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Washington Campaign Desk Day 4

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 2:00pm

My favorite part of any furniture project is the point when a solution has been found to a challenge. It’s a figurative crossing of the “hump” which then signifies hopefully smooth sailing moving forward. This past Saturday I crossed that hump.

The bad news first. The temperatures in the area dropped well below freezing, and though that is not unheard of in my neck of the woods, it is uncommon for this time of year. So after I returned home from work on Saturday the first thing I did was check on the desk top panel. The panel is just fine, but the breadboard end with the issue was not looking so good. The underside developed a split that was instantly noticeable. Maybe the cold exaggerated it, but at that point I didn’t care, so the instant decision was made to saw off both of those bread board ends, which I did using the table saw and a cross-cut sled. I understood it meant losing a few hours of work, but I know the decision was the correct one because I felt no real remorse then or now, and rather than dwelling on it, I moved on to putting together the leg assemblies.

The leg assemblies posed a bit of a challenge, at least to me they did. Firstly, I wanted them to appear as if they could fold up, so I could not ship lap them together, though that in some ways may have been easier. The dilemma was attaching them to the cross cleats, which sounds simple but was a bit complicated.

The issue was the offset of the legs. Because the legs were not ship-lapped, one side of the leg would obviously offset, in this case ¾ of an inch. So my solution was to make a filler board to make up the gap made by the offset. At that, I wanted the board to match the angles and width of the cleat board as closely as possible, so I spent a good deal of time clamping and measuring. Once I was as sure of myself as I was going to get, I made the cuts, planed it to final size and started drilling holes for the quarter inch hardware I purchased for the project. I won’t lie, those first couple of holes were nerve-wracking, because a mistake would cost me several more hours of work, but once I got moving things went relatively smoothly. It took more than two hours, but in the end I had a finished leg assembly.

Sunday morning I started on the second assembly, and using lessons learned from the previous night’s experience, I had it finished and ready to attach in under an hour, so rather than leaving those two assemblies on top of the workbench, I did just that attached them to the desktop using some angle brackets. I hadn’t planned to do an assembly to be honest, but curiosity got the best of me. The good news is that so far it looks pretty good. Admittedly, I was a little disappointed that the breadboard ends needed to be removed, but it doesn’t look bad in my opinion. But the better news is the fact that the legs all sit level with the ground. Generally, when making a table, there is usually a bit of wobble. As of right now the table sits nicely, and when I placed a level on the top I found it dead flat. At that, the table does rock a bit back and forth, but considering it is not permanently attached to the top yet, and considering the leg assemblies haven’t been joined together yet with any cross bracing, that was to be expected.

IMG_2925 (002)

Not too bad…I will post a photo of the undercarriage once it is permanently attached and “safe”

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A photo I came across of the campaign table and writing desk at Washington’s HQ in Valley Forge Park




Lastly, I removed the assembled table from my garage and placed it in the family room, where I think it will be much safer. Over the years, I’ve found out the hard way that leaving unassembled furniture projects in my garage is a recipe for disaster. Maybe it’s gremlins; I don’t know, but whatever it is my projects seem to take a beating if they sit in the garage for too long, so I was taking absolutely no chances. In any event, the cat seems to like it, because as soon as I brought it inside the house she promptly hopped onto it, sprawled out, and took a nap.

Next weekend I will mill down another board to use for the cross bracing as well as the desktop drawer unit. Thankfully, I already have the drawer unit finalized in my mind, so the construction should have no unwanted surprises. So with a little luck I could quite possibly have a desk ready for finish a week from now.

On another note, some of you (or none of you) may be wondering why I did not post last week. Well, I had the very good fortune to go to Washington DC and not only take a tour of the White House, but to visit Mount Vernon as well. The Mount Vernon trip was not planned, it just happened to fall into place, and because I had not been able to go there last time I was in DC, I made it a priority. I will only say of the trip that I was completely blown away. The furniture examples in Mount Vernon alone are beyond description, and I would have taken photos, but they are not allowed inside the house itself. And because I believe that rules are a good thing (they are hardly “for fools” as some in the woodworking world would claim) I did not attempt any, and instead purchased a very nice book with photos that are much better than those I would have taken anyway.

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Posing with my daughter and niece in front of a tree believed to have been planted during the time of George Washington at Mount Vernon.

My family, who was skeptical about the Mount Vernon visit in part because the day was cool, cloudy, and damp, was nonetheless blown away. My daughter in particular was completely awestruck. But the highlight, for all of us, was visiting the final resting place of George and Martha Washington and paying our respects. When I say that this trip was beyond inspirational and much more of a spiritual experience, I am understating to the highest degree. Upon leaving Mount Vernon, my admiration of George Washington, which was already immense, grew even greater. And more than ever I am committed to making this desk to the highest level I possibly can.

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The final resting place of George and Martha Washington.




