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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

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

Do you have a suggestion for a hand-tool woodworking blog you would like to see here?  Tell me via the CONTACT page.  Thanks!


Ants Viires (1918-2015)

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 3:42pm


Ants Viires, the pioneering Estonian ethnographer and author of “Woodworking in Estonia,” died on March 18, according to friends and family.

At the time of his death, Lost Art Press was actively preparing an all-new translation of the landmark “Woodworking in Estonia,” which Roy Underhill listed in 2011 as one of his three favorite woodworking books. The surviving family fully supports our translation effort, and we expect to release the book by the end of 2015.

“Woodworking in Estonia” is one of the most detailed studies ever written about an active hand-tool culture. It really is like stepping back into the 17th or 18th century. Viires dedicated his life to recording this vanishing Baltic culture and recording their tools, processes and products.=

Oddly, “Woodworking in Estonia” was first translated into English in the 1960s by the Israel Program for Scientific Translations and – even odder – was published by the U.S. Science Foundation as a typewritten text with low-quality images.

Viires disavowed this edition, saying it was unauthorized.

Nevertheless, this weird little book is how most of us encountered “Woodworking in Estonia” and became fans of it. About two years ago, we encountered an Estonian woodworking in Toronto who put us in touch with the Viires family and we all agreed to embark on a completely new translation.


Since that first 1960s edition, Viires had updated the text in “Woodworking in Estonia.” And the Estonian publisher, Kirjastus Ilo, reissued the book with gorgeous and crisp drawings and photos.

We hired a translator who was familiar with Viires’s work to handle the new edition, and he turned in his final translation about the same day that Viires died. The book is now in the hands of Peter Follansbee, who will comb through the text to ensure it is technically correct. And then we will design it to look very much like Viires’s 2006 edition of the book, with all the sharp drawings and photos – and with the full support of the Viires family and the Estonian publisher.

In other words, this will be the first authorized English translation of this book, its sales will support the Viires family and English-speaking woodworkers will finally be able to fully experience this amazing woodworking book.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Woodworking in Estonia
Categories: Hand Tools

Junk Sitka Spruce

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 2:40pm
It seems but natural and reasonable that the woodworker should have at least an elementary knowledge and understanding of "wood", the principal material with which he works.

Herman Hjorth, Principles of Woodworking, 1930

I purchased several sticks of Sitka spruce bracing material six months ago from a well known lutherie supply (which will remain nameless, I still need to buy tonewood from them), I used one blank to make braces for one guitar and I had no problems working it.

Prep work started on the "conservatory model" - a high quality, lower cost guitar aimed at students who can't afford a $3,500 guitar - with jointing, assembling the cedar top and installing a rosette, making the neck, etc., and splitting out the Sitka spruce braces.

In the above photo you can see what happened to a brace when I gently (yes, I said gently) flexed it, it broke!

The reason it broke under light pressure is because the early growth rings are much wider than the late growth rings. I noticed this when I received the wood, but figured, hey, it's Sitka spruce it should be tough.

I was wrong. Here you can see how wide the growth rings are, this wood isn't even suitable for the beefier transverse braces that go above and below the sound hole, it flexes too much.

Here is a piece of old growth Douglas fir that I've been hoarding for fifteen years, you can see how tight the growth rings are.

The piece split well and is very light. I used Douglas fir for guitar bracing when I first started on this adventure that is lutherie, it's terribly strong, though can be a little heavy. Several guitar makers told me I was crazy to use it because it is too heavy.

Not all Douglass fir is "too heavy", the braces that I split out were as light as the Sitka spruce. Yes, I weighed them!

So once again I am back using Douglas fir, this time for braces on a Miguel Rodriguez style guitar.

I grew up with Douglas fir because it was a tree that lived in my backyard which was the million acre wood known as Lassen National Forest. I know how Douglas fir responds to an axe, a plane and a nail. Sitka spruce doesn't grow where the Cascade Mountains buried the Sierra Nevada, I didn't get a chance to work with until I was an adult.

