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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!  


Roorkee Chat No. 3

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 5:10am


— Suzanne Ellison

Filed under: Campaign Furniture
Categories: Hand Tools

Using a Lion Miter Trimmer

MVFlaim Furnituremaker - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 4:28am

A couple of weeks ago I posted on a Facebook page called “The Collectors of Antique/Vintage Tools” about a Lion Miter Trimmer I just restored. A few people in the group replied to my post asking what the tool did. I was surprised that so many people weren’t aware of this tool, that I decided to talk about it here.

 photo mitertrimmer002.jpg

I’ve owned an AMT miter trimmer for over twenty-five years and love it. They are simple tools that were popular for people who made picture frames back in the day. You use it by swinging the arm pulling the knife through the piece of wood, slicing off perfect little curls precisely at whatever angle you set the fence at.

 photo mitertrimmer030.jpg

The miter trimmer has fences on each side that can be positioned between 90 -45 degrees. There are adjustable stops at 90 and 45 that can be fine tuned with a screwdriver. Once you swing the fence to whatever angle you want, you tighten the wing nut on top locking the fence in place. As you can see in the photo, this machine also has layouts for 60 and 67 1/2 degrees.

 photo mitertrimmer004.jpg

After fiddling with the machine for a few minutes, I positioned the adjustable stops precisely were they needed to be. As you can see, the stop is a little shy from the 45 degree scribe line on the bed. I’m not sure why this is, but the tool is probably over 100 years old, so it’s allowed to be off a little.

 photo mitertrimmer005.jpg

You can see how the tool slices off perfect little shavings. When I was restoring the tool, I took the knives off and sharpened them on my Tormek using the Tormek knife jig. Before I sharpened them, the knives couldn’t cut butter.

 photo mitertrimmer031.jpg

 photo mitertrimmer007.jpg

The main reason I love my miter trimmer is that it cleans up the cuts that are made from my miter box and saw. For safety reasons when doing delicate trim work, I like to use my little miter box instead of a powered miter saw.

 photo mitertrimmer022.jpg

However, the saw doesn’t leave the wood with a nice enough cut.

 photo mitertrimmer026.jpg

Not only that, the miter box doesn’t even produce a perfect 45 degree angle throwing the two pieces out of square.

 photo mitertrimmer025.jpg

Here are the two pieces after they’ve been trimmed up with the miter trimmer.

 photo mitertrimmer019.jpg

The proof is in the pudding here. All the joints fit nicely together and the frame is a perfectly square inside. No wonder why picture framers loved these things.

 photo mitertrimmer006.jpg

Another good use of a miter trimmer is doing outside corners like attaching molding to a bookcase or cabinet. Here is a piece of molding that I cut with one of my molding planes.

 photo mitertrimmer012.jpg

If I stick the piece in my miter trimmer and try to trim it up normally, you can see how the inertia of the cut pulls the molding off the bed. There’s simply not enough surface area in the front of the molding to keep the piece stable.

 photo mitertrimmer011.jpg

The cut it produces this way is garbage. Not only is it not 45 degrees, it’s not even a straight cut.

 photo mitertrimmer027.jpg

The way to get around this, is to take the body off a combination square and clamp it to the fence of the trimmer. Use a scrap piece of wood and cut a 45 degree angle to the end with the trimmer. Then use the cut as a gauge to accurately place the combination square under it. It’ll take a little time and a few test cuts, but once you have the combination square properly position, you’re ready to go. Note: You can buy an attachment from Grizzly for about $30 which does the same thing as this, but I’m not sure if it will work on old Lion Miter Trimmers.

 photo mitertrimmer010.jpg

Now you can use the bottom of the molding to rest against the fence for support and make a perfect 45 degree cut.

 photo mitertrimmer013.jpg

 photo mitertrimmer015.jpg

Repeat on the other side of the trimmer for the other side of the molding and you’ll get a super clean and accurate joint.

 photo mitertrimmer017.jpg

Unfortunately, the website for the original Lion Miter Trimmer no longer works which makes me believe they are no longer in business. http://www.lionmitertrimmer.com It’s a shame because the tool is truly an awesome piece of machinery.

New tool chest for the sea 2, making your own nails

Mulesaw - Thu, 01/22/2015 - 12:26am
For this project I have decided to take a slightly different approach compared to how I have previously done things out here:
I plan on doing all the stock preparation before starting the actual joinery. My idea is that it is probably a bit more effective compared to the system where I prepare stock as I go along. I think that it might make the process faster as well, since I won't have to shift focus all the time. But we'll see once the project is done.

I have settled my mind for a ship lapped bottom, so I needed to find some nails to attach it with. I was pretty sure that we had some appropriate nails on board, but it turns out that we didn't..
This meant that I had to take a small metal working detour of the stock preparation, and make a small batch of nails. I quickly summed up the number of nails I would need for the bottom, and set to work.

