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Garage workshops part 2

Oregon Woodworker - Sun, 05/14/2017 - 8:21am
Matt commented on my last post as follows:
I have wall shelves in my garage shop and my tools (and everything else on those shelves) get very dusty. I never thought a tool chest would be a good idea because you have to move so many things to get at the tool you need, which just happens to be at the bottom. Can you comment on your experiences with this?
This is a question many woodworkers considering a tool chest have.  I know I did.  The short answer is that I have not found this to be a problem at all.  A longer answer follows.

My shop is not dusty. I intend to share a video here showing why.  It may make you laugh and perhaps cringe but it works.  Nevertheless, I would not store many of my best tools on shelves.  We have had 54" of rain in the last six months, so rust is a concern.  I think you need a mixture of storage types and there are a lot of items in a garage woodshop that do just fine on shelves, but most tools are not among them.  To store mine, I am an enthusiastic advocate of tool chests.

I originally chose a tool chest over wall cabinets because I knew I was going to be moving and my tools would be in storage.  Another reason was that my garage at the time lacked suitable wall space for cabinets.  I had serious reservations about tool chests, the two most important being about bending over each time I wanted a tool and the same concern about ease of access that Matt has.  Bending over turned out to be a non-issue because the tool chest was approximately six inches off the ground on a dolly I made so I could move the chest around easily.  It's just not a problem, especially because my planes are on the bottom of the chest and they are easy to grasp.  I did eventually make a higher platform to place my chest on, mostly to demonstrate how to overcome that objection.  I keep it because it gives me storage beneath the chest and I don't need mobility, but it is not necessary at all.

Matt's issue concerned me a lot.  I pictured myself constantly sliding tills around to access my tools. I tried to address this by making the tills removable.  I thought I would lift them out and put them on the bench when I was working.  In practice, I never do, because working directly from the chest is so convenient.  I can take just a step or two to access my tools in the chest.  Two tills can be exposed at a time and, in any case they slide easily and quickly on waxed maple rails using three fingers.  It has become second nature and I am no longer even aware that I do it.  I know some woodworkers remove the tools they are going to be using at the beginning of the day and put them on or under their bench on a shelf, but I don't.  It's just as easy to put them away.

Like Matt, I don't want to paw around looking for a tool.  You can minimize this by making shallow tills, making custom holders for your tools that make them easy to access and using the inside of the top.  I made three tills of different depths but, if I had it to do over again, I might make four.  For many of us, tool chests can be quite deep to accommodate them.  My opinion is that you can determine the maximum depth for your tool chest by measuring the distance between your armpit and your second knuckle on your forefinger.  

Tool chests have incredible density.  Usually about 3'x2'x2', they store an amazing amount of tools in just 6 cubic feet.  Their mobility makes them ideal for a small shop and being able to close them quickly when not in use protects the tools from dust and moisture.  You could even easily dehumidy your tool chest if you wanted to.

Here are some pictures that illustrate these points.  Mostly planes on the bottom:

The bottom two tills:

The top till:

All three tills and my saws in place (very secure for travel):

Shop made tools on the lid:

Categories: Hand Tools

Fish Glue

Journeyman's Journal - Sun, 05/14/2017 - 6:00am

I hate watching television even though I have two TV’s in my house but thankfully never used, I can’t stand listening to the news because there’s never anything positive to hear but they’re usual over dramatization and fear mongering tactics.  I hate politicians, because they never keep their election promises, constantly lie, they live in the back pockets of corporations, they pretend as if they know what they’re doing and they just can’t seem get along without resorting to some kind of war.  Oh, and they’re radicals because they’re ignorant.  A professor at Griffith University at the school of law once said “Ignorance breeds radicalism.”

So, I turn to books and articles written by prominent highly educated and respected people on various subjects pertaining to my interests.  I was recently doing some research on hide glue and it’s uses and made some amazingly new discoveries which could have helped me during my build of the small router plane.  Prior to the build, I was blinded to this information but a few days after the second build I make this discovery.

Did you know that metal expands and contracts with humidity and temperature fluctuations in opposite direction to the wood?  In fact, so does water.


Did you also know that epoxy is brittle and the metal glued to wood would eventually break off?  Just when this will occur is anyone’s guess, but since I’m all about quality workmanship and having my builds outlive a generation or two at the very least, why take the risk.  I’m sure you feel the same.

Prior to knowing these facts about metal’s movement during these environmental fluctuations I was stumped on understanding why epoxies brittleness would eventually cause bond failure. Well now it all makes sense, this important bit of information I wasn’t made privy to all makes good sense, “movement”.

As woodworkers, we expect for wood to move and we make accommodations for that movement but how many of us knew that metal moves as well and in the opposite direction to wood. So, scientists came up with a solution of gluing metal to wood and that’s Loctite 330 and there are other numbered Loctite’s that will also do the same trick but, wait a minute. Isn’t antique furniture covered in brass ornaments, doesn’t some antique braces have brass plates fixed to them, ok fair enough they’re reinforced with screws but what about antique clocks and their brass fittings.

So, if these metal fixtures were glued to the wood hundred of years ago and are still affixed firmly in place today, what did they use? I’m sure Loctite didn’t exist in that era, well the answer is animal glue and fish glue to be precise.  According to Patrick Edwards fish glue was used in marquetry to glue ivory, bone, horn shell and metal (brass). Which makes perfectly good sense because all animal glues allow a certain amount of movement of these elements.

