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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!

Thank you to everyone who contributed towards Walt Quadrato's battle against cancer!  Their fundraising goal was met.  Our prayers are with you, Walt!  


New Mystery Tool from Bridge City Tool Works… Guess It and Win It!

Bridge City Tools - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 3:56pm

Drivel Starved Nation-

This I know about the DSN; you have too much time on your hands. You cannot possibly justify spending time on this Totally Awesome and Worthless Blog. And you love solving a mystery.

So, here is a new mystery tool for you to ponder. The rules to get your hands on this incredible gizmo/contraption/device/awesomeness for FREE are at the end of this post! But first some clues…

1) What you see below is approximately 300mm in length. You can figure out the rest.
2) It is made from anodized aluminum.
3) Contains one rare earth magnet
4) The knurled knob has three positions.
5) There are functions for the two positions shown.
6) Has absolutely nothing to do with a banjo.
7) No, we can’t find organic aluminum, so it is an alloy.
8) It’s fun.
9) I want one real bad.
10) I will not wager any money on the winner being a graduate of the University of Northern South Dakota.

Mystery Tool 700
Mystery Too 2  700
Mystery Tool 1 700



Don’t ask for any clues, simply state what it is and why the three settings. That is all. If your guess is off-the-mark, or better yet, lame-ass, I will reply with OBS which of course everybody knows stands for Obnoxious Buzzer Sound.

Sound fun? Good luck!The first person to get it wins it. Everybody else is … a loser!

-Your Favorite Tool Potentate

PS: Like all good contests, judges like me are totally open to bribes. The cash kind. FYI.

The post New Mystery Tool from Bridge City Tool Works… Guess It and Win It! appeared first on John's Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

The 2014 Would-be Sybarite’s Gift Guide: Day 8

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 1:53pm

Here’s a little something that kicked off my crazy over the last year: Wanting a home that has space for a nice shop. For those of you who are new to this blog, I had my house on the market for six months in 2013, because though I do like the place (and have a put a lot of work and money into making it a nice home), when I […]

The post The 2014 Would-be Sybarite’s Gift Guide: Day 8 appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Nostalgia, Part Trois…

The Kilted Woodworker - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 1:38pm
After my recent blog post about my grandpa, my mom and I chatted a bit about his past. She clarified some of my inaccuracies and provided me with more information on other topics. I wanted to write some of it down before I forgot it. Hopefully I’ll be able to achieve a balance here of […]
Categories: General Woodworking

Another Rave Review for The Perfect Edge

The Sharpening Blog with Ron Hock - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 11:20am

"This is a really great book"


If this looks like shameless self promotion, well, it is. Please forgive me for basking in the glow of Norman Reid’s new review of my book, The Perfect Edge, The Ultimate Guide to Sharpening for Woodworkers. Mr. Reid offers a chapter-by-chapter review that’s so nice it makes me want to re-read my own work.

I know you’re busy with the holiday season so I won’t go on and on. We have signed copies available if you need a last-minute gift for that special tool-user in your life. Makes a great stocking-stuffer or Secret Santa surprise, too!

And we’re still offering our Blade Bucks Discount: when you order The Perfect Edge through our website we’ll include a coupon good for $10 off your next order with Hock Tools. How cool is that?!

Happy Holidays!  — From Larry, Mark, Linda and Ron.

Categories: Hand Tools

Few Tools for Sale

The Logan Cabinet Shoppe - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 10:58am
I’m clearing out a few extra tools. I decided to just list them on eBay. Click below for the listings if you’re interested. http://www.ebay.com/sch/logancabinetshop/m.html?_nkw=&_armrs=1&_ipg=&_from=

Enfield Cupboard continues.

The Slightly Confused Woodworker - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 9:20am

I had little time to woodwork this past weekend, but as it were, I did manage to get a few things accomplished on my cupboard.

First thing I had to do was simple, and that was to saw off the protruding pieces of the top moulding. For that task, I turned to a tool that I rarely use, a Japanese Ryoba saw. I’m not such a fan of Japanese style tools. I have nothing against them, but I’ve failed to discover any of the mystical qualities that some woodworkers claim they have. That being said, my experience with Japanese woodworking tools is very limited, so I could be wrong. My Ryoba saw is a Marples, a cheap one, that was given to me as a gift. It’s definitely sharp, but I don’t find it any more accurate than a backsaw. In fact, I think it is less accurate. I do, however, like it for flush cutting because of its flexible blade and thin kerf. I’ll say this, if the Marples handle was better and more comfortable, as in made from wood rather than the licorice like plastic handle that it does have, I may just think more highly of the tool. In any event, the saw did a nice job and made a clean cut.

As I said, my time was very limited, but I wanted to at least get the door parts started, so I ripped the stiles to width and finish length, and then cut the rails to length, adding 2 inches to each to account for the tenons. For the rail widths I once again followed the measurements from the original cupboard: a 4 inch wide bottom rail, a 5 inch wide middle rail, and a 3 inch wide top. Before I put the table saw away I got out the dado stack and ripped a ¼ inch wide x ¼ inch deep groove down the center of each stile. I would have loved to also finish up the mortises, but I didn’t have the time. Even had I finished the mortises, I’m going to need to pick up the board to make the two panels before I go any farther, and I would actually like to make them first.

With next weekend being my wedding anniversary, as well as being the weekend before Christmas, I’m not sure how much more work I will get done. Thankfully I have a few days off after Christmas, and if I can managed to get the board for the panels between now and then, I should be able to finish the door construction in around 2 hours if I can maintain a good pace. I’m hoping that to get the construction finished by the last weekend of December, and the paint applied the weekend after the New Year. With that, I can start on my next project, which I’ve been mapping out in my spare time, and should be a simple but very useful piece of furniture that I probably should have made a long time ago.



Categories: General Woodworking

Match the Handle Shape to the Tool’s Task

The Renaissance Woodworker - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 8:25am

Dogwood in Barnes LatheI have some very beautiful tools. Most of them made by someone else with a lot more skill and patience than I. It has taken me a long time to acquire them (and a lot of $$$) so I’m very proud to use them. So when it comes to making my own tools, the bar is set very high. For instance, in doing some sea trials of my Barnes lathe I decided to make some more handles for files, rasps, and a few chisels One might also say I was procrastinating from what I should have been doing, but that’s a different story.

With my other strikingly beautiful tools, it seems mandatory that at least put some effort towards matching that aesthetic. So I pull out nice scraps and shape lovely flowing curves and beads onto something as humble as a file handle. But here’s the thing, rarely do I make more than one handle identical in shape. I view these projects as proving grounds for new shapes and if nothing else an outlet to practice my woodturning skills. I always focus on making sure the handle fits my hand and is comfortable, but I’m continually tweaking the size of the “bulb” at the end and the detail near the ferrule. I find I like a larger bulb that fits into the palm of my hand and gives me comfortable leverage. At the same time a larger detail at the ferrule helps to restrain my fingers and gives them something to grip when doing precise work with the rasp or file. I keep varying this and find that some tools need different shapes based on how I use it and how coarse or fine it is.

Iwazaki fileComing fresh out of a WoodTalk episode that we actually called “The OCD Woodworker“, I’m keenly aware that my mismatched file and raps handles will make the skin crawl of a surprising number of woodworkers. So to fan this fire, let me say that I do the same thing with chisels handles. For some reason that feels even more egregious.

But this is a perfect example of matching the handle to the tool. The flat rasp on the right I use to shape convex curves and flattening out surfaces. I tend to grip it much like a saw handle in that my index finger is extended along the shank. Adjusting the pressure of that fingers allows me to feel the curve a lot better. So the gentle bead by the ferrule nicely fits into the recess under my first knuckle. Moreover, this rasp is double sided and I can flip it around easier with a more vanilla shaped handle.

On the converse is the half round rasp on the left. There is a sharply defined bead here and a deep cove right behind it. When I’m using this rasp I do a lot of rolling and twisting of the blade as I refine complex inside curves. I will change grips more often here with my finger extended sometimes and sometimes not. More often than not its a hybrid of the two where my index finger will curl around the bead for a more tactile, positive grip when rotating the rasp. This sharper bead is perfect for that.

In both examples you will see a larger bulb at the end that nestles comfortable in the palm of my hand for hours of use. I don’t get the tiny, tapered and pointy file handles I see from many makers. They force you to grip the handle much more instead of using your palm to restrain the handle and therefore they are more tiring to use and I feel like you have less control.

I don’t think I will ever find the perfect shape and then make all of my handles the same because I don’t ask my tools to do the same task. Maybe this will sooth the eye twitch of the OCD guys out there knowing that there is an ergonomic design behind the different shapes…I can’t help you on the different species aspect.

So think twice before you start batching out identical handles for different tools. There is a functional reason to make them different. It’s also a way to justify one’s mediocre turning skills and difficulty with duplicating shapes (so I hear).

Of course the rasps shown are heading off to a Chips ‘n Tips winner so I sure hope his OCD can handle it.

Categories: Hand Tools

Last day for Christmas Sale

Mary May, Woodcarver - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 7:58am

Mary May - Woodcarver


Joy to the World… The Lord has come…

Over this past weekend Stephen and I put up our Christmas tree – working on getting our minds and hearts into this wonderful season. We will be hosting between 25 and 30 people for Christmas dinner, and were told (in no uncertain terms) that we had better decorate for Christmas. Not to put any pressure on us…

So here is a photo of our tree. We decided to decorate with a “theme” this year (blue and silver). We have never done that before (we are feeling quite trendy). Usually we take out many boxes of old Christmas decorations, attempt to use the garland that continues to lose it’s tinsel more and more each year, and just pack the tree with as many lights and ornaments as possible. We go through the old lights and see which have survived from the previous year.

Well, this year we started from scratch AND we actually got a real tree this year (it’s been at least 20 years).

20141215_101246_HDR (1)

Just a reminder…

Today is the last day you can get the Christmas discounts.

Monthly membership – $8.99/month instead of $9.99/month (recurring payment by Paypal or credit card)

Yearly membership – $99.99/year instead of $109.99/year (one time payment by Paypal, credit card or check)

10% off individual downloadable lessons (prices vary, depending on length of lesson – and you don’t have to be a member of the school)

10% off all DVDs and resin castings.


Merry Christmas Everyone!

Sandpaper is Evil

Northwest Woodworking - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 7:53am

By conservative estimate, over my 40 years of woodworking I have sanded several hundred miles of wood. My sanding odometer broke one day and I never fixed it so this is just a guess. I figure that I sanded enough wood for a line that went off as far as the eye could see into the desert and then beyond that. I sanded all that wood to within an inch of its life and then just a wee bit more. To be certain.

I sanded the tops of tops and the bottom of tops. I sanded the insides of drawers and the insides of cabinets. Heck I sanded the back ends of drawer sides, corner blocks, and the undersides of feet placed on the floor. I sanded flutes and coves and shapes and flats and I sanded them so that they were perfect.

Why? Because that is what is required when you sand. Because sanding is the first step down the slippery slope to perfection. Because once you start sanding, you see more imperfections, more glaring slips of your hand, more infinitesimal tear-out, more scratches. Oh, look, there’s a little scratch, get that out. Oh feel that, it’s not as nice as this here, smooth that out. Oh get that first coat of oil on and watch the sanding swirls blossom like trout at feeding time on a fish farm. I have to sand those out now.

Hours go by.

Satisfaction wanes, as these hours go by.

In the very beginning, some time close to the Rock Age, I sanded everything with a palm sander. This gave me a greater ability to put in sanding swirl marks so that I could sand longer. I used up miles of garnet sand paper eating up those wood surfaces with my Rockwell palm sander. A few hours of that type of sanding and it left me with my edges more rounded than my work. That sander’s bearings liked to hum a little.

But sometime just before the time my prostate started to enlarge, I realized that time was not my friend. That sanding was not my friend. That sanding wasted my time and that my time and my prostate were valuable. So I quit it. I quit sanding. It saved my prostate. Oh no, that’s an exaggeration of course. But it did save me some time.

I quit sanding to pick up my hand planes and scrapers. I put down my sandpaper to let a sharp iron do the work. And if, or rather when, as I am still humbled by my work, when an error occurs, when some tear-out breaks the surface of my pristine cabinet, when I plane the sides of my drawers and that quarter sawn sycamore acts petulant, when I smooth the inside of a cabinet or box wall and it is not perfect I say to myself: that’s a good thing. There’s the hand of the maker right on the surface of the wood. No more of this perfect for me. If a scratch bothers me, I have a scraper or sharp plane to remove it. I sand still, of course. 400 grit. Done.1-Tea table GR


Categories: Hand Tools

10 minutes, 20 dollars. An ideal shopping experience

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 7:26am

I have another chair to make, like this one. I thought I photographed this one with its rush seat, but I can’t find it. 

plain chair no seat yet

People often ask “where can I get green wood?” – one thing I tell them is for short lengths/small projects, check with firewood dealers/tree cutters…we’re home-schooling our kids this year, but they attend a 2-day program about a 15-minute drive from here. On the way is a yard where some tree folks cut & split their firewood. I stopped today, needing some maple for the next chair. Maple doesn’t store well as a log, you gotta use it up quickly, so I never have it on hand. I found a very helpful fellow in this yard, explained what I needed & why, we looked over the newest pile, picked one out, he crosscut it to about 3 1/2 feet, loaded it in the car & away I went.


I hate shopping. Avoid it like the plague. But this was a great shopping experience – 10 minutes, 20 dollars – we both were happy. I saw lots of  other nice wood for small stuff – bowls, spoons & more. I’m all set for much of that sort of thing right now…but I’ll be back when things run low. 

ready to work

But before I get to have fun like that, it’s boxing & shipping – for me & Maureen. She still has stuff on her site; even on sale! https://www.etsy.com/shop/MaureensFiberArts

I have a couple of things left, if you want to send me back to the post office – http://pfollansbee.wordpress.com/spoons-more-december-2014/

Dry Honing

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 6:29am

Since taking my hobby woodworking more seriously I’ve tried a few different honing mediums, but I always seem to come back to the venerable India combination stone that’s used by all the joiners in our workshop. It’s always had a dash of oil when in use and think no more about it. However, most of my hobby projects are much smaller than the general joinery products I’m involved with and […]

The post Dry Honing appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Grandpa’s Workshop: Woodworking Gifts from our Grandpas

Highland Woodworking - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 5:00am

A conversation between Bob Rummer, Ken Rummer, Don Burnham and Cousin Jane

Bob: Every year at Christmas time our Grandpas were busy in the shop.

Thinking about that, how does a Grandpa approach Christmas time and presents? How can you try to treat all your grandkids fairly? Do you just make multiple copies of everything? Do you try and knock it out of the park with an heirloom every Christmas?

Over time, Grandpa R came up with some creative ways to deal with this. Ken and I think there are some tips here as we all approach Christmas.

CLICK HERE to read Bob, Ken, Don and Jane’s reflections on the gifts they got from their own Grandpas:

We would love feedback from you, our readers, on this topic. What handmade gifts did you get from your woodworking grandparents as kids? Do you make gifts for your own kids and grandkids? Add your thoughts to the comments below.

The post Grandpa’s Workshop: Woodworking Gifts from our Grandpas appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Understanding RPMs hurts my head

Matt's Basement Workshop - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 4:00am

Lathe RPM label

Before we go further, I should point out that I have never been someone who understands motors. You’d think growing up in the Detroit area I’d be fluent in all things horsepower & RPMs, but I’m not and I’m okay with that.

But regardless of whether you speak motor, or not, a basic understanding of RPMs is important for woodworking tools like drills, routers, and lathes.

In fact, the more time I spend at the tool rest of my lathe, the more I’m starting to understand why I’ve been getting such hit and miss results with my router and drill bits. So in a nutshell, it turns out the variable speed dial on the drill press or router motors weren’t as much about “some highly advanced technique I’ll never employ” as I thought.

Okay I’m jesting more than being serious, but there is some truth there. I never took the suggested guidelines for RPMs serious because I was either in a hurry or more-than-likely I didn’t believe they mattered all that much.

Then, in the end, I’d look at my frayed or burned edges and either blame the bit manufacturer or the materials themselves. This would inevitably be followed up by cleaning them the best I could hoping not to accidentally alter its shape. But that’s all about to change!

Thanks to some great feedback about the latest turning project, the Wood Body Coffee Scoop, I’m starting to see just how much the RPMs can have an effect on the results.

And while I won’t claim to fully understand it, the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that frequently the better RPM range might be the lower one. This is especially true for avoiding the burning effect of a larger diameter drill bit or even for rough turning square stock to a round shape.

RPM ranges thanks to Doc Greenwood Turner

RPM ranges thanks to Doc Green’s Woodturner website

I don’t know why it’s so counter-intuitive to me? But the idea that the larger the diameter the spinning tool or block of wood is, the slower the RPMs of the motor should be, it seems so wrong. In my mind it seems like you’d want it spinning faster so there’s more cuts in the same amount of time as a narrower bit.

But as I’m standing at the lathe and I have something large spinning around I start to see how unstable it looks at that higher speed. As a result I’m also realizing how dangerous and ineffective my cutting action can be.

So when I adjust the belt on my lathe to something slower, I immediately see what appears to be a more stable rotation and more importantly something much safer to work on.

Lathe spindles

To help further solidify this concept for me, I started thinking of two figure skaters spinning. One is a petite and graceful skater and the other is me. The petite skater can easily spin in a circle and stay balanced and upright at high speeds. Me, because of my extra bulk, could potentially spin at that higher speed but I would never be fully balanced, nor upright. But if I were to rotate at a slower rate I know I could.

Seeing this concept at work in this manner now makes me cringe at the thought of all those times I used a very large diameter router bit without slowing down the speed of the motor. Thankfully, the only damage ever done in those situations was to the stock and nothing more.

The hardest part for me to continue adjusting the RPMs to match my work will always be the fact that I’ll need to turn the lathe off and manually adjust the belt, but if it means I’m getting better results on the finished end, then I’m all about it.

Thanks to everyone for their feedback, it’s been fantastic!

Help support the show – please visit our advertisers

Categories: Hand Tools

The Inter-NET

The Unplugged Woodshop - Tom Fidgen - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 3:53am
    The internet.     Don’t get caught in it.   UNPLUGG.     Perfect irony this way…   An Unplugged Life.com     Follow @TomFidgen
Categories: Hand Tools

Rosewood Delight

Philsville: Philip Edwards - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 3:14am
Hi Folks
Had some interesting planes on the bench these last few weeks - first up, a Toted Smoother in Rosewood. The Rosewood really sets this plane off!

Other news - the Superior Marking Gauges have been a great success! All the early runs have gone and the introductory offer is now over - regular price is £89.99. We have just completed the next production run and have gauges ready to ship!

 More news soon....

Categories: Hand Tools

Get the Most From a Chisel -- Use it Backwards

Giant Cypress - Mon, 12/15/2014 - 3:08am
Get the Most From a Chisel -- Use it Backwards:

Japanese tools are often made fun of because they go in the “wrong” direction. Bob Lang shows how using tools on the pull stroke can be a great solution for woodworking tasks.

Planes and saws, Bob. Planes and saws. We’ve talked about this.

Enough is Enough

The Alaska Woodworker - Sun, 12/14/2014 - 10:25pm
A few hours of fiddling, and adjusting, removing a bit more here, reshaping that; enough is enough!  I need to call them good and move on to shaping the legs.  They sat for a while, and of course the mahogany darkened, so now I have dark areas interspersed with the lighter colored freshly carved wood.  […]
Categories: Hand Tools

I’m done staring at this now

McGlynn On Making - Sun, 12/14/2014 - 6:20pm

After probably two months of part time tinkering I’ve finished building the french marquetry saw I’ve been piddling with.  It looks nice, it seems to clamp parts properly and it saws.  I’m going to stick to simple projects for a little while.

This wasn’t hard, it was just a lot of pieces to make.  It needed to be accurate so that it cuts properly (exactly perpendicular to the real vise jaw).  I probably will need to adjust the carriage for the saw frame to dial this in — that’s why it has the adjusters built in.  But for today there are no more parts to make.  And with the Chevy assembled there are no more stacks of parts to be shuffled from one place to another.

I’m going to do a simple practice marquetry project soonish, but I have one or two quick things I want to build first.  The first is a tool from Smith’s Key, this should be a lot of fun.  Now where did I leave my box of triangular files?








Categories: General Woodworking

Workbenches around the world, Moravian workbench in Sweden

Høvelbenk - Sun, 12/14/2014 - 3:01pm
 Anton NilssonThe student Anton Nilsson at the programme for Building Crafts (Bygghantverk) in Mariestad, Sweden. He made a workbench during the Individual Specialisation Course in Building Craftsmanship. In Sweden this is called “Hantverksfördjupning” Photo: Anton Nilsson

It has been a while since our last post in English here on our blog. We have got a category for English language posts that could make it more easy to read for English speaking readers. I have also made a small introduction for this blog in English. When we started this blog we where expecting only readers from our Nordic countries. Most of our readers so far, are from English speaking countries, but we have had readers from 92 countries around the world. How all theese can get something out of our Norwegian or Swedish texts, are a mystery? I enjoy reading the blogs that you readers are wrinting. There is a lot of interesting and useful stuff about workbenches. Some of this is also important for us so we can understand our own tradition in a better way. In this post I will present a new workbench made after a instruction on an American blog. We where, and still are, mainly interested in workbenches and “snikkarhandverk” as we find it in Norway and Sweden. We are still going to write mainly in Norwegian and Swedish but you are more than welcome to comment and ask questions in English.

Anton Nilsson is a student at Gothenburg University in Sweden. He is following a  programme called Building crafts “Bygghantverk” in Mariestad and Tomas Karlsson has been his teacher in joinery “Snickeri”. Anton wanted to build a workbench as his personal study in joinery. He wanted a workbench that where portable and easy to set up and dismantle. He would also like the bench to be as stable as possible without beeing to heavy. The very interesting workbench from Vasa did not fill any of theese requirements and was therefore not an option. Instead he found a description of The Moravian Workbench written by Will Myers. Myers found the original bench in Old Salem, a museum in North Carolina in USA. The bench construction seems to be made so that it easily can be dismantled and possible to transport.

 Anton Nilsson  Anton Nilsson  Anton Nilsson  Anton Nilsson  Anton Nilsson  Anton Nilsson  Anton Nilsson  Anton Nilsson  Anton Nilsson  Anton Nilsson

So far it seems that the bench works as it should and Anton are owner of a portable workbench he can bring to any worksite. I still think that the most important is what he learned along the way. It is very interesting to make your own workbench and think though the details when you work. We have posted lately of portable and smaller workbenches and there is more to come. Some of the recent posts with portable benches:

Låg arbeidsbenk på Sogn Folkemuseum

Høvelbenk på Meldal bygdemuseum

Samanleggbar høvelbenk, eller stavklombre

Roald snikrar høvelbenk, modell Helberg i Bardu

Arkivert under:English, Killingfot / hallfast / ronghake, Snikring av høvelbenk
Categories: Hand Tools

On Drinking & Woodworking

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Sun, 12/14/2014 - 2:33pm


It’s no secret that I like beer. So I get asked by students occasionally: Do you drink while you are in the shop? The answer?

Absolutely, yes.

Now, before you read another word, know that I am not an uptight or judgmental person by nature. Plus, I want to live a long life with all my natural-born fingers attached to my hands – not sitting in mason jars on the mantlepiece.

Now the “correct” answer is to never ever touch a woodworking tool if you have even seen a beer commercial on television. Jamais! Nicht! Etc.! Historically, we know this teetotaler approach is new. Craftsmen of all trades drank all the time in the shop. There are so many accounts of drinking in shops from the 18th until the early 20th centuries that it’s weird to find an early account of a shop where people didn’t drink.

The drink was likely lower in alcohol than what we consume today. But judging from the quantities listed in historical accounts, we are all on the same historical Breathalyzer.

So what is a reasonable approach? Can you have a beer in the shop in Saturday afternoon?

Here’s my thinking, which has been developed during the last 20 years by doing stupid things (a bottle of wine and a lathe do not mix) and finding my limits.

If I have had any alcohol in the last few hours, I won’t turn on machinery. OK, I might turn on a shop vacuum. But I’m not going to mess with cutting tools.

If I have had one beer, all hand-tool operations are go. I’ll saw, plane and chisel to my heart’s content. By the way, I don’t feel anything after one beer, but I’m 6’3” and 180 pounds.

If I have had two beers or less, I’ll do donkey work. That means I’ll do some handplaning, maybe some rough sawing. But I won’t cut joinery and I definitely avoid the chisels, which are the single-most dangerous hand tools in the shop.

After three beers, I’ll clean the shop – there are very few broom injuries reported to the federal government. I put away tools. I oil stuff. Or I’ll stare at my work in progress and make notes. As a writer, I appreciate the effect that alcohol has on the creative process – do not discount it. Alcohol removes inhibitions, and sometimes that’s what I need when I stare at a work in progress. I need to decide: This stinks. Or, this needs radical surgery.

I rarely drink more than three beers in a night, unless things are going really well or really poorly. Then I sit down with the laptop and write a blog entry, which may or may not get published the next day.

So that’s the truth. You might disagree with my approach, but all I can do is repeat the following quote from one of the greatest philosophers of the 20th century: “Lighten up, Francis.”

— Christopher Schwarz

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Categories: Hand Tools


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