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@ Handworks 2017 – Original Roubo Print 271

The Barn on White Run - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 4:59pm

Throughout L’art du Menuisier Roubo vacillated between grand images of stylistic interpretations to instruct his contemporaries about the nature of beauty and the enterprise of dong so at a nuts-and-bots level.  Today’s offering from my collection, #271, “Various Sorts of Shelves and the Profiles Appropriate for Armoirs,” is definitely in the latter group, as he details the profiles of moldings and further construction details for, not surprisingly given the title of the plate, large clothes storage units.  I was particularly taken with the lattice-weave shelves, optimal for ventilation in the cabinet to prevent staleness.

The page is in very good-to-excellent condition.

The image was drawn by Roubo and he engraved the plate 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.

$200

Door Prize for Handworks, 9 days to go!

David Barron Furniture - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 9:36am

Here's my offering for the door prize, one of my angled dovetail boxes.
It may seem like offering sand to Arabs, but most of my work is bought by woodworkers, so I hope someone will be pleased.

There will be plenty of other great door prizes to win, not bad for a show with free entry!!!


Categories: Hand Tools

Win a Hayward Bench at Handworks, But Only If You're Short

Benchcrafted - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 9:17am

We wanted to do something special for Handworks 2017, so here's what we came up with. A bench for kids!

Vol. 4 of "The Woodworker" features a basic bench as its first article. We had three planks of yellow pine gathering dust in the corner, so we tossed together this bench over a couple days last week. It's 24" high, which should be perfect for a wide range of kids. To scale it down, we drew the major components in Sketchup full size, then scaled the model down based on the shorter height. It scaled great. Joinery is half lap dadoes on the front and read skirts, and a pair of 10mm Dominoes in each joint.

It's outfitted with our Hi Vise, which makes an excellent leg vise for smaller full size benches, or obviously for kids' benches too.

The bench will go home with one kid, free of charge, courtesy of us!

Here's how to win the bench (parents, read this to your kids).

We'll have a piece of clear, easy to plane basswood chucked in the vise. With a sharp Stanley #3 that we'll leave on the bench, the kid will try their best to make a full width, full length shaving from the edge of the board, under the coaching of their parent or us. They should practice making the best shaving they can. Once they are ready to make their final excellent shaving, they'll write their name on the edge of the board, plane it off, and put the shaving in a box. On Saturday afternoon at 3pm we'll draw one shaving and that kid will go home with the bench.

There are only two rules:

1. The kid must not be taller than 54".
2. One shaving per kid goes in the box.

Parents feel free to make the final perfect shaving for your kid if they can't. Hopefully that kid will win the bench so they can practice back home.









Categories: Hand Tools

Beginning

Northwest Woodworking - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 6:04am

The first step is the hardest. The decision is the key. Who can say where this choice may lead? That’s a bit of a daunting thought. But starting the project is first. Let the mistakes begin!

I think this is something of what holds us back. What if I make a mistake? Well duh buddy, you’re gonna. Bucket loads of them on some days. From choosing the wrong piece of wood to making a cut in the wrong place or having the grain tear out in a crucial spot. It’s how we learn.

The difference I can make is how I respond to my latest gaff. Slow down, look at my wood carefully when I make that first cut. Mark your boards carefully for your joinery. Read the grain carefully. When I slow down my pace, it is the best way I have to speed up the process.

This is a shot of that maple log I got recently. Matt was doing the slicing, I was making the decisions about where and how thick. Another new beginning.

 

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Categories: Hand Tools

Covington Storefront Open This Saturday

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 5:02am

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Though we’re on the eve of Handworks (and are a little ragged around the edges), we’ll open the Covington storefront this Saturday to the public with lots of good stuff to see.

Here’s a quick list of interesting objects:

  1. We should have some copies of our H.O. Studley poster to sell at the special introductory price of $20. (They are supposed to arrive today.)
  2. I have two repaired letterpress copies of “Roman Workbenches” we can sell.
  3. Come try out the new Crucible Design Curves. I have the prototypes at the store now. I’m not sure I’ll have complete sets packaged and ready to sell, however.
  4. We have lots of blemished and returned Lost Art Press books this month. They are 50 percent off retail (cash only and in-store only).
  5. Come check out the Swedish gateleg table I just finished (it ships to a customer next month). And I have a couple other pieces that are for sale, including one of my staked three-legged stools with the charred finish.