Categories: General Woodworking

Thonet—Brilliance in Design: Part II

Paul Sellers - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 12:48pm

Thonet Chair Designs—What They Brought to the Table Michael Thonet chairs have on the one hand remained unchanged for almost two centuries and then enjoyed variations on the theme for decorative accentuation and individualising a design under Thonet’s concept. Working at my workbench I slipped into his entrepreneurial designer shoes as I embraced his commitment […]

Read the full post Thonet—Brilliance in Design: Part II on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Ribs and teeth

Owyhee Mountain Fiddle Shop - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 11:40am
Thinning ribs with a toothed plane, to avoid tear-out in the highly flamed maple.  This side will go inward on the finished instrument.

An old task for me, but in a new context.  For the Hardanger, I'll go as I generally do with violin ribs.  For the viola, about 10% thicker.  So 1 mm and 1.1 mm!  Not much, but a difference.

Categories: Hand Tools, Luthiery

So Begins the ‘Lexapro’ Season

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 11:35am


I want y’all to know that you have adoring spouses and family members. Every year in mid-November we get flooded with requests from people who want to give you gifts with a little extra something special.

A few years ago, we got a request from a woodworker’s wife. She had bought one of our books at a used bookstore. She mailed it to us, and her request was something like this:

Please write an essay on the inside cover that will inspire my husband to continue woodworking. In your essay, I would like you to touch upon the following themes from his life:

  • The death of his father at a young age and the lack of authority figures in his life.
  • His two beloved dogs.
  • The difficulty he has at work because of his boss and the need for him to find a hobby.
  • ……
  • ….
  • .
  • !

It was then that John and I designated November and December the “Lexapro” season – when we are regularly pulled into anxiety-provoking family situations.

During the 2015 Lexapro Season (or was it the 2012 season?), a spouse asked if we could include a day of woodworking lessons with the book she wanted to buy for her husband. We replied with, “We charge $700 a day for one-on-one lessons.” And then she became very incensed that we couldn’t do it for free.

I hear those white pills rattling, rat- rat- rattling for me…

If you do have an overachieving spouse, we recommend they stop by our storefront on one of our open days if they want a personal signature – that really is the only way we can fulfill unusual requests. (Our last open day of 2017 is Dec. 9.) Because I’m in Kentucky and our warehouse is two hours away in Indiana, there’s no way to pull certain orders, sign them in blood and repackage them.

I honestly wish we had the staff to honor requests such as these as they are an indication of how much you are loved. And who doesn’t love love? But we are just two guys, and I have bathrooms to clean.

— Christopher Schwarz


Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Workbench & Staked Stool Classes for 2018

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 6:38am


I will teach two classes in June 2018 at Dictum in Germany – one class on building a Roubo workbench and a second short course on building a staked three-legged stool.

The classes are held at Niederalteich, a gorgeous monastery in Bavaria. Students can stay in the comfortable guest rooms at the monastery or at one of the local bed and breakfasts in the town. The monastery has a really good restaurant and lively beer garden. It is a perfect setting if you want to disconnect from the outside world and focus on the craft.

The staked furniture class is June 9-10. During the class we’ll build a three-legged staked stool. This class is an excellent introduction to the world of chairmaking. We’ll discuss how to design and execute compound-angle joinery without math or trig tables. And we’ll explore the tapered mortise and tenon, the foundation of staked furniture.

For more details or to sign up for the course, visit this page.


The workbench class is an intense five day class from June 11-15. Each student will build a Roubo-style workbench. The class will focus on making the bench and helping you decide what vises or workholding you need in your shop. We will build the bench using traditional mortise-and-tenon construction and the massive sliding dovetail used on early French benches.

For more details or to sign up for the bench course, visit this page.

Note that these classes do not mark my return to a regular teaching schedule. Teaching these classes in Bavaria helps fund my research into early woodworking in Europe. Plus, I owe the people at Dictum a personal favor for which I will ever be grateful.

— Christopher Schwarz, editor, Lost Art Press
Personal site: christophermschwarz.com

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Finishing Workshop @ CW – Asphalt Glazing

The Barn on White Run - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 6:19am

We are not the first woodworkers who ever wanted to tweak the coloration of our pieces; the ancients routinely augmented their work with the addition of colorants to both unify overall tonality and accentuate details.  Among the most common colorants of the past were asphalt, that useless contaminate that percolated up from the ground, and pitch, which is the residue from the fractional distillation of pine sap into turpentine solvent and colophony resin.

For this workshop I showed and the CW crew used asphalt as a toning glaze.  My source for this was some non-fibered parging tar left over from the barn basement construction.  The three gallons I have left are all I and a thousand friends need for decades.  I thin the asphalt with mineral spirits, and occasionally add a bit of boiled linseed oil.

The asphalt glaze can be applied to the surface and manipulated with bristle brushes to achieve an overall uniform appearance.  For carved surfaces it could be applied the same way with the highest points rubbed with rags to remove the colorant and emphasize the three-dimensionality of the surface.