Sometimes it isn't a bad thing to stick with something familiar.
Categories: Luthiery

not oak, Buteo instead

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 1:03pm

I’m back from the first weekend of the chest class – and it went very well. Now I have to plane a slew of oak, like the students were doing all weekend.

But the family took a walk on bare earth today, and heard a bunch of loud crows – kept looking up to see what the trouble was…but it turned out to be right in front of us – this juvenile red tailed hawk, sitting on a fence post. We walked right near it, without spooking it. Here’s when I thought I was really close to it –

rt hawk first shot

then the hawk just wouldn’t be spooked. So we left, and when we turned for home – still there.


closer still. I’ve got close to juvies before – for some reason, there’s times when they don’t care about us.



Walnut Dining Trestle Table: Final Details

Nabil Abdo - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 12:00pm

              There are so many details to a finished piece that the process of readying a table for delivery almost becomes a subconscious march of affairs. As your hands become trained to spot the various stages each element of the piece present, you begin a dance to release it from the shop.

Categories: General Woodworking

Starting the Bath Vanity Joinery

I'm a OK guy - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 11:32am
Sometimes the work gods smile upon you, sometimes they piss on your head. This week they smiled. My clients canceled at the last minute so I ended up with three unexpected days off this week plus the one I had scheduled. With one phone call the sky turned blue and the birdies started to sing.

With the unexpected days off I've started the bath vanity joinery, It is pretty standard stuff, the front top stretcher will have a dovetail and the bottom stretcher double M/T. The sides and back will have split M/T joints which I expect will be pinned.

Here are few photos. The first is of one side of one of the dovetails. It needs the nasty bits cleaned but other than that is is ready to fit straight from the saw:

Ready to saw the other shoulder:

Marking the pins on the leg:

After finishing the dovetails I will saw the double tenons on the lower stretcher before moving to the sides and back. Once the basic joinery is finished I will clamp it together and mark the slats for the lower shelf. 

Welsh Stick Chair - Done

Toolerable - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 11:01am
It's not every day you see me finishing two projects on the same day!
Done today:  Vitrine and chair.
I painted the bits on the vitrine that I worked on yesterday.  For more info on this build, check out the previous post.  Essentially, it is a modern cabinet held together only with nails.

The exciting part, is I got finish on my Welsh stick chair!  If you remember correctly, I went to Denmark last fall to build chairs with Jonas from Mulesaw.  I viewed the build as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, as he had a couple of monster elm logs set aside for just such a purpose.  Check out the build starting here.

I didn't quite get finished with my chair in the 4 1/2 days I was there.  This project has been languishing in my shop, not because I didn't want to get it done, but because there always seems to be something that pushes it's way forward in the queue.
Well cured epoxy dribbled here to fill a void.
With a tip from Dyami to use epoxy to fill a couple of voids on the chair, there was some final clean up before finish.  I smoothed it out with a block plane, a chisel, and/or a couple different scrapers.  The West Systems epoxy I used on the recommendation of Aymeric worked easily and looks good.
Epoxy flakes in my block plane.
OK, I'm not really done.  I put the first coat of finish on today.  But, in my book that gets the project off the bench and moves it past the "almost done" category.  Using that logic, if we are past "almost done," we are done.

In the white, ready for finish.
I chose to use a finish recipe that I haven't tried before:  equal parts boiled linseed oil and pure tung oil.  For this first coat, to thin the mixture a bit I added a glug or two of turpentine balsam.  Although I hadn't tried this mixture before, I knew it would leave the chair a nice, warm color. 

Perhaps the tung oil will give it a bit more strength, we'll see.  I'll put a few more coats of this on over the next days, and in a month or two when it is completely cured, I will buff it out with some kind of past wax.  Probably beeswax mixed with orange oil.
Here is my new finish components.
I am pleased with the results.  The elm (Ulmus sp.) darkened up nicely, and the ash (Fraxinus exelsior) for the sticks and legs so far has kept a nice light color.  I like the contrast.  The Frau worries these woods won't match our walnut table, but I think it will look great.
Finished chair.
While I had epoxy mixed up, I thought I would put some in the little pinhole knots on the seat to stabilize the wood, as well as a couple other places that needed filler.  After scraping it off, you could still see where the epoxy was on the wood.  I think the wood absorbs this epoxy.  I worried a little bit that it would show, but so far I think it looks good.
Some of the more interesting grain on the seat.
Here are a few photos of the chair in different glamour poses.
Before photo.  Couresty Mulesaw.