There are a variety of traditional animal glue applications that continue to be used by modern craftsmen. Rabbit skin glue is necessary for laying gold leaf properly.  Instrument makers and restorers have a wide variety of applications that depend on animal glues. For example, the fact that these glues can be coloured and mixed with many components allows the addition of plaster of Paris to glue for laying ivory keys. Marquetry workers add different colours to the glue to restore Boulle tortoise shell and make mastic. Fish glue has properties which make it perfect for exotic materials, such as tortoise shell, horn, leather, shark skin, cloth and metals. Fish glue is a liquid glue with strong cold tack grip, and its used to glue brass, pewter and copper in Boulle marquetry is further strengthened when the metal is first rubbed with a fresh clove of garlic. Animal bone and hide glues are used individually and mixed together for all types of woodworking. Diluted glues are used for veneer sizing and flattening, as well as for sizing end grain and porous woods before sanding.
Had I known these facts before I would have used fish glue and come to think of it I actually have a bottle I bought a number of years ago, I doubt very much if it’s of any use anymore in fact I just opened it for the first time and took a whiff and it stinks, but I’ll glue some small pieces with it just for fun to see if it will work being so old as it is. Having said that, Fish glue will still be good for a number of years even though it is a protein glue and fish glue is smelly by nature anyway, so the stench of mine is probably normal.
You have to admit the benefits of using animal glues far outweigh the benefits over synthetic glues, yes, it’s true there’s no ease of use.  It’s time consuming to prepare and you have to keep an eye on it constantly so it doesn’t over cook, if you’re working in a fully-fledged business production run workshop your glue must be hot and ready for use throughout the day. But, that’s life and that’s how it’s always been for the last 8000 years with this glue.
Here’s one more tip you also probably didn’t know. Cold water is added to dry glue and hot water equalling the temperature of the hot glue is added to thin it. Cold for cold and hot for hot and yet I see on YouTube cold water added to hot hide glue. If you’re going to use cold water then allow the glue to heat up to 140° F (60°C) before you use it, don’t do what I’ve seen people do and use it straight away and it’s not just on YouTube but in a particular book as well.  If I mention which book then the author/seller will get all snotty with me, funny though I must be the only one that will cop it in the chin when I get it wrong, I learn from it and move on but when it comes to them they hold a grudge and take it with them to their graves.  This is called online woodworking politics and there is a lot of that.

Take care

Categories: Hand Tools

rehabbing a 5 1/2.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 05/14/2017 - 1:05am
Didn't want to do much in the shop today which is a rare occurrence for me . I would have liked to have gotten the 5 1/2 done but that didn't happen neither. The brass adjuster knob ate up a lot of my time along with trying to get the sole sanded smooth.  And both of them didn't make it into the completed column. Add to the mix working on the frame and just being bone tired, not a lot got done working at snail's pace. I was hoping that my lever cap would have come today but it didn't. I'll have to wait for that until next week. Along with my miter box and the #2.

not shiny yet
This was kind of shiny but it has tarnished since then.  I mixed up another batch of Bar Keeps and let it soak again for a while.

back flattened
While the adjuster was soaking I flattened the back. It took a long time to get to this stage due to the hump in the middle. The shine took it's sweet time spreading out from the middle to the sides.

surprised by this
I had a burr that almost went across the entire edge. I went back to the 80 girt runway and did the back some more until I got a burr that went side to side.

grinding a new angle
Started this on my coarsest diamond stone and after 5 strokes I saw that I had a long ways to go so I switched to the 80 grit runway. After I got a consistent grind, I went back to the coarsest diamond stone and worked my way up to the 8K and then the strop.

The iron is sharp, the chipbreaker is fettled the way I like it, and I have a new old chipbreaker screw installed. There is a lot of life to this iron and it's the same size as my 4 1/2 so I can use the spare irons for it here too.

been soaking for about 20 minutes
still not shiny
This is the first time that Bar Keeps hasn't gotten the adjuster shiny after one application.  I scrubbed the crap out of this with a toothbrush without raising a shine. I switched to a brass brush and got better results.

finally got a little bit of a shine
This doesn't look as good as the #2 adjuster looked that I did last week. Close but still far enough away from the stake to not to count as a point.

the back
The back of the adjuster which is mostly unseen is shinier than the front part.  Maybe the Bar Keeps I'm using is toast. It's been in the shop since last year and it is coming out of the can in clumps. I bought another one when I went to the grocery store.

my plane parts
The frog adjuster screw by finger is what I want to replace. It isn't going to happen today because I don't have one.

barrel nuts
I didn't have to buy new barrel nuts because I have more than enough. However, I don't like these because they aren't domed. These have a chamfer running on the outside edge. I like the domed ones that Bill Rittner sells. They blend in with the front knob whereas these tend to end up a bit below the hole for them in the knob.

new Bar Keeps
This stuff came out powdery and not clumpy like the stuff I have now. I mixed up another batch and and stuck the adjuster in it for another soak cycle.

working on the sole
This is 220 grit and it isn't doing much to the sole. I'd be here using this until next year before I would see any improvement. I'm not trying to getting this to look like a mirror. I just want the sole clean and smooth. I dropped down to 180 and then 120 and I still wasn't getting a scratch pattern from the toe to the heel. I put my lowest grit belt on which is 80 grit.

switched to working on the frame
Making the rabbet to hold the glass, matting, and the certificate. If I made the rabbet in the frame it would make it too thin. Not to mention that I don't think there is sufficient meat there to do that. I like making my rabbets this way and there are a few advantages to doing it this way.

First I don't make the frame weaker by making a rabbet in it nor do I thin the interior profile down.  Adding these strips to make the rabbet crosses the miter serves to strengthen it on the back. The last point I like about this is that the frame stands off the wall and it doesn't lay up flat on it. I used butt joints on this so that they would cross the miters rather then line up with them. I glued these in place with hide glue only, no fasteners were used.

cooking away
Tomorrow I'll try to ebonize this and see what that looks like. If it doesn't work I have a rattle can of black lacquer spray paint. There are a couple of spots that show some dried hide glue and I'm not sure if the ebonizing will work on them. My fingers are crossed and I'm thinking happy thoughts.

back to mindless back and forth sanding
This is 80 grit but it is an old belt and it isn't cutting fast enough for me.

why I changed belts
This belt is making a consistent scratch pattern toe to heel except of two strips by my fingers. I worked this for five minutes and they weren't disappearing. Changed the belt to a fresher older one.

