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Music I’d Like To Hear #132

Doug Berch - Sat, 07/08/2017 - 11:48am
Categories: Luthiery

The Tool World Loses An Innovative Giant

The Barn on White Run - Sat, 07/08/2017 - 5:41am

I was saddened to learn last week from Brian Meek that Lee “The Saw Guy” Marshall had passed away.  Lee was the creator of the Knew Concepts company that produced the finest jeweler’s saws and coping saws known to man.  My friendship with Lee (and Brian) had grown continually since we first met many years ago at a Woodworking in America event, and ever since we had picked each other’s brain on many occasions.  In some respects our friendship must have been an odd one, and more than once Lee remarked, usually with a chuckle, that he was surprised that a “Santa Cruz lefty” got along so well with someone who thinks that 1964-era Barry Goldwater was a moderate.

Our relationship grew into me being an enthusiastic collaborator with Lee and Brian as they continued to invent and refine new versions of their products.   Our correspondence was frequent and I reviewed countless design drawings that Brian sent me for comment, and I have many Knew Concept prototypes in my shop, and will continue using them until I hang it up.  Lee was always curious about augmenting his own experience with that of others, and for several years we combined Lee’s aerospace machinist mindset with Brian’s background as a bench jeweler with mine as a woodbutcher.  Many was the time I would explain precisely how it is that woodworkers used their tools, and before long I would see some new understanding become manifest in their tools.

In many respects Lee was a model for me to follow.  An octogenarian whose good cheer, unfailing generosity and insights were never diminished by some serious injuries he had suffered many years ago, rendering him officially “disabled,” Lee was simply one of the most inventive and hard working men I have ever met.  His brain never turned off, working diligently until the end, creating and inventing with many projects in development at the time of his death.  Brian assures me that they will be carried to completion.

To his wife and family, and all who knew and loved Lee I extend my sincere condolences and offer heartfelt blessings in the sorrow of his absence from us.  He is greatly missed.

Christopher Vickers, craftsman-designer of furniture and lighting

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sat, 07/08/2017 - 5:16am

English A&C Furniture_Vickers_CFA Voysey Kelmscott Cabinet - Copy

Vickers’ reproduction of the Voysey Kelmscott “Chaucer” cabinet was a commission


Do you really need that 2400-square foot workshop?

I’ve lost track of how many retired friends of friends are currently building themselves shops. Most of these people moved to a rural location so they’d have the space to build. Once you’ve taken the plunge, it seems, the old English saying applies: “In for a penny, in for a Pound.” I mean, why have a shop that will hold a Mini Cooper when you can have one large enough to house a fleet of RVs? Who can’t use the extra space?

As someone who never seems to have enough room to store lumber and salvaged hardware for bona fide jobs, never mind the recycled plant pots, bags of ice-melting salt, antique chamber pots, old dog beds (which, perversely, became “insufferable” [to the dog] after being washed), and surplus hickory floorboards that “just might come in handy, and besides, the wood is so beautiful” (even though the boards in question have been lying there, undisturbed, for a dozen years), I feel your pain. And I am here to share a sobering example of a consummate craftsman who has made a name for himself with a workshop about as big one of those structures we Americans know today as a “tiny home.”


Christopher Vickers was born in Bexleyheath, south-east London, in 1961. His father, a cinema sales rep, had a keen interest in all things DIY but was especially taken with marquetry. That love of fine woodworking spread to Chris, who, at the age of 16, decided he wanted to be a furniture maker. No apprenticeship was forthcoming, however, so he served a seven-year apprenticeship as a joiner at Clark and Son in Islington.

IMG_0473 - Copy

Chris and Jenny Vickers in the conservatory they added onto their house

It was an excellent foundation in woodcraft: He made windows, doors, and staircases according to traditional methods. Still, he longed for finer work. When a friend suggested he apply to the London College of Furniture, he did. Most applicants to the program had taken A-Level exams (roughly equivalent to graduating from a high school in the United States), the usual prerequisite for university admission. But Chris’s significant woodworking experience, combined with his passionate desire to refine his skills, won him admission.

During that two-year furniture training Chris and his classmates visited the Cheltenham Museum (now called The Wilson) in Gloucestershire to see some of Alan Peters’ work. The museum also had extensive holdings of work by many other luminaries of the Arts and Crafts Movement, among them Ashbee, Gimson, Voysey, and the Barnsleys. “When I saw all the exposed joinery of the Cotswolds School, the penny dropped,” he remembers. He knew the direction in which he wanted to take his own work.