Asphalt can be overcoated with shellac as soon as it is dry to the touch.

Wood Talk Podcast - Episode 415

Giant Cypress - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 3:08am
Wood Talk Podcast - Episode 415:

I’m behind on my podcast listening, but I’d like to thank Shannon Rogers for giving a shout out to my new video on Japanese tools on the Wood Talk podcast a couple of weeks ago.

Using Salvaged Wood: Part Two

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 2:00am

The beloved backyard tree No store-bought lumber’s story can compete with that of boards from your own backyard. It can be wrenching to fell a beloved tree, but transforming it into a piece of furniture helps dull the pain by giving an old friend new life. Working with lumber from backyard trees tends to be far more labor-intensive than with wood that was commercially grown. Commercial lumber comes from forest […]

The post Using Salvaged Wood: Part Two appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

the project from hell....

Accidental Woodworker - Mon, 11/13/2017 - 1:08am
For something I anticipated taking maybe a couple of days to do and most of that time waiting on glue to dry, this project still isn't done. I thought things were coming together and I would be wrapping this one up and thinking of what was next. Instead of that, today was one hiccup after another to be dealt with. I was able to deal with them but I sure wish this project was done. But it ain't, but it is awfully close now. And I don't see any major hiccups on the horizon blocking me from the winner's tape.

first hiccup
The holder for the 073 is hitting one of the stops. It clears the one on the right but I can't place it so it'll pass between the two of them.

removed a stop
The 073 holder is clear now and I can open and shut the shelf. I don't like the one stop due to the weight of the tools on this. One screw is all that holds the stops in place and if I get ham fisted and slam this open, the weight could pull that stop out of the side. I would not be a happy camper then nor would I have a smiley face on. I went back to both stops and trimmed the 073 holder to fit inbetween them.

nail set box
The epoxy on the sides had set up after spending the night beside the furnace. I trimmed the top and bottom pieces flush with the 102.

what's left to do
I need to epoxy the oak onto the sides and then the lid banding can be glued on with yellow glue. It'll be a least 2 more days before this will be done.

the epoxy comes first
I will epoxy the sides with one piece of oak. I put a scrap piece between the top and bottom to separate them. I'll use that gap to saw out the two parts.

double duty
Using the bench hook to keep things aligned while the epoxy sets up.

back to working the stops
I had to take a break from this and do something else. I got the 073 holder trimmed so it fits between the two stops. There isn't much room to spare, but it opens and closes without hitting them.

After I got this fixed I ran into two more hiccups with the 073 holder. The first was I initially screwed the holder too close to the edge plane holder. I had done that without the edge plane in the holder. Once the plane was in it I saw I was up too close to it with the 073.

So I moved the holder and I hit snag #3. The screws were sticking out of the bottom of the shelf and hitting the front brace. I could open and close it but I could feel the screws dragging on the front cross brace. I left the screws in place and filed the points off with a file.

hiccup #4
The iron adjuster knob is hitting the side here and  I need to make a relief for it.  But wait, the fun with this is just starting.

#5 - making a relief for the handle to clear the side
#6 - the pic says it all
I could open and close the drawer but the knob and the handle were dragging on the side. FYI - chiseling plywood sucks.

3 frog hairs of clearance
no knob or handle
I have a finger grab recess on both sides so I don't need anything else to pull the shelf out with.

took the easy way out
I put up with the noise and dust this spit out and flushed the 3 sides of the cubby.

Houston we are almost in double digit problem land
Problem #8 upcoming. Here I'm checking if the cubby will tilt down with the shelf out and it does. I secured the cubby to the workbench shelf with four screws. Two in each cross brace.

hiccup #8
I can't get the edge plane out with the shelf extended as far as it can open. Even if I cut it down to lower the height of it, I still wouldn't be able to get it out. No problems taking the 073 out or putting it back.

The final hiccup, #9, is I had to take out the stops. With them gone I can pull the drawer out far enough and get access to the edge plane.  The downside is there is nothing to stop the shelf and the tools on it from playing the bounce test with Mr Concrete Floor.  I tried to place the stops closer to the opening but it wasn't helpful at all. If I place the stops as far forward as I can I still don't have access to the edge plane. I will have to live with this as is and try to remember I can't pull it out all the way.

block plane storage idea
This is what I wanted to do yesterday but I had to do the battery dance steps instead. The idea is to put all the planes at an incline to make them easier to grab. Plus I think it looks better than having them horizontal.

road testing Miles's hammer
This is a 9 ounce hammer and mine is the one I use the most. I almost never use my 16 ounce hammer in the shop. This one has an ok balance and hammered these brads with no problems. I don't see Miles not having lots of fun nailing and gluing scraps together with it.

made dividers for the block planes
dry fit looks and felt good
After this is complete I will saw off some of the left side overhang. I want to pull the right side away from the leg as grabbing that blockplane was a bit tight.

last divider dado needed some help
I glued in a piece of veneer to tighten up the last dado.

dividers glued, clamped, and cooking
first coat of  shellac on Miles's hammer
I like the fact that this hammer was once mine and that I was able to fix it and pass it on to him.

plane stop for the violin plane
The radius on both pieces matches the toe on the plane.