Plus all the usual stuff: all our books, T-shirts, stickers and gabbing about woodworking.

The storefront is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is located at 837 Willard St. in Covington, Ky. The Covington Farmer’s Market will be running the same day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. It’s a short walk from our store and a great place to get lunch or snacks. And pet a goat.

— Christopher Schwarz


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

Bamboo, DynaGlide, and Handworks 2017

Tico Vogt - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 5:00am

Bamboo is now used for the bearing and running surfaces on the Vogt Shooting Board. It is sealed with shellac, followed by Osmo Polyx-Oil, and then wax.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I use a product called DynaGlide Plus Dry Lube Cleaner to remove metal swarf from the Bamboo Runway and bearing strips. It also lubricates the plane sole and sides. You can see a video here.

 

 The final step in honing the secondary bevel for my shooting plane irons is to push them into the end grain of a Maple stick charged with 0.5 micron diamond paste and sliding side to side. This ensures that the burr is removed, while not dubbing the edge as stropping might. Shooting end grain puts a premium on having a keen edge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve got a good line up of shooting boards ready for Handworks 2017, as well as Planing Stops and Clamp Clips . One is especially adopted for a wood shooting plane that Ron of Brese Plane will have for the event. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Barn Courses 2017 Update

The Barn on White Run - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 4:46am

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May 23-27 Making a Ripple Molding Cutter – this is less of a workshop than a week long gathering of fellow galoots trying to design and build a machine to allow us to recreate ripple and wave moldings.  Material and supplies costs divvied up, no tuition.

This event is pretty much full, but I could squeeze in somebody who just has to be there.

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June 16-18  Make a Nested Set of Brass Roubo Squares – This is a weekend of metal working, as we fabricate a full set of nested brass squares with ogee tips, as illustrated in Plate 308 of l’art du Menuisier.  The emphasis will be entirely on metal fabrication and finishing, including silver soldering with jeweler Lydia Fast, and creating a soldering station for the workbench. Tuition $375, materials cost $50.

I still have one space left.

July 24-28  Minimalist Woodworking with Vic Tesolin

This class has been cancelled.  Vic and I are hoping to reschedule it for next summer.

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August 11-13  Historic Finishing – My own long-time favorite, we will spend three days reflecting on, and enacting, my “Six Rules For Perfect Finishing” in the historic tradition of spirit and wax coatings.  Each participant should bring a small finishing project with them, and will accompany that project with creating numerous sample boards to keep in your personal collections.  Tuition $375.

This class has one opening remaining.

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September 4-8  Build An Heirloom Workbench – I’m repeating the popular and successful week-long event from last year, wherein the participants will fashion a Roubo-style workbench from laminated southern yellow pine.  Every participant will leave at the end with a completed bench, ready to be put to work as soon as you get home and find three friends to help you move it into the shop.  Tuition and Materials $825 total.

This workshop has two openings remaining.

If any of these interest you drop me a line here.

Amana Here We Come!

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 4:00am

Were busy packing up the pallets to head to Amana, ready before we are for Handworks 2017. Handworks has a special atmosphere, one that reminds us of the best features of woodworking and living as craftspeople. We dont have a road team, so its always a scramble for us. But its well worth it. We really feel moved to be part of this community and grateful to Jameel and Father John and the rest of the Handworks team for establishing such a meaningful show.


Some of the things were packing: first, we have a new poster! Its a limited edition (100 copies - actually 99 ), three-color silk-screened, 19 x 25 poster, printed on 140 lb paper (very heavy) from the French Paper Company - that is, not from France but rather the French family who have been making paper in Michigan since 1871. Plane spotting is the responsibility of every woodworker, and this poster will help keep you vigilant about which planes are hanging in your shop or house. (the poster isn't on the website yet but will be next week before the show).


Another new addition to our treasure chest: spoon carving knives from Ben and Lois Orford. Periodically people ask me about the future of woodworking, and one aspect of woodworking that is growing ever more popular is spoon carving. Newcomers to woodworking are learning what veteran woodworkers know: Its wonderful to use your hands and craft something useful out of wood. And lets be fair, greenwood is much more forgiving than hardwoods, and a spoon project is much faster than a highboy. Orford tools have a wide global following, and we are the only place in the US to sell Orford sloyd and crook knives. Well also be bringing spoon carving knives and froes by Ray Iles. We like to offer you choices!


