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Swimming Into Focus — The John Brown Book

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 02/09/2017 - 6:00am


I spent yesterday in Hay-On-Wye for the first of many field trips for the John Brown book. Picturesque Hay, home to the renowned book festival and equally renowned (if somewhat more niche) spoon festival, is halfway between the village where Chris Williams’ (my co-author for the project) lives and Birmingham, so it makes for an ideal location to meet up and formulate a plan of attack for the book.

And we are very much at the planning stage currently. To do this book properly (which is the only way we want to do it) it’s going to be a huge endeavour, with a significant number of interviews with John’s friends, family and woodworkers, not to mention field trips to locations significant either to John or to Welsh stick chairs, and of course the chairmaking itself. With so many moving parts, having a clear roadmap from here to publication is the best way to stay focused on the key threads, and to make sure that nothing important falls by the wayside.

So over the past couple of months we have been engaged in a constant dialogue about what we want to achieve, and how best to go about it: Who to interview, what to make, where to visit and what to read. Yesterday was the culmination of that dialogue, not to mention an excellent opportunity to spend a day talking woodwork with someone who has spent more than 30 years working in the woodcrafts, and who personally worked with John for many years.

Slowly “The Life & Work of John Brown” is swimming into focus. What has become very clear over the time that Chris Williams and I have been discussing the book, and even more so yesterday, is that, for both of us, it is important that we honour and embody John’s ethos as a chairmaker. What that means is that the chairmaking section of the book must make building these fascinating chairs accessible to everyone, with an emphasis on the minimal use of specialist tools or hard-to-find timber. That is not only consistent with John’s “Anarchist Woodworker” philosophy, but will also hopefully contribute to the longevity of a relatively uncommon chair form.


A drawing from John Brown’s book, “Welsh Stick Chairs.”

This is all very well and good, but how will we achieve this? Well, one of the ideas currently being kicked around is starting the chairmaking section not at the workbench, but at the timber yard. Timber selection can be a truly daunting experience for the inexperienced woodworker — I still remember my first trip to the timber yard, and how the choice was almost crippling. Many woodwork books tend to assume that you already have material and are standing at your workbench ready to start work, but to our minds the timber yard is where every build starts, and to start anywhere else would be omitting a key step. By having Chris Williams guide the reader through timber selection for a stick chair, we hope to remove one of the greatest hurdles to chairmaking.

We are also considering building chairs with pieced and carved arm bows rather than steam-bent bows. While English and American Windsor chairmaking traditions use steam bending for arm bows, Chris Williams tells me that due to the social function of stick chairs there was little or no tradition of steam bending in Wales. The pieced arm bow is very striking, and relies on techniques and tools common to most woodworkers. So it’s accessible and historically accurate — perfect.

These snapshots are really exciting to us, and I hope that by sharing some of the processes behind the book we can encourage more dialogue about John and his chairs, and also share our enthusiasm for the project. This is just the start of the process, and plenty is likely to change as we continue to work. But as the framework for the book starts to fall into place I can see how it will hang together, and what an important contribution this could be. There’s a lot of hard work to do over the next couple of years, and I hope that you will all join us for the ride.

— Kieran Binnie

This post originally appeared on Kieran Binnie’s blog, Over the Wireless, here.

Filed under: John Brown Book, Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

Moulding plane Part B update

Journeyman's Journal - Thu, 02/09/2017 - 5:46am

Finally after a long wait the irons have arrived and today I could do some work on the plane.  It’s progressing very slowly due to work, today and tomorrow I have off, but next week I won’t be so lucky.

I have learned a great deal during the build and I will share my findings with you.  I have studied my existing antique plane and have set the mouth opening exactly to match the antique plane, a big mistake though.20170209_224743

The iron in the antique is 5/32 thick and the LN version is 1/8 that’s 1/32 difference.  You may not think that is much of a difference but compare the two pictures with the irons installed and you’ll see that it is a big difference.



Clearly you can see that the mouth opening is too much again, luckily for me I was smart enough to use prototypes and not the real deal.  So tomorrow I will be making another one with a smaller opening but I wonder how will I get the waste out.  I don’t have a 1/16 chisel.  So it’s just getting harder and harder till I figure out a way to get that waste out and level that wall.  That part has to flat so the shavings don’t clog.


