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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!


Sweet Music in the Woodshop

360 WoodWorking - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 11:18am
This past Saturday, I taught a one-day workshop for the Central Indiana Woodworkers. The shop was relatively quite in the morning, but after lunch the shop filled with sweet music that told me work was getting done. But this is sure to drive the “hand-tool-only” crowd over the edge. Enjoy. — Glen D. Huey

Proud Papa

McGlynn On Making - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 8:15am

My son has taken to building “Rolling Ball Sculptures”, also known as marble mazes in the last couple of months.  He built one or two of these several years ago on a lark, and lately he’s revisited it with a passion.  He will go out in the shop any chance he gets, bending and twisting bits of 6 gauge copper wire to create complex runs.

His early projects were simple downhills, and with each one he’s added more interesting ball movements, gates and drops.  On this one he formed two copper pans from sheet — all without any coaching or guidance from me.  Everything is soldered together with common lead-free plumbers solder, which makes complex joints tricky without un-soldering something he’s done previously.  But he keeps at it, revising and modifying until he’s happy with it.

This track includes two completely separate runs, a ball switcher to toggle between two paths, and a ball lowering device he designed in addition to the two copper drop pans.  Pretty cool stuff.

Next he wants to incorporate a ball lift so it can continuously cycle marbles.  He’s started building a prototype lift, and it’s kind of challenging — but I expect he will figure it out before long.  I’m really proud of what he’s done all by himself.

Categories: General Woodworking

Flooding the Zone

Giant Cypress - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 7:38am
Flooding the Zone:

Lockhart Steele, on why geeking out about the minutiae of something is not necessarily a bad thing:

I always try to tell the newest editors at Eater, Don’t be afraid to follow your own obsession. Obsessions are, by nature, really weird. Obsessions are things when you look at a person and you’re like, Why are they into that? Like, What do they see that I don’t see? And what you’re trying to do by covering your obsession is to suck at least one other person down your own personal rabbit hole of being really, really, really into this one thing.
We generally don’t explain obsessions when we start them, and we certainly don’t explain when we end them. Choire Sicha, who’s the old editor of Gawker and who now runs The Awl, had the greatest phrase in Internet history, which was: Never complain, never explain. And that is all you need to know about how to do everything on the Internet.
Never complain—so when people are mad at you or people are throwing stones at you, or people are saying things like, Hey, you must be getting paid, you never respond. You never need to. And you never complain about what’s going on. Your work speaks for itself. If a reader can’t figure out what you’re doing, or it upsets them, or they think that it’s really fundamentally stupid that you’re writing about this thing all of the time, great news—they don’t have to read your publication. It’s a free world and our publication is here for those who are amused by it. So we will never explain why we were obsessed with something; it should be self-evident. If it’s not self-evident to you, there are many other food blogs out there, and perhaps Eater’s not the one for you.

In woodworking discussions, often someone will make a comment about how maybe we should stop obsessing over the details of a process and just get back to woodworking, as if there was a choice to be made between the two. And although I ran across this article just recently, I would have a thought along these lines.

After Hours

The English Woodworker - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 7:09am

I’ve been spending a lot of time out in the sun this past week or so; setting up a (make shift) vegetable plot and tending to the weeds. Ordinarily I’d be feeling very guilty about doing anything beside work in work hours and I still am a little. But after a pretty miserable last year where worry ruled most days, I’ve decided to do more of what I find to be important. I’ve even been making more time to spend at the workbench and have made progress with a couple of small projects.
Project on the go with hand tools
Once the sun’s gone in I get in my real hours of graft; in the comfort of my arm chair, laptop on lap with plentiful supply of chocolate and tea. I’m ploughing through video editing, website design and drawings, and I’m there until early hours most mornings.
You have to create your own perks when you work for yourself and occasionally you get to make the rules. When I can be flexible with my time I enjoy it most, and whilst a lot of people would want to escape work on an evening, I find when I can relax through the day I’m more productive for it.

All of the big plans that we had set for last year are now getting back on track so the blog will be seeing lots of changes very soon.


Categories: Hand Tools

‘Time, Taste and Furniture,’ by John Gloag – a 1925 Gem

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 7:00am

The last woodworking book that had me reading cover to cover was “Is it Genuine.” Here’s another that had me doing the same: “Time, Taste and Furniture,” by John Gloag. I love discovering a good book as much as finding a unique piece of woodwork. I found this one in a local antiques store. I had no prior knowledge of the author, so I had to judge the book by […]

The post ‘Time, Taste and Furniture,’ by John Gloag – a 1925 Gem appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Shaker End Table Redux

Highland Woodworking - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 7:00am

One of the joys of taking a woodworking class is getting to do or see some technique you have read about and think you know, but have never actually done.