Vickers blog

A Vickers reproduction of one of Ernest Gimson’s hayrake tables

After college he spent two years working part-time for a specialist silverware canteen maker, F. Mottram, in London, making pieces for Asprey’s and other top silversmiths. He then set out on his own, producing jewelry, sewing, and writing boxes made from English hardwoods.

In October 1987 Chris and his wife, Jenny, moved to the small town of Frome in Somerset, primarily because it was affordable. They bought a Victorian red brick row house on a narrow lot typical of that architectural form, and Chris set up a woodworking shop measuring 18’ by 8’ (yes, that’s under 150 square feet), which he nicknamed “the bunker,” in the backyard.

IMG_0465 - Copy

Vickers in his workshop with one of his canteens

The ceiling height tapers from 8’ at the high end down to 6’. Chris is 6’ 2-1/2” tall.

With a workbench, hand tools, and basic set of small machines, he turned out beautifully crafted boxes that he sold at craft fairs, supporting himself and Jenny on that income. Small boxes were made with keyed miters, larger ones with handcut dovetails. His interest in specialty hardware for the boxes eventually led him to begin fabricating his own hinges, straps, and latches. He started making furniture for their home, along with small pieces such as side tables and chairs to sell.

His big break came in 1998. The owner of the Hotel Pattee in Perry, Iowa, wanted to create a room decorated in authentic William Morris style. On a trip to England she visited the Cheltenham Museum, where she met Arts and Crafts expert and curator Mary Greensted. Mary suggested she contact Chris. What began with an invitation to lunch at their home turned into two years of steady work.

“We had never flown before,” Chris remembers, “and the client flew us over business class, which was an adventure in itself.” Chris and Jenny were in Iowa for about two weeks, “wined and dined and shown around.” When the furniture was finished, it was shipped to its destination. “All done with just a handshake!” he adds. The hotel’s website has a section on the Morris Room with photos of Chris’s work.

After the hotel commission Chris was confident of his ability to make larger pieces in his tiny workshop. “The rule of thumb thereafter was, once I had worked out the size of the piece, would it go up the hall [of our house] and out the front door? Assuming the answer was yes, then I just needed to work out how to assemble and finish the main parts in our living room.”

Did you get that? He made the parts in his workshop, then assembled the pieces in their living room.

(OK, OK. Maybe there are advantages to having a shop with more than 150 square feet.)

This concern with size should help explain why he now specializes in lighting, which was originally an offshoot of his work producing his own hardware. In 2014 he added a second workshop to the backyard (this one 12’ long by 6’ wide with slightly higher headroom than “the bunker”), where he crafts replicas of original fixtures designed by W.A.S. Benson, C.F.A. Voysey, and the Birmingham Guild of Handicrafts.

IMG_0469 - Copy

“The bunker” at left. New workshop for lighting and metalwork in the far ground.


One of the many light fixtures Vickers now makes

You can see more of Chris’s work and read more about him at Inspired Illuminations

–Nancy Hiller, author of Making Things Work

Filed under: Uncategorized
Categories: Hand Tools

bookcase base.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 07/08/2017 - 2:22am
I think I'm going to miss my target for getting the bookcase done this weekend. I made good progress on the base and that will be done tomorrow even if I goof off all day long. What is shooting me in the foot is the painting. Based on what it has taken to paint the bookcase so far, I'm looking at 3 days just to do that. I really don't  have a deadline on this but it is holding me up from starting something new.

not the first thing I spaced
I would like to say that I was being clever and sawed all the way across for a reason but I can't think of any that make sense. I thought that I needed to make a full length dado here but I didn't. The base will set down a 1/4" from the bottom shelf. After I had sawed both sides I realized that I should have made a stopped dado. This is recoverable because I'm painting this and I can fill in the saw kerfs with putty.

my second mind fart with the base
I was patting myself on back for catching this mistake before it got worse. The base at the back can't be positioned with a 1/4" reveal because the back top is at the same level as the top of the base. I hadn't caught on to this at this point yet. That light bulb coming on came when I tried to put the base on the bookcase.