I'll glue these two together

then I'll glue it here
This will put the heel of the plane at the top end of this inline with the other four.

the 103 is longer
I assumed that the 102 and the 103 were the same size but I was wrong.

my OCD kicked in here
I can't have the 103 sticking out farther than the other planes. I had to put a filler at the front of the dividers of the 102 and 103 to get them to line up with their bigger siblings on the right. I put a rabbet on the 103 filler.

laid out a rabbet and chiseled it out
doing a small one is just like doing a big one
The heel on the 103 was still sticking out a bit too far. So I chiseled a radius in the middle of the rabbet to match the toe radius of the 103.

the 103 toe is buried a bit
 I glued these in place and I'll flush them tomorrow. That will give me some time to think of a way to secure this to the cubby.

cleaned and squared up
I'll wait for this
The dividers are flush at the front where they are visible but they all aren't flush at the back. The back stop for the planes is only glued to the 1/2" plywood. I want to give this a day in the clamps to fully set up.

3 coats of shellac on the box
This will be dry tomorrow for sure. I'll steel wool it and wipe it off. It will go into Miles's toolbox then and I'll call it done.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is nikhedonia?
answer - the pleasure from anticipating success or a victory (or finally finishing a project from hell)

Doors for Dessert

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sun, 11/12/2017 - 1:36pm


Replacing the main beam of the Horse Garage has been hanging over my head for more than a month now. Every time I go in there I feel like Damocles and wonder if I will become buried in my work.

Last month, Brendan Gaffney, Megan Fitzpatrick and I jacked up the garage’s joists to relieve pressure on the rotted beam. Today was the day to replace the punky thing.

Lucky for me, woodworker Jeremy Hanson was in town, and I hired him to help. Jeremy is a cabinet maker, carpenter, tattoo artist and art teacher from Seattle, Wash., who is traveling around the country with his charming family in a Toyota Tacoma that is outfitted with a camper. They stopped by the open house yesterday, and Jeremy volunteered to lend a hand.


It took us about four hours of dirty work, but at about 2 p.m. we lowered the joists back on the new beam. All the pieces returned to their proper places without complaint.

Now comes the rush to button the place up before winter comes. I have a roofing company prepared to add a membrane roof. And I am starting to build the new doors tomorrow.


The doors will be lightweight pine, joined with mortise-and-tenon joints and painted for protection. After all the wacky repairs we’ve been making to the Horse Garage, doors will be a cakewalk.

Then I will be out of money – again. After I complete a couple furniture commissions I should have enough money to add electricity to the building. (And, if I’m fortunate, enough money for a mini-split as well.)

There is still a long way to go, but the Horse Garage might be in business before the end of 2017.

— Christopher Schwarz, editor, Lost Art Press
Personal site: christophermschwarz.com

Filed under: Lost Art Press Storefront, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

It Ain’t Done Until the Antlers are On

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sun, 11/12/2017 - 4:32am


Note: No deer were harmed in the making of this project. These antlers were shed by a buck and retrieved from the woods by a so-called “shed collector.”

Getting the antlers fastened to the chair was straightforward in the end. But I’ve spent many nights pondering the possibilities. Rejected ideas:

  • Bore a hole for the irregular antler and pack epoxy and maple shavings around the antler.
  • Use a staked furniture joint: Use a tapered tenon cutter to shape the antler. Ream a matching hole in the chair.
  • Build a mounting board – like a taxidermist would – that would be fastened to the chair.

In the end, I decided to use hanger bolts. One end is threaded like a machine screw – that goes into the antler side. The other end is a wood screw and goes into the chair.


We also decided to cut a shallow counterbore in the chair to obscure the joint between the antler and the chair. This worked brilliantly.

Because you’ll never see a project such as this in a woodworking (or deerworking) magazine, here are a couple tips.

  • If you don’t own a tap for the machine screw, the hanger bolt is strong enough to form threads in the hole in the antler.
  • A dab of quick-set epoxy on the machine threads is a good idea.
  • Have a spotter (or two) help you drill the holes in the irregular chair and antler. It’s more difficult to do alone and make it look right.

After we installed the antlers, most of our customers that day asked to sit in the chair and have their picture taken with it. So either the project is a success, or I’ve created something so ugly that people want a photo to warn others not to do this.