The three-quarter arms were an attempt at making the design look a bit more modern to suit the taste of the Frau.  Olav helped with designing these, and I think they turned out fantastic.

Here is a good view of one of the bits filled with epoxy.

The pair were both finished today.
Now that this chair is off my bench, I am excited to start another one.  I have a couple more seat blanks, and this lonely chair will probably need something to keep it company.
Categories: Hand Tools

Beaded shiplapped back coming soon

Matt's Basement Workshop - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 9:13am

If you’ve been following along with the 8 drawer tall dresser build you already know I’ve made a few minor changes to the existing plan (available in our Digital Downloads Store,) nothing major, just a little tweak here and there.

shiplapped back

I decided recently to make one more change by swapping out the plywood panel I originally intended to install for the back for something a little more decorative. It’s not that I thought there was anything wrong with the plywood, instead it’s just an opportunity for me to flex my woodworking muscle and have a little fun in the shop.

Considering the fact that 9 out of 10 times the tall dresser will be pushed against a wall no one will ever see the back, but what about that 10th occurrence? What happens then?

So after thinking about it (and probably overthinking it) I decided instead to install a shiplapped back to give it a more “finished” look.

The process was extremely easy, shiplapped is really nothing more than cutting a rabbet on one edge of a board, followed by cutting another rabbet on the opposite edge AND opposite face of the same board and then installing them in a sequence that allows the adjoining board’s rabbet to overlap the previous (essentially creating a series of half-laps.) In the end, the result is to give an appearance of a wide panel made up of several narrow boards.

Small plane and bead

Once I completed cutting the initial joinery for the shiplap and did a dry run to insure they’ll fit in place, I decided to take it one step further and add another detail to the boards by breaking out an old beading plane to add some beautiful shadow lines to the plain and ordinary looking boards.

Now if you were a Woobie-level Patron of Matt’s Basement Workshop at Patreon.com you’ll be seeing this process as your upcoming March Bonus Episode video to be released later this week. If you’re not already familiar with shiplapping, this video should help to get you started on using it in your own projects once you see how easy it can be.

Signing up to become a Patron of Matt’s Basement Workshop is easy and gives you an opportunity to see full-length sneak previews of every episode days before everyone else, bonus footage from each episode and exclusive content made just for Patrons at this level. Just visit patreon.com/mattsbasementworkshop to get signed up for one of our four levels of Patronage today.

A full set of detailed plans are available for sale on my website, thanks to Brian Benham of Benham Design Concepts.

You can find them by visiting our new “Digital Downloads Store” by clicking here. And if you were a Woobie-level Patron of Matt’s Basement Workshop you could get a free copy of the original plan as part of your Patronage.

Help support the show – please visit our advertisers

Categories: Hand Tools

What Is Toe In?

Benchcrafted - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 8:10am

Toe-in can be confusing. Lots of people think their leg vise (or any face vise) should close with perfectly parallel jaws, like a veneer press. And in theory, that would indeed be ideal, but only if your work piece also has perfectly parallel faces. The reality is that its easier and more functional to make a vise with toe-in than with perfectly parallel jaws, with the bonus that toed-in jaws hold less perfect pieces as perfectly well as perfectly parallel pieces. 