The mouth opening on this HNT 1/2″ shoulder plane is the same as the antique, this plane has a 37 degree bevel and a 60 degree bed.  It’s steep to tackle Aussie wood which is usually reversing grain.  Having a steeper bevel and bed means the plane is harder to push and the edge will blunt quicker but will help in eliminating tearout.

I also made the wedge the fit and the 15degree spread planing board I made should’ve been less but it turned out that I didn’t need it after all as I planed the wedge to fit prior to shaping it.

Prototypes aren’t meant to look pretty but they’re there to serve a purpose and that purpose is to work out the quirks and to do build experimentations.  I won’t know if I made a success until I take my first shaving and I won’t be preparing the blade for the prototype this I will save for the actual plane.


The sides are perfectly flush with the iron and I will rehearse the round on this plane while I build the second prototype with a smaller mouth.  My recommendation to you if you are going to make yourselves moulding planes is to get your irons first.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s from LN or you cut them up yourselves, what does matter is the thickness. Once you know how thick your iron is you can then make mouth according to that thickness.

I’ve waited 2 years to start this build, I didn’t know if I was going to buy them new or get the antique version or just build them.  I can definitely see why new ones cost so much, they are time consuming to make, the irons aren’t cheap at all and the wood is also expensive especially when your laminating as you’re using more wood.  The antiques also aren’t cheap, but they aren’t that great either.  Some will work fine while others are way past their due by date but none of them are identical in build unless they are all from the same maker.  I have noticed on some of mine that the mouths are open quite a bit and others are very tight.  I’m guessing that mass production had a lot to do with it and just careless.  People still buy them by the truck loads and don’t notice these things until they learn more about them.

Anyway I’m not really fussed on how long it’s going to take me, I have work which pays the bills which is more important to me.  I’m also trying to save up for a metalworking lathe and mill which isn’t cheap either especially that I have to import it from the US as Australia doesn’t sell any quality lathes.  I’m really excited about adding metal work to my skillset as I want to build mechanical movements and other hand tools.

Well it’s beddy bye time for me, till I update you next goodnight all.


Categories: Hand Tools

More Alex Snodgrass – 360w360 E.222

360 WoodWorking - Thu, 02/09/2017 - 4:00am
More Alex Snodgrass – 360w360 E.222

In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking the 360 guys continue with more from Alex Snodgrass.

Join the guys twice each week for six lively minutes of discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more). Chuck & Glen, and sometimes a surprise guest, all have their own opinions. Sometimes they agree and sometimes they don’t, but the conversation is always information packed and lots of fun.

If you have topics you’d like to hear covered in future episodes, click here to send an email to the guys.

Continue reading More Alex Snodgrass – 360w360 E.222 at 360 WoodWorking.

box #1 & #2 are done........

Accidental Woodworker - Thu, 02/09/2017 - 2:16am
Got the replacement lid for #2 done but it took me past my 1700  weekday quitting time. I went over because I was so close to finishing that I didn't want to wait another day. There is also a big snow dump coming tomorrow. The forecast as of tonight, is 8- 12 inches with some out lying areas getting 12-20 inches. A few winters back we went through something similar. No snow Nov thru Jan and then a double container boatload for Feb and March.

I took tomorrow off from work and it amuses the people I work with to no end. I do not like driving home when it is snowing, period. I do not think it is worth risking it and I leave everytime the white stuff starts falling during working hours. It is supposed to start around 0900 and fall until midnight. Tomorrow I'll be safe and warm puttering in my shop.

Wally World two day shipping
It seems Walmart wants to compete with Amazon because it's offering two day shipping on a lot of products on line. This was one of them and you can get it shipped to your house or pick it up at your local Wally World. Did I mention it is free two day shipping too?

a tiny cooler
My boss got one of these for xmas from his wife and I had to have one. My local Wally World didn't have any on the shelves so I ordered it online. I ordered it monday and I got it today.