I pretty much copied my last effort of making nails, and it worked even though the material for the nails had changed from brass wire to mild steel.
I would have preferred brass but we didn't have any. The closest thing we had was some bronze brazing that had the right diameter, but it was too brittle. So that when I tried to form a head it will just crack and break. 
Just in case you are wondering why it is not on my own blog: Brian Eve over at Toolerable generously allowed me to try out if blogging was something for me by writing a few posts as a guest writer.

Making your own nails can be accomplished with very few tools/materials:
Some single strand wire; steel, copper, brass etc. 
A ball peen hammer.
A stout piece of iron/steel
A drilling machine with a drill in the same diameter as the wire.
Pliers for cutting.
Pliers for pulling the finished nail out of the stout piece of iron. (You can use a combination pliers).
A machinist's vice.

First test that the wire is malleable. Just hit one end with the ball end of a hammer and see if you can flatten it. If the wire flattens without breaking, it is usable. I am not talking paper flat here, but just get an idea if the material is brittle or not.

Decide for the length of your nails. Find a drill of the same diameter as the wire you are using (I used 2 mm).
Drill a hole in the stout piece of iron. The depth of the hole correspond to the length of your nail.
Please remember to wear safety glasses while drilling. Small drills are prone to breaking, so be careful. (The extra hole that can be seen in the pictures was because I broke a drill..)

Clamp the stout piece of iron in the vice with the hole facing upwards.

Insert on end of the wire into the hole (make sure you reach the bottom). 

Cut off the wire approximately 5/32 (4 mm) above the hole (this will work for a 2 mm nail, if you go up in diameter you might want to increase the figure a bit.

Use the ball end of the hammer to shape the head of the nail by hitting the protruding piece of wire. The trick is to hit the periphery of the small wire. It takes a bit of practice, but it is not that hard. 
Don't use too big a hammer, I find it easier to control using a lot of small blows instead of 3 heavy ones. (But I am not a blacksmith so that could be why). This is essentially the same technique that is used when forming the head of a rivet .

Pull up the finished nail with the pliers.

You can add a bit of texture to the shank of the nail by either clamping it in the vice after it is done or scratch up the surface with a file. But this is optional. I just like that the nails aren't too smooth on the surface, I think they'll hold better with a bit of texture.
The vice trick works pretty good for brass nails and I suspect also for copper nails.
For these I used a file.

A piece of wire, being pressed into the hole.

Protruding piece after cutting the wire.

Head shaped by means of the ball end of a hammer.

A finished nail (before adding texture to the surface).

Categories: Hand Tools

A Long Story Short

The Workbench Diary - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 8:59pm
Asher in the hospital

Things have been a little crazy here lately. Not long after the New Year, Asher started throwing up. A lot. All the time. The doctors were just keeping an eye on him for over a week until he lost a full pound. At that point it was time to take action. It turns out he had pyloric stenosis – basically a tightening of the opening from the stomach to small intestine. Long story short he went in for surgery. That’s nerve wracking stuff for a five week old to go through. Surgery went well and Asher is back to his normal self. We are so thankful.

 Asher back to himself

Sample molding for looking glass

To pass time at the hospital I did some writing. I spent time on an article that will be published this summer. It details the making of a period looking glass that I made for Julia for Christmas. Today I finished the photography for the article and this evening I put the finishing touches on the manuscript. It’s rare these days to have something done so far ahead of schedule.

Working on the manuscript

 Rather nice veneer, no?

I am thankful that things in the studio are in full swing. Having a decent backlog after time off is a good thing. I have been privileged to book some nice pieces for this winter and I look forward to getting to them.
Categories: Hand Tools

Carving Cookie Molds with Roy Underhill!

Mary May, Woodcarver - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 8:40pm

Mary May - Woodcarver

This past weekend has been so much fun! Traditional Cookie Molds!


Late last year, I received an e-mail from someone asking me if I have ever carved Springerle cookie molds. Not wanting to sound ignorant, I quickly googled this mysterious name to see what he was talking about, and a new world of carving opened up!

Then the following week Roy Underhill called and asked if I have ever carved traditional Springerle cookie molds. Was this fate? Coincidence? I think not! It was meant to be!

So Roy and I set up a 1-day cookie mold carving class (as opposed to moldy cooking carving class), and then scheduled filming another Woodwright’s Show episode on carving these same cookie molds.

These carved molds are traditional designs made in Germany, (called Springerle or spekulatius), Belgium (called Speculoos), and Holland (pronounced speculaas), meaning “mirror”. They are similar to shortbread, made with white flour, brown sugar (or honey), butter and spices. This dough is rolled or pressed into the oiled and flowered carved molds that are about 3/16″ to 1/4″ deep, leaving about 1/8″ dough left above the mold. After gently releasing the dough from the mold, the edge of the cookie is often cut out (sometimes special cookie cutter shapes are made that match the edge of the carved design to cleanly cut out the cookie to the correct shape).

The wooden molds are usually carved from very dense, hard, tight-grained wood such as pear or apple. Softer woods would be affected by oil or moist dough.