A good example was in the class I took at Highland a few weeks ago to build a Shaker Style End Table with instructor Jim Dillon.  Jim works at the carpentry shop at Fernbank Science Center in Atlanta and teaches classes in the evenings at Highland.  I don’t know if they let him work on the dinosaurs at Fernbank, but they probably should.

Stock Preparation

Stock Preparation

There are three big things I learned at the class with Jim :

The first is the hand planes.  Now intellectually, I am very familiar with hand planes.  You may think the same thing, in that you have read lots of books, and seen lots of videos, and watched Roy Underhill for years, but until you have seen and HEARD! someone use a sharp plane on a piece of wood, let me tell you, Buford, you have no idea.  Most of us think the way you get a good finish on a piece of wood is to feed it through the electric thickness planer and then hit it with 320 sandpaper in the random orbit sander.  You really need to get in a class with someone who has a properly sharpened hand plane and see the shimmering sheen left by a hand plane and those read-a-newspaper-through-it shavings.  Once you can do that, there will be no sandpaper on your projects.  One and done as they say.

Tapering Jig at Work

Tapering Jig at Work

The second thing was the tapering jig we used to taper the table legs.  I have tapered legs before on the table saw with a tapering jig and it is not a comfortable situation.  My hands are a little too close to the blade and I always felt like it was one step from total disaster.  I wanted to call someone and say if you don’t get a call back from me in ten minutes, send the ambulance and the PortaJohn.  As you can see in the photo, we had a tapering platform we ran through the thickness planer.  It worked beautifully and is easily made.  Simply double sticky tape the legs to the jig and keep running the jig through until the cutter head reaches the flat where the side aprons land.  I think I remember it being 7/16” per foot taper.  I like this tapering jig.  No ambulance.  No PortaJohn.

Bevel Edge on the SawStop

Bevel Edge on the SawStop

The third thing was the bevel on the edge of the table.  We set this up so that the remainder edge on the table top was a quarter of an inch and then we wanted the bevel to be four inches wide.  Since we had all planed our table tops by hand, none of them were the same thickness.  There followed a pretty good discussion of how to make that work and the answer is the angle of the saw blade has to change slightly.  If you hold the quarter inch remainder plus the four inch bevel on different thicknesses, then the angle is the only variable.  You can see in the pictures that we set the table top on edge and clamped it to a fence riding jig for safety.  (And I am truly deeply sorry for that fleeting one hundredth of a second when I thought what a great blog entry if someone tripped the SawStop.)

Festool Domino Joiner

Festool Domino Joiner

It was a real pleasure to use the SawStop Table Saw and the Festool DF 500 Q Domino Joiner, neither one of which I own or use.  If I ever trade my table saw, the SawStop is top of my list.  The Festool Joiner is more tool than I need in my little shop, but what a well-thought out, professional quality tool.  It has every adjustment you could ever need and the Dominos were almost a drive fit when we installed them.  The eighth inch reveal at the legs where the apron meets was a dial-in on the Festool and it worked perfectly.

Good class, well taught with good tools and techniques and well worth your money.  Watch the class schedule for the next one and join in.


The post Shaker End Table Redux appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

A woodworker’s birthday

Je ne sai quoi Woodworking - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 3:29am


Check out what my staff came up with this morning. Pretty impressive hey! A birthday cake for a Psychiatrist (note the pictures of brain matter in the background) who works wood. I think those nails look very traditional, don’t you?


Whoa! This Looks Different!

The Sharpening Blog with Ron Hock - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 3:00am
2015WebsiteHomePageThe New HOCKTOOLS.com

Anything look different to you? I sure hope so!

If you haven’t been to this site before, there is a rather dramatic change in the “look” of The Sharpening Blog. The Hock Tools website has also been updated with this same graphic feel – our new look – it’s a project I’ve been wanting to complete for some time.

I hope you find the website and blog attractive and easy to navigate, whether you are viewing them on a desk or laptop, tablet or cell. The plan has been to get “mobilized” (read “mobile device responsive”). And now, it is easier than ever to check us out wherever you go.