The two stripes are slowly disappearing but it is going to be a while before they disappear.

finally shiny
I took this upstairs and started sanding it with 400 grit sandpaper. I was able to sand away the reddish stuff that was inside of this. I got it shiny yesterday but it tarnished and got the reddish hue that I sanded away today. I'll keep this upstairs and see if it stays shiny.

the unseen part is as good as the front
It looks like tomorrow I'll be putting the plate rack shelf in place. My wife painted and wallpapered that wall today and she wants the shelf done tomorrow.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Who was the first professional athlete to have his number retired?
answer - Lou Gehrig's #4 on July 7, 1939

Setting Up Shop: The Most Useful Power Tools

Wunder Woods - Sat, 05/13/2017 - 9:32pm

When customers visit my shop we usually start by talking about their wood needs. If it is someone’s first time to visit I also try to get to know them, what they are looking for and what they are expecting from me. Half of them are just looking for rough cut wood, while the others are looking for wood that is processed a little bit more, perhaps jointed or planed, or even sanded. During our time together I get to understand their needs and abilities, and our discussion usually turns to the tools they have in their shop.

I am often surprised at what tools woodworkers don’t use or own, especially when they are some of the few that I find essential. Sometimes it’s just the difference between hand tool and power tool guys, but sometimes it’s just from lack of experience or the fact that they haven’t given it too much thought. Most likely they just buy tools as they need them and never really considered what tools would give them the most bang for the buck.

Since this is a common conversation, I decided to compile the following list of what I think are the most useful power tools and should be the building blocks of any woodworking shop:

Notice how my table saws can work both as a table and a saw.

Table saw. Of all of the tools in the shop, the table saw is the most useful and versatile. It excels at making straight cuts, and with the addition of any of a million jigs, can be made to perform an amazing number of tasks with repeatability and precision. I use the table saw for roughing out smaller parts from larger pieces, all the way through trimming parts to final size. The only limit to the table saw is that the piece needs to be small enough to be pushed through it. Above a certain size, the table saw becomes less useful and even impossible to use as the saw needs to be brought to the piece, instead of the piece being brought to the saw.

The table saw is best suited for making rip cuts, which are cuts along the length of the board, but with a crosscutting jig, the table saw can do just as well on crosscuts, which are cuts across the board. I even use the table saw for resawing thick lumber into thinner boards. The bandsaw is usually the tool for resawing, but any lumber under 6″ wide can be resawn on a 10″ table saw by cutting from both sides of the board.

Besides just making through cuts, the table saw can also cut dados, rabbets and other grooves with just a few adjustments. And, with the addition of profiled cutters and a creative mind, the table saw can be used to make all kinds of mouldings, including large crown mouldings.

The table saw also works amazingly well as a table. Mine is big enough to not only hold stuff, but serve as an assembly table when necessary. The table of the table saw is set apart from other tables because it is commonly the only one open and available in the shop. I try to keep it clear enough to actually use, which means that at least part of the top is usually available and ready to be used as a table or maybe even a saw.

My Powermatic planer has prettied up a lot of wood.

Thickness Planer. Running a rough board through the planer is always fun. Even after sending billions of board feet through a planer, it never gets old. The amazing thing is that beyond making the wood look good, the planer can size lumber in ways other tools can’t.

I have met a lot of customers that don’t have a planer. And, while it is possible to operate without one, I believe that once you own one, you will find it hard to believe that you ever ran a shop without it. For me, it is along the same line of thinking for spray guns, where I say, “Stop thinking about buying a spray gun.”

Even if you buy your lumber already planed, you will still encounter many circumstances that require the use of a planer. For example, you might want to build a simple and delicate jewelry box out of small scrap pieces lying around the shop, and you will end up making a small and clunky jewelry box because all of your lumber is 3/4″ thick, and that’s how it is going to stay. That is just the first example. Think about all of the other times that you will pick up a piece of lumber in the shop and it will be the wrong thickness, either just slightly wrong or in an entirely different size category. A planer is a real problem solver and can fix all of that.

If you work with rough lumber, a planer will be absolutely necessary, except for the most rustic of projects. Every piece of rough cut lumber ends up somewhat not straight, not flat and not consistent in thickness, either from variations during the sawing or from stresses which occur while the wood dries. The planer, combined with the jointer, is a one-two punch to remove these variations and produce straight, flat and consistently thick lumber. The reason the planer is ahead of the jointer on this list is that some lumber is straight enough and flat enough to plane without jointing if the job is a little less finicky, thereby skipping the jointer.

Flattening the face of a board before going through the planer makes assembly so much easier.

Jointer. I use my jointer a lot. When preparing rough lumber it sees as much action as the planer. As a matter of fact, almost every piece of lumber in my shop gets surfaced on the wide face to straighten things out before it even heads to the planer. Without the jointer, my life would just be a crooked, twisty mess of painful attempts to make things seem straight.

One of the misconceptions about planers is that they make lumber straight. They do some straightening, but they don’t make lumber straight. That is what jointers do. Many lumber mills just send rough lumber through the planer allowing the board to exit the machine with the same ups and downs and whoops that is entered with, only now to a consistent thickness. This is especially apparent when gluing up a couple of these roller coaster type of boards and trying to get them to line up. After a couple of those glue-ups, you will swear by lumber that has seen the jointer before the planer, and never skip the jointer.