— Christopher Schwarz, editor, Lost Art Press
Personal site: christophermschwarz.com


Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Thonet—Brilliance in Design: Part I

Paul Sellers - Sun, 11/12/2017 - 3:08am

Yup! My parents owned a set of six Thonet dining chairs and it was indeed Thonet who designed a chair that brought a truly democratised and radical product in chair form to our world of wooden seating. Dining chairs, office chairs and even rocking chairs of many a hundred thousand gradually came into full mass-production […]

Read the full post Thonet—Brilliance in Design: Part I on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

it's a wee bit chilly.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 11/12/2017 - 2:20am
Winter has finally arrived. The past few days have been cold with this morning being the coldest so far. It was a frosty 25°F (-3.8°C) at oh dark thirty this AM. No frost on the cars but on Tuesday, I noticed the first frost of the year then. A quick peek at the weather seer's web page says that the daytime temps next week will be in the high 40's to low 50's with the nighttime temps hovering around freezing (0°C). On bright side, it hasn't snowed yet.

Things were going so well in the shop today that something had to go wrong it seemed. I was motoring along and things were looking good until I went to get chinese for lunch. The battery in the truck went south when I tried to go home. So what could I do? I went back into the chinese place and ate my lunch. They have a couple of tables there but I have never seen anyone eating in there before.

FYI - batteries ain't cheap. The last battery I remember buying was a Sears diehard and I think I ponied up $50 for it. I was looking on line to see what the prices were and I almost had an involuntary bowel movement. Let's just say batteries don't sell in the $50 range anymore. Starting prices for my truck are $140 and go up from there. One thing I noticed was that no matter the price the warranty on them was still only 3 years.

Got my replacement battery ($173) swapped out without any problems. I think I was heading for a battery explosion with the old one. It had bulged out on all 4 sides with ends being the worse. The car parts store gave me back $18 when I gave them the old battery. Don't remember getting $$$$ from the last time.

this has cured
Last night the last thing I did in the shop was to size the ends of these two pieces of stock. These are the bases for the bullnose and tenon planes.

Amazon prime isn't two day
I assumed that anything I bought prime would come in two days.  I ordered these sanding belts on the 6th and they came on the 10th. I read the terms and it basically said Amazon will decide and ship when and what they feel like doing. I bought metal 4x36 sanding belts in grits from 80 up to 400. I hope these are an improvement over the woodworking ones I got from Harbor Freight.

bought a piece of crap
I turned down a Nicholson 4-in-one from HD for this. I was leery about buying anything Nicholson but that one was way better looking than this China made piece of total crappola.

kind of worked
I might be biased against this but I got the impression that it worked better pulling it back then pushing it forward. Didn't change my opinion of it nonetheless. I was going to put this in Miles's toolbox but I can't do that now. This will most likely end up in the shop shitcan.

this 4-in-one is mine
I'll be giving this to Miles instead. This is from my carpenters toolbox but I have never used it in the shop.

nail sets and a center punch for Miles's toolbox

I was hoping that I would get to this today

figured out my drawer stop problem and it starts with these two pieces of oak
drawer guides
These two will keep the shelf level and from tipping down. This was another headache I was trying to find a pill for. I will screw these to the sides.

screwed in place and the shelf is extended
There isn't the weight of all the tools on this but at this extension, the cubby is still laying down on the workbench. The stops for the shelf are in the batter's circle.

cheap plywood
I planed a bevel on the back and then sanded it roundish. This will help with it not hanging up and letting it ride over the back brace as it is pushed in.

first part of the drawer stop system
A strip of oak glued to the back of the shelf.

Miles's hammer almost done
I pulled off the stickers and scraped off the finish that was on it. I sanded it with 120 grit and after a couple of coats of shellac it will be done.

this side doesn't have the grain of the opposite side
needs to stowed better than this
I started to make something to stow these in while the drawer stop sets up for an hour or so.

what I came up with
The holes for the sets are 11/32nds and the holes in the top are 3/8". I thought that would make up for the waviness in my drilling of the holes for the sets. It didn't help.

1/2" pigsticker fixed it
I barely touched this
I was already down into the mortise with a 3/8" chisel and pushed against this end of the mortise with the backside of the chisel. I wasn't levering against, just pushing. I was down into the mortise almost to the bottom of it too. When I did that, this popped out.

fits now, both ways
glued it with rapid fuse
got to use my big chamfer bit
This one clogged too but not as fast or as bad as the smaller one.

ripped up some oak veneer
 Thicker piece will be used for the lid banding and the thinner one for the rest of the box.

I am applying the oak veneer to all of them thin sides
The top and bottom of the box is long grain and the sides are end grain. I want to hide that because I think it detracts from the rest of the box. While this glue was setting I went back to working on the plane cubby

part two of the shelf stop system
how it will work
The oak strip I glued to the back of the shelf will hit this and stop any further forward motion of the shelf.

a backer so I can saw off my individual stops
I decided to do the back strip this way to ensure accuracy. This is marked off of the shelf guides and I didn't have to measure it.