We haven’t changed anything else, though. Both sites provide the same help and info about planes, steel, sharpening and, of course, Hock Tools products. And, for anyone at the beginning of the update-your-website journey — and like the changes you see here – I searched about for software to help me with the site build. Even last year, my copy of Dreamweaver was way too old. Although I could have benefited from one of the full-featured WYSIWYG HTML editors, I just didn’t (and still don’t) have that kind of time! I wanted a leg up with a ready-to-use template and the convenience these new packages provide. So, after trying several versions I decided to use Artisteer, and I’m quite happy with it. It gave me the boost I needed to get started, and filled my needs for customization along the way. One drawback is that the trial version does not let you save anything. However, after testing it I made the leap. What you see at Hock Tools is the results of that.

Please take a minute to click around on the new site. Feel free to let me know if you find anything amiss, that doesn’t make sense, or whatever. Just use our contact page to let me know. Thanks – I appreciate your time!

Categories: Hand Tools

some good and some bad......

Accidental Woodworker - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 1:16am
Haste makes waste and don't count your chickens before they hatch and all that other cutesy saying crappola.  Bottom line, I mind farted again sometime last week and I smelled it tonight. Oh well, fecal matter is happen stance, isn't it?

The plan tonight was to dry clamp the base, get my shoulder length measurement, and bang out some tenons. The dry clamp of the base was ok, check mark #1. I got my shoulder length measurement, check #2. Check #3 for making tenons didn't happen.

almost dry clamped
Doing this by myself was a fun adventure in hell. I felt like I was rehearsing a 3 Stooges routine. I finally got it done and I don't think my heart rate got much over bazillion beats a second. I can't imagine what it's going to be like when it comes time to glue all the interior rails at the same time too. I may have to enlist the help of my wife when that time comes.

the haste and waste part
For the eagle eyed readers, I'm sure you see the two errors. Numero uno are the smelly button mortises on the wrong side of the apron. #2 is the tenon not in the mortise on the right. That is because when I glued up the long apron I put hide glue in the wrong mortise the first time. I have a couple of hiccups to scare off first.

it's a bit snug
I'm sure that I could tap this in with my mallet but I don't want to risk splitting the right side mortise wall.

quick work with a chisel and the tenon slid into the mortise
rearranged the shop
I moved the drill press over here and pulled the table saw up closer to the knee wall. This table is taking up a lot real estate.

dry clamp looks good - all the shoulders have closed up
I'm square
I got the diagonals within a hair of a 1/16". This one is 76 5/16" and the other one is a hair over 76 1/4". I think that is pretty good for something this big.

my shoulder length stick
This is the point that I picked to make my measurement stick. The frame is almost dead nuts square and at this point here it is closest to the legs. I measured the location of the drawer runners on the right and that was 29 5/16". The center rails come in at 29 and not quite 3/16". The left side drawer runners are 29 3/16". The stick reads the same here and at the bottom of the apron and also on the same on the other end of the base.

Both the front and rear aprons have a bit of dip and doodle in them that makes the measurements different up and down the length. But at the ends where the go into the legs there are no humps or hollows. I'll use that measurement and that should straighten out the aprons and help to square up the whole base.

L to R - center rails, drawer runner rails, and the tilt rails
double triple checking my mortise gauges
I left my gauge lines running long just in case I had to reset one or all of the gauges. All 3 fell right into the lines.

I did something right - one point for me
marking the shoulder length
I clamped each of rail groups together and knifed a line across all of them at once. This is as far as I got tonight. I got the mortises for the buttons done and I'll have to plug them. But that is something I can do later. I think that is something I don't have to practice doing first.

Mike left me a comment about getting the table out of the cellar and it got me thinking about it again. I had already measured all the doorways I have to maneuver the table through and I did it again. The table will be leaving the cellar in two pieces. The base and the top will exit separately.

The base is 29 1/4" high and all the door and openings (4 of them) are 31" or 32" wide. I think it's doable and if not I'll have a sharpening station bench.

accidental woodworker    day 11 done 25 more to finish the table

trivia corner
What was the first name of Lt Colombo from the TV series Colombo starring Peter Falk?
answer - Phillip

Lining the Vise Chops with Leather

The Bench Blog - Tue, 04/21/2015 - 1:00am

The last step in my work bench build has finally arrived.  It has been quite a journey, and I can certainly say that I never thought it would take me this long.  But I have greatly enjoyed the process and have learned much along the way.

The last remaining part of the project is to line the vise chops with leather.  I mentioned in an earlier post, How to Make Round Benchdogs – A Pictorial, that I had purchased a half hide of leather from Brettun’s Village.   My original plan was to line both the vise chop and the inner jaw (edge of the bench).  After some consideration, I revised that plan to only line the vise chop.  This will keep the edge of the bench in a single plane a not have a piece of leather glued to it.

