriver to fit, so I used screws with a 1/4 hex head which allowed me to use a ratchet and socket. These screw heads interfered with the closing of the drawer, so I had to remove some material from the drawer backs with a file.

drawer couldn’t be inserted with screw heads in the way
brass hardware with gun blue solution

These are Lee Valley ‘Round Tapered Ring Pulls’. I chose them because they were available in four sizes. I wanted black hardware, but since that is hard to find I thought I would try to blacken brass. I found an old post from a firearms forum showing experiments and results and decided to try Oxpho Blue.

The instructions say to wipe on and keep wet for 60 seconds, then dry. I tried this and it had no effect. I submerged the pieces for several minutes, and that only turned them a dull gray. I ended up soaking the pieces for a long time. They did get very dark but some pieces got a little rough or pitted. I’m not sure I should blame the chemical. Maybe this brass wasn’t a good candidate or I should have done something different.

as black as they’re getting

The rings are mounted in the center of the small drawers, and the wide drawers have two rings lining up below those. I tried to mount the ring pulls centered up-down in each drawer, meaning the pilot hole for the mounting screw had to be above the midline. I set dividers to the radius of the ring and marked where to drill a pilot hole.

measure the radius
drill the top hole to have the center of the ring in the center of the drawer
try to keep in line with each other

Not much left. I have to get some 1/4 plywood for the drawer bottoms. I will wax the mating parts of the drawers and runners. I may add some felt pads under the feet, but will probably wait until I find out where it will be residing.

Categories: General Woodworking

toy/blanket chest pt II............

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 04/29/2024 - 3:21am

 came overnight

This is a region free DVD player that I got from Amazon for $39. I also bought the entire BBC Spiral series and I should have that sometime around may 9th. I stopped watching season 5 of Spiral because there were too many holes in it. I didn't get to see any of season four and season 5 builds on it. I'll pick it back up when I get the DVDs from across the pond.

toy/blanket chest lid

This is pt II of this build series. Yesterday (pt I) I got all the stock prepped for glue up and today I added the lid to the mix. Might as well get all the glue ups done at the same time.

 carcass glued and cooking

I am going to resist the urge to play with these in the PM session. I will let them cook overnight and start on them in the AM tomorrow.

 being a PITA

The straight edge said both glue joint edges were straight, square, and flat but there is a gap. The outside edges by the end were tight but the middle was open. A clamp wouldn't pull it shut so I had to plane and trim the outside ends several times before the gap went away.

 needed some help

The boards weren't down flush with the clamps on these two clamps. I had to use clamps to pull them down and keep them touching the bar clamps.

 base stock

Decided to go with the width I wanted for the base stock. I like this width and I think it is a better fit with the overall size of the toy/blanket chest. The chest is not super sized but the scale of the base fits the scale of the toy/blanket chest.

 weren't up to the task

I'm glad I eyeballed the glue ups because the lid had some daylight between the bar clamps and the lid. The big boy besseys had no problems pulling it tight and keeping it tight.

 how so close

The width is 24" which more the enough but the length was only 33 1/2". The length of the toy/blanket chest is going to be around 36" so I'm a few frog hairs shy. Just as well because this is oak veneered 1/2" plywood and this stuff sucks pond scum. I made a road trip to Lowes to get a 1/4 sheet of 1/2" plywood.

 funny looking plywood

This is called Blondewood and this face is white. It almost looks like a paint but I was not a 100% sure of that. This was $26 and the same thing in birch was $3 more. I stuck with this because it is the bottom of the toy/blanket chest and isn't that visible.

 USA company

It took a while but I found this on their website. They are a US company out of North Carolina. Their site states that one side is a defect free white wood and the opposite face is also a defect free wood. I like the second, non white face better. The white face would probably be a good paintable surface.

Tomorrow I will unclamp the glue ups, size the panels, and start on the dovetailing. I don't think this should take me more than a couple of days to knock out.

I bought a couple of lid stays and I'll have them next week (adjustable up to 40lbs). I have a lot of hinges that I can pick from to use but I'm thinking of using a piano hinge for the first time. I don't recall ever having used one although I have several of them in shop.