Besides flattening lumber, the jointer also puts a straight edge on lumber for joining two boards together and for running through other machines. I also use the jointer for making small adjustments during the final fitting of parts like drawer fronts, where small changes can make a big difference.

With these three power tools (and a few hand tools), I feel like I could make about 80% of the jobs that come through my shop on a daily basis. Obviously, some jobs will require more specialized power tools to complete, but these three probably find their way into almost all of my work. With that said, there are a few other tools that I couldn’t imagine being without and I feel need to be added to the list.

Spray gun. Not every woodworking job gets a film finish, but most of mine do. And of those, every one will meet a spray gun. For a million reasons, including making finishing fast and fun, I recommend using a spray gun whenever possible. It will raise your game and make you n0t hate finishing. (Click here to read my thoughts on purchasing a spray gun).

The chop saw (compound miter saw ) gets a lot of use, especially trimming long pieces of wood.

Chop saw (compound miter saw). I do a mix of woodworking from furniture to built-ins and even finish carpentry, and I find myself regularly using the chop saw. Even if used for nothing more than roughly cutting a long board into two shorter ones to fit in a car, this tool earns its keep. It is especially useful (with the help of an outfeed table) on long pieces that are precarious to push through a table saw. But, since a table saw with a jig can perform many of the same functions, this tool doesn’t make it to the essential list. With that said, I expect to have a chop saw wherever I am working, whether it be in the shop or at an install. If this was a post about on-site woodworking and trim carpentry, the chop saw might be the #1 tool.

I have three impact drivers and could use more.

Impact driver. I am a giant fan of impact drivers. I have been using them for a while now and can’t really remember my life before them (Click here to read more about my introduction to impact drivers). This is the one tool that I always have with me, and I expect to be within easy reach. So much so, that I own three of them and could imagine myself with a couple more. Like the chop saw, if this was a list of on-site or installation tools, the impact driver would be near the top.

The FatMax is my favorite tape measure.

Tape measure. I know this isn’t a power tool, but it is the one tool that you should always have with you. It is a pet peeve of mine – if you are planning on building something, or you are actually building it, have a tape measure with you. If you are in the shop, on the job site, or even at Home Depot make sure you have a tape measure with you or at least one very handy (Home Depot probably isn’t the best example, since they have them widely available, but you get the point). Without a tape measure, not much beyond rough work can get done. (Click here to read about my favorite tape measure).


Categories: General Woodworking

@ Handworks 2017 – Original Roubo Print 275

The Barn on White Run - Sat, 05/13/2017 - 7:42pm

The item listed tonight is Print #275, “Small Commodes, Corner Cabinets, and Chiffoniers.”

The page has the charming misalignment of other pages from L’art du Menuisier when the paper and the engraved plate were not perfectly aligned, resulting in an image that is slightly askew.    the print is in very good condition within the image boundaries, but there is some staining on the perimeter of the page and one corner has a slight loss, and the price reflects these.

The composition and engraving of the copper plate were done by Roubo himself.

If you have ever wanted to own a genuine piece of Rouboiana, this is your chance.   I will be selling this print at Handworks on a first-come basis, with terms being cash, check, or Paypal if you have a smart phone and can do that at the time of the transaction.



How to Break in a Binding. According to My Dad. I Think.

Fair Woodworking - Sat, 05/13/2017 - 5:54pm
When I was a teenager, my Dad sat me down for “The Talk”. He said, “Son. You can tell a lot about a person by how they treat their books”. What “talk” were you thinking about? Like my Dad, I’m not a skilled reader, and as a High School drop-out, I am the better educated […]
Categories: Hand Tools

The Whetstone Quarry

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Sat, 05/13/2017 - 2:59pm

Roy Underhill's books, I believe, are vastly underrated. It seems that every page contains not only loads of useful information about hand-tool woodworking, but historical context, interesting anecdotes, folklore, and typical Roy hilarity. Really, stuff that you can't find anywhere else.

whetstone quarry

Paging through one of his books (The Woodwright's Companion) recently, I stumbled upon a short chapter about whetstones. The popular opinion of today is that we need a wide array of dead-flat, precisely-graded sharpening stones in order to keep our tools sharp and usable, but this isn't the case historically. Roy mentions that in many old towns in Europe, the stone step of the stairway of a certain house was often discovered incidentally to be a good whetstone, and you can still see the wear of generations of tradesmen bringing their tools to sharpen on their neighbor's front step. Whetstones were found, not bought, until very recently. Identifying a decent stone, with a propensity to wear away and prevent glazing but hard enough to cut chisel steel and finely-grained enough to polish a shaving edge, is a high art.

Fortunately, Roy does some of the homework for us. There's a list in this chapter of whetstone localities, and one of them happens to be right up the road from the furniture studio. It's called "Huronian serpentine novaculite", no exact location given but fortunately I'm a bit of a geology geek. Serpentinite is often a modified peridotite, and I know all about the local metamorphic peridotite location because, well, peridotite happens to be my favorite variety of intrusive ultramafic igneous rock (doesn't everyone have a favorite intrusive igneous rock?). Joshua and I were dropping off a table a few miles past this locality, so we stopped by on the way back through.

We gathered a few samples of the weird greenish rock from the old quarry and brought them back to the studio. After mulling over the best way to flatten the rocks, we decided on using sticky-back 80-grit sandpaper on the bench. After a bit of elbow grease (and a few finer grits), we had two nicely flattened and quite beautiful stones ready for a test run.

polished whetstone

The traditional "honing oil" for the hand-cut whetstone is, of course, spit. This works fine, but it can get kind of gross when 2 people are using the same stones. So I recommend a light oil. I found that the stones we'd worked are perfectly capable of putting on a shaving edge on both a chisel and on my whittling knife. Although a bit slower-cutting than a synthetic waterstone, there's something compelling, even magical, about sharpening your tools on a stone that you yourself found in the woods. I really recommend it! And buy Roy's books. They are terrific.

sharpened chisel

~Mike Updegraff


Categories: Hand Tools


Journeyman's Journal - Sat, 05/13/2017 - 4:02am

I’ve spoilt myself rotten, I bought a brand new drawknife from woodjoy tools, the blade is 8″ long he didn’t have his usual one in stock but he said he does have one fresh from the blacksmith so I took it.  I won’t say how much I paid for it but all I can say the conversion rate was a killer.