A half hide of "book-binders" leather.

A half hide of “book-binders” leather.

To get started, I removed the chops from all four vises and placed them on the leather.  I spent a little time trying to find an arrangement that would waste the least amount of leather.

Arranging the vise chops for the most economical use of leather.

Arranging the vise chops for the most economical use of leather.

This should minimize the waste.

This should minimize the waste.

Once I had the layout that I wanted, I went in search of my white china marker.  No luck, it must have grown legs and walked out of the shop.  Or more likely, the kids took it.  So, I went a raided the kids crayons.  No white, but I did find a yellow.  It’s not ideal, but it does show up on the dark brown leather… just.

I couldn't find my white china marker, so I grabbed one of my kid's crayons.

I couldn’t find my white china marker, so I grabbed one of my kid’s crayons.

I drew around all the vise chops and then cut the leather out with some scissors.

I drew around all the vise chops and then cut the leather out with some scissors.

I cut out the leather with scissors and placed each piece over the vise chops to confirm they were the right size.

The four pieces of leather cut out.

The four pieces of leather cut out.

The next step was to glue the leather to the vise chop.  I  have read a few online opinions about what glue to use for this task and either hide glue or common PVA seems to be the most frequently mentioned.  I had planned to use one of these myself, but my recent success using contact adhesive while making my benchdogs had me rethinking this plan. I decided to try attaching leather to just one of the vise chops to see how well it worked.  I applied the glue to both surfaces and waited for it to start drying.

I coated both surfaces with contact adhesive and waited for it to dry.

I coated both surfaces with contact adhesive and waited for it to dry.

The leather absorbed quite a lot.

The leather absorbed quite a lot.

Once the glue had just turned dry to a light touch, I attached the leather and went over it with a pressure roller to make sure I got a good bond.  I then trimmed the leather flush with the wooden chop and from the holes.

I cut out the holes with a scalpel.

I cut out the holes with a scalpel.

I also used the scalpel to trim around the edge.

I also used the scalpel to trim around the edge.

I was very happy with the bond and repeated the process for the other three vise chops.

And reassembled the vise.

And reassembled the vise.

The holdfasts also got some contact adhesive and leather.

I also put two layers of leather on each of my holdfasts.

I also put two layers of leather on each of my holdfasts.

After gluing the leather to all four chops, I reassembled the vise hardware.  Up until this point, I have never installed the screws that hold the vise face plate tight against the chop.  This is mainly due to the way I drilled the holes for the main screw and guide rods. There is no slop in these holes and they fit the metal parts with very tight tolerances. When you unscrew the vise, the chop stays against the face plate and doesn’t sag or move. This is caused by the thickness of the chop and these tight tolerances.  I have had to assemble, disassemble,  and reassemble the vises several times in the building of this bench, and saw no need to install the face plate screws until the very end.

Now that I see no further need to disassemble the vises, it is time for the screws to be installed.

The vise face plate has holes for three screws.

The vise face plate has holes for three screws.

I mounted a center finding bit in my drill and drilled pilot holes in the three holes in the face plate.

Brass screws to finish the vise installation (and a steel screw to pilot the holes).

Brass screws to finish the vise installation (and a steel screw to pilot the holes).

I bought some brass screws (to match the gold paint on vise hardware) but these can be softer than you might be expecting depending upon the alloy blend used in the particular batch of screws you bought.  When using brass screws, it is advisable to first install a steel screw that is the same size, length, and pitch.  This will cut threads into the wood that the brass screw will then follow.

After drilling with the center-finding bit, I installed a steel screw.

After drilling with the center-finding bit, I installed a steel screw.

I removed the steel screw and installed the brass ones.

I removed the steel screw and installed the brass ones.

My son came out to the shop and installed the last screw.

So….  That’s it…  It’s done.  One year and one month from start to finish.

It feels a little anti-climatic actually.  Not that I was expecting the heavens to open or a fireworks show to ensue, but  I sat back and thought, “Wow, it’s done!”

I took a load of pictures of the finished bench and I’ll try to publish that post in the next day or two.

More soon.


– Jonathan White

Pressing Lard From Cracklings: More Oddities and Amusements

The Furniture Record - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 9:43pm

Keeping up my routine, I visited the two local auction houses at the end of last week. Nothing spectacular but a reasonable assortment of interesting inventory. Like this item billed as a “campaign bed”:

Looks like a bench.

Looks like a bench.

but unfolds into a bed.

but unfolds into a bed.

This brass medallion identifies this as being made by W & S Wales of the UK:

IMG_9721The sign of the wale.