First – the cookie class. This class was open to all carvers – beginner and advanced, and it really was a great class. We dove right into carving a wind-mill cookie mold (didn’t even go over sharpening tools until towards the end of class because we wanted to get right into the fun part). As people were finishing up their wind-mill carvings towards the end of the day, Roy went around the room, oiled the molds, and pressed cookie dough into the molds (Roy’s wife, Jane, made the cookie dough). This is where we discovered that if there were any undercuts in the wooden mold, the dough would catch and not release easily. The malt shop next door was kind enough to bake the cookies and they were really tasty!

step 1 - Transfer design to wood. The outline only needs to be transferred because the details will be carved away.
step 2 - With a 6mm v-chisel, carve along the inside of the outer edge of the design.
step 3 - With a #7, 6mm and #7, 10mm, lower down the background where it fits.
step 4 - With gouges that fit along the outer edge, make a cut with a slight angle out along all outer edges. The angle will allow the dough to release easily.
step 5 - Clean up the background with various #3 gouges.
step 6 - Continue to level the background smooth. Make sure the thickness is the same along the whole shape.
step 7 - draw in brick details.
step 8 - With a 3mm v-chisel, carve along each of the brick lines. Make cross-grain cuts first.
step 9 - Continue to make v-cuts along the division lines between the bricks.
step 10 - Make small v-cuts along to create texture lines on the blades of the wind-mill.
step 11 - Press or roll cookie dough (I used Play-do) into the mold and pull away from the mold.

Gingerbread and wind-mill cookie carving with finished and baked cookies.


Getting ready for baking!



Sunday we filmed another episode of The Woodwright’s Shop – one of the longest running shows out there – 33 years! Roy is always fun to work with. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know him over the past 5 or 6 years with 3 different shows, and teaching at his school in Pittsboro several times a year.

20150118_123241_HDR 20150118_123233_HDR

The show should air in September or October. I’ve also filmed the process of carving several of these for my online school and that should be available within the next few months.

If you leave wood shavings in the mold, you add more fiber to the cookies! Then they’re healthier!


Spoon carving at Plymouth CRAFT last weekend

Peter Follansbee, joiner's notes - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 5:48pm

Last weekend was my first class with Plymouth CRAFT, helping 12 intrepid folks carve spoons. What a time we had. (the facebook crowd can see some pictures here https://www.facebook.com/CRAFTPlymouth )

spoon carvers

It was held at Overbrook house, http://www.overbrookhouse.com/ a large rambling joint with something interesting around every corner, both rooms we were using were set with a fire in the hearth. On the first day, Denise Lebica was teaching a knitting class in the next room, and on day 2, Paula Marcoux was in the kitchen, teaching a strudel-making session. This was after she had fixed a stellar lunch for everyone both days, cooking parts of it in the hearth. Like her book come to life… http://www.amazon.com/Cooking-Fire-Rediscovered-Techniques-Wood-Fired/dp/1612121586




The spoon carvers took over a very large main room, essentially a living room! We shoved the furniture to the walls, moved in some mats & chopping blocks, and had at it. We started with the knife grasps, then moved to actually roughing out spoon blanks. These people were so dedicated they almost missed the lunch bell – until I yelled at them to get away from the tools & go eat.

indoor hewing


room view

I was kept pretty busy going from one to the next, checking on the tool use and the emerging spoons. For me, one highlight was that we were given permission to take a cherry sapling that was growing right outside the door. This meant that every student got a chance to carve a spoon from a crook. some were small, but in many ways that’s a good thing. working a small crook as a beginner means you learn the particular demands and challenges without a great outlay of effort and time…cherry can get pretty hard if it dries ahead of you..so good to get through it in short order.

cherry tree

hewing crook


knife work 2

Overbrook  is large enough to include accommodations for those who needed overnight lodgings, and Anne Phelan did an outstanding job at the breakfast end of the B&B, as well as a slew of overall helping-out. So many of us had worked together at that un-named museum for years & years, it was fun to be back together again; Pret, Paula, Denise, Anne, Keith, Marie, me  – and we had two other alumni, Bryan (spoons) & David (knitting) were signed on as students.    

It went so well & we all had such a great time, that we signed up to do it again, both the spoon carving & knitting. Dates are March 14 & 15. Go to Plymouth CRAFT’s site  for details, and to sign up:  http://plymouthcraft.org/?post_type=tribe_events   is Paula adding a foodie workshop? I forget. 

I see Mark Atchison’s first class is now listed too – http://plymouthcraft.org/?tribe_events=the-fundamentals-of-blacksmithing-a-traditional-perspective  You’ve heard me go on about Mark’s work before, without his work, my furniture work would suffer. Great chance to learn some blacksmith work from one of the best. 




Stanley No. 271 Router

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 3:12pm
Construction materials and proper tools are necessary for making guitars.