After 3 weeks wait time it finally arrived and needed sharpening badly, I knew I was in for one hell of a ride.  I started this morning at 9 am sharp and finished at 7pm, yes you read that right 10 hours of solid sharpening.  My finger are sore but I did it, I told you it was blunt real blunt and there was a whole hunk of metal to go through.  If I ever wanted a belt sander this day would of been it.  All I needed was to get to the burr stage and the rest would of been over with quickly but being as blunt as it and working the entire bevel it took all day.  I could of just made a secondary bevel but that secondary bevel would of grown with successive sharpenings so I thought just do it right the first time and be done with it.


It’s sharp and I mean meanly sharp, when I did the thumbnail test it didn’t catch as it usually does but sliced it upon touch.  WOW I couldn’t believe I took it to such a level I honestly never sharpened anything to reach that level of sharpness before, my nail just touched it and sliced a layer off.  Call me insane 10 hours of sharpening talk about torture but just goes to show with dedication you can achieve anything.

I put it through a test drive and it just purred through the wood, now all I need to do is just practise with it to control my cuts.  To use it you skew the blade and take slicing cuts, but being so sharp whether I skewed it or not made no difference to the quality of the cut.  To take a deeper shave you tilt the blade down and up for a light cut, you can also work with it bevel down.

This is a wonderful addition to my array of tools and hopefully will see plenty of use.

Categories: Hand Tools

Just a Journalist

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sat, 05/13/2017 - 3:00am


At the first Handworks in 2013, I overheard a funny conversation about my credentials. I was standing in the Lost Art Press booth with my back to a bunch of bearded fellows who were debating the fine points of workbenches.

Beard No. 1: Chris Schwartz says that….

Beard No. 2: Shwatz is just a journalist. He’s not a professional woodworker, so he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

Chat closed.

I know that Beardy No. 2 was insulting me by saying I’m “just a journalist,” but to me it was anything but. I am – unapologetically – a journalist. I trained to be a newspaperman at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and am proud I survived the school’s bloodletting process. I then received my masters in journalism from Ohio State University, which is where I learned about Noam Chomsky and American anarchism.

Like it or not, Lost Art Press wouldn’t exist without my training from these two journalism schools.

While it’s unpopular to be a journalist these days, I didn’t enroll in journalism school to become rich and universally loved. Instead, I decided in 8th grade to become a journalist because I think – scratch that, I believe – there should be voices who are independent of the government, mega-corporations and churches.

Of course, when you work as a corporate journalist for reals, you learn that you are an underpaid and overworked tool of all three institutions – unless you can plot an escape that doesn’t involve public relations. And that you need to live low to the ground. And be happy with a small audience.

So everything you love (or hate) about this blog is a result of my training. We don’t take free tools, advertising, sponsorship, affiliate status or Dick Butkus thanks to every moment I spent in my Law & Ethics class at Northwestern. I learned the value of document research in Investigative Journalism. I fell in love with history in the History of Journalism.

But wait, let’s go back to Beardy No. 2. Shouldn’t I be insulted by the fact that he said I’m not a “professional woodworker?”

Well, no. I’ve met a lot of professional woodworkers in the last 25 years, from Sam Maloof on down to the guy who just got a job making particleboard cabinets with a narrow-crown stapler. Just because you make a living from working wood doesn’t mean you have superpowers (anymore than being a journalist gives you a monopoly on the truth).

In the end, I hope to be judged by the work I leave behind. That includes the words, the furniture I build and the ideas that I’ll share with anyone who will listen.

And if you got to this point in the story then that might just be you.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Personal Favorites, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

I'm done.....maybe.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 05/13/2017 - 1:12am
I've been working OT now for a couple of months and my number goal was to funnel every OT dollar I made into my bills. Well I'm finally almost there. On june first I will pay off my last bill and be debt free except for the mortgage. That will be paid off in 2021 which is also the year I am shooting to retire on the last day.

I suffered a bit a relapse today where I went a bit nutso buying things. I saw a beautifully restored Stanley 358 miter box for $179 (with all the parts). That price includes shipping but it doesn't come with a saw. I have a Diston saw from my paperweight 358 that I can use there. If it doesn't fit, Lie Neilsen makes replacements.

The miter box was followed by my acquisition of a Stanley #2 type 11. This one looked pretty good in the pics and I have my fingers crossed on it. Before I ponied up my $$, I inquired about the return policy. If I'm not satisfied with it, they will accept it back. I'll get this probably tuesday or wednesday.

I found a lever cap for my 5 1/2 on eBay. Although I loathe buying anything off eBay, I have had good luck buying plane parts there (knocking on wood). I haven't found any of the tool mongers I frequent selling plane parts other than an occasional plane iron and never screws, chipbreakers, etc.

The last parts I bought were two brass barrel nuts and two brass toe screws for the tote. These four parts are replacement modern ones. I won't be getting these until after June 10th. The seller is jammed up with orders and isn't accepting any new ones until then.

I'm calling my collection of Stanley planes done. I have the 10 1/2 so I don't need to get the #10. I have zero interest in the #1 but all of this is subject to change. For now, once I get the 5 1/2 rehabbed and then the #2, there will be much joy and dancing in the streets of Mudville.

