Hand Tool Headlines
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!
|phone check is ok|
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.
|my way of marking|
|pushing away I can see the pin|
|knife pin gauge|
|sharpening it first.|
|pin turned around|
|gluing the ribs on the phone cradle|
|while the rib was cooking|
|my now sharp tenon float|
|what a difference|
|sharpened this iron again|
|39 more to go|
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|
|waiting before I clamp|
|making a holder|
|second saw cut|
|sawed about 1/2 way down|
|straighten out the saw and extend it to the other side|
|cross cut saw is the next batter|
|bigger kerf wasn't enough|
|these two won't fit in all the slots|
|wee bit fatter and butchered wider|
|it's new home|
|where I got the idea|
|trying out my spokeshave iron holder|
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|
Where did the Beverly Hillbillies live before they move to California?
answer - Hooterville in the Ozarks
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:
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:
I like this little desk:
It is uniquely decorated.
I know I’ve shown if before but I really like the locking system on this server:
One central lock with two opposing bolts locks two drawers.
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:
To see the entire fabulous set (123 pictures), click HERE.
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
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.
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.
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!
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...
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:
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
I put this aside for a while and moved on to something else.
|did a good job on the scraper|
|the card scraper edge|
|this don't look good|
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.
|flush and even|
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.
In what city was the first stock exchange established in the United States?
answer - Philadelphia in 1790
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.
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.
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.
Carefully checking for perpendicular I just use finger pressure downward and spin the punch a little.
It leaves a tiny hole. This I enlarge using the Carbide Scrawl from Blackburn Tools.
Another punch follows which I tap lightly with a hammer.
The tip of this punch matches up nicely with the tip of a tapered woodscrew drill bit chucked in the drill press.
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.
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.