AC cord for the house  DC cord for the car
hot and cold
I don't ever anticipate using the hot setting. I can't even think of a use for it.

too big for this shelf
I could put this in the boneyard where I have tons of room for this. But I want it in the shop and close by the bench.

another landing point
This outlet is not switched off the lights - it always live. I have one source of power here and another over by the clock.

put a piece of 1/4" plywood underneath it
I got support for the front feet but it is a mickey mouse setup waiting to fail. I also don't have any room at the rear for the cooler to exhaust air. On to landing strip #2.

new home
I had to move a bunch of stuff that had residence here but I can find other homes for that.  It fits on the shelf and the rear is unobstructed. Both the air inlet and exhaust fan have nothing blocking them. And I can freely open and close the door. This is a good spot for now until I rearrange the shop and find another one.

want I bought it for
This little cooler cost $45.58 and a college dorm refrigerator can be had now for around $75. I have been putting off getting one of those because I didn't want such a big refrigerator in the shop. I don't like having drinks or food in the shop so I didn't need it for that. I wanted it to store my OBG in because keeping it cool inbetween uses extends it's shelf life. Putting 3 or 4 bottles in dorm size refrigerator is like hunting ducks with a bazooka.

this one I couldn't find another home for
I got an idea for this one and if I remember it I'll do it tomorrow. There is room for the pot in the cooler too.

pic with the lights out
I wanted to double check that this outlet wasn't switched with the shop lights. The green light is on and the exhaust fan it blowing so I'm good to go here.

plugs sawn off and planed flush
I can pick them out but they aren't easy to see. I didn't want to use walnut on these because there was only two. On box #1, I had 6 holes to plug and those were more obvious.

new lid a strong 1/8" over
can you rip with a carcass saw?
Yes you can. This was on the bench so I used it.

checking my rabbets
Now that I'm close to the pencil line I am making more frequent checks on the fit.  I labeled the back of the lid so I planed and fitted the left and right rabbets to the left and right grooves in the box. I have messed this up in the past and ended up with rabbets that were too thin for the grooves.

true to form
Even with the 10 1/2 I still plane a hump and dip down on the ends. I didn't go below the layout but If I did the size of the rabbet isn't set in stone.

new lid on the right is a strong 32nd thicker than the original lid on the left
here you can see how much the two lids are off
squaring the rabbet
The 10 1/2 squared the rabbet and the dental pick kept the throat clean.

better rabbets with the 10 1/2
I would have to be on top of my game to get a rabbet like this with the LV rabbet plane.

repeating it for the other side
too snug
I took one shallow pass on each edge and checked the fit. It was still a bit tight so I did one more round. I made sure that I took the same shaving size off both edges.

slides in/out and the back is square to the end
saddle square
This is where this little gizmo shines. I couldn't use a square to accurately transfer this line around from the bottom to the top but not a problem using this.

still a bit proud
I planed the chamfer on the end first and then planed a flat flush with the front.

chamfer and flat done at 1700
another use for the dental pick
Stuck it in a nail hole and used it to slide the lid out.

astragals planed
thumb hook is done
Box #2 is 99.99% done. I changed my mind on rounding the ends of this box but I may do it tomorrow. It's now 1715 and past my quitting time and dinner time.

box #1 & #2 glamour shot

the last box glamour shots
You can not tell by looking at these boxes that the parts weren't all 6 square perfect. You can make good stuff with just one true face and one true reference edge.Tomorrow I'll start the tequila box and maybe I'll be able  to whack that out .

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is a dead mans hand?
answer - a pair of black aces and black eights

Q&A Why Two Routers? Why Two Bench Planes?

Paul Sellers - Thu, 02/09/2017 - 12:30am

From Entry Monday 6th February 2017 Question: First, THANK YOU! A careful inspection of the pictures reveal the following list of tools. Notebook pencil tape measure brush oil can square hammer a couple of clamps a set of chisels 2 bench planes 2 router planes 2 saws set of sharping stones I am sure you …

Read the full post Q&A Why Two Routers? Why Two Bench Planes? on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools


Pegs and 'Tails - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 5:04pm
No, not the Fentanyl patches that some of us stick on our upper arms… nor even those patches applied to furniture by restorers to effect repairs; I am talking about the patches that were let into veneered (and on occasion, … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Making a small barrel 3, regrouping.

Mulesaw - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 1:47pm
My barrel wasn't completely symmetrical, and I suspected the reason to be that the individual staves were not equally flexible.
I spent some time to get them all a bit more uniform in thickness and then tried to reassemble the barrel.
It still wasn't as I wanted it. After some time fumbling with the hose clamps, it suddenly detonated between my hands.