This is what I had done thursday night in the shop. I didn't get any pics of it because my battery went dead.  Tonight was first spent correcting these minor detours into La La Land.

got my 1/4" at the front
the problem is at the back
The back has to be down from the top of the base 1/2" so I'll have a 1/4" reveal on the three sides. The light bulb coming on here was laughing at me besides blinding me.

washers and screws for the #2 came in the mail today
These took almost a week to get to me. I guess having the 4th on the second day of the week screwed up a lot of things. Now the #2 will be fully rehabbed and ready to use.

got my 3/16" pigsticker from Jim Bode too
My herd of pigstickers is complete now. I go by 16ths from 1/8" up to 1/2". I don't have a 7/16" one and I don't see the need for it. I chopped a mortise with my new chisel and it is becoming ridiculously easy to do. I have been practicing chopping mortises mostly with the 1/4" and 3/8" pigstickers but I still haven't made tenons for them yet. And that's because I only chop one mortise at a time. I think I'm ready to try to make a frame.

rounded and flat bevels
I have 6 pigstickers with 3 of them having rounded bevels and 3 that have flat, slanted ones. I can't tell a difference between the two.  Both chop and make chips equally well but I do favor the rounded bevel but I couldn't tell you why.

micro bevels
3 pigstickers have a micro bevel and 3 don't. The 5/16" pigsticker has a rounded bevel and a micro bevel too. Both chop mortises as well as the others but here I do favor a non micro bevel on these. And it isn't because of me not liking them. Rather I find it harder to sight where the chisel is when chopping. I'm sure that it is something I could learn to work with so I don't consider it a deal breaker.

back to the base
Ripping the  base to width.

marking the back for length
I have the base clamped up square so I can get an accurate mark for the length of the back.

squaring the back
I sawed this off of the marking knife line at an angle. I used my Lee Valley edge plane to square this down to the knife line.

clamped the bottom back so I can check it on the bookcase
fits and I have a 1/4" reveal on the 3 sides
minor problem
This pin is gappy and it is caused by the base fitting a bit too snug on the bookcase. At the front there is small gap but at the back the base sides are very tight to the sides of the bookcase.

closed up
It took very little clamp pressure to close the top pin up. I like the snug fit of the base and I don't have any plans to change that. This is the next to last step before I glue up the dovetails.

the last step
I sawed the cutouts on the base with the bandsaw and I cleaned them up with spokeshaves and block planes. I used a flat sole spokeshave on the flats and tried to use the round bottom spokeshave on the curves. I had trouble using it on this side and especially up high.

did much better on the other 7
Much easier and better results on the other 7. Not perfect but I'm feeling good that I'm starting to get the hang of using these tools.

I have to fix this
This is a weak spot on the bottom frame. Most of the forces exerting on the base will be downwards but I want to secure this as best I can now.

sawed a bunch of shims with the Zona saw
trimmed them with a chisel
refined the shape with sanding
all four bottomed out and filled the kerfs
5 minute epoxy
This is a tough thing to glue up. The splines are cross grain to the kerfs and the gluing surface in the kerf is basically end grain to the long grain shims. Epoxy is the only adhesive that will work on this.

I'll trim these tomorrow and glue the base up then
accidental woodworker

trivia corner
What is the color of blood in a octopus?
answer - blue green

Previously Owned Brese Planes....or is it a Kit Plane?

Brese Plane - Fri, 07/07/2017 - 1:11pm
I've been making planes professionally since 2007. I've made a lot of planes. Some of these tools are now showing up on the second hand market. Various woodworking forums have marketplace locations and of course there is Ebay.

If you run across one of these ads and are considering making a purchase there are some things you need to know.

(1) All the planes sold as completed planes came with a document of provenance. If the seller doesn't offer to include the document then you need to ask more questions as to the origin of the plane. Why? See number (2) below.

(2) In the early years of plane making I also sold kits so that others could enjoy the plane making experience as well. Recently one of these planes was offered on Ebay. The title of the ad did not make reference to it being a plane completed from a kit. One line in the description did in fact reveal this fact. For this reason you could well be buying a plane made by a first time plane maker. Needless to say there will be considerable differences between a plane made by a person that has completed hundreds of planes and one made by a first time plane maker. Fortunately the eventual buyer of this plane asked all the right questions and was fully aware of what they were buying.

