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The Woodworking Blogs Aggregator

This "aggregator" collects all of the woodworking blogs I read every day - or try to anyway!  Enjoy!

Do you have a suggestion for a hand-tool woodworking blog you would like to see here?  Tell me via the CONTACT page.  Thanks!


slow saturday.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sun, 03/22/2015 - 2:08am
It did snow again in my part of the universe but the snow gods must have been napping. We got about 1", maybe, and that was gone by late afternoon. I shoveled when the temps were right around freezing and a couple of hours later the temp was in the 50's. All the snow melted.  Ending on a bright note, the forecasters have dropped the possibility of snow on sunday.  On a sour note, temperatures will be below normal for next week. Hello, spring is here.

phone check is ok
I got a very late start in the shop today. When I got up this morning my local PBS station was showing a series called Ultimate Restorations. They are 1 hour long shows and I watched a yacht, a plane, a steam powered locomotive, a pipe organ, a 1927 fire engine truck, and a railroad car restoration. I liked the fire engine one the best and the pipe organ one second. The pipe organ show surprised me because I liked it. They did a total restoration on a huge pipe organ that was 80+ years old. Some of the pipes were 65 feet high and there are over 34,000 total pipes.

After I got done watching these (I would have watched more but there weren't any) I went to the shop. After the yacht restoration, I grabbed my wife's phone and checked the position of the shelf and the sound hole board. I put her phone back in the charger and watched the next restoration.

marking gauge
This gauge is still not working right. I'm sure it's me not using it properly and I've had it with the gauge line not being straight and parallel to the edge. I thought I had figured this out but this marking gauge isn't a pin gauge, it has a knife point to it.

my way of marking
I like to start away from me and pull the gauge towards me. Paul Sellers et al, all push the gauge away from them. They do it is short throws until they get to the end. Me, I tend to start at the far end and try to mark the entire line in one motion.  One immediate problem with that is that I can't see the pin..

pushing away I can see the pin
knife pin gauge
I'm changing how I gauge my lines. I am going to push the gauge away from me and I'm going to do it the way Paul does it. The first step is to change my knife pin on this gauge.

sharpening it first.
pin turned around
The knife point has to face in the direction the gauge will be pushed or pulled. I think part of my problem with this gauge is that I mind fart and forget this.

cross grain
Another change I'm making is where I use this gauge. I was using this gauge to do almost all of my gauge lines whether they were with or against the grain. Now I'll use this one only for cross grain marking. Any gauge lines with the grain I'll do with my pin gauge. Maybe by sticking with these changes they will help me by being at least consistent with how I gauge. The mechanics of actually gauging a line I'll have to work on.

gluing the ribs on the phone cradle
I'm starting with the middle one only because that is the first rib I grabbed. I'll glue this on and let it set up and cook for a while. Then I'll repeat it two more times.

while the rib was cooking
I had filed these yesterday and today I finished them. I consolidated the edges and rolled a hook on them. I still have a boatload of card scrapers left to do. I'm guessing that I have 20  or more to do. Mostly straight ones but a few goose neck and round ones too.

my now sharp tenon float
Graham Haydon did a you tube video on sharpening this float and I watched it and realized that my float was incredibly dull. Graham had made a jig for holding his float but I was too impatient to make one. This set up I have here worked out ok.

what a difference
In the you tube video Graham worked the end grain of piece of wood. He got shavings on all the surfaces he worked and that impressed me. I got blow out on my chamfering but I got shavings this time. I have used, or tried to use this on tenons in the past and all I got was dust. Once again, sharp fixes all.

sharpened this iron again
I redid my sharpening of this iron once more. I didn't take a before pic but this one is a big improvement over what I started with. I did the final sharpening with my ceramic stones lubricated with soapy water. That was a huge difference over using them dry like I had been doing.

39 more to go
I am going to do one molding plane each saturday and/or sunday.  I am getting comfortable with sharpening molding plane irons. I've been doing a lot of reading on it in my books and I've seen that files are used extensively in restoring and sharpening irons. For some reason I was under the illusion that I could only use sharpening stones. Files are used to shape and refine the edges and the profile.  Sandpaper of various grits wrapped around dowels or shaped  pieces of wood, does the bulk of the sharpening. I then finish up with my ceramic stones. So far the 4 planes I've done have come out ok and I haven't ruined a profile yet.

I'm going to start on the top left and go to the right. I've done the first one already and I marked the next one to do by taking the iron and wedge out. It doesn't take long to do one at all. I don't think any of the ones I've done so far have taken more than 45 minutes top yet.

gluing the top rib on
I've got the square running out past the walnut ledger. This way the rib will be square to the back and in line with the top of the walnut ledger.

waiting before I clamp
I tried to clamp this (and the middle one too) after I glued it and the clamp pressure moved the rib. I let the glue set a bit before I clamped it. I checked it with the square again to make sure that it hadn't move.

making a holder
This is going to be a holder for my scraper and spokeshave irons. I made a shallow starting saw kerf across the face. I'm going to try and do this by hand if I can.

second saw cut
This cut is at an angle down this side. The initial saw kerf will help guide the cut here. I'm doing this by eye at about 45 degrees.

sawed about 1/2 way down
straighten out the saw and extend it to the other side
cross cut saw is the next batter
I can see that the kerf left my carcass is too thin. I'll get a wider kerf with this 8 point cross cut saw.

bigger kerf wasn't enough
The card scrapers will fit in the kerf but not the spokeshave irons or the #80 scraper blades. I can't think of any other way to widen this kerf by hand. I could have done it with my tablesaw but the more I do hand tool work, the more I don't want to use the tablesaw. Mr Bandsaw will widen the kerf for me.

butchered kerfs
I didn't get nice clean slots but they won't be seen.

these two won't fit in all the slots
I had to go back to Mr Bandsaw again and make the kerfs even wider.

wee bit fatter and butchered wider
it's new home
I like having the extra blades and irons next to the tools they go in. I had the extra blades stowed in two different cabinets before I did this. Now I don't have to scratch the bald spot trying to remember where I hid them.

where I got the idea
This is from the LN calender for last year. This is a picture of the tool cabinet that Christian Becksvoort built.  I like the clever holders he did for the tools. I got the idea for my blade holder from the one he did for the LN beading plane irons.

trying out my spokeshave iron holder
This is a Paul Sellers holder that I made a few weeks ago and I'm road testing it today.

it's working
I did my sharpening by going up and down the stone staying parallel to the edges. I found that when I sharpen with the iron skewed, I don't keep the edge square. So far, for me anyways, going parallel to the edge I've been able to keep the irons square.

I sharpened the spokeshave iron on 4 diamond stones, my 8K water stone, and finished by stropping it. The brass posts and the screw survived the journey intact. I was not sure these wouldn't loosen on me and make using it again toast. Not so as they are as tight and straight as when I made it. This is a nice sharpening jig and with my arthritis it is a very welcomed aid too.

It has a nice feel in the hands and I had no problems using it on any of the stones or the strop. There was enough clearance between the jig and the spokeshave holder and I didn't sharpen neither of them. The shiny line on the holder came from when I tried to do it at a skew. Along with not being able to keep my edges square, I dip too much as I go back and forth. I'll be sticking with the parallel sharpening.

3rd and final rib
I got the final rib glued and set by the furnace to cook overnight. I called it a good day here and quit. Ultimate restorations is running the same series again and I'm going to watch them again to see what I missed the first time.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
Where did the Beverly Hillbillies live before they move to California?
answer - Hooterville in the Ozarks

…Then, All of a Sudden, This Auction Breaks Out…

The Furniture Record - Sat, 03/21/2015 - 8:48pm

I really need to remember to read the fine print.

Last weekend was the highly anticipated quarterly catalog auction. This auction house usually has the good stuff but their catalog auctions have the really good stuff. Normal practice is to go and take pictures during the Friday preview. I got off to a bit of a late start, litter boxes, trash, recycling and other assorted domestic tasks must be tended to before I can go play. I have responsibilities.

I got there a little before noon and started checking things out. There seemed to be more people there than usual for a preview. I worked my way around the gallery taking picture. It was taking longer since I had to wait for people to get out of my way. I don’t want to alienate the auction staff by annoying the real bidders.

Then a large percentage of the people started sitting down and the professionally dressed auction staff started appearing at the business end of the gallery. I knew by reading the catalog that wine was sold Thursday night, 20th century design and arts would be Friday night and the main auction is Saturday morning. What I hadn’t read was that the fine jewelry auction was Friday at 1:00 PM and I was running out of time.

I finished talking pictures in the podium area before the announcements started. As quickly as possible I worked my way down the remaining undocumented pieces of interest. Jewelry auctions move fairly quickly and this was a very genteel and orderly auction with polite pauses for the phone and internet bidders. I finished my work by the tenth or twelfth piece and left. I could have spent more time but I was satisfied with what I got. And I got some good stuff.

There is an entire bedroom suite in the style of this armoire:

Large armoire with mirror.

Large armoire with mirror.

This is another knock-down armoire. It makes sense to ship flat. It costs money to ship air. Something this size is difficult to handle and more subject to damage being shipped assembled. This one unbolts top and bottom:

Unbolt this bolt and its three siblings and it all comes apart. Note the shelf support system. No little pins here.

Unbolt this bolt and its three siblings and the armoire comes apart. Note the shelf support system. No little pins here.

I like this little desk:

Or is it a table?

Or is it a table?

It is uniquely decorated.

Diamonds and dots. Or are they berries?

Diamonds and dots. Or are they berries?

I know I’ve shown if before but I really like the locking system on this server:

A nice server and I believe it's French.

A nice server and I believe it’s French.

One central lock with two opposing bolts locks two drawers.

The centrally located lock.

The centrally located lock.

This bolt is high and to the left.

This bolt is high and to the left.

And this bolt is low and to the right.

And this bolt is low and to the right.

As soon as I find this mechanism for sale somewhere I’ll stop writing about it.

Did I mention there were desks? There were desks. I offer the following galleries as proof:

This is from a Butler's Secretaire Bookcase.

This is from a Butler’s Secretaire Bookcase.

This relatively plain one.

This relatively plain one.

This one features banding.

This one features banding and veneer.

This one

No prospect door but an arched drawer stack.

And this

This one has a prospect door, document drawers and a few secret drawers.

To see the entire fabulous set (123 pictures), click HERE.

Sample Board Partying – Before the “Finish,” Fuming and Polissoir Burnishing

The Barn on White Run - Sat, 03/21/2015 - 5:58pm

As I presented my sample boards at the luncheon banquet on my recent trip to Florida, I began with two simple methods to enhance and modify the wood surface itself, even prior to beginning the application of any finish materials.


The first, and a very popular once again, was the coloration of white oak through the application of ammonia.  In the first sample I simply brushed on liquid ammonia and left it to dry.  The coloration is about what I expected, with the slight blotchiness and shallow penetration that would be the result of a light liquid application.  The depth of penetration from the single wetting with ammonia was about 1/16″

A second and similar sample was that of white oak exposed to ammonia vapors.  In this instance I prepared the six oak samples and placed them standing upright in a circle around a coffee cup warmer, on which I placed a half pint of full-strength hardware store ammonia.  I turned on the coffee cup warmer to heat and vaporize fully the ammonia and placed a plastic bucket upside-down over the lot, and left it for twelve hours.  I neutralized the ammonia with a light swabbing of white vinegar and left them to air out for a few hours, but there was no noticeable odor.

The result was the sumptuous almost-mocha coloration we have come to expect as the base for a lot of Craftsman furniture.  An application of a couple coats of deep red garnet shellac would have yielded a magnificent dark reddish brown finish.  I left the samples in their “native” state to make sure that the audience could see it in the raw.  Just to see how effective the fuming was, I sawed a sample in half, and the entire 1-inch cross section was the same fumed color.


As a special treat I showed a set of samples that I did not prepare other than to cut them to size.  These were pieces of “bog oak” from a crib dam on the Rappahannock River that had been submerged for nearly a century-and-a-half.  The coloration and luster of these pieces as truly spectacular, and I cannot wait to make some furniture from the pieces I have.


A final “pre-finishing” step was, not surprisingly, burnishing with a straw polissoir.  I lightly scraped the entire surface, then burnished one half of it.  I demonstrated this one at the luncheon, bringing the mahogany surface to a desirable sheen in just a few seconds.  I also noticed that these samples drew continual attention (caressing?) during my presentation, even after I had moved on to other topics.

After that we got down to the serious business of selecting and using a variety of finishing materials

New Found Love for Cypress

Wunder Woods - Sat, 03/21/2015 - 3:44pm

I am currently working on installing a wood ceiling in the basement of my house. I thought it would be a great use of eastern white pine and a treat to actually do a little work on my own house. I “treated” myself to eastern white pine because it is the cheapest lumber I sell and therefore causes me the least financial negativity by not selling it.

A mixture of eastern white pine, spruce, and cypress are finally whitewashed and installed on part of my basement ceiling, minus the extra nutty cypress that I couldn't bring myself to paint.

A mixture of eastern white pine, spruce, and cypress are finally whitewashed and installed on part of my basement ceiling, minus the extra nutty cypress that I couldn’t bring myself to paint.

As I was rounding up all the pine in my shop, I was worried I didn’t have enough stock, so I looked for lumber that was similar. I grabbed some spruce and cypress that seemed fairly similar, and since I am whitewashing all of the lumber, I decided they would work. The spruce looks great. Most people couldn’t tell the difference between it and the white pine.

The cypress is a different story, but not for the reasons you would think. The problem with the cypress is that after I sealed it with shellac prior to the whitewash some of it looked so cool I couldn’t bring myself to whitewash it.

I have always poo-pooed local cypress because it has so much sapwood from growing quickly in wide open spaces (usually yards). The sapwood is less durable than the heartwood so the wood is not the best choice for exterior applications, which kills me because that is the first thing that people expect out of cypress. When someone asks if I have cypress I say,”Yes, but not the cypress you are thinking of. It didn’t come out of a deep swamp from a slow-growing old tree, and there isn’t much clear wood.” Almost every board is knotty since the trees are usually covered in branches to the ground. Everything about this “exterior” wood says don’t use it outside, so it tends to lean against the wall for sale and only very slowly trickle out of the store.

Now, I got a fresh look at my cypress, but not for an exterior application. Now, I just looked at it as wood, and what I saw was a wood that stands out from the crowd. Some of the boards looked more like burls and less like lumber. The knots are clustered in tight pockets, mixed with bark inclusions and swirly grain. Again, not great for exterior wood, but awesome for a future piece of furniture.

The cypress on the bottom is not local, but it is what I expect cypress to look like if it is going to be used outdoors. I milled the cypress on top, and while it may not be great for outdoor use with all of its "character", it is way too cool to paint.

The cypress on the bottom is not local, but it is what I expect cypress to look like if it is going to be used outdoors. I milled the cypress on top, and while it may not be great for outdoor use with all of its “character”, it is way too cool to paint.

Another portion of the same lumber shows the difference between the two cypress boards.

Another portion of the same lumber shows the difference between the two cypress boards.

As I went through the stack and rediscovered the boards, I set them aside, hoping that I could finish the job without using them. At this point, I have the ceiling almost completed and it looks like I won’t need the cypress. But, even if I did, I have a feeling that I would be milling up some new, not-so-cool lumber to finish the job. This stuff is just too cool to paint and put on the ceiling. Go-oh, Cypress!

Categories: General Woodworking

Great things come to those who wait - Two Lawyers has returned

Rich's Woodcraft - Sat, 03/21/2015 - 3:24pm
Over 3 years ago I ordered a nice backsaw from Two Lawyers saw makers in Germany and sat by the mailbox waiting for my saw. Well Klaus had some setbacks with wood allergies and when I think I had finally given up hope that I would be blessed to own one of their uniquely crafted handsaws - an email arrives today.

Seems Klaus has determined that he can work with Ebony and Olive - what luck for me, I ordered Ebony. Here's the pictures from Klaus of my new saw which is enroute - can't wait to get my hands on it...

Wish it was a little shinier....

Getting it into perspective

A Woodworker's Musings - Sat, 03/21/2015 - 3:01pm

I’m pleased to say that there does, indeed, appear to be some renewed interest in applied geometry.  I’m convinced that it was one of the things that separated humans from the lower animals.

Several readers have said that they are intrigued by more advanced geometric techniques like l’art du trait and stereotomy, but found them hard to comprehend and a bit overwhelming. Rightly so, as these techniques have been shrouded in secrecy for centuries, thus assuring carpenters and masons a fair amount of “bargaining power.”   These techniques require the novice to have some level of familiarity with geometry and, sadly, the vast majority of the population has not had that experience.  A few days ago someone asked if I could recommend any books on the subject that might get the “pilgrim” started on the journey.

Well, the novice could start by reading Euclid’s Elements.  But trust me, the plot line is very difficult to follow and it’s easy to loose interest (a statement based on my own experience).  Perhaps the best way to become introduced to trade geometry is to read up on perspective drawing.  Yes, that’s what I said, Perspective Drawing.  Remember, geometry is a way of seeing.  Figuring comes later.

The very best book that I’ve ever come across on the subject is “Basic Perspective Drawing” by John Montague.  There are many editions which indicates to me that it’s one of the best tomes on the subject.  I think the drawing below will support my reasoning.  This is plane geometry:

From "Basic Perspective Drawing" by John Montague

From “Basic Perspective Drawing” by John Montague

Take some quiet time for yourself, with a “wee dram” perhaps, and peruse this book (or any book on the subject, for that matter).  My guess is that you’ll get the connection pretty quickly.  But beware, you may never again look at the world in the same way.

Categories: Hand Tools

Spring Angles

Musings from Big Pink - Sat, 03/21/2015 - 2:25pm
The planes that I reproduce represent the point in time when all of the technology of moulding planes had been incorporated, while none of the machining had yet been taken out. One of the examples of this technology is the "spring angle" of a dedicated plane. This "Spring" is the angle at which the plane must be held to produce the desired profile. You'll see the proper angle of a plane's spring by looking at score marks on the toe (and, often, the heel).

I am in the process of designing a plane body for a custom profile, dedicated plane that I will make this week. I was sent the following image from the customer and we're trying to come up with a plane design that will create the profile.

Take note of the bead above: it's a full 180 degrees. If he decides to have this full bead in the final profile then the plane must not be sprung. 

There are two major disadvantages to not having this plane sprung. 1. The high point of the cutting edge of the iron will be much higher in the plane. This will result in a mouth that is not as uniform, well beyond the wear angle of the body and wider than necessary. 2. The iron itself will be vertical. This will result in less of a shearing cut and more of a scraping cut--think edge retention. The difference in cutting action won't be a deal breaker, but it does change things.

There are two planes illustrated below. The plane that is vertical has no spring. (This is the one from above.) The other plane, the left, has a spring angle of 22.5 degrees. The mouth will be more uniform and the cutting edge will have more linear feet in it.

Take note of how far up in the body the cutting edge travels. I can make the entire cutting edge inside of the plane's wear angle.

The disadvantage to the sprung plane is that I have to reduce the bead from 180 degrees to what's illustrated.

A few frequently asked questions:

Q.   How do you make dedicated planes?
A.   Hollows and rounds. There is no tool better for producing small amounts of very specific profiles. This is a perfect example. I will make 10" of this molding and likely never make it again. Increase the size, decrease the size, whatever. It makes no difference to me. (We are also deciding the actual dimensions below.)

Q.   Why are there no spring lines on hollows and rounds?
A.   Hollows and rounds have no spring lines because there is no predetermined angle at which the plane must be held.

Q.   How will the plane be maintained? 
A.   The plane's sole will be flattened with hollows and rounds or poor man's hollows/rounds:

Sleep on that.

Categories: Hand Tools

There is More than One Texture

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sat, 03/21/2015 - 12:47pm


Not everything should be as smooth as a nun’s stomach. While every surface of my work is finished with handplanes, that doesn’t mean it was a smoothing plane.

Cabinet backs and the undersides of everything are best finished with a jack plane, either across, diagonally or parallel to the grain. Not only does this speed you along and allow you to save your effort for the show surfaces, it is pleasant to touch.

The shallow scallops – even the woolly ones that plow across the grain – actually feel like something worth touching. Even a little bark down below is OK with me. On the interiors of cabinets and drawers that will get touched frequently, I finish with a jointer plane. This leaves wider and shallower scallops that almost anyone can feel if they look for them.

On the show surfaces, the even-shallower scallops left by my smoothing plane are almost imperceptible unless you catch the top in the right light or pass your hand lightly across the surface with the intent of finding them. They are mostly invisible to the touch, but they are there.


I’m fully capable of planing all surfaces to nearly dead-flat and then finish them with a sanding block. That’s a great surface for a highly reflective finish. And while a perfect and smooth finish would have been spectacular in 1769, it’s unavoidable, plastic and mundane now.

Today I finished my first 15th-century dining table for the “Furniture of Necessity,” and I figured that by leaving these toolmarks, I saved an entire day of labor. And I like the table better than if it were perfectly extruded from a wide-belt sander.

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Furniture of Necessity
Categories: Hand Tools

A little progress on the low angle infill

bridgerberdel - Sat, 03/21/2015 - 12:23pm

Been busy, out of town or both. I have made a little progress


I’ve decided to make a screw cap.




Categories: Hand Tools

On Geometry

Hackney Tools - Sat, 03/21/2015 - 7:47am

drawing a volute
Today’s woodworker has a lot more help when it comes to working out the tricky angles of some furniture joints, roof geometry or the wind and rise of a set of stairs he is constructing. Back in the day, school geometry lessons fed straight into the knowledge needed in an apprenticeship and carpenters found themselves learning on the job and learning what was needed to be able to draft calculations in their heads.
A lot of this knowledge has been lost as technology has taken over somewhat, but I find myself increasingly fascinated in the various calculations one can learn to estimate precise cutting angles.
Following on from my post about French ‘guitardes’ and ‘L’art du Trait‘, I have been researching knowledge about plane geometry and it’s use in carpentry and joinery.
Over on ‘A Woodworker’s Musings’, D.B.Blaney not only seems to know a lot more about this in practice than me, but has also constructed some fine models. I love the pictures of loftsmen in the mould loft at Harland and Wolff shipyards. You can see the large drawings on the floor from the loftsmen.
I contacted Mr Blaney about this great post and asked if he had some reference on how to get re-aquainted with plane geometry and it’s use. He recommended some books:

A Treatise on Stairbuilding and Handrailing by W & A Mowat
A Builder’s Companion by Asher Benjamin
and also Chris Hall’s website, The Carpentry Way.

(I have also been told a recent book called ‘A Simplified Guide to Custom Stairbuilding and Tangent Handrailing‘ by George Di Cristina is also excellent)

This brought me onto Googling tangent stairbuilding and I hit upon a four-part series online by ThisIsCarpentry, which explains how geometry is used in tangent handrailing and crafting a proper volute.
Tangent Handrailing
Drawing a volute
Carving a volute

I’m sure there’s a lot more out there, any recommendations for making a start are gratefully received. I did also buy the new book from Lost Art Press, ‘By Hand & Eye‘, but overall I didn’t think it was put together very well, or was that helpful. I believe the authors are currently making an accompanying ‘workbook’ to explain the workings better. Read into that what you will, but not one of LAP’s better books, in my opinion.

Categories: Hand Tools

A New Book from Me (Kinda!)

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sat, 03/21/2015 - 6:55am

t2793_500px_72dpiBefore I started writing woodworking books, I had a magazine reader ask me about my photography book. Photography book? What?

Yup. “Men Defined: Nudes,” which is still available at Amazon. That’s not my writing, I promise. If I were to write an erotic non-woodworking book it would be about goats.

It’s an odd experience to see your name on a book you didn’t write. And I had that same weird feeling when I saw “Classic American Furniture” by Christopher Schwarz advertised on ShopWoodworking.com.

My first thought: Hey, you other Christopher Schwarz. Stop invading my topic. I’ve carefully steered clear of writing about the erotic world of men in black and white.

As it turns out, I did write this book. Kinda sorta.

Classic American Furniture” is a compilation of a lot of projects I built for the now-defunct Woodworking Magazine (yes, I miss it, too). In addition to my stuff, there also are a fair number of technique pieces and small projects from the other editors.

I finally got a copy of the book yesterday and spent some time paging through it. It’s actually a nice compilation of projects with a pared-back American aesthetic (and not a single nude person in sight). There’s Some Shaker and Arts & Crafts pieces, of course. But also some simple back-country pieces that are unadorned and nicely proportioned.

If you never saw Woodworking Magazine, this book is a good introduction to it and the approach we took to building and finishing pieces.

I receive no royalties from this book, FYI. And I’m not an affiliate with ShopWoodworking (or anyone). So I have no financial interest in it. Check it out here. It’s on sale for abou $20.

— Christopher Schwarz


Filed under: Personal Favorites
Categories: Hand Tools

David Stanley Auction Coming on 28th March.

David Barron Furniture - Sat, 03/21/2015 - 4:24am

This is one of the two main international auctions held each year and is well worth a visit. As usual the catalogue is crammed full of goodies including some very rare gunmetal Norris planes, out of my league!

There are also about 25 stands in the hall selling a wide variety of tools with plenty of bargains to be had. I will have one of these stands selling a few planes from my personal collection as well as my piston fit oak toolbox featured in my YouTube video above, price £300.

Also for sale in the auction is the anarchists tool chest made by Chris Schwarz at his teaching course in 2014. The chest comes full of tools kindly donated by numerous toolmakers around the world with a total value of £5,400, (excluding the chest). The guide price is £3-5,000 for the lot.

This is a charity lot with the entire proceeds going to the furniture crafts courses at Warwickshire College where the course was held.
This will be a great auction and well worth the trip!

Categories: Hand Tools

Simon Marty guitar repair

Finely Strung - Sat, 03/21/2015 - 3:00am

I’ve been a fan of Roland Chadwick’s music since hearing a performance of his trio for classical guitar, Letter from LA, a few years ago. So I was delighted when he contacted me about a guitar that needed some attention.

It was a fine instrument too – a cedar top classical guitar made by an Australian guitar maker, Simon Marty, in 1988. Quite apart from being 25 years old, it had worked hard for its living and the thin cedar top had developed some nasty cracks in the widest part of the lower bout. Some of the internal braces had come unglued too, and the guitar was more or less unplayable. To make matters worse, someone had tried to repair the cracks with superglue.

This is what it looked like after I had scraped away most of the superglue.


With a hand through the soundhole, I could feel that the cracked part of the soundboard had become detached from a long transverse bar running across the instrument under the bridge. This explained the multiple little dowels, which were a previous attempt to fix the problem. The only thing to do was cut out the damaged wood and replace it.


I also needed to replace some missing braces and re-glue several that were beginning to come unstuck. The difficulty here was that the braces, constructed out of balsa wood and carbon fibre, were very thin and it was almost impossible to position conventional clamps accurately enough to hold them in place without distortion. In the end, I solved the problem by making a few spring-loaded miniature go-bars. Wedged between the back of the guitar and the top of the brace, they kept everything in place while the glue cured.




After re-polishing, it was ready to perform again. All well worth the trouble because, despite its age, it’s an excellent guitar which produces a big warm sound.



the first day of spring.......

Accidental Woodworker - Sat, 03/21/2015 - 2:47am
In a little more than an hour from my typing this post the first day of spring will have arrived.  I am looking out the window by my desk as I type this and it is snowing. The forecast has the stuff coming down until very early on saturday morning with 1-3 inches of accumulation. I remember it snowing once before on the first day of spring. I was about 9 years old and a blizzard dumped over 3 feet of snow. I didn't have to go to school for a couple of days. That was then and this is now and I'm not as happy about it today.

I did a good job on making the bevel on this piece of walnut but I put in the wrong edge. I thought something was wrong when I did it the other day and tonight I found it when I did a dry fit.  I can't reuse this so I'll be making another piece. When I did the layout I made sure that the long grain would facing the front. This has the bevel on the end grain and how did I miss that?

I put this aside for a while and moved on to something else.

Woodsmith jig
The 8" Grobet fits in the 45 position barely and it flops around a fish out of water in the 90 position. I first uses the jig to file the edge on my #80 scraper blade and a card scraper. The 90 was a royal PITA to do. I had to hold the file and then file the card scraper edge with one hand.  The Grobets are too small to be used in this jig.

did a good job on the scraper
I'm not so sure that using this jig for these is a good idea. The angle on the scraper doesn't need to be within +/- two microns of 45 degrees.

the card scraper edge
In spite of the 3 Stooges routine I did on filing these edges, they came out ok. They are flat and have a consistent grind end to end. I think this another good candidate for doing by hand. It's either that or get a file to fit the Woodsmith jig.

this don't look good
This is the Grobet I used in the 45 degree position on the Woodsmith jig. That whitish streak is a bald spot on the teeth. That is what I got after filing two edges on the #80 scraper blade. That means I can file a #80 scraper blade 4 times with one file. That is not giving me a warm and fuzzy feeling. The one I used at 90 isn't as bad. I think that is because the file was moving as I filed and so it wasn't being used in the same spot.

I filed these two by hand also and I didn't get any bald spots. I expected that as I was using more of the file and not concentrating on one area. I think using the Grobets by hand for this would make them last a lot longer. Big favor point was I didn't have any bald spots when I was done.

Of the two methods I like the hand filing method vice using a jig. The files cut easily and with very few strokes I had a consistent shine. It's not that difficult and I find filing much easier to do then sharpening a chisel freehand.

lines knifed
All the ribs have to be aligned at the back here on the gauge line. I'll be putting the back on here and it would behoove me to have this square and straight.

in line
I sawed and then shot them to the knife line. All three end on the gauge line so I get to take an atta boy from petty cash. The other side was bit trickier because my gauge line went OTL on the top and middle positions.

plywood back
The plywood lays right on the gauge line. Once this is fitted to the back and secured you won't be able to see it.

carbide scraper
I usually clean up my glue squeezes right away but I didn't this time. When I clamped the walnut ledgers I didn't want to chance disturbing that by cleaning up the glue. This carbide scraper worked well here. It removed the small amount of glue and I was able to scrape the walnut and maple and finish it.

flush and even
The top isn't that critical but it will make the highly visible top hat look better being flat. The middle shelf is what I consider to be critical. The phone speaker is there and it forms the "speaker chamber".

small reveal
I had wanted to put a round over on the sloped edge but I think I'll be keeping it square now. I don't like the amount of meat I have to do a round over on. I don't think it'll look good on just the outboard edges neither.

I wanted to glue the ribs on tonight but I need my wife's phone to do that. I want it to check the position of the phone's speaker and middle shelf relationship. I'll be doing that tomorrow because after my wife came home she wanted to go get a pizza.

accidental woodworker

trivia corner
 In what city was the first stock exchange established in the United States?
answer - Philadelphia  in 1790

A Chest In My Boot

Benchcrafted - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 8:44pm

A covert exchange in a harvested Indiana corn field.

Three woodwoorking nerds gather on a Chicago side street.

A back-alley hand off in Roger's Park.

The case for sharp tools is home.
Categories: Hand Tools

Adapting a vix bit for precise centering.

Tico Vogt - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 7:16pm

Getting a screw to locate dead center in a countersunk hole involves dealing with some tricky forces. The fibers on the surface can throw off your best efforts: they influence the tip of the drill toward a preferred direction, often not your own. When working with hinges you have a restraining shoulder or gain toward which you can offset the screw hole location, pulling the hinge tight against it, similar to drawboring a pin in mortice and tenon joinery.

There are times when there is no restraining shoulder and the centering must be accurate or the piece to be held down by the screw will shift. In a regular through hole a center punch works well, but with a countersunk hole the point is too far in advance.

R S Vix Bit 2

In many situations a vix bit does the job well enough (not “foolproof” though!) if the tolerances permit, such as the holes for metal drawer slides and door latches. In a more critical situation it might well bite you because the drill bit is simply a twist drill passing through an oversized shaft that can react to the surface fibers and ride away from center even though the beveled self-aligning tip is designed to register dead center. The drill will go where it will and can veer off center, pushing the sloping ends of the tip to push up one side of the countersunk hole. Compounding this situation is the fact that you are generally using it in a hand held drill and can easily not be drilling truly perpendicular to the work.

I have figured a way to use the vix bit to create a very small and accurately centered mark in the wood fibers. From there other tools come into play.

First I remove the drill bit (in this case for the vix bit #2) and substitute a 9/64” center punch that fits the shaft with no side-to-side slop. It isn’t tightened with the screw but can slide up and down.

R S Vix Bit 1

Carefully checking for perpendicular I just use finger pressure downward and spin the punch a little.

R S Vix Bit 3

It leaves a tiny hole. This I enlarge using the Carbide Scrawl from Blackburn Tools.

R S Vix Bit 4

Another punch follows which I tap lightly with a hammer.

R S Vix Bit 6

The tip of this punch matches up nicely with the tip of a tapered woodscrew drill bit chucked in the drill press.

R S Vix Bit 5

Die Kommode mit funf Schubladen

Pegs and 'Tails - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 7:15pm
… As the non English-speaking George I would have called this five drawer chest – the third of five chests of drawers that I’m making for the up-coming book. This chest dates from around 1720 and employs Virginia walnut veneer … Continue reading
Categories: Hand Tools

Yet another name sign for a horse.

Mulesaw - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 3:20pm
We have had the newest horse for almost three quarter of a year now, and I have to admit that I have never taken the time to make a decent name sign for him. He too deserves a nice sign to hang outside his box in the stable, so visitors can see that he is a cherished member of our family on line with the other horses.

I will use my standard method of a hobby knife aided by my cheap linoleum cutting gouges.
His full name is Forum's Bernie, but I'll just make a sign saying Bernie.

He is not a pure bred horse, but something called: Danish Warmblood. It is a breeding federation where all kinds of horses and breeds are accepted, as long as they are warm blooded horses. So you can mix other warmblooded horses that you might like, and get the foal listed in this register. The main idea is to make a ride-able horse with fine qualities in various situations (as far as I have understood)

As far as I remember, some of his pedigree is Hannoveran and Trakehner, but there is also some Danish Warmblood in the lines too.
It is a very popular breed of horses in Denmark, and they are doing all right in various International competitions, with dressage as the main focus as far as I have been able to tell.

Danish Warmblood has got their own logo which is pretty simple to carve. It is a crown with a wavy line beneath it.

All I have to do now is to pull myself together and start the project by finding a suitable piece of wood and plane it flat. Well, maybe tomorrow will be the starting day for that.

Logo of Danish Warmblood horses

Categories: Hand Tools

Messer - Knife

Old Ladies - Pedder's blog - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 3:04pm
Need to train sewing Ich muss nähen üben

Categories: Hand Tools

Wow! I sucked at math!

A Woodworker's Musings - Fri, 03/20/2015 - 3:01pm

I mean really, Algebra, Calculus?  Just couldn’t get my head around it.  (Also too busy chasin’ girls and not a member of the football team.)  Now Geometry, on the other hand…I could “see” that.

My friend Chad (of Woodchoppintime fame) and I were discussing this just a few weeks ago. After several glasses of a very nice bourbon cask ale, we concluded that Geometry is a way of “seeing”, not a way of “figuring”.  If I move myself in relationship to an object, I get a one view.  Conversely, if I move the object in relationship to myself, I get another view.  Hello!  This is the how they built the Pyramids and how Hiram put the “Temple” together.  It’s all about seeing.  And it’s about making yourself “part of the picture.”

We see “lines” that are “plumb”, “level”, or angled in relation to other lines.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t “see” things in terms of sines and cosines.  We see in reference to planes of view.  Ergo, Plane Geometry.



Geometry was what allowed masons and carpenters to build the great cathedrals of Europe, with not one computer on the jobsite.  Geometry was the “life blood” of our “brotherhood”.  It gave craftsmen position in society.

But then came Newton and Leibniz.  They changed everything.  After these two, the mason and carpenter were no longer officers of the town council, they were mere employees.

But hark!  There may be good news.  It seems there is a resurgence of interest in geometry and how it relates to our craft.  One can only hope.  But we must study, if we are to see.


Categories: Hand Tools


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