Felt good after the weigh in today. I behaved myself all week with what I shoved in the pie hole. I also walked everyday, monday to saturday for the first time in months. The reward was I lost 3.4 pounds. That leaves 12 more to shed to get to my goal of 185.

accidental woodworker

Japanese plane setup (Wilbur’s version) - IV: sharpening is a zero-radius game

Giant Cypress - Mon, 04/29/2024 - 3:18am

As we noted before, sharpening the plane blade is the first step in setting up a Japanese plane, as sharpening changes the geometry of the blade, which in turn affects the fit of the blade in the plane. Sharpening gets a bad rap among woodworkers. It’s often thought of as a task that is not a great use of time. “I want to do woodworking, not sharpening,” is a common saying adopted by woodworkers.

I think that’s a mistaken concept. Sharpening is woodworking. It makes your tool easier and safer to use. With a sharp tool, you’ll use less effort and have more control over the results you’re trying to get. By not sharpening, there’s an implicit acceptance of making your woodworking task harder to do, with less chance of success.

Besides, if it really was true that woodworkers want to avoid sharpening at all costs, we would all be using Japanese tools. The steel in Japanese tools really does sharpen to a finer degree and holds sharpness longer than western tool steels, while being no harder to sharpen than western tools. There are two reasons to prefer a western chisel over a Japanese chisel. The first is that you like the feel of a bigger chisel, as Japanese chisels tend to be smaller than their western counterparts. The second is that you want to spend more time sharpening.

The good news is, it’s simpler and easier than you think to get really sharp edges.

The hardest part about sharpening is understanding what “sharp” really means, especially if you are trying to do this outside of a real-world, live class or demonstration. The best way I can explain what “sharp” is from a distance is this:

You have a sharp edge when the two sides of your plane blade/chisel have a zero-radius at the point where they meet.

Please note that I’m not talking about flat, or a mirror polish. Sharpness is often defined in these terms, but I like to avoid them because they focus on factors that are less important.

This diagram of cross sections of an edge shows why flatness isn’t the most important thing. On the left, there are two edges that are both sharp. One has two flat surfaces coming together at a point with a zero-radius. The second one is the same, but the surfaces are curved. (Think of the edge of a kitchen knife or an ax.) Both edges are going to be sharp.

The middle part of the diagram shows the same cross sections, but with a bit of a round-over with a small radius where the edges meet. This is an edge that is starting to get dull. This happens both with the flat and curved sides. The small amount of dulling has nothing to do with how flat or curved the sides might be, just what is happening at the edge.

The right part of the diagram shows the same cross sections, but with a greater round-over with a larger radius. Again, the flatness of the sides don’t have much to do with what is going on at the edge.

There are a number of tried and true methods of assessing the edge, and if you keep the idea of a zero-radius point, they will all make sense. One method of assessing sharpness as you sharpen a tool is getting a burr to form. The burr only forms once you’ve abraded enough material to eliminate the roundness from the edge of the tool. If there’s some roundness left at the edge, the metal will continue to come off without forming a burr.

Another method is to move the tool under a light while looking down at the edge of the tool, and to look for a line of light at the edge. If you see a line of light, then you need to keep sharpening. The reason the line of light appears is that if the edge still has some roundness to it, at some point the roundness will reflect light from the light source, which creates the “line of light” effect. If the two surfaces meet at a zero-radius, there’s no roundness to reflect light.

There’s also the fingernail test. A sharp edge will catch on your fingernail. (If you use this test, please be careful.) If the edge has some roundness, the edge will skate along your fingernail. But if the edge comes to a zero-radius point, it will catch.

This is not to say that flatness and a mirror polish aren’t useful in the sharpening process. It’s just that they aren’t the most important things. They both have a role to play in sharpening. We’ll get to how and why soon.

beautiful day.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 04/28/2024 - 3:35am

 After I got up this AM I went grocery shopping. I am thinking of changing what I eat for lunch and just having a salad. I have been eating toast and soup and I think I'm ready for a change. For variety I'll throw in a frozen Healthy Choice meal. They have several (that I like) that are 250 calories or less. I am maintaining my weight and I'm not losing with the diet as it is. I still want to drop about 15 more pounds. I'm looking forward to seeing how I do on the scales tomorrow.

 took an hour

I have eight 1x12x5' pine boards for the next project - a toy box for Miles and Leo. It is going to be a blanket chest that the boys will use first. After they out grow it Amanda can use it as a blanket chest or for whatever. 