The stops are only screwed to the sides, no glue. I may have to repair them or change the shelf arrangement in the future.

mistake - replaced the 1" brass screws with 1 1/4" screws
all five the screws came through
The two screws at the front made it all the way into the front brace. Shelf couldn't go in or out. And yes I did check the screw against this and it looked to be shorter then thickness.

had to do it
I didn't want to glue this but I had no choice. I went back to the brass screws but they weren't too secure. Hide glue will make this reversible and the screws have enough bite to hold it until the glue sets.

it works
I have the shelf fully extended and the cubby is still in place.  I think once I get the two holders in place for the tenon and bullnose plane, this will tip up and on to the deck. This will definitely need to be secured to the workbench shelf.

front molding
This is mostly to hide the end grain of the shelf and the front brace. I will cover the vertical plywood edge too. This piece of wood will also give my a place to put a knob or a handle on it.

need a shallow rabbet - made it with the 140
didn't forget this time
Ran the marking gauge to clean up the back wall and deepen the knife line.

while the molding glue sets up
I filed the 12" square on the inside and the outside until both of them were square when checked against drawing parallel lines.

6 tries and I'm getting close
I kept my filing as light and for as short of a distance as I could. From the first reading I could tell that I had to file at the heel.

got it
The lines look to be parallel from the bottom to the top without any deviation. Since the eye can detect a difference as small as a thousandth of  an inch, and I don't see that, I'm calling this good. This was the inside of the square. The next batter is the outside.

the outside edge
The lines converge at the top which means the heel needs to knocked back some.

same here as the inside
I took a few filings and checked it. I tried to keep my filing strokes short and not be in a hurry.  Filing off too much off would make the square go in the opposite direction.

In spite of my care and going slow I did switch the error on the lines. After the 3rd filing, the lines were going away from each other outwards at the top. I had to file a bit at the toe before I got my two parallel lines. I didn't check or try to make the inside and outside of the blade parallel.

layout for the square till
I do not want these to be hanging out loosely in the toolbox and banging around against all the other tools in there. It won't be good for the tools or the squares. I only have one more square to get to call this complete and that is a 4" sliding square, preferably a Starrett. I will squeeze that in here somewhere, somehow.

pretty close to my lunchtime doodle
The lines on this are the ID as that is what I was concerned with getting. I also wanted the two halves of this to be the same size. I bought 2 sheets of 6mm plywood today and I'll have it next week sometime. That will be used for the panel in each half.

I am also making it out of 3/4" thick pine. I am going with 3/4" because I can't find a decent hinge for 1/2" stock that is worth more than a thimble full of belly button lint.

stock for the square till
I'll let this sticker for a few days and then I'll start the joinery on it. This is going to be a mitered box that I will glue up as box and then saw it in half. I'm mitering it because of the 6mm plywood panels I'm putting in it. The panels will strengthen the miters and they will make it easy to plow the grooves for the panels.

the next to last operation for today
I epoxied the ends and used yellow glue for the sides.

glued and cooking
the last thing I did before the lights were shut off
I sized the end grain on the nail set box and set it by the furnace. Tomorrow after this has cured I will epoxy on the oak veneer.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Where is the US Air Force Academy located?
answer - Colorado Springs, Colorado

Digital Artistry — Meet the Artists from the December 2017 Issue

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Sun, 11/12/2017 - 2:00am

How five masterful makers integrate CNC and CAD technology into their woodworking In the December 2017 issue of Popular Woodworking magazine, the article, Digital Artistry is a peek at what five professional woodworkers are doing with digital tools in their shops. Each maker has an extensive traditional woodworking background and many years of experience before they began to use digital tools like CAD software and CNC machines. As I pointed out […]

The post Digital Artistry — Meet the Artists from the December 2017 Issue appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

It Followed Me Home, Dear. Can I keep it...

The Part-Time Woodworker - Sat, 11/11/2017 - 2:29pm
Sometimes, something catches your eye and you immediately have to have it. That is what happened here.

During one of my usual weekly internet search for tools, I went to http://bobstoolbox.co.uk, a fantastic vintage tool shop in Liskeard, Cornwall, England, where I came across this...
It was such a pretty vice, I had to have it, so for the reasonable list price of £58 plus shipping, it was on its way to Canada. When it arrived at my door, I was even more taken with it than I was when I saw Bob's image of it.
It is only a little guy, measuring 8" tall by 8" deep by 2 3/4" wide, but it is beautifully made and the wood is...well...just gorgeous. There isn't a maker's mark on it anywhere, which is too bad. I would have liked a chance to know a little bit more about the maker. 
The Coke can is for scale.
I'm not sure if it is dogwood or pear. I'd like to think it is latter, but it is more likely that it is made out of the former.

It has what looks to be a blacksmith made mount on the back of it. The mount screw is missing its swivel, lost probably when its mounting screw sheared, so replacing it will require a bit of fussing to extract the screw's leftovers. I really do not expect the mount to work very well, as this type of mount rarely does, but it is very cool looking, effective or not.
It has a piece of spring steel mounted on the inside-bottom of the rear leg, just above its mount point. The rear leg is fixed while the front one has two pivot points, one a half inch behind the other. The spring steel ensures the jaws separate from each other when the pressure is released.
The Coke can was added for scale.
I also bought a knicker with wedge for the H. E. Mitchell Filletster Plane I bought last winter, and a Veneer Hammer to spread the cost of shipping over more than just the vice. Bob charged me £20 for the shipping.