Well also be bringing lots of our most popular tools - Gramercy Tools holdfasts, saws, saw vises, hardware store saws, and finishing supplies, T shirts (a customer with already owns one of our Gramercy T shirts came by today to buy a shirt for his buddy and another one for himself, and declared, This is the best T shirt ever.), and more.


Amana here we come!

Giant Lion Sculpture Carved from Single Tree Trunk Took 20 People and 3 Years to Complete

Giant Cypress - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 3:58am
Giant Lion Sculpture Carved from Single Tree Trunk Took 20 People and 3 Years to Complete:

Golky, on a wooden lion sculpture installed at Fortune Plaza Times Square in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China:

The massive redwood lion was carved out of a single giant tree trunk by renowned sculptor Dengding Rui Yao and a team of 20 sculptors in Myanmar, over a period of three years. Once complete, it was transported 5,000 kilometers, arriving in China in December 2015. 

Hardware Cabinet – 55 Drawers & 1 Mystery

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 3:00am

A few months ago I purchased an old hardware cabinet at an antique store a few miles north of Wilmington, NC. It is not really a very large cabinet considering it contains 55 drawers – 37″ tall x 31-1/2″ wide x 8″ deep.

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The story that the antique shop owner told was that it had once been in a hardware store in Warsaw, NC. The cabinet was behind the cash register for easy access by the store owner for some of the smaller items the store carried. I have been to the town of Warsaw a couple of times since and tried to trace the cabinet’s trail but have hit dead ends on every lead. So, its origin is a mystery.

The construction of the cabinet is pretty simple, other than the shear quantity of joints involved. The case and drawers are all held together with nails, not a dovetail to be found (sorry Mr. Firley).

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There are several interesting things about it though, joinery aside. Most of the cabinet and the drawers came from recycled crating and cigar boxes. There is something interesting to see every time you pull out a drawer: old labels of all kinds, tax stamps and writing.

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Of course, there are also the hand-painted labels on each drawer front. This to me is the coolest part of the cabinet. Whoever painted them obviously was skilled, but there are subtle differences in style of the numbers and letters between drawers and sometimes on the same drawer.

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Two different styles of 3’s on the same drawer.

As far as when it was made, my guess is around 1900 from the cigar box labels and tax stamps that I have been able to date.

I just recently finished up a three-part article at WK Fine Tools building a copy of this cabinet (yes, I am still mostly sane after 113 dados). It is available here.

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— Will Myers


Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Scything Handbook review in The Allotment magazine

Steve Tomlin Crafts - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 1:49am
A side-by-side review of the scything books currently on the market - which will you choose? Continue reading
Categories: General Woodworking

picture frame part III........

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 12:59am
After tonight's work it is looking like there is going to be a few more parts to this before I get it to the picture framer. Even if I could have done more, it still would have been a short day in the shop. My wife is coming home tonight and I want to cook something for her that she can warm up in the nuker. I'll be long dead in the bunky when she rolls in and I know she'll be hungry. I'll catch up with her on wednesday.

new torture test
I thought of this as I was carrying it from the tablesaw to the workbench. Can the frame withstand the shock of being dropped onto the bench from a height of about 12"?

no it can not
Repeated the dance steps from last night except I had two corners to glue this time. What are the odds that the remaining one will pop apart tomorrow?

setting up until tomorrow
 With the two corners clamped the two opposite ones decided to raise up off the bench. I clamped them down and I'll have to check this out tomorrow. A twisted frame will put me back to square one.

walnut bookshelf
Whenever I do projects that require finish on the bottom they usually get dirty. They get that way because I don't allow sufficient time for the finish to cure there. I am going to try something different here. I am going to apply the finish to the bottom and then let it cure for a few days before I flip it and do the rest of it.

went overboard
I got three coats of a 1 lb cut on this except for the top of the sides. I kept on going because after I got the feet done I wanted to see how the sides would look with finish on them. All the little weird looking areas are gone and I don't think they will be a problem now.

made a pit stop at the post office
This was easy - went in and grabbed a box and left. No interaction with the clerks at all or having to wait in line. And I have plenty of packing material from things I and the wife have bought in the last few weeks. I will pack up the #2 and bring it to the post office on saturday to ship it out.