It took me that long to pick out the boards for the carcass. In the end I didn't get a good color/grain match so I stuck with making each side as good as I could. 

all for naught

My wife will be bringing it to NC at the end of may. That means more than likely she will paint it once she gets there. All the fussing and expending calories matching color and grain were a waste of time. Knowing that will make the glue up easier for me.

 first brain fart

I broke down the stock for the carcass. The chest will be 36" R/L, 22" deep, and 16" high. There will be a base so the height will be 4-5 inches taller. Made a miscalculation here that I didn't pick up on yet.


I only had stock for one long and one short side of the carcass. Got confused thinking about two boards and four sides. I straightened, squared, and flattened one edge and then ripped the boards to width on the tablesaw.


2nd brain fart dawned on me here. I ripped all the boards to a width of 8 1/4". I only had to rip 4 of them. Originally the chest was going to be 18" high but now it is 16" which is probably a better height for the boys.

 this sucks

I'm glad I haven't gone back to Harbor Freight and bought anymore of these deep reach clamps. I tried to use them to clamp two boards together for planing and it was basically useless. Instead of drawing the two boards together, the screw was pushing the upper and lower arms apart. Disappointing to see but oh well at least they didn't cost a lot.

spring joint

These were the last two boards to plane the glue joint. This one ended up being a spring joint even though I wasn't shooting for one. The end were tight and I had gap in the middle. After planing and checking it several times I wasn't seeing any improvement. Put a clamp on it and less then a 1/2 turn of the screw closed the gap.

 base stock?

I could use this for the base but I wish it was an inch wider. The shorter ones I can use for bread board ends if I decide to use them. If not I have two more picture frames coming up in the queue. This is the left over from carcass stock.

 5 left
All five of these have one brown knot in them. However, there is more than enough clear stock to get the top from two of them. I should be able to get wider base stock from the other 3 boards. For the bottom of carcass I plan on using 1/2" plywood.

I thought I would get the carcass panels glued up today but that didn't happen boys and girls. I spent the morning helping my wife out doing errands. I even got to help out with her dead people stuff. That was all muscle work moving boxes around and putting away books.

The new pedometer works a treat. The walk I do in the afternoon turned out to be 7403 steps and it took me an hour and 15 minutes (first day with the pedometer). Between this stroll and what walking I do during the course of the day should be put me over 10000 steps for the day. Without the stroll I was averaging 2000-2500 steps daily. I will keep to the current route and get an weeks' worth average step count. I would like to get it greater than 8k per stroll.

accidental woodworker

the locust tree

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Sat, 04/27/2024 - 4:53pm

That photo is from about a month ago – when some high winds finally knocked down part of this long-dying locust tree right next to my shop. The tree has been on my mind for a couple of years – and it presented some problems for the tree-crew. There’s no way to get a truck to it, no way to get a crane near it…this one had to be done the old way, climbing it and cutting it by hand. Our friend JS & his crew came and expertly and safely took the rest of it down. Now begins the cleanup.

Of course I’ll miss the tree, but it’s time had come quite a while ago. One piece I’ll miss the most is the perches the tree created right outside my shop window for all the birds that came by…I’ve begun compiling some samples. These are literally garden-variety birds, ones you can see most everyday here in the right season (some year-round) = they’re still around, but they won’t be perched right outside the window for a long time…

white-breasted nuthatch tufted titmouse American robin mourning dove house sparrow northern cardinal, female yellow-shafted flicker (female or juvenile) cedar waxwing catbird Baltimore orioles (males) Baltimore oriole (female)


Giant Cypress - Sat, 04/27/2024 - 1:58pm

Any weirdness you’ve been seeing on the desktop version of Giant Cypress is me mucking around with a new theme. With the old theme, new posts have sometimes been displaying in unexpected ways, because of the new post format that Tumblr implemented. In addition, the old theme had become less well-behaved on mobile devices. So I thought it was time to redesign the blog.

The new theme has all the components that the old one did. I’ve carried over many of the design elements of the old theme, which I think is nice. It’s more responsive, with an improved look on a wider array of different screen sizes, on mobile and desktop. I think it scans better now, as well as having a better balance between text and photos for posts. And then there were the many tiny tweaks that may or may not have been that noticeable, but were driving me nuts. That’s why I spent a good 30 minutes this morning chasing down why a dot was positioning itself a hair to the right from where I was expecting it.

Anyway, I think I’m done, and I hope you like the new theme. If there’s anything that seems off, please let me know.


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