Here's why toe-in works. Think of your leg vise as a holdfast, with the moving jaw (chop) being the holdfast itself, and the leg your bench top. You would never place the pad of the holdfast right at the edge of a board, where the holding pressure is only on a very small portion of the board. Rather, you try and place your holdfast near the center of the board, to distribute the clamping pressure over a wide area. If your vise didn't have toe-in, chances are it would grab your workpiece, like the holdfast placed at the edge of the board, below the center of the piece, that is, closer to the bottom edge near the vise screw (where there's less holding power.) Then when you go to plane the edge of your board, it slips and pivots. That's because you're holding the piece at the farthest point (in the vise's weak spot) from where you're stressing the board. This arrangement puts the most stress on the board, making it very easy for the board to shift in the vise. 

Toe-in moves  the holdfast pad (moving jaw) from the edge to the middle of the board, and thus pins the board firmly to the bench top (vise leg.)

The other reason for toe-in is for workpiece stability. If you're working the board into the edge of the bench (dovetailing), and not along the bench (edge planing) you want the piece held at the very top edge of vise opening. If the piece were held lower down in the vise (lack of toe-in) the jaws will be slightly open at the top and your board can vibrate in the jaw during sawing. 

Below is a customer pic of their Glide installation. The top of the bench will fall between the red arrows. The Crisscross is built with toe-in, and because of a number of factors, the toe-in will be slightly variable from bench to bench. But that's the beauty of toe-in. It doesn't need to be precise. As long as there is some toe-in, you're fine. The range is very forgiving. At the bottom of this chop, there's about a 1/2" gap, but once the jaw reaches the top 4" of the vise (the only area that holds your work) the toe becomes subtle. And that's a good thing, since once you tighten the vise down a bit, the jaw flexes slightly and spreads holding pressure over more of your workpiece, with the most pressure right at the top of the jaw--exactly where you want it. 

Categories: Hand Tools

Happy Birthday William Morris (& a Free Download)

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 5:56am

In honor of designer, poet, novelist and social activist William Morris, who was born on this day in 1834 (d. 1896), I give you this Shop of the Crafters Morris Chair article, by Christopher Schwarz. “Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” — William Morris This chair is (clearly) far more in the Arts & Crafts vein than 1860s […]

The post Happy Birthday William Morris (& a Free Download) appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Finishing - Shellac Prevents Blotching

The Indian DIY & Woodworker - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 4:38am
The best made furniture can be destroyed by a finishing disaster, one of which is blotching of stain. By blotching I mean an irregular, generally ugly discolouration of the wood after a stain has been applied.

Blotching is rarely the result of poor staining technique; rather it has everything to do with the grain and pores of wood. Different varieties of wood respond differently to staining. Some dense fine grained species take to stain beautifully whereas others seem to resent being stained.

I have been experimenting with some beech, which is a medium quality hard wood. The wood does not exhibit any figure but appears to be even grained and consistent in look. The wood is not very stable and I found it moves, twists and warps quite unpredictably.

I was given some and thought I could use it for faux panelling. The wood is relatively easy to work though hard and the panel strips came out rather well.

I decided to stain the beech panels strips (rails and stiles) as well as some very unstable Pine I had made some shelves with. The Pine was doused with heavy purple dye and there was no problem there.

Ash stains rather well

I stained some Ash and found it stains rather well. On the other hand, beech, stained with oil based Varathane stain was a complete disaster. It blotched badly and pre-treating the wood with wood conditioner (Varathane) made no difference whatsoever.

Beech prior to staining
After Stain - ugly blotches
Stained after applying one coat of Shellac
Stained after two coats of Shellac - much more uniform effect

I then applied a thin wash coat of Shellac on the wood and tried staining. It worked well; two coats of Shellac worked even better. No blotching at all!

Just proves how useful Shellac can be and the importance of testing prior to staining.

Indranil Banerjie
24 March 2015
Categories: Hand Tools

Still waiting on Spring 2015

time tested tools - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 3:55am


The weather just doesn’t seem to want to break. I’m looking forward to some spring thaw.

I’ve posted a nice restorable Jointer for sale, https://timetestedtools.wordpress.com/tools-for-sale-2/

I know several have inquired about a jointer.