If you want to spend an enjoyable few minutes wandering around Bob's Tool Box without heading off to England, use this link to get you there...Bob's Toolbox 360° Virtual Tour. It's a little freaky to get used to, but it is also a real hoot.



Categories: Hand Tools

It’s not about the drawings

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sat, 11/11/2017 - 11:34am


Writing for woodworking magazines is a strange experience in many ways. You never know what readers will make of your work — the artistry, thinking, writing, building, calculating, drawing, and editing that go into a project article. Will they love it? Hate it? Discover some hideously embarrassing error in the cutting list even after three eagle-eyed editors have gone through it with a fine-tooth comb? Odds are, many people won’t even venture beyond the title. But the one thing of which you can be certain is that you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

Sometimes I hear nothing after an article is published. Every so often I get a super enthusiastic message that makes my day, such as one I recently received from Larry Nottingham:

“I knew the sideboard on the cover of Popular Woodworking was yours even before I saw your name. All I can say is WOW. I recently purchased a bunch of quarter sawn white oak and, even though I’m just an amateur, I’m gonna give that one a try. Your work inspires me.”

The most common response is a request for more detailed plans. I write back, explaining that I have no more detailed plans and that the drawings in any article I write for Popular Woodworking or Fine Woodworking show far more detail than anything I use in my own work or have ever been given in the shops where I worked for others. The fact is, unless you’re working side by side with the person who wrote an article, you’re going to be interpreting and extrapolating from the instructions and plans, no matter how much detail an article contains. Add to this the reality that publishers today are working with fewer staff and lower budgets than before the Great Recession, and I think it becomes easier to understand that for authors and editors both, selecting what to include is a risky business virtually guaranteed to tick someone off. “I’m not subscribing to xyz for spoon feeding,” some will say, while others lament the lack of exactly that level of instruction.

Let me offer some insight based on my experience.

When doing small-scale custom work (as distinct from production work, whether in a one-person shop or a factory setting where every step of the process has to be just-so in order for the next parts to fit the ones that have already been made*) there’s typically some allowance for the craftsperson to interpret a drawing and build it in whichever way will best suit the job in question. A good example is the Voysey two heart chair in my book about English Arts & Crafts furniture for Popular Woodworking (forthcoming in June 2018). As I explain in the introduction to the chair build, real-life chairs made during Voysey’s lifetime based on his drawings diverge from those plans in multiple ways. Some of the variations were probably requested by customers when they commissioned their seats; others were undoubtedly decided on by the craftsmen who built them, in an effort to make the work affordable.

The drawings I use for my own work are meant to convey to clients how a piece will look and function, as well as provide the basic information I need to build it.


Drawing for a recent commission. This is the original drawing I showed the client, explaining that I might make changes to dimensions if the mock-up indicated that they were warranted for comfort’s sake. In the end, I made the seat a few inches deeper — night and day in terms of comfort — and changed a few other details, some of them scribbled on the drawing as I worked. I also omitted the back stretcher once I realized that the T-bridle joints at the front provided excellent racking resistance.


The completed bench

Even my bare-bones drawings are head and shoulders above those I often got from my employers in the past, such as this delight:


My employer’s drawing for a three-part dining table to be built in ash, circa 1986. The idea was that the table could be used as one large piece, a square and two half-circles, or a square and a circle. The legs and top(s) had to fit together just-so, in every configuration.

Of course, when you’re building something from an article in a magazine you don’t have the luxury of checking in with the person who designed it as you work your way through the structure. Having made a couple of pieces from articles in magazines over the years (a benchtop bench and some leaded glass panels), I can say I’ve found that even in simple cases such as these, I’ve wished there were more detail. Each time I was stumped, I stopped, thought through the logic of the process, and moved ahead when I thought I had it figured out. I have had to redo a few parts — a drag that might have been unnecessary, had the articles contained more detail. But I chalk such things up to learning, whether a new skill (such as making leaded glass panels) or how to use unfamiliar hardware (as in the benchtop bench). Some readers, such as my friend Bill Heidt, construct a piece on the screen before digging into material in the shop; this is another way to work through the ins and outs of a build beyond an article’s text and illustrations.

So while the basic information should be in the article, it may require clarification. Apparently one or two aspects of the recently published sideboard in Popular Woodworking have had some readers scratching their heads, for which I apologize. Thanks to Megan Fitzpatrick, you can find SketchUp plans with additional information here.–Nancy R. Hiller, author of Making Things Work

*In the shops where I’ve worked, every step of the build is adjusted for the parts that have been made. Flexibility is part of the m.o. You start with a few basic dimensions on a drawing, but the rest are based on direct measurement of the piece in progress.