Jim Bode emailed me twice today. Once to tell me that he another 5 1/2 coming in and he would send pictures of it. He also told me that the 5 1/2 that had 'damaged' stamped on it had sold.  Four hours later he emailed me again saying he had found the 5 1/2 I ordered originally. It was found on another shelf and he shipped it out to me today. It is looking like I can scratch this one off the list and concentrate on getting a #2 and a #10.

Time to go cook some chicken breasts.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is a rhykenologist?
answer - someone who collects wooden planes


A Pair of Forest Chairs – Part One

Pegs and 'Tails - Tue, 05/09/2017 - 9:19pm
I want to make four or five Windsor chairs that can remain permanently outdoors on the front veranda of the new house. As I have blathered on about forest chairs on numerous occasions, I thought I would begin with a … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Garage workshops

Oregon Woodworker - Tue, 05/09/2017 - 7:48pm
There isn't much question in my mind that the ideal situation for a workshop is a separate building built to purpose.  Well-insulated, lots of natural light, high-ceilings, wood floors ... the list goes on and on.  If there was a suitable place on my suburban lot, exactly that would happen in short order.

Reality for many of us is different; woodworking happens either in the basement or in the garage.  I am luckier than many in that I have a three-car garage, but it has to accommodate four hobbies-- gardening, tent camping, biking and woodworking--as well as the usual paraphernalia for home maintenance.  (The cars stay in the driveway.)  Woodworking gets the lion's share, but the space is just plain awkward.  It's not big enough, there's not a lot of available wall space, it can be too cold and there is almost no natural light when the garage doors are closed.  These are issues faced by many woodworkers and I hope this discussion will be useful.

Here's the garage from the street:



The two bays on the left are 20' deep and the one on the right is 24' deep.  The overall width is 31'.  The ceilings are 9 1/2' high.

My bench has been on the right side behind the single door since we moved here almost 4 years ago and I  am keeping it there.  One goal I have is to store everything I use regularly at the bench no more than a step or two from it.  I've been short on accessible storage next to my bench, so the first thing I did this spring was build floor to ceiling shelves along the right side of it:



60 lineal feet of shelves was a big improvement, although I do have to use a ladder to reach the top shelf.    An alternative favored by many is to install wall cabinets for tools, which would look nicer but not be more functional.  My personal preference is shelves.  They cost very little, are quick to build and have a lot more capacity.  Extending them to the ceiling allowed me to secure them to the top plate.

  On the left side of the bench, I have my tool chest and an antique butcher block that I will be using as a joinery bench.  I raised it up to be 38" off the ground.


This let me put my main bench back down to palm height, 35" in my case.


The flooring is utility mats made from recycled tires that I got at a ranch store.  As far as I am concerned, they are ideal because they create a vapor barrier, are easy on the feet and protect dropped tools.

Working at the bench in good weather is great because I can put the garage door up and have lots of natural light.  Because the garage doors lack windows, the shop feels like a dungeon when they are closed, even though I have half a dozen LED fixtures.  I had hoped to replace one section of the door with one that has windows, but neither the manufacturer nor the local distributor would consider it.  The best they can offer is a brand new door with the top two of four sections containing windows, at a cost of $1,200.  I am considering it but it aggravates me to replace a perfectly good door.  Right now I am thinking about building my own replacement section using polycarbonate for windows.  It looks like I could just unbolt the existing one and bolt on a replacement, using the existing steel supports around the perimeter and the same hinges.  I think I could keep it light enough to operate properly.

I'd really like to have no power tools in this space, but the deeper bay, electrical connections and other issues don't allow it, so I put the three power tools that I would replace if they failed in the back:  my bandsaw, drill press and power planer:


On the right, I have more shelves that are used primarily for hand power tools, paint and home maintenance supplies.

I am pretty satisfied with this section of the garage.  Once I solve the natural light issue, the remaining challenge will be heat for the winter months.  I'll post about that later.
Categories: Hand Tools

@ Handworks 2017 – Original Roubo Print # 263

The Barn on White Run - Tue, 05/09/2017 - 4:45pm

One of the most interesting things to me about these prints from L’art du Menuisier is Roubo’s depiction of how things are put together, such as the working mechanism of a tamboured roll top desk.  Print #263, “Further Developments of Roll-Top Desks and Other Writing Tables” illustrates the assembly of a coil-spring-driven roll-top desk and the manner in which the tambours are retracted and released.  I just think this is cool.