I picked up a nice Siegley #2  recently for my collection. I believe it’s a type 5. I plan to post on my website soon. I also picked up a Sargent #3411 in nice shape. This is a type 1. I resisted the Sargent Transitionals for as long as I could. They just seem to call my name.





Please join in the conversation on the tool forum. There are lots of woodworking sites to chose from, but very few dedicated to the collecting of vintage tools. http://timetestedtools.forumchitchat.com/

Thanks for looking


Categories: Hand Tools

This video of an impressive display of Japanese joinery has been...

Giant Cypress - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 3:28am

This video of an impressive display of Japanese joinery has been all over the interwebs, but folks keep sending me the link, so here you go.

(Thanks to everyone who sent me this link.)

I have proof spring is here......

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 1:13am
Spring arrived a couple of days ago but you wouldn't know it around here. Temperatures are running 15-20 degrees lower than normal for this time of the year but at least there isn't any snow. I'm keeping my fingers crossed on that for a while yet. Meanwhile I'll be thinking happy thoughts and looking forward to the warming trend starting on wednesday.

this is an encouraging sign by my back door
Mother nature wouldn't be playing tricks on me. My crocus plants have always been my first sign that spring is here. After these sprout my daffodils will bloom and that will be a definite maybe that spring is here.

middle shelf has cooked
Step one of three in this glue up is done. I have the hat, the sound hole, and back/bottom left to glue up. I'll be patient and do them one at time.

The hole in the sound board is centered side to side but it's about a 1/4" higher than the center point. I don't think that this will have any influence on the sound but it looks better to my eye.  I centered the one on the prototype but I like this slight off center look.

router action upcoming
I thought today about how to do this by hand with chisels and I came up with a way to do it. That involved making a line with a compass around the top of the hole and then another on the interior of the hole. Then it would be a simple matter of chiseling to the lines.

chamfer done
Again, I don't think this chamfer will enhance or deflate the sound transmission at all. I did this chamfer purely for looks and to dress up the hole some. I doubt that I would have been able to make a chamfer this good looking with chisels.

groove for the plywood back
scrap piece of 1/8" plywood
I'll use this to ensure that I can slip the back into this groove while it's cooking.

clamping caul
I cut a piece of scrap 1/2" plywood to act as a caul for clamping the hat on.  I think I will get better uniform pressure to bear on the ribs as this cooks rather then using two clamps on the outside.

the banding surface is bugging me
This banding feels and looks like the lunar surface. It is bumpy and lumpy end to end. I don't think I would get a good glue bond between the banding and the dividers no matter what type of glue I used. I made a shallow groove in this piece of oak on my tablesaw. I was going to use my record 043 but the saw was quicker. The banding fits in it perfectly.

it's proud of the surface a wee bit
I made a couple of more grooves that were shallower than this one.  This first one was too deep and I needed one not as deep. I ended up making 4 total before I got one I was happy with.

planing the banding smooth with my violin plane
The object is to plane one side smooth but still have it proud of the groove. Flip and plane the other side to get a consistent thickness. This is I why I had to make more grooves.

see the difference
The one on the left has been planed smooth and the middle and right one haven't been done yet. This is worth the calorie count to do. It looks and feels 100% better and that will also look better on the trinket trays smoothed out.

experiment in gluing
I spent my lunch time searching the WWW for some alternate glue choices. I didn't get a warm and fuzzy with the choices there are (they were mostly CA glues). I spent too much time trying to find if contact cement would be a viable choice but I got nowhere with that. I'll be trying out two glues that I know will work.

samples are cooking
I glued two pieces of planed banding to two pieces of 1/8" plywood. I had spread a small amount of glue on both surfaces and rubbed the banding on the plywood and left it. I thought of taping these but I'm going to see how well they adhere with just being put in place.

hat and test banding cooking away
The furnace was running as I placed these here. I'll check on them tomorrow. I'm leaning in the direction of using hide glue on the banding now. I can apply a thin coat to the bandings and dividers without any major headaches. The big plus is that hide glue should be easier to clean up any squeeze out and not have it interfere with the shellac finish on the dividers. We'll see what shakes out tomorrow.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is a funambulist?
answer - a tightrope walker

A Step Back to Move Forward - Vitrine

Toolerable - Tue, 03/24/2015 - 12:36am
When I left my vitrine mock-up project the other day, I thought that for sure I would have to make new doors and trash the old ones.  I really don't like to scrap part of a project.  I much prefer to fix the errors in some fashion.