(3) Kit planes do not have the"Brese" logo stamped or engraved into the front of the lever cap. If the lever cap lacks this logo it's a kit plane. If the logo is present send me a picture and I'll verify that it is original.

Below is a picture of two 650-55 J planes I completed a couple years ago.

Recently another similar plane has been offered for sale. But not made by me.  Look familiar? I just wanted to make it clear the plane pictured below was not made at Brese Plane or by anyone affiliated with Brese Plane.

I was reminded recently that imitation is a sincere form of flattery.


"Beware the sheep that wants to save you from the Wolf"

Categories: Hand Tools

The Classic Look of Routed Dovetails. Oops, Meant Hand-cut!!!

Paul Sellers - Fri, 07/07/2017 - 9:26am

I recently posted about the advert where a jig maker, Leigh Industries, used a phrase that said, “The Classic Look of Hand-cut Dovetails”, which I thought seemed somewhat deceptive but there again, this is the age of fake news so why expect more of the advertising media? It seems all the more that everyone assents …

Read the full post The Classic Look of Routed Dovetails. Oops, Meant Hand-cut!!! on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Curious Collector Cabinet

WPatrickEdwards - Fri, 07/07/2017 - 8:55am
Beautiful and Functional But Why?

I need your help.

A few weeks ago one of my old clients came in with this curious box.  He hangs out at estate sales and finds things on Craig's list and is always looking for something unusual.  He often discovers amazing things.

After all, isn't that one of the reasons we collect stuff?  Not that we need it.  If we need something essential we go out and get it.  If I need gas I go to the gas station.  Not much excitement there...

On the other hand, when I travel I always take time to explore old used book stores, antique stores, used tool shops and even, in some cases, thrift stores.  It's the lure of the unknown which keeps me searching.

So this client walks in with this box.  It is amazing.  Made of Brazilian rosewood with boxwood trim. Made by a professional, probably British.    It is about 11 x 12 x 22" in size.  I think it' either British or even American since the writing on the drawers is in English.

The locks, keys, hinges and screws all indicate a period before 1850.

Mid 19th Century Script?

The secondary wood is Spanish Cedar.

Lift Top With Two Trays Inside

The front has double glass doors and the top lid lifts up.  There is a lock on the glass doors and a second lock on the lid.  Whoever had it wanted to keep the contents secure.

When you lift up the top there are two trays in a till.  A very shallow tray on top of a deeper tray.  The deeper tray is missing a divide which would go from side to side.

What Are These Trays For?

Inside the double glass doors are 4 fake drawers over 6 functional drawers, each with turned ivory pulls.

The amazing and curious feature is how the drawers are divided into strange and complex compartments.  I have no idea how these compartments could be used.  My only guess is that there was a fad of collecting exotic sea shells in the past.  Perhaps these compartments could be designed for shells.

When I Saw These Drawers I Was Speechless 

However, as the drawers are fairly deep and the compartments rather small, it would be difficult to reach some of the contents.

What Would You Keep In These???

Please help me find out what this is.  If you have any idea just post in the comments.

Understanding the lost mysteries of past cultures is why we explore.
Categories: Hand Tools

How to Fix a Slipping F-style Bar Clamp – It’s Easier Than You Think

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Fri, 07/07/2017 - 7:35am

Many of us have experienced the phenomenon of F-Style bar clamp slippage. It can happen to quality clamps that had been put through extensive use, but it is more common with inexpensive clamps, where the manufacturers tried to cut on production or material costs. The problem is that the moving jaw can’t anchor itself to the bar because the bar is too smooth. The first thing you need to do […]

The post How to Fix a Slipping F-style Bar Clamp – It’s Easier Than You Think appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Book Giveaway: The Perfect Treehouse

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Fri, 07/07/2017 - 7:01am
perfect treehouse

I just returned to the PW offices after a nice lake vacation. I’m still in the mood for swimming, fishing, BBQs and s’mores. So I thought this week’s book giveaway should be a fun one. Treehouses sort of scream summer fun, don’t you think? This week I’m giving away a copy of “The Perfect Treehouse” by Django Kroner. It’s a book filled with treehouse building advice and common missteps to avoid. Django […]

The post Book Giveaway: The Perfect Treehouse appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

RWW Live: Open Q&A Night

The Renaissance Woodworker - Fri, 07/07/2017 - 6:58am

Enter the Lightning Round

OMG thanks so much for everybody who came out and asked questions. That was a lot of fun and as expected there wasn’t nearly enough time to get to all the questions. We talked about a lot of hand tool stuff from sharpening to tongue & groove joinery to smoothing planes and panel saws. I think I probably should do more of these open format sessions because there seem to be many more questions out there.