As with some of the other prints from my selection this one is a tiny bit askew as the copper plate and the page margins were not perfectly aligned, an artifact of hand-printing I find charming.  The page is in very good-to-excellent condition.

The image was drawn by Roubo and he engraved the plate 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.

$250

Massive Mountain of Wax

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Tue, 05/09/2017 - 12:30pm

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Katy has been busy – this weekend she made more than 100 jars of soft wax, which are up for sale in her etsy store. They are $12 each for a 4 oz. tin.

I’m not only the father of the Soft Wax High Priestess, I’m also a customer. I use the stuff on many of my pieces. While the wax is intended to be applied to the insides of casework (it’s fantastic for drawers) it also works really well on turnings, stools and chairs, projects such as the three-legged stools I’ve been building this spring.

I also use it on the wooden vise screws on my workbenches, tool handles and on iron and steel tools (we use her soft wax on our Crucible Improved Pattern Dividers).

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Katy’s business has taken over half of my workbench at home – and I couldn’t be happier. She makes it completely on her own and sources all her supplies (and buys it on her own credit card). It really is her business, and it’s hard to believe she’s only 16.

She’s even been approached by a few companies who want her to wholesale it (she can’t because there’s not enough margin).

— Christopher Schwarz


Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Casework Joinery Reference Graphic

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Tue, 05/09/2017 - 8:52am

I had to duck under a retired diving flag that indicated a low beam under the oldest part of what is now our 140-year-old farmhouse, as I followed the seller during a walk-through. Lit by a couple of buzzing fluorescent fixtures, he showed me the remains of his workshop that he had mostly given away in preparing the house for sale. What was left was a wall of fasteners – old coffee […]

The post Casework Joinery Reference Graphic appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

The Madcap Woodwright: Getting Comfy in Your Shop

Highland Woodworking - Tue, 05/09/2017 - 7:35am

One of the first things that drew me to woodworking was the high school shop. Not the fact that I was taking “shop class” really, more the shop space itself. It was a large room with the machines and several “team” work benches. (large, square benches that had a vise on each of the four sides.) It had windows on the east side of the room, high up on the wall, that let the morning sunlight in and warmed the room nicely. It also had a couple of old Sansui speakers up on the high wall and a receiver in Mr. Rauh’s office that he had hooked up to a Walkman tape player. Between the smell of the wood, the natural light, the music, and the warmth of the sun, the place was an absolute oasis for me.

As I progressed in my career, I have worked in small shops with one or two other guys, bad light, and the need for super human physical flexibility in order to get any work done. I have also worked in CNC driven shops that had what seemed to be miles of floor space and many computer driven machines that spit out cabinet parts and MDF or particle board dust.

During my journeymanship, I often dreamed about what my own shop would be like were I able to actually put one together for myself. I knew I wanted to try to recreate the feel I got from my wood shop experience in school, but on a smaller scale. I also knew that it had to be a welcoming and pleasing place to come to.

As woodworkers, much of what we do flows from a culmination of what comes from our mind, our gut, and our hands. At least, that’s how I imagine it. Because of this, I think that we are often times affected, for good or ill, by the environment we choose to work in.

Now, I realize that for the vast majority of woodworkers the shop space is often limited by what basement space or garage space is available. My own circumstances are no exception.

With that caveat though, I submit that as woodworkers we owe it to ourselves to pay close attention to how our space feels when we are in it. In my opinion, the vibe and personality of the shop space is at least as important as what machines or hand tools we collect to put in it. The shop needs to be a comfortable place, lest our ability to work wood fearlessly be hampered.

So then, let’s take a look at some things that contribute to what makes my shop, “The Tiny Shop,” comfortable to me.

Disclaimer: I do not intend to give the impression that I feel that the attributes of The Tiny Shop are the end – all and be – all of a soulful shop. I assure you that I am not so brash as to assume that I have ANY of the answers, let alone ALL of the answers when it comes to cultivating a shop’s personality. I only wish to share my own experience in the hope that it may resonate with someone out there.

The Tiny Shop is actually the latest in a collection of shops that I have been fortunate enough to put together. I have helped others stand their own shops up, helped employers set up, start, and run their business, and had one other shop that was my very own prior to a “parting of the ways” in my previous marriage.