None of the pieces were damaged, but I could see two staves that had significantly more of a bend than the rest of them. I decided that it was time to regroup the project by only using 8 staves instead of the original 10. This will mean that the volume of the barrel will be smaller, so I'll probably have to either make it a short walk with the dog, or just walk the dog myself without any company.

Regrouping meant that I had to alter the angle on the staves, but that was a quick job. I had a bit of  a problem getting the barrel raised using the blue masking tape due to its unwillingness to stick to anything, so I upgraded to some duct tape.
I am fairly sure it isn't a traditional way of doing it, but it sure works great.

A hose clamp was mounted on each end, and the barrel looked OK.
I decided that I should make the barrel shorter due to its smaller diameter in order for it to look good.
I got the idea that if I kept the hose clamps on while I completed the work on the barrel, I could round and sand it also where the hoops would be attached. In the end I will saw off the part where the hose clamp has been.

The barrel was rounded and sanded. I measured the outside diameter of one end with a piece of copper wire, and used that to calculate the size of the corresponding bottom.
The oak has got a lot of cracks, so I was a bit uncertain if it would make an OK bottom. I sawed out a piece and marked a circle on it. Immediately after sawing the bottom out it broke in two.
More regrouping..
Spruce might not be the classic choice for coopering, but on the other hand, a Newfoundland isn't a classic barrel bearing dog, so a swift decision was made to use spruce.

After filing the disc round, I used a chisel to chamfer the edges so it could eventually fit into the groove that I was going to make.

I tried to use my router plane instead of a croze, but it didn't work very well, so I guess I'll have to do a bit of tool making to proceed.

Sanded barrel with a spruce bottom and the router plane.

Set up for sanding.

Broken oak bottom.

Categories: Hand Tools

New Toy (sorry essential tool!)

David Barron Furniture - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 11:16am

I've acquired this rather nice pencil gauge from Low Fat Roubo (aka Derek Jones, editor of F&C magazine) http://www.lowfatroubo.co.uk/

It is beautifully made and finished which is no surprise as Derek used to earn his living as a cabinet maker as well as a French polisher. The woods are pear and bog oak, a nice contrast.

One end has a fine conical tip which can be easily and cheaply replaced (gramophone needle, ingenious!) This is great for marking along the grain without wandering.

And the other has a pencil which is threaded to a nice tight fit as well as being easy to adjust. The gauge comes with full instructions as well as two pencils, I've trimmed mine down to a manageable size. Derek is also taking orders for an equally useful cutting/ pencil gauge.
Derek posts regularly in Instagram under Low Fat Roubo and is well worth following. https://www.instagram.com/lowfatroubo/

Categories: Hand Tools

High-style, Low-style or No-style

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 10:55am

At some point in my early 20s I stopped improving as a guitar player. No matter how much I practiced or played out in bands, I couldn’t crawl to the next level of skill. I needed lessons, guidance, a push or something else. Or perhaps, I thought at the time, that was simply the best I was physically capable of: good, but certainly not great. I never found out which […]

The post High-style, Low-style or No-style appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools

DIY Poster: A Roubo Montage

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 10:09am

It must be Poster Day at Lost Art Press.

After finishing an index for one of the LAP books I usually put together  a small personal souvenir. A few of the pages from “Woodworking in Estonia” (the ones that gave me indexer fatigue) were folded into origami and are tucked into the pages of the book. To mark the end of my work on “With All The Precision Possible – Roubo on Furniture Making” I put all the workers and some of the tools into one image.

The montage can be printed up to a 16″ x 20″ poster (a bit smaller than A2). I have had the image test printed at two nationwide office supply chains and it makes a decent poster for the workshop. If you want some nice woodworker-themed gift wrap have it printed on newsprint.

Here is the pdf for the Roubo Montage: roubo-montage-04feb17

By the way the pdf has two pages….the second page is blank.