The Questions You Asked

  • 3:40 A Lumberyard Story
  • 7:08 Square Dovetail Cuts
  • 12:47 Best Bits for Braces
  • 18:30 Using a Combination Plane for T&G joinery
  • 26:44 Where to get Auger Bits & how to sharpen them
  • 33:11 Sharpening narrow chisels without skewing them
  • 44:44 How to cut a T&G joint without a plow plane
  • 49:00 What is the best smoothing plane
  • 51:58 What is a good mallet to use
  • 58:06 Where do you get leather for vises
  • 1:00:00 Whats a good way to get my tools tested and sold
  • 1:02:00 How flat does the sole of your plane need to be
  • 1:04:15 How to sharpen a timber slick
  • 1:06:30 Uses for a Stanley #80
  • 1:09:28 How to know when a saw needs to be sharpened
  • 1:10:30 Panel vs Hand saws
  • 1:15:16 How to correct a saw cutting a curved kerf
  • 1:18:20 How tall is my joinery bench vs my workbench

Categories: Hand Tools

Groopshop 2017 Fun and Fellowship

The Barn on White Run - Fri, 07/07/2017 - 5:07am

The events that are Groopshop are filled with levity and camaraderie, perhaps unlike any I have been party to (admittedly I might not be the best judge of this as I was the guy at high school pool parties who was sitting in the corner reading the encyclopedia).  On the second night of Groophop we  usually have a delightful evening of fun in the guise of “Refinishing Jeopardy” followed by “Mike’s Mostly Honest Auction,” when we raise money for the operation of the organization through selling and buying each others’ shop surplus supplies.

During the former event I was the off-screen judge for the answers, perhaps risking a conflict of interest as one of the categories was titled “Decoding Don.”

Apparently they think I am in love with arcane words and esoteric technical terms, and this was the chance for the contestants to try and figure some of that out.  I may have been a little strict with Freddy Roman during the judging, but I sent him a box of shellac flour as an apology.

Following “Refinisher’s Jeopardy” the auction commenced, and the bidding was spirited and the lots were enticing.  I bought some sheets of veneer, loose abrasive powders, and some more stuff I cannot recall at the moment.  One of the most vigorous episodes was for some lumber AlL brought.  I bought a lovely pair of matched Spanish Cedar boards, but was outbid for a spectacular piece of Swietenia mahoganii by JohnC.  It was a real beauty.

But the real heartwarming surprise came the next day as I was in CVSW setting up for my workshops the following day, and found the John had left me the board as a gift.  I was truly moved by the gesture, and since no good deed goes unpunished I am considering appropriate packages to send him in return.  The board was perfect for turning into sawn veneer for an upcoming project.

That’s the kind of group Groop is.  You should join us, but only if you want to learn, exchange information in a friendly environment, and have fun.

Making a treadle Lathe

Journeyman's Journal - Fri, 07/07/2017 - 2:40am

HANDWORK’s contributing author Joshua Steven aka Mr.Chickadee has uploaded a video on youtube on making a foot powered lathe.  Joshua has built his homestead entirely by hand and now he’s showing you how to build this lathe entirely by hand.  This is what its about, this is what true freedom is.  This is handwork.


Categories: Hand Tools

oh boy, what a surprise......

Accidental Woodworker - Fri, 07/07/2017 - 1:18am
At lunch time on wednesday I had checked UPS to see if they had delivered my wide iron conversion kit for my new Lee Valley plow plane. They said they had delivered it but when I got home there was no conversion kit waiting for me. You can not file a claim with UPS for a failed delivery until 24 hours have passed. That is what I was going to do battle with tonight.

When I drove up to my house after work I noticed that there was a priority box on the front stoop. I am expecting a pigsticker from Jim Bode but this box was way too big for that. If it wasn't for me, than it was most likely book(s) that my wife had ordered. When I went to collect it I noticed it was for me but I had no clue as to what it was. I didn't look at the return address because right besides the priority box was a Lee Valley box.