When putting my shop together I had a pretty small canvas to paint on. It is an old, brick, one car garage that came with the house that my wife and I purchased a few years ago. In terms of real estate, it lays out to around 250 sqft. Not a lot of space for a 6ft 3in, 260 pound man to move around in without some contortions and bruised thighs.

The silver lining though, is that it forced me to be realistic about the scale and type of work that I would be able to produce from this shop. There will be no large entertainment centers or banquet tables fashioned here. At least not with the ability to dry fit them and assemble them in their totality. I suppose if push were to come to shove I could build a larger scale item in sections, and trust that my measurements were accurate enough for the thing to be assembled successfully in the field. Thankfully, I have not had to test this theory as I have limited myself to working on free standing chests of drawers, small tables and boxes and other pieces that are of appropriate size for the limitations of The Tiny Shop.

I have found that this coming to terms with my shop’s limitations has proved profoundly important to my level of comfort in, and enjoyment of, my shop.

One of my main goals in putting The Tiny Shop together was to do so with aesthetics and comfort in mind. I wanted to be able to call the shop “my happy place.” I wanted to be sure that the time I spent in it was as enjoyable as possible and I wanted to eliminate as many discomforting distractions as I possibly could. It makes my experience much more enjoyable and rewarding to be able to shut out everything else but the task at hand.

To that end, I chose to leave the walls mostly bare. With so little space in a shop like this, the natural go-to is to mount plywood or OSB to the walls so that shelves or hooks or other means of storing tools is made more easy.

I like the brick. It stays cool in the summer…for the most part…and helps keep a modicum of heat inside during the winter. Plus, it looks cool. Having the brick naked gives me something of a “loft-like” feeling in my shop. It feels a little more soulful, and provides me with a little less sterile feeling than that of OSB or drywall clad walls.

My shop’s limited footprint also dictated the need to be thoughtful about my choice of tooling. With more square footage, I am quite sure I would have found a way to stuff a full sized planer, an 8″ ‘Pot belly’ vintage Delta jointer, a lathe, a shaper and far more powerful dust collection with collection drops at each dust making machine.

In the case of The Tiny Shop though, I only had a couple of things I was unwilling to compromise on. I wanted a full sized cabinet saw. Providence smiled on me and dropped a 1946 Delta Unisaw in my lap at a price that…well…was a downright steal. So a Unisaw was adopted as the first tool in my machine arsenal.

Next, a good jointer, planer, band saw, sliding mitre saw, and some sort of dust collection. All of which were selected for their quality of build, and their compact size. Knowing I would be building a rather large workbench (later adding a second of nearly equal proportions) I needed to buy machines that would provide a high level of accuracy as well as allow for ease of movement in the shop and the ability to stow them when not in use.

Lighting was another priority. Since my woodworking tends to be something of a hybrid of machine and hand tool, I wanted there to be good, bright yet warm lighting in the shop. I know fluorescent lights are normally the standard in a shop setting, both for their lumens per square foot as well as their economy, but I absolutely detest the quality of the light produced by traditional shop lights.

So I compromised a little bit. I picked up 9 or 10 “dish lights” cheap and clipped them to the exposed rafters in my shop. In them, I use those twisty fluorescent light bulbs. For my needs in such a small shop, it seems to fit the bill for the time being, the quality of the light being nearly as friendly as incandescent bulbs.

Since I spend so much time on my feet in the shop, I soon decided that some sort of matting needed to be used to ease the strain of standing on cement all day. I found some inexpensive foam mats, like the kind you can link together in a child’s play area, at one of the local hardware store on sale. Perfect. Now my tired tootsies would get a break, and I could pad about in style and comfort. The added benefit being that the padding provides a bit of protection to wayward Sheffield steel blades rolling off my bench.

For the most part the shop is fully outfitted. Truth be told, there really is no where to add any further freestanding machines even if I wanted to. So all that was left was to develop my flow of work and to begin the ever evolving methods of working wood in my shop. The flow has evolved as a natural outgrowth of my incessant need for a well thought out plan of procedure. (Insert heartfelt nod to my former shop teacher Don Rauh here). Because I plan out each step of my build process for a given piece, I can also manipulate the order of the procedures to be accomplished to best fit the layout of the shop.

By and large, there is very little that I am finding to be all that difficult to build in this space so long as I adhere to my stated limitations. This is especially so when I have good weather and can open the two main doors and also include the great outdoors as part of my square footage.