Another short night in the shop and I was prepared to put in OT there tonight. Ran smack dab into an accident on the way home. It was avoidable too as I came around the bend there it was. No chance to back up and go home on 95. And I was third in line to find it. Both drivers refused to move their cars until the cops got there so I got to do a Rorschach test on the cloud formations in the sky for over 30 minutes.

the after pics
This is what they looked like after soaking in Bar Keeps for about an hour while I had dinner (Thursday). Almost all the black crap is gone but I don't have shiny brass. And I like my brass to be shiny.
parts are done bathing
I pulled out the parts and put them all in a strainer. I rinsed them off with hot water in the kitchen sink and the blew them dry with my shop hair dryer.

sanded the top of one of the barre nuts
This will shine up ok but the slot is mangled up a bit and I don't like it. The other one is better but I'm not happy with how that looks neither.

these parts I'm keeping
these parts I'm replacing
The two screws are for the adjuster tab (the smaller one} and the larger screw is for the toe on the tote. The tab adjust screw is iffy because I'm not sure if I have one of them in my plane parts goodie box. I think I do but on the other hand I have trouble remembering what I had for breakfast at lunchtime. If I don't have one I'll use it. I'm replacing it because it has a pebbled look on the entire head.

first time I've seen this
I don't recall ever seeing the plane # being marked on the frog.

quick check on the iron
It looks like I have a hump on the back of the iron. I got the chipbreaker prepped and I rounded the corners on the plane iron. Another thing I'll finishing prepping tomorrow.

I got a replacement screw for the chipbreaker. I got the lever cap for the 5 1/2 from the same seller of the chipbreaker screw. I had bought 4 of them from him and I only needed one. It is nice to have spares.

still not shiny
I cleaned this up with orange cleaner and stuck in the Bar Keep and water stuff left over from yesterday for 20 minutes. A little cleaner but not shiny.

improved this look
I don't have time to do it now but tomorrow I'll do the Bar Keeps dance steps with this. I'll do it as many times as I have to until I get the shine I want.

shiny brass adjuster on the going back #2
I have a ways to go to match this but it's time to quit the shop for today.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Who was the first black presidential candidate nominated at a national political convention?
answer - Fredrick Douglas in 1888

This Blog Took A While To Write. Not Sure It Was Worth It.

The Furniture Record - Sat, 05/13/2017 - 12:46am

Way to sell a blog, huh? Right up front, warning the reader that they might be facing fifteen minutes of their life they’ll never get back. If you’re smart, you’ll click-through to Rachel Ashwell’s Shabby Chic blog. Today I hear she is covering when to use Alabaster, when Pure White may be a better choice and under what conditions Snowbound is right. Dover white was covered in a previous blog.

Today’s topic is Modern Designs from the Barcelona Museum of Design. This exhibit filled an entire floor of the aforementioned museum in the aforementioned city. From their opening placard:

From the World to the Museum

Product Design, Cultural Heritage

In almost everything we do throughout the day, we use one or more objects. If we want to sit down, we use a chair; to do laundry, we use a washing machine; to see each other, we turn on lights… These objects, which have a host of different designs and purposes, accompany us throughout our lives and show us how just as the world changes, so do objects.

How is it, then, that certain objects come to be a part of the Museum’s collection but not others? Each of the pieces on display is considered a representative sample of the design of its time, of the different material and technical contributions proposed by their designers, as well as of their sociocultural resonance.

Product design is one of our great forms of cultural heritage. After all, when we set our sights on Barcelona or Catalonia, now or a few years from now, we will only be able to understand how we lived if we if we know that objects we had by our sides, and some of them are now part of the Museum’s collection.

I thought it was a very interesting exhibit. The problem arose when trying to write the blog. It wasn’t all that different from the modern designs we are used to. Modernism seems to have transcended borders. (I always wanted to use transcended in a blog. Well, not always, but for a while.)

Does this chair scream Spain when you see it?


The classic Butterfly chair in leather.

A quick story about this design. As a wee lad, I was drug to a store where my mother located one of these chairs in yellow fabric with black piping discounted because of a large scratch on the frame. She claimed the damaged chair and raced to back the stack to see if she could find another imperfect unit. Not finding another and lacking a tool to install a matching scratch, mother then started arguing with an assistant manager to discount a second chair because one chair just wouldn’t do. He relented, not because of her clear and remarkable logic but the belief it was worth the $10 to be rid of her, thus rewarding bad behavior.

I am still traumatized by the sight of these chairs.

This chair is also familiar:


I’ve not seen this exact chair but certainly some close cousins.

And their motorcycle, like most motorcycles, has a wheel in the front, one in the rear connected to a centrally mounted engine by a chain, with a seat, handle bars and a tail light:


An early ’70’s Montesa Cota 247 trials bike. I think. Let me know if you know or think you know better. The elongated, one piece gas tank is a nice touch, though.

These chairs are all familiar:


Have you seen most of these? I believe I have.

Why does furniture of this era remind me of 1950’s Warner Bros. Looney Tunes cartoons?


Used without permission or knowledge of Warner Bros. Studios or their successor companies.

Of course, there is some unfamiliar furniture to be seen:


Pink and green is back…

And this chair is among one of the most creative cross uses of technology I’ve seen:


The face is familiar but I can’t place the name.

The exhibit provides this explanation:


Kinda makes you want to see what you have squirreled away in the basement, doesn’t it?

Another placard in the exhibit states:


With type big enough I didn’t have to retype it…

If interested, you can see the entire photo set HERE.

Win the OLD LADY to help Brunette Bros. Circus

Old Ladies - Pedder's blog - Fri, 05/12/2017 - 11:28pm
Vor einiger Zeit habe ich über einen Besuch in Aalborg beim  Brunette Bros. Circus berichtet.