It was my conversion kit but I don't know who left it. Was it the man in brown or the person who mistaken had it left at their house? Seeing that I now had my kit, I didn't care anymore about going to battle stations with UPS or anything else.

The priority box was from Ken Hatch who writes the 'I'm a OK guy' blog. I didn't have clue as to what was in the box nor had Ken given me a heads up on it. I had to get the garbage curbside first and then I gave the box my undivided attention.

Of course the battery in my camera decided to go south at this time too. So I wasn't able to snap as many pics I wanted to. I did manage to get one of each of the goodies in the box. Ken, I don't know what to say. Thank you for sure, but what you sent me was incredibly generous. I'm sure that my wife will get sick of me telling her about this but the cats usually walk away when I try to talk to them. Her I can wait until I have her cornered in her sewing room.

first thing I pulled out
Two rice bowls with chopsticks. My wife won't use the chopsticks but I'm sure I can get one of my daughters to use them. I have been using another set off and on and I'm not any good with them. The lady at the chinese place I frequent is very patient with me and answers my questions everytime I go in there. She can pick a sheet of paper with them. I'll have to kick up the effort and practice every time I get chinese now

iron/chipbreaker set with a lever cap
The lever cap has a broken flip thing at at the top but I have seen replacements for this for sale. I can practice on punching out the pin and replacing it. The iron/chipbreaker will fit a #3 and I can give it to my grandson as a spare for his plane.

this wasn't in the Ken Hatch box
I put this on the plane without any problems. I glanced a few pics in the instructions but I didn't read anything. Now that I have this, I can start making a box to stow the plane, the conversion kit, and the box holding the irons in it.

This is over the top
This is an awesome surprise and I was stunned when I saw it in the box. This was just too damn good to be true and I had to slap myself to make sure I was awake and not dreaming. Of course I had to road test it immediately.

realistic road test
I had to flush the base and I started on the top and used this plane to knock down the high spots. The shavings were a wee bit thicker than I liked but the plane was effortlessly making them. No stuttering or chattering, with or against the grain.  I swear the plane was singing as I flushed the top edge of the base. I used the #7 and the 4 1/2 to finish it but I really like the feel and action of the wooden plane a lot.

planing the left side
I could feel a wooden plane sickness starting to creep into my body. It would be very easy to go on binge buying a set of wooden planes. This is about as long as my 4 1/2 but it is lighter and felt a lot more nimble to maneuver.

flipped it over and did the bottom
I flushed the bottom wholly with the new wooden plane. Even the long front edge. This plane went through this pine quicker than a red hot knife going through a tub of cheap oleo.

square on all 3
Planing square now is something I kind of expect. If I am off I am able to quickly get back to 90 within a few strokes. I thought that I wouldn't be able to do that with this wooden plane. I can sense myself planing off square with metal planes now and I found out that I had that same sense with the wooden one.

I am kind of torn between keeping this plane for myself or passing it on to my grandson. I think what I'll do is keep it as a guardian until he is old enough to use and appreciate it.

I plowed the dadoes in the base for the back but I have no pics of that. My canon camera battery was dead and I haven't had a chance to read up on the Olympus camera yet. I charged the battery in it but that is all I've done with it. I'll catch up and post follow up pics tomorrow.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
How many US Presidents were former governors?
answer - 17

In Search of Loveliness

Paul Sellers - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 2:28pm

Wednesday 14 June 2017 Journal Entry I’ve spent over 50 years living with beauty. It’s not the stuff taught in schools by schools but it is learned mostly by seeing it in contrast with the unlovely. Unloveliness is the stuff local authorities and standardisation of things put together by government produces where utilitarianism dominates and …

Read the full post In Search of Loveliness on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

Issue Three Table of Contents at Lie-Nielsen

The Mortise & Tenon Magazine Blog - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 1:22pm


Today, Mike and I are packing up for Lie-Nielsen’s Open House. This is always a highlight in our year because Tom throws such an awesome party. He is incredibly generous to us and we get to catch up with so many great friends we only get to see a few times a year. If you haven’t had a chance to try one of the tools you’ve been eyeing up from one of your favorite toolmakers, this is a great opportunity to do so. The list of vendors is huge - it seems like it gets bigger every year. 