In taking the time to develop an image of how I wanted my shop to look and feel, in taking the time to imagine how work would flow through it, I feel as though I have been able to build an efficient and comfortable place that allows me to freely explore woodworking as well as to efficiently work through paying projects that come in.

It is adequately powered, has very high quality tooling, and has a personality that encourages as well as provides for fearless woodworking. Until such time as it makes fiscal sense to either add on or build a new shop, this space is comfortable and welcoming.

To other woodworkers out there I submit to you that your work space should be pleasing to the eye as well as to the bottom line. Make the place comfortable, easy to clean, and distinctly your own. Take the time to sit in it and just look around once in awhile. I suspect you will find yourself puttering here, and readjusting there, remembering that bit of maintenance that you wanted to do to the table saw, or that little pile of scrap bits that needed to be gone through and either discarded or squirreled away. All these little “putterings” are a way of making the space your own.

Also, in my case at least, this personalizing of the shop seems to continue beyond initial setup. Sometimes the originally imagined layout needs to be rearranged and tweaked in order to develop sound work flow and to maximise comfort. Never be discouraged from making large, wholesale changes. Just be sure that they add to the comfort and add to the shops personality. You will thank yourself later.

I love comments, feedback and any discussion. These are always welcome. I can be reached at:
madcapwoodwright@gmail.com

And, as always, remember to work wood fearlessly and with joyful abandon.

The post The Madcap Woodwright: Getting Comfy in Your Shop appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

You Never Know Where A Small Job Might Lead!

The Barn on White Run - Tue, 05/09/2017 - 4:45am

Recently I was contacted by JoeM about his newly acquired vintage Studley-era piano maker’s workbench.  His own eloquence suffices to tell the tale, although I edited it a touch for privacy and continuity and to format it since he wrote me multiple long missives on a (non-smart) cell phone.

I have found a piano makers work bench from Boston 1866.  It has the wheel vices, is 33 by 77 inches. The vice was shimmed with the makers committee member cards, from the Boston city council.

I also found a memo from Hallet and Davis 1891 setting the rates of pay for the piano makers.  It has six drawers and three smaller drawers inside, which are covered by a pull down front.  It has all the dogs.  

The end vice has a dog that passes through and slides.  

It also has a hidden pull cord that locks the drawers by a cool mechanism in back.

Anyway, I’m a carpenter who was lucky enough to find this bench in the cellar of a home in Springfield Ma.  I traded the bench for a 400 dollar job at the house.  I quickly called my friend who is an antique tool collector and described the bench.  He offered me 1000 dollars with out seeing it.  He finally told me what it was, and said hes only seen two such benches in 50 years of collecting!  

So the lady I traded for said it was her grandfathers, born in 1859.  She said it had been in a few businesses  around Springfield,one being Hampden Brewery, before it was returned to her, I really don’t want to ask her any more about the history in case this thing is valuable and wants it back.  Right now the bench is in my living room where I study it.  I seem to find something new each day.  

I’m glad I read your article of furniture conservation as I started doing minor repairs.  I glued a few cracks on the back side, but now will wait till further investigation.  I did not know what a science it was.    

One vise was attached to the bench and one was on the floor.  Strangely the one on the floor was fine, the one on the bench was repaired. Some one must have dropped it.  The vice face was snapped off and welded on, and get this BACKWARDS !!   So the big Question is do I get it repaired?   My best friend is the best machinist I’ve ever seen.  He does incredible things with steel.

The two bottom drawers have different pulls than the top five.They don’t look original to me, and they have been painted gold.

Back to the history, the cards shimming the vise (had to take it off to move it) were in remarkable condition.  The name I traced was Jairus A Frost.  He had two different street addresses on two different cards, suggesting the passage of time pointing to him as owner.  Some where in the Boston records I found his occupation listed as piano maker.  A friend of mine found an article in a news paper that said he was in the Boston Benefit Society.  The cards say Committee of Relief, address 38 Porter St and 484 Washington St, Boston.  One card lists him as vice-president January 1866 to 1877.  There must be more info on Jairus, I mean I found this info with my meager computer skills.

Note: I laid my Sabilla level corner to corner and it is dead flat at 162 years old.  

My wife hopes the bench is worth a ton, but I don’t, I want to keep it if I can.  Will send pics as soon as I can get my daughter to do it.