The good news, is I was able to salvage the doors, and this project is now almost finished!
As it stands now.  Only a little a little adjusting to the doors and touching up of finish remains.
The problem was that the doors wound up not being square, but more of a rhombus shape.  I think the problem was introduced when I nailed up the door panels.  There must have been enough inaccuracies introduced to really raise havoc.  The rabbets for the glass need to be just perfect, as well as both doors have to be in the same plane so the glass panel fits.

It was kind of hard to show in a photograph, but the problem was essentially the same on the bottom of the cabinet:
When I lined up the sides of the door panel, the top and bottom were obviously out of square.
What I should have done is make the door panel a little oversize, then trim it down and square it up to make an exact fit.

While evaluating the problem, I realized that if I lined the sides of the door panels up, the tops and bottoms could be flushed up without losing too much.  The top door was a bit oversized in height, anyway, and I think the bottom door will be fine. 

I am considering leaving the bottom wonky like that.  If I plane it square, I might have to laminate a spacer there to compensate for the look.  The Frau didn't notice it until I pointed it out, so we'll see if I can live with it or not.

A challenge was how to plane the parts of the doors with the rabbets so the glass would fit.

I set the doors up so one side of the rabbet was flush and needed no adjusting.  The other side, I marked where it needed to end up.  This means I need to taper this edge of the door until I meet the mark.
The first step was to crosscut the batten.  I think going right to the plane would just be asking for blow out.
Next, the tapering commences.  It only took a minute to reach my line.
I used a dull card scraper to remove most of the paint.  A few swipes with my jack plane and I am at my line.
Up to now, I was using only a mark on one end of the board to determine how far I needed to go.  Marking out a taper with a gauge is impossible, and wasn't necessary for this.

Now that the top edge is square, I CAN use a marking gauge to re-define my rabbet.  That will have to be re-cut.
Marking where the rabbet now needs to be.
How to cut this with the cross battens in the way?  I tried to keep the number of tools down to a minimum when constructing this panel, but a rabbet plane won't work here.

I considered using my plow plane, but thought that running the fence against the paint on the show side of the door would create some problems for me down the line.  What I did instead was to remove the fence entirely from my Veritas plow plane, and use it freehand.  The rabbet was defined, after all.  All I had to do was sink the rabbet a little farther until I reached the line from the marking gauge.
Fence-less plow worked a charm.
With just a little cleanup with a chisel, and I was back in business.
Finished rabbet.  You can see the wood that was removed, as there was paint on the rabbet before this step.
Now, the glass panel fits and the doors line up. 

I did wind up buying some better cup hinges.  I had bought the cheapest ones I could find before, and they were difficult to install and line up.  I spent about 10 Euros per pair for the new ones.  They came with a template to aid installation, and worked with absolutely no problems.

A comment on my last post had me thinking that I hadn't really done a proper job of explaining how this door goes together with the glass.  Here are a couple of pics that hopefully explain better how the glass is captured in the rabbet by the batten.
Glass captured in the rabbet by a cross batten.
The idea is that the glass is closer to the cabinet in this rabbet than it would be in a groove.  It is an effort to eliminate any unsightly gap where the edges of the glass panels meet.

The next step is to install the lights.  We found some really cool low-profile LED lights that were perfect for this project.  The package came with three lights that plug into one socket.  Very efficient, as the whole contraption only uses 7.5 watts!

I decided the interior of the glass cabinet looked best with two of the lights.  I put the third on the top of the cabinet to shine on the ceiling.

I think it looks great with the tinted glass.  Once we find an appropriate 'something' to display, it will look fantastic!
Here is the cabinet with the door open.
Well, we do have a silly bear sculpture.