Gerald J. Bakus, A Comprehensive Reference to the Classical and Flamenco Guitar, 1977

This little tool has sat on the shelf for awhile, it wasn't forgotten, I don't have much use for it.

I purchased it from McGuckin's Hardware in Boulder, Colorado in 1994, I think Stanley stopped making No. 271 right after that. I once had the box that it came in, now lost in some move.

I've used it a few times, but never really did any kind of work where it was needed.

I did use it to finish the shelf on the neck on the latest Torres/Santos guitar...

...and today I retrieved it to start working down the heel for the heel cap.

I guess I will start using it more often!

I plan on changing the angle on the iron, it's a little too blunt, maybe something more along a 20 degree angle, anything to help it pare better.

I know that one can still find original Stanley No. 271 planes and are new ones are available from Lee Valley, Lie-Nielsen, et cetera.

You can definitely make your own, I seem to remember that Nick Engler published plans for one in some home woodworking book...

Categories: Luthiery

Meet the New Popular Woodworking Books Editor

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 3:00pm

Hello, I’m the new editor for Popular Woodworking Books. It’s a New Year and I have a new job and you have a new person to reach out to with questions about the books we create. So, howdy. You might want to know a little about me. I’m a writer and editor. I’m a husband and a dad. I’m a bit of a sci-fi nerd. I’m a martial artist. And […]

The post Meet the New Popular Woodworking Books Editor appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Restoring A Pair of Cool Mid-Mod Chairs – Executing the Plan

The Barn on White Run - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 2:51pm


Before I did anything else, I had to consider carefully what the chair itself needed, in order to fulfill the user’s needs. Since I could not disassemble the chair without inflicting even more severe damage, this meant that I had to impose into the original fabric of the chair in situ and remove a substantial quantity of the original material, then augment that original element with new material unrelated to the original construction of the chair. Through consultation and discussion, both the client and I affirmed that route, so I dove in.  (Both chairs were treated in essentially the same manner, which was a good move strategically.  When disassembling the second chair  I discovered that it too had broken in the exact same place, but the damage had not yet become manifest at a gross level.)


The first thing was to get the broken and displaced cross-member into the correct configuration, in short, put it back to the exact shape it was before the damage. So, I disassembled the buckboard spring assembly by detaching it from both the seat underside and the cross member and setting it aside until final reassembly. I introduced hot hide glue into the fracture and clamped the cross member so that it was straight, and allowed it to sit overnight. No, this was not a structural repair, it was rather a reclamation of the proper shape so that a structural compensation could take place.

I learned an important fact during this step, namely that the grain of the wood was really squirrely, much too figured for the stresses placed on it, and the wood was very brittle. This confirmed my proposal for the treatment process.


Since the cross member was not square in cross section, and since the wood was so brittle, I could not use a power router to excavate the opening for the new enhancement. Instead I placed the new aluminum barstock spine on the underside of the cross member and scribed a mark, which I made quite deep with a knife.


With my diminutive slotting plane I cut as deep and long of a ¼” wide furrow as possible, then switched to a ¼” pigsticker mortise chisel (it was just the best tool for the job) to finish the excavation.


I made sure to fit the excavation and the new spline to each other. Just before inserting the spline, I drilled several holes through it so that the bedding epoxy would go not only around it but through it, locking everything in place.


Using West System Epoxy with the slowest setting catalyst, I used a disposable paper cup to apply the epoxy on the spline and allowed it to flow down and around the new element, repeating as necessary until it was clearly full. Then I set up four clamps to hold everything in place and went down the hill to supper.


The next morning I saw that the results were exactly as I had hoped, and filed off the excess epoxy and smoothed out the underside, making no effort to disguise the presence of the new addition. Being on the underside it was not visible to the user unless she flipped it over to look at it, and knowing her as I do, she probably will show it off to her many friends in the artifacts world.

With that, the chairs were ready for reassembly, wherein I ran into some fairly typical problems — mismatched screws, and wallowed out screw holes.

Stay tuned.

Making an Antonio Torres Style Guitar: Binding Ledges and Maple Binding

Brokeoff Mountain Luthierie - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 2:45pm
Few realize the influence of the luthier on the life and career of an artist. Without the existence of an adequate instrument, the fantasy, the emotional richness, the technical precision and the essence of musical interpretation--all would remain latent.

Andres Segovia, 1954

Work on this guitar has consumed so much of my time these past two weeks I haven't been able to blog about the work, much to the chagrin of the young man who ordered this guitar.

The back is on, no hitches or other problems with that task, it rings like a bell when I tap it.

Out came the router, respirator, ear plugs, plus several prayers to Saint Joseph the Worker, for a series of test cuts and then the actual routing of the binding ledges. This step is not for the faint of heart, so many things can go wrong! I still recall when the router bit sent a big sliver of wood flying from the top of a guitar, fortunately I found the sliver and glued it back in place.

Even cutting these binding ledges by hand has its risks...

The back bindings glued in place. I use a stretchy binding tape, available from Lee Valley, to hold the bindings in place. As George Ellis wrote in his book, Modern Practical Joinery, when glueing make haste slowly!

A close up of the end graft and the bindings. Again, I'd like to point out that all the joinery in a classic guitar consists of butt joints, unless you use the famous "V" joint the attach the peg head to the neck...

Tomorrow, I tackle the bindings that go on the top!

Categories: Luthiery

Marquetry Experiments

McGlynn On Making - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 2:17pm

In general, I’m not much of a “practice” guy.  Generally I approach stuff by trying a technique, then quickly move to using it in a project.  I learned to gas weld by building a roll cage from round steel tubing for my 1973 Firebird.  I did one practice joint and beat it with a hammer until I was convinced that it wouldn’t fall apart, then started welding on my car.

Dovetails were probably an exception to this.  I did some practice joints — that were absolutely terrible — before I made a dovetailed box.  I read something the Christopher Schwarz wrote about doing a dovetail joint every day for 30 days.  I made it less than a week before I was feeling discouraged by the pile of kindling accumulating on the floor.  I’ve since gotten competent at dovetailing, although as I type this I wonder if I should go back to practicing.  But I digress.  Jump in, feet first.

And it’s competency that I’m after with Marquetry.  And I’m actually designing a series of experiments and practice projects to test the waters on different processes so that I can build a real project with confidence.  Marquetry is very understandable process, but there are a lot of little fussy steps and opportunities to screw up.  Ask me how I know…

So, with that mindset I identified a couple of activities I wanted to practice with:

  1. Sawing using the “coarse” 32 tpi Pebeco blade instead of the finer 72 tpi Escargot
  2. Sand shading, especially when the shading is the only think that will differentiate the elements in the image
  3. Boulle practice of contrasting dark and light, part and counter-part

So, first off the blades.  The blades for the Chevy are longer than both other similar fret saw and scroll saw blades.  They are 160mm, and in my (humble and seriously limited) experience are usually 2/0.  I’ve heard of others using finer blades for marquetry, down to 8/0.  I can’t imagine.  They are thin, I should have included a pencil line for scale.  I’m actually surprised the teeth show up in this picture, I need a magnifier to see them in the shop.

2/0 ("two-ought") blades for the Chevy.  The one on the left is the coarse tooth

2/0 (“two-ought”) blades for the Chevy. The one on the left is the 72tpi, the one on the right is 32tpi.  This photo is about 1.25″ of the blade.

In class we used both, and I struggled to cut at all accurately with the coarse tooth blade.  It’s the classic tradeoff between speed and control.  Both blades seem to leave identical kerfs, but I found that the coarse blade needs a really light touch to be able to saw on the line.  Even then, my cuts with this blade were wandering around like a drunken sailor on a moonless night.  I did better than in the class, but still not great.

Flowers and asymmetrical shapes are really forgiving.  No one will notice if a petal is slightly wonked.  The picture below is the worst from this project, the rest of the cuts obliterated the line, but weren’t as regular as they should be.  With the Boulle technique all the parts are guaranteed to fit.  I want to work up to the the “piece-by-piece” method where individual parts are cut, well, individually.  I have a ways to go.

This is the *worst* of the cuts from this project.  A moment of inattention and I'm all over the map.  The error here is maybe 1/16" at the worst.  No big deal in this case, but if this was lettering or a regular shape it would be a problem.

This is the *worst* of the cuts from this project. A moment of inattention and I’m all over the map. The error here is maybe 1/16″ at the worst. No big deal in this case, but if this was lettering or a regular shape it would be a problem.

When I did the last marquetry experiment I used the 72tpi blade as I wanted to be as accurate as I could for the practice.  With eight layers of veneer plus the waster veneer on the front and back of the packet it was really slow going.  Probably a couple of minutes for each little piece.  For the approximately 40 pieces in that picture it was easily three hours of sawing.  With this project the (approximately) 40 pieces took maybe 45 minutes to cut.  I was just getting in the groove.  Granted, there were only four layers of veneer, plus the wasters, in this packet.  I’ll have to do a timed comparison that is fair, but suffice it to say it more than twice as fast to use the 32tpi blade.  If I can get to smooth, accurate cuts with the 32tpi blade it will be a happy day in the shop.

I also practiced laying out the parts in an "exploded diagram" of the image as I sawed them out.  I had these first pieces sawn out before I thought to take a picture!

I also practiced laying out the parts in an “exploded diagram” of the image as I sawed them out. I had these first pieces sawn out before I thought to take a picture!  (I’m only doing the main rose, none of the other elements — this is a section of a larger image I want to use on a project soon)

Here are most of the parts of the rosebud laid out for sand shading.  After this the pieces were too confusing to know where they went.  I'm wasting too much time here shuffling parts.

Here are most of the parts of the rosebud laid out for sand shading. After this the pieces were too confusing to know where they went. I’m wasting too much time here shuffling parts.

...and the rest of the parts.

…and the rest of the parts.

I’m further along than this, I’ll wrap up the sand shading and assembly in the next post.  Then I’ll be designing some practice experiments with pocket hole screws.

Categories: General Woodworking

Take a look at our January 2015 issue of The Highland Woodturner

Highland Woodworking - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 2:05pm

wnblogTake a look at this month’s issue of The Highland Woodturner. Here is what’s inside:

Turning a Pepper Mill- Curtis Turner discusses his process and techniques for turning a pepper mill, a great project that you can use everyday when eating your favorite meals.

Turning New Porch Columns- Temple Blackwood recently took on a large project of turning the porch columns for a new Buddhist Temple in the Boston area. In this article he discusses the design and turning process of the two large columns.

Show Us Your Woodturning- This month we are featuring the turnings of Ira Penn, who began turning two years ago and is showing off a variety of different wooden bowls that he has made throughout the past two years.

Phil’s Turning Tip- This month Phil has a tip on a quick and easy way to label your various sanding discs.

Featured Products:

Deluxe Pepper Mill Kit- Similar to what Curtis used for his own Pepper Mill, this kit provides the mechanisms you need for creating your own pepper mill.

Tormek T-4 Sharpening System- Modeled after the Tormek T-7, the T-4 is a small-scaled sharpening system. Turners will be especially interested in the Tormek TNT-708 Woodturner’s Kit, which contains a variety of jigs specially designed to sharpen your turning tools.

The post Take a look at our January 2015 issue of The Highland Woodturner appeared first on Woodworking Blog.

Categories: General Woodworking

Design Concepts With Dezeen Influence Global Designers

Paul Sellers - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 1:30pm

You come to a point in your life when you transition from being a furniture maker to becoming a man or woman or child who actually designs something from scratch to create an image you formed in your mind. When I was 25 years old, 40 years ago, I started my own business working for myself as a furniture maker building custom built pieces I built in to the homes of my customers. It was successful because I found I could draw my designs in ways customers could see concepts they could really consider and relate to as options. I bridged the gap and became the designer-maker (before the term was used) realising my designs mattered, were often sparked by the work of others and that I would never stop designing and considering the design work of others. That was localised, non international and really quite limited.  Front and side view CR 003

Today I was reflecting on a spark. A spark that flashes across empty nothingness and a fire starts flickering in an otherwise dark place. Yellows and blues, greens, ambers and golds develop in tongues that rise in spires and suddenly a fire blazes and cannot be stopped. I remember designing two pieces for the Permanent Collection of the White House began like that. IMG_6250One requirement influenced my design that came from the White House. The designs were intended for the Cabinet Room, therefore they needed to be “formal”.  That Autumn of 2008, when I submitted the designs, I thought that they wanted the designs only and never thought I would go on to make them in the wintertime the same year and on into 2009. IMG_7238A few weeks later I was standing in the Cabinet Room of the White House wondering how it was possible that my designs were now standing in front of me in one of the most prestigious furniture collections in the USA. Today I think I have an answer.

Paul rocker 12
Every time I design something new I feel conscious that my mind is racing as if flicking the pages of a massive book of furniture images flashing one after another in fractions of a second though my mind. My thumb suddenly stops and I return a page or two and ope up the book to see what it was that piqued my interest and soon I find myself fleshing out an idea from what my eyes now rested on. The point is of course that we have all seen a design that actually belongs to another who was inspired by the design of another and so on ad infinitum. Am I saying all designs are copied. Well, the saying goes that “there is nothing new under the sun”, and to some degree I think that to be relatively true, but, no, I am not saying that we consciously copy the design work of another but that we are almost always inspired by the work of another. The work might come from nature itself or a physically made design a creative artist sketched and designed that started with one line that led to another and another and another on a blank sheet of white paper or a paper napkin in a noisy New Delhi cafe.Reverse Rckng chr14 adjst
I wanted to share a distant relationship I so enjoy with an online magazine you might want to subscribe to if you like seeing some of the most diverse designs taking place from around the world. Dezeen is a world leader in showcasing the work of some of the most influential designers and architects from every corner around the world and at the same recognising those unknowns designing the unusual that inspires us to go back to the drawing board and start something totally brand new. DSCN0042-copy2Having followed the work of this industry provider I recognise just how much they’ve worked to become winners of numerous awards for journalism and publishing. I like the fact new designs in woodworking often feature in most of their daily posts and this is the element I want to get to.IMG_9016 2 Design impacts every area of life and everyone needs inspiring to spark the genesis of any design. I often look at the designs of another and then feel driven to sketch a few lines at my bench and though I would never copy the work of another, the spark of another can ignite the fire in me and a new design is born.

The post Design Concepts With Dezeen Influence Global Designers appeared first on Paul Sellers' Blog.

Categories: Hand Tools

The Artisan’s Security Blanket

Chris Schwarz's Pop Wood Blog - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 11:41am

Some shop practices are so obvious that they hardly merit discussion. But every time I think that about some routine I have been taught, I am stunned by the blind spots of many of my students. (I am aware that I have blind spots, as well). I’m always curious about shops that don’t have moving blankets lying around. How, I wonder, do they protect the work from becoming shop-worn? The […]

The post The Artisan’s Security Blanket appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: Hand Tools


WPatrickEdwards - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 10:05am
I have been thinking about posting my thoughts on endangered species materials for years now, and every time I sit down to start writing, I stop and reflect on the impact it may have.  I have personal and professional friends who are on both sides of this issue.  I also argue with myself from time to time, trying to decide how I feel.  It is a very difficult problem to resolve.

First of all, there is a jewel cabinet which sits at the top of this blog which contains ivory feet and knobs.  It is one of my best creations and has been exhibited in museum shows on both sides of this country, as well as published in several magazines.  When I made it I took particular concern that the ivory be from legal stock, harvested in Kenya before 1963, and I have legal papers which confirm that fact.  It wasn't until 10 years later that the creation of an international convention to protect endangered species was signed ( C.I.T.I.E.S.) forcing nations to control and restrict the sale of such materials.  The purpose of this treaty was to prevent the continued depletion of certain precious materials but at the same time allow for the continued consumption of existing stock.  Thus, each legitimate business which had inventory of a protected substance would register the amount of stock and provide certificates with each sale showing the amount sold and the origin of that stock.

When I purchased the Brazilian rosewood (dalbergia negra) for my Louis Philippe tables from Patrick George, I got papers which certified it was harvested in Brazil in 1952.  Mr. George indicated on my papers the actual amount of wood and, at the same time, reduced that amount from his list of legal stock.  In theory, each dealer who maintained stock of these endangered materials would reduce their inventory lists until they were depleted, at which time there would no longer be any stock.

The same process was used with the ivory material I consumed for the jewel cabinet.  I purchased the blanks from David Warther, and was given a certificate authenticating the ivory as pre-C.I.T.I.E.S.

I watch in dismay as each day brings news of the elimination of rhinos and elephants from the face of the earth due to illegal poaching.  Obviously the efforts to legislate the control of horns and tusks has had little effect on their activities, unless it is to raise the value of their horrible trade in other markets.  I cannot express the feelings I have when I see tons of illegal ivory being destroyed by countries to make a point.  I feel the same way when I see antique pianos being crushed by tractors in the dump, with no effort to salvage the ivory, ebony or rosewood materials they contain.

Let me make a simple observation about efforts to control endangered species by contrasting two materials: tortoise shell and rosewood.  People harvest sea turtles because the meat is a food and they taste great (so I read; I have no desire to sample sea turtle).  Thus, if the shell is no longer valuable, people continue to harvest the turtles, eat the meat, and then throw the shell back in the ocean.  On the other hand, in Brazil where the rubber tree is a valuable item, natives make every effort to protect the rubber tree from destruction.  By making the rosewood tree illegal to harvest, and therefore not valuable, there is no protection for the tree and acres of ancient forest are systematically burned to open up land for farming, with no regard to the species of trees destroyed.

What if the rosewood tree was worth thousands of dollars?  What would change?  Would the forests be saved and managed or would the tree just be cut down and sold and then the rest of the forest would be burned as before? Does international legislation have any effect on a farmer with a match?

I do understand that C.I.T.I.E.S. has had a profund and positive effect on managing the international trade of certain materials, but only among those nations who fully support its mission.  For example, in the past year America has proposed and adopted more specific legislation regarding the control of ivory, and this year similar bills have been proposed in California (AB96).  More information can be found here:Ivory Education Institute

As a professional conservator in private practice for the past 45 years, I have collected a good supply of ivory, tortoiseshell, Cuban mahogany, Brazilian rosewood, and many other materials which are currently listed on the C.I.T.I.E.S. list.  All of this material was purchased years before there was any concern with their ownership, and I have no records to prove that I purchased them legally.  Only the materials purchased since the passage of restrictive legislation have certificates.  My business is restoration of objects of art which contain similar materials and that is how I use them.

More and more the decision to use these materials is causing a serious dilemma for me.  It is not clear to me what the future holds for collectors of antiques which often contain precious materials.  Do I use a piece of tortoise shell to restore a missing element in a Boulle clock?  Should I use a scrap of an ivory piano key to make a missing key plate?  How about a scrap of Cuban mahogany veneer being recycled to restore a Georgian card table?  I cannot bring myself to substitute plastic filler or paint and putty to make such repairs, as is more and more the case these days.

I decided to sit down and post these thoughts today since the possibility that all objects which contain ivory will loose their value is a serious concern.  A good example of this is the work of Aaron Radelow.  Aaron is a young furniture maker who I have known for some time.  I first met him when I was the Superintendent of the Design in Wood Show at the Del Mar Fair.  His work was always large, massive and complicated to assemble.  I suggested that he focus more on smaller designs with more detail and "finesse".  He subsequently attended classes at my school where he discovered French marquetry.  During one of these classes I mentioned that the ivory table in the J. Paul Getty collection was perhaps the finest example of work I had seen, and that it had never been copied.  His response was that he would make a copy, and I was quick to dampen his spirits.  I pointed out that it was "iconic" and a "masterpiece" like the Mona Lisa, and that it was "sacred" or some other crap.

Well, he did it.  He spent several years in research, consulted with Brian Considine at the Getty, purchased thousands of dollars of legal ivory and horn and figured out how to do it.  Not only did he succeed in making and exact copy of the original table, he also produced the counter part, which has never existed.  Both of his tables were here in my shop for several weeks as my partner, Patrice Lejeune applied the French polish, so I had a good chance to examine the work.  In my opinion these tables are equal to the original in every respect, and even Dr. Pierre Ramond wrote that they were unique in his experience.

Now the problem:  After thousands of hours of work by a very talented craftsman, using legal materials, what is their value?  How do you recognize this achievement and where will they end up?  When he started work on this project he had every expectation that they would be worth a lot of money, and in my opinion, they are nearly priceless.  However, due to subsequent legislation they may end up as illegal or certainly difficult to sell.

Here is a photo of his tables on either side of the original in the J. Paul Getty Museum:

Radelow, Gole, Radelow

What does the future hold for these and other great works of Art?
Categories: Hand Tools

The Skep: The Symbol of the Artisan

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 8:56am

vintage beehive victorian

When we started Lost Art Press, we kicked around several ideas for what should be the symbol of our small company. We toyed with a saw and then a plane, and we eventually settled on using Joseph Moxon’s compass.

The dark horse candidate was to use a skep, a woven, basket-like beehive. The beehive has long been the symbol of the industrious, and I love its shape and the parallels between the world of the bee and artisans.

But few people (aside from Mormons, Freemasons and the history-obsessed) associate the skep with building things. I’d like to change that and have been working on a T-shirt design that marries the skep with the tools of the joiner.


To prove that I’m not nuts, take a look at some of these images. The cover of “The Joiner and Cabinet Maker,” a Victorian reprint of an 1830s volume, features a skep at front and center in the cover design.


Or check out this 18th-century certificate from the New York Mechanick Society. Yes, we all see the hammer and the butch muscles. But check out the little bird just to the left of the hammer.


Yup. It’s a babe with a skep. (Note: Lost Art Press does not endorse walking around while carrying a beehive and a shovel. There are easier ways to get someone to buy you a drink.)

— Christopher Schwarz

Filed under: Personal Favorites
Categories: Hand Tools

More Tim Yoder Woodturning Videos for me!

Matt's Basement Workshop - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 8:44am

Large Tim Yoder
Maybe the number one reason I’m so slow getting back into the shop and starting the first project of the year is because I’m too busy watching these great Tim Yoder Woodturning videos, specifically “Woodturning with Tim Yoder – Season 2, Episodes 7-12″ I bought over at Shop Woodworking recently.

This is the second set of Tim Yoder videos (downloadable versus DVD, so I can take them with me on my iPad) I purchased so don’t be surprised if some of the projects somehow make their way into the show in the near future.

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Categories: Hand Tools

Hello from Your New Course Manager & Online Editor

Popular Woodworking Editors Blog - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 7:52am

If you’ve been following Popular Woodworking’s Facebook page over the past week, you’ve probably seen some of my posts and wondered who this Nick guy is. I joined the company in November of 2014, and an introduction is overdue. I’ve been a cabinetmaker since 2003, and in the last 12 years, I’ve worked with architectural millwork, cabinets, countertops, laminate, veneer and a lot of other wood products. I started in […]

The post Hello from Your New Course Manager & Online Editor appeared first on Popular Woodworking Magazine.

Categories: General Woodworking

Chips ‘n Tips 7: Shaving Tight Fight

The Renaissance Woodworker - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 6:26am

Win woodworking prizesSometimes I goof (heh, sometimes, okay a lot) and despite all the layout in the world, I get a joint that is just too loose. Fixing a loose joint is sometimes as much a part of woodworking as the actual cutting of the joinery in the first place. Today’s Chips ‘n Tips shows you that its no reason to panic, just sweep up the floor to find your fix.

Gramercy Dovetail SawThis episode’s prize winner is Bill Frarey. Bill chose a Gramercy Dovetail saw from the list of prizes and he is excited to learn how to hand cut dovetails with it. Congratulations Bill!

If you have already registered for the prize drawing, good luck next time. If not, visit my Chips ‘n Tips page to register to win tools, books, and DVDs. Of course I’m always open to hear your own tips. Drop me a line using the contact form (over there on the right side of your screen) and let me know what tips or tricks you have. If I pick yours, you win a prize too!

Categories: Hand Tools

The History of Wood, Part 38

Lost Art Press: Chris Schwarz - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 6:00am


Filed under: Personal Favorites
Categories: Hand Tools


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