Die Menschen vom Circus - die nettesten Nichtholzwerker, die ich je traf, sitzen jetzt gerade in Spanien (Katalonien) und müssen ihr Fahrzeug reparieren. Sie brauchen Geld, und haben diese Crowdfunding Seite  eingerichtet. Es gibt sogar Belohnungen! Tolle Plakate, Lächel-Halter und Fake-Zigarren. Wer braucht das nicht?

Um die Unterstützung für meine Leser  noch attraktiver zu machen, verlose ich unter allen schnellen Spendern, die sich bei mir melden, die Säge aus dem Titelbild. Eine W. Tyzack, Sons & Turner. Schwerer Messingrücken, frisch geschärftes Blatt. DIE ALTE DAME! Was müsst Ihr tun, um an meiner Verlosung teilzunehmen? Schickt mir screenshots oder sonstige Nachweise  Eurer Unterstützung. Immer 5 € sind ein Los. Vergesst die Adresse nicht!

Die Blogger, Facebooker und Instagrammer unter Euch erhalten ein Zusatzlos für jeden BEitrag über den Circus und diese Aktion! Einsendeschluss ist der 01.07.2017. Der Rechtsweg ist ausgeschlossen. Mailadresse für die Einsendungen ist oldladies[at]gmx.de     

Ich stelle in den nächsten Tagen noch Bilder der Säge ein.

A long time ago I reportet about my visit of Bruntte Bros. Circus in Aalborg, Denmark. These are some of the nicest non woodworker, I've ever met, though they might do some woodworking now and then. Now they seem to be stuck in Catalunya, Spain and need cash to repair and prepare the circus for the summer. So they launched this Crowdfundinge Page. You'll get wonderful rewards for you money! Smile Holder, Fake Cigars and Posters!

To make this even more attractive for woodworker, I'll raffle off the saw from the Head. The OLD LADY! It's a 14 " W. Tyzack Sons & Turner 11 tpi fresh sharpened.

To take part, send my an valuation of your fund to the Brunette Bros Project to oldladies[at]gmx.de. Blogger, Instagrammer and Facebooker will ge a free additionally raffle ticket for every entry. Closing is the July 1st 2017. No recourse to the courts! 

I'm going to send more pictures of the saw in the coming days.
Categories: Hand Tools

April 19, 2017 Meeting

NCW Woodworking Guild - Fri, 05/12/2017 - 9:29pm
Steve Voorhies/Wall cabinet

Wall cabinet made of mahogany, ebony and padauk by Steve Voorhies, our host. The Japanese characters come from a calligraphy by Soetsu Yanagi and means “absolute compassion.” Published in his book The Unknown Craftsman: A Japanese Insight into Beauty, Yanagi challenges the conventional ideas of art and beauty, the value of things made by an anonymous craftsman, and the value of handwork. Steve touts Yanagi’s book as “a wonderful book on aesthetics.”

Steve hosted our April 2017 meeting at his home in Wenatchee. The turn-out was better than expected, and because it was one of the first fine spring days, we all gathered outside Steve and Sally’s house for conversation and introductions. If you would, please help us identify those attendees listed as unknown by dropping a note to Chris at church.chris@gmail.com.


L-R: Stan Simmons, Tom Ross, Roger Volkmann, unknown


L – R: Dan Kerr, Esther Zimmerman, Lynn Palmer, Maryanne Patton, and Willy Joslin.


Steve Voorhies, Willy Joslin, unknown, unknown


Sally Voorhies and Clyde Markey


Steve Noyes


Once introductions were over, we were treated to a tour of the furniture Steve has made for he and his wife, Sal. Included here are only a few.


Dining room table and chairs made in the Greene and Greene style


Framed mirror

This will be Steve’s pièce de résistance: this nearly completed Federal-style serpentine sideboard designed by Steve Latta.  Fine Woodworking did a multi-part article on building this beauty, and the making of it has tested Steve’s skills. He’s done a terrific job.


Federal serpentine sideboard made of mahogany, with holly inlay and stringing


After we made our way into the shop, Autumn gave a presentation on how to sharpen scrapers using diamond stones, and Chris Church explained how to tune-up a table saw so it will cut straight and square.


Chris Church demonstrating how to align the miter slot to the blade.

We would like to thank all of the guild members who attended and look forward to seeing you again in the near future.


@ Handworks 2017 – Original Roubo Print 274

The Barn on White Run - Fri, 05/12/2017 - 6:13pm

Finally, we get to a picture of some furniture!  In this page from L’art du Menuisier, #274, “Plans and Elevations of a Common Commode,” Roubo continues a tutorial that runs throughout the entire opus — the exposition on and exhortation towards the creation of stylistic beauty.   Here he provides several options for interpreting what we would call a dresser, but they named commode.

The print is in excellent condition, with the expected oxidation of 250 years at the perimeter of the page.  As with some others in my inventory it has the charming feature unique to hand-printing pages, namely that the plate and the page were not perfectly aligned and are thus slightly askew.

The composition and engraving of the copper plate were done by Roubo himself.

If you have ever wanted to own a genuine piece of Rouboiana, this is your chance.   I will be selling this print at Handworks on a first-come basis, with terms being cash, check, or Paypal if you have a smart phone and can do that at the time of the transaction.


Intricacies of a Stanley #244 Miter Box

360 WoodWorking - Fri, 05/12/2017 - 4:13pm
Intricacies of a Stanley #244 Miter Box

If you have a Stanley #244 miter box, or are looking to purchase one, there are a few unique features of which you should be aware. In order to make your setup work as it should, your saw has to be equipped with a small post-like part that’s attached to its spine.

That small part, which is often lost or not included with the purchased of the miter box, trips the automatic catch that allows the saw to release from a locked position in order for the blade to drop onto your workpiece.

Continue reading Intricacies of a Stanley #244 Miter Box at 360 WoodWorking.