I like the look.
The lights just stuck on with some double sided sticky tape.  I tried to be as neat as possible with the wires, and chiselled a channel for them to escape out the back by the glass.
The bear is looking at my lighting job.
Today there is very little left to do for me to call it done:  I need to bevel the inside of the corner of the door, as it doesn't fully open, and I need to touch up the paint where I had to remove some wood.  And, probably take the stickers off the glass and polish that.  I might also run some steel wool or fine sandpaper over the paint, and apply paste wax to make the cabinet nicer to the touch.

All in all, this mockup is a success so far.  I learned some important lessons in construction of a cabinet like this, and spent relatively little money on it.  The Frau was looking online for vitrines, and the ones she liked cost about ten times the price of this one.

Ironically, now that this cabinet is in the place we want the final piece to be, the Frau has decided a vitrine is not what she wants there.  Perhaps a side table instead.  I am really glad we didn't get stuck with an expensive store bought piece of furniture!
Categories: Hand Tools

Wood is Good For Your Body and Brain!

The Alaska Woodworker - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 10:23pm
“Exposure to wooden furniture and fittings has real and measurable health and well being benefits.”   Of course as woodworkers we all know this.  “These benefits are outlined in a new report launched by Planet Ark’s Make it Wood campaign in the lead up to World Wood Day.” You can download and read the report […]
Categories: Hand Tools

More Wooden Straightedges

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 8:10pm
A straightedge of convenient size should be made for ordinary use, and almost any kind of well-seasoned wood is suitable, mahogany and walnut being usually favored...

Bernard E. Jones, The Complete Woodworker, 190?

I posted else where on this blog about making straight edges from one of my favorite woods, California laurel.

My mistake was making only one straight edge from the laurel, I should have made two.


Two straight edges the same length are easier to check for straightness, you just put the edges together and look for a gap, then you can plane the edge straight again.

I realized I need an 18 inch straight edge, instead of a 17 inch straight edge, to check the flatness of the fret board that I recently put on a copy of a 1930 Santos Hernandez guitar.

My stock of California Laurel is getting low, what I have is reserved for another blanca guitar, I have some nice eastern black walnut on hand so it was off to the table saw.

I ripped out two slats, clamped them together and jointed the edges. I didn't taper the pieces as per instructions given by Jones in the aforementioned book (or what some former editor[s] of a woodworking magazine says you are supposed to do), I left them chunky so when I go to re-shoot the edges all I have to do is butt the ends up against the bench stop. I don't have to chuck them into Shop Fox vise, just fix them and go back to work.

I do plan on beveling the edges as Jones suggests doing, those edges give a better reading when placed on the surface that is being observed.

Ah, just what I needed!

The guitar is now fretted and after I run some errands tomorrow morning, I get down to the business of carving the neck.

Once that task is completed I will then have three guitars - a Torres FE19 guitar, a 1961 Hernandez y Aguado guitar and this Santos - to French polish!

Stay tuned, I will be posting photos of the latest 1930 Santos Hernandez style guitar!
Categories: Luthiery

Hospice Cart Dimensioning

orepass: Woodworking to Pass the Time - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 6:40pm

When planning to make an epic mistake on a project there are several areas that can go un-noticed until you are quite far into a project. Poor plans can lead to a missed cut usually in the latter portions of a project when the only option is to head back to the lumber yard for a new piece of wood. Bad measurements can have the same results and usually occurs when when you forget to add an inch to your measurement due to the damaged tape you refuse to throw away. Typically I prefer to layout a project incorrectly and then proceed to chop out several mortises before realizing they are on the wrong side of a leg. Not today, well not yet anyway.

Laying out the locations of mortises is something that I take very slowly checking and double checking to insure they are in the correct place. Fortunately today when I checked I found the problem immediately and was able to make a correction before chopping began. I’m sure I will make another mistake further along.


  The rest of the day was spent dimensioning lumber and planing to the correct thickness. By the end of the day most of the parts were ready for joinery. I’m hoping over the next week to get the mortises chopped out so that next weekend can be spent fitting the tenons and gluing up the top and bottom shelf. 