I found this bit of information on several web sites:

“Cabinetta” campaign bed by maker W & S Wales. Used by high-ranking British officers in WWI and the Boer War. Solid mahogany bench and frame easily converts to canvas cot and includes cotton batting sleeping pad. Sturdy and easily transportable, has canvas carrying handles & folds down to form a small seat or table.

If it’s on the internet, it must be true…

I heard some other blog out there has been all about three legged furniture. I found this “Spanish” birthing chair at the same auction:

Three legs and Spanish.

Three legs and Spanish.

Yet another view.

Yet another view. Looks hand made.

The cross-town auction house had stuff, too. This one confused me a bit. Is it a piano converted into a desk  or a slant front desk built to look like an Eastlake, upright piano?

Piano to desk or purpose built piano desk?

Piano to desk or purpose built piano desk?

Interesting gallery:

IMG_9675Pianos don’t generally have one of these.

Drawers are NOT dovetailed.

Lock rabbet joint.

Lock rabbet joint.

Sure looks like it was a piano:

Maybe not.

Maybe not.

Another great old tube radio:

Streaming audio player without local storage.

Streaming audio player without local storage.

This last piece gives the column its name:

The Enterprise Sausage-Stuffer - Lard - Fruit Press.

The Enterprise Sausage-Stuffer – Lard – Fruit Press.

by the Enterprise Mfg. Co. of Philadelphia, PA, USA.

It was a multiuse device before Ron Popeil or Ronco.

Three machines in one. Fast and Easy to Use For…

Stuffing Sausage or other Meats into Casings

Pressing Lard from Cracklings

Pressing Juice from Grapes, Berries, Tomatoes and other Fruits  and Vegetables.

To see more pictures of these items and the rest of the auctions, click HERE.

Music I’d Like To Hear #91

Doug Berch - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 9:01pm

The post "Music I’d Like To Hear #91" appeared first on "Doug Berch."

Categories: Luthiery

Lost Art Press Beehive T-shirts Now Available

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 6:36pm


We received the first samples of our latest T-shirt from the printer and are quite happy with the logo and the crisp way it printed on the short-sleeve shirts.

The shirts are $25 and are available worldwide (shipping is quite reasonable). They are printed on 100-percent cotton on an American Apparel fine-gauge T-shirt.

beehive_red2_IMG_0678Because these shirts are cut slim and will shrink in the wash, we recommend you order one size larger than usual. After years of wearing these shirts ourselves, we think you’ll be happy with the way they break in and last – they are the softest shirt we have found.

The logo on these shirts was designed by Ohio artist Joshua Minnich and features a skep – an old-school beehive – which has long been the symbol of the industrious joiner and carpenter.

The shirts are available in seven colors and the full range of sizes from XS to 3XL. All our shirts are made, sewn and printed in the United States.

You can order your shirt from our store here.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Products We Sell
Categories: Hand Tools


Around The Shop - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 6:25pm
Sorry for the lack of posts latley. I have been busy with classes and chair orders. I hope to meet a lot of you at Handworks in Amana, Iowa next month. I plan to have turning sets available for purchase and some miniature windsors. I also plan to demo some seat carving and other greenwood chairmaking activities. Please join me in the greenwood barn.
Categories: Hand Tools

PopWood Twofer — Blessing and Curse

The Barn on White Run - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 5:46pm

I’ve been a reader of Popular Woodworking for several years, and in recent times have enjoyed a very congenial working relationship with them.  I just got the latest PW Issue 218, which is a terrific and not just because I have two things in it.  There are several great articles including the cover project and a long insert.


The magazine features my article on decorative wire inlay (bisected by the aforementioned insert) and the End Grain column about the Studley Tool Cabinet that ran on the Popular Woodworking web site a few days ago.


Mrs. Barn glanced through the issue and said, “Very nice article. (I think she was talking about the Studley piece — DCW)  But when are you going to start making furniture for me?”

Ouch.  I guess I know what I’m doing after the Studley exhibit.

May with Plymouth CRAFT

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 5:21pm
twisting the froetwisting the froe

These days, I tend to be out ahead of myself a bit. While teaching the chest class in Connecticut a week or so ago, I was thinking of preparing the next class(es), in Alaska. Those are coming right up (still room) and while I’m planning, preparing & packing for that, I’m thinking ahead to a spoon class at Lie-Nielsen and then the video shoot after it. Those are in early May, so right in time for spring migration in Maine.