If you are going to be there, make sure to drop by our booth. We’ll have magazines, DVDS, t-shirts, posters, stickers, etc. And for those of you dying to see what’s in store for Issue Three, we are also going to be revealing the Table of Contents at our booth. We’ll have a display with the list of articles along with some sneak peek photography. No one besides our editorial team has seen this list. There, in person at Lie-Nielsen, is the first time this list will be revealed. After we get back next week, I’ll begin blogging about the articles. So, if you can’t make it to Maine this Friday or Saturday, hang tight until next week.

Pre-orders for Issue Three open August 1st.

- Joshua


Categories: Hand Tools

Why Green Wood?

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 11:14am

It’s useful to define and understand some terms when working with green wood.

This is an excerpt from “Chairmaker’s Notebook” by Peter Galbert.

Using wood fresh from a log has a number of advantages for the chair and chairmaker. But that being said, lack of access or experience with green wood should not prevent you from exploring chairmaking. Once you understand the concepts behind the use of green wood and the advantages it imparts, you’ll see there are ways to use dried wood with the same or similar results. Ideas for starting with dry wood are included at the end of this chapter. The process may not be as easy using dried wood, but I recognize that for some woodworkers, the plunge into chairmaking and green woodworking might take place in stages. With a little success in chairmaking, I have no doubt that the excitement will nudge you ever closer to the log.

Why Split Wood?

While the softness and flexibility of the green wood is obvious, you might wonder what the advantage is of split wood. Working from split wood can be a tough concept to grasp, even for the experienced furniture maker.


Splitting wood preserves its strength.

Trees don’t have any flat or square parts, and wood is not a homogenous material that’s indifferent to the way it is cut. Trees are a bundle of fibers, and once the tools and techniques to split and shave these fibers come into play, hand-tool jobs that would be difficult or tedious with sawn planks become simple and fast.

One way to compare sawn wood to split wood is that a saw blade ignores the fibers and cuts across them. Splits follow the fibers, which yields strong parts that display amazing flexibility without a loss of strength. But there is more to this story.

Whenever sawn wood is shaped, shaved or cut with hand tools, the direction of cut is of primary concern. A smooth surface can be created by cutting or shaving the fibers in the direction that they ascend from the sawn board. Cutting in the opposite direction, where the fibers descend into the board, will cause the cutter to grab the exposed end grain and lever out small chips. This “tear-out” leaves a rough, undesirable surface and takes more effort to cut.


With sawn lumber, grain direction is paramount.

On sawn boards, the direction can change from one area to another, especially if the tree didn’t grow straight. The showy grain patterns so prized in cabinetwork are the result of milling across the fibers, whereas split and shaved pieces will have uniform – perhaps even boring – figure.

But showy grain can force you to constantly change your cutting direction to avoid tear-out, which slows the process. Plus, when shaving round parts from sawn wood, you will usually have to change direction as you shave around the surface. On the lathe, changing direction is impossible.

But when parts are split and shaved to follow the fibers, the direction of cut is simplified. You always head from the thick area to the thin. On round parts, this allows you to work around the entire piece without changing direction.


Common challenges with sawn boards.

This enables you to rely on the shape of the piece to dictate the tool’s cutting direction instead of constantly interpreting the surface for clues.

Split wood can be worked in either direction when shaved parallel to the fibers. Once the fibers are carved across, the direction of cut is always toward the thinner area.

This simplifies and speeds the shaping process. Trying to shave a sawn spindle that has fibers that are not parallel to the axis of the spindle requires a constant changing of the cutting direction, which renders the process impractical.

— Meghan Bates


Filed under: Chairmaker's Notebook
Categories: Hand Tools

Handy Figure-eight Fasteners

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 8:30am

I don’t actually remember how long ago I discovered figure-eight fasteners (ten, fifteen years?), but it was one of those moments when I felt like someone had answered a wish. I was struggling with how to attach something vertical to something horizontal and I wanted it nearly invisible. Then I found the figure-eight fastener. They’re not really a tip or a trick, more like someone showing you that ice cream […]

The post Handy Figure-eight Fasteners appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Groopshop 2017 Presentations

The Barn on White Run - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 5:42am

The program for this year’s Groopshop of the Professional Refinisher’s Group was an embarrassment of riches, with wide ranging presentations and demonstrations that were edifying to all in attendance.

As was the usual for our events, the several dozen folks in attendance were held in rapt attention as every single session provided nuggets of knowledge for us present.