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

A New Project Series-A Bedside Cabinet

Paul Sellers - Sat, 11/11/2017 - 11:28am

I am sure you will enjoy following this series and making the cabinet too but even if you don’t make the actual cabinet there is much to learn from the series because it is the first time we have used my system of Mortise and Tenon joinery on a full project. To say that it […]

Read the full post A New Project Series-A Bedside Cabinet on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

giantcypress: This has become a bit of a tradition here at giant...

Giant Cypress - Sat, 11/11/2017 - 3:28am


This has become a bit of a tradition here at giant Cypress.

This is one of the best Veteran’s Day songs, ever, even if it was written for Australia’s version of today.

God bless our vets, all of them.

made some progress.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 11/11/2017 - 2:20am
The sliding shelf for the cubby still doesn't have a design. In spite of that I did make a lot of good progress on it. I'm sure that when it comes to crunch time I'll do something on the spur of the moment. The shelf itself isn't the holdup, it's how to stop it from being pulled out fully. I can't have it come out all the way but it still has to come out far enough for me to get to the tools at the back. Right now a small block of wood and a screw has me captive.

back clamped dry and square
Houston, we have a problem
The cross braces don't protrude the same distance on this side. Both braces are the same length and they are flush on the other side. They should therefore be sticking out on this side the same. I think the problem is this side is toeing inward. The braces are over sized in the length so I knew I would have to trim them to length.

checked the back for squareness
The back looked good and the rabbet joint appeared to be snug fitting so I marked the distance between the sides.

the front is off 3/8" from the back
now it's the same
This stick is a 1/4" longer then the back measurement and it is square cut on the right and angled on the left. This sets up a wedging action that is also self supporting. I set the opening at the front to match the back and marked the cross braces.

my notches need some help
Three of my notches were a frog hair too deep. I cut out some veneer and that was what I needed to flush the braces with the bottom of the sides.

cut out all the veneer with the new marking knife
The cross grain cuts took just a couple of extra swipes but they came out as clean as the long grain ones.

glued, nailed and screwed together
I didn't want to wait for the glue to set up. By screwing it I could keep on working on it.

good on the F/B and S/S
I'm up tight to the leg and I have about 3/8" on the left between the side and the #3 plane area. At the back where the #8 lives there is about 1 1/2" of extra space. No worries there with it falling on the deck.

cut and fitted the shelf gliders (?)
Not sure what to call these things. Their purpose is too support the shelf as I pull it out and push it in.

initial layout
I added the edge plane to the pull out shelf.

first change
This was dictated by the edge plane. When I first got this about 5 years ago I used it constantly to square edges. I was still struggling with planing square edges with hand planes then.  Now I can plane square edges so the use of the edge plane has fallen off dramatically. I use it now mostly for thin edges. So sticking it at the back of the shelf is a no brainer.

top shelf layout
everything fits
The dogs aren't going to be a problem. The front edge of the cubby is behind them. Except for when one is hanging down and I slam my hand into it reaching for a block plane.

a slight PITA
I can reach and grab this from the front but I have to bend over to do it. A better way to do it is to grab it from the back of the bench.

screwed the top onto the sides
This won't be staying here. I will remove it when it comes time to screw the braces to the workbench shelf. It'll be a lot easier doing it sans the top shelf then using a ratchet screwdriver in a dark, cramped cubby. Once the braces are secured I'll screw the top back on.

have some flushing to do
The piece of plywood I used for the top only had one straight edge and I used that at the front. I'll plane the 3 hand sawn, uneven edges flush after I'm done with this.

making a holder for the edge plane
This is a necessity I think because it'll be on a sliding shelf. Wouldn't do to have this flopping around as it goes in/out.

drilled out most of the waste
I cleaned this side pocket with the hand router.

the top I evened out with the chisel

hadn't thought this far ahead
Made it with an 1/8" to spare.

I have extra
I have about 3/4" that I can saw off and drop the height. I will leave it as is for now and see if it presents any problems.

I still have  it
This surprises me a lot that I have not lost this. I have had this for almost 5 years. It is the allen wrench for the set screws on the iron.

exploded view of the bullnose holder
I am thinking of putting this together with epoxy on the ends and yellow glue on the sides. That will mean adding another day(s) for this to cure out.

same holder design for the 073
I used oak for all the parts on the both of these holders. I have an idea for the block plane storage that I'll work on this weekend.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
How many US Presidents had no children of their own?
answer - five Washington, Polk, Harding, Buchanan, and Jackson

Marine Corps to Shop Floor

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Sat, 11/11/2017 - 2:00am
Grant Burger Woodworking

Time served funds a maker’s pursuit of woodworking happiness. With most things in life, you either pay with your time or your money. Say you want to build a box using 3/4 black walnut. You have three options: Buy boards milled to fi nal thickness from a lumberyard (least time, most money); purchase rough-sawn 4/4 boards to mill yourself (more time, less money); or fell a walnut tree, have a […]

The post Marine Corps to Shop Floor appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking


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