THEN – comes the next of my offerings with my friends in Plymouth CRAFT. Rick McKee and I are teaming up to show how to split apart logs for various projects. http://plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=splitting-a-log-into-boards  This is a technique class, not a project. Rick has rived many thousands of clapboards over the years,and numerous other oak materials. We’ll look at how to “read” the log, what to look for, and what to look out for. Use of the wedges, mauls, froe & club – the riving brakes. It should be great. This is a one-day class, hosted at the Harlow Old Fort House, near downtown Plymouth Massachusetts. A rare chance to get together with Rick, you could even end up on one of his memorable blog posts at Blue Oak. https://blueoakblog.wordpress.com/

riving stiles with a froeriving stiles with a froe

I’m off tomorrow to scout out some wood for this class. If I find a suitable ash log, I might add splint pounding to the lineup. That’s more fun than you can stand.

The Plymouth CRAFT scene usually is a multi-ring circus,and this one’s no exception. While we’re busting logs open, Charlotte Russell and Denise Lebica will be teaching drop-spinning.

“In this class, you will learn to use a simple tool — the drop-spindle — to convert fiber into yarn. Spinning is at the foundation of most of the textile arts. The ancient, inexpensive, portable, drop-spindle allows you to spin almost anywhere.


This workshop with long-time spinner and teacher Charlotte Russell will focus on developing a feel for creating quality yarn, and will feature hands-on evaluation of fibers such as wool, alpaca, flax, cotton, angora, quiviut and silk. Participants will gain an understanding of  which of the various types of spindles are appropriate to spin which fiber.”  – whole story here: http://plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=spinning-fiber-into-yarn


for me, having other classes under the same umbrella adds a lot to the fun, it’s great being surrounded by more crafty people and we usually have some time to spend seeing what the other half is up to…it’s sure to be interesting. Come join us, Rick & I will bring the tools & wood, you just come show up. the lunch alone is worth it.

Even sooner than that is a weekend class that I wish I was taking – make a wood-fired oven with Paula Marcoux. http://plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=build-an-earthen-oven Paula knows ovens like I know oak. Coming right up, May 2 & 3, 2015. This will be a life-changing class – really.

Sometimes its Just a Box

Greg Merritt - By My Own Hands - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 4:25pm

My next project will be a “Japanese” toolbox.  I know, I know Chris Schwarz is building one too.  I feel like a Johnny-come-lately or a bandwagon jumper with this, but I assure you that I am not.  I have been kicking this one around a while and I’m now getting to the point where I’m just about ready to start it.

odate-toolboxIf you are hoping for intricate joinery, expensive wood and custom hardware, you might as well stop reading now.  There won’t be any of that.  I’ll be closely adhering to the design that Toshio Odate outlined in his book and a subsequent magazine article.  These style toolboxes were never intended to be works of art that advertised the ability of the workman that built them.  They were made with readily available material and nailed together.  Essentially a crate with a sliding lid meant to store, protect and transport tools.

In his book “Japanese Woodworking Tools:Their Tradition, Spirit and Use”, Odate describes the toolbox that was typical of the craftsman that he knew.  It’s a simple thing, nailed together.  It does however have an elegance to it.  Odate goes on to explain that

“…I believe that the sight of a shokunin carrying on his shoulder a beautifully painted and carefully joined toolbox would provoke me to an overwhelming sense of awkwardness.”

I find that statement to be quite poignant.  The Japanese craftsman is more than capable of extremely complex joinery, but they see no reason to employ any of it when building their toolboxes.  It would be out of place if they did so.

In the current woodworking world it seems the three most popular topics are tools, workbenches and tool storage.  Vast quantities of ink and electrons have been and continue to be devoted to this “holy” trinity.  I believe that latter two are a direct result of the rise in popularity of hand tools.  If you are going to work with hand tools a workbench suddenly becomes important.  As you acquire hand tools you need a place to store and protect them.

Personally I think we have become a little too romantic in the way that we look at hand tools and how we sore them.  I fully appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into a traditional joiners chest with inlay and fitted compartments, I just don’t feel the need or desire to build one.  I don’t read any power tool blogs, but I doubt that you will find many, if any, posts on mahogany, raised panel boxes for storing circular saws.  Why then do we go to such extremes for storing our hand tools?  I’m not saying one way is right and the other is wrong.  I’m just trying to take a practical approach.  All I need is a sturdy, functional box for storing, protecting and transporting a few tools.  The last thing I want is to build a box that is so precious that I am afraid to use it for its intended purpose.