Golden Artists Colors technical guru Mike Townsend gave a reprise to his presentations at the very first Groopshop almost two decades ago with two spectacular demos on color theory and airbrush techniques.  I am a bit of a color theory maven myself and found Mike’s presentation of the idea and practice of color decoding and matching to be superb.  He has a real sense of how to connect to an audience of varying experience, and his own background as an artist really comes to light when he is discussing appearance.  He provided blank panels to everyone and we followed right along as he showed how color interact with each other.


His no-nonsense demo of airbrushing was a huge hit, and as is often the case with Groopshop demos the audience was soon crowded around him trying all the things he was showing us.  One of the highlights of the session was his use of an almost century-old mini air compressor to drive his airbrushes.

John Coffey also had two sessions, sharing the lessons of several decades’ worth of successful experience.  His first session was an excellent discourse on dealing with curvalinear and heavily carved surfaces, and his second was a demo of gilded borders on leather tops.  To say the least the interest was high for both of them, and he found himself in the center of a mosh pit.

Len Reinhardt was attending his first Groopshop and absolutely stunned us with a recently completed project of conserving a pair of giant valances from a famed historic mansion in Nashville.  It  really was a first-class project and presentation.

Dan Carlson regaled us with the mostly-unsuccessful fad of repainting countertops in situ, along with many other home remedies for damaged furniture.  Given that many in our cohort will be called on to deal with these failures it was timely instruction.

Mike Mascelli and Tom DelVecchio somehow snuck in some discussion of caring for and preserving aged upholstery.    Tom is the inventor of The DelVe Square that is made by Woodpeckers, and one of my very favorite tools.

John Szalay and Christine Grove were given an open mike for the after-dinner session on the first day, and as usual had our jaws hanging open with the inventive amazingness of their projects, ranging from furniture restoration to restoring vintage soda machines to casting metal parts for vintage motorcycles to rebuilding vintage woodworking machines.  Jon is better known to the outside world as “Jersey Jon” from the American Pickers” television show.  Christine has a passion for old-time machines, and of course high fashion.

Al Lopez recounted the progression of his shop from small furniture restoration outfit to a large project, mostly architectural restoration enterprise.  I was so busy listening to his talk that I forgot to take pictures.  Sorry Al.

Other presenters who I also failed to photograph were Mark Faulkner and Val Lennon from Besway/Benco, briefing us on new regulations about solvents and chemical safety and disposal.  (I took advantage of their proximity to pick their brains about my upcoming dive into the production of Mel’s Wax.)  Freddy Roman evangelized us by cataloging the role of social media in his business plan.  His talk was simultaneously awesome and terrifying to a sixty-something minarchist like me.  I gave two shorter talks, one on our recent adventures in ripple moldings, and one on the technology of emulsions and the design of Mel’s Wax.  I distributed free samples of the latter with the extracted promise that everyone who took a sample was required to give me constructive feedback, which has begun to flow in.

Even with all of this I m sure I forgot to mention some of the learning opportunities there, and for that I apologize.

And the fun was not over yet.

Matt Furjanic Talks about Inlaybanding.com – 360w360 E.239

360 WoodWorking - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 3:49am
Matt Furjanic Talks about Inlaybanding.com – 360w360 E.239

In this episode of 360 with 360WoodWorking, we spend time with Matt Furjanic of inlaybanding.com. Matt discusses how he he got started in the business – it’s a great story that is probably more common than you think –  and shares some of his thoughts on woods and glues used to make bandings of all kinds.

Join 360 Woodworking every Thursday for a lively discussion on everything from tools to techniques to wood selection (and more).

Continue reading Matt Furjanic Talks about Inlaybanding.com – 360w360 E.239 at 360 WoodWorking.

Furniture and Cabinet Making Magazine August 2017

David Barron Furniture - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 3:30am

The latest edition of F&C is now on the shelves. It follows Fine Woodworking in it's retro, understated cover layout and looks very professional.

I've done an article on the twisted dovetail showing the method in detail. It's not as difficult as it may look, unless of course you want to emulate Theo Cook's wonderful version, see above.

The American theme continues with a good article on plane maker Matt Bickford.

An very interesting article on adding curved platens to a belt sander.

And part three of 'stack marking'. Maybe I'm missing something here, but in all three articles I'm left thinking this seems a great way of making a simple task complicated! Anyone else any thoughts?

Categories: Hand Tools


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