Suzanne Ellison

Filed under: To Make as Perfectly as Possible, Roubo Translation
Categories: Hand Tools

Ultimate Cutting Boards

360 WoodWorking - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 8:12am
Ultimate Cutting Boards

I’ve watched the woodworking Internet recently to see an uptick in cutting boards. This is catching my attention because most days I’m in the shop, I’m working on projects that require my head be in the game for hours, or days, at a time. There are times when getting in the shop to bang out a quick project, a no-brainer if you will, is a major load of fun.

Sometimes, however, those too-simple projects are not challenging enough.

Continue reading Ultimate Cutting Boards at 360 WoodWorking.

First Steps on a Beginner’s Journey to Handcut Dovetails

Highland Woodworking - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 8:00am

dovetails1smIn this month’s issue of Wood News, Amy Herschleb writes about her own journey learning how to cut a dovetail by hand. Amy is a staff writer for Highland and a relative beginner to woodworking, but her current surroundings working at the Highland Woodworking retail store make for a perfect environment to immerse herself in all things woodworking and learn various ways of approaching the basics.

Amy will be providing a beginner’s take on a number of different woodworking topics, including joinery, sharpening, hand planes, carving and much more. Keep your eye out here for more articles to come!

In the meantime, you can read about Amy’s entertaining exploration into different ways of cutting a dovetail.

The post First Steps on a Beginner’s Journey to Handcut Dovetails appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Power Tool-Friendly Bench, by Richard Tendick

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 7:52am
power tool bench american woodworker

At least a couple of times each month, I get a query about Richard Tendick’s “Power Tool-Friendly Bench,” which was featured on the March/April 2014 cover of American Woodworker. So to cut down on those emails (and because I’m generally a nice person, evidence to the contrary notwithstanding), here’s that article, free. The intro is below; download the PDF at the end of it for the article in its entirety. […]

The post Power Tool-Friendly Bench, by Richard Tendick appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

The Courageous Work of Peter Follansbee

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 6:14am


If you haven’t yet seen Peter Follansbee’s latest post about the wrap-up class for the five month long joined chest build, you should check it out here. It’s full of inspiring and beautiful work from all his students. His anecdotes and casual writing tone are simply wonderful – it’s exactly what we worked so hard to preserve in the editing of Issue Two. His article titled “Everybody Who Knows Why is Dead” has generated a great response from readers. People loved hearing the veteran craftsman/scholar reflect on the years of unfounded scholarly opinions. It was a favorite in Issue Two.

I’m not sure if you’ve recognized this but Peter’s work and teaching is courageous in this day and age. To be unabashedly working to period tolerances in today’s machinist-precision woodworking culture takes a firm resolve and unshakable confidence. Have you seen Peter’s work in person? The first time I did, it blew my mind. His furniture has a folk authenticity that is polar opposite to the “studio furniture” aesthetic we see all around us. Peter has influenced me more than any other maker I’ve known and I hope you acquaint yourself well with his work.

His blog is one you should definitely keep on your radar. I so enjoyed the shop build updates last year. It’s great to see Peter get his own space after all those years at Plimoth Plantation. And now that it’s finished, he’s taking gorgeous photos like the ones in this post.


Categories: Hand Tools

The Courageous Work of Peter Follansbee

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 6:14am


If you haven’t yet seen Peter Follansbee’s latest post about the wrap-up class for the five month long joined chest build, you should check it out here. It’s full of inspiring and beautiful work from all his students. His anecdotes and casual writing tone are simply wonderful – it’s exactly what we worked so hard to preserve in the editing of Issue Two. His article titled “Everybody Who Knows Why is Dead” has generated a great response from readers. People loved hearing the veteran craftsman/scholar reflect on the years of unfounded scholarly opinions. It was a favorite in Issue Two.

I’m not sure if you’ve recognized this but Peter’s work and teaching is courageous in this day and age. To be unabashedly working to period tolerances in today’s machinist-precision woodworking culture takes a firm resolve and unshakable confidence. Have you seen Peter’s work in person? The first time I did, it blew my mind. His furniture has a folk authenticity that is polar opposite to the “studio furniture” aesthetic we see all around us. Peter has influenced me more than any other maker I’ve known and I hope you acquaint yourself well with his work.

His blog is one you should definitely keep on your radar. I so enjoyed the shop build updates last year. It’s great to see Peter get his own space after all those years at Plimoth Plantation. And now that it’s finished, he’s taking gorgeous photos like the ones in this post.


Categories: Hand Tools

The Last of the Tool Chest Posters

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 5:11am


While straightening up the stockroom at our storefront last week, I made a startling discovery under a pile of posters promoting “Calvin Cobb” Radio Woodworker!” It was a thick stack of letterpress tool chest posters for “The Anarchist’s Tool Chest.”

We have about 100 of them – pristine, signed by me and ready to go. They are $25 and can be ordered here in our store. The price includes domestic shipping, and the posters ship in a rigid cardboard tube.

This is the last of them and we are not reprinting this poster – the plates were destroyed months ago.

— Christopher Schwarz


Filed under: The Anarchist's Tool Chest
Categories: Hand Tools

How To Grind Part 6 - How to Repair a Damaged Edge Without Burning the Steel

Tools For Working Wood - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 4:00am

Previous parts are found here:
Part 1 is here.
Part 2 is here.
Part 3 is here.
Part 4 is here.
Part 5 is here.

In previous blogs we discussed the need for grinding for a variety of reasons. This final reason is the most unfortunate one: you need to repair a damaged cutting edge. This problem could come about from dropping the chisel (see photo), burning the steel from incorrect grinding, or any number of crises. If we were to grind out the damage by just grinding the bevel like we normally do, we would burn the steel and create more damage. The drawing illustrates the problem. Constant grinding on the bevel heats up the entire bevel. When the damaged tip get heated, the heat has no place to go - especially when the rest of the bevel is heated up too. Even with a cool wheel, this will be a problem.

The solution to this problem is simple. We first level up the tool rest and grind the chisel end square past the damage. As we are only grinding at the tip, not the entire bevel, there is little heat, and the heat has someplace to go (see sketch).

I can free-hand grind pretty square on a crowned wheel, but a scribe line to guide your grinding can be useful. Or after grinding, a few passes on a stone to ensure a straight edge can be helpful. If you are a little off, it doesn't matter. Final honing fixes everything. As you can see in the picture, you want to grind back to an even flat just past the damage on the chisel.

Then we will reset the rest and grind to a wire edge, just like we did before in Part 5. The only difference is that instead of setting the rest to grind in the middle of the bevel, we want to grind a bit towards the back of the bevel to compensate for the blunt edge we just ground. If you are shortening the bevel angle and not really correcting damage, you would also grind a blunt end, but not move the bevel back.

In Part 5, when I ground the chisel I checked to see my bevel disappear, then stopped. In this case, the bevel will disappear fairly quickly, but my work will not be done until I have removed the blunt end. As I grind, I look to see that the flat end starts to disappear. In the first photo, the flat end is about half gone (and uneven). I continue the grinding, with more effort on the thick side, until both sides are even and the edge (seen as a white refection in the light) disappears. Then I am done and ready to hone.

This concludes this series on grinding. I hope it make sense to you and I hope the series encourages you to grind your tools for better geometry.
Here are links to some of the production I have mentioned in the series:
Norton 3X Grinding Wheels
Crowned CBN Grinding Wheels
Fancy Wheel Dressers
Plain Wheel Dressers
Custom Baldor Grinders that we have tricked out with better wheels, balance, and adjustments
Diamond Stones

For instructions on honing your freshly ground edges - click here.
Also searching my blog will turn up a lot of sharpening material from past years.
Finally if you are in the NYC area I will be teaching both grinding and honing in two free classes in March. Please see the events menu for the exact schedule, more classes will show up shortly.

Thanks for reading, Joel

Where have all the forums gone?

Giant Cypress - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 3:08am

When I started out in woodworking, one of the resources I drew upon were woodworking forums. They were a great source of information, and I learned a lot from them. In addition, they worked well with my day job. I’m a pediatric oncologist, and checking in on a woodworking forum was a great way to fill the time between patients, or when I was up at night on call waiting for the emergency room to get back to me.

Recently, the idea that woodworking forums are dead has popped up from time to time. Fine Woodworking is closing down their woodworking forum, if it isn’t already shut down. And although I can’t quantify this, it seems that activity on the woodworking forums I usually look in on has been tailing off.

I don’t think, however, that internet discussion of woodworking is going away. Like many things on the internet, social media seems to be the place to be. First, it’s one less thing for you to do. Have a Facebook account? You can check in on an online gathering of woodworkers without having to go to another website. It will be right there in your feed.

Second, woodworking is a very visual hobby. In woodworking discussions, a picture is at least 1,000 words. It is far easier to embed a picture in a post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr (which is the backbone of Giant Cypress), which gives these platforms a big advantage compared to woodworking forums. In the case of Instagram, photos are the raison d’être of that platform. With woodworking forums, you often had to upload photos to a hosting service, then link to that service within your forum post using BBCode. Alternatively, some woodworking forums allow you to upload photos directly to their sites, but then they might try to pull something like reselling your photos as a way of generating revenue, as Sawmill Creek tried to do several years ago.

It seems, then, that woodworking forums aren’t really dying out as much as they are moving. There was a Japanese woodworking forum that really seems to have died out. But there are two very active Japanese woodworking groups on Facebook which are well worth checking out, if you have a Facebook account: the Piedmont Japanese Carpentry Club, and the Japanese Woodworking Tools, Techniques and Interests page. If you have a Facebook account, you should definitely take a look.

almost had a lid......

Accidental Woodworker - Wed, 02/08/2017 - 12:19am
I've heard it said that almost only applies to hand grenades and horseshoes. It sure doesn't apply to making lids. Close puts you in left field and with a small one, tiny errors will give you burnt toast. Tonight I got oh so close but no brass ring.

crosscut was first
I lost a couple of inches but I couldn't avoid it. I didn't want that hole in the lid and it was on the wide side of the board so it had to go.

ripping it out a 1/8" over
I also made it a 1/4" over in length too.

1/8' over
It will be a frog hair or two less after I plane the sawn edge smooth.

rabbet laid out
Trying to erase pencil marks from end grain is near impossible to do. This is one of the reasons why I made the lid a 1/4" longer than needed. A sharp plane will erase pencil marks without any problems.

10 1/2 to plane the rabbets
I have only used this plane a few times but I am really liking it more than my Lee Valley rabbet plane. I think it being a 'plane' like my other bench planes has lent a lot of familiarity with it. I enjoy using this and I don't have to deal that damn depth stop on the LV plane.

it's tapered
 I noticed that I run inboard as I go down the board. There is barely a hint of pencil at the far end. Not a deal killer because I can always plane down to the line and a little bit past it if need be.

how I start it
I went slowly and carefully this time. I tried to stay off of the line and parallel to it and I did pretty good on that. It took me about 3 runs down the board before I had a wall I could run the plane against. I still ran slightly inboard at the far end but not as much as I did on the first one.

got the tongue to fit on both sides

the rabbet is off square a bit
the versatile 10 1/2
I planed the rabbet with it, planed the shoulder square, and finally used it to get the lid width to fit between the grooves. Can't do all that with the LV rabbet plane.

a little snug and it slides in and out
Houston, we have a problem
The lid is cocked to the right. The back edge is rough sawn but it is almost square and it shows a tapered gap.

I can cock it just as bad to the left
This tells me either the lid is too thin in the width or the box is bowed on the sides. And the sides don't look bowed.

the box is square and not tapered or bowed
the lid is parallel
what is the problem?
I knew it was square - this confirms it
confirmed this end is dead nuts square
Everything points to the lid being too narrow for the opening. I planed it for snug fit at the opening and once it is in the box it gets loose as a goose.

the problem
The shims I glued in the gap extended into the groove a little ways on both sides. The lid does fit snugly between these two points.

a strong 16th over
I trimmed the shims back to the wall of the groove and checked the fit of lid. This is why the lid is cocking in the box. That is way too much clearance and especially so on a short length lid.

splitting some scrap
I only have two holes to plug on this box and I'm using the same stock as the box. I'll make another lid again tomorrow. I'll finish up tonight by doing these two plugs.

splitting it again
I sawed off this piece and from this second split I'll get the two pieces I need to plug the holes.

did all the trimming and fitting with this chisel
I took small bites and checked the fit after each swipe. I kept at it until I got a fit that filled the whole hole.

ready to glue in place
tap tap gently
I have lost 60% of my hearing but I can hear the slight difference in the pitch when this bottoms out. I can also feel it and it is very important not to do just one more tap. This wood is dry, thin, and would split out in a heartbeat. (my hearing is still normal for low sounds like hammer blows. I've lost my hearing mostly in the range that speech is in)

one last check point
I made sure that the plug didn't come through all the way into the groove past the back. That would keep the lid from closing against the back.

the tequila box
The line in the middle is the outline of the bottle up from the bottom edge. The 1x6 stock is 5 1/2 wide and the bottle is 3 1/2 wide at it's widest point. I want to ensure that I can get the lid and bottom grooves in and still have room for the bottle.

about 4 1/2"
I eyeballed the top and bottom grooves and it looks like I will have enough room for the bottle. I don't want to glue up stock for this. If I had too, I would go get some wider stock at Lowes.

my ebonizing liquids
The left and middle ones will be tried again. The one on right is iron acetate and that doesn't turn wood black. I have been thinking of trying this out as it's been over a month since I last used it and I'll be able to gauge it's effectiveness after sitting for a while.

the last thing I ebonized
I don't have a lot of wood species to try out. I have cherry, walnut and red oak I'll be trying. My plate is already kind of full but I think I can squeeze this in. Updates and pics to follow.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What was the first car to have a horn ring on the steering wheel?
answer - the 1936 Cord 810/812

Table Trestles-Part 3

Hillbilly Daiku - Tue, 02/07/2017 - 4:59pm

With the top slabs thicknessed, cut to size and squared it was time for the layout.  This was a simple task of transferring the layout from my design drawing to the slabs.

trestle_standard_tableThere are several ways that I can translate my scaled drawing into full-scale.  Sometimes I simply pull out a piece of paper and draw the project to size.  This is handy because it gives me something to continually check my actual pieces against.  Other times I may lay out a story stick.  For this project I simply created a full-scale version of the module block that is found on the drawing.  No matter the method, most of the work is done with dividers once the initial base measurement is established.  In this case that measurement is 180mm.

I first drew a 180mm square on a scrap of ply.  Then stepped off all of the required divisions with dividers.  Once I had the full-scale module in hand, I then had an instrument that I could use for either direct transfer of distance or I could set my dividers to.  At any rate, the layout was completed as per my drawing.


I’ll not bore you with the drilling and reaming operation.  I’ve done that in previous posts.  ;). After a good bit of work with the brace, all four trestles were legged up.


The next order of business was to make the spindles for each leg pair.  I sawed several blanks of white oak so that I could try a couple of different shapes and methods.  No matter the shape, each spindle needed a 1/2″ tenon at each end.  I struggled as to how best to make these tenons, but it finally dawned on me that I could use the same tapered tenon cutter that I used for the leg tenons.   When a piece is passed completely through the cutter the emerging portion is a constant ~9/16″ diameter.  So all I needed to do was run the spindles through the tenon cutter so that the required length of tenon was passed through the cutter.  Then it was a simple matter of using my knife to trim and fit the tenon to the 1/2″ mortise hole.


The first spindle shape that I tried was cigar-shaped.  It was easy to make, but didn’t seem right for the octagonal legs of these trestles.


The next spindle shape that I made was octagonal and I left them intentionally a little rough.  I like this shape much better for the octagonal legs.


It has become almost a signature of mine to add some sort of knot work to my projects.  Usually this shows up as knotted pulls for drawers, but in this instance I went with a turk’s head knot to add a bit of interest to the spindles.  The knot sits in a recessed area centered along the length of the spindle.  I made the recess with my carving knife and added a little wood burning to the corners of the octagon.


Next up were the mortise holes in the legs.  To mark them I squared a board and on it marked the distance of the mortise holes from the bottom face of the trestle.  Then set the board in place on the inverted trestle and marked the mortise holes.


In his book, “The Anarchist’s Design Book”, CS recommends a spade bit with an extension.  I had neither and when I went to the Big Box store I found an extra long spade bit and went with that.  I was worried that I would have chipout when drilling the holes, but found that the spade bit created a surprisingly clean hole.


I chamfered all of the edges of the top slabs and added a little wood burning embellishments to the tops and legs.


I hope to be able to assemble these trestles this coming weekend.  Then I’ll tackle the table tops.

Part 2 Greg Merritt Part 4

Categories: Hand Tools


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