In the coming weeks I’ll post a general design drawing that covers the basic construction of the tool box.  I say general because this box is designed to be sized as required.  I’ll then cover how I go about arriving at the size for this particular toolbox.  Once the size is established, I’ll make a trip to the local big box store and buy the cheapest wood that will fit the bill and a couple of boxes of screws.  Yep, I said screws.  I’ll not be picky about what type of drive they are either, phillips, square or slotted.  I’m sure these boxes were originally put together with cut nails.  Cut nails used to be the standard.  They can still be had, but are expensive.  The standard today is wire nails and they are worthless for holding  wood together.  Their smooth shanks have no gripping power.  They may be fine for the construction trades but not for this type of application.  So I’ll be using screws.  They are readily available, hold well and are reasonably inexpensive.

So the wood is cheap and it will be screwed together.  However, each piece, as well as the whole, will be built with all the skill that I can muster.  There is never an excuse for shoddy work.  Surfaces will be planed, ends squared on a shooting board and hard edges chamfered.  Pieces will be fit together to the best of my ability.  I fully intend for this toolbox to last a very long time and I will take pride in its construction…..

even if it is just a box.

Greg Merritt

I Need a Maker’s Mark

goatboy's woodshop - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 4:23pm


Ok, so not that kind of maker’s mark.9484348b5f4d0d21221e7e41f2b9e93e


I need one like this…




.Branding-Iron-HH080..or this.


More than that though, I need some kind of logo. Something simple that can be made into a brand. If anyone has any bright ideas, or has any brand making experience they’d like to share, then fill your boots in the comments.


Filed under: Uncategorized

Skottbenk i Norsk Folkeminnesamling, del 4

Norsk Skottbenk Union - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 4:11pm
 frå Aage Hegge samlingen. Aage Peder Lund Hegge var lensmann Indre Finnmark på 1920-1940-talet og tok ei mengd med foto frå sine reiser. Fotoet er skanna av De Samiske Samlinger i Karasjok. Hans namnebror og etterkomar Aage Hegge følgjer bloggen og har latt oss bruke biletet.Eit arbeidslag har sett opp eit tømmerhus ved Šuoššjavre i Finnmark og er i gang med å høvle bord.  Foto: frå Aage Hegge samlingen. Aage Peder Lund Hegge var lensmann Indre Finnmark på 1920-1940-talet og tok ei mengd med foto frå sine reiser. Det er frå omlag same tid som ein fekk inn svar på spørjelista om snikkarhandverket.

Eg held fram med gjennomgangen av svarmaterialet frå spørjelista om snikkarhandverket i Ord og Sed i Norsk Folkeminnesmling. Eg har frå før posta del 1del 2 og del 3 med gjennomgang av  dei andre fylka i Noreg. Dette er siste delen i denne serien og med den har eg presentert alle svara på spørjelista som har med noko om skottbenk. Den generelle innleiinga som beskriv materialet og arbeidsmåten min er med i del 1.


Knut Lauvdal i Laudal (i dag Marnadal kommune) skriv: For lang stykke bruka dei skottbenk, og stykki vart festa med klamrer og bløygar.

Frå Vest-Agder var det totalt 10 svar på spørjelista. Berre eitt av svara går inn på skottbenk og brukar det som nemning.


Helga Løvland i Froland skriv: For å høvle lange bord eller planker sette dei op plankekrakk.

Magnild Hagelia i Gjerstad skriv: Til retteleg lange ting vart bruka “strykebenk“. Den sette dei op for kvart høve, t. d. når dei høvla golvplank.

Knut Homme i Valle skriv: Strøbenk bruka dei når ein ting var for lang på vanleg høvelbenk. D.v.s. tvo plankar som stend jamsides på smalkantene, den eine fast og den andre laus, som fær bløyga ho innåt emnet.

Frå Aust-Agder var det totalt 9 svar på spørjelista og 3 av dei har med strykebenk. Nemninga plankekrakk kan ha ei anna meining enn skottbenk. Nemninga strøbenk kan vere skrivefeil og kan ha vore meint strøkbenk? Det kan og vere at ordet vert uttala strøbenk i Setesdalen?


Steinar Kollkjen i Mo (i dag Tokke kommune) skriv: I gamal tid er bruka 2 upptømra tverrtre. Yver desse var lagd 2 plankar hell liknande. I millom desse var so det som skulde høvlast sett. I tverrtreene var bløygar på utsida. Når desse var slegne til var det som skulde høvlast klemd godt til. Det var helst til pløying – not og fjær – dette var brukt. Til å jamne hadde dei ein høvl som gjekk på meiar, ein på kvar side. Denne kalla dei “lokårn“.