Joe and I spoke on the phone for a good, long time, and it was a delight on many levels.  I gave him some advice on the care and restoration of it, and the last time I heard from him he was going to keep it.

Great story, Joe!

The first ever official skottbenk expedition to USA

Norsk Skottbenk Union - Tue, 05/09/2017 - 4:40am
Norsk Skottbenk Union will have a stand at Handworks in Amana.

This week 6 members of Norsk Skottbenk Union are going to Iowa and Minesota in USA to meet up with American handtool enthusiasts. We are also going to do some research for old workbenches similar to our Scandinavian Skottbenk. We are familiar with an interesting workbench in Amana in Iowa. We are going to make a visit to see this bench for ourselves and also have our own stand at Handworks 2017 to show how the Skottbenk works. At Handworks we will meet workbench enthusiasts from around the world. The maker of the official apron for Norsk Skottbenk Union, Jason Thigpen at Texas Heritage will also be there.

About Norsk Skottbenk Union

Norsk Skottbenk Union are a group of craftsmen with a special interest in traditional workbenches and tools. We are focused on the use of the workbenches and tools and strive to get other craftsmen interested in theese matters. We belive the Norwegian woodworking tradition are important to keep alive. By making traditional workbenches, making new tool in a local tradition and use them in restauration work and other kind of woodworking we belive we can make a difference. Our tools and workbenches are based on extensive research of old tools, workbenches and historical records. We have also done some work with older master craftsmen to get to some of the intangible knowledge in their craft. Some of the results of this work are posted on this blog. We write in Norwegian for our Norwegian readers because we believe it is important that we use the language that is connected to the traditions in our craft. For you English language readers we have a category for English blog posts.

Our trip

We will start our trip 10. May and go to North House Folk School where we will stay to the 13. May. From there we will start our journey to Amana where we plan to come the 17. or 18. May. We might make some stops along our route from North House to Amana so we are glad for suggestions from you. Theese members from Norsk Skottbenk Union will go to USA and are possible to meet at Handworks 2017:

Jon Dahlmo. Blacksmith that have specialized in making woodworking tools for carpenters and joiners. For members he is a great source for plane irons, chisels and all kinds of special tools for woodworking. He run his own company Verktøysmia in Drevja. Photo: Roald Renmælmo Thor-Aage K. Heiberg. Joiner and Organbuilder. Trained in joinery both plugged and unplugged. Early member of Norsk Skottbenk Union. Enjoys the smell, sound and keen hand of traditional pre-industrial joinery and building conservation. Interested in toolmaking, and traditional woodworking handtools. Studied Technical building conservation and restoration work at NTNU and finished my bachelor degree in 2016, subject: The Sash window plane and Miter iron. Rediscovering a traditional 19th century sash window manufacturing process in Melhus and Meldal. Work as a woodworker and head of building conservations at Sverresborg Open-Air museum in Trondheim. Ivar Jørstad. Master Carpenter with a special interest in traditional carpenters tools. He is studying at a bachelor programme in traditional building crafts at NTNU university in Trondheim. He work as a restoring carpenter at Buskerud bygningsvernsenter. Siv K. Holmin. Have been working as a restauration carpenter, restoring traditional buildings for about 20 years. Focused on traditional working methods with traditional handtools. Have also done some intervjus/foto/filming documentation of working methods with elder people to understand and learn the handcraft. Teach woodworking and restoring. Traditional logging, pitsawing, splitting wood and hewing materials, making floorboard and dealboard with handplane in «skottbenk» and thatching traditional grassroofs with birchbark. Peter Brennvik. Have worked many years with ship preservation, boatbuilding. Interested in woodworking tools, planemaking, høvelbenk and skottbenk. Are now working on a bachelor degree in traditional building craft at NTNU.  INSTAGRAM: https://www.instagram.com/37o9/ SlettokseRoald Renmælmo
One of the founders of Norsk Skottbenk Union and active user of skottbenk and traditional handplanes. Have worked many years as a woodworker and restauration carpenter in Norway. My special interests and competencies are joinery, logbuilding, traditional logging, toolmaking and traditional woodworking handtools. Are working on a PhD in historic joinery at NTNU and Göteborg University. Teach as Assistant Professor in traditional building craft at NTNU in Trondheim. http://www.ntnu.edu/employees/roald.renmalmo
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