My mistake of the day was forgetting to publish the blog. Fixed today!

Categories: Hand Tools

Sample Board Partying – Liming

The Barn on White Run - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 6:11pm


One of the dominant aesthetics in the interior design world of my early days in the furniture trade in Palm Beach County, Florida, was the lightening or even whitening of wood furniture and paneling, presumably to reflect the bright sunniness that was numbingly constant outside, especially in the winter when those with the financial means escaped the cold, grim climes of (mostly) New England.  This was manifest in what decorators called “pickled” finishes for wood surfaces.  During my recent luncheon presentation in Palm Beach, one of the topics my hosts requested was to address this one.

Traditionally this was applied over either oak or cypress, and I recall finishing what seemed to be acres of it.  In fact the “whitening” of these woods was accomplished by two unrelated techniques.

One technique involves the deposition of white material into the grain of the wood, and the other requires the deposition of a thin uniform layer of white translucence over the entire surface.  Though I executed both techniques on both oak and cypress, you will see from the results that one technique worked well for one wood, and the other, the other.

“Liming” of wood requires the deposition of, well, lime onto the wood, or more precisely, into the wood.  In these samples I planed and scraped the panels, then lightly scrubbed them with a brass brush to wallow out the grain.  In the case of oak, it resulted in the emphasis of the ring-porous nature of the wood, while with the cypress it created a muddy, unremarkable effect.


Once the surface was ready I took some hydrated lime from the hardware store and prepared some very lean gesso from the lime, water, and about 2-3% 315 gws glue.  I first soaked overnight and cooked the glue in the water, then added powdered lime to the desired consistency.


This was brushed onto the surface, making sure to work it down into the grain, and allowed to dry completely.


Since the gesso was very lean, I was able to remove the excess gesso, that is the gesso not down in the grain, with an abrasive pad rather than the coarse burlap of days gone by.


Following that I applied a single coating of paste wax, and when that was hard I buffed it with a piece of clean cloth.  This is a nerve wracking step the first time you do it as the paste wax saturates the lime deposit, making it disappear.  Never fear, as the solvent in the paste wax flashes off, the white will slowly emerge again.  The effect in oak is dramatic.


For cypress, the presentation is fairly undistinguished.


Fortunately, there is a technique that works wonderfully on cypress.

Stay tuned.



MC Escher Tool Chest

McGlynn On Making - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 2:26pm

Yesterday I posted a picture of a Dutch Tool Chest I’m making.  It’s just a busywork project, something to do for fun.  It was decidedly less fun when I discovered that I’d done the joinery for one end bass-ackwards.  Not really the end of the world, this is the cheap common pine.  It’s also slightly cupped, even after flattening it, it cupped again.

And it’s not like I need a tool chest.  Having said that, I’ll probably end up building two or three of these.

Kudos to Greg Merrit for nicknaming this the "MC Escher Chest".  I'm *never* buying plans from that Dutch Dude again...

Kudos to Greg Merrit for nicknaming this the “MC Escher Chest”. I’m *never* buying plans from that Dutch Dude again…

So, I cut one set of pins off, and re-cut them. No biggie.  The sawing went much better, it helped that I put up more shop lights in the intervening time.

Dutch chest after coming down from a bad sugar high. (the chest, not me)

Dutch chest after coming down from a bad sugar high. (the chest, not me)


Categories: General Woodworking

Traveling Tool Chest: Simply Stunning

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 03/23/2015 - 11:43am

Last week, we shot the cover photo for the August issue. It’s a classic English tool chest sized for travel (though it holds almost a full complement of furniture making tools, sans moulding planes). The build was a collaboration between Christopher Schwarz, who designed and built the chest, and Jameel Abraham, who made the 3D marquetry panel for the lid’s interior (and Peter Ross, who made the hand-forged hardware.) Last […]

The post Traveling Tool Chest: Simply Stunning appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking


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by Dr. Radut