Frå Telemark  var det totalt 10 svar på spørjelista og berre eitt av desse går inn på noko som eg tolkar som skottbenk. Her kalla han høvelen med meiar for “lokårn”. Lokar er elles ei vanleg nemning på ein langhøvel, gjerne brukt til lagging. Det er ein del likskapstrekk mellom skyting av stavar til lagging og skyting av lange bord på skottbenk så her kan det vere samband.


Ole Bråvoll i Andebu skriv: Hussnikkern bruke føibænk å tømmermannsbænk

Lars M. Ramberg i Botne (i dag Holmestrand kommune) skriv: Til høvling av lange bord og planker hadde de et par bokker (krakker) som de satte opp ved siden av en veg(g?). De la da planken oppå  og slog den fast med kile.

I Vestfold var det berre 2 svar totalt på spørjelista og båe desse har med noko som eg tolkar som ein skottbenk. Berre ein av dei har med nemninga føibænk som då er einaste døme på nemning frå fylket. Sidan 100% av svara frå Vestfold har med skottbenken så bør det vere mogleg å finne gamle benkar rundt på gardane. Så langt har vi ikkje eit einaste døme på gamle benkar frå dette fylket.


Hans Stumberg i Idd (i dag Halden kommune) skriv: Foruten høvelbenken hadde man en lang planke påheftet en kloss, så det man skulde bearbeide blev festet omtrent slik: (ufullstendig skisse, ikkje attgjeve her) Dette kaldes en “strøkbenk“. Sansynligvis var denne kjent før høvelbenken. (…..) De brukte strøkbenken når det gjaldt å feste lange stykker som ikke fikk plass på høvelbenken.

Arne Sandem i Spydeberg skriv: Feibænk” bruktes for retning av gulvbord.

Båstad i Trøgstad skriv: Jeg kan ikke huske andet i min tid end Høvelbenken blev benyttet. Kun naar store stykker skulde okses, saa var der sat op en benk av planker som var indrettet slik at man baade okset og brukte ploughøvlen (oksebenk).

Frå Østfold var det 7 svar totalt på spørjelista, 3 av desse har med skottbenken.  Nemningane er strøkbenk, feibænk og oksebenk. Feibænk er ganske nær opp til føibænk som Ole Bråvoll i Andebu i Vestfold skriv. Eg er usikker på kva ordet skriv seg frå? Kan det ha samband med fuge slik som svenske fogbock og danske fugbænk? Eller kan det ha samband med å pløye slik som pløybenk? Det er vel nærliggande å tenkje seg at ein har hatt utveksling med Sverige og Danmark og at nemningane kan ha gått begge vegar over grensene. Vi har ikkje kunne spora opp gamle skottbenkar i Østfold så langt. Medlemmane av Norsk Skottbenk Union i Østfold  bør undersøkje i om det kan finnast noko i heimfylket sitt.

 Roald RenmælmoSkottbenken på De Samiske Samlinger  i Karasjok i Finnmark. Kanskje finnast det skottbenk, feibænk, strøkbenk, oksebenk eller strykebenk i samlingane til eit av musea i desse fylka som vi ikkje har døme på benkar frå?  Foto: Roald Renmælmo

I Oslo, Akershus og Buskerud er det ikkje med noko om skottbenk i svara. I Akershus var det 6 svar og i Buskerud var det også 6 svar. Frå Oslo var det derimot ingen svar på spørjelista. Om vi då legg til Finnmark som hadde berre eitt svar på spørjelista, men utan opplysningar om skottbenk, så har vi totalt 4 fylke som vi ikkje har opplysningar om skottbenk i svara på spørjelista.

Frå Vest-Agder, Aust-Agder, Telemark, Vestfold og Østfold var det totalt 38 svar på spørjelista om snikkarhandverket. 10 av svara har med skottbenken i ei eller anna form. Det er ingen som har teikningar eller detaljerte forklaringar på utforminga av benken. Knut Homme frå Valle og Steinar Kollkjen frå Tokke har forklaringar som er i tråd med utforminga på skottbenkar vi kjenner frå før her på bloggen. Felles for alle desse fylka er at vi ikkje har døme på gamle originale skottbenkar i dette området. Det er også sparsamt med skriftlege kjelder om skottbenken frå dette området. Vi har aktive skottbenkbrukarar både i Østfold og Telemark. Det er soleis håp om at det kan dukke opp benkar i desse områda.


Categories: Hand Tools

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Matt's Basement Workshop - Mon, 04/20/2015 - 3:31pm


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