A Saw Binds

Paul Sellers - Fri, 05/12/2017 - 2:43pm

A saw binds in its cut and the man tugs it from the wood then throws it far across the shop like a Frisbee. Bouncing from the brick it lands deep in dust behind the strafe sander. He curses the saw and a big man walks over to him, grabs him by the throat and says, “Don’t …

Read the full post A Saw Binds on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Be an Informed Woodworker (It’s Easy!)

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Fri, 05/12/2017 - 2:21pm


Customers complain when they miss out on a special poster, book or shirt with a common refrain: Wahhh, I don’t have time to follow woodworking blogs and websites.

I’m not sure what they want us to say in reply. Perhaps: OK, next time I’ll send John Hoffman to your house to rap on your window when we have a new product we suspect you’ll be interested in (because we’re monitoring your phone. And no, your foil-covered colander isn’t blocking the transmissions).

Truth is, it has always been the duty and obligation of individual woodworkers to stay informed on the latest findings, thinkings and crackpot theories in our beloved craft. In the 18th century you were expected to read all the books that came out, join a local mechanical society and attend their lectures. In the 19th and 20th centuries, you could join a society (or union), read a trade newspaper and read books.


And now we have the Internet (plus magazines and books – at least for now).

Luckily, technology can sort through all the new information and let you scan the headlines from the woodworking blogs. One way to do this is to visit a news aggregator, such as Unplugged Workshop.

I don’t use aggregators, however, because their interests don’t always match mine. That’s why I use a free RSS reader (I use feedly.com but there are many out there). These readers make a custom webpage for you that’s filled with the latest posts from your favorite websites. And you can add or delete sites that you follow with just a click.

Using an RSS reader is not difficult. In fact, you probably use them (or a similar technology) all the time on your mobile device (Apple’s News app works like an RSS reader).

Don’t know where to start? Below you can download an .opml file of many of the blogs I follow. You can import these into almost any RSS reader, then add or delete sites to suit your tastes. Note that about 20 percent of the sites in my feed are dormant. I keep them because sometimes they come back to life after someone gets a divorce, gets through a health crisis or simply has their chi adjusted by the local witchdoctor.


Give it a try. You’ll be better informed and have to wander around aimlessly a lot less.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Keep on keepin’ on.

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Fri, 05/12/2017 - 1:35pm

It is very likely that I could fill three or four blog posts with my comings and goings of the past few months. I’m not going to do that at this time. I will mention, briefly, that as far as woodworking is concerned, I’ve been building quite a few different small boxes, some out of “good wood”, some out of pallet wood, and some out of reclaimed stuff. They are all experiments, mind you, but experiments to an end. I have what I feel is an interesting little story detailing a box I am repairing, as well as a box that I soon hope to be building which I will hopefully detail in an upcoming post, sooner rather than later. Otherwise, I’ve also been experimenting with using wood “from the log” and I also hope to write a few posts on that subject as well.

In the meanwhile, I finally got around to reading the Anarchists Design Book. I’m not going to review it because I am not trying to be critical one way or the other. I liked it, and that is enough said. I found myself gravitating more to the boarded furniture/staked stool areas in the book because to me they were the most useful items. Overall, staked furniture is not my thing. I have nothing against it on any level, I just don’t see a fit for it in my house, and I feel it has its limits. When checking out staked furniture on the internet, in particular staked tables, they all looked pretty much the same, and maybe that is the idea in building staked furniture.  I suppose if you are going for an overall theme, such as making a staked living room set, that is fine, but I am one of those people that likes a slightly haphazard look (just a bit mind you) when it comes to the furniture in my house, and that is probably because nearly all of the furniture in my house I built myself, and the pieces I didn’t came mostly from inheritance or antique stores.

One part of the book I did find interesting was the idea that in the past, ornate, high-end furniture was made for the ultra-rich, and that the average person could not come close to affording it.  In essence that was the overall theme of this blog several years ago. I had always found it rather ironic (and I still do) that the actual furniture makers of the 18th and 19th centuries (not the shop owners but the guys doing the construction), the guys that quite a few amateur woodworkers worship today, were working men in every sense of the word, and in reality, they couldn’t even afford to purchase the very furniture they were making with their own hands. There is even a greater irony in that today furniture making, once very much a working-class profession, is now a hobby dominated by the upper-class. There is something to be said there, and if I haven’t before said it, I’m not going to now.

Otherwise, I will keep doing what I am doing. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been doing a bit of experimenting with working straight from the log. It has led to a lot of understanding when it comes to wedges, mauls, and axe sharpening. And, more fittingly, it led to the restoration and new-found usefulness of a tool discovered in an old shed, given to my by my father in law. But, I will save that story for another day.

Categories: General Woodworking

Japanese Sliding-lid Box

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Fri, 05/12/2017 - 1:27pm
sliding lid box opener

This clever and simple piece is great for storing tools, toys or a kimono by Christopher Schwarz from the December 2015 issue While picking though a table of vintage Japanese tools for sale in 2013, I spotted this sliding-lid box under the vendor’s table; it was blackened by age, soot and rust. Despite its scars, however, the box was still graceful and functional. The owner, a Japanese carpenter, wouldn’t part […]

The post Japanese Sliding-lid Box appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Goin’ Hollywood Part Trois

The Barn on White Run - Fri, 05/12/2017 - 1:11pm

Josh Farnsworth has posted the third episode from his visit to The Barn a couple months ago.  I hope you find it amusing.

Given this entree into reality television perhaps I too am qualified to someday become President.  Then again perhaps not, inasmuch as I already know some about history, political theory, economics, the Constitution, etc.  If recent decades have shown us anything it is that those things do not resonate with the electorate.  So on second thought, I’ll just